Jump to content




Photo
* * - - - 2 votes

Will they ever restore the Oxenholme - Windermere service ?




  • Please log in to reply
349 replies to this topic

#326 Mike Storey

Mike Storey

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,422 posts
  • LocationCharente Maritime, France

Posted 01 July 2018 - 23:36

But in effect there's nothing new there.  We (including me personally in two successive posts) spent years - 5 in my case - reducing staff to cut costs in train planning in BR days.  The essential difference perhaps was that every time we looked at potential cost savings we considered what work we could shed and told those seeking the cuts what would have to go in order to make the cuts.  But the cost saving aspects will have in many respects little to do with the problems created by centralising train planning to a non-railway location (in traditional terms) on NR which is also poorly situated when it comes to recruiting the necessary skills from operating companies.

 

Equally NR would have been failing in their management role if they did not make clear to the ORR that if cuts were made certain consequences would result.  It is hardly a difficult task to estimate train planning workloads within reasonable limits when you know the nature of the tasks and the abilities needed to perform them plus whatever the various IT systems can, or can't deliver.  Workload troughs and peaks have hardly changed as almost all are calendar driven and can be be assessed well in advance of planning what to do with your workforce, permitting leave, planning training and so on.  If the ORR accepted the delays in process which would result then it is down to them and they should be involved in any inquiry into the recent failings.  But equally it is 100% in NR's hands to say what their response was to any proposed cuts and what impact they would have on timely completion of the various tasks.

 

Being tasked to save money is one thing - doing it in an effective way which does not damage processes unless those processes are revised is something very different.  For example if processing the annual timetable changes takes longer because there are fewer staff doing it then you alter the schedule for the overall process by allowing extra time for that part of it - the amount of work doesn't really vary even if extra trains are being added especially extra trains running on a reasonably fixed pattern/interval service.  The amount of work for special traffic alterations is usually remarkably consistent and we know that in some cases - Christmas/New Year now being the most obvious example - that the time available to do the work is extremely limited therefore it needs extra people to do it in a timely manner, which is great as long as it doesn't clash with any other workload peaks (which is quite likely with December TT change date - and is the main reason I objected to the shift to a December change date when it was discussed at the European Timetable Conference).

 

Obviously. But the point is made extensively in the articles (not just one) that there was an enormous disconnect between what the ORR believed was NR's task and what the DfT believed it was going to be. Just how much NR protested, acceded or were bludgeoned between the two, is not available to public scrutiny, as yet. A key point made in the final article is the very strange situation of HMG appointing the very person who ordered the cuts in the first place, to now undertake an official enquiry into the causes. The inference is that an objective outcome is questionable.

 

I think you, Nigel Harris, wannabe MP Christian Wolmar and Philip Haigh, would have a most interesting discussion.


  • Funny x 1
  • Like x 1



#327 E3109

E3109

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 351 posts

Posted 01 July 2018 - 23:58

Part of the problem with our railways, is that we never seem to get a minister who cares about the system sufficiently enough to make a positive difference.
If I was a government transport minister (and many of you would say thank god he's not!) my passion would be the railway and to a lesser extent, roads.
The trouble is, most ministers see the DfT as a mere stepping-stone towards furthering their career, and thus the transport system invariably becomes neglected or at worst, mismanaged.

I would like to make an exception towards Mr Portillo mind. I realise he's not everyone's cup of tea and he's certainly not without his faults (who is) but at least he had/has the railway at heart.

I'd be wary of bringing Haigh, Harris or (especially) Wolmar into the fray as advisors to our industry though.

At best, they're journos with a little bit of knowledge but not enough.
A small amount of knowledge can be more dangerous than none.
  • Like x 2

#328 Mike Storey

Mike Storey

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,422 posts
  • LocationCharente Maritime, France

Posted 02 July 2018 - 01:00

Part of the problem with our railways, is that we never seem to get a minister who cares about the system sufficiently enough to make a positive difference.
If I was a government transport minister (and many of you would say thank god he's not!) my passion would be the railway and to a lesser extent, roads.
The trouble is, most ministers see the DfT as a mere stepping-stone towards furthering their career, and thus the transport system invariably becomes neglected or at worst, mismanaged.

