Tuesday, 13 April 2010

London's newest railway opens Thursday

This just in from The Sleeper...

It's not every day a new Overground line opens...

At 10:00 this Thursday the Mayor of London, BoJo the Great, will re-open the extended East London line and travel by special train from Dalston Junction to Shoreditch High Street.

As BoJo will be acompanied by the great and the good of the Metropolis, as well as myriad hacks, the occasion is expected to be marked in some style.

City Hall organisers are optimistic that this can be achieved by tying former mayor Ken Livingstone across the newly laid tracks.

UPDATE: This from a mildly annoyed Mizter T...

It would be rather churlish to tie ex-Mayor Ken to the tracks given that he is the reason the East London Line Extension project actually got off the ground in the first place, along with engineering the transfer of the lines that now make up TfL's London Overground from former operator Silverlink (aka Silverstink - at least when it came to their Metro operation).

One rather doubts Boris even knew where Dalston was until a couple of years ago - he certainly can't pronounce it right, calling it "Dahlston" when it is in fact "Dawlston".

Regardless, this ain't his doing by any measure!

Exciting news from Infrarail - Eye Exclusive

The Eye has been overwhelmed by the volume of exciting news from Infrarail.

Bringing together the great and the good of the infrastructure maintenance and renewal worlds this must attend event starts today at the NEC, Birmingham, and continues until Thursday.

A crack team of industry journalists are attending and Eye is delighted to have received this exclusive picture from the assembled hacks and their photographer.

Whilst not technically within the footprint of the show Eye has been assured that this particular part of the NEC site has been swamped by attendees and exhibitors alike.

For some reason the picture was captioned "Please can we go home now?".

Conservative manifesto: Transport section

This from the Tories manifesto launched today...

Create a modern transport network
A rebalanced economy requires an extensive and reliable infrastructure. but transport has been a low priority for Labour, and the hassle of getting around is bad for business, bad for families and bad for everyone’s quality of life.

A Conservative government will begin work immediately to create a high speed rail line connecting London and Heathrow with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. This is the first step towards achieving our vision of creating a national high speed rail network to join up major cities across England, Scotland and Wales. Stage two will deliver two new lines bringing the north east, Scotland and Wales into the high speed rail network.

Because travel abroad is so important for our economy and for family holidays, we need to improve our airports and reduce the environmental impact of flying. Our goal is to make Heathrow airport better, not bigger. We will stop the third runway and instead link Heathrow directly to our high speed rail network, providing an alternative to thousands of flights. In addition, we will:
• block plans for second runways at Stansted and Gatwick; and,
• reform air Passenger Duty to encourage a switch to fuller and cleaner planes.

To improve life for commuters and encourage people to switch to lower carbon public transport, we will reform our railways to provide a better focus on tackling problems that matter most to passengers, such as overcrowding. We will grant longer, more flexible rail franchises to incentivise private sector investment in improvements like longer trains and better stations.

We support Crossrail and the electrification of the great Western line to South Wales. We will turn the rail regulator into a powerful passenger champion and reform Network Rail to make it more accountable to its customers. and we will introduce a moratorium on building on disused rail lines still in public ownership, so they are available to be re-opened.

Britain has the chance to lead the world in making our transport system greener. So we will introduce incentives for electricity network operators to establish a new national car recharging network, making it much easier for drivers to move to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. We will support sustainable travel initiatives that work best for local communities by:
• giving the concerns of cyclists much greater priority;
• encouraging partnerships between bus operators and local authorities; and,
• helping people cut down on work-related travel.

We will stop central government funding for new fixed speed cameras, and switch to more effective ways to make our roads safer, including authorising ‘drugalyser’ technology for use in testing for drug-driving. We will make companies that dig up our roads accountable for the congestion they cause and crack down on rogue clampers. Councils will get more powers to get traffic flowing more smoothly.

We will consult on the introduction of a ‘fair fuel Stabiliser’. this would cut fuel duty when oil prices rise, and vice versa. it would ensure families, businesses and the whole British economy are less exposed to volatile oil markets, and that there is a more stable environment for low carbon investment.

Libertarians will be delighted to see an increase in Police stop and search powers proposed by the following:

We will introduce mobile knife scanners on streets and public transport, and extend the length of custodial sentences that can be awarded in a Magistrates’ Court from six to twelve months.

