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The enhancements delivery deficit

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In June 2015 the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, “received advice that the costs and timescales of some of Network Rail’s enhancement projects had increased beyond expectation”.

[gov.uk]

In his oral statement to Parliament he announced the appointment of Sir Peter Hendy as the Chair of Network Rail; and commissioned him to conduct a thorough review of the Control Period 5 (2014 to 2019) enhancements programme in England and Wales, to identify what could be delivered in an affordable and timely way within the funding period to 2019.

The Hendy Report was published on 25 November 2015. In its January 2016 draft Enhancements Delivery Plan Update, Network Rail claimed that “most of the originally planned projects will still be delivered in Control Period 5 (2014 – 2019) with significant benefits for passengers and freight users”. (Investment on Britain’s railway is based on five year “Control Periods” similar to those of the former Eastern bloc economies.)

However, the “project entries” suggested that a major part of the CP5 programme was not deliverable in CP5. The Secretary of State is “minded to accept Sir Peter Hendy’s report, subject to a period of consultation, to ensure the most efficient and effective plan is executed and maximum value is derived for passengers, freight users and taxpayers”. The consultation runs until 18 March 2016, and is “a critical input” on how “the rail upgrades programme will be delivered”.

[gov.uk]

Following the conclusion of the consultation process, the DfT will analyse the responses and publish a report summarising the responses made and the Secretary of State’s decisions on investment priorities in the light of them.

The problem is that almost no information is available about the economic worth or business case for the schemes in the Enhancements Delivery Plan. Where in the public domain, for example, is the economic case for the Great Western electrification, the East Coast Connectivity Fund, or the “Electric Spine”?

The escalation in capital costs of Great Western electrification must have economic and technical implications for other enhancement projects. But the Department for Transport is refusing to provide an updated benefit-cost computation, or details of its costs and benefits.

Because of the transparency deficit, there is no way of establishing which enhancement schemes ought to be progressed, or when.

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Written by beleben

March 8, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Posted in Politics, Railways

One Response

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  1. I have considered bringing to beleben blog’s attention this very point and many others relating to the general decline in the rail network.
    They (DfT) really have no idea what is unravelling from day to day. The Hendy report is humbug. The people now running HS2 were the ones who accepted on behalf of Network Rail the ORR “budget” for CP5, noting only that it would be tough to achieve. When nature hit Somerset and Dawlish, NR was always going to be on the back foot but they had moved on.
    NR has done and is doing some great work as with the viaducts in Cheshire (as everyone knows, decrepit Victorian constructs, not anything like what we can do now): http://www.networkrail.co.uk/news/2016/feb/railway-cheshire-reopens-bridges-viaduct-upgrade/
    It costs millions to revitalise but billions to replace.

    But NR has to spend millions in manpower and assets in trying to maximise the supposed benefits of ‘connectivity’ to HS2.
    The Great Western franchise is up for grabs but there are only two interested parties – even though this is one of the few franchises not directly impacted by HS2.
    Virgin didn’t get the lottery and they helped out with WCML so they must surely get HS2?? – especially as WCML will be reduced to the modern equivalent of Pacers by 2026/7/8/9…….

    mcMichael

    March 8, 2016 at 10:44 pm


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