This from bitterwallet with a bowler tip to Is 1A03 out of Chester yet, Bert
The platform announcer at Farringdon refused to stop talking for nearly half an hour, giving a blow-by-blow account of what was occurring.
Follow the link to hear it in all its glory.
The guy's a natural - who needs The X Factor?
UPDATE: This from A Despairing Member of Staff...
I note your post on the quality of LUL Passenger annoucements; is there any chance of SWT using this gentlemen on their services in the future because I for one have had enough of Digital Doris telling me to "please take my personal belongings with me when I leave the train."
What other belongings would she like me to remove? Public belongings, perhaps? Does she honestly believe that I boarded the train carrying a bench I stole from the park? Or perhaps she means that I may leave the train with belongings which in actual fact belong to persons other than myself?
Please could someone have a word with Lord Carrier-bag of Double-Decker; call it a Christmas request from his chums at the sharp end.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
This from bitterwallet with a bowler tip to Is 1A03 out of Chester yet, Bert
Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
Exciting news from the Chancellor's Pre Budget Report...
Introducing a green stimulus – ensuring part of the fiscal stimulus supports low-carbon growth and jobs by accelerating £535 million of capital spending on energy efficiency, rail transport, and adaptation measures. 76,000 low income households will benefit earlier from better heating and energy efficiency, up to 200 new rail carriages will be delivered earlier and 27,000 homes will benefit sooner from flood defences (cont. p94)
Earlier than what?
And could those 200 carriages refer to to the 202 DMU vehicles announced in similar terms in last year's Pre-Budget Report and subsequently abandoned.
We'd ask DfT if we thought the press office would understand the question.
We'd ask Stephen Hammond to raise it in Parliament, if we thought he would understand the question.
But as we suspect it's a cut and paste job from last year's Pre-Budget Report we'll do nothing but bury our head deep in our hands and weep.
After all does anyone believe a word that the 2009 Pre-Budget Report contains?
UPDATE: This, amazingly, from Hammond's 5th Surgeon...
Has 222 been on the Christmas gin?
The reason why the reference to 200 new vehicles looks like a cut'n'paste from the 2008 PBR is because it is from the 2008 PBR!
Not even this Chancellor would be craven enough to try and get away with the same nonsense twice... surely?
Not many outside the industry know that the British Railways Board still exists, albeit in a residuary capacity.
Known, surprisingly enough, as British Railways Board (Residuary), it is the repository for much of the former nationalised industry's liabilities, in particular claims relating to industrial disease - asbestosis, emphysema and other unpleasantness suffered as a consequence of working on the railway.
It is also tasked with the management and disposal of the industry's remaining land and buildings, which are surplus to the needs of the operational railway.
In most cases this relates to disused tunnels, bridges and viaducts, old track formations, abandoned goods yards and the like - which today's railway has no interest in.
Where possible BRB(R) tries to sell these disused assets off - raising a couple of bob in the process for HMG and getting shot of the liability at the same time.
The BRB(R) is chaired by Doug Sutherland, the former SRA's finance director, and he reports directly to the Secretary of State.
So far so good.
And mostly the BRB(R) does indeed do a pretty good job.
But there are exceptions.
Take the overspill car park at Kings Lynn for example.
Almost four years ago a 96-space overspill car park was built on a plot of land owned by BRB(R).
The BRB(R) has now decided to sell that land, complete with overspill car park, and it has been entered into a Residential Auction to be held by Allsops next Tuesday the 15th December (Lot 83)
The sale could raise as much as £400,000 for the Treasury, which in these fiscally challenging times is not be sniffed at.
After all the BRB(R) is merely fulfilling its remit.
However, according to the BRB(R)'s website:
Land is only disposed of when it has been agreed with the Department for Transport that there is no need for it to be retained for future railway purposes.
Surely a well used overspill car park serving a busy station like Kings Lynn is very much a railway purpose and it ought to be retained for use today, let alone in the future?
Therefore, it is unimaginable that the Department for Transport (prop. Lord Adonis) could have sanctioned the sale of the land to a developer who will not have the interest of rail passengers in mind.
So Eye wonders whether the Noble Lord is paying lip-service to modal shift or whether he continues to be badly advised?
The buck stops with you My Lord - what will you do?
UPDATE: This from the saintly Driver Joseph Locke...
After reading your item on the Kings Lynn car park, I turned to the alliteratively titled section 6.46 ("Prioritising projects and programmes") of the Pre-Budget Report.
The section where it promises to save £170 million by (among other things) increasing the capacity of station car parks.
I wonder if the BRB(Residuary) has read it yet?
UPDATE: This from Charles Yerkes...
Forget whether BRB(R) has read it.
Has the Department for Transport, they approve land sales.
Is ace railfreight lobbyist and Labour peer, Lord Berkeley, mellowing with age?
Despite harbouring republican sympathies Lord B had secured the services of Her Majesty's very own Scots Guards to lead revellers in a medley of Carols at yesterday's Rail Freight Group Christmas Lunch.
The canny political operator had also invited shadow Rail Minister Stephen Hammond MP to address members before luncheon.
There was a collective choking on bread rolls when Lord B confidently predicted that Hammond "would make a very good Secretary of State"!
Of course the wily old fox was clever enough to add... "or opposition spokesman".
UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...
Hammond may not have endeared himself to any railway hacks present.
He told a joke about five surgeons discussing who in the industry was easiest under the knife.
The punch line had the last saw-bones saying he preferred operating on railway hacks; as they had neither heart nor backbone and their lips and ar$eholes were interchangeable...
UPDATE: This from the Lobby Correspondent...
Could this be the same Stephen Hammond who was observed entertaining one Roger Ford in the the cafe area of Portcullis House earlier this year, in what was clearly an unsuccessful attempt by the good Captain to explain the break down of the 1300 (sic) vehicles in the HLOS?
I think we should be told!
UPDATE: This from NR's Internet Rapid Rebuttal Unit...
Tfc will be 'repping his endz', next.
UPDATE: This from 5741 Duck...
You say that Lord Berkeley is a "cany political operator".
Is that because they frown on whips in the House of Lords?
Thank you 5741. Noted and corrected!
Exciting news from the Department for Transport!
DafT is undertaking a study into: Improving value for money from the railway.
According to the department's website blurb the study will:
...examine the overall cost structure of all elements of the railway sector and to identify options for improving value for money to passengers and the taxpayer while continuing to expand capacity as necessary and drive up passenger satisfaction.
Eye suggests that the Department starts this study by examining its own role in recent doomed or about-to-be-doomed rolling stock procurement exercises, where millions have been wasted with nothing to show for it (eg IEP, the cancelled DMU project, the pointless and very expensive Coco inquiry into Roscos, etc... ).
There's a good £50m of waste identified before we even begin to look at the debacle of franchising.
Sadly turkeys don't vote for Christmas so expect the usual Whitehall whitewash.
UPDATE: This from Ithuriel...
By far the best way to improve value for money on the railways would be to bring back Tom Winsor as the Waste-Finder General.
This with a bowler tip to Anon.
We are not worthy!
UPDATE: This from A N Other...
As it took over a year to get the EPOS to work at all, I expect we may have this treat for a while.
Of course it may be easier just to change the plaque on the Marsham Street door.