Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Silver Stump Watch - the new King's Cross

This from GTRFN Inc...

Stretching as far as the Eye can see...

Presumably, some of these are removable, for maintenance-vehicle access?

Scribble in haste, repent at leisure

Here's a blast from the past!

This leader column appeared in the Grauniad way back in 2006...

"British trains may be slow and expensive, but there was welcome news this week that at least one part of the country's rail industry is pulling far ahead of its European rivals - even if it is, in every sense of the word, a very small part.

"Hornby, the model maker whose OO gauge miniature trains have rattled through countless spare bedrooms and attics over the years, this week announced a seventh year of profits...

"But Hornby's main glory is still its trains, even if regular travellers on the less-than-reliable real thing may sometimes scratch their heads in wonder at the fact that anyone would want to recreate the drab, maddening world of South West Trains and Virgin Cross-Country once they are safely home."

Quite so!

But who on earth could have had such negative views of the 'drab and maddening world' of the privatised railway?

We can only hope that they never end up in an important policy role, advising a Transport Secretary for instance...

UPDATE: This from Mini-Me...

In its latest move towards complete authenticity, Hornby plc made a Network Rail-style loss of £500k in 2012.

In fairness, it blames poor sales of its Olympic themed merchandise rather than its trains. But, it has had huge problems getting its models manufactured in China (its main competitor, Bachmann, now owns the factory it was using) and has suffered numerous issues with steep price increases and long delays (sound familiar?).

Perhaps the 'very small part' referred to by your poacher-turned-gamekeeper was more accurate than he originally envisaged? 

The Case of the Missing Question

This from our man at 221b Baker Street...

Mornin' Holmes, have you seen the Public Accounts Committee report on the Intercity West Coast franchise debacle? It makes most interesting reading.

Indeed I have, Watson, and it is a tribute to the forensic abilities of the Committee's Chairwoman Margaret Hodge, second only in my estimation of the fairer sex to Eirene Adler. And you will have noticed in the transcript of the evidence session with the DfT Permanent Secretary and his Director General the significance of the question as to why the Department's Contract Awards Committee thought it necessary to impose a Subordinated Loan Facility on Virgin, where the calculations indicated that none was required, whilst at the same time reducing the sizeable SLF for First Group? 

But Holmes, I didn't see that question in the transcript.

That, Watson, is the significance!