Monday, 24 November 2008

Pre-Budget Report and the railway

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
According to Alastair Darling's 2008 Pre-Budget Report today: "Up to 200 new rail carriages will be delivered earlier."

Since the egregious 'Rolling Stock Puzzle' does not contain a timetable for the delivery of any the 1300 (sic) new vehicles in the High Level Output Specification, how can vehicles be delivered earlier?

Elsewhere in the Report it says that there will be '£300 million to accelerate the delivery of up to 200 new carriages to expand capacity on the rail network'.

How can DafT accelerate delivery?

Only by placing orders in its own right before negotiations to changes in Franchise Agreements are concluded.

Which means telling TOCs, 'You're going to have these Electrostars we've bought as a job lot when they are delivered'.

This is an admirably sensible approach - which is why we don't think it is what the Pre-Budget Report means.

And that 'up-to 200' sounds distinctly fishy.

The only additional vehicles remotely capable of being 'accelerated ' are the 30 four car EMUs for NXEA and the 42 - oops 24 - extra DMU vehicles for TransPennine.

Predictably the running dog lackeys at ATOC welcomed this meaningless commitment.

UPDATE: Tom from Blairwatch writes:

"It did occur to me that since there's only one place you can build trains in the country, and it's full of people building trains, what was the point? If you ordered 200 Electrostar vehicles the delivery date would pattern-match 201x anyway - they've got those South African Electrostars, the Class 378s for Boris, the 2009TS for Boris and the 'S' stock for Boris to build first. My goodness, Boris is getting a big new trainset, isn't he?

"What might be fun is to engage in stimulus trading with the Germans. For instance, we could start by buying a job lot of off-the-peg Desiros (beefing up the Class 450 fleet would be favourite, guys), in return for the German police buying an equal cost in Jaguars, or something.

"Alternatively put some cash into refurbishing and life-extending the Class 150 fleet."

UPDATE: Sim Harris writes...

"That makes Bombardier sound too busy to take on any more, but not so.

"There is capacity for 8 lines at Litchurch Lane and only 5 are in use (not at all bad, but that still leaves 3). Gautrain is nearly complete, too.

"Bring the work on!"

Longrider rides out


Pre-Budget Report and the environment

Wolmar also gives a thumbs down to the Pre-Budget Report, on environmental grounds.

Read Christian's piece here.

It looks like the Chancellor is struggling to win support.

As Ali D might say: "Is it because I is in the black?".

Unholy Trinity

A splenetic press release reaches Railway Eye from campaign group TrainSardine.

They write:

"Angry passengers have launched a fight back campaign against East Midlands Trains by sending tinned sardines to rail boss Tim Shoveller. The campaign is in protest at the poor service provided on the troubled Liverpool to Norwich line."

Alas, such is the campaign group's ire that they manage to misspell the address of their own website:

"The also launched its website, a newsletter and revealed a poster." (pictured below).

As DafT's celebrated Rolling Stock plan only allows EMT three new vehicles, perhaps TrainsSadrine would be better focusing their anger at Messrs Hoon, Adonis and Mitchell.

Wonders of modern medicine

Good news from Captain Deltic!

In today's Informed Sources ePreview the good Captain shares the results of a recent visit to the doctor:

"Meanwhile, thanks for all your good wishes ahead of last month’s internal exam. The colonoscopy showed every thing to be normal."

To paraphrase Evelyn Waugh on Randolph Churchill: "It was a triumph of modern science to find the only part of Roger that wasn't indignant!".