Monday, 30 September 2013

HS2 to offer cash back for each mile built - Shocker

This from The Hoots-mon...

According to the BBC on HS2:

"Can a railway be worth £121m per mile?"

Mere bagatelle!

Consider the triumph that is the Edinburgh tram system. £1billion for 8 miles = £125m per mile.

So. Time for a new unit of HS2 cost: for each 'Edinburgh Mile' you get £4m change.


New Thameslink franchise learns lessons from ICWC fiasco

This from Leo Pink...

According to the Thamelink, Southern and Great Northern invitation to tender:

The outcome of a rail franchise competition is of national significance within the United Kingdom and is likely to attract public and media attention. Bidders shall not and shall ensure that their Representatives, Affiliates and their Affiliates’ Representatives shall not (i) issue any press notice, press release or statement in relation to the franchise letting process or their Bid without the prior written consent of the Secretary of State; or (ii) use media or communication channels in a way that might reflect adversely and unfairly on the industry, its participants or the integrity or outcome of the competition.

Quite so.

On no account should the integrity of the DfT be questioned, no matter what the outcome of the competition.

Good to see lessons from the West Coast fiasco have been well and truly learned in Marsham Street!

Cinders - you shall not go to the ball

This from The 10 Cities...

Eye favourite Beardie Branson hosted two weekends of parties this month - to thank Virgin Trains' employees for hitting record satisfaction scores of 92%!

To enable onboard staff to share in the celebrations, without impacting on customers, a number of office managers volunteered to help aboard trains.


The RMT responded by balloting for industrial action over managers doing members' jobs!

Railways - dontcha love 'em?

Eurostar to bring 'shabby-chic' to ECML?

Good news for fans of the crumbled edge of quality!

According to the Yorkshire Post...

CHANNEL Tunnel high-speed train company Eurostar is bidding to operate a key rail route which runs between London and Scotland via Yorkshire.

Eurostar is launching a joint bid with French company Keolis to run the East Coast line.

No doubt Eurostar's high quality rolling stock (sic) will convince the DfT that the company should also be entrusted with the UK's premier InterCity route?

UPDATE: This from Entraineur Rugby...

I must take issue with your shabby-chic vision of a Eurostar-run East Coast service.

They are quite clear in the Yorkshire Post article that they are only looking for a minority stake.

Surely they won't be in charge of the trains?

Probably just the website.


Thursday, 26 September 2013

DfT issues ITTs for LTS and Thameslink 3000

This from the DfT... 

The first invitation to tenders have been published by DfT since launch of a new rail franchising schedule.

The government has today (26 September 2013) published 2 invitations to tender (ITT) for the Essex Thameside and Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) rail franchise competitions. 

These are the first to be issued to bidders since the Department for Transport launched its new rail franchising schedule in March.

They have been shaped by the recommendations made by the independent Brown review into rail franchising. 

ITTs ask bidders to set out detailed proposals of what they will deliver should they win the franchise competition.

Rail Minister Simon Burns said:

"Rail franchising has been a force for good on our railways and the department has been working hard to roll out its new franchising schedule. 

"These are the first invitations to tender to be issued since the independent Brown review into rail franchising, which endorsed the government’s approach to the railways.

"We are now looking for innovative bids that provide value for money for taxpayers and put passengers right back at the heart of our railways." 

It is anticipated the successful bids will be announced in May next year. The Essex Thameside contract will begin in September 2014 and run for 15 years.

The Thameslink and Great Northern elements of the TSGN franchise will start in September 2014 with the Southern element being phased in by July 2015. The franchise will run for 7 years. 


Pointless signs - York

This from @VernonBaseley...

They're below you!

Railway Garden Competition - Welwyn Garden City

A word on matrix management

As a service to the industry Eye thought it timely to revisit the Laidlaw Inquiry findings into the ICWC debacle:

Deficiencies in organisational structure and resourcing

7.15 The Inquiry team has considered the organisational changes at the DfT in early 2011 and the impact of multiple changes in leadership and the significant reduction in resources at the DfT over the relevant period. I consider that these organisational changes and resourcing constraints contributed to the flaws in the ICWC franchise process and adversely impacted the DfT’s effectiveness in identifying and/or resolving those flaws. Specifically, I would draw out the following material points in this regard:

7.15.1 until late 2010 the DfT’s activities in relation to refranchising were organised under a single Director-General (“DG”) (refer to Appendix G for details). From late 2010, a client provider relationship, effectively a partial matrix structure, was put in place, with full implementation of the organisational redesign completed in May 2011. This resulted in rail franchising responsibilities within the DfT being split across three DGs (as illustrated in Appendix G). As a result, there was no single accountable lead within the DfT for rail refranchising as a whole; 

Matrix management structures? Treat with caution!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Adonis in Brighton - Shocker

Eye was lamenting the silence from Andrew Adonis earlier this week, when Ed Balls put the boot into HS2.

