Thursday, 30 June 2011

Poetry Korner - The Night Mail (updated)

This from Trailer Second, with apologies to W H Auden...

This is the Voyager crossing the Border
Standing room only, unless you pre order
Seating for the rich, corridors for the poor
The shop has sold out, the buffet no more
Revving up Beattock, claiming to be green
The wires above her, no pan to be seen
Birds turn their heads, as she approaches
Stare from the bushes, at her paltry 5 coaches

Cars in the fast lane can’t keep pace
Have comfortable seats and a lot more grace
Thro’ heather and weather but not fallen leaves
With approval ratings that no-one believes
Shoveling carbon over her shoulder
Nox, particulates, benzene, sulphur
Her weight fatigues the railway line
She’s ten minutes late but that’s on time

In the farm she passes no one wakes
All long gone to euro milk lakes
Dawn freshens but the toilet’s full
Snarling toward the urban sprawl
Scotland, independent nation
Soon an end to this vibration
Past rough estates and fast food chains
Dodging the stones from those with no brains

Call centres, offices, low cost homes
Tattooed teenagers with tweeting phones
Once steel and coal and engineering
Graffiti, flats and multi screening
Trainspotting here is not what it seems
But fuels the crime to pay for dreams
In the dark glens beside pale green sea lochs
Men read their e-mails

(Other urban sprawls are available)

Petrol-head puts on the knuckle-duster

Given the lukewarm response of the industry to McNulty it is perhaps not surprising that Cowardly Custard has had to get a bit fierce.

This from a Hammond statement on the McNulty Report and West Coast franchise, made in the House on the 19th June:

Longer franchises and a changed relationship with Network Rail will have a positive impact on the behaviour of train operators and their appetite for investment and risk taking.

However, I want to send a clear message that the new culture of co-operation in the rail industry, and the focus on cost reduction, is here to stay and is mandatory, not optional.

I can announce today that as a matter of policy for all future franchise competitions, a significant part of the assessment of bidders’ capability at the pre-qualification stage will be evidence of success in collaborative working and driving down costs.

Fighting talk indeed!

But is it enough of a stick to bring everyone back to the table, even those who have absolutely nothing left to lose?

Pointless signs - Basingstoke

Railway Garden Competition - Horsham

Railway Garden Competition - Peterborough Yard

UPDATE: This from 31154...

I think your picture of Peterborough Yard requires a new category - Railway Farming Competition perhaps?

Very clever, though.

They seem to have genetically modified their crop to grow a snowplough in the field!

Railway Garden Competition - Bristol Temple Meads