Monday, 30 April 2012

Pointless signs - Bristol Temple Meads

This from a Mr Montgomery Burns...

Nanny State is alive and kicking in the West Country!

Pointless signs - Upper Holloway

This from a Mr Tony Miles...

Eye readers may note the lack of 3rd rail or overhead equipment as they peruse this sign at the western end of Upper Holloway station on the Gospel Oak - Barking line.

 I guess a 378 would certainly stop… would it ever start again?

Railway Garden Competition - Chester

The 'drought' appears in danger of ruining this year's Railway Garden Competition.

However, at Chester this tasteful arrangement has managed to keep its head above the flood.

More please...

Railway overmanning exposed - Shocker!

This seen at Immingham on Friday...

So how many people does it take to polish a nameplate?

NR & SWT Deep Alliance launched today

This from Stagecoach and Network Rail...

PASSENGERS  TO  BENEFIT  AS  SOUTH  WEST  TRAINS  AND NETWORK RAIL FORM NEW ALLIANCE · Single senior management team now responsible for trains and track · Focus on reduced delays, better customer service, more efficient working · “Deep alliance” is first for the UK rail industry

Train  company  South  West Trains and infrastructure operator Network Rail today  (30  April 2012) announced the launch of a new alliance with the aim of delivering better rail services in the south and south-west of England.

A  single  senior  joint  management  team  now has responsibility for both trains  and  track on the route operating out of London Waterloo in a first for the UK rail industry...

The  senior  management  team has more than 200 years’ experience in the UK rail   industry   covering  train  service  delivery,  rail  infrastructure management and train fleet manufacturing and includes:
  • Managing Director – Tim Shoveller 
  • Infrastructure Director – Jim Morgan
  • Operations Director – Mark Steward
  • Fleet Director - Christian Roth
  • Safety & Assurance Director – Brian Cook
  • Human Resources Director – Kelly Barlow
  • Commercial Director – Sam McCarthy
  • Customer Service Director – Jake Kelly
  • Finance Director – Andy West
A governance board, with equal representation from both organisations, will oversee  the  operation  of the alliance and take major business decisions.

Arrangements  are  in place to ensure the interests of other passenger rail companies  and freight operators are protected. Both companies retain their own  identities and staff.  There are no changes to terms and conditions of employment or collective bargaining agreements with recognised trade unions

And about time too.

Welcome to a new world for the South Western Railway! 

Friday, 27 April 2012

The challenge of transparency

Some disturbing figures have emerged from the British Transport Police.

Released following an FOI request they reveal worryingly high incidents of 'Passengers Under Train' and 'Passengers Hit by Train' recorded in the period between 1st January 2012 and 2nd April 2012.

In this three month period 147 PUT and PHT incidents were recorded across both the London Underground and National Rail networks.

It goes without saying that each of these numbers represents a human tragedy, not just for the person directly involved, their friends and family but also for the drivers and other rail staff caught up both in the event and its aftermath.

And there are of course no easy answers to this problem. Network Rail and TOCs are to be congratulated for working closely with the Samaritans to try and make a difference, where possible, to these figures.

Shocking as these numbers are, without comparative figures for other years, it is difficult to know whether this reflects an upward, downward or static trend.

Certainly the emergence of social media means that these desperately sad events resonate far beyond the line or route where they take place. Users of twitter for instance become aware of events in real time that are taking place many miles away, where as in previous, less connected times, they might have remained blissfully unaware.

This produces a challenge for the industry and for all those in the industry on twitter.

Do we need to be careful about drawing attention to certain events or causes of delay (and I am aware of the irony of that statement) less we create a climate of fear or God forbid encourage repetition. After all broadcast media has to exercise extreme caution when handling suicides in drama as the risk of the Copycat Effect is increasingly understood (except it would appear by Jeremy Clarkson).

Or do we now live in a world of almost total transparency where the challenge is to collectively devise new means of communicating the consequences for all concerned of these devastating events?

Again there are no easy answers but perhaps these questions need asking?

UPDATE: This from Network Rail...

The Samaritans' guidelines to the media on the reporting of suicides can be found here.

UPDATE: This from Chionanthus VIrginicus...

RSSB report for 2010/11 here

Fatalities summarised as:

  • 27 trespass
  • 4 at crossings
  • 208 suicides
Note - Not in the same format and only covers National Rail.