Where was Lord Adonis, our very own High Speed Evangelist?

Now the truth can be told!

Pictured on Brighton seafront...

Please form an orderly queue...

Higgins to HS2 - Reactions

So farewell to both Doug and Clinton Leeks.

Today's announcement is perhaps a tacit admission that HS2 was losing both the PR battle and political consensus.

Happily, David Higgins appointment appears to be playing well...

Even Mr Grumble knows it's the right answer...

And this from the East Midlands mafia, better known as the Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum...

"David Higgins has achieved great things at Network Rail, he has transformed the organisation into one that listens to its customers and the communities it serves. His experience as CEO of the Olympic Delivery Authority means he also has first-hand experience in delivering complicated, high value and politically sensitive projects both on time and to budget.

"We look forward to David taking the reins at HS2 and are confident that he will create a transparent and engaged organisation that will deliver the new North-South railway that this country so desperately needs.

Very good. Carry on.

Higgins to HS2 - the fight back begins!

This from HS2 and Network Rail...


Doug Oakervee has announced today that he will be standing down as Chairman of HS2 Ltd at the end of the year.

His successor has been announced as current Network Rail Chief Executive Sir David Higgins, who will join HS2 Ltd on 1st January 2014 on a part time basis before taking up the post full time from March.

Doug Oakervee a distinguished civil engineer and former Chairman of Crossrail Ltd took up the post of HS2 Ltd Chairman in April 2012. He has overseen the development of the detailed proposals for the new High Speed 2 line and laid a firm foundation for the delivery of the largest rail project seen in the UK in more than 100 years.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:

“The fantastic work that Doug Oakervee has delivered as Chairman of HS2 Ltd is testament to the experience and expertise that he brought to this role.

“His energy and professionalism have ensured that the detailed proposals for Phase 1 of the country’s first high speed line north of London will be introduced to Parliament on schedule later this year.

“The appointment of Sir David Higgins to replace Doug Oakervee ensures that we will continue to have leaders at the heart of HS2 who have a track record of delivery. His experience at both Network Rail and as Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority – where he oversaw construction of the magnificent Olympic Park, a legacy which will be enjoyed by generations - will be essential to ensure we deliver HS2 on time and on budget.”

Mr Oakervee will remain in post to oversee the introduction of the Government’s Hybrid Bill before the end of this year. The Bill will secure Parliamentary approval for Phase 1 of the 350 mile route between London and Birmingham, allowing work to start in 2017 and freeing-up essential capacity for passengers and freight across the rail network.

HS2 Ltd Chairman Doug Oakervee said:

“I believe HS2 is vital to the growth of the UK economy and will deliver the capacity our rail network sorely needs. Sir David is the right man to continue the delivery of this project. I am delighted at his appointment and am confident that alongside Alison Munro our Chief Executive he will continue to drive the scheme forward.

“I am proud of all that I have achieved, particularly that we will be bringing the Hybrid Bill to Parliament by the end of the year, after which I will be standing down. I am pleased to have been able to play a key role in delivering this project which will serve the country for many generations to come.”

Chief Executive of Network Rail Sir David Higgins said:

“I am delighted to be taking up this role. Working at Network Rail I know the challenge we have ahead with capacity on the railways – they are real and we need to take action now.  I also know the significant benefits that improved journey times between our northern cities will bring not just to the north, but the UK economy as a whole.

“HS2 is the right solution.  It is vital for both passengers and the economy and will put the UK in a different league in terms of infrastructure. My first priority will be to rigorously scrutinise costs to ensure they remain under control.
 “HS2 presents a strategic opportunity for this country and I am determined to make sure we take it by delivering a railway that will allow business and communities to prosper in the long term.”

Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd Alison Munro said:

"Doug Oakervee has been an inspirational Chairman who brought industry knowledge and a proven track record of delivering large, complex rail projects to his tenure at HS2 Ltd.

