Friday, 24 April 2009

First for North British news

This from a powerful Leader in The Herald....

"Should ScotRail be trusted with the £2.5bn franchise to run 95% of Scotland's train services?"


EXCLUSIVE: FCC to reintroduce loco hauled stock

Telegrammed by our man in the 4 foot

The Fact Compiler would pay good money to see this on load 12 at Peterborough!

Sir Humphrey reveals Olympian thinking!

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
You have to hand it to DafT when it comes to long term thinking.

Over a particularly dry Amontillado, Sir Humphrey Beeching - the Eye's source at the Department, whispered that the next HLOS will form part of a Transport white paper, rather than the dedicated Railway white paper approach used in 2007.

The next High Level Output Specification is due to be published in July 2012.

What's the betting that it's sneaked out during the week of the London Olympics (or Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. Ed) so that massive cut backs are lost in a rush of golden euphoria?

Eye raises a collective bowler to the DafT spin doctors.

Harris squares the circle!

From last night's Evening Standard City spy column...

BOBBLE hats off to trainspotter-in-chief Nigel Harris, editor of Rail magazine, who says the Budget will provoke a financial — and geometric — calamity for industry investment. “

"The railway,” warns Harris, “would do well to get its wagons in a circle to fight its corner”.


UPDATE: You're a bitchy lot!

This from John B at Here be dragons...

"Let's all go to Barrow Hill Roundhouse!"

Home of the 'screaming dog'!

We'd rather have the TGV Mediterranee please.

Telegrammed by Ithuriel
Today's announcement by Network Rail of £2.3bn worth of Crossrail work includes:

  • Electrifying the western route from London to Maidenhead
  • Rebuilding and improving stations on the route including Paddington, Abbey Wood, Ilford, Romford and Ealing Broadway
  • Major junction and train reliability improvements
At Reading, the £400m+ scheme will dramatically improve the station and the reliability and punctuality of services accessing and passing through the station by:
  • Removing the current bottleneck by constructing a new railway viaduct west of the station thus improving the reliability and punctuality
  • Doubling the number of platforms and building a new passenger footbridge and northern entrance to the station
How on earth does this series of minor works add up to £2.3 billion?

It only cost the French £3 billion to build TGV Mediterranee.

UPDATE: This just in from Network Rail...

Can we have a little less of an inferiority complex (we're being very Freudian today) when comparing our railway to continental European ones?

Without getting into the predictable debate about high speed and costs etc..., ponder upon this:
  • Everyday on the rail network in Britain we run 50% more trains then they do in France - a country with a similar population and an area around two-and-half times ours.
  • Also fewer trains run in Switzerland every day than we run in Kent.
We do some things better here, though you wouldn't believe it if you only listened to the nattering nabobs of negativism - as Spiro Agnew would say.

Not that I'd ever want use Nixonian parallels when talking about Network Rail's communication strategies...

Brunel Complex - Dr Heinz Kiosk prescribes...

According to the latest NR press release:

Network Rail today gave passengers and the people of London a boost by taking a big step forward in the delivery of the Crossrail and Reading projects. It has announced the intention to appoint Bechtel as its delivery partner for these vital congestion busting projects.

This move heralds the biggest investment in improving the railway for passengers using services between London, Bristol and Wales since it was built.

The Eye's resident Consultant Psychologist Dr Heinz Kiosk* writes:

"Readers will note this further example of Network Rail's corporate Brunel complex.

"This Freudian desire to outstrip the achievements of the dominant ur-father figure is of course an early sign of penis envy and reflects Network Rail Board's suppressed feeling of under achievement, compounded by a deep neurosis that they receive inadequate recognition.

"I would prescribe either the adoption, across the network, of an 8 ft track gauge or a doubling of bonuses..."

*With apologies to the late, great, Michael Wharton.

Virgin lite?

As the recession bites ever deeper the latest TOC to consider thinning its ranks is Beardie Rail.

They are already short one Fleet Director having err... 'misplaced' him on Wednesday.

Sources indicate that an announcement on headcount is due imminently...

An end to spin?

Has SWT renounced the dark arts?

Stagecoach has announced that its popular Comms Director Jane Lee is to leave her post at the end of April.

As she leaves Jane will turn out the lights at SWT's press and public affairs department for the last time.

In a move destined to delight hard working hacks in London and Surrey all future media enquiries will be handled by either EMT's Derby press office or Stagecoach's head office in Perth!

Souter's no fool so the Eye suspects that he's twigged to the fact that the Dead Tree Media is finished in London and the South East and that bloggers are too lazy to verify their stories before posting them.

So no need for a press office.

The Fact Compiler thought about calling Stagecoach to check his theory but couldn't be arsed.