Pointless signs - Yesterday's up AngloScots sleeper

Depot pride returns to railway?

 More of this please.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Historic signs - The Ghost of Clarity Past

A reader writes to say...

Dear Fact Compiler

As a devoted reader of your... (Get on with it! Ed).

Perhaps Eye should have an 'Historic Signs' section to compliment Pointless signs.

Obviously the pictures must originate from the railway of today, but the 'useful' information they contain must spring from our past.

Perhaps I could start with this York offering.

And here the useful, but dated, information.

Eye is won over. Make it so!

UPDATE: This from an Eye reader in Upside Down Land...

Not only dated but wrong!

Surely the LNER became part of British Railways in 1948 and only much later part of British Rail. 

Nice sign though and amazing that passengers couldn’t work out that it was dated info without a helpful sign. 

Why rail travel beats the rest!

This from the Railway Public Relations Office...

Reasons to be cheerful! 

Spring evening rainbow above field of newborn lambs. 

Through Pendolino carrage window, near Tring tonight.

It's better by train!

HS2 un-news from DfT - Offical

This from the Department for Transport...

Alison Munro re-appointed as Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd

Alison Munro has been re-appointed as the Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, the independent company set up by the Government to deliver a high speed rail network between London and the North of England.


Pointless signs - York cone shrine

This from @TonyVeitch...

One of my favourite signs. 

 I revisit this little shrine to signdom every so often.

Exciting new logo for Class 70 fleet

Pointless signs - High Wycombe

This from CU...

A rather fetching retro look to High Wycombe last night, attracting many admiring looks from commuters.

Sadly 40 years too late.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Villiers vignettes - another apology

This from Cruella, given in the House yesterday...

Theresa Villiers (Minister of State (Rail and Aviation), Transport; Chipping Barnet, Conservative)

I regret to inform the House that there was an inaccuracy in the answer I gave to parliamentary question 98207 on 5 March, Hansard, column 411W and subsequent comments made by the Secretary of State for Transport in debates held on 8 March, Hansard, column 1035 and 23 March, Hansard, column 1049 about how many miles of railway track were electrified between May 1997 and May 2010.

The correct answer is approximately nine route miles were electrified between May 1997 and May 2010, not 39 route miles as previously stated. This total does not include newly constructed railways.

How lucky we are to have a quality department of state like the DfT.

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

How long, oh Lord, how long?

How many more times does Theresa Villiers have to apologise to the house  for errors in data provided by her officials before the light dawns that perhaps said officials are not exactly on top of the job?  

UPDATE: This from the Lancastrian...

Further to the debate on electrified mileage...
Readers in possession of the relevant Quail maps or sectional appendices might care to add up the route mileage of Kidsgrove-Crewe (electrified in 2003) and Pelaw-Sunderland (electrified in 2002).

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Pointless signs - Tisbury

This from @steinsky...

Single (short) platform - all trains stop same place, same platform.

Monday, 23 April 2012

RMT threatens BoJo with legal action

This from the RMT...

"RMT can confirm that we have today commenced a High Court action for defamation on Boris Johnson over his Not Ken Again poster campaign which falsely portrays our General Secretary Bob Crow as being part of a culture of political immorality and as having caused serious harm to the interests of people in London.

"RMT will be making no further comment and will be giving no interviews on this matter as it proceeds through the legal process." 


TfL unveils congestion and chaos map


TfL have produced a website showing likely congestion hotspots during the Olympics.

Meanwhile a Mr Ouch writes...

These posters have appeared near my home in Bolton – 200 miles from London!

It looks like Londoners and visitors alike will need a healthy dose of the Blitz spirit during the days of chaos to come.

Perhaps better to ask: "Is your journey really necessary?".

UPDATE: Oh great joy!

There is a Get Ahead of the Games Twitter account: @GAOTG

Today it tweeted out these asinine missives:

"Brand new update: Our impact line tool shows impact on each tube line (busiest section, most affected, busiest dates)"

Impact line tool? WTF!

And this...

"New Feature: We now have a National Rail visualiser that shows you predicted busy periods during the Games"

National Rail visualiser? FFS!

Chaps, stop making up smartarse marketing terms for perfectly serviceable and well understood English words like 'congestion', 'delay' and 'map'.

That, or get a real job!

Pointless signs - Cross Country Reservations

This from the Cynic...

