Friday, 25 October 2013

Eye Lonely Hearts - No94

Eye agony aunt, Marjorie Spads, writes.. 

Who could not be touched by the pain contained in this letter from Patrick M, who lives in Westminster and Derbyshire.

Poor loveless, lonely, Patrick has sent out a cri de coeur, on page 4 of which he weeps... 

We need a strong partner...

We need a partner with vision...

Above all, we are seeking a partner that is wholly committed...  

Aw, bless his heart!

Patrick has obviously been let down very badly in previous relationships, perhaps by partners only interested in his money or who run away when the going gets tough? 

Is there no-one out there, in this wicked world, who can make our Patrick truly happy?

Partnership breaks out on WCML - Shocker!

This from Rugby Tackle...

Thought Eye readers might be interested in this.

It's appeared on a number of railway intranet sites today:

Network Rail's Euston Delivery Unit were the proud recipients of the Golden Pendolino presented by Virgin founder, Sir Richard Branson. The award is made each period to the team that has made the most significant contribution to keeping the trains on the West Coast running on time.

Sir Richard said: "I have never shied away from openly criticising Network Rail and before that Railtrack when performance has slipped to unacceptably low levels. So it gives me great pleasure to say thanks and congratulate the team for all their efforts in improving service for our customers. We look forward to more progress in the coming months."



UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

Golden Spanners, Golden Whistles, Golden Laptops (Siemens) and now the Golden Pendolino!
All that's needed now is the Golden Kipper for train catering in honour of Modern Railways' late, great Gourmet Gricer Brian Perren.

East Coast out to market

This from the Department for Transport...

Transforming rail travel on the East Coast

The race to get the best rail services for passengers between London and Scotland officially got underway today, Friday 25 October.

The publication of a series of procurement documents by the Department for Transport (DfT) marks the first step in that search for a new private sector partner to help revolutionise services on the East Coast Mainline.

The InterCity East Coast prospectus details what potential bidders will need to consider when they start developing their proposals next year. These include:

  • developing innovative timetables which build on the core train service requirement published by the DfT;
  • investment in innovative ways to transform the customer experience on trains and at stations;
  • identifying further opportunities for investment along the route, particularly at stations;
  • making the route and train operations more sensitive to the environment;
  • involving communities along the route in local decision making; and
  • demonstrating how their proposals will support economic growth along the route.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
“We want to see a revitalised East Coast railway, one that both rekindles the spirit of competition for customers on this great route to Scotland and competes with the West Coast on speed, quality and customer service.

“We need a strong partner to ensure we successfully deliver the £240m programme of infrastructure investments on the route and the improvements in rolling stock that the multi-billion Intercity Express Programme will provide.“

Since 2009, the East Coast franchise has been stabilised under Government ownership, but management by Directly Operated Railways was never planned to be a permanent arrangement.

The Government believes a strong private sector partner, as an innovator and investor, will build on this stable basis and deliver a world-class railway for passengers and best value for the taxpayer.

It expects the new partner will capitalise on the significant Government investment in this route over the next six years, including the replacement of the current rolling stock fleet, and major infrastructure improvements such as the £72m programme to improve the line around Peterborough and £20m enhancements to Doncaster station.

As part of the refranchising process a series of documents are being published, including an OJEU Notice, the Pre-qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), the Prequalification Process Document (PPD), the prospectus, and the results of the East Coast consultation which asked passengers what they would like to see in the new franchise.

The prospectus describes the East Coast business as it stands today and the risks and responsibilities bidders will need to consider when preparing their bid. It also gives an insight as to what the DfT expects to see when prospective bidders are given the invitation to tender (ITT), which will ask them to set out their detailed proposals on what they will deliver for passengers.

The DfT plans to confirm which prospective bidders have passed the pre-qualification stage in January. The DfT expects to issue the ITT in February. The shortlisted bidders will then have three months to prepare bids, with franchise services starting in February 2015.

East Coast is one of the two main London-to-Scotland railways providing frequent services. It is an electrified 393 miles (632 km) railway link between London, Peterborough, Doncaster, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

It is one of the fastest conventional lines in the UK with most of the line being cleared for 125 mph (200 km/h) operation. Non-electrified line extends further north into Scotland from Edinburgh to Inverness and Aberdeen. The services meet demand for business travel, particularly between Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Leeds and London, leisure travel to a variety of destinations and commuter journeys, primarily between Newark, Grantham, Peterborough and London.

The launch of the East Coast competition is another milestone in the Government’s refranchising programme and it follows the on time successful publication of the ITTs for Essex Thameside and Thameslink Southern Great Northern last month.

Details of the published documents can be found at: