Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

“J’accuse” (or “Do your work properly”)

Posted in Customer service, Great Britain, Media by Chairman Pip on 24 October 2010

We all accept that, unless they work in the reporting of a specific area, that journalists will have to be a jack of all trades. For example, on the day of the Deutsche Bahn test, Alice Bhandhukravi was assigned to cover a muder case, in spite of her covering the story of Eurostar’s new trains a few days earlier. So, you can’t expect them to be experts on stories that they cover. However, they are journalists, so you would expect them to do some research. Which is why I’m somewhat annoyed at the stories that came out yesterday. Alliance Rail Holdings is a company that has been set up to develop new open-access rail operations, and currently have plans for two major operations, which it has called GNER and GNWR. As with all open-access operations, the intention is to offer services that are not included as part of the existing franchises. Except that these proposals are far more extensive than any of the existing open-access operators – Alliance wants to operate inter-city services from two London termini (King’s Cross and Euston) to several destinations that have limited or non-existent direct services to London. In addition, it has plans for a Trans-Pennine service connecting Liverpool and Hull. This is, I think you’ll agree, fairly ambitious for a start-up company, but it is not some pie in the sky pipe dream, because Alliance has the financial muscle of Deutsche Bahn behind it. Alliance has also entered into a deal with Chinese Sourced Rail Equipment to provide it with new rolling stock, thus meaning that GNER and GNWR would not be dependent on the vagaries of the rolling stock market in Great Britain. One of the CSRE products is Polaris, a dual mode multiple unit intended to be capable of 140mph. Aside from the Deutsche Bahn thing, Alliance’s plans have been fairly well known and public for some time now, and, as a consequence, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find out the details and put together a well researched story that has accurate detail. So why is it that the stories that have appeared in a number of newspapers yesterday detailing some of the Alliance plans for services to Yorkshire say that they plan to introduce new “140mph rail services to London”. Anyone that reads my blog should know that there is only one rail route in Great Britain where trains can run at 140mph or faster. But, anyone that can actually use the web would be able to find this information out. Anyone that can use the web would also be able to find out that the fastest domestic inter-city services can only run up to 125mph, which will be the case for Alliance’s services, because the Government has legislated to ensure that, to travel faster than 140mph would require in-cab signalling. So why have the Sunday ExpressCraven Herald, Scunthorpe Telegraph and Grimsby Telegraph all published stories announcing Alliance’s plans for trains travelling at 140mph? Yes, Alliance would be using trains CAPABLE of 140mph. But both East Coast and Virgin use trains that are capable of 140mph, and neither of them can actually operate at that speed. One doesn’t want to say that the journalists can’t be bothered to do any real research, but, given how simple it would be to find all this out, one has to wonder what the authors of the stories actually did for their research.

The "Polaris" multiple unit, that Alliance plan for their inter-city services - these will be capable of 140mph, but they won't actually be able to run at 140mph, unless the current main lines are upgraded to allow those speeds

The Proposed Alliance Rail network


4 Responses

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andrew Spong, Chairman Pip. Chairman Pip said: "J'accuse" (or "Do your work properly"): […]

  2. Claire said, on 29 October 2010 at 3:07 pm

    *rolls eyes* That’s a case of not reading properly, I suppose, which is all too common. I bet they saw the 140 mph and sort of assumed they were running services at that speed. People do tend to skip through words and then wonder how they’ve got the wrong idea. Rather unprofessional and now they look silly.

    • Chairman Pip said, on 31 October 2010 at 7:07 pm

      Especially so given that Alliance Rail tweeted the fact that most of the stories published had omitted the word “capable”.

  3. diabetes diet said, on 1 November 2010 at 11:42 am

    Love the main page. Will it always be this way?

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