Several years after they were installed, the little LCD reservation screens on the Arriva XC HSTs are now finally working. 

Or rather, they are now all now displaying something. 

 The same helpful message in every case...

UPDATE: This from CU...

Not quite so pointless - these are seats that may be reserved by 'Ten Minute Reservation'.

Sit in one and someone could reserve it while you are warming the cushion for them!

Swiss show TOCs how to balance books

This from The Local, Switzerland's news in English...

A vast array of weird and wonderful items from the Swiss rail network's lost-and-found department is now on sale, including butt plugs, dildos and worn underwear.

That's quite enough Swiss lost property! Ed

Friday, 20 April 2012

Luvvies overwhelm London Bridge

This from Network Rail...


Good effort.

Results of lightning strike revealed

This picture, issued by @SW_Trains, shows the damage to a Wandsworth substation caused by yesterday's lightning strike.


UPDATE: Some more pictures of the damage at Linford St Power Substation from Network Rail...

Linford St supplies power to more than one NR Route (including Wessex and Kent). 

The Fire Brigade were called to deal with the fire resulting from the lightning strike. The accompanying thunder clap was heard across the Capital!

Traction power was restored at 22:04 (the lightning strike took place at 17:30) and this morning's peak ran as normal.

East Coast takes the PIS - Official

This from a Mr Swift (no, not that one)...

Anyone noticed the White Elephants along the ECML stations supposedly displaying all the delights of Real Time Train Information, Special Notices, Piss Poor Performance Figures and yes, Internet Access with a thermal printer!

This example is, or was, to be found at Retford.

Well progress indeed, having not worked for at least 12 months, the once beautiful pristine units, rusting away have now been replaced by a piece of tarmac, theft no, progress yes? 

One cannot help but think that the various franchise commitments to invest thousands in the greater flow of information to the public has seen money well spent!

Pointless signs - King's Cross/St Pancras

Pointless signs - Folkestone Harbour

This from RogerB...

At the seaward end of the Folkestone Harbour Branch. 

It looks as though it has been put up since it became impossible to get a train to the point where the sign could be read.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

DfT prejudges ticket office consultation

Oh dear!

A leaked series of internal DfT emails about proposed ticket office closures have been published by the Evening Standard:

Larson prepared a draft statement which he emailed to Ruth Harper, senior civil servant at the Rail Fares and Ticketing Review Group at the DfT, on Thursday, 5 April 14.50.

It read: “The government has no plans to close ticket offices, but as ticket buying habits change, we expect train operators to consider how best to deploy their station staff to provide the most benefit to passengers. This will reduce the cost of running the railways for both fare payers and tax payers and help to end the era of inflation busting fare rises.

“We recognise that passengers can feel very strongly about ticket office opening hours, and before we could agree to any changes put forward by operators we would need to be confident that passengers would continue to enjoy ready access to ticket-buying opportunities.”

Ms Harper replies half an hour later at 15.19 stating; “Simon, We can’t say the Government has no plans to close ticket offices because we have an application from London Midland where the minister has already decided to approve some ticket office closures (it’s just not been announced yet while we’re concluding £ negotiations with LM) and there will be more of those in the future.

“If you take that out the rest is ok and your way of slipping in there that the initiative comes from TOCs not us is very neat.”

As this appears to prejudge a still open consultation on ticket office closures the Minister will have some explaining to do...

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

Credit where credit is due.

Theresa May appears to have lost a day from the Home Office calender, where as DfT appear to have gained a whole two months.

No doubt the forthcoming Judicial Review of the process will explain how other departments of state can get so far ahead of the curve?

IEP design finalised - Exclusive Eye picture

Virgin deflowered - Official

This very odd piece of PR puffery from Beardie Rail...

Virgin Trains is pleased to announce that ‘Penny’ is pregnant and expecting twins. ‘Penny’ is the 22nd of Virgin’s Pendolinos and is due to give birth in mid-May at Alstom’s H3 hospital located in the Longsight area of Manchester. Penny is doing well, but will also receive a full health check by Alstom’s engineers before being allowed back out on the main line, with her two new coaches in tow.

When released from the train hospital, ‘Penny’ is expected to be the tenth Pendolino to be running around with 11 carriages.

The news comes as ‘Penny’s’ friend, the ‘Virgin Lady’, now given a new identity of 390107, prepares to re-enter service tomorrow morning (19th April 2012) after receiving the H3 health-check and gaining two new vehicles. ‘Virgin Lady’ is the first of the original Pendolino sets to be increased from nine to eleven vehicles.

