Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Latest ABC - Steady as you go!

It's ABC time again.

Remember most industry magazines don't submit their titles to circulation audit so a bowler tip to those that do.

Here the 2013 circulation figures with those for 2012 in brackets...

Railway Magazine: 37,853 (37,285) - up 1.5% 

Rail: 20,122 (20,123) - no change

Railway Gazette International: 10,711 (10,533) - up 1.7%

And by way of comparison, Steam Railway: 31,281 (31,810) - down 1.7%

Yet again reports of the demise of Dead Tree Media appear somewhat exaggerated.

OPRAF is dead. Welcome to ORPS!

This from the Department for Transport...

Written statement to Parliament

Outlines recommendations from the recent rail review.

The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP

As recommended by Richard Brown in his review into franchising and as part of June 2013’s national infrastructure plan Investing in Britain’s Future, my department undertook to review government rail functions in order to identify what actions were required to deliver those functions in the most effective and efficient way. The review has now submitted its recommendations to me. I have agreed its recommendations and implementation will begin shortly.

The review recognised that much has already been achieved since the department’s rail functions were brought together into a single rail group in January 2013. A clear, professional franchise programme is underway, implementing Richard Brown’s review of franchising, along with the government’s ambitious rail investment programme. Building on this progress, the review recommends further developing the department’s rail functions as a new rail executive.

Creation of the rail executive will support the drive to strengthen our focus on passengers; build an enhanced culture of commercial expertise and innovation; and ensure greater coordination of improvements to track and trains. A single team will manage the interdependencies between rolling stock, track, stations, freight and passenger services; and between existing services and HS2. It will also develop an effective framework agreement for Network Rail, for September 2014, when it will be classified as public sector. A new approach to recruitment, reward and career development for commercial rail skills will allow the rail executive to increase capability at all levels and bolster commercial experience in the management team. This will reduce the department’s dependency upon consultants and increase its ability to negotiate the best deal for passengers and the taxpayer.

The review recommended that there should be a clear focus on rail passenger services within the rail executive. This will be provided by a new Office of Rail Passenger Services, forming part of the rail executive, with responsibilities including delivery of the franchise programme and the management of existing franchises. It will be led by an externally recruited managing director and supported by non-executive board members.

The review has also recommended we consider a longer term option of a new, more arms-length body with responsibility for rail delivery functions. The creation of the rail executive provides a strong foundation for such future evolution and the government will consider moving to a more arms-length body in 2016.


UPDATE: This from Virginia Waters...

Compare and contrast this from Robert Goodwill...

With this from today's statement by the Secretary of State...

"A new approach to recruitment, reward and career development for commercial rail skills will allow the rail executive to increase capability at all levels and bolster commercial experience in the management team." 
Good to see everyone is as joined up as ever.

Update: This from Steve Strong...

This is what the new structure will look like according to the Organisational Review of Department for Transport Rail Functions...

 So now you know.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Pointless signs - Swindon

This from @paulrgentleman...

Pointless sign? 

Or health and safety stating the bleedin' obvious!

Railway Garden Competition - Stratford

First of the year.

Impressive early growth on NR's Anglia Route.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Walker and Price declare Republic!

So what are we to make of this act of lèse-majesté?

This is the ORR's official logo:

and this is the home page of the new ORR website:

Where has the Crown gone?

And by whose authority has it been removed?

Presumably ORR directors have now abandoned all hope of being recognised in HMQ's
birthday and New Year honours lists!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Shoveller disintermediates

This from the Deep Alliance...

Perhaps a little more polish on the voice over required?

Otherwise very good.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Cornwall has fans in high places

Good news for those hoping Cornwall remains part of the national network, despite the weather! 

Mr Carne, 54, studied engineering at Exeter University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. He has strong Cornish roots and is an Independent Governor of Falmouth University. He is married with three children 

That is all.

Gisby attends COBRA

This from Harry Kane...

