Friday, 20 December 2013

Pointless signs - First Hull Trains

This from a Ms High Society...

I find myself feeling a bit sorry for any elderly or disabled men who, presumably, have to fend for themselves.

First for inclusion?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Railway Carol Service - 12:30 Thursday 19th December

If you are in London at lunchtime...

All welcome.

All that needs to be said about Biggs

This from Peter Rayner...

"My view is that whilst I was - and am - critical of the Great Train Robbers and the heroes' welcome they got, especially in light of the death of Jack Mills, my sympathies go out to his family and I would not wish to speak further on the subject."

That is all.

Silver Stump Watch - Edinburgh Waverley

This from Strawbrick...

There must be something about Scotland!

This is from the approach ramp to Edinburgh Waverley from the South Bridge, between 1/3rd and half-way down.

To get to these bollards you need to mount the kerb, which is about a foot high, then smash through the cast iron bollards and railings. 

If  your angle of attack is 90 degrees then your vehicle will have to be less than 6ft long so that you can turn right through exactly 90 degrees and then approach the silver bollards. If you attack the existing fence at less than 90 degrees you will impale yourself on the ends of the broken railings.

Perhaps taking belt and braces a little too far?

Pointless signs - Peterborough

This from Percy Kilometer...

Platform 2 (London end) yesterday.

What came to an end at 23.59 on November 13 2009?

4 years, 1 month and 5 days ago.... and counting.

Seems a long time to get the ladders out?

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

NR and ONS - Eye salutes the DfT!

What is this?

It is the sound of today's broadcast media coverage of the ONS decision on NR debt.

A deep doff of the bowler to Our Ma Sheriff's (and the Davies Commission)!

RDG on ONS and Network Rail

This from the Rail Delivery Group...

“The railway is undergoing one of the biggest programmes of improvement in its history delivering more trains, better stations and faster journeys and this will not change.

“With help from Government, the rail industry will remain focused on delivering its massive investment programme. This is encouraging more passengers and businesses to use the railway, helping pay for further improvements. The effective partnership between public and private sectors is a winning formula for the railway that is delivering for passengers, businesses and taxpayers."

Funny... something is missing!

Where is the obligatory reference to the triumph of privatisation?

Network Rail, ONS and the future!

This from The Man by the Photocopier...

I note that Network Rail is to become a public sector body.

I have it on the very best authority that this is the new NR logo that will be used from next September.

John Major, read it and weep.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Pointless signs - East Croydon

This from Pedantic of Purley... 

Southern is to be commended for its helpful and up-to-date signage at the bottom of the the steps of the overbridge.

Unfortunately the clear helpful signage is contradicted by another sign halfway up the steps.

Not so much pointless as incorrect and potentially dangerous causing people to stop suddenly on the staircase or, worse still, suddenly turn around.

Silver Stump Watch - Kelvinhall

This from D9015...

The address for Kelvinhall Subway station, in Dalcross Passage, built into the ground floor of a tenement building and at the rear for good measure, doesn't stop the formulaic specification of these silver soldiers defending the cash-desk against a speeding vehicle attack. 

To achieve this would require some impressive driving!

From one end the approach is along an alleyway barely 8 feet wide.

From the main street it's through an archway and squeezing past the bike racks, with a 90 degree turn at the last minute.

Still, one must have one's bollards.

Friday, 13 December 2013

A brolly poor show at Nottingham!

This from the Wicked Weaver...


In less than an hour this afternoon, trains to Matlock, Leeds, Norwich, Skegness and Lincoln, all departed from unsheltered platform space.

Silly Victorians! 

Why on earth would passengers want canopies?

All change at NR?

The Fact Compiler's latest encomium published in Passenger Transport on the 6th December...

The next edition of Passenger Transport is published on the 20th December.

UPDATE: This from a Pedant just North of Purley...

Just before you start crowing over Eye's mystic powers to determine what the ONS would actually say...

I am sure I cannot be the first to draw attention to the homophonic error in para 3 of your reproduced item from Passenger Transport.
If only anyone associated with government were of principle. 
I am sure he is only a principal accounting officer.

Number crunching - Beardie Rail

Compare and contrast...

