Monday, 23 February 2009

A clue to the IEP decision

Those holding Long positions on Thameslink Key Output 0 completing by the 22nd March may yet keep their shirts!

Apparently the first of the new build class 377s, that Southern is sub-leasing to FuCC, may finally turn up this week!

Leaving Derby with just a month to make good it's promise of delivering 13 more.

Bombardier of course had already traded Long for Short, as the original commitment was for 23 !

Air leak

This just in from the Transport Select Committee...

23 February 2009: For immediate release
SCA 10/2008-09



As Dr Death will not be giving evidence the TSC must already have a view on the best "use of airspace".

TSSA flexes muscles

TSSA threatens NR with strike action.

This from Professional Pensions...

THE Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) is balloting members on strike action in response to proposed changes to the Network Rail section of the Railways Pension Scheme.

NR sources report panic hoarding of paper-clips.

Ticket to be taken for a ride?

Telegrammed by our Independent Expert
My old colleague Simon Calder rallied to the defence of rail fares in his Indy column this weekend.

But I fear he misses the point.

It's fine to claim there are bargains to be had, but in this deflationary world they are simply not good enough.

It's all about public perception. My petrol is cheaper, my gas bill fell last week, my mortgage is down, I can name my price if I want a new car. Last week I booked exactly the same summer holiday for my family as last year but it is £300 cheaper.

By contrast train fares seem to most people to be extortionate and inflexible.

Last week I went from Preston to a meeting in Carlisle, a couple of stops up the WCML. My standard class one-way ticket cost the best part of £30. My colleagues, using their cars on the M6 for around a fiver, thought I was insane. And come to think of it maybe I was.

Oliver Price from Chislehurst, published on the Telegraph letters page last week is more realistic than Simon Calder.

He says: 'You highlight the scandalously high cost of rail fares. I can only endorse this. Since the rise in the cost of tickets coincided with a lowering of petrol prices it's now cheaper to drive to my work in Chiswick (about 20 miles) than to take the train.'

Rail buffs still chant the mantra about 'managing demand'.

But what demand?

I'm posting this on the almost empty 10:46 Euston to Lancaster.

Privately I hear that Virgin first class bookings are down by thirty per cent.

Well it may be even worse - there were probably as many ticket staff at the barrier as there are passengers in all four first class coaches this morning.

Wakey, wakey, My Lord - UPDATED

Telegrammed by the man on the Bernina Express
This from the the DafT release announcing further gating of stations in the South East:

The announcement follows the recent installation of Europe's longest ticketing line at Waterloo station, where security has improved on trains...

Transport Minister Andrew Adonis said: "As the experience at Waterloo has proven, these measures will improve station security by increasing staffing at night seven days a week."

Sorry, this "security" thing is total shiite.

I happened to pass through Waterloo last Wednesday, 18th, at 21:45 and ALL ticket gates in vicinity of platforms 16-19 were OPEN.

There was no security.

And wouldn't you think those chaps at SWT, desperate for revenue, would ensure the barriers are working.

Oh, silly me, SWT staff man the barriers.

with the company having announced a further 180 job cuts, including revenue protection staff, this can only occur more often.

Time my Lord Adonis left his Marsham Street ivory tower and went out and about on the real railway!

UPDATE: Captain Deltic explains patiently:

It's like this, Andrew:

A gate line like that at Waterloo is quite labour intensive because you need staff to cope with anomalies such as people using warrants, tickets that refuse to be read, people with bags or buggies who can't get through and so on.

Employing barrier staff in the evening is not economic in commercial terms, when you've signed up to a diminishing subsidy.

On the other hand, if like TfL you believe that staffing stations during operating hours is the right thing to do, and you are taking revenue risk., then gating is not an on-cost and you can slash fare evasion from over 15% to under 5%. .

Why not get your officials to organise a day out bashing LOROL?