As the UK is threatened by yet another major storm overnight, thoughts are with all those working to keep the network open and passengers and freight on the move.

This week’s severe disruption of course serves to remind us all of the critical role that railways play in the national economy, as well as to the country's well being.

Something that Robin Gisby no doubt highlighted at COBRA this week, under the agenda item ‘Money No Object’.

DfT enters 3 Peaks Challenge

The new, improved DfT is evidently keen to get really 'up close and dirty' with industry colleagues.

As well as actually getting out and about on the network, the railway's mandarins have now gone so far as to enter a team for the Railway Children's 3 Peaks Challenge.

The Just Giving page for DfT's team can be found here.

An excellent cause to support - good effort!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Derby does Westminster!

The Derby Mafia took over Parliament last night, courtesy of Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham.

MPs, Peers, members of the Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum, their customers and the wider industry marked the 175th anniversary of the railway's arrival in Derby.

And by happenstance, also celebrated the award of the Crossrail fleet to a local manufacturer...

Iain Stewart MP, PPS to the Secretary of State, did the honours - whilst the rest of the front bench transport team were on flood duty.

Meanwhile, Eye wonders what on earth Captain Deltic said that DG Rail could so vigorously agree with?

And from the sublime to the ridiculous!

Someone in the Palace of Westminster evidently has a very warped sense of humour:

And with floods and gales in mind, Eye hopes all those on and about the railway tonight keep safe.

Home safe!

UPDATE: This, perhaps surprisingly, from Captain Deltic...

In fact I was warmly commending DfT for its pragmatic approach to franchising and rolling stock accessibility requirements.

Who could not agree with that?

Monday, 10 February 2014

First they came for the smokers, then the snorers...

Be afraid, be very afraid!

As the state today seeks ever more keenly to intervene in the public health debate, without having the balls you will note to actually ban the lucrative but perceived cause of the problem, what are we to make of this? 

On behalf of the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Freight Transport, Rob Flello MP, I am writing to you to ask that you join the group as it meets on 4th March at 13:00 in the Thatcher Room in Portcullis House.

This will be a meeting held in conjunction with the APPG for Obesity and the British Lung Foundation. The meeting aims to discuss the impact of obesity on sleep apnoea and other related health issues within the sector.  

Any generously proportioned attendees found snoozing at this event will be subject to extreme application of the comfy pillow. 

You have been warned.

ORR sees the light?

This from the Office of Rail Regulation...

Network Rail commits to plans for Britain’s railways 2014-19

Network Rail has committed to deliver plans for a safer, higher performing and more efficient railway between 2014 and 2019, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) confirmed today.

As part of the multi-billion pound plan for Britain’s railways, initially published in October 2013, Network Rail will bring down the costs of running the railways by 20%, while delivering nine out of ten trains on time on regional, London and South East and Scottish routes, and improved reliability for long distance passenger services. Network Rail will also improve standards of infrastructure management, network resilience, and safety for passengers and railway workers. Over the next five years Network Rail will spend more than £38bn on maintaining, renewing and improving the rail network, which includes the delivery of a programme of enhancements worth more than £12bn.

These are challenges for the whole rail industry, not just Network Rail. Stretching targets and new incentives will get the industry working closer together for the communities they serve. The plans will be delivered from April 2014.

ORR Chief Executive Richard Price said:

“Network Rail has committed to the challenge of delivering exciting plans for Britain’s railways between 2014 and 2019. This new phase will see Network Rail enhance safety, increase capacity, and improve the performance and resilience of the rail network. Service standards will get better, as stations up and down the country are modernised and lines are electrified. Alongside this work, the company will also deliver more, pound-for-pound, than ever before, as it utilises new technology and better ways of working.

“We welcome Network Rail’s recognition that it will need to do things differently to fully deliver. This is a fresh start for the company and an opportunity - supported by significant levels of funding by governments and passengers, and working with the rest of the industry - to learn lessons and build on successes from the past. Meeting these challenges will be tough, particularly in the early years for punctuality in England and Wales because of recent performance levels. We will focus on ensuring the company, working with governments and the rest of the sector, delivers its plans to achieve long-term and sustainable improvements for customers and taxpayers.”


