Friday, 7 August 2009

DafT changes the question - again

Telegrammed by Leo Pink
What ever happened to right first time?

Pre-Qualification Questionnaire
Specialist Advice and Support in Connection with DfT’s Duties as ‘Operator of Last Resort’
Date: First issue: 04 August 09
Rev 0.1: 07 August o91

Clearly three days is a long time in DfT Rail politics.

Out of Office reply

The Fact Compiler is enjoying a traditional English summer holiday.

So posting will be as intermittent as the breaks in the atrocious weather.

Wish you were here...

All change at Hull Trains

This just in from Ollie over at I work for First Great Western...

This from the First Group Intranet...

After six years as Managing Director, Mark Leving left First Hull Trains at the end of last week.

I would like to thank Mark for all his good work during his time as Managing Director.

He established a capable team and laid strong foundations for the next phase in First Hull Trains' development, which will include the engineering and on-board upgrade of our Class 180 train fleet. We wish Mark well for the future.

James Adeshiyan, who has worked in key commercial and operational roles in a number of train operating companies across the rail industry over the last 13 years, becomes General Manager of First Hull Trains, with immediate effect.

I hope you will all join me in welcoming James to First Hull Trains and congratulate him on his appointment.

Anyone know where Mark has gone?


Sky appears to have misplaced its Baker's Rail Atlas.

Or so it would appear judging by this headline...

More Rail Misery For East Coast Commuters

Alas, the story actually refers to industrial action on National Express East Anglia.

Of course attempting to travel up the East Coast Mainline via Norwich would be misery indeed - strike or no strike.

UPDATE: This just in from Leo Pink...

Given Mr Baker's propensity in his day job for coming up with at least a dozen radical new ideas a week, it may be that Sky has got hold of an advanced copy of the next edition of the Atlas!


Telegrammed by our Independent Expert
You're only as good as your latest story – as the saying goes in the Street of Shame.

So what should we make of the covers of the Railway Magazine and Rail sitting together on the newsstands today.

The monthly Railway Magazine has a hot front leading on the GW electrification on top of a pic of Grand Central's new Adelantes.

The fortnightly Rail's front misses the electrification story altogether from its cover, squeezing it into just a single column on Page 9.

Pigott scoops Harris! Now there's a story...

UPDATE: This from an 'Old Hack'...

Given that RAIL was the first of the newstand magazines to cover the GWML electrification story, I'm not sure your independent expert can claim Railway Mag got the scoop.

When is a scoop not a scoop? When a rival has published the story a week before.

And I can't remember how long ago it was that RAIL published a picture of the first GC Adelante driving car in that rather handsome black livery (let's hope the aircon doesn't fail on a hot sunny day!)...

UPDATE: This just in from Mr Harris himself...

Oooh, 'Independent Expert', what a tease you are!

'Old Hack' is quite right of course - we'd already reported this and goodness knows what else, ages ago - but methinks Eye's 'Independent Expert' does us a gross disservice in this case which, in the interests of accuracy, I feel compelled to point out.

The RAIL you mention went to press on Wednesday July 22, while the electrification announcement wasn't unveiled until July 23, fully 24 hours after we'd all gone to sleep in P'bro, after our fortnightly exertions.

This being the case, come on - please - not even a hint of a bowler tip for squeezing in the essential facts, as remarked, fully a day before the story was known?!

The vagaries of publishing schedules, eh?

In a weird sort of way, we scooped ourselves, let alone The Railway Magazine, illustrious organ though it is, edited by my good friend Mr P.

That's got to be worth something!

I'm off on leave for two weeks now, so keep up the good work.

UPDATE: The Fact Compiler wishes to pour some soothing balm on these troubled waters.

As Fat Mark pointed out two weeks ago...

The Gruaniad actually had the story Wednesday morning!

And Radio 4's You and Yours led with the same at lunchtime.

So first to be last was the Gruaniad.

Of course regular Eye readers had been kept up to date with the emerging details long before all these Johnny-come-latelies had even put fingers to keyboards!

UPDATE: This from Charles Yerkes...

Finger to key boards and the Gruaniad?

You've got to be joking. It's not a keyboard but a dictaphone you need.

Many of recent transport stories in the paper are so riddled with Adonis quotes that they look as if they've been dictated by Andrew himself!

At least there is now an official channel, bypassing both Parliament and the Department, allowing Lord Adonis to talk directly at the British people.

Perhaps TOCs should consider dumping The Times and replacing it with the Gruaniad as the preferred on-board newspaper?

Probably best to do it now before it appears as a requirement in the Noble Lord's new franchise agreements.


Telegrammed by our Independent Expert
Hot news from Britain's remotest railway station

On Wednesday's 08.45 from Rannoch to Fort William, passengers boarded the Caledonian Sleeper only to discover there's standing room only.

As one agitated Sassenach put it:

"It's taken us 12 hours to get all the way here from London and now it looks like we've imported the rush hour."

Electrification shocker - Shocker

Good news!

If this motley crew are against High Speed Rail then Adonis must be right!

Go Andrew, go!

UPDATE: Captain Deltic glooms.

Motley crew they may be, but by focusing on high speed we are handing them rods for mass back beating. Ditto with the emphasis on CO2 reduction.

There is no need for a high speed line between London and Birmingham. The journey time reductions will not pay for the return on the investment. And emissions are a playground for sophisters with Excel.

There is a need for more capacity between London and the West Midlands. And when you are building a new line to relieve the WCML, well in the 21st Century standard new main lines run at 200 mile/h.

This week's over-the-top coverage in the Grauniad could yet backfire.

UPDATE: This just in from the Major...

You would expect a motley crew of road and air pressure groups and operators to have a go at Adonis' high-speed piece.

It's worth considering what rail's reaction would be if the boot was on the other foot.

There might be a letter from the Bearded One promising the earth but for the rest of the rail industry and its so-called lobby groups I expect we'd hear nothing.

For all this, the chap from Newcastle Airport does have a point.

Air still holds advantages for those travelling cross-country.

Newcastle-Exeter - quicker by rail or air?

So what is the railway doing to improve cross country journey times?

Nothing, apart from continuing with its policy of CrossCountry trains waiting time at York, Leeds, Sheffield (up to 10 minutes!), Derby, Birmingham etc etc.

The railway proved it can run on time if it inserts enough padding in the timetable - now it needs to get on with cutting journey times and still running on time: that's where the real skill lies!