Evidently Penny is no longer a virgin...

Football governing body cares FA for fans

This from Network Rail...

I just wanted to drop you a line about the FA Cup Final, and the expected difficulties for fans travelling to and from Liverpool for the game. We’re obviously very aware of the importance of this game to the club and its supporters.

As you may be aware, both Network Rail and Virgin did tell the FA that the later kick-off time would cause problems for fans looking to travel by train to the match. If the match had kicked off in its traditional 3pm timeslot it would’ve been difficult, but possible for supporters to travel back from the game to Merseyside by rail.

However, the FA has been clear that it wants a 5.15pm kick off as this will enable it to maximise the domestic and global television audience for the game. This has exacerbated the fact that the final has already been moved forward a fortnight, both because the Champions League Final has been moved from its traditional slot on a Wednesday evening to a Saturday (19 May) and as a result of the need to give those players going to the European Championships a longer rest prior to the tournament.

In terms of the work we’re undertaking, some of it has been in the planning for 18-24 months. On the Saturday and Sunday we are rebuilding an entire junction north of Crewe, and we are also undertaking preparatory work for a major resignalling scheme at Bletchley.

At the site near Crewe there are currently five sets of crossovers, all quite close together, that make up the junction. A 30mph speed restriction is currently in place. These crossovers are being completely rebuilt, redesigned, relayed and re-spaced so the junction is opened out. This will allow us to raise the speed limit to 40mph, which will make a difference to journey time and reliability.

On Sunday, near Bletchley, we're undertaking a mixture of substantial track works for the installation of new points and signals as part of the ongoing resignalling project in this area.

Both these pieces of work are vitally important to us. The scheme at Crewe, in particular, has already had to be reprogrammed from April 2010 (when, due to the ash cloud from the volcano in Iceland, domestic flights were cancelled, and we subsequently cancelled all our work on long-distance routes).

Deferring this work would cost the company (and therefore the taxpayer) some £6m to postpone and rearrange. It would cause further disruption to the travelling public at a later date. In addition, this work is so substantial that it’s not feasible to move it to a normal weekend as the work being undertaken needs more time.

Finally, given that we have made a commitment not to work during the Olympic period (approximately six weeks covering both the Olympics and Paralympics) this May Bank Holiday weekend is even more important to us this year than it would normally be.


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Jim-Jams modally agnostic!

Good news for fans of the Mondeo railway!

Eye has been sent an invitation to the 'Intelligent Mobility Summit' at The Royal Society on the 25th April.

Hosted by the Automotive Council UK the event is in response to the 'increasing demands being made on the UK’s road transport system' and will attempt to 'explore the business opportunities arising from innovative solutions, to address:

  • increasing the capacity of the UK’s existing transport infrastructure;
  • enhancing road safety;
  • improving air quality; and,
  • reducing carbon emissions.
And quite right too!

But who is chairing the event and hosting our very own Captain of Netball, as well as senior players from the likes of Ford, BMW and Nissan?

Why, step forward Ricky Jim-Jams, Network Rail's new designate chairman and now a non-Exec of the Infrastructure Controller!

But obviously not wearing a Network Rail hat... oh no.

According to the blurb on the ACUK website, Professor Richard Parry Jones CBE or 'RPJ, as he’s better known' is co-chairman of Automotive Council UK and 'is one of the most influential auto engineers of his generation'.

The site continues, in similarly enthusiastic petrol-head tones:

He rose to become group vice president product development and chief technical officer of Ford Motor Company... led the development of the Ka, Fiesta, Puma, Focus and Mondeo, models... most recently RPJ has chaired the cross-industry new Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (NAIGT)... is Pro-Chancellor and visiting professor in automotive engineering at Loughborough University'.

But of his future role leading Britain's railway... sadly there is not a word.

No doubt Jim-Jams will put this right next Wednesday, by telling delegates at the 'Intelligent Mobility Summit' to take the train?

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

So RPJ led development of the Ford Puma? .

This pocket rocket was the last and best of the seven Ford cars I have owned to date.

But it means that at the next press briefing he attends he will get the question that I used to bounce at Network Rail's first Chairman Ian McAllister, who had been Chairman and Managing Director of Ford, and presumably RPJ's boss, when the Puma was being developed.

