Monday, 1 October 2012

Virgin offers animal petting as court date looms

As the date for Virgin's Judicial Review of the ICWC decision draws ever closer...

It is good to see that the needs of passengers are not being neglected. 

This from Virgin Trains...

Virgin Trains has joined forces with Staffordshire based animal education and therapy providers, Critterish Allsorts in a UK first to provide a pet therapy service at a railway station. The company will have a collection of animals available for commuters to sit with and pet. 

The idea is to give rail travellers a chance to unwind after their long journeys and busy working days, before the next leg of their journey. 

This will hopefully lead to calmer onward journeys for all of those that take the time to join in.

Eye wonders if Dodos will be on offer for stressed Virgin execs? 

Merseyrail has twitter meltdown

This from Globetrotter...

Has Merseyrail had a twitter meltdown?

After assuring followers that everything was running normally a strange string of messages appeared:

Initially there was no indication of which line, which services or even which stations might be affected.

Presumably the final message, signing off for the day, was because someone needed a lie down in a darkened room?

Virgin gets its day in court!

So purveyors of popcorn are in for a bumper month of sales!

Last Friday saw a pre-hearing for Virgin's application for a Judicial Review into the process behind the InterCity West Coast franchise award.

M'learned friends are expected to square up in court on the 17th or 18th of this month, with legal debates expected to last a number of days.

Hopefully all interested parties will remember that this Thursday is the cut off point for submitting evidence...

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

As no doubt the wheels of Justice will take many months to turn, DOR must now be a shoe-in for running InterCity West Coast from the 9th December.

Unless of course the newly emboldened ORR objects... 

NRESballs - Heroic travel tweet

This from Dr Strabismus...

The scenic route?

ORR blows raspberry at Marsham Street

As is well known the dead statist hands of mandarins at Marsham Street are doing their level best to kill off competition on the railways.

This of course comes as no surprise, as the control-freaks of Great Minster House have zero control over Open Access Operators, preferring to see paths granted to their own nationalised Directly Operated Railways or indeed the running dog Owner Groups bidding for franchises.

So bad news for Open Access Operators and of course passengers, who regularly score companies like Grand Central or Hull Trains much more highly in satisfaction surveys then their franchised peers.

But what's this?

Despite Rutman and La Greening having issued new directions and guidance telling ORR to squish Open Access aspirations (Eye passim) the plucky ORR issued the following on the 21st September in respect of Grand Central's desire to run additional services to the North East:

69. Clearly, the introduction of the proposed services would have a number of benefits for existing passengers, would promote the use of the network and would promote competition. It would also allow Grand Central to make more efficient use of its existing rolling stock, and plan its business accordingly. However, it would run contrary to the general guidance issued by the Secretary of State and would impact on the funds available to the Secretary of State, and would be unlikely to improve railway performance.

70. Where, as in this case, our duties do not all point in the same direction we are required to balance them. In particular, where the benefits to passengers of new competing services on the one hand are offset on the other by a negative impact on the funds available to the Secretary of State, we use the NPA test in order to help us strike the appropriate balance. As indicated above, this application passes the test. We therefore have decided to approve the application.

Who would have thought such bravery and independence existed in Kemble Street? 

No doubt Price and Co have been subjected to number of meetings with the new Secretary of State, sans coffee!