Encouraging signs of pragmatism at the ORR on performance.

Now if DfT could take up the same tune...

Pointless signs - Reading

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Derby tonight - Shocker!

DDRF statement on Crossrail fleet award

This from the Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum...

The Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum (DDRF), which represents over 100 rail related businesses in the East Midlands, commented:

"The decision to proceed with Bombardier as preferred manufacturer for the Crossrail fleet is welcome news.

"Litchurch Lane is an important manufacturing facility in Derby and it employs large numbers of local people who contribute to the regional economy and support a wide range of businesses and communities across the East Midlands.

"The DDRF look forward to working with Bombardier, as preferred manufacturer, to ensure that our supply chain members can benefit from this decision, many of whom supply world-leading technology to rolling stock manufacturers across the globe."


Bombardier wins Crossrail fleet order

This from the Department for Transport and Transport for London...

Crossrail rolling stock and depot contract to be awarded to Bombardier

6 February 2014

• 65 trains to be built in Derby
• Over 1,000 jobs and around 100 apprenticeships supported in the UK

The intention to award a contract to deliver rolling stock and a new depot for Crossrail with a capital value of around £1bn to Bombardier has been announced today by Transport for London (TfL) and The Department for Transport (DfT).

The contract between TfL and Bombardier covers the supply, delivery and maintenance of 65 new trains and a depot at Old Oak Common. The contract award is subject to a 10 day standstill period.

TfL will run Crossrail as part of its integrated transport services for London, including ticketing and customer travel information. 

Bombardier has confirmed that the new trains will be manufactured and assembled at their plant in Derby. This contract will support 760 UK manufacturing jobs plus 80 apprenticeships. An estimated 74 per cent of contract spend will remain in the UK economy.

The construction of the maintenance depot at Old Oak Common will support 244 jobs, plus 16 apprenticeships. When fully operational the depot will support 80 jobs to maintain the new fleet of trains. 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The Crossrail project is now rolling on full-steam ahead. The manufacture of these new trains will not only revolutionise rail travel in London, they will deliver jobs and economic growth in their birthplace in Derby and across the UK. With a firm on board to deliver a fleet of 21st century trains and the tunnelling more than halfway complete, we’re on track to deliver a truly world-class railway for the capital.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This announcement will mean state of the art trains providing quick, comfortable journeys for the millions of people Crossrail will serve. It is also great news for British manufacturing and for Derbyshire, where Bombardier will support 760 new jobs and 80 apprenticeships.”

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, London’s Transport Commissioner said: “Crossrail is already generating jobs in London and the UK. When it opens it will continue to provide jobs and the growth it will bring will boost the whole economy. Crossrail is a fantastic example of the widespread benefits that sustained investment in transport infrastructure brings.”

Andrew Wolstenholme Chief Executive of Crossrail said: “Crossrail will transform rail services in London and the South East. Procurement of the rolling stock and depot is just one more step in delivering this new railway and making it a reality for millions of passengers.

“Crossrail Limited has conducted this procurement in a fair, objective and transparent manner and in full compliance with the regulatory framework.”

London’s population is set to grow from 8.4 million today to around 10 million by 2030. Government, the Mayor of London and Transport for London are investing in Crossrail and other transport infrastructure to support access to jobs, education, housing and to boost economic growth.

Crossrail will boost London’s rail-based capacity by 10 per cent connecting Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It is connecting people and places, providing faster journey times and up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel during the peak.

In addition to the jobs created through the rolling stock and depot contract it is estimated that Crossrail will generate at least 75,000 business opportunities and support the equivalent of 55,000 full time jobs right around the UK. Three out of five businesses currently winning work on the project are based outside London and over half are small and medium sized companies (SMEs).

