Tuesday, 14 November 2017

TSC to look at Mobility as a Service

This from the Transport Select Committee…

Committee to explore transformative potential of ‘Mobility as a Service’

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a broad term for a range of digital transport service platforms, from quite niche online car and bike-sharing schemes to hugely popular, high profile taxi and private hire smartphone apps.

MaaS apps can provide value for money, convenient, on demand services and are transforming how people, particularly younger people in cities, use urban transport. But, while door-to-door journeys in cities tend to utilise several transport modes— walk/cycle/minicab; train; bus; walk/cycle, for example—the most popular smartphone apps to date have tended to be single mode, typically taxis and minicabs.

Proponents of an emerging model of MaaS, in which multiple modes of transport are brought together under a single app, believe it has the potential to make getting around via public and shared transport so convenient it will negate the need for people in and around cities to own their own car, with potentially massive benefits in relation to urban congestion, air pollution and health.

The Transport Committee is launching a new inquiry into the transformative potential of this type of integrated, multi-mode MaaS app, and overcoming barriers to implementation in UK cities and regions.

Lilian Greenwood, Chair of the Transport Select Committee, said:


Integrating urban transport modes into a single, integrated MaaS app represents a really exciting opportunity to transform how we get around in our cities.

“An integrated MaaS app can create a single, seamless journey, cutting out the hassle of separate ticketing for different legs of a journey. The app can plan and book your whole journey from door-to-door in the most efficient way possible, using real-time service data across all the transport modes in the city. This could substantially reduce reliance on the private car; ease congestion; increase productivity; and lead to more pleasant, healthier cities with better air quality.

“Integrated MaaS is a much talked about concept, but it is not generally well understood. We want to increase public understanding; find out if the bold claims are justified; and, if they are, recommend ways the Department for Transport and others can support and facilitate its implementation in the UK.
"

Submissions can be made here.

Timely for the Rail Supply Group, as it seeks a Sector Deal.


Monday, 13 November 2017

Shaken and Stirred: Chaudhry-van der Velde MD West Midlands

This from Abellio/Mitsui...

Merseyrail’s Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde appointed Managing Director of West Midlands Trains
Merseyrail Deputy MD Andy Heath to succeed Jan at Merseyrail

Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde has today been appointed as Managing Director of West Midlands Trains, which will take over the next West Midlands franchise on 10 December. He joins from Merseyrail where he has been MD since 2015.

Prior to joining Merseyrail, Jan spent three years as Abellio UK’s Deputy MD. In this role he was a member of the Merseyrail board and played a critical role in the company’s successful bid for the ScotRail franchise.

Jan has also held a number of director roles outside of Abellio including Operations Director at South West Trains, Commercial Director at Southern and Operations & Retail Director at Thameslink. He first joined the sector in 1989 as a British Rail general management trainee.

Merseyrail’s new managing director will be Jan’s former deputy, Andy Heath. Andy first joined Merseyrail as Trains Manager in 1998 and has been Operations Director since 2005. 


He will be stepping into the role on 10 December, following Jan’s departure.

TSC Inquiry into Rail Infrastructure

This from the Transport Select Committee...

The process for deciding the funding and outputs of Network Rail for the control period 2019-2024 is underway. Against this background, the Committee wishes to understand whether the current system of planning and delivering investment in rail infrastructure is adequate. The Committee is particularly interested in submissions addressing:

The impact of postponing renewals from the current control period into the next and the implications of the Secretary of State’s decision to remove enhancements from the control period process
The adequacy of the control period process in enabling the delivery of long term rail infrastructure objectives

Whether Network Rail’s long term planning process is effective in providing the industry with strategic direction beyond the five year control period.

As usual, RIA was quick off the mark, punting this out at close of play on Friday...

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) said: “The Railway Industry Association has been urging politicians since the summer that there is a £500m shortfall in the current Control Period of railway funding, CP5. This shortfall needs to be addressed to avoid cancellations and delays on the railway system up to March 2019, when CP5 ends. However, we have also been calling for a look at the wider long-term issues around funding the railways, and so we strongly welcome the news that the Transport Select Committee has committed to investigate this.

“The current Control Period system creates boom and bust cycles in the industry, meaning rail suppliers need to increase their capacity at the start of the funding period, but then see a sharp drop off in workload near the end, jeopardising jobs and the ability of small and medium sized enterprises to survive. Ultimately this boom and bust increases the cost of renewing and maintaining the railway system by up to 30%. So we look forward to working with the Transport Select Committee to see how the funding system can be improved, to enable the best possible service to passengers and freight, and the best value to the taxpayer”
.

