We start in Scotland, where the Scottish Government, still licking their wounds after losing the Independence Referendum, have decided, in their infinite wisdom to take the job of running Scotrail away from a Scottish company (First) and give it to Dutch National Railways (Abellio). Now I know there are some who think I dislike First Group with every sinew of my body. That isn't actually true and I was as surprised as anyone else when I heard the announcement, as my experiences of Scotrail under First have been extremely positive. My Scottish correspondent thinks the same, and it appears we are not alone, as this article from qualityscotland.com demonstrates;
First Scotrail announced winner of the Scottish Award for Business Excellence 2014
First Scotrail were announced as overall winner of the 2014 Scottish Awards for Business Excellence which took place in the Radisson Blu Glasgow, in front of a 300 strong audience, at Quality Scotland’s annual gala lunch hosted by radio and TV presenter Cat Cubie, with keynote speaker Olympic Gold medallist, Katherine Grainger CBE.
This annual event shines the spotlight firmly on those private, public and third sector organisations, which in the past year have demonstrated a profound ability to pursue an ‘excellence’ agenda.
So you see why taking the franchise away from First may turn out to be a bit of a gaffe. I am a defender of Abellio against unjust criticism, especially from the newly re-elected Member of Parliament for Clacton, but they do have a good act to follow up there. At least there are no daft MP's who will demand they be stripped of their franchise if 8 foot of snow falls in the Cairngorns and they can't get trains through. Abellio have promised the earth, including new trains and cheap fares so we shall see what happens. There is an excellent report in The Scotsman, which also gives really good news for those wondering what will happen to to HST's after East Coast replace them in 4 years time. The article can be read by clicking here.
|First Scotrail Class 158 at Kyle of Lochalsh in July
|The way Standard Class will look in refurbished coach. pic eadp24
Yesterday Transport for London announced their "new Tube for London" which is to be rolled out on the Bakerloo, Central, Piccadilly and Waterloo & City lines. It looks good - very good, as you can see by the picture below.
|TfL's new Tube for.....oh sorry not that one - hang on!
|That's more like it! The new Tube for London
|The seamless interior of the new Tube for London
Now on Monday the structual strength of a couple of bridges was tested. One was in North Walsham, in Norfolk, and you really have to wonder just how the driver didn't realise his lorry was a borderline fit under the bridge.
|I mean REALLY!!!
The second one came near Elmers End in South East London, and while the disruption to passengers must not be disrespected if you are going to try and put an overheight vehicle under a low bridge at least make it one with the most appropriate logo on the back possible.
|Erm no you don't!!!