Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Lookalike - Match of the Day?

UPDATE: This from Chianothus Virginicus

Not just a lookalike...

One got rid of the cap on wages... and the other got rid of the cap on fare rises.

Caps off all round! Chin chin.

IEP to be steamrollered as Foster rebuffed

Telegrammed by Ithuriel
Didn't DfT Rail promise that they would evaluate the Intercity Express Programme...

...alongside the credible alternatives recommended by Sir Andrew Foster?

Here is Petrol-head in the Commons yesterday:

"I said at the beginning of my statement, but perhaps I was being obtuse, that other major rail projects are under consideration, and I hope to be able to make an announcement to the House in the next few weeks.

"The Intercity Express programme is one of those under consideration. As the hon. Gentleman will know, it is an extremely complex package of projects, and the new bid that we have received from Agility Trains requires careful analysis at a technical, financial and legal level. That work is ongoing, and once we have completed it, I will be in a position to make an announcement."

No mention of credible alternatives.

Since DfT Rail's IEP team believe that there are no credible alternatives, it is clear that there is no point in considering them.

What a waste of Sir Andrew's time and our money.

And if the 'new bid' requires 'technical and financial' analysis then the 'legal' is essential as Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens will surely protest.

UPDATE: This from The Archer...

Based on recent events Alstom will be protesting whether the ‘new bid’ is a New Bid or not.

Incidentally, if Agility Trains do go ahead with their North East investment plans any chance we could rename the project 'Whey-aye EP'?

Trainy speakibold: Merseyrail

This from Rudi over at the Merseyrail Press Office...

It seems Eye's new Trainy Speakibold is catching on.

Witness this message from control:

"Netrail report a van has struck Ellens Lane overbridge at Port Sunlighty, no delay to services anticipated."

Deep joy!

Virgin promotes healthy eating

So who was the First Group senior executive whose Beardie Rail breakfast was dramatically curtailed on Monday morning?

Bemused customers witnessed the scene as Virgin staff served a breakfast to the industry big-wig, only to confiscate it minutes later.

Apparently the traveller's papers were deemed 'not in order', falling foul of Beardie Rail's restrictions on bearer pass dining

The usual fiver for any additional information...

Radio 4 on the benefits of DfT micromanagement

Telegrammed by Newhaven Marine
BBC Radio 4 broadcast a programme today fisking DfT over Parly Trains.

If you missed 'The Ghost Trains of Old England' well worth listening again on iPlayer.

For the benefit of those in Marsham Street: Railways generally provide something called a passenger service.

Service as in something that can be used by passengers and which appears in a timetable to enable said.

Sadly once the Department for Transport starts specifying timetables the term 'passenger service' is transmogrified into a fig leaf to cover DafT incompetence, which explains ghost trains the don't appear in timetables and trains that become taxis or charabancs.

And all because DfT didn't understand the closure processes that their own officials wrote into legislation.

Eye wonders who is responsible for this expensive nonsense and when they will be fired?

Failing that an undertaking from Petrol-head that we will see an end to timetable micro-management would be much appreciated.

UPDATE: This from Jim 'Nick Nick' Davison...

The town of Polesworth on the Nuneaton to Stafford route used to have a poor service of four trains a day. It is a fair size place with the remains of Polesworth Abbey and a needs a boost as years ago was a mining area.

To facilitate the west Coast mainline modernisation the trains were replaced by a substitute bus (for about four years).
During that time the station footbridge was demolished leaving the Up platform stranded.

No worries though as Railtrack's Act of Parliament for the works allowed compulsory purchase along the alignment including line of deviation so a strip of field would give access parallel to the railway to the road bridge. This was not done.

When the train service was being set up to run trains, the local authorities were told that because of pathing, if a train running on the 'slows' (this is a four track section) stopped at Polesworth, it could not stop at the next station Atherstone and vice versa.

Accordingly now only one train a day calls at Polesworth.

Another fact about that area is that the two towns of Walsall and Wolverhampton were linked by a train service that was so often under threat and cancelled, that many thought it had gone.

When the consultation for the new West Midlands Franchise came up, Network Rail (according to the DfT website that annoyingly has it under responses to Cross Country franchise consultation) responded supporting withdrawal of the trains so that the unit could be used elsewhere (Why ? Is it their business to do so?)

It is now annoyingly awkward once again to make journeys such as Shrewsbury to Walsall.

Alstom cannot tell its farce from its elbow

Telegrammed by Leo Pink...
As L'affaire Eurostar moves from Paris to London it is casting a fascinating light on national comedic stereotypes.

It began as pure Feydeau farce, with the two comedy detectives Borloo et Bussereau bursting out of the wardrobe to find Eurostar and Siemens in a clinch to cries of 'Ooh lal la, zey have bought ze forbidden trains!!'

But in Alstom's current hearing in the High Court in London we are seeing a comedy of embarrassment best typified by 'The Office'. Alstom's latest arguaments against the Siemens order are even more cringe-making than David Brent's dancing.

Of course, no strangers to national self delusion, Alstom may see themselves as heir's to Dumas' Three musketeers riding to London to rescue the Queen's diamonds.

Sadly Alstom is no D'Artangnan, more Brian Rix!

Eye looks forward to seeing the Frenchies' trousers fall down.

UPDATE: This from @DriverPotter...

Alstom for IEP - Gallic farce would add a new shine to an otherwise very British Balls-up.

UPDATE: This from the Answer = 42...

You've got it all wrong about Alstom.

They know their legal action against Eurostar is a waste of time and money but what can they do? They owe President Sarko (you remember, Carla Bruni's current husband) a favour!

You might remember a few years ago, Sarko, when Minister of Finances, bailed Alstom out when they got into a spot of bother. All very legal under EU rules, as the French Republic acted as an investor - he made a nice profit for the French taxpayer to prove it. And goodness knows the French taxpayer needs all the help he can get.

But the problem is that Alstom undeniably owes the little guy a favour. And right now, he's the one in a spot of bother. You know, strikes, riots, that sort of thing.

So his cunning plan is to use the Eurostar tender to work the French public into a righteous nationalistic snit against the Germans, British or, even better, both.

So he leans on Alstom to get stuck in against Siemens and Eurostar. Which they do but then 'forget' to tell the French media.

Here is the headline from Alstom's only press release on the subject published on the 7th October

"Regarding Eurostar's purchase of new trains, Alstom will make no comment on today's commercial discussions announced by the company".