Day: 18/08/2014

Mark Flewitt’s Southend railway delusion


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Mark Flewitt is right (on this issue).

Not often you’ll see me blog those words, but the latest post on his perennially entertaining blog actually has a point. In a blog entitled “Rail disgrace…….but is here hope?” (n.b. I’m far from sure that is the precise number of periods he uses in his overextended ellipsis) Mark says:

I am determined to work with Abellio Greater Anglia in their efforts to improve but the starting point is too low at the moment and the delays suffered on this line with no cooling system, poor old carriage stock from about 1987 means passengers are fleeced financially without any real return

I pointed out on this very blog a few weeks back that Southend is a case study of the best and the worst of rail privatisation, and in my experience the Greater Anglia Southend Victoria to London Liverpool Street line is one of the worst examples.

So Mark has correctly, if lately, identified the problem. Prices on that line are sky high, and have marched ever upwards over the years, and yet far too little has been invested in improving the service or giving passengers value for money.

Sadly, though, Mark seems blind to both the causes of and solutions to these problems.

(more…)

09 “Painted from Memory” (Defiance season 2) [SPOILERS]


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I am always alarmed at how quickly broadcast TV series flit by once they get into their swing. Not as fast as I can devour series on Netflix when the mood takes me, mind — the entire of House of Cards‘ second season in less than two days is not healthy… — but nonetheless it is somewhat disconcerting to already be at the ninth episode of this season of Defiance.

Part of the reason, I suspect, for my being taken unawares is that the pace this season has been blistering. There’s been a lot going on, but it has all been intertwined enough to mean that it hasn’t felt at all cumbersome. Each character has a hand in at least one story arc, with key characters strategically placed to link them all together.

Which isn’t to say that I won’t miss it once it’s done. My major complaint when it came to season one was that at the key moments Defiance seemed to shy away from the potential it hinted at. Not so this time around; brave is the order of the day, and the result is fun, envelope-pushing SF.

Read on… (and mind the spoilers!)