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London Tonight Tonight Thursday 28th February

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 28th February
Good afternoon. I return from my travels to collide with an explosion of transport stories which will derail your contentment and send you crashing into the buffers of despair.
Let me start with Network Rail - used to be Railtrack and, before that, British Rail. But, like Kipling's "tiger, tiger, burning bright", they cannot change their stripes let alone their behaviour: they are still making a total mess of things. Thousands of Christmas-New Year holiday journeys were reduced to the humour level of a wake, by NR's over-running engineering works.
So, for reducing to tears even burly Scots, heading north for hogmanay, they have been fined £14 million. No one is sacked and , before he popped off to the Palace to be Knighted, Network Rail's chairman said "efficiencies" would be found to pay the fine and there would be more delays until the summer. Sanction and reward appear to have got muddled here - probably a signalling fault.

Add to that, 20,000 people a week using their Oyster cards, only to find the train or the platform (or both) full and so changing their minds, find they are still charged a quid. They can get it back if they can prove it within seven days but, at a pound, who'd bother? TfL seem to know that and have banked best part of a quarter of a million in the process. Harris plays Fat Controller and Glen, Thomas the Tank Engine.
Incidentally, when I studied economics, the "velocity of circulation" was a term describing how the speed and rate of usage of a unit of currency (pound or a penny) was a reflection of economic efficiency. I think it should be applied to trains, especially on the Circle Line!
Talking of velocity, would cars be able to go at 30 mph in town and 70 mph on the M40 out of town, if they were burning chip fat?  A group of eco-sensitive business people thinks so and is setting up a collection service. It is not only a rat I smell in this one but, clad in grease proof wellies and a fish-mongers apron, Phil avoids slipping up as he investigates.

Liz investigates the market for the haute couture cast-offs of the rich and famous. Fancy a torn Kate Moss white silk gown or a slightly floor-soiled Tracey Emin wrap? Bid high, help in the battle against breast cancer and you will enjoy a win-win feeling.

Which is what the Arctic Monkey's hope for at tonight's "enemy awards",  which the delightful Lucy is covering for us - Alexa Chung be warned! ( Mums and dads, ask your teenagers to explain).
Faye is suffering, I fear, from a cold. That can be the only explanation for the rather full, green and brown scarf draped around her lovely neck. She has, however, summoned the strength to tell me it is the "NME" Awards and not "enemy" - I was a Fab' and Melody Maker man so what do I know?
Save to say there will be no cast-offs in our news coverage, no "pay but don't use" sense of robbery in our running order - and no chip-fat spillages, unless someone has been using London's front-pages to mop up a kitchen catastrophe.

Robin doesn't think chip-fat-fuelled internal combustion engines are a good idea, but has expressed an elegant interest in any men's attire at the Breast Cancer sale. I think he could make an exotic scarf and mits from Tracey's wrap so there's food for thought if Robbie doesn't offer yet another leather jacket.

Chew it all over with us at 6.

Nice to be back.
Alastair and Salma, ( who has been 'phoning various "heavies" about tomorrow's What Not to Miss. I live in fear).