LibDems tomorrow...

UPDATE: This from James MacIntyre blog over at the Staggers...

The Tories say "We support Crossrail [and the electrification of the Great Western Line to South Wales]."

In contrast, the Labour commitment states: "We will complete the new east-west Crossrail line in London adding ten per cent to London transport capacity."

One more hard saving to add to Captain Deltic's spreadsheet?

UKIP manifesto - Transport section

This from the UKIP manifesto launched today...

UKIP believes the British people have a right to a reliable public and private transport system at an acceptable cost. UKIP will invest in a transport network that meets the needs of the British people and Britain’s economy. UKIP will:

  • Invest an extra £3 billion p.a. in the UK’s transport infrastructure, using money made available by leaving the EU and saving the £6.4 billion net Britain pays every year in EU membership contributions
  • Invest in an enhanced and safer road network, building new bypasses and widening major roads
  • Offer a ‘Windfall Return’ on fuel duty above a set world dollar oil price. When this level is reached, government receipts from oil duties will be returned to motorists as fuel tax cuts
  • Be fair to motorists by subjecting parking charges and revenue-raising devices, including speed cameras, to greater democratic control
  • Repeal EU-generated road directives that
  • impose unnecessary and expensive burdens, such as the new Road Transport Directive
  • Introduce a ‘Britdisc’ which foreign lorries will have to pay for using major British roads.
  • Currently, many of these lorries pay nothing for the wear and tear they cause
  • Veto EU attempts to force the UK into accepting EU lorries that are a third longer and a third heavier than currently allowed - up to an unacceptable 60 tonnes
  • Invest in three new 200mph plus high-speed rail lines including a new line between London and Newcastle with a spur to Manchester, a London-Bristol-Exeter line and a linking route via Birmingham
  • Expand the rail network by re-opening rail lines where there is a proven need
  • Improve passenger rail franchises by demanding higher standards of customer satisfaction, and by extending standard franchise terms to up to 20 years to encourage greater investment and stability
  • Encourage a major transfer of freight away from road and onto rail and canal
  • Invest in better rail and road links to ports
  • Oppose a sixth Heathrow Airport terminal and third runway and the expansion of Gatwick and Stansted in favour of a major new Hong Kong-style Thames Estuary airport with motorway connections and a high-speed rail service to London, the UK and the Continent
This of course provided as a special Eye service to the three of you who intend voting for them.

UPDATE: This from Paddy O'Wigwam...

Eye readers may be interested to know that David Campbell Bannerman, UKIP's Deputy Leader and MEP for East of England, was formerly ATOC's head of communications (1997-99).

A platform to oblivion if ever there was one.

UPDATE: This from the Master...

What - you mean to say that bricking up the UK end of the Channel Tunnel isn't a key plank of their platform?

Monkey about on the railway at your peril

This with a bowler tip to the IRRU...

Last week the BBC reported that a Capuchin Monkey had escaped from a Cumbrian wildlife park.

This from yesterday's NR log

*** 12/04/10 13:28 #QRP8227 *** CREATED

12:40 Police Marksman have requested services to be suspended at Askam as they require to shoot a Capuchin ape that is hanging from a tree over the running lines at Askam.

12:55 Police Marksman informs the caution can be lifted as the Capuchin ape has left site

Evidently NR is taking a much firmer line on trespass and vandalism.

Battle of the barriers - Sheffield falls!

This from passenger and pedestrian champion Richard Malins...

Lord Adonis was in Sheffield yesterday.

The Sheffield Central constituency, which includes the station, is a Lib Dem/Labour marginal and the former Labour MP Richard Caborn is standing down.

It is being contested by Paul Scriven, leader of the City Council, for the Lib Dems, and the ticket barrier scheme is a political embarrassment to the Labour candidate as it has become a serious local issue.

Adonis announced that it will not proceed, pending the creation of an alternative pedestrian footbridge route, and EMT has announced that they have been relieved of the franchise obligation.

No shit Sherlock!

Could this volte-face by the Noble Lord be in anyway connected with events on the 6th May?

UPDATE: This from 28481k, via Twitter...

Hurray, so Park Hills regeneration project is saved (for access, for now)!

UPDATE: The Fact Compiler observes...

Apparently no deal has yet been signed with EMT on this.

So campaigners would be advised not to take their foot off DafT's throat yet...