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Philip Rutnam: ‘Early Pacer railbus replacement is poor value for money’

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On 26 February 2015 DfT permanent secretary Philip Rutnam wrote to Patrick McLoughlin to seek a ministerial direction on the requirement to replace Pacer railbuses by 2020 (included in the Northern / TPE franchises invitation to tender).

Philip Rutnam 'Pacer' letter to Patrick McLoughlin, page 1

Philip Rutnam 'Pacer' letter to Patrick McLoughlin, page 2

Mr McLoughlin appeared to be quite happy to take responsibility.

Patrick McLoughlin 'Pacer' letter to Philip Rutnam, page 1

Patrick McLoughlin 'Pacer' letter to Philip Rutnam, page 2

It is widely understood that the HS2 economic case is based on a series of highly questionable assumptions, and has been massaged to the hilt. Alternative upgrade-based investments (such as developed variants of RP2) outperform HS2 on almost every criterion, and the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee are sceptical about HS2’s prospects of delivering value for money.

So what is curious, is Mr Rutnam’s concern about being on the hook for the value of money of Pacer replacement, but apparently not for the value for money of the (vastly larger) high speed rail expenditure.

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Written by beleben

February 28, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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2 Responses

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  1. It would be highly commendable if belebeben and all other sceptics (count me in) would recognise Mr Rutman’s concern for vfm (count me out). He will, we can all be sure, be fully accountable, “while in office”, for all his decisions with or without the Transport Sec’s ok. Having only joined DfT in April 2012, he cannot be accountable (because that’s how accountability works) for the decisions of his predecessors in giving their blessing to HS2, misguided or not. All punters (citizens) should realise that they have no recourse to ‘accountability’ because the people who decide on our futures have always moved on before ‘accountability’ kicks in.

    mcMichael

    March 1, 2015 at 11:57 pm

  2. The same day that the Transport Sec dated his letter, his minister Claire Perry provided a written answer to an MP’s question, “We are committed to improving services for passengers across the North. We recognise that Pacers fall short of passengers’ expectations, which is why in our Invitation To Tender, we will specifically ask bidders to set out plans for how they will phase out these trains from the Northern Rail franchise, either in their core proposition or as an option.” I wonder if Perry and McLoughlin speak to each other? Perhaps one is telling the truth while the other is electioneering, knowing he won’t be there to implement his promise.
    Ref: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2015-02-20.224713.h&s=speaker%3A24915#g224713.r0

    Northern rail is heavily subsidised and cannot afford a new fleet of diesels. But instead of scrapping the Pacers just when we need more stock, we can have a wealth of trains with Pacers refurbished for short journeys including some routes currently little used or unused, refurbished D-stock, and for trains over 6 cars, loco hauled mark 3 cars.

    Les Fawcett

    March 3, 2015 at 12:28 am


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