2 Mar 2010
Pay attention to Captain Deltic
And informed they are. He does his homework uniquely well, bringing together the physics, the engineering and the economics of railways. Anyone involved in making decisions about railways should study his writings assiduously.
Correspondence I have received through my MP shows that the DfT civil servants are not paying attention as they should. That is one reason why £20 million came to be wasted on consultancy work in connection with the aborted Inter City 125 replacement, which, as Captain Deltic pointed out, was going to have to be constructed of a new metal he called "Unobtainium".
His latest piece is an analysis of the refurbishment opportunities presented by the fleet of trains inherited from British Rail. It is just as well, as he points out, that vehicles such as the mark 3 have an economic life of at least sixty years. This is the thinking that is going to be needed to keep the wheels turning over the next decades.
My only criticism of him is that he has a bit of a blind spot about kettles. This technology has had a boost in recent years. As potentially green off-the-wires traction, able to run on any fuel, and with a low construction cost, he may be missing something that needs to be kept an eye on.