Monday, 14 February 2011

Septic scribbler screws NRs budget

This from ITV...

Best-selling author Bill Bryson, who lives in Norfolk, is fronting a new campaign to clean up England's railways.

Bryson, who's President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, wants to use the law to make public land managers clear up unsightly litter around railways. He's demanding Network Rail clear up rubbish along tracks in Cambridgeshire.

Well Bill - this is really helpful. Thank you.

Perhaps Bill and his ever-so-cosy Campaign to Protect Ruritanian England should focus on the challenge of fly-tipping, rather than on the poor sods on whose land this rubbish ends up.

Meanwhile, Network Rail is now expected to divert scarce resource on prettifying 8,000 route miles to meet Bill and his chums vision of the English idyll.

Eye hopes that Network Rail will meet the demands of Bryson and the CPRE in full.

And pay for it using the East Anglia maintenance budget.

Perhaps Bill and his CPRE chums won't think they are quite so clever when standing on a litter free station where trains can't run.

On the plus side this would allow Bryson even more time to "write a history of the world without leaving home."

Would that he had done that today.

UPDATE: This from Carbon-Neutral Potter...

Anyone else think that perhaps encouraging, say, the re-instatement of litter bins on stations might be a way forward?

Although it didn't start with NR's reign, housekeeping seems to be something that the railway is particularly bad at.

Perhaps Eye readers are aware of more examples?

Right - I'm off to eat some organic Fairtrade pizza and compost my toenail clippings.

Every little helps.

UPDATE: This from Inspector Blakey...

I thought that the traditional idiom of the flytipper was to dump old sofas, fridges and other household rubbish.

I didn't realize they were responsible for leaving all those chunks of scrap rail, sleepers, fishplates and half-empty aggregate bags lying around the cess too...

UPDATE: This from a Retired NR Contract Manager - one time responsible for litter picking contract in a RT Zone...

Most of the litter on tracks around station areas is from the TOCs trains and passenger/customers.

Most of it away from station areas is obviously not now from passengers throwing things out of windows, one advantage - possibly the only one, of hermetically sealed, air conditioned, non opening windowed, sanitised rolling stock, and is blown in from adjacent premises. Supermarket recycling points, Asda at Longsight for instance, being a prime example.

This does not get away from the fact that its looks a mess wherever, but pointing the legal finger at Network Rail just because it finishes up with them is a bit ripe.

It needs an industry wide task force and solution. Oh - I forgot, that’s not now possible is it?

UPDATE: This from Platelayer...

Perhaps Bill Bryson and the CPRE should be invited to sponsor a Prize Length competition?

Peter Fox's funeral service Friday 18th February

This from Robert at Today's Railways...

Peter Fox’s funeral service will be held at Carterknowle Methodist Church, Edgedale Road, Sheffield, S7 2BQ on Friday 18th February at 2 p.m., followed by burial in Abbey Lane Cemetery.

Peter’s family have requested family flowers only please. Donations in lieu of flowers if wished, made payable either to the `British Heart Foundation’ or `Railway Children’ may be sent to:

Adam Heath
John Heath & Sons
2-16 Earsham Street
S4 7LS

Chiltern enters Pisspoor PR Awards

According to @Chilternrailway...

Our VIPs Wills and Kate at Marylebone.

No doubt this wheeze had them rolling in the aisles in Berlin?

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

What a lovely photo.

I expect Shooter will soon be getting a pre-paid jiffy bag from Brenda so he can return his CBE.

UPDATE: This from

Ouch..possibly shouldn't have put our cheesiest photo up!

Looking forward to getting a card from you in the post ;)

Mail's transport correspondent gets spanked botty

Does SouthEastern have a guardian angel?

On Saturday the Daily Mail ran this story...

For once, it wasn’t wet weather outdoors that caused the delay.

A train driver left hundreds of commuters stranded during the morning rush hour – because his seat was damp.

The unnamed Southeastern Trains driver was due to take a busy service from Hastings in East Sussex to London, but refused to begin the journey after discovering his seat was wet.

So much so normal.

But Eye was copied in the following furious missive to Mail transport correspondent Ray Massey:

I have always thought you to be the least competent of all the national Transport Correspondents, but your words about the wet driving seat took the pissy biscuit even by your own personal low standards.

What exactly would you do if you got to work and found the only seat in your office was soaking wet?

On a train you cannot just sling your coat over it - railway safety jackets are made of nylon, and you will slide off the seat going round corners or stopping at stations. If you try standing up to drive, you can't see out of the windscreen or operate the Driver's Safety Device, which is how people die.

Apportioning the blame to the driver was cheap, nasty, and factually wrong. You are fortunate to be so untroubled by journalistic integrity. Southeastern provided a frank account of how the seat got wet in the first place. Can I suggest you buy Dick Murray a coffee and ask him how to cover transport?

Or, perhaps more usefully for Daily Mail readers, go write about something else altogether?

Growl!!! Steady Tiger!

NR looks for new Comms Director

With Huggable Higgins now in place NR is looking to fill the other half of the former Coucher Pender combo.

Yesterday's Sunday Times contained an ad for a Network Rail Communications Director (PR monkeys - fill your boots here).

With the infrastructure controller beefing up its spin and lobbying machine no doubt the internal discussions on how to handle the LEK report into Alternative Railway Structures will get a whole lot more animated.

Will NR's Board Room table be able to handle the excitement?

Wifi finally appears on a CrossCountry train

First Arriva CrossCountry wifi enabled set in traffic.

As exclusively revealed by Eye on the 21st January and seen in service on Friday.

With a bowler tip to Is 1A03 out of Chester yet, Bert?