Wednesday, 9 January 2013

News from Upside Down Land

Sources suggesting that the Brain Drain to the southern hemisphere continues.

Eye gives you - Rail 'chuck-another-prawn-on-the' Barbie!

Any Antipodean readers know more?

Eye chastised over Big Jigs Toys - Shocker

The Fact Compiler has been spanked by loads of readers for not running anything on the fantastic Big Jigs Toys bid for the #ICWC franchise.

Clearly not enough Eye readers followed  @thefactcompiler on Twitter over Christmas and the New Year!

No matter.

Headline: Mark Reach, the Secretary of State's Private Secretary, did more on Christmas Eve to bolster the reputation of the beleaguered DfT than any number of enquiries or reviews.

Read the full story on the Big Jigs Toys blog here.


Eye says: Oi Patrick - Mark Reach deserves his Christmas bonus!

Wales SBP - It's brains you want

This from Castle Coch...

BBC Wales' report yesterday on the Strategic Business Plan was followed by some Vox Pop interviews conducted with passengers arriving at Swansea. 

First up - none other than Mr. John  Davies, British Rail's esteemed former Passenger Manager for Wales, who politely pointed out that the proposed 20 minute acceleration to journey times would merely restore what had been the norm in the mid 1970s.

When the camera turned to Mark Langman, NR's Route MD for Wales, he appeared blissfully unaware that better journey times were available to passengers back in the dark days of BR.

In a media operation where nothing was left to chance perhaps he was counting the seconds until he could offer the obligatory comparison with investment in the Victorian Era?

UPDATE: This from Button Moon...

And what about the erstwhile Sunday evening non-stop Paddington to Bath Spa, timetabled 66 minutes, known to arrive a couple of minutes early with an average speed of over 100mph? People don’t believe me but I’ve been on it.

Progress? That’s the last thing we need.

UPDATE: This from Fen Boy...

Oh that we had a John Davies on hand to advise one of our local BBC reporters last night who, in a similar programme, on Look East, dismissively informed viewers that the flyover currently under construction over the East Coast Main Line at Hitchin, would "take local services away"!

The fact that these "local" services are, of course, FCC's jam packed Cambridge and King's Lynn trains was completely lost on this particular chap.

Additionally this irony was not appreciated when the next reporter popped up outside Cambridge station telling us all how very busy it was and how much more rail capacity was needed.

Beeb joined up? Not!

Brief words on NR's SBP

The launch of NR Strategic Business Plan yesterday was pretty well received, despite Fleet Street media fixating on fares, shedding more heat than light.

No matter.

With such a vast suite of documents supporting the SBP it was perhaps inevitable that one or two howlers would slip through the editing process.

So here for readers delectation and delight are some of the best ones...

From the London North Western section of Network Rail's Strategic Business Plan:

Quite so.

And this from p28 of the London North Eastern section, which initially showed 'track changes'...


And finally an example of smart-alec Visual Management tools that actually conflict with the experience of those on the sharp end of the operational railway...

 Traffic lights instead of signals? Could do better.

Despite this carping, an impressive set of docos that shows quite how far the railway has come in recent years. Now let's hope the ORR says it is all affordable...

Eye salutes all those involved. 

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

You missed the endless repetition of the DafT (?) inspired guff that this is the biggest investment in the railways since the 'Victorian era'.

Frankly this is dishonest!

Am I alone in being not amused?

Crow Bar earns his salary!

This from the RMT...

Membership figures released by the union today show that RMT has put on a net gain of 1456 members through 2012, taking the total to 77,549 – an annual growth of nearly 2% in the most challenging circumstances.

The union has increased its membership year-on-year from the 59,277 total when General Secretary Bob Crow was elected in 2002

Who says that playing to the gallery doesn't work?

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic... 

The RMT missed a trick here.

In the Spirit of the New Spin  they should have led with the following headline:

"Canny Crow delivers highest RMT numbers since Victorian Era!"