die belebende Bedenkung

A progressive take on nonsense

with 2 comments

Britain’s railway network is a national success story, and Labour’s policy of renationalisation is just an ideological comfort blanket, wrote Labour ‘Progressive’ James Wood.

[‘Labour’s nonexistent rail policy’, James Wood, Progress, 2017-02-13]

On 23 February this year (touch wood) we will celebrate 10 years since a passenger was killed on the rail network, a thankfully long way from the appalling regularity of high-fatality crashes of the eighties and nineties.

[…] In 2012 – 2013, GB train operating company profits were £250 m […against] TOC costs of £6.2 bn, ticket revenue of £7.7 bn and industry-wide costs of £13 bn. If the £250 million TOC profits were directly deducted from UK farebox income, that would only fund a one-off two per cent cut in ticket prices. Simply removing the private sector from the railways will not create a railway with high investment and low fares.

'Labour's non existent rail policy'

Sadly, the article is based on inaccurate and incomplete information, and muddled thinking. Unfortunately

  • it is not “10 years since a passenger was killed on the rail network”
  • the idea that ditching the current industry structure would only permit ‘a one-off two per cent cut in ticket prices’, is absurd.

The fragmentation imposed by John Major’s government substantially increased the whole-industry cost base, and the results can be seen to this day. The rolling stock leasing companies created by the Major government are certainly not operating on a ‘2 per cent margin’, for example.

The current industry structure is not really compatible with efficiency or value for money objectives, and there is no sign of transport secretary Chris Grayling knowing how to fix it, or any other country wanting to copy it.

Written by beleben

February 15, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Politics, Railways

2 Responses

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  1. Surely the reverse is true – the severely skewed demand where around half the working population of the Home Counties demands rail travel capacity between 07.00 and 09.00, which then either has to sit idle and occupying storage sidings or rattle around dragging 5-10 Tons of fixed formation train per passenger (a massive waste of energy), and the vast ‘cathedrals’ of London termini barely tick-over by comparison. Someone has to underwrite that wasteful use of transport resources, and it seems fair to place the premium costs on the plate for those who demand it.

    Solutions do exist but there is a price to pay. Replicating Thameslink – where an entire 6-platform station, almost in the City of London was closed and redeveloped as a premium commercial site, and the prospect of 24 trains per hour now that the local services run straight through.

    The debate will and should take place on which cross-London connections are needed – Crossrail made sense, connecting 2 of the busiest commuter termini. I’d however favour a Battersea-Bermondsey link, so that inner South London Metro services no longer need to terminate at London Bridge and Victoria, and some services which alternately run to these stations. Taking some routes this way – with a new station at Nine Elms, and connected stations for Vauxhall, Waterloo, Blackfriars, London Bridge, with a new station at Tower Bridge/Bermondsey would have the potential to reduce the churn of changing trains at Clapham, as more ‘Southern’ passengers would be able to travel to Waterloo without the need to change trains, and the volume of traffic transferring to the District & Circle routes to reach the West End and City would then have the option of travelling to stations just across the river.

    Euston should be connected with Waterloo via Charing Cross, releasing the station train shed at Charing Cross as a very special development space, and removing the local (DC) services from the terminal platforms, along with suburban routes from Northampton, which can then run through to South and South Western destinations. A new station between Euston and Euston Square can diffuse commuter transfers over a greater selection of routes and focus the old station and its development around long distance services.

    A real challenge would be Cannon Street to Moorgate, but this would remove the issue of trying to clear Cannon Street of emptied trains as more queue to get in, and potentially improve capacity on the Moorgate branch.

    A connection between the three routes running parallel at West Hampstead, offers the flexibility to close part or all of St Pancras (MML) or Marylebone for intensive work, and also connect through from Birmingham/Leicester to HS1 via an existing transfer link, built single with an allowance to double I think. the land is mostly railway or a large car park.


    February 15, 2017 at 3:29 pm

  2. Sorry, but I have other way of alerting you to this.
    Now two items about CH2M and conflict of interest with HS2


    February 23, 2017 at 11:36 am

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