Monday, 20 September 2010

Mediaballs - Taking the pi$$ but not on Southern

Much nonsense being spoken by the Chatterati about the absence of loos on trains due to operate between Portsmouth and Brighton.

This tosh from the BBC...

Southern Railway to axe toilets from new train fleet

A train company has been branded a "disgrace" by union chiefs after it emerged some of its new fleet will have no toilets on board.

Southern Railway opted to forgo the facilities on its latest trains running on the Portsmouth to Brighton service.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers' union (RMT) said on a journey of that length it was "unacceptable".

Where to begin?

First, despite over excited twitterings to the contrary, Southern are not withdrawing loos from all its trains.

Secondly, the 'new trains' that will serve the Portsmouth - Brighton route are no such thing. They are Class 313s which are over thirty years old. They never had loos and never will.

Operating trains without loos on a journey of over an hour is also not new - there appear to be little objections to passengers travelling from Waterloo to Weybridge via Hounslow on Class 455s.

And lets not even start talking about South Eastern's 'metro' (Class 376) fleet.

Or for that matter LUL sub-surface and tube stock where end to end journeys on many lines can comfortably exceed an hour.

The reasons that passengers on these routes tend not to complain about the lack of on-board facilities is that their journeys are generally short.

Perhaps surprisingly Bob Crow claimed that the 'new' trains risked turning carriages into "stinking cattle trucks" creating appalling conditions for passengers and staff.

With Voyagers and Pendolini in mind one would have thought that not installing modern toilet units would actually prevent the usual stink to be found in vestibule areas, unless of course the flexible spaces replacing the loos really are very flexible indeed?

Eye wonders whether all this RMT special pleading points to a pre-Christmas pub crawl between Brighton and Portsmouth? You have been warned.

UPDATE: This from the Old Member...

The Fact Compiler might wish to consult with Annie Mole on the corrosion issue which LUL used to discreetly refer to as the 'J door problem' whereby the J Door - providing access from the main saloon into the driver's cab, suffered severe electrolytic corrosion along the bottom edge due to the dampness experienced inside the driving compartment. This was especially a problem on 1938 stock where there were often intermediate cabs in the train formation.

This problem may well have occurred to a lesser degree on the old Blue Trains (now due a golden jubilee celebration - introduced 1960). I have heard of backpackers in desperation having come in from a ferry at Gourock or Wemyss Bay using the gangway connection between carriages with doors closed and guarded to form an improvised 'stall'.

Perhaps this information may lead to Southern removing the inter-carriage doors , as a measure to prevent corrosion.

UPDATE: This from Captain James Bigglesworth...

Vickers Viscounts ran into corrosion problems around the tail spar.

This was due to people with poor aim causing critical levels of corrosive liquid to build up in this vital area. The toilets were at the rear of the cabin.

Far better to relieve oneself into an old beer bottle and lob it out of the window when over the Hun lines.

UPDATE: This from Tony Miles...

One fleet of trains currently being overhauled is requiring extensive work to the drivers' cab doors - with the lower part of the inside having to be replaced because of... damage by urine.

Strangely these trains are fitted with toilets for the passengers but clearly the drivers and or conductors (many of which must be RMT members) have been unable to control themselves regardless of the facilities fitted to the trainsets.

Mr Crow may like to put his own house in order before going public with his error-strewn rants.

UPDATE: This from Aslef, penned in Keith Norman's name...

Southern has decided to remove toilets from its new fleet running along the hour-and-a-half Portsmouth to Brighton line

No they haven't!

There were no toilets to remove and its not a new fleet.

Come on Keith, get a grip!

Pointless signs - outside Birmingham New Street

This from Trailer Second...

While wasting charter minutes outside New Street I started to think - this is not my idea of limited clearance.

Have we suddenly changed over to Berne Gauge?

Tom Harris MP - vote early, vote often!

Tom Harris MP is threatening to abandon blogging.

He posted the following on Saturday...

So if you hate this blog and you have a Labour MP, persuade him/her to vote for me in the Shadow Cabinet elections.

The Fact Compiler has mixed views on this.

Tom would make an excellent member of the Shadow Cabinet and his communications skills combined with his moderate and reasoned stance on many issues would prove attractive to many floating voters at the next election.

However, were Tom elected to the Shadow Cabinet he would have to resign his membership of the Transport Select Committee. The loss of a former Transport Minister with first hand experience of the DfT's inner workings would inevitably reduce that Select Committee's ability to effectively hold the Department to account.

It also goes without saying that Tom's blog would be greatly missed.

So on balance Eye readers are invited to do all they can to keep Tom blogging (and Labour out of power).

Did you see what Eye did there?