Thursday, 23 September 2010

Railway Gazette offers free iPhone app

This from @Railwaygazette, via Twitter...

Posted at 18:47ish:

We've reached a 1000 followers... Thanks everyone! Anyone with an iPhone can download our new app on iTunes free for the next 24 hours!


Downloaded, let's see how it works...

CSR - It ain't over till the fat lady sings

On Friday Wolmar delivered a powerful scoop.

He claimed that Petrol-head had signed off the DfT's reduced budget and would be joining Star Chamber, pronouncing on the departmental budgets of fellow ministers.

Interestingly the Treasury today confirmed that five Whitehall departments have reached agreement on spending cuts: Treasury, Cabinet Office, Foreign Office, Environment and Communities.

Now transport isn't on the list.

Which means one of two things.

Either the Treasury is trickling out the information - saving the 'good' transport news for later...

Or there are still some in DafT fighting a rear-guard action to preserve some semblance of a transport budget post 20th October.

Eye hopes it's the latter and encourages those fighting to preserve the shape of today's railway to redouble their efforts!

UPDATE: This just in from Wolmar...

I'd just like to make the following comment on the above:

My new book, Engines of War, will be launched with a lecture at the German Gymnasium, Pancras Road next to St Pancras, on the evening of Tuesday September 28th at a charity event in aid of the Railway Children.

Just turn up on the day at 18:00 for 18:30 or for advance tickets visit the Railway Children website or just call 01270 757596.

Frankly the Eye will be glad when he's delivered this. Please sign up, it's for a very worthy cause.

DB fails to finish race it never started

It rather looks as if our Teutonic friends are behaving in typically high handed fashion!

Much huffing and puffing from DB's Chief Executive, Rüdiger Grube, who claimed on the BBC Today programme yesterday that "safety bureaucracy" was preventing ICE3 trains operating between London and Frankfurt in time for the Olympics.

But what's this?

According to the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority DB hasn't even submitted a request to operate through the Chunnel yet!

Richard Clifton, the head of the UK delegation said “I cannot understand any statement that what is holding up his service is safety procedures relating to the Channel tunnel”.

Clifton claimed that once a request was received it could be dealt with in a couple of months.

Clearly DB is softening up the market for another 'great betrayal' myth when the much trumpeted service fails to start.

Railway Garden Competition - Paris Nord

These pictures taken at the southern end of the Eurostar branch by Herb Aceous...

Taken as I prepared to board the 18:13 to St Pancras on the 13th September.

Nationalised railways flex their muscles...

This from Rose Hill...

In the very week that the European Commission publishes its Recast of the First Railway Package, is it any co-incidence that ATOC publishes its proposals to re-monopolise the UK rail sector?

Around a third of UK franchises are now owned, or partly owned by European state owned railway companies, who make no secret of their dislike of liberalisation.

Imagine the joy if the UK turned its back on it after all and went back to those heady days when we all worked together in a single company in a low cost, cheap and cheerful, kind of way.

Except of course there would have to be more regional companies now – a German one, a French one, a Dutch one and so on.

Of course that would be ok, because they’re all used to working together.

The French and German governments in fact met recently to discuss their opposition to the Recast and by sheer chance, SNCF have now discovered that it will be far too expensive to operate passenger trains in Germany after all. Just fancy that!

Mind you, at least the state owned passenger operators have extensive experience of managing track and signalling, unlike the bus companies who run the other two thirds of the franchises…

Time for slimed down Regulation?

This from Eunoia...

Served on a silver platter courtesy of BBC, Panorama and inevitably some terribly overpaid public sector workers you may wish to take a look at the Public Sector Pay database available on the BBC website.

It reveals that the 17th highest paid member of 'Ministerial Government' is none other than Dr Mike Mitchell of DafT, weighing in at a princely £202,000.

Not to be outdone however, the Office of Rail Regulation fires its opening salvo in the category of 'Non-Ministerial Government' at number 19, with only £175,000, a pitiful amount being taken home by Bill Emery, the Chief Exec.

But it doesn't stop there - ORR then churns out an impressive list of plus-£100k salaries:

at 50, £130,000 belonging to Juliet Lazarus, Director of Legal Services;
at 56, £125,000 belonging to Michael Beswick, Director of Rail Policy;
at 59, £122,500 belonging to Ian Prosser, Director of Rail Safety;
at 60, £122,500 belonging to Anna Walker, Chair (the Beeb handily notes she only need clock in 3 times a week);
at 62, £120,000 belonging to Lynda Rollason, Director of Corporate Services;
at 63, £120,000 belonging to John Roberts, Director of Rail Markets and Economics;
at 85, £115,000 belonging to Michael Lee, Director of Rail Performance and Planning;
and at 92, £110,000 goes home with Lynda Williams, Chief Inspector of Railways.

Exhausting, non?

Strangely ORR seems to rate Corporate Services more highly than Performance and Planning - which doesn't seem right.

With the rest of the industry tightening its collective belt it will be interesting to see what savings the ORR will make come 20th October...