I would like to make an exception towards Mr Portillo mind. I realise he's not everyone's cup of tea and he's certainly not without his faults (who is) but at least he had/has the railway at heart.

I'd be wary of bringing Haigh, Harris or (especially) Wolmar into the fray as advisors to our industry though.

At best, they're journos with a little bit of knowledge but not enough.
A small amount of knowledge can be more dangerous than none.

 

Interesting that you leave out Alf Barnes and Barbara Castle, probably the two Secs of State for Transport most positively influential on railways that we have ever had. (Portillo was only a junior minister).

 

You can be wary of specialist journalists who have been in this game for decades, with a huge range of contacts and experience, if you like. I would much rather read what they have to say.

 

Your final sentence is no better illustrated.


  • Agree x 1

#329 E3109

E3109

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 351 posts

Posted 02 July 2018 - 02:49

Mike

Respectfully, I do like to hear what these people say, some of it is accurate and some of it is not.
Amongst other magazines, I was an avid reader of 'Rail Enthusiast' (later 'Rail' of course) and to be frank, I much preferred it when it was widely regarded as a comic and made no pretences about being anything else.
In my 'bashing' days it was widely referred to as 'The Sun', and nobody seemed to have an issue with that, let alone the contributors.

It all went wrong (IMHO) in the late 1980s, when the gents mentioned (among others) tried to realign it as a serious mag.
Nope. That's why we have Modern Railways. A great read then, and still a great read now.
While I don't always agree with what, say, Tony Miles has to say, his insight and knowledge is superb.
Hand on heart, I can't say the same about Messrs Haigh, Wolmar nor Harris.

That's not to say that they don't raise valid points of course.

Personally I don't believe Mrs Castle was a friend of our railway, her connections with a certain road-building conglomerate suggest otherwise to me although in fairness I'm certainly not suggesting that she did no good at all.

One of my particular interests is the Woodhead Route and I maintain to this day that the only coffin nail that mattered regarding the MSW, was the one she administered in 1966 (later extended to 1970) regarding the removal of the passenger service.

The fact that Ken Clarke signed off the final death warrant in October 1980 is almost, but not quite, irrelevant insofar as if the route had stayed open until, say, 1986 or 1990 I doubt if it would've closed at all and would be busy with passenger services.

Also I do apologise, I have no idea who Mr Barnes is, but you've prompted me to research him so much obliged for that.

I realise this is technically off-topic for this particular thread, but it does have similarities with pretty much every other closure.
  • Like x 2
  • Agree x 1

#330 The Stationmaster

The Stationmaster

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 32,421 posts

Posted 02 July 2018 - 11:40

Obviously. But the point is made extensively in the articles (not just one) that there was an enormous disconnect between what the ORR believed was NR's task and what the DfT believed it was going to be. Just how much NR protested, acceded or were bludgeoned between the two, is not available to public scrutiny, as yet. A key point made in the final article is the very strange situation of HMG appointing the very person who ordered the cuts in the first place, to now undertake an official enquiry into the causes. The inference is that an objective outcome is questionable.

 

I think you, Nigel Harris, wannabe MP Christian Wolmar and Philip Haigh, would have a most interesting discussion.

 

I have met Nigel on several occasions and we've had one or two interesting chats although he does write from a journalistic viewpoint.  The second name you mention wouldn't see me wasting my time to cross a room to talk to him, he's ill-informed and draws totally inaccurate conclusions while some of his books do little more than portray his ignorance of the railway industry.


  • Agree x 5
  • Like x 2

#331 lmsforever

lmsforever

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,671 posts
  • Locationaylesbury

Posted 02 July 2018 - 19:26

Government organisations dont seem to be able to purchase products at reasonable prices an example the NHS buys drugs they pay way over the odds for them.Plus service suppliers jack the price up so dont expect any miracles price wise on anything paid for by govt ,HS2 price already said to have doubled so everything is going along as normal.The class 800,s are an example of non railwaymen buying trains the specification for passengers is spartan at the least and I bet the DFT mandarins will never ride in them.