"In David Higgins HS2 Ltd has secured a proven leader with drive, passion and experience.

"Our new Chairman will bring with him a fantastic track record of delivery thanks to the success of the London Olympic Games.  My team and I look forward to working with him as we move into the next chapter of delivering this vital project."


About time and quite right too!

Silver Stump Watch - Liverpool St in mufti

This from Tiny Sleigh...


Labour plans ensure Pacers have a long future?

So. This is Ed Miliband's big idea! 

"The next Labour government will freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017. 

"The companies won't like it because it will cost them money. But they have been overcharging people for too long because of a market that doesn't work. It is time to reset the market." 

Quite so.

However, Energy UK has responded by saying “Freezing the bills may be superficially attractive, but it will also freeze the money to build and renew power stations, freeze the jobs and livelihoods of the 600,000 plus people dependent on the energy industry and make the prospect of energy shortages a reality, pushing up the prices for everyone."

Just what we need with an expanding electrified network. 

Time to dust off plans for new build DMU fleets.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The elephant in the room at Labour's Party Conference

Cynics might be tempted to suggest that Ed Balls wobble on HS2 is a smoke-screen for the non-debate of the year.

According to LabourList Maria the Eagle was forced to shelve a debate on rail renationalisation.

Good news for 'thinly capitalised equity profiteers' everywhere.

Instead, the Shadow Secretary of State has renewed her calls for DOR to be allowed to bid for the East Coast franchise and for rail services to be provided on a not for profit basis.

One owner group is clearly taking this to heart and has shipped its entire European management team to an away-day jolly in Majorca!

All right for some. 

But who could this generous owner be?

Eye just hopes they all arriva home safely.

Monday, 23 September 2013

New Chairman of HS2 announced!

This from Jeanne d'Arc de Triomphe... 

Attendees at Thursday's National Rail Awards were treated to a scoop in the event programme!

Apparently a suitable broom cupboard is already under construction...

Scotrail to run Manchester rail services - Shocker

This from the Vice Marshall... 

A small presentational error at Thursday's Greengauge 21 HS2 conference in Birmingham, when the Scottish Transport Minister was the speaker following Sir Richard Lees, leader of Manchester City Council.

 The slide was corrected after about 10 minutes.

HS2balls, or 'The Silence of the Lords'

Westminster and Brighton alight today with suggestions that Labour is wobbling on HS2

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said in his set piece conference speech:

"We continue to back the idea of a new north-south rail link.

"But under this government the HS2 project has been totally mismanaged and the costs have shot up to £50bn.

"David Cameron and George Osborne have made clear they will go full steam ahead with this project - no matter how much the costs spiral up and up. They seem willing to put their own pride and vanity above best value for money for the taxpayer.

"Labour will not take this irresponsible approach. So let me be clear, in tough times - when there is less money around and a big deficit to get down - there will be no blank cheque from me as a Labour Chancellor for this project or for any project.

"Because the question is - not just whether a new high-speed line is a good idea or a bad idea, but whether it is the best way to spend £50bn for the future of our country."

Andrew Adonis has mostly not been tweeting about HS2 today...

RMT unveils new negotiation tool - Shocker

This courtesy of @RMTLondon...

No surprises there then!

Railway Garden Competition - Victoria

This from Tiny Sleigh...

Note the bush growing on the station roof which compliments this platform 8 pastoral idyll.

HS2 - the fight back begins...

The Fact Compiler's latest column in Passenger Transport published on the 13th September...

The next edition of Passenger Transport is published on the 27th September.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Railway Garden Competition - Crossmyloof

This from The Raver...

This has to be the winner!

RSSB announces new CEO

This from RSSB...

RSSB announces new Chief Executive

RSSB has announced that Chris Fenton, formerly Director of Marketing and Strategy at Amey, is to be its new Chief Executive. Chris will join the organisation on 6 January 2014 and will take over from Len Porter who retires at the end of March 2014 as Chief Executive of RSSB.

As a Managing Director at Amey, Chris re-established Amey’s Business Services activities as a profitable and key activity for the company before taking responsibility for the company’s interest in Tube Lines in a complex period of political change and economic challenge. Prior to that, he was Managing Director for the testing and inspection division of BSI, after an early international career in Courtaulds. Common to all his roles has been a desire to get the most from an organisation through clear strategic goals and building strong teams. He trained as a material scientist at Cambridge and has an MBA from Manchester Business School.