"What does it say about your attention to detail when every time the hatchback is lifted on a Puma on a wet day water runs off the hatch straight into the boot?"

Pointless signs - Banbury

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Pointless signs - First Capital Connect

Georgian Railways show the way forward?

This from Mrs AP Tis...

I don't know if you've seen the FT today (of course, Ed) but Eye favourite Robert Wright has a piece on Georgian Railways' plans to be the first state controlled railway monopoly to list on the London Stock Exchange.

The last two lines of Mr Wright's piece in the Pink 'Un are most interesting:

Mr Ezugbaia said the company was listing itself as an undivided, integrated organisation to mimic the structure of large, North American railroads, such as Union Pacific and CSX. Those companies own their own track, locomotives and wagons, instead of dividing the infrastructure and operations as normally happens in the European Union.

“We found that this exact strategy is the way to be oriented to successful growth for the railway operations,” Mr Ezugbaia said.

Says it all really.

PM enters Derbyshire bear-pit and survives

Following the debacle of Derbygate the East Midlands rail industry no longer appears shy of letting government know exactly what it wants.

The Prime Minister was in Derbyshire yesterday to gee-up the troops ahead of the local Elections.

The timing of his visit could not have better, with Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan also having secured an Adjournment debate last night on upgrading the Midland Main Line.

Alert to the lobbying possibilities cheeky local paper the Derby Telegraph decided to welcome the PM with a frontpage demanding electrification of the MML.

Here a delighted Mr Cameron grimaces as he holds yesterday's paper having promised to 'look closely' at the scheme.

With happy memories of previous ministerial visits to Bombardier ahead of the Thameslink decision, let's hope this picture doesn't come back and bite him!

Monday, 16 April 2012

ATOC kicks ConDems up the backside

That's the way to do it!

This from a frustrated Association of Train Operating Companies...

The Government’s commitment to reforming rail franchises has “barely begun to be turned into reality”, the Chairman of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) will say this evening.

Speaking at a lecture at the Institution of Civil Engineers in central London later today, Tom Smith will say... "I call on the government to live up to its promises and make franchise reform a reality. The moment is now - there is an unprecedented series of franchises to be let and the time is opportune to introduce meaningful change to the terms of this contract".
No doubt a cri de cœur that will pass straight over the head of the seemingly blasé Captain of Netball.

No matter, it's only about franchising after all.

But if ATOC feel they have to put the boot into Marsham Street then the Treasury had better start worrying...

Meacher on 'How not to run a railway'

Labour's Michael Meacher MP has been reflecting on the role of 'an activist state' in relation to the railways on the Left Future blog.

He writes...

As the wealthy businessman Lord McNulty admits, privatisation has brought fragmentation when an efficient rail system requires a single linked entity. So what does the report recommend, and what are the Tories about to implement? Even more fragmentation. The maintenance of the track and signalling is now to be fragmented and put into the market, and indeed fragmented further into small companies like mini-Railtracks.

The Fact Compiler has tried to steer the MP for Oldham West and Royton onto the right path in the comments section.

Others may wish to make their own contributions?

Ticket retail site tries to get in on Eye action

The Fact Compiler has received an excited missive from RedSpottedHankey's Blogger Community Developer, whatever that may be?

He writes:

I’m writing on behalf of redspottedhanky, who have included you in their list of the best train and railway blogs in the UK, which you can read here.


The note continues:

We were wondering if you might be interested in an official redspottedhanky Blogger of Choice badge for the site?

Actually, probably not.

Any chance of RedSpottedSnotter buying some adspace on Eye instead?

Railway weekend must reads

A quick round up of stories from this weekend's press...

Sir Richard Branson letter in Saturday's Daily Telegraph defending Virgin Care - also refers to the company's West Coast franchise. Sir Richard claims "Virgin took on British Rail’s dilapidated trains and part of its dreadful service and turned it into an innovative, much improved line."

Arriva Cross Country is mentioned in a Saturday Guardian feature on Rip Off Britain. The Guardian's Consumer Affairs team ask Cross Country why it can't set cheap fares from St Austell to Macclesfield. Cross Country's Head of Communications says "I don't think it would be useful for customers to put a section on our website to explain how the fare system works. I think it's providing a level of complication."