  • Like x 1

#332 Mike Storey

Mike Storey

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,422 posts
  • LocationCharente Maritime, France

Posted 02 July 2018 - 23:03

I have met Nigel on several occasions and we've had one or two interesting chats although he does write from a journalistic viewpoint.  The second name you mention wouldn't see me wasting my time to cross a room to talk to him, he's ill-informed and draws totally inaccurate conclusions while some of his books do little more than portray his ignorance of the railway industry.

 

I think Nigel can barely bring himself to cross the office either, but he is there for the counter-view I guess. Perhaps of concern to many of us, it is his views which seem to pervade public opinion.


  • Like x 2

#333 The Stationmaster

The Stationmaster

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 32,421 posts

Posted 03 July 2018 - 10:50

I think Nigel can barely bring himself to cross the office either, but he is there for the counter-view I guess. Perhaps of concern to many of us, it is his views which seem to pervade public opinion.

 

Regrettably when it comes to the railway industry (and no doubt equally so elsewhere) it can indeed be the views of the ill-informed or ignorant which have a tendency to become the generally accepted 'fact'.  Something which is of course very much the case with GTR at present.


  • Agree x 3

#334 Talltim

Talltim

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 4,968 posts
  • LocationChesterfield

Posted 03 July 2018 - 15:57

Government organisations dont seem to be able to purchase products at reasonable prices an example the NHS buys drugs they pay way over the odds for them.Plus service suppliers jack the price up so dont expect any miracles price wise on anything paid for by govt ,HS2 price already said to have doubled so everything is going along as normal.The class 800,s are an example of non railwaymen buying trains the specification for passengers is spartan at the least and I bet the DFT mandarins will never ride in them.

I'd say the NHS gets drugs at a far better rate than US healthcare providors.


  • Like x 2

#335 meil

meil

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 693 posts

Posted 03 July 2018 - 16:58

I'd say the NHS gets drugs at a far better rate than US healthcare providors.

Well that may be so but it's not saying a lot. I've seen the results of procurement in the public sector done by so called "Procurement" people who know nothing of what they are buying. One procurement was for mobile phones. They ended up with a deal that was more expensive than an individual could have got from any high street phone shop.

 

I'm afraid that public sector procurement departments are in it for an easy ride.


  • Agree x 2

#336 hayfield

hayfield

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 9,662 posts

Posted 04 July 2018 - 08:42

Well that may be so but it's not saying a lot. I've seen the results of procurement in the public sector done by so called "Procurement" people who know nothing of what they are buying. One procurement was for mobile phones. They ended up with a deal that was more expensive than an individual could have got from any high street phone shop.

 

I'm afraid that public sector procurement departments are in it for an easy ride.

 

I am constantly amazed at how large public bodies (NHS, Police, schools etc) cannot organise themselves to buy in a group to get the best possible price. But then look at the way the railways have been run, looking in from the outside its a shambles, then we hear each of interested parties blaming each other for the issues. In the end its the public who suffer from shear incompetence

 

What the public need to hear is not what they cannot do, BUT what they are going to do (and by when) to provide the service they have publicised.   



#337 luckymucklebackit

luckymucklebackit

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,654 posts
  • LocationEaglesham, south of Glasgow

Posted 04 July 2018 - 08:55

Well that may be so but it's not saying a lot. I've seen the results of procurement in the public sector done by so called "Procurement" people who know nothing of what they are buying. One procurement was for mobile phones. They ended up with a deal that was more expensive than an individual could have got from any high street phone shop.

 

I'm afraid that public sector procurement departments are in it for an easy ride.

 

100% true story - and just to show that lack of knowledge is not a new phenomenon, an invoice that came into the Glasgow Accounts office back in good old BR days for fishplates was sent to the catering department for approval!

 

Jim


  • Funny x 13
  • Like x 1

#338 locoholic

locoholic

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,098 posts

Posted 04 July 2018 - 09:21

Interesting that you leave out Alf Barnes and Barbara Castle, probably the two Secs of State for Transport most positively influential on railways that we have ever had.


Barbara Castle? - she approved some of the worst excesses of the Beeching Cuts during her time as Transport Minister, breaking many Election Manifesto commitments in the process. Hardly a positive influence on the railways.

