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The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Barra transport links (sic)

The disgrace that is the ferry provision between Barra and Oban continues to sink (no pun intended) to new lows.

The blame lies fairly and squarely with the company and its paymaster, the Minister, who have allowed the supposed driver of European legislation to starve the company of funds, strangle the capital programme and have an operation which is allegedly leaner.

At least the vast army of consultants, lawyers and accountants will tell you that the new group structure is leaner, if you ignore the extra paperwork that has been generated.

The operation of a ferry service seems to have slipped of the radar, as the debacle in Barra and the proposed revised service for Lewis evidence. Indeed, the company is having to go cap in hand to the Council - not the Government - for the money to build a new ferry that doesn't come close to meeting our aspirations.

Normally, our MP and MSP would be calling for someone's head...

The problem is simple. Dismantle the complex structures, and relocate the CalMac HQ lock stock and barrel to an island. Would the service be so poor if the directors actually had to use the vessels for a long journey. In Winter. In a gale.


Anonymous said...

ferry review will look at ports and vessels run inter island services as required and , close tarbert and Lochboisdale run Stornoway, Lochmaddy 24hr and Castlebay required. Sort out Coll and Tiree by linking them and operate from Coll.

Anonymous said...

Yet again, another argument for building a tunnel linking the Hebrides to the mainland.

Anonymous said...

Tunnels between all the western isles and somewhere, across to the mainland

Anonymous said...

One only assume that the folk suggesting that a tunnel be built are also fully paid up active members of unison (see latest posting) & are rather detached from the real world.

Joking aside, the situation in Barra rams home how important it is that when the Isle of Lewis is replaced it is replaced with 2 large identical ferries and not one monster ferry that when it breaks down (as all mechanical things do) it will strangle the Islands economy as there will be nothing in the fleet to replace it with.

Calmac have been unlucky, the breakdown of the Clansman is probably the worst in their history and the timing was also very unfortunate. But it shows how the fleet is stretched during the summer months and it will probably always be this way as the funds for large back up ferries just to sit around and wait for a breakdown is not (and probably never will be) available.

2 identical ferries to replace the Isle of Lewis and the Muirneag – the only way forward.

If I was the sitting MSP I'd be jumping on this one ASAP, it could win a lot of votes. But I don't want him to win.... who else is running anyway???

Anonymous said...

Folk who suggest a tunnel need their head examined.

Do they even have an ingcling as to the cost of that?

Also rock boreing through the strata here will increase costs significantly.

Move on fanciful muppets.

Anonymous said...

7:11AM Yes, some of us tunnel advocates do know about the costs. That's 'cos the info is out there, and made available by Norwegian tunneling companies if you ask. How much do you think it costs to bore through the different types of strata then? Let's see your research then as you seem confident in your statements.

Build three tunnels: Uig (Skye) to Lochmaddy (short stretch across the Minch), and two short tunnels: Berneray to Harris, Eriskay to Barra. It's a bit of a drive-around adding a few extra hours to your trip if you are in Barra or Stornoway, granted, but the trade-off is reliability. I bet some of those stranded at Barra of late wouldn't have minded that trade-off. And summer ferries could still run (well, when they work!) if the demand is there.

No more costly ferries requiring maintenance, replacement. No more delays or cancellations caused by the weather, ferries breaking down, or anything else that may happen. Just a 24/7 way of getting to the mainland, irrelevant of the time of day, month of the year, weather, or the current government policy on ferry subsidy. No more supply or delivery shortages.

The difference to the islands? They stay islands, but with permanent mainland connections. More businesses can open as perishable and other goods can be moved quickly on and off the islands. More events can be held, and more people will choose to live here as getting to the mainland is no long a "Maybe" scenario.

Anonymous said...

7:11 What's the cost of permanent depopulation, because even in the summer months - let alone stormy winter - residents cannot get to and from their home island? Cost that then, muppet!

Anonymous said...

A video of a 26km road tunnel in Norway. Here's one of the many undersea tunnels.

It's a pity there are people who immediately poo-poo any idea without due consideration. Terribly British and it's why the country is an expensive and increasingly primitive backwater compared to more progressive western European countries. As the saying goes, those who don't should stay out of the way of those who do.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine the feigned fury and the flurry of press releases if it were not a Nat in charge of transport in scotland - they'd be demanding ministerial intervention visits to Barra meetings at the fank etc etc - but what does our dyed in the head msp do? he does what he always does ie tells the world via a press release that he's, yes you're ahead of me - writing to the minister and the company. Does he ever get a reply to thr hundreeds of letters he sends a month......? Obviously not or we'd have a response and a solution for Barra. Why are Jessie MacNeil and all the other freeloaders in Barra so quiet on this matter. ps has anyone seen our MP or is he still varnishing the floor of the dance studio?????

Anonymous said...

work uop from that and you will find it costing well over a billion quid.

This broadly tallies with teh Forth bridge stuff which I do know about (so ya-boo sucks)

I cant see anyone going for that.

Go back to counting fairies.

Anonymous said...

Further to the luddites who doubt tunnels can be bored in the 21st century Hebrides- try Googling Faroes tunnels, and then tell me its not possible!

Angus said...

I've been through the tunnels in the Faroes, and they are deep, long and bored through some very hard rock.

One was over 6 miles long IIRC.

Anyone know how much they cost?

Anonymous said...

1. One tunnel between North Uist or Harris and Skye.
2. Tunnel/causeway between Berneray and Harris.
3. Barraich can continue their obsession with feeding the fish in the Minch with their Oban link


PS. It's been funny as hell to watch them beelin' for the last few weeks. They even had to accept a run or two from Mallaig.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right about the tunnels. But they should be for electric trains. Yes, I know, HO HO HO, what a laugh. Now you've got that out of the way, listen: Lewis already has the Pentland road waiting for a train, and the west of Uist is almost completely flat. Take the capital expenditure on road improvements for the "spinal route" for the next twenty years, add the subsidies for the Sound of Harris & Sound of Barra ferries, and finish off with the subsidy for the inter-island air service. Put it all into an unmanned electric rail service (there is one in Docklands and several elsewhere in the world). A railway tunnel does not need to be nearly as large and is much safer (no fumes or fossil fuels)
And we can power it with our own renewable energy.
Instead of taking all day to get from the Butt to Barra it could be a couple of hours. And why not extend it under the minch in the future?

Anonymous said...

Yes, One could catch the overnight sleeper from London to Breasclete