Monday, 13 April 2009

NR bonus bunker - first pictures!

***Bowler tip to Nigel Harris for exposing the secret home of Network Rail's Remuneration Committee***

UPDATE: It looks this morning as if an unholy triumvirate of Adonis, Webster and Wolmar will succeed in releasing this building for other uses...

1984: Revised and updated

Telegrammed by our Independent Expert
Blogs take over from dead trees

Not strictly George Stephenson world, but the success of political blogger Guido Fawkes in bringing down Gordon Brown's "McPoison" this weekend is seen by media academics as a sign of the growing maturity of the blogosphere, which can score direct explosive hits where the ailing and cash-strapped dead tree media are increasingly impotent (or in the case of the BBC being pressured by the Government).

More power to the gimlet Railway Eye.

So beware.

They may be watching us, but we are watching them...

Guardian connives in DafT spin

Mixed news from the Grauniad this morning.

According to Dan Milmo...

The government is considering a £250m stimulus package for the railways aimed at boosting revenues and passenger numbers.

But what's this?

The piece continues...

Network Rail is also considering bringing forward investment in ticket barriers. Fare dodging is thought to cost the industry 5% of its annual revenues, or about £270m, and the transport secretary, Geoff Hoon, has asked train operators to propose gating schemes. Lord Adonis, the rail minister, told the Guardian last month that such a scheme would be popular. "There is wide support from passengers for gating because they don't like huge amounts of people not paying for fares that they then have to subsidise."

'Wide support'?

We think not.

Of course we have come to expect half truths from the department but it's disappointing that the Guardian is conniving in the spin.

Had the Guardian done a modicum of research it would have discovered that recent proposals to gate two major stations in the North are hugely unpopular (Sheffield and York).

In both cities opponents of the scheme make the same points: Gates will make it difficult for passengers with luggage, disadvantage the mobility impaired, exclude meeters and greeters, deny access to enthusiasts (the eyes and ears of the railway) and split both cities in half.

Needless to say our elected masters say one thing and mean another.

To discover what is really behind DafT's conversion to gating the network it is helpful to read the detailed justification for barriers which National Express supplied to Newcastle City Council's Planning Committee (another major station where gates are planned). the 7/7 attacks there is a requirement for coverage of entry and exit points at all stations, and in order to achieve identification/recognition standards...”.

In pursuit of the surveillance society it is quite clear that the first victim is truth. Shame on you Lord Adonis and shame on this dishonest government.

UPDATE: This from Richard Malins...

This needs to be exposed before a wider audience.

Someone must persuade Adonis to see through the nonsense DaFT are peddling and call a halt to gating schemes because:

a) The proposition is basically contradictory.
Installing barriers will not make rail travel more accessible - particularly for the elderly and mothers with children.

b) The estimated 5% of revenue is an unsubstantiated number.
True figures will be more complicated and vary according to circumstances. Measurement is difficult and usually not done properly, if at all.

c) Barriers only protect a minimum fare.
Their effectiveness declines with length of journey and are believed to reduce short distance fare evasion by around half.

d) Outside the London commuter area the magnetic ticket technology does not properly support gating systems.
Thus it is highly unreliable where system geography and fares structures are complex.

The Eye looks forward to hearing a counter view from the legions who, as Adonis assures us, support gating. Meanwhile the latest exciting Eye poll refers.