Inquiry Terms of Reference here, and submission can be made via here.

Bigland made an honest man!

Many congratulations to railway snapper Paul Bigland and ACoRP fixer Dawn Wolrich.

Paul and Dawn tied the knot on Saturday with friends and family in Huddersfield.


This is possibly the only photograph of Paul you will ever see without a camera in his hands...


Remembrance at Derby station

Friday saw an act of Remembrance at Derby station.

Led by Railway Mission Chaplain Ralph Coleman, the short service saw wreaths laid by EMT, BTP, the Rail Forum and other local groups.


The Derby station war memorial, on platform one, features the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice from the former Derby loco works.

This year, courtesy of the Railway Heritage Trust, there is now a plaque to honour the heroism of railwayman Private Jacob Rivers VC.



And also attending for the first time in an official capacity was the Derby Railway Engineering Society, represented by President Jonathan Wragg of SNC Lavalin, sporting a rather fetching DRES presidential chain of office.



At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Railway Pride Restored - Hampton Court

Regular Eye readers may recall these sorry images from Hampton Court station.



But what's this?

Railway Pride is being restored at Hampton Court!


Not quite complete, but definitely a major improvement.

Good effort!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Unusual coupling caused Azuma issue - Official

Oh dear!

This twaddle from Beardie Rail on the East Coast.



"It's like a a train and a lazer made a baby while on holiday in Japan."

Really?

If so, who was the Dr Moreau that brought this bizarre creation into this world?

Why it's our very own DfT, who paid an absolute fortune for a one night stand between a flash and a pan.

And then decided to roger us all, by adding NOx emissions as well.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Railway Pride - Manningtree Co-op

This from a Mr T…

While at the Post Office in my local Co-op in Manningtree, I happened upon a few Network Rail A4 Lever Arch files dumped on a shelf amongst some boxes



On closer inspection I noticed that they were full of Anglia Level Crossing Closure proposals.  Had a contractor or employee carelessly left them there whilst out shopping?

On the contrary I thought, for surely it must be part of Network Rail’s consultation on Level Crossing Closures. And no doubt they leave their proposals across a range of local shops and libraries etc as part of that consultation, as well as to meet their legal responsibility.

However, I'd have at least expected an NR branded poster at the entrance to the supermarket, advertising the consultation and informing members of the public as to where in the shop the plans might be found. And perhaps even some sort of explanation near the files, as to why they are there and how residents can engage with the process?

Alas, of such, there were none.

Come on NR. A bit of Railway Pride please!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Grauniad rivals GTR for up to date information

Good news for fans of the bleedin' obvious!

This from the Grauniad:

Britain’s biggest rail franchise, which includes the strike-hit Southern service, is likely to be broken up when it expires in 2021, the government has said.

Passengers on Southern have experienced widespread disruption since it was incorporated into Britain’s biggest rail franchise, run by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), in 2015.


Why, yes. Yes indeed!

And what's more DfT have confirmed this is what will happen.


Except they confirmed it way back... in 2014, before the GTR contract even started.

Good to see the Graun so quick on the uptake,  a mere 38 months after the original announcement.

DOO - the long view

This from an Eye reader with a long memory…

As those who read RSSB reports may recall - there is a view that "on platform" cameras give a much better view of the Passenger Train Interface than "on train" cameras.

BUT there is a feeling in the industry that this was ahem... overlooked to ensure the cost and resposibility for maintaining DOO equipment didn't fall on Network Rail.

So - imagine my surprise at finding this letter from 24 years ago, which appeared in the September issue of Modern Railways.


I wonder if Modern Railways is actually responsible for the whole DOO debacle and THAT's why they keep calling it "Modernisation"?

DfT consults on Community Rail

The DfT has issued a consultation document on Community Rail.

This follows a passionate speech by Pete Wilkinson last month, in favour of community rail, at the ACoRP awards in Derby.

The consultation introduction sets the scene:

The Government believes community rail is well placed in ensuring the railway reflects the communities and customers it serves. Community rail policy was last reviewed in 2007 and in the decade since there has been considerable change, with community rail continuing to develop amid an evolving and growing rail network.

The purpose of this consultation is to provide those with an interest in community rail in England and Wales an opportunity to inform future policy

The consultation document can be found here.

Remember. Vote early, vote often.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Chiltern re-brand

Suffice to say it has not been universally welcomed...


 








That is all.

