Tuesday, 26 February 2013

ABC circulation figures - An editor writes...

Dear Fact Compiler...

Following on your round-up of ABC figures a week or two back, a quick note to let you know that Rail Technology Magazine also put on readers, all through individual subscription requests rather than just bunging a load of copies out to irrelevant offices or depots or similar dodgy practices (shurely: '...rather than through meticulous database management and highly targetted mailings? Ed).

It’s now 9,118, up from 8,800 a year ago. We joined ABC in 2001.

We appreciate the implied tip of the bowler hat for allowing our figures to be audited!
As you say, it’s not a common enough practice among industry titles, especially the rail B2B sector, where we sit.

Adam Hewitt, Editor

Silver Stump Watch - Reading doomed

This from Concerned of Caversham...

Seems that NR are planning to deploy an impressive array of 'nad-busters' at Reading:

Lucky old Reading!

A case of poor regulation?

This from the ORR...

From: Data Portal 
Sent: 26 February 2013 11:19
To: Data Portal
Subject: Average age of Rolling Stock by TOC report - correction


Due to an error in the report design, the data for the ‘All’ category in the Average age of Rolling Stock by TOC had been displayed against the wrong quarters between 2009-10 Q2 and 2012-13 Q2.  This has now been rectified and the report currently displays data  for the appropriate financial quarters. 

The most likely cause for this error was due to changes in the way the data was loaded.  Now that the report has been amended this error should not occur again. In addition, we will amend our existing validation procedures to ensure further checks against raw data are undertaken. 

Apologies for any inconvenience that this may have caused you. 

What is it with spreadsheets and Government departments? 

UPDATE: This from The Sleeper... 

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

UPDATE: This, it would appear, from Morris the Man...

Non solum fumo speculisque, sed etiam tintinnabulis fistulisque fit.

DfT - Uniformly dreadful

So. The Public Accounts Committee has published its report into the cancellation of the InterCity West Coast franchise competition.

The accompanying press release is littered with phrases like "complete lack of common sense", "fundamental errors" "littered with basic errors", "failed to learn from previous disasters", "failed to heed advice from its lawyers", "failed to respond appropriately to early warning signs", "did not have proper oversight of the project" and comments that "the project showed a lack of leadership".

The release continues: "There was no single person responsible from beginning to end and, therefore, no one who had to live with the consequences of bad policy decisions...".

"We are astonished that the Permanent Secretary did not oversee the project because he was told he could not see all the information which might have enabled him to challenge the processes, although it was one of the most important tasks for which the department is responsible."

"Given that the Department got it so wrong over this competition, we must feel concern over how properly it will handle future projects, including HS2 and Thameslink. The Department needs to get its house in order and put basic principles and practices at the heart of what it does, with an appropriately qualified and senior person in charge of the project throughout and an accessible leadership team ready and willing to hear and act on warning signs."

Quite so.

Of course it is all too easy to snipe from the sidelines.

Therefore, Eye is determined to make a constructive contribution to helping DfT "get its house in order".

On page 42 of the PAC report is this telling gem:

£230,000 on uniforms that will never be worn!!!

Eye insists that all officials at the Department (as well as Villiers, Hammond and Greening) are required to wear these totems of profligacy when in Whitehall and on or about the railway.

Perhaps that might engender a greater sense of team spirit and visible accountability?

UPDATE: This from Alias Schmidt & Jones...

Hey, are there any picture of these uniforms? 

And are they now for sale somewhere?

 If so, where can I get one? 

If not why not?

Eye understands that they are in secure storage and ready to be used as required. Apparently there are sufficient for any large-ish size TOC!