David Cameron defended last week's trip to Asia in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph. "So this week I loaded up a plane with the biggest and most high-powered British business delegation ever to visit the region and we set off to put things right" he said. As Eye previously noted, the delegation contained no representative from the UK's railway industry.

Stagecoach's Sir Brian Souter support for the SNP mentioned in the Sunday Times (£) in an article on party political donations. "The Rich List figures reveal Salmond’s party also received the second-largest individual donation: £570,000 from Sir Brian Souter, the Stagecoach company tycoon".

That's all folks!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Pointless signs - Llanelli's speaking clock

Friday, 13 April 2012

National shortage of trackside loos - Shocker!

Barrow Hill - Matey on Tour!

Yesterday saw the preview day for this weekend's Fab Four steam gala at Barrow Hill.

Joining kettles and other preserved traction on display was an HST, chartered from EMT, which had brought hundreds of visitors from the South East into the depot's own platform.

Meanwhile, a number of industry guests took the opportunity to conduct business during the event.

Here Brother Towell (for it is he), draws breath having just delivered a Social Media Masterclass to three senior Stagecoach executives.

Oh to have been a fly on the wall...

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Railway rob-dogs gaoled

This from the Runcorn & Widnes World...

A GANG of metal thieves who posed as railway workers to steal redundant rail and fencing, have been jailed for a total of more than 21 years.

As PJ Woodhouse was fond of saying: 'without the option'.

And Quite. Right. Too!

New 11 car Pendolino welcomes passengers

This from SolwayVoyager...

As Eye might say: Shurely shome mishtake?

PM bangs the drum for Britain!

This from a Mr Levele Playing-Field...

Well, there's a surprise.

No one from the UK railway industry in iDave's sales tour to Japan and Asia.

Not even someone from Wimbledon Depot, offering consultancy on how to achieve high reliability from EMUs!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Devon & Cornwall up the heat on Kettle moves

Good news for Kettle fans!

There is now a third operator able to move steam locos around the network.

Today Devon & Cornwall Railways moved Tornado from the Nene Valley to Barrow Hill, for this weekend's Fab Four gala.

Despite some confusion about the non-passenger move, by those not selected for the job, Eye understands all went well and as per licence conditions.

No doubt Berlin, and of course Carnforth, welcome the competition?

Sealink resurrexit on the South Eastern

This from the Premier Gardner...

I thought it was just Sealink who displayed the BR logo this way round?

As they say proudly in East Sussex: 'Harwich for the Continent. Frant for Bells-Yew-Green'.

Eye exclusive - First picture of IEP!

With iDave busy cosying up to the Japanese this week, can it be long before white smoke emerges from Tokyo over the IEP?

Whilst almost universally loathed by the operating railway there are those who continue to wave the flag for the Incredibly Expensive Procurement (an extra-big hand please for Stu & Norm Bonkers).

Such is the enthusiasm of Marsham Street's very own Chuckle Brothers for the madcap scheme they appear to have prevailed upon the Treasury to procure the blessed things in tranches, judging by this from the DfT:

The Department hopes to reach financial close for the Great Western phase of the deal in spring 2012. Financial close for the East Coast phase of the IEP is scheduled for 2013.

Happily of course there is no hint that financial close will take place before bidders sign up for the new GW & EC franchises, as that would drive a coach and horses through Government undertakings that rolling stock decisions should be left to Train Operators rather than Whitehall.

No matter.

In happier news, a reader has sent in the following picture, which allegedly fell from between the pages of an old rail atlas.

Asking to remain anonymous she asks "Is this what I'm buying?"

Sort of Justine, sort of. Although what it ends up costing tax and fare payers is what you really ought to worry about...

UPDATE: This from a snarling Captain Deltic...

What do you mean 'almost'?

So. Farewell Beau Bowker!

Eye style guide update:

From: Satirical Nomenclature Bureau
To: All Railway Eye Contributors
Subject: Richard Bowker CBE

Please note that following the subject's resignation as Chief Executive, Etihad Rail he no longer falls under the Satirical Nomenclature/Literary Pastiche/PCWren/Foreign Legion SNB Classification.

As a result, and with immediate effect, the nom de gare 'Beau Bowker' has been withdrawn.

Pending a new appointment a temporary SNB Classificatioin has been allocated reflecting the subject's directorship of the Football League.

The new SNB Classification is Satirical Nomenclature/Boys' Comics/Sport/Football.

