Monday, 21 March 2011

DafT determined to reduce delays - Not!

This from John...

The DfT press office today confirmed that an announcement on the preferred bidder for new Thameslink rolling stock will be made in Spring 2011.

When confronted with the fact that it is already Spring, and that Spring could last until early May, the spokesman just kept repeating "Spring 2011".

So it could be any time - we still don't know.

When asked why the announcement was already a year late, and why they still couldn't confirm a firm date, the spokesman just commented that the bids had to be given "due consideration".

No wonder TOCs are complaining that government involvement delays the whole process.

Even a year after their first target, they seemingly still have no idea when they can make an announcement.

A Thameslink train arriving 5 minutes after time is officially classified as late - what are we supposed to term the delay of a whole fleet by a year?

UPDATE: This from Theydon Bois...

It is perhaps time to remind ourselves of Captain Deltic's Third Law of Informed Sources: -

"Always mistrust schedules based on the seasons"

Born out of bitter experience waiting for the APT to enter revenue service.

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

Informed Sources Third law refers:

Mistrust all forecasts based on the seasons.

Pointless signs - Tile Hill

This from the Viceroy...

Despite the fact that Tile Hill is many miles beyond Northampton in the direction of Birmingham, this silly information relating to the 10.54 departure appears whenever a service is formed of trains that start off from Euston with eight cars before dividing at Northampton with the first 4 only going forward to Birmingham.

The staff at Tile Hill tell me they have complained to management but nothing has been done to stop this happening.

Similar nonsense appears at other stations, too, between Northampton and Birmingham.

Beardie Rail unveils 'simplified' catering offer

This from the late W E Johns...

Beardie rail has finally thrown in the towel and provided menus on its services.

It has gone further by providing food on some of them too, although you will need to be an aficionado of railway geography to understand whether you will get a Kipper or a cuppa.

This is because of the footnotes, which would be a credit to the Sunday table 65, circa 1973. But more later.

To begin (literally), one has to choose whether one is on a 'Breakfast' or 'Light Breakfast' train.

This is not determined by the time of day; rather the time that the train started its journey.

Thus, if one is feeling peckish at Preston, then the 10:17 departure has crossed the line and only a light breakfast will be served.
If, however one waits until 11:56, ('full') breakfast will be served as the train leaves Glasgow before the 1000 watershed. Of course, Lancastrians expecting to tuck in to a mid day lunch might be perplexed to find a full breakfast (these days sans black pudding) on offer.

It doesn't stop there.

Trains between 11:00-17:00 and after 19:00 have what are optimistically described as 'a choice of two seasonal hot options (that's the stuff that lurks in vats on the trolley, clad in tin foil) and sandwiches'.

Between 17:00 and 19:00 an evening meal is served, leading to a whole string of possible anomalies across the WCML.

However, Beardie has a clever plan to outwit even the greatest pedant.

This is a return to the 12-hour clock on the menu, together with a disclaimer that 'times are approximate and may vary according to your journey'.

Thanks for that!

Now to the footnotes...

*on Wolverhampton-Euston, cereal served in First Class Lounge only (translation-you've missed out stupid)
** selected services only (cheese and biscuits).

And the best for last...

'Customers travelling between London and Milton Keynes may enjoy a cup of tea/coffee' (translation-'that is all you deserve. We already have to share the revenue with London Midland. And don't anyone else think they will get anything until after MK going north').

The outcome of the latter means that it is practically impossible for some London to Coventry passengers to enjoy a relaxed meal if they are on a train which calls at Milton Keynes.

Labour launches Transport Policy Review

The Labour Party has launched its Transport Policy Review.

A website inviting contributions can be found here.

Compare and contrast: Equinox and Dispatches

This from EE507...

I thought Eye readers might be interested in this as an antidote to Channel 4's latest Dispatches offering...

Remember the pre-Big Brother C4 that screened well-researched and soundbite-free docs, cutting-edge drama and international cinema?

Try this edition of Equinox from 1990 called Trouble on the Line (parts 2 to 4 can be found in the video responses):

Then compare it to tonight's Dispatches.

Viewers will no doubt end up wondering what has really changed in 21 years, given the doc's criticism of civil service meddling and ineptitude, and the lack of a long-term coherent strategy for developing the railway...

Pointless signs - Refurbed Northern 155s

This from David, in sunny Yorkshire...

Happily no orange strip...

Pointless signs - Dronfield Station

This from the latest Friends of Dronfield Station Newsletter, via a Mr Wheat...

UPDATE: This from a Mr Cherry...

I wish to complain!

Re "Dronfield Trian Station" -- this should be "Dronfield Rialway Station" !!