80% - the decline in Virgin Rail profits due to the ICWC shambles

90% - the Stagecoach share in the new joint venture with Virgin bidding for ICEC


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Toton Engineman book launch

This from a Mr Harris...

Would you mind plugging this splendid tome on your mighty organ?

Toton Engineman is the railway story of the late John Woolley, who started as an engine cleaner at Toton MPD in October 1954. He was 15 years old. John retired from Toton 40 years later in 1994 on the eve of Privatisation.

John recalls everyday life at one of Britain’s biggest steam sheds - the banter, pranks and hard work required to become a fireman. He also recalls firing the biggest engines at Toton - the mighty ‘Garratts’ and their massive London coal trains. As well as the steam age John also writes about the new depot and the diesels he drove.

At just £19.95 this is the perfect 2013 Christmas present!

Toton Engineman will be launched between 13:00 and 15:00 on Saturday the 14th December at the Westgate Suite, Westgate, Long Eaton, NG10 1EF.

All welcome.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Pointless signs - Balcombe

This from Prof Bunsen Honeydew...

Welcome to Gatwick Airport!

Seen in the Balcombe up platform bus shelter early Saturday morning.

World's best value line upgrade - Ever

This from @ECMLfan...

One person has become extremely rich in the WCML upgrade as it clearly can be done for just £70!

That's one hell of a scoop by the IRJ!

Pointless signs - Oxford

This from a Mrs Honeyman...

Spotted at the Upper Crust, Oxford on Saturday.

Oh dear - no doubt someone will be picking up their cards over this!

Railway Bothy at Stevenage

This from Oliver Cromwell...

For some bizarre reason they've decided to install garden sheds on both platforms at Stevenage...

To avoid confusion there is even a sign showing that the pointy bit goes at the top!

So does this qualify as a Railway Bothy or a Pointless Sign?

Friday, 6 December 2013

NR nationalised - almost...

This from the Office for Budget Responsibility - Economic and fiscal outlook, Box 4.2, page 98...

the classification of Network Rail:
Network Rail is currently classified as a private sector body. The ONS is reviewing that classification against the revised guidance in ESA10. Network Rail had £30 billion of debt recorded in its latest accounts, up from £8 billion at formation in 2002. Based on published plans, its operations imply the equivalent of around £3 billion of borrowing a year on average over the coming years. A change of classification could therefore increase PSND by about 2 per cent of GDP and PSNB by 0.2 per cent of GDP on average, with implications for future debt;

No doubt both TfL and Scotland are looking forward to managing, maintaining and upgrading their devolved railway assets?

Great Western Railway Band at Paddington

This via @NetworkRailPad...

The Great Western Railway Band performs at Paddington Station every Friday between Easter and Christmas. The concerts start at 19.30 every week, finishing at 21.00hrs.

Accompanied by band mascot Patch the dog, the GWR Band delights passengers at Network Rail managed Paddington Station with a different playlist each Friday

Good effort.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

ORR fixes railway's finances in a stroke!

Good news for fans of the bleedin' obvious!

This searing insight from an ORR press release issued today:

Richard Price, Chief Executive of the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), today gave a keynote speech at the Future of Rail Conference in London.

He said: “Spending the right amount of money, in the right place, at the right time, will reduce delays, bring down costs and secure a safe and sustainable railway now, and for the future.

Who'd have thunk it?

DfT - a lesson in being careful what you wish for

This from Ithuriel...

The Invitations to Tender for the new replacement franchises, sees bidders get brownie points for quality improvements. 

One good way to improve quality is to promise new trains, which generates points and, of course, points mean prizes!

But, new trains cost more money.

And the word on the tracks is that DfT is facing the prospect of all the bids for Thameslink Southern Great Northern being of such high quality that they are all unaffordable.

Autumn statement on Fares

This from the Chancellor's Autumn Statement:

Rail Fares
1.272 To help households with living costs the government will further cap the average increase in regulated rail fares for the 2014 calendar year to RPI. This will benefit over a quarter of a million annual season ticket holders who will, on average in 2014, save £25. For instance, an annual season ticket from Chelmsford to London should be around £35 less in 2014 than it would have been without this change whilst an annual season ticket from Oxford to London should be around £45 less. This measure will complement the decision by the Mayor of London to cap the average increase in Transport for London fares at RPI for 2014.