Therefore, and until further notice, Mr Bowker should now be referred to as 'Ricky of the Rovers'.

That is all.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Chiltern Railways & the Orchestra of the Swan

This is quite agreeable...

Good effort.

A big Eye welcome to Stoke-on-Trene!

Network Rail statement on Grayrigg

Network Rail has been fined £4m for health and safety breaches which resulted in the Grayrigg derailment.

This from Network Rail...


Wednesday 04 Apr 2012 14:45

David Higgins, Network Rail chief executive, said: “The Grayrigg derailment in 2007 resulting in the tragic death of Mrs Masson was a terrible event. Within hours it was clear that the infrastructure was at fault and we accepted responsibility, so it is right that we have been fined. Nothing we can say or do will lessen the pain felt by Mrs Masson’s family but we will make the railways safer and strive to prevent such an accident ever happening again.

“We have learnt from the accident, determined to recognise what we got wrong and put it right. An event like this affects everyone in the company, and especially those with responsibility for the track. Since the accident, much has changed in the way we plan and carry out maintenance work with new systems put in place to improve the quality and safety of our railway which is why we now have one of the safest passenger railways in Europe.”


Pointless signs - Greater Anglia

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A reader writes...

This from another satisfied Eye reader...

Having seen the weather forecast for the coming week it would appear your ‘Pointless Signs – Banbury’ post of 30 March now looks a little silly.

Get a grip man!

London Overground abolishes timetables

This from

Looks like London Overground have abandoned the timetable and decided just to tell us when they will give us a train.

This taken at West Hampstead:

No doubt getting rid of all that pesky timetable nonsense will stop passengers complaining about late trains?

UPDATE: This from a Mr JMG...

I think your comment on this is unfair.

Except for very late at night, London Overground is now a turn-up-and go railway and with all trains calling at all stations.

The conventional Network Rail display formats are too complicated and require unnecessary scrolling which means that key information is actually not displayed for much of the time - witness many platform screens taking three pages to show the details of the next train.

I do believe it is much more helpful for passengers to adopt the London Underground practice of showing destinations and minutes to arrival - mostly now for the next four trains - and I am pleased to see that LO (LooRoll, Ed) is progressively switching to this method.

Having said that, your photo clearly shows that there is more work to be done on the details.

This sign at West Hampstead - which looks as if it is located in the booking hall - clearly needs to be further reconfigured to show the two directions separately and to reduce the display from two pages to one so that the most important information (where is the next train going and how long to wait?) is in view all the time.

Railway Children invitation to Cycle India

This from Eye's friends at the Railway Children...

Cycle India takes place 8th to 17th November 2012.

It’s a 480km bike ride from the Taj Mahal to Jaipur.

On day 1 we’ll take you to visit one of Railway Children’s projects, a fantastic opportunity to see first-hand how your fundraising benefits the children. The next day you will move on to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal where you can explore the monument before your biking challenge begins.

Your bike will take you to more remote locations than most other modes of transport, bringing you in direct contact with the country and its people. Once in Rajasthan the region offers dramatic desert landscape, fantastic wildlife, exquisite forts, bustling cities and rural life that seems frozen in time.

Your ride ends in Rajasthan's capital city, Jaipur.

For more information: phone: 01270 757596 or email:

EMT dismounts desk-jockeys

Let's hear it for a very brave East Midlands Trains!

According to EMT

East Midlands Trains will be closing the doors of its Derby Headquarters for the day on Thursday 5 April, with all of the company’s head office managers and staff getting back to the floor and working at stations and on trains to help passengers with the Easter getaway.

The initiative, which has been named ‘Day of the Customer’, is designed to provide extra support to passengers travelling on Maundy Thursday which is traditionally one of the busiest travelling days of the year.

David Horne, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, said: “We’re all really looking forward to our first ‘Day of the Customer’ on Thursday. Since recently taking over as Managing Director, I’ve spent a lot of time working with our staff on the front-line to understand more about how we deliver the day-to-day service to our customers. It's really important that we see and experience things as our customers and front-line staff see them and we have to get out of the office to get this experience.

Now there's a dangerous precedent to set!

After all when doctors go on strike mortality rates drop by as much as 50%.

The worse case scenario is that no one even notices that the shiny-bums are missing!

What a saving in executive salaries that would notch up!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Pointless signs - Darlington

Good to see the state owned railway company resurrecting the 'Arrows of Indecision'.