Chris is also a Non-Executive Director at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority since March 2012 and sits on both their audit and remuneration committees.

Eye wishes Chris all the best in his new role. Len will be a hard act to follow...

First for listening to Shadow Ministers

Is Harriet Harman a regular user of First TransPennine Express? 

Commenting on the Newsnight presenter's decision to sport a beard Harriet said: "Its fine for Jeremy Paxman to go grey and grow a beard but not for a woman."

Evidently it's absolutely fine on First TPE!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Pointless signs - Manchester Airport

This from the Manxman... 

Spotted at Manchester Airport Station last week.

What must arriving visitors make of this (once they recover from walking into a solid wall!)?

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Pointless signs - Moor Park

This from Old MacDonald...

Perhaps 'Dangerous signs' might be a more apposite description?

Pointless signs - York

This from Spreadbet...

It appears that East Coast are so concerned about the effects of passive smoking at York, they're now telling us where smoking hasn't taken place!

Pointless signs - Euston

This from 37025...

I took this picture yesterday morning on platform 1 at London Euston. 

Nobody was about except the usual catering staff.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

How the Media works - bias at the Beeb?

Good to see that the fightback for capacity injecting HS2 has begun!

So what picture did the BBC's website use to illustrate the story?

As Newsnight might say: #fail

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

How the media works. No 94

This via @SarahKnapton, assistant news editor at Her Majesty's Daily Telegraph.

This 2002 picture has been doing the rounds of Twitter over the last week, so it might as well appear on Eye!

It shows a man who tolerates no opposition to his dictatorial style and
is utterly ruthless in pursuit of his objectives.

Embedded image permalink

He is talking to President Assad.

Strike a light!

The Fact Compiler's latest column in Passenger Transport published on the 30th August...

The next edition of Passenger Transport is published on the 13th September.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Strategy Leader or Master of Gibberish?

Good news for fans of plain English...

This gibberish from TSLG or FuTRO (nope, Eye neither)...

You're invited to FuTRO Monitor Jam (18th Sep 2013)

Come and make the future railway a reality. 

Following the successful launch of FuTRO, the TSLG has set the foundations for an ambitious open innovation programme. We are convening two Jam workshops for stakeholders in the rail industry and a diverse group of innovators to kick-start collaborations.

This first Jam will address The Universal Data Challenge - controlling the railway in a more joined-up and efficient manner by using multiple data sources in real time. 

Cont p94...

Presumably this drivel was written by someone for whom English is a second language? 

UPDATE: This from Fireman Sam...

Points for anyone who can identify a Jam (?) session.

Is that like the 07:18 from Winchester?

UPDATE: This from Pauline...

Sounds like they're all going to be making jam?

Perhaps as part of an innovative scheme to bring back on-board tea and scones?

Thursday, 5 September 2013

NR appoints Mark Carne as new CEO

A big Eye welcome to Mark Carne, Network Rail's CEO designate!

This from Network Rail...

Network Rail announces new chief executive

Network Rail has announced that Mark Carne, formerly executive vice president for the Middle East and North Africa for Royal Dutch Shell, is to be its next chief executive.

Mark will join the organisation on 6th January 2014 before formally taking over as chief executive from David Higgins on 1st April 2014.

As executive vice president for Shell in the Middle East and North Africa, Mark was responsible for the company's business in a vital but volatile region at a time of significant political change. He placed particular emphasis on developing local staff and businesses, supporting each country as they addressed the issue of unemployment – and in the process helped Shell achieve a strong position in countries such as Iraq.

Before taking on that role he was executive vice president and managing director for BG Group in Europe and Central Asia following a 21-year period spent in a variety of roles with Shell including responsibility for Shell’s oil and gas platforms in the North Sea and as managing director for Brunei Shell Petroleum. Earlier in his career he helped to lead the company's response to the disaster on the Occidental-operated Piper Alpha platform in the North Sea.

Network Rail's chairman, Richard Parry Jones, said: "Each and every day, Network Rail has to provide a safe and reliable railway for the travelling public as well as the train and freight operating companies, at the same time as working to improve the network to help us meet unprecedented growth in demand. That poses a unique set of challenges for any chief executive, demanding the skill and experience to translate engineering excellence into daily operations safely and effectively, as well as keeping the public informed of what we are doing and why.

