Monday, 8 November 2010

DfT Business Plan published

The DfT has published its 2011-15 Business Plan here

More to follow...

UPDATE: This doesn't bode well...

Dr Mike 'Death' Mitchell is still listed as Director of National Networks on page 28.

As ever DfT is master of its brief.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Richard Malins...

At last some good news in the Battle of the Barriers.

This from the same document:

B) Coalition Priorities The Department will no longer… …micromanage:

  • Local authorities by dividing their funding into numerous complex streams
  • Train Operating Companies with unnecessarily prescriptive requirements in rail franchise agreements
  • Local traffic management schemes with unnecessary requirements for central government approval
Perhaps DfT will now leave Sheffield Station alone?

Pointless signs - Northern Rail CCTV

This with a bowler tip to @jst1986, via Twitter.

Not strictly a pointless sign.

But let Eye be the first to conratulate Northern on its attention to detail.

How many managers does it take to run a franchise?

Telegrammed by The High Tea Party
So. Directly Operated Railways has published its accounts.

Amidst the usual self congratulatory PR puff there are one or two hard numbers.

Like the directors' remuneration for example.

Perhaps at some point the Department for Transport could explain why, in the Age of Austerity, we need an organisation like DOR to second guess the management decisions of East Coast's own well paid directors?

Meanwhile, trebles all round!

UPDATE: This from a reader who wishes to remain Anonymous...

Whilst the DfT Business Plan published today claims that:

We will also pursue our wider transparency agenda through publishing details of:

  • Pay (senior staff salaries online from October 2010)
It would appear that such transparency does not extend to state owned East Coast.

According to yesterday's Mail on Sunday...

East Coast Main Line (ECML), which runs the troubled London-to-Edinburgh high-speed route, claimed that publishing the [salary] details ‘could lead to unrest within our workforce’.

Perhaps the DfT hopes that by having DOR manage East Coast it will make the nationalised operator look sufficiently arms length.

A worth while use of taxpayers money to save ministerial blushes?

UPDATE: This from Anonymous 2...

There was a robust justification for Barbie Rail, by Rail Barbie. in the Guardian on Friday.

Although reading the article it seemed to be all about East Coast rather than Directly Operated Railways.

Are they perhaps related?

Securing the line - DRS and policing the railway

Telegrammed by Our International Correspondent
The legendary impartial TV reporting of Sky News will be under detailed scrutiny by Direct Rail Services at their Carlisle HQ this week, after some rail-related unpleasantness in Germany.

Sky says (without attribution) that 17,000 Polizie are deployed against 250 Greenpeace protestors blocking a train of reprocessed nuclear waste in transit to a deep level waste storage depot in Northern Germany.

DRS will be watching events closely because although they were set up by BNFL when the late Max Joule got hacked off with Railfreight Distribution and later EWS and decided to have his own train set, they are now a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, sharing with Barbie Rail the distinction of being a nationalised train operator.

NDA is responsible for the demolition of our nuclear legacy of Magnox Power Stations, and identifying deep level sites to store the glowing waste – a £12 billion project, for which public consultation ends on 24 November.

NDA have said that rail will be preferred over road as a matter of policy and so all the rail haulage work is heading DRS’s way.It is, after all, what they do, and they have been meticulously developing their loco fleet in anticipation, including 24 of the latest low-emission Class 66s.

But security for the lucrative traffic may be a headache.

The timings and routing of DRS nuclear trains are not published – thanks to Section 79 of the Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 - but somehow Greenpeace finds them.

British Transport Police can field 2,837 bobbies, although not all at once or in the same place.

The Polonium Plod can provide another 1000 officers.

If Sky’s numbers are right (a very big IF) and if Greenpeace UK are as effective as their German colleagues (rather less of an IF), the decommissioning project is short of policing resources – by 13,000 bodies.

Fortunately £12 billion should neatly mop up all the redundant county force coppers who fall victim to the Spending review, creating the Best Little Police Force money can buy.

IEP - Three wrongs don't make a right

Telegrammed by Our Man at 222 Marylebone Road
This from the Sunday Express...

The other schemes being examined ahead of this week’s crunch decision include the electrification of several lines and a £7.5 billion order for Intercity Express trains under the Intercity Express Programme (IEP). Provisional bidder for the order is Agility Trains, a consortium led by Japan’s Hitachi.

IEP, potentially the most significant rolling stock investment programme in the UK for more than 30 years, will provide a new generation of trains to serve Britain’s long-distance routes.

The provisional requirement is for between 500 and 2,000 vehicles for the East Coast Main Line.

The Agility consortium is under pressure to cut the costs of its bid, with ministers using the threat of alternative options to extract a better deal. The alternatives include “re-engineering” the existing Intercity 125 trains or buying cheaper electric trains.

2,000 vehicles for the ECML?

Not so much Rail Barbie as Hail Barbie if she can pull this off!

Meanwhile the DfT spin meisters are still peddling the line that buying the wrong train for the wrong services at the wrong time is a shrewd move if it is cheap enough.

WCML - frying pan to fire

Exciting news from DB owned Alliance Rail.

The putative Open Access Operator is proposing a range of interesting new services on the West Coast Main Line, once Moderation of Competition restrictions designed to protect Virgin end in 2012.

But what's this?

Eye thought Open Access was all about bringing competition and customer choice to the railways.

But a quick glance at Yoghurt Rail's Track Access Application reveals the following:

Perhaps no surprise that Alliance Rail's state owned parent is happy to see the dead hand of a monopoly restored to the route.