EGIP expands railway footprint

This from a Mr Euroland…

Spotted just outside the railway, outside Stirling. 


EGIP's obviously going well....

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Pay attention Mr Hammond!

Some interesting research by Ipsos MORI.

The research was undertaken across 28 countries in September.

Key findings for the UK railway and ahem… anyone planning a Budget!

Ipsos MORI found 46% of Britons choosing tracks and stations from a list as priorities for investment, ahead of new housing supply (43%) and flood defences (38%). These were last year’s top three, but rail was in third place a year ago.

Along with new housing supply, rail infrastructure is given higher priority in Britain relative to other G8 countries. In Britain, 38% rate the quality of rail as very/fairly good, compared to 51% in France and 60% in Japan (it is, though, 29% in Italy).

The higher priority given to investing in rail infrastructure compared to other countries does not reflect experience. Seven in ten (69%) rate the experience on their last journey positively, higher than the global average of six in ten (62%). However, British rail users are significantly more negative about the value for money of their last journey.


Details here.

More tracks a greater priority than new homes!

This ought to give one or two people pause for thought.

PAC unconvinced by DfT grip on project costs

Meg Hillier taking no prisoners at Monday's Public Accounts Committee hearing into TramTrain…

Chair: I have to say that whatever you take from Mr Carne’s comments about the regulator—we as a Committee have been critical about the role of the regulator in the past—it is staggering that the Department did not challenge the costs more. We cannot quite believe that that happened.

Bernadette Kelly: Without question, we would provide much greater challenge and seek far greater assurance on these project costs now than we may have done back in 2012.

Chair: Can I make you an offer, Ms Kelly? The next time you are looking at a project, this Committee would love to look at it prior to the point at which it is agreed, just to have a good rummage through the numbers. I would be very happy to do that.

Bernadette Kelly: I hope that what you would see now is that there is a really rigorous process. If it would be helpful to the Committee to provide some further information on exactly the process that Mr Carne and I have outlined, we would be delighted to do so.

Chair: We would be interested to see that. As I said, the offer stands: if you have a future project that you would like us to look through in detail before it spends taxpayers’ money, we would be very happy to do that. Thank you very much.

Ouch!

Air Quality and bi-modes...

Notwithstanding accusations about this MP's behaviour...

This is a good question and one that Eye suspects will be the first of many in similar vein:

MIDLAND MAIN RAILWAY LINE: CARBON EMISSIONS

Jared O’Mara (Sheffield Hallam): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the level of carbon emissions that will be caused by diesel bi-mode trains compared to electric trains on the Midland Mainline.

Paul Maynard (Blackpool and North Cleveleys): Passengers expect high quality rail services and we are committed to electrification where it delivers passenger benefits and good value for money for taxpayers, but we will also take advantage of state of the art new technology to improve journeys.

In line with the Department for Transport’s processes for appraising transport investments, an economic appraisal including the environmental impacts has been carried out using the DfT’s Transport Analysis Guidance, incorporating DEFRA guidance on transport related environmental impacts.

Using this methodology, benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions are assessed over a 60 year appraisal period. We expect the new bi-mode trains to deliver an overall better environmental performance than the existing diesel trains on this route and so contribute to further improving this record.


With air quality of increasing concern, particularly in urban areas, many passenger and freight operators will need to be ready to answer similar questions.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Arriva pulls out of Wales and Borders

This from the twitter feed of Ken Skates…


Ken is 'the Official channel of the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure' at the Welsh Assembly Government:
This leaves the following in the running:
  • KeolisAmey;
  • MTR; and 
  • Abellio
Interesting, possibly even unexpected...

Digital railway's missing link

The latest organisation trying, belatedly, to get inside the digital railway bubble are civil engineers Balfour Beatty.

What, Eye ponders, do a bunch of chaps in rigger safety boots and hard hats know about the digital railway?

Eager to find out we followed the instruction at the foot of the press release (below).

Mark Bullock, Managing Director, Balfour Beatty’s rail business said, “The Digital Railway will be transformative, bringing the UK’s railways into the 21st century. Making the Digital Railway a reality calls for a shake-up of the way the rail industry does business by better connecting the constituent parts, aligning the objectives of multiple stakeholders and bringing track and trains closer together. This will require robust planning and coordination, funding and a concerted effort to address the skills shortage.

Above all, the new approach will have to be more collaborative and more inclusive. Although the challenges are significant, the potential prize is great. The industry must come together to unlock the benefits of the Digital Railway and Balfour Beatