Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Villiers vignettes - Yet another correction...

Another apology from Cruella for misleading the House...

The Minister of State for Transport (Theresa Villiers): I regret to inform the House that there was an inaccuracy in the answer I gave to Parliamentary Question 71220 on 13 September (Official Report, Column 1072W), about information held for each individual transaction undertaken by British Transport Police using the Government Procurement Card in (i) 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10.

The correct answer is that this Government is committed to transparency and we believe the information regarding Government Procurement Cards for this financial year is the most relevant. Central Government Departments are now publishing any transactions over £500 on their websites, starting with 2011/2012 Quarter 1 (April — June) data and thereafter on a monthly basis. The cost of work required to obtain, contextualise and report data for previous years would exceed the cost limits of a Freedom of Information request or a Parliamentary Question.

For purposes of transparency, the Department for Transport now lists GPC spend on its website. This includes details of spend by the British Transport Police.

What's that noise? That is the sound of the buck not actually stopping anywhere!

UPDATE: This from Chionanthus Virginicus...

I see from the DfT's GPC transparency lists, that the monthly payments to Virgin Rail Projects for maintenance of Pendolino Set 54 is £66,666.66.

Can we expect it to be named 'The Beast'?

FGW runs Shake, Rattle and Roll special

This from Sir Felix Pole...

I thought Eye readers might be interested in FGW's farewell tour for the Class 142 'Pacer' units as they depart the West Country? (shome mishtake shurely? Ed).

I'm glad to say that the traditions of the Great Western Railway are still being upheld!

You will note the rather sniffy reference to the 'LSWR route from Salisbury'.

UPDATE: This from Banker76...

Maybe Northern will organise a similar ‘Welcome to the Pacers’ tour around parts of the network where luckless commuters have already been enduring them for 25 years or more.

Then again, perhaps not…

UPDATE: This from a disgusted Major Disaster (FPL and Bar)...

There will be no such celebrations on Northern Rail when they arrive here.

Our memories go back to the days when the 305's ended up in the Manchester area after they were replaced by 310's on the LT&S.

Once again the flabby South demonstrates its contempt for those oop North!

UPDATE: This from the Oft Forgotten South West...

So Major Disaster remembers the 305s?

How lucky for him. Down in the South Wales and West region we have no wires at all, so have never seen such electrickery!

The demise of the FGW 142s will not bring the presence of Pacers in this area to an end; we still have all the 143s and in South Wales there is a not insubstantial fleet of 142s, sent here by a generous North West in exchange for some Sprinters. And FGW's 142s were payment for a large batch of 158s, which Northern seems to be keeping.

There are some newer trains on Manchester and Birmingham-bound services but for internal and London-bound workings we haven't got a single passenger vehicle less than 20 years old.

Might I suggest that the North, which has commuter trains with such 21st Century luxuries as air conditioning and disabled toilets, ensures that future complaints about rolling stock emphasise the disparity with the 'South East' rather than merely the flabby South?

And then we can all join in with the ritual complaints about the shortage of Electrostars north and west of Watford.

Tweetalike - On subsidies...

This from Logisitical...

Stephen Gastlier, Road Lobbyist, in the Guardian Comment Is Free section on Monday: "Even if rail travel was to double – which it won't, not least because rail users are heavily subsidised – it would still be a minority activity."

Christian 'World's Greatest Living Transport Correspondent' Wolmar yesterday on twitter: "Extra coaches for overcrowding on FGW will cost govt extra £29m.Shows how railway economics is entirely dependent on subsidy from taxpayer."

Are they perhaps related?

UPDATE: This from Banker76...

The good Prof. appears to have forgotten that without those subsidies, tens of thousands of extra commuters would make the road network unuseable.

And The World’s greatest Living etc etc has also clearly forgotten that it is the madhouse economics of the fragmented, privatised railway that make many of them necessary in the first place.

UPDATE: This from Ithuriel...

And the World's Greatest etc overlooks the £3.5 billion in direct grant propping up Network Rail

Pro-rata that onto variable track access charges and any additional train is completely unaffordable.

An open letter to Justine Greening

This open letter to Justine Greening has been copied into Eye by a Mr Reginald Perrin of Sunshine Desserts...

Dear Mrs Greening

I understand that your Department has today confirmed yet another timetable slippage - this time involving the order for new Thameslink rolling stock which will now not be signed until the New Year.

If I might paraphrase the letter I previously sent to the Traffic Manager, British Rail (Southern Region):

It is rapidly becoming apparent to me that your officials are not only not competent enough to hold their jobs, but they could not even run a game of strip-poker in a Turkish brothel.

It should be obvious, even to a retarded Belgian hamster, that all of your train orders should be re-timed to take eleven months longer.

Yours Faithfully,
Reginald I. Perrin