Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bureaucratic Idiocy

Anyone who has had the misfortune to travel on the West Coast Main Line knows just how crowded the trains are, they also know just how bad the line and multiple stops are compared to the East Coast Main Line, which is by far the better route. That the ECML suffers from a lack of finance and investment is more down to just how bad the WCML is rather than any deliberate attempt to starve it of funds. Still you'd think that when a new set of trains comes along that can carry 7000 more passengers on the WCML that they'd be introduced as soon as possible to help with the overcrowding.

NEW trains for a heavily overcrowded line are being put in the sidings until 2012 by bureaucrats.
The four Pendolinos will provide an extra 7,000 seats on what long-suffering ­commuters dub the “sardine line”, the West Coast Main Line between London, the North-west and Scotland.
The first train will be ready to roll by July next year at the latest but travellers will have to wait another nine months to ride on it. This is because the Department for Transport doesn’t want the ­Pendolinos used until the line’s new franchise is awarded in April 2012.
Virgin Trains, which has been ­running the West Coast franchise since 1997 and will bid to keep it, wants to use the ­Pendolinos the minute they become available. It believes they are being sidelined in case Virgin loses the ­franchise.
A Virgin spokesman said: “We would prefer to have trains for customers to use. But the likelihood of them actually being available during the stewardship of our franchise I believe to be very small.”
The DfT’s decision was branded “ludicrous” by rail expert ­Professor Jon Shaw of the University of Plymouth. He said: “It would be ironic indeed if on the one hand the DfT is cancelling new rolling stock orders and on the other hand refusing to put into service rolling stock which is already built.”
The West Coast Main Line is one of the busiest in the country. Last year it ­carried 69,972 passengers per day.
Chris Dale, of transport users’ group TravelWatch NorthWest, said the service was close to saturation point and “desperately in need” of the new trains. He said: “They are being built so why can’t they be used? They won’t cost more to be run than the ones being run now.”
So, because the franchise runs out in 2012, they wont run the trains till then, so the new operator will have new rolling stock and make a good impression I presume.
Still the ultimate bureaucratic quote follows.
A DfT spokesman said the April 2012 deadline was “something we agreed in the schedule so we’re sticking to the schedule”.
Yes, to hell with long suffering passengers, lets stick to the schedule and keep the trains sitting in a siding until we're ready. This simply wouldn't happen if the rail industry were totally privatised, the companies would buy the stock and have it available the minute it arrived. Recently I visited Swindon where the Great Western Railways were based and had a huge train building plant, now sadly closed and is a museum/retail park. They built trains from scratch and now those skills are lost, we buy rolling stock from Italy/France/Germany. Nationalisation after the war has proved to be a disaster for much of British industry, proving to be the death knell of so many industries as costs rose without savings or modernisation until the country could no longer afford to keep them.
Britain used to take in raw materials from all over the world and make things, we had entrepreneurs and go getters. We have lost so much of that spirit now and I doubt it will return any time soon, labour costs are simply too high to make things cheaply here and the necessary skills to do the high tech stuff are being lost by a poor education system which puts diversity and sexual awareness ahead of maths and English.
Still sooner or later the system will break down and some sort of revolution will occur which will remove the blight of political correctness and multiculturalism as well as tolerance from society. It might not be a pleasant society, but it will at least build and do things again.

1 annotations:

My Thoughts My Country said...

I used to take the train down to the south coast to see relatives.

The nightmare of it all.

I now fly to Southampton. It can be cheaper than taking the train.