Thursday, 31 January 2013

In the dirt at York

Oh dear!

Platform 10 at York today

Low speed and no injuries, suggestions of track spread...

Definitely not a good month for charter operators.

UPDATE: This from George Hudson...

Have NR got it in for Charter Operators?

I think we should be told!

HS2 unveils video...

This slightly strange video has been released by HS2 Limited.

Eye wonders if the odd shape of the passengers' heads points towards trains built in Germany?

UPDATE: This from Rabid Burns...

I notice in the map just before the end that the right hand branch of the "Y" in Scotland, avoids Edinburgh and crosses the Forth to serve Fife. 

Is this down to Lobbying by Fife Council? Do the good burghers of Edinburgh know? 

I think we should be told! 

Chiltern offers tip to DfT franchise team...


Ministers not responsible for ICWC fiasco - Official

Good news for the government in the Transport Select Committee's report into the InterCity West Coast fiasco!

We now know that the following is self evidently not the case:

“More than 45 million pounds of public money has been wasted, the department and the United Kingdom have suffered huge reputational damage and the railway industry is left in a state of uncertainty and therefore Ministers in post at the time of this fiasco should consider their position.”


Furthermore the following actions are not required:

“Ministers at the time must take responsibility for their mistakes and misjudgements.”

Quite so.

And how do we know that Hammond, Greening and Villiers should shoulder none of the blame? 

Because the following coalition members of the TSC voted against the above paragraphs being included in the final report:

  • Steve Baker (Con)
  • Karen Lumley (Con)
  • Karl McCartney (Con)
  • Adrian Sanders (LibDem)
  • Iain Stewart (Con)
Just fancy that! 

UPDATE: This from Diamond Bob...

I thought Eye readers might be interested in these wise words from iDave when reflecting on another leader whose organisation went seriously awry:

"People want to see real accountability for what has happened. When people have broken the rules, they should face the consequences and this needs a change of culture absolutely."

Yes, Prime Minister. Absolutely.

McLoughlin wins non-sequiter of the year award

Good to see that the DfT hasn't lost its skill at pretending a pig's ear is a triumph.

In today's press release from the Department on the future of the C2C, FGW, FCC and Southern franchises is the following gem from McLoughlin...

"As always our priority is to ensure these changes will not impact on services or our commitment to improving the railways. Our latest step towards delivering a high-speed rail network which will link many of our major cities by a new fleet of state-of-the-art trains is testament to how we are delivering on that commitment."

Presumably this is ministerial confirmation that the franchising debacle will now also not be resolved until the late 2020s?

UPDATE: This from Chionanthus Virginicus...
Aha -  we're going to have "state of the art" trains for HS2 are we?

So we must infer that DfT

  • have the necessary technical clairvoyance
  • have drawn up the specification of  the trains
  • have resolved any inter-operability issues with the "conventional" railway
An Epiphany moment... could they have been blinded by a bright object which has stopped over a birthplace in the North East?

FCC and FGW to carry on but share price drops

Good news for Tim O'Toole and First Group following today's announcement on the Thameslink and Great Western Franchises.

This from the DfT:

  • The Great Western franchise competition will be terminated. The current franchise will now run until October after the Department exercised its contractual right to extend the current contract with First Great Western by 28 weeks. Negotiations for an additional two-year contract will commence with the operator, while longer-term proposals will be set out in the spring. 
  • The Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise competition will be resumed with the Department working towards awarding a seven-year contract. The current Thameslink/Great Northern franchise operated by First Capital Connect ends in September but allows for a 28-week extension, which the Department intends to exercise. Negotiations will commence for a further contract of up to two years as part of the finalisation of the wider franchise programme.

Alas on opening trading the markets appear somewhat underwhelmed...

Eye can't imagine why.