Thursday, 14 February 2013

Dear Hatfield Colliery... You slag!

Please can you remove your slag heap from our railway?


Meanwhile, these taken today...

That is all.

Lawson's Arrived!

This via, ahem, Network Rail...

New Director, Maintenance and Operations Services

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Neal Lawson as director, maintenance and operations services within Network Operations, reporting to me. Neal joins us from First Capital Connect (FCC), where he is currently managing director.

This new post will give us a more joined-up, strategic view across Network Operations, which will help us to support the routes more efficiently and effectively.

Leading the central maintenance and operations services functions, Neal’s role will include the operating strategy, timetabling, national performance management, improving infrastructure reliability, improving operational and workforce safety, level crossings, CrossCountry and open access operators, stations and depots, and the coordination of a £1 billion capital programme covering a range of activities during control period five. 

Neal will also take on a new role within the company, becoming the client for the implementation of the European Train Control System on behalf of Network Rail. He will coordinate the operational, technical and commercial interfaces with the train operators.

Neal has extensive industry and technical experience. Prior to joining FCC, he was senior vice president, asset engineering at Metronet and vice president, engineering and product development at Bombardier. His comprehensive, senior experience in asset management, rail vehicle manufacturing and train operations make him an excellent addition to the Network Operations leadership team. His start date will be confirmed shortly.

I would like to thank Fiona Dolman, who stepped in as interim director, operational services when Dyan Crowther left the post to become route managing director for LNW. Fiona will return to her permanent role as head of operational planning, and will report to Neal. Mac Andrade, director, maintenance services will also report to Neal.


Silver Stump Watch - Euston

Time for an exciting new feature!

Introducing Silver Stump Watch.

In the Age of Austerity, where every penny counts, it is only right that the railway should invest heavily to prevent the merest possibility of some ne'er-do-well driving a vehicle onto railway property with the aim of committing some dreadful abomination.

This picture from Euston with a bowler tip to Strawbrick...

Presumably these magnificent Silver Stumps appearing across the network will deter those of evil intent, as they will now be forced to find a free parking space or take public transport before simply walking through these eyesores?

Does anyone really believe that these offer value for money or is this a visual manifestation of derriere covering?

Update: This from The Major...
York has some fine examples which serve only to provide a nuisance to those towing trolley bags (themselves a nuisance but let's not go there!).

I believe these stumps fall under the little-known 'Business Case Exemption (Security Measures and Ticket Barriers) Regulations 2011'.

First Class question from My Lord Berkeley

So. A director of First Class Partnerships is now leading franchising for DfT.

Meanwhile First Class Partnerships has form for advising Directly Operated Railways 'on preparations to take over' franchises, most recently on the West Coast:

On the 12th of February, My Lord Berkeley asked the following...

Lord Berkeley (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty's Government following the appointment of Pete Wilkinson as Interim Franchise Director at the department for Transport, what are the terms and conditions of his appointment; what is his expected remuneration; and what arrangements are in place to separate his activities at the Department for Transport from his other business interests.

Earl Attlee (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative)
Mr Wilkinson has been appointed on the terms and conditions of an interim member of staff. He has been appointed initially for a period of six months at a daily rate.

He has declared his interests in any actual or potential businesses to the Permanent Secretary and appropriate measures have been taken in accordance with the Civil Service rules and the terms of his appointment to address any potential conflicts of interest.

So that's all right then!

Pre-Valentine industry love-in lite?

This from Orville...

Yesterday, 200 or so of the industry's brightest and best attended the ORR's consultation workshop on NR's Strategic Business Plan.

NR put on a polished performance, with a number of senior executives there to present all that the Plan has to offer.

And the ORR? 

Did they perchance outline their emerging views and concerns with the plan and its costs? Were Walker, Price, and Ross there listening intently as industry grilled NR on the details?

Er, no.

Why tie down senior management talent focusing on the industry's view of the 'greatest investment in the railways since the Victorian era' (sic) when there are much more interesting things to do?

Such as managing the team of 60 ORR staff, or 21% of total headcount, busy duplicating the role of Passenger Focus (shurely "
working on 'consumer protection' matters"? Ed).

Aye, it's a fine life at One Kemble Street.