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  1. The government needs to get a grip on this whole franchising malarkey else they're creating a free pass for Calamity Corbyn to unleash his snowflake mates, from the student union bar, onto our railways. So what have they done, they sent in Chancer Grayling a political buffoon, unsure of what he is saying and with little idea of how to say it
  2. The appeal to this government of twenty five year franchises is that it would be a great way to take the wind out of the sails of the party opposite, their big ideas for renationalisation and a key manifesto policy. Politically it would be a very smart move, once they've worked out a way to make a franchise last more than a year that is.
  3. Personally, I believe 2 + 4 (some will be 2+5) is f*****g ridiculous. I am looking forward to it immensely.
  4. Judging by the number of class 802s GW has ordered they (or the DfT) must have big plans to increase the frequency of their services over the WoE route. One magazine suggested there would be scope (under consideration) for an hourly London - Westbury (and probably Frome) IET service, covering all the stops between Newbury and Westbury, though class 800 as some of the class 802s are now being ear marked for the Cotswolds routes eventually (wonder why). There was also talk of some of these Westbury trains running through to Trowbridge and even Bristol. Another hourly service would cover the stops between Westbury and Exeter, leaving the WoE express services to be either non-stop, one-stop or two-stop between Exeter and Reading. London - Plymouth would be served half-hourly by these faster trains for most (if not all) of the day. That came from some press release GW sent out but with the health warning that the final timetable is still being finalised. Commuter traffic has grown exponentially over recent years on the Westbury route, similar to the Cotswold Line, these railways are no longer the rural backwaters they were deemed to be back in the 1960/70 dark ages when rationalisation was the order of the day.
  5. Indeed and the class 159s were a standard design intended for and deployed across the entire network.
  6. Someone let the kids lose with crayon box again. That livery says to me, "This is what happens when good design meets the group standard and the group standard is allowed to win four nil." It reminds me of a broken kaleidoscope.
  7. The notion you could ever have centralised planning, for the long term, under our political system is largely pie in the sky, most especially when you fail to back that up with longer than seven years for a franchise commitment. It always did sound rather half hearted, at least going back to letting the TOCs and the ROSCOs all go their own separate ways is being honest about it.
  8. Well GA are ordering bi-modes and one reason why more trains from London don't go to say Yarmouth has always been the lack of wires, then how much difference is there between a class 444 and an all electric class 801, apart from top speed, they are both EMUs. BR certainly viewed the former GE lines as worthy of similar equipment to other IC routes, class 47s, class 86s and class 90s plus mk3. It just seems to me, here we are three orders in, and the concept of a standard IC design has already gone out of the window, however, I guess the test of the IEP concept will be what gets ordered for the MML and whatever comes next on XC. My guess is that Hitachi will not be given a free pass, will have to compete and why not, but, if so, that does rather blow a hole in the whole IEP concept of a standardised national fleet and beg the question why anyone bothered.
  9. I've warmed a little to the West Midlands livery but only because it is reminding me of the old Birmingham Corporation Bus livery. I noticed a London Northwestern Railway class 350 the other day bearing the new company's name had been qualified by Operated by West Midlands Trains. So now we are to have trains calling at Reading operated by TfL and trains calling at Wembley Central operated by West Midlands trains. Blimey, these new mayors do like their empire building but does it have to be a twenty paces.
  10. I suspect the class 802s will mostly be called cheaper.
  11. I would be most interested to understand how the GA Norwich route differs from the GW Bristol and Cardiff routes. The look pretty similar to me, apart from a noticeable lack of wires on two of those routes, and one might believe ideal for this standard IC train design we have been promised and paid through the nose for. I'm sorry but a standard IC train design that turns out to be not so standard is either a failed design or is a mistake that is now being scuppered by the kind backtracking that strongly suggests a**e covering. I will tell you what it looks like to me someone thought the IEP was good idea, it wasn't and it turned out to be an expensive mistake and the current bunch of incumbents are engaged in damage limitation over an idea they find it hard to really care about because it wasn't their idea. The one saving grace the IEP has going for it, currently, and keeps politicians attention focused is that it's built over here but other train builders are about to do the same thing and unless those IET leasing costs come down ....
  12. The original GW IET timetable proposal envisaged four trains per hour to Bristol, two of which would be limited stop (Parkway and Swindon or Reading) and one of which would be extended to Exeter or Paignton. I have read nothing since or noticed cancellation of train orders to suggest that is no longer the plan. How hard would it be to extend a second Bristol train say to Plymouth, running non-stop to Exeter, and substituting a class 800 with a class 802. I am not suggesting the Westbury route should be run down, quite the contrary, but not every train needs to go to the far West to maintain its level of service. It's probably academic to talk of further electrification but the via Bristol route is the obvious one, not least with its potential for knock on effect for further XC electrification. Of course, if that were the case, places like Wooton Basset would probably need flying junctions and Swindon to Didcot four tracking but, forgive me for pointing out, that is exactly the kind of thing that has been happening on both the WCML and ECML as they have been upgraded. We seem to be forgetting that the class 802s will be bi-mode, well what's the point of that just to get to Newbury, how many tanks of diesel full could be saved going via Bristol (not to mention emissions) and let's also see how the track access charge debate pans out. If lowering that pantograph turns out to be more expensive than keeping it up, I know which way I would want to send my trains, most especially if it turned out to be quicker as well.
  13. You only have to read the media that comes out of the West Country's main population centers to know I am not the only one obsessed by the end to end journey time. Particularly, the good people of Plymouth who have long complained that, in national terms, they have been hard done by in terms of rail infrastructure.
  14. Many railway lines run through areas with great potential for solar power. I think we should be told where they are in the UK so we can book our package holidays.
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