Each Crossrail train is 200 metres long and able to carry up to 1,500 passengers. Key features of the new high-capacity Crossrail trains include air conditioning and inter-connecting walk-through carriages. On-train passenger information systems will deliver real-time travel information to allow passengers to plan their onward journeys.

The new lightweight Crossrail trains will be built with an emphasis on energy efficiency and use of intelligent on-train energy management systems.

All bidders were asked to set out how they would engage with their wider supply chains and maximise opportunities for SMEs. Bombardier will target at least 25 per cent of the value of this contract going to SMEs. Bidders were required to manage the project through a London-based office and to commit to have plans to deliver job and training opportunities, including apprenticeships.

TfL will introduce the new trains from May 2017, with the fleet progressively introduced to the existing rail network well in advance of services commencing through Crossrail’s central section in December 2018.


Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Dawlish - wither the GW mainline?

Gosh, just gosh!

A question to all the clever engineers and climate scientists out there.

Is maintaining this route sustainable?

Or at least acceptable to the voters and business people of Devon and Cornwall, without the provision of an alternative reliable rail route to the rest of the country?

Meanwhile eyes are turning once again to the Withered Arm...

Twitter fans may wish to look at #reopentheLSW

UPDATE: This from a Western Man...

I can assure you we have no interest in visiting the rest of Britain.

And we are delighted that we now have our own, self contained, CornishRail.

We look forward to raising a glass from Kernow to you all on St Piran's day.

Currently on the Fact Compiler's sideboard...

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

If there's one left unopened on your sideboard by tomorrow morning, then frankly I'll be amazed! (Good point. But all in the name of research, obviously. Ed)

DeltaRail puts the boot in!

This from the Daily Mail...

Anna Matthews has sparked a ‘British jobs for British workers’ row between her firm DeltaRail and the rail infrastructure company on which it relies for 70 per cent of its business.

Matthews says three foreign consortia have been short-listed by Network Rail for a major multi-billion pound Traffic Management signalling contract in the UK.

Anna Matthews is infuriated Network Rail has allocated £70m to help the foreign contenders develop their bids

Yet she claims her own cutting-edge business, which has developed an advanced real-time computer-controlled train signalling system, has been shunted into the sidings and dropped from the bidding.


The ability to speak truth unto power is yet another reason why we need more Women in Rail!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Deltic throws a leg out of bed!

Oh Lordy!

What has Captain Deltic got his pistons in a twist about now?

Eye thinks we should be told!

UPDATE: This from the latest edition of Rail Business Intelligence, in in-boxes across the industry this very afternoon...

The minister later appeared to suggest that the publicly-operated ICEC franchise had been made to look more successful than it actually was.

"We all know that despite a lot of talk about DOR, frankly their punctuality was the worst of the long-distance operators, we can talk about the access charge costs where they got a considerable benefit when they took over, so we’ve got to be careful about comparison from line to line’, he said.

"Once one starts to examine certain figures that people are quoting they don’t always bear up in quite the same way".


When RBI pointed out that East Coast was currently meeting its punctuality targets unlike NR on the ECML (RBI454 p4), Hammond replied

"although East Coast’s satisfaction rating has gone up in terms of sheer punctuality numbers against the other long-distance operators, it is a simple matter of fact that it’s the worst-performing at the moment.

"There may be all sorts of reasons for that but it is also true that their access charges, for one reason and another, are lower than others.’

"All I’m saying is that you’ve got to be very careful about comparisons and you’ve got to remember that when it was set up it was deliberately set up to stabilise the railway, to provide a service and to make sure that we did our statutory duty. It was never intended to be a long-term operation".

Oh dear!

Does the ORR know that it has been gifting the nationalised operator preferential track access charges?

Or is the minister perhaps talking through his hat?

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Crossrail fleet announce this week...

Eye presumes that the Spanish Armada has not quite berthed yet? 

But who knows?

Eye's partial observation on the Crossrail fleet announce below...

Meanwhile, for all you procurement teams around the world: the East Midlands has everything you want, obviously.