“Through his work with Shell and BG Group in very testing and difficult environments, Mark Carne has shown that he has the necessary skill and global experience to build on, and develop further, what Network Rail has already achieved in meeting these challenges under the leadership of David Higgins. We thank David for all he has done for the company."

Mark Carne said: "The success of Network Rail is vital for Britain’s economy and this is an exciting time for the whole rail industry. I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead Network Rail and look forward to working with the team to drive performance to new heights.”

Notes to editors
  •  Mr Carne, 54, studied engineering at Exeter University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. He has strong Cornish roots and is an Independent Governor of Falmouth University. He is married with three children
  • In overall terms the remuneration package for the new chief executive will not exceed that for the current chief executive
  • Mr Carne’s base salary of £675,000 was determined following an exhaustive and independent process which compared the salaries of chief executives in both the public and private sectors given Network Rail's unique position as a not-for-dividend, independent company. The review concluded that the proposed salary reflected that unique status placing, as it does, the CEO's salary at a point between the two sectors
  • Mr Carne will not take any potential annual incentive payment for 2013/14

It is worth noting that there are precedents for senior managers transferring from the petrochemical world to transport.

So Eye hopes Mr Carne will take after Bob Reid II, rather then Dr Beeching!

UPDATE: This from Hans Anderson...

Surely what the railways needs is a Network Rail Chief Executive that takes after Bob Reid I

But then given post holders to date I suspect previous railway experience is seen blot on the CV…

UPDATE: This, perhaps surprisingly, from a Dickie Davies...

Eye readers may recall that the first Chairman of a small and now expired company called 'Railtrack' also came from the swashbuckling world of petrochemicals.

Presumably it is the the heady mix of big budgets and big politics that lures them in?

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Railway Garden Competition - Tottenham North Curve Tunnel

Wattage Watch - Peterbrorough

This from Oliver Cromwell...

All lights on Platform 3 at Peterborough station seem to be left on 24 hours a day. 

The sun was so bright at 9' this morning that it's hard to tell, but even the one above this sign was on!

Pointless signs - Hungerford Bridge

This from Globetrotter...

Does 'The Rail Authority' know the difference between 6 and 7?

Not to mention the abominable 0207, which is NOT a London telephone code!

(Unusually, Eye agrees with Globetrotter. The correct exchange is of course WATerloo. Ed)

Lowrie to Keolis as CFO

This from Keolis...

Keolis UK appoints first chief financial officer

UK public transport operator, Keolis UK, has appointed David Lowrie as its new Chief Financial Officer, to support its growing presence in the UK.

David moves into this newly created role with over 20 years of commercial experience including several high profile posts within the UK rail sector.

From an early career at KPMG and Powell Duffryn, he joined Prism Rail PLC as Group Financial Controller. He has since held a number of director level positions including Group Finance and Commercial Development Director at the Grand Central Group.

Very good, carry on.

Reading Upgrade - Ooops moment?

This from Citizen Smith...

...was this part of the grand plan or was it supposed to be in the right place first time round?

New track in place of old centre road for soon to be moved platform 7. I think.

Yellow mushroom was plonked in splendid isolation at Easter.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

How not to do PR. No 94

Eye congratulates the Press Officer Scotland for First UK Bus! 

Two suggestions.

In the first instance probably best not to send out a doco with tracked changes visible.

And secondly, don't then panic and send an email to all those you originally blind copied but this time listing all of them in the 'To' field. 

This tends to show the extent of the original c0ck-up and more importantly adds to your discomfort...

No matter - we've all done it, once!

Of course everyone will 'ignore the last e-mail' and look forward to the 'statement' that 'will be issued by Chelsea... at 2p. today'.

Meanwhile, Eye hopes the communications around depot restructuring in the Midlands and South East are going to plan

UPDATE: This from Nameless Bus Industry Journalist...

I received the said missive from First UK Bus, but noted that the actual media holding statement has just arrived from Chelsea at 15:13 rather than the promised '2p.'

Good to see First UK Bus are on top of punctuality!!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Pointless sign - Platform 6, Derby

Silver stump watch - be afraid, be very afraid

They are mutating!


Pointless sign - Class 450

This from Messrs Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub...

Where to begin?

Pointless signs - Burton upon Trent

This from the Wicked Weaver... 

Gateway to the National Forest (or so it says)?

Strikes me, we're already there.