1.273 Autumn Statement 2013 confirms that the permitted 'flex’ above the overall cap on average rail fares will be reduced to 2%. A commuter with a £2,000 season ticket could save up to £60 because of this measure, in a scenario in which the operator had chosen to apply the maximum permitted increase.

1.274 Autumn Statement 2013 also confirms a trial of flexible rail season ticketing that will take place in the South East. The innovative products being tested will benefit those who work flexibly or part-time.


Putting aside the challenge of recalculating every fare before tomorrow, this is good news for passengers.

Note that our Chancellor even has a sense of humour - focusing on fares from Chelmsford, the home to erstwhile rail minister and the notoriously train-shy Simon Burns MP.

Greater Anglia colleagues, therefore, will be best placed to advise whether this particular policy innovation has been a success

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Argos - kettle alert

This via @13milepost...

Dual Fuel?

Converted to run on surplus catalogues?

Who knew?

Eurostar sale - another test for 'risk transfer'

So. Government intends to sell its 40% stake in Eurostar. 

Danny Alexander said the following on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning (courtesy of the Guardian):

"We've set out already, we've started to sell off some of the student loan book, that would be another area, there are assets owned by the London and Continental Railways, things that a lot of people wouldn't have thought the state owned in the first place.

"What I'm setting out today is an ambition with some examples of things we think we could sell. Clearly no final decisions have been made about any of those assets, but clearly the point is that where government owns assets that could be better managed in the private sector, could be more efficiently managed in the private sector and where we can get money in to reinvest in vital infrastructure projects that get this country moving, that support the long-term economic growth of this country, they can back up the vote of confidence that we're seeing from the private sector." 

Quite so.

No doubt this announcement came as little surprise to London and Continental, what with government being all joined up and all!

No matter.

Eye expects there will be vast queues of private investors keen to take on LCR's stake in Eurostar... as well as the obligations of the 1987 Rail Usage Contract, which remains in force till 2052:

After privatisation, Eurostar and English Welsh and Scottish Railway assumed British Rail's preferences and liabilities under the contract through 'back-to-back' agreements, which account for 50% of Eurotunnel's capacity. The contract guarantees a minimum level of income for Eurotunnel, which helped it meet its liabilities for construction costs and now also serves as the basis for how access charges are levied on all railway undertakings using the Channel Tunnel. 

Joined up government indeed. 

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

Well if they do succeed in flogging off the government stake in Eurostar it will save some embarrassment on the East Coast franchise competition.

What with DfT planning to boot off today's state owned operator and possibly replace it with Eurostar, which is errr... another state owned operator!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

King's Cross - NR sinks to new depths

This courtesy of Wolmayor...

What is wrong with the perfectly good English word 'lift'?

Eh, Network Railroad?

UPDATE: This, unofficially, from the News Bunker...

Howdy, y'all!

Now just wait a cotton picking minute.

With regard to your elevating tale from Wolmayor: when faced with an increasing number of passengers who carry large amounts of baggage on escalators, often with unfortunate consequences, clarity of message is crucial. Hence, the universally well-known Americanism from our virtual nannies.

Along with platform edge fences and yellow lines everywhere, it is one of those developments you wouldn't think a railway would need - but sadly it does.

Yes siree, bob!

Nope. Not convinced. Why not in French, German or for that matter Chinese. Looks like fanny covering to Eye! Ed.

A voice crying in the wilderness?

The Fact Compiler's latest impression of a broken record was published in Passenger Transport on the 22nd November...

The next edition of Passenger Transport is published on the 6th December.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Mediaballs - Grauniad on Dave's China jolly

This from the Gruaniad...

China wants involvement in Britain's first high-speed rail line and an increased role in civil nuclear power, the country's premier said in Beijing after talks with David Cameron on the first day of the prime minister's visit.

Hmmm... admittedly UK PLC may be a little behind the People's Republic on high speed rail but Li Keqiang may find a clue in the new railway's title: HS2.

No matter.

Meanwhile, there is one area where Britain could certainly learn from our Chinese friends.

An equally robust approach to our own former railway ministers would do much pour encourager les autres!

Pointless signs - Woking

This from Henry Hassocks...

One hopes its convalescence was properly completed before returning to duty…