Thursday, 19 February 2009

Dans la merde?

Telegrammed by Ithuriel
It's all hands to the pump at Bombardier.

The French Canadians at Derby are so deep in the mire that they are reported to have called back heavy hitting train production veteran Peter Doolin to get the disastrous LOROL Class 378 and Thameslink Class 377 contracts out of deep sh one t !

According to Tony Mercado - the engineer who defected to the DafT side and has been lost without trace - speaking in January 2005 "Peter Doolin delivered the 53 (Pendolino) trains by the end of last year as promised from a production line that was closing around him".

With the Japanese taking the Super Excess Train contract, the Chinese offering five for the price of three on DMUs and Alstom resurgent it could be deja vu all over again.

First for vanity

An over excited missive thuds into The Fact Compiler's inbox.

It reads:

A book about the history of Aberdeen based transport giant, FirstGroup, is to be published today in line with the company’s 20 year celebrations.

"An Incredible Journey, the First Story" is written by Martin Helm, a former journalist and Transport Department Information Head who went on to advise FirstGroup.

Incredible indeed!

So here's is a picture to cherish.

But what's this?

Also attached to this gag inducing piece of PR puffery is the following extraordinary image.

Good to see that Sir More Duckweed is content for his hapless customers to risk life and limb negotiating a growing mound of unsold copies that had been strewn across the platform.

UPDATE: This from Graeme...

Photoshopped, you don't see that number and those kind of people coming off platform 6N at Aberdeen ;-)

A cry for help

***Anyone willing to help the Kent & East Sussex Railway with a spot of Pway work is invited to pay a quick visit to Driver Potter's blog***

Jobs for the foreign boys

After the debacle of the British Train for British Workers going to errr... Japan, you would have thought that Gordon and co might have learnt their lesson.

Not so, if Construction News is to be believed!

Bids from two American firms have emerged as the favourites to oversee work on Crossrail and its central tunnelling section.

Sources close to the project said that Bechtel and Legacy 3 – a joint venture between Parsons Brinckerhoff, Balfour Beatty and Davis Langdon – are set to take the programme and project delivery partner roles.

Can't you just hear those opinion poll points draining away?

Good news for the economically illiterate.

This tosh from the RMT:

THE UNBROKEN growth in profits by rail privateer group Govia is an insult to passengers and rail workers alike, Britain’s biggest rail union says today.

Govia posted a ten per cent increase in rail-operating profits to just under £35 million in the second half of 2007.

As regular readers will be aware The Fact Compiler carries no particular candle for Perma-tan Rail.

However, he feels compelled to point out that as Govia's three rail franchises have a joint turnover of circa £1bn a year the sum of £35m represents a margin of just 7%!

And of course this figure was for the six months before we were all plunged into Gordon's Great Depression....

Turning to ashes

Can it be long before ATOC members run out of patience with their Chief Executive Michael Roberts?

Aside from his love for producing briefing papers, Roberts' sole achievement to-date appears to be in the field of TV interviews.

Rather than up his game, he has bravely decided to shoot the messenger - dispensing with the services of Communications Director, Ed Funnell!

ATOC Board members, who only heard about Funnell's departure via the grapevine, are absolutely furious.

Despite similar anger amongst TOC PRs and transport hacks there is one piece of good news!

Roberts' remains a Director of the Carbon Trust.

What better background for a man whose railway career is in danger of being fossilised?

UPDATE: This from The Master...

It's not just his TV appearances either.

Roberts rule at ATOC has coincided with it hemorrhaging experienced and respected staff who have either jumped or been pushed.

These departures have not gone unnoticed by stakeholders or the media.

But they have seriously undermined the credibility of an organisation whose morale has been shot to pieces.

Ed Funnell was a seasoned PR man who was respected and liked by all who dealt with him.

Words which may not be heard about his former boss...

UPDATE: This from ATOC...

I am writing to let you know that Edward Funnell left ATOC last week, as one of a number of wider changes we have been making to the organisation since April last year to reflect the priorities of the Board and new senior executive team.

Edward has made a major contribution as Director of Communications over the past six and half years in defending the industry's reputation and promoting the interests of train operating companies. We wish him every success with his future career.

We are now looking to recruit a permanent successor for this important post.I have appointed Paul Atkinson, a communications professional with over 20 years' experience, as interim Director of External Affairs, with immediate effect and I know he will want touch base with you and other key contacts in the near future.

Michael Roberts
Chief Executive, ATOC

Please pass on to your colleagues as you see appropriate.

NXEC exposed

Telegrammed by the Archer
This from the Gruaniad:

Women railway workers on the East Coast line between London and Edinburgh are refusing to wear their new uniform, which includes a see-through blouse that leaves "little to the imagination" of passengers.

National Express staff have posted the blouses back to the company in disgust and demanded new, more opaque ones, according to The Transport Salaried Staffs Association.

Union official Brian Brock noted that National Express chief executive Richard Bowker was famous for not wearing jackets or ties, but pointed out that "he doesn't wear see-through shirts and we don't see why our female members should wear see-through blouses. The blouses are simply too thin and too cheap. This is yet another example of National Express cutting costs at every corner."

Expect to see a short term firm growth in ticket revenue before sales return to flaccid levels...