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back to article Toy train company bids for West Coast Mainline

We offer the Vulture Central tip of the hat today to toy train outfit Bigjigs for its audacious bid to run the UK's West Coast Mainline rail franchise. For those of you not up to speed on the West Coast Mainline fiasco, entertain yourselves with this blow-by-blow account down at the Beeb as to how the nation that invented the …

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Happy

A Top Letter

And an excellent reply

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Pint

Well done

Just to prove they're not all joyless moneygrabbing sociopathic lizards.

[raises a (tiny picture of a) pint]

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Re: Well done

AND "Aluminium" has been spelled correctly!

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Re: Well done

But what's the betting some senior joyless moneygrabbing sociopathic lizard from the Taxpayers' Alliance is even now trying to work out how to discipline Mark Reach for wasting scarce resources?

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Happy

Shock Horror

Human with sense of humour found masquerading as Civil Servant.

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Big Brother

Re: Shock Horror

"Human with sense of humour found masquerading as Civil Servant."

This defect will shortly be corrected.

The Ministry of Love

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The competition is looking good though

Plus this one will help George with his sums

http://shop.lego.com/en-GB/Number-Train-10558

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Coat

"Your model now adorns my desk"

Typical. Backhanders in the bidding process.

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Why didn't I get any fun letters like this...

... to reply to when I was a civil servant?

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Pint

Suddenly I feel good to be British ...

The original letter was priceless enough, but to get such a marvellous reply ...

We need the odd story like this - and I would say it's worth a tiny bit of my tax money to cheer everyone up a bit. Maybe this can be included in Camerons happiness index ?

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Happy

Ah, most excellent

The type of cheeful and humerous correspondence that put's a big smile on my face and makes me want to go and buy a toy railway set after work...

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TRT
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Boffin

I forsee a problem...

with the power supply. The WCML has been upgraded with catenaries which would make it awkward for the usual "Sky-hand impulse delivery" power system employed by this class of train.

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Branch Line

Perhaps, with a slight name change for a subsidary, they could also consider putting in bids to save our pottery industry?

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jai
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fantastic!

Restores your faith in corporations and government, doesn't it?

At least, for a short while.

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MJI
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Very good response

And I was ready to have a go (railway modeller) but it was definately a toy.

But we really need one of the model companies to have a go - then we would see 2 rail electrification

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FAIL

Whilst it is amusing, I am left wondering that if only the Civil Service applied a proportional amount of effort to processing the original WCML bids we might not be in this SNAFU.

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I wish all trains ran on fun!

Great letters though.

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Anonymous Coward

Personally I think all trains could run on pedal power. All those city types wouldn't need to go the the gym them.

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Human after all!

"Private Secretary to the Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin"

wtf is a 'Private' secretary?

anyway nice to know there are some human beings somewhere in the government, hopefully exposing themselves like this wont lead to extermination by their MO-oid overlords

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Re: Human after all!

Sir Humphrey:

Well briefly, Minister, I am the Permanent Under Secretary of State, known as the Permanent Secretary. Woolley here is your Principal Private Secretary. I too have a Principal Private Secretary and he is the Principal Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary. Directly responsible to me are ten Deputy Secretaries, 87 Under Secretaries and 219 Assistant Secretaries. Directly responsible to the Principal Private Secretaries are plain Private Secretaries, and the Prime Minister will be appointing two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries and you will be appointing your own Parliamentary Private Secretary.

Hacker: Can they all type?

Sir Humphrey: None of us can type. Mrs Mackay types: she's the secretary.

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Re: Human after all!

A private secretary is a mid level civil servant assigned to a specific minister with a remit to express his ministers' views, manage the ministerial diary, prioritise and correspond with people who wish to talk to the minister, and most importantly, to record a non political factual notes of decisions and events.

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Re: Human after all!

> "to record a non political factual notes of decisions and events."

I think you mean they record factual notes from a wide menu of choices of what was discussed in a meeting, and leave a clear record of what was decided, with a clear concience. Assuming they have a taste for such luxuries, of course.

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Re: Human after all!

Oooh, you cynic you.

Whatever deficiencies our system has, it is miles better than the US system, where they have separate democrat and republican 'civil servants', every time the executive changes, so do a lot of the 'crats.