Edited by locoholic, 04 July 2018 - 11:59 .

  • Agree x 7

#339 luckymucklebackit

luckymucklebackit

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,654 posts
  • LocationEaglesham, south of Glasgow

Posted 04 July 2018 - 09:38

Agree - it may have been Richard Marsh that eventually killed the Waverley Route, but it was Barbera Castle that provided the poison.

 

Jim


  • Agree x 4
  • Like x 1

#340 Fat Controller

Fat Controller

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,718 posts

Posted 04 July 2018 - 11:57

100% true story - and just to show that lack of knowledge is not a new phenomenon, an invoice that came into the Glasgow Accounts office back in good old BR days for fishplates was sent to the catering department for approval!

 

Jim

The people involved were obviously related to some of the East Kent Job Centre staff; when Eurotunnel advertised for trainee driver/ 'chef du train' (equivalent to a guard), they sent a pile of potential candidates with catering qualifications.


  • Funny x 11

#341 Legend

Legend

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,551 posts

Posted 04 July 2018 - 12:46

Mike

Respectfully, I do like to hear what these people say, some of it is accurate and some of it is not.
Amongst other magazines, I was an avid reader of 'Rail Enthusiast' (later 'Rail' of course) and to be frank, I much preferred it when it was widely regarded as a comic and made no pretences about being anything else.
In my 'bashing' days it was widely referred to as 'The Sun', and nobody seemed to have an issue with that, let alone the contributors.

It all went wrong (IMHO) in the late 1980s, when the gents mentioned (among others) tried to realign it as a serious mag.
Nope. That's why we have Modern Railways. A great read then, and still a great read now.
While I don't always agree with what, say, Tony Miles has to say, his insight and knowledge is superb.
Hand on heart, I can't say the same about Messrs Haigh, Wolmar nor Harris.

That's not to say that they don't raise valid points of course.

Personally I don't believe Mrs Castle was a friend of our railway, her connections with a certain road-building conglomerate suggest otherwise to me although in fairness I'm certainly not suggesting that she did no good at all.

One of my particular interests is the Woodhead Route and I maintain to this day that the only coffin nail that mattered regarding the MSW, was the one she administered in 1966 (later extended to 1970) regarding the removal of the passenger service.

The fact that Ken Clarke signed off the final death warrant in October 1980 is almost, but not quite, irrelevant insofar as if the route had stayed open until, say, 1986 or 1990 I doubt if it would've closed at all and would be busy with passenger services.

Also I do apologise, I have no idea who Mr Barnes is, but you've prompted me to research him so much obliged for that.

I realise this is technically off-topic for this particular thread, but it does have similarities with pretty much every other closure.


Never been convinced as Rail being a serious industry magazine . In my view it would have been better staying as Rail Enthusiast . A much better read then . The thing is that contributors come across as knowing all about the industry but where did they come from ? What is Nigel Harris's railway background for instance? On the other hand we have Modern Railways , still the lead industry periodical , I think with the likes of Roger Ford and Ian Walmsley who do have engineering and railway backgrounds . It can be a bit dry from time to time but both these gents have a bit of wit about them.
  • Agree x 8

#342 Fat Controller

Fat Controller

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,718 posts

Posted 04 July 2018 - 14:48

Never been convinced as Rail being a serious industry magazine . In my view it would have been better staying as Rail Enthusiast . A much better read then . The thing is that contributors come across as knowing all about the industry but where did they come from ? What is Nigel Harris's railway background for instance? On the other hand we have Modern Railways , still the lead industry periodical , I think with the likes of Roger Ford and Ian Walmsley who do have engineering and railway backgrounds . It can be a bit dry from time to time but both these gents have a bit of wit about them.

If people think that the content can be a bit dry nowadays, I don't know what they'd have made of it in the late 1960s/ early 1970s, when there would be page after page without photos. Instead the text would be illustrated with graphs and equations, most apparently having come straight from the Railway Technical Centre. There would be pages of arcane discussion of subjects such as wheel profiles, suspension stiffness and 'the wheel-rail interface'. 


