Monday, 30 November 2009

Arriva Cross County fares are just grand - Official

Wouldn't it be madness if Arriva Cross Country decided to add a bit more to the £1,002 fare story?

Of course it would!

Therefore, these rumoured January increases to XC fares must be wrong:

First class open return from Newquay to Kyle of Lochalsh = £1,068 (up from £1002)

First class open return from Newquay to Wick = £1058.50 (up from £993)

Oh, and for good measure, Newquay to Dingwall goes up to £1,006!

Probably best not to tell Barry Doe!

Adonis freezes price of All Line Rail Rover!

This just in from @swlines via Twitter...

All Line Rover prices unchanged according to latest NFM!

Eye congratulates Lord Adonis for promoting this excellent product and ATOC for ensuring it remains great value.

Eye recommends the special offer on the 14 Day Rover here!

(And first class for 14 days is still less than one return journey between Newquay and Kyle of Lochalsh with Arriva Cross Country. Ed)

Mary Grant says sorry - Official

Are there no end to the talents of First Group's Mary Grant?

On Friday rail boss Mary enchanted the industry, and raised loads for street children, by doing a winning turn (or two) at the annual Railway Children fundraiser.

Eye understands that Mary was so taken by the roar of the crowd that she has decided to release a sung apology to furious FuCC commuters suffering a shortage of trains...

For those unable to view YouTube a hard copy of Mary's apology can be found here.

Europe's High Speed Railways stuck in the past

This from the BBC with a bowler tip to the Commuter...

Railteam, the alliance of European high-speed rail operators, has shelved plans for a Europe-wide common booking system because of increasing costs... The new system would have created a one-stop-shop for tickets for complete high-speed journeys across Europe.

So whilst nearly everybody is now convinced that High Speed Rail is the right method of travelling around Europe it would appear that the flabby state owned operators still can't be arsed to offer their customers single transaction ticketing.

Europe's railways - the transport of tomorrow (if you're living in the 1950s).

UPDATE: This from D1062...

Whilst the European ticketing dream alluded to is mere pie in the sky, there are a couple of institutions well served to guide you through the maze of European ticketing and serve as a one stop shop (albeit one that will give you lots of tickets) this side of the border.

I can recommend Deutsche Bahn UK (have your details ready and email them, they will call you back - ruthlessly efficient), and Ffestiniog Travel. Note for any rail staff, Ffestiniog Travel do not issue European FIP tickets.

UPDATE: This from the Globetrotter...

I am no apologist for Railteam, but as one who actually attended the presentation in Brussels last week (unlike the BBC), can I comment on your recent report.

The cancellation of the Broker ticketing system is really no surprise, given that it was hugely ambitious to try and develop something that could sell tickets from any station in Europe to any other, comparing and combining all the different fare options for each leg. After all, as any Doe can tell you it's bad enough negotiating the UK fares minefield alone! If Railteam are to be faulted, it is perhaps for thinking that it could all be achieved for EUR30m in the first place.

According to ticketing insiders, the biggest problem was combining 'closed' ticketing systems like SNCF and Eurostar, where inter-city trains are reservation-only, with the German camp that favours an 'open' walk-on strategy.

Because of EU competition rules, Railteam cannot set fares itself, but only act as a joint marketing facility. So as a more realistic option, the partners are negotiating bilateral agreements which will, I am told, put in place a basket of international fares between 7,000 principal destinations, to be sold via There may also be zonal add-ons for connecting journeys to and from these hubs.

Because airlines only serve a relatively limited number of O-D pairs, we have come to expect that through tickets can be booked and paid for online with one or two clicks. Given that there are so many more rail destinations, the options are orders of magnitude greater.

Only when airlines start to sell multi-modal through tickets from Little Piddling to Jernbacksnortle via Gatwick and Frankfurt, can we realistically demand that rail operators do the same. (Even assuming that the EU will let them!).

Readers Letters - From a Mr Geo Hudson


I note with interest that the country of Finland has recently created one
single institution with responsibility for road, rail and water transport.

Were such a strange beast to be embodied in Her Majesty's domains it would no doubt have some mundane title such as "British Transport Commission".

I beg leave to observe that leaving the provision and organisation of the railway system to private enterprise has proved to be a resounding success in our country and we have no need of such foreign practices !

Yours profitably

Geo.Hudson (retired)

Workington - wise words from Wolmar

So Workington is reunited, thanks to a sprightly turn of foot from Network Rail, Northern, DRS and DafT.

Whilst congratulations are due to all involved it is time for some wise words from Wolmar:

Now if all this can be done in a few days, then why can’t new stations, extra bits of track, altered junctions and the like be done far faster and more cheaply?


And now the precedent has been set the usual excuses for inertia will not wash.

So Eye wonders if reconnecting Workington will become a future stick with which to beat the industry or a blue print for actually getting things done?