Sunday, 30 January 2011

Another one bites the Dust

After GNER and National Express failed to run a franchise, a passenger "open-access" operator in Wrexham & Shropshire has failed. DB Schenker (the government owned German Rail Operator (sic)) pulled the plug after further losses.

Having been top of the Customer Survey ratings of all UK rail operators for the past 6 months it seems service alone is not enough to keep passengers paying. The convoluted route taking too long to travel to London seems to have been the factor. Virgin Trains (and Chiltern Railways, also owned by DBS) objected to the competition from stations along the route from Wrexham to London served by Virgin thus meaning that there was no real choice for passengers.

I have seen Grand Central trains pass through Doncaster with empty seats, but East Coast trains with standing room only; so in what is supposed to be a competitive market, "open-access" operators have their hands tied before they even begin.

Just look at the Freight operators which have failed despite been profitable and with contracts in place (Fastline being the obvious one).

It seems that the government want to put us all back in our cars rather than invest in rail; so they can get more revenue from Fuel Tax. So if anybody is reading this, please travel by trains when you can, find the cheapest fares and don't let the ConDem government get more Tax from you......

Friday, 31 December 2010

£5000 to commute between York and Newcastle

Phillip Hammond, our Transport Minister, and part of the ConDem farce of a government is slowly killing off our railways. In true Tory style they are strangling investment in the railways and forcing commuters to pay £5000 per annum to commute between Newcastle and York.

This car-loving Tory seems hell bent on spending billions on a high speed line between London and Bimingham rather than using the money to improve rail travel for those who need it. Given that cuts in journey times between London and Birmingham are not really sufficient to make any change in peoples business habits, the huge increase in fares necessary to fund High Speed Rail will also mean passenger numbers will not meet expectations, thus creating a huge white elephant.

Is it me or does this increase in prices in rail travel coincide with a spike in petrol prices; thus putting commuters in a real quandry about what mode of transport to use. Pay huge increases in rail fares or extortionate prices for petrol; thats the choice. Either way, the ConDems don't worry as they can afford it with their millions in the bank, and the savings from their offshore investments (hey Gideon, ;-))

Don't worry though nobody will have a job soon due to the ConDem policies, so maybe I shouldn't be so bothered.......

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Its been a while, but NUFC restarts my blog....

Kevin Nolan strikes the first goal in the Toon's 3-1 victory over Liverpool, and starts Alan Pardew's managerial tenure at St. James' Park with a win.

Of course I have seen it all before, going back years........

Anyway, watch this space for more news and views....

Friday, 23 July 2010

Political Views have new Blog!

In order to prevent this blog completely being taken over by my increasingly agitated views on the ConDem coalition I have joined with by better half in starting a new blog....

Some rail related views may still stray onto here from time to time, but mostly these will be written by the ConDem Nation 2010 Transport Correspondent.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Steam Engines are Good for the Soul

I have not really talked about my love of Steam Engines, but my love of trains and also photography has led me to start a small photo business on the Web (

My interest in trains started when my Mum and Dad bought me a train set, then to pass the time I started to write down train numbers when I was 11, and I caught the bug. Being only 3 when steam in the UK ended, my interest was mainly diesels (Deltics sound almost as good as a Spitfire!), but Steam was always there in the background.

Now I am older, steam is probably more interesting to me. Gone is the variation in trains, they are now all the same shape and bland.

Steam trains evoke all kind of emotions, in most people. I see it when we visit railways as a family, most are not enthusiasts, but everyone loves the sound and most like the smell... For me steam engines are living things; breathing, sighing, sometimes yelling, warm and full of movement. Ang puts up with this, and so do the kids; but our smallest (despite being a girl) loves trains, well Daddy thinks so anyway!

If you get a chance visit your local railway and support them. Today's railways are increasingly just a means of getting from A to B, but preserved lines allow a means of escapism, a look back at more relaxed times, when children entertained themselves (LOL!) and people were generally more sociable!

Take time to look at an engine, see the movement, breathe in the atmosphere and I can assure you that you will slow down a bit; trust me its Good for the Soul.....

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

£161.4m of our money wasted by Gove

Quick post tonight.... Michael Gove, our Education Secretary has with great zeal cancelled the £55billion school building programme. The cost to taxpayers has been revealed to be £161.4m (at least I suspect) of money spent on planning, etc.

And who foots the bill, you and me........

Monday, 12 July 2010

Food Standards Agency to be scrapped

My friends in the Coalition Government are at it again. They are to scrap the Food Standards Agency. Andrew Lansley (Health Secretary pictured above) has done a deal with Food business's that if they help pay for an advertising campaign for a healthier lifestyle he will scrap future legislation on stricter controls.

Oh, and he will save (apparently) £1billion in the process. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, not only do the Tories/Lib Dems not give a stuff about the poor, they are going to allow food manufacturers to help people become more unhealthy whilst paying for smiley adverts telling us all not to be fat.

I really hope Labour get their act together in opposition, this country needs them back.....