  • Agree x 3
  • Like x 1

#343 caradoc

caradoc

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,642 posts

Posted 04 July 2018 - 14:59

If people think that the content can be a bit dry nowadays, I don't know what they'd have made of it in the late 1960s/ early 1970s, when there would be page after page without photos. Instead the text would be illustrated with graphs and equations, most apparently having come straight from the Railway Technical Centre. There would be pages of arcane discussion of subjects such as wheel profiles, suspension stiffness and 'the wheel-rail interface'. 

 

Indeed, and until 1972 the front cover of the magazine was an advert !


  • Agree x 1

#344 Fat Controller

Fat Controller

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,718 posts

Posted 04 July 2018 - 15:09

Indeed, and until 1972 the front cover of the magazine was an advert !

Quite often for Captain Deltic's alma mater..


  • Agree x 3

#345 Legend

Legend

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,551 posts

Posted 04 July 2018 - 19:17

If people think that the content can be a bit dry nowadays, I don't know what they'd have made of it in the late 1960s/ early 1970s, when there would be page after page without photos. Instead the text would be illustrated with graphs and equations, most apparently having come straight from the Railway Technical Centre. There would be pages of arcane discussion of subjects such as wheel profiles, suspension stiffness and 'the wheel-rail interface'.


Ah I only started buying it in 75,I think it was the September edition. Then the complaint was the Scottish Region not having enough Class 47s to accelerate trains over the Highland Main Line. They had to make do with pairs of 26s instead.
  • Funny x 2
  • Like x 1

#346 jjb1970

jjb1970

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,223 posts
  • LocationMilton Keynes, England

Posted 05 July 2018 - 18:44

If people think that the content can be a bit dry nowadays, I don't know what they'd have made of it in the late 1960s/ early 1970s, when there would be page after page without photos. Instead the text would be illustrated with graphs and equations, most apparently having come straight from the Railway Technical Centre. There would be pages of arcane discussion of subjects such as wheel profiles, suspension stiffness and 'the wheel-rail interface'. 

 

Sounds exactly like the sort of magazine I'd buy! In all seriousness, I think there has been a very sad decline in the quality of the professional engineering and technical journals never mind regular magazines.



#347 lmsforever

lmsforever

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,671 posts
  • Locationaylesbury

Posted 06 July 2018 - 09:14

I read Rail and Modern Railways plus The Railway Magazine between them I get a good overview of what is happenning on the network plus the technical issues as they arise .Roger Ford and Ian Walmsley are my favourite contributors offering an excellent view on many subjects with  often witty comments.It is good to get an overview on any subject all magazines have a different take on the same subject but I would not call Rail a comic .


  • Agree x 3

#348 Ohmisterporter

Ohmisterporter

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,570 posts
  • LocationLancaster

Posted 06 July 2018 - 10:19

Remember when EWS started up? Every issue of Rail had interviews with senior management about how they intended to run the business, take a bigger share of freight off the roads, invest in new loco and wagon fleets etc. Ed Burkhardt certainly knew the value of good contacts with the media and being open about future plans; something that current train operators seem to shy away from. At times I think they are afraid/ shy of the media or think of them as the enemy, so that when things go wrong the knives come out.



#349 Talltim

Talltim

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 4,968 posts
  • LocationChesterfield

Posted 06 July 2018 - 12:32

So the answer to the OP is ‘yes’
  • Like x 3
  • Funny x 1

#350 31A

31A

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 4,046 posts

Posted 15 July 2018 - 13:57

Being bored while the TV was full of football & tennis, I was watching these recently - Parliamentary Select Committees on Railway Timetable Changes and Railway Network Committee:

 

https://www.bbc.co.u...twork-committee

 

https://www.bbc.co.u...anges-committee

 

 

Not sure whether they've been mentioned on here before but they give some very interesting background on recent difficulties.  The Railway Network Committee (available on the I Player until Thursday) deals with both Northern and Thameslink difficulties with witnesses from GTR, Northern and Network Rail, while the Railway Timetable Changes one is just about Thameslink, and takes evidence from Chris Gibb and Chris Green.


  • Informative/Useful x 2