Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Beardie discovers the Strategic Reserve - Official

This from Railnews...

Virgin Trains is planning to double its service between Glasgow and London after British Airways cabin crew said they would be striking over the Christmas period.

Errr... how?

Has Beardie discovered a Strategic Reserve that can run at 125mph?

Or have a crack team of Virgin engineers perfected tilt on Mk2s and 3s?

Perhaps NR plans to slap a draconian speed restriction across the entire WCML?

Eye thinks we should be told!

UPDATE: This from
Chionanthus Virginicus (no relation)

Now come on FC!

Virgin say:

"...25 additional services that it plans to run on the London – Glasgow via Preston route over the Christmas and New Year holiday period ..."

Let's say 12 operational days - that's two extra trains per day - 1 Up , 1 Down?

Meanwhile the original Railnews' story has 'gone off-line'!

So who's the spinner and who's the spun?

So farewell Heidi Mottram!

This from the Times...

Northumbrian Water Group has hired one of the rail industry’s leading lights as its new chief executive. Heidi Mottram, managing director of Northern Rail, will join the water company... in March...

Northumbrian Water's gain, the railway's loss.

When Northern was formed it was generally held to be a basket case.

Without new trains and prevented from doing a desperately needed timetable recast little was expected of the franchise.

However Heidi won over key stakeholders, welded together her geographically vast empire and actually succeeded in growing traffic.

Eye wishes Heidi all the best and hopes she returns to the industry soon.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Geoff Brown...

Reading the rest of the Times story, I see the Finance Director is a Mr Chris Green!

Can it be long before our water pipes are painted red?

The Fat Controller brings out the SLC2 big guns!

Regular Eye readers will recollect that the proposed new timetable for the East Coast route has run into a spot of bother.

Known as SLC2 it was due to be introduced, to great fanfare, at the December 2010 timetable change.

And for this date to be achieved it needed to be set in stone, with all parties agreeing to it,
by the 8th of January 2010.

All was going swimmingly until, alas,
the Noble Lord himself took an interest.

For some inexplicable reason it now appears that there has been a degree of slippage.

Sources close to the Department indicate that SLC2 is now more likely to be implemented at the May 2011 timetable change rather than at the December 2010 target date.

No matter.

Even May 2011 is looking highly optimistic, judging by this letter from the 'independent' Office of Rail Regulation to Network Rail requesting a review, and if necessary amendment, of the East Coast RUS

As any fule kno a Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) seek(s) to balance capacity, passenger & freight demand, operational performance and cost, to address the requirements of funders and stakeholders".

As the timetable is the physical embodiment of the balance achieved by the RUS, presumably the former must follow the latter?

So is anyone now brave enough to suggest when SLC2 might actually be implemented?

UPDATE: This from a Mr Pat Bell...

Mr. Lee wants an answer by 8 January 1010?

Railways won't have been invented for another 815 years.

You have to applaud ORR for being ahead of the curve!

UPDATE: This, surprisingly, from the late Sir Arthur Bryant...

But if the railways had been invented King Harold could have taken his army on the LNER to Stamford Bridge, duffed up Harald Hardrada, then returned (taking refreshments on route) and caught the Southern electric to Hastings, arriving in good time to repulse William the Bastard as he tried to land.

RT: BBC Caves in to Carter Ruck Threats Over Trafigura Film

Reposted from Ian Dale's blog...

Carter-Ruck have succeeded in persuading the BBC to remove all reference to the Trafigura story from its website, according to the New Statesman. They really don't learn do they - Carter Ruck or the BBC. You cannot suppress things like this in the modern media age. If one organisation caves in, there will the dozens more only to willing to step up to the plate.

So do enjoy this Newsnight film, which I really wouldn't bother to have posted had the BBC caved in.

Could I encourage every single UK blogger to embed this video in their blogs too?

Footnote: For the history of this sage click HERE.

Done - ta.

Spot the difference - BRB(R) land disposal

Using your skill and judgement can you spot the difference between the following two events which occurred today:

1. Railway land for possible station pulled from auction

2. Railway land with station car park sold for £360k

Evidently a station on the never never is more important to rail users than a overspill car park in the here and now.

What a perfect example of the government's transport policy - announce endless new schemes for the future but ignore the problems of today.

Eye salutes all involved.

Adonis comes clean on 'Autumn' Rolling Stock Plan

This from Lord Adonis yesterday...

In July I undertook to review the Department’s rolling stock plan in the light of the electrification announcements and other developments. The Government remains committed to providing an additional 1300 carriages by mid-2014.

Until commercial negotiations on the Thameslink programme are completed, I am not in a position to update the rolling stock plan, which is critically dependent on the determination of the Thameslink rolling stock contract.

No shit Sherlock (see Eye passim)

UPDATE: This from a Mr Chips with Everything...

The ex Thameslink Class 319 units appear to be the answer to all Lord Adonis’ prayers.

According to various sources, following:

  • “thorough refurbishment, including the installation of air conditioning”;
  • electrification of various lines; and
  • completion of the new Thameslink fleet,
they will be used: -
  • to operate all suburban services between Oxford, Newbury, Reading and London;
  • to replace Class 323 EMUs, which would be transferred to the West Midlands;
  • to operate regional services on the Liverpool & Manchester (Chat Moss, Bolton and Wigan); and
  • to enable sufficient cascades from above, to bring about the replacement of all the Pacers.
Given that there are only 86 x 4-car Class 319 units in total, and that seventeen 323s will apparently move south (so a net of 69 units), that leaves only the “soixante-neuf” to replace all 102 x Class 142 and Class 144 units on Northern.

And that's before you’ve even touched the other 38 Class 142 and Class 143 units on ATW and FGW.

No way Jose!

And if they're so good why not leave them on Thameslink?

Is this another case of favouring the South East with new rolling stock whilst the rest of the country has to put up with cast offs?

Pointless signs - Taunton station car park

Lost and found #2

This just in from the Archdeacon...

This is what happens when the engine mountings of your (German built) DMU fail when travelling at speed:

How unlike the home life of our own dear Pacers.