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Re: Human after all!

>I think you mean they record factual notes from a wide menu of choices

Humphrey: I don't think the treasury accepts valuations written on the back of menus

Bernard: Oh, but it is a very fine menu

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Re: Human after all!

> wtf is a 'Private' secretary?

one that can't be directly accessed by any derived classes

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Re: Human after all!

Actually, the Civil Servants are employees, not appointees -- and IMO they may be all that keeps us on the rails* (so to speak) between legislative dung-flings.

*As much as we can manage, anyway.

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Re: Human after all!

>" Oooh, you cynic you."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNKjShmHw7s

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Safety

Really!

I experience constant broken rails and have had several bridge collapses and have also been rolling stock derail as rogue object bounces across the tracks.

Bob Crow will be up in arms!

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Go

Re: Safety

Bob Crow would be delighted, just think how many maintenance contracts would need to be put in place! And the strike actions while the drivers' jobs are made safe!

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Childcatcher

Re: Safety

And what about the giant cats asleep on the track?......

No self respecting driver gonna go near them

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Pint

A pint for both - I am now browsing Bigjigs (for my sons you understand)

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Happy

Just be careful how you spell it.......

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Anonymous Coward

Not to be searched for in Ubuntu Unity by slow typists

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Paris Hilton

Damn thats why I couldn't find any train on BigJugs....

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Anonymous Coward

How about a PPP bid consortium with Hornby, I hear they do metal. :P

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Superb

that is all

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TRT
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Coat

Bid rejected...

as the wood was sourced from Virgin rainforest.

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Happy

Re: Bid rejected...

What, Branson owns the rainforests too!

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"I am afraid there are some necessary bureaucratic hurdles you will need to overcome before you are able to run passenger services on the National Rail Network"

Yeah, like a big wad of cash in a brown envelope.

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Headmaster

No need for the big wad of cash, just a misleadingly optimistic revenue projection that leads to a big shiny prize at the end of the term (with no obligation to actually pay that)

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Anonymous Coward

I'm sorry, a number of large US corporations cross-licence patents on that to one another. That's why the US Department of Defense spends so much on stuff that doesn't work, and why our own dear Civil Service does the same. Just substitute "savings projection" for "revenue projection" and you've covered 90% of tenders.

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yeahbutnobutyeahbutnobut

In the good old days I would have applauded both the original letter, and the reply. These days... I'm old and cynical, and see it as an attempt on a clever self-promotion / viral marketing campaign for the above mentioned toy thingy. Which, if true, is still worth a pint, as it's original, haven't seen that one before. In which case, I wish to congratulate the minds behind it, particularly for their attention to detail, such as using this washed-out colour home printer to produce the headed paper. The one on the original letter, not one on the reply, from a secretary of the secretary.

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Re: yeahbutnobutyeahbutnobut

I'm with you on that. If there had been some withering satire in there, I'd have supported the viral thing. eg if they'd quoted figures on failures and inefficiencies in the private rail sector.

What I was expecting was Hornby or someone making a public stand against the prostitution of our cherished industrial heritage, the degradation of rolling stock, the poor maintenance of lines etc. Instead I just got told "there's this toy company you've never heard of, and they're getting cheap publicity by spamming the civil service..."

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Happy

The problem with Wooden trains

is that they wooden work....

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Facepalm

Re: The problem with Wooden trains

I'll call you a taxi

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The problem with Wooden trains

Looking at their website, the other problem is that just about all the wooden train stuff seems to be out of stock. Perhaps someone did bung them a contract to build and operate a railway system.

Or perhaps they just had a good Christmas.

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Go

I ride that particular section of railway.

I honestly think that Bigjigs could do a better job than London Midland.

(tbh, a zoo full of drunken monkeys could probably do a better job than London Midland.)

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Re: I ride that particular section of railway.

Sir, I think your comment that is demeaning to the management capacity of a zoo full of drunken monkeys!

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"We have not, nor never will, have an accident". I think that is a fairly bold claim and one which doesn't appreciate the average 2 year olds capacity to cause harm and damage from the most seemingly harmless objects.

HD

(father of a 2 year old...)

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Ironic

My sons toy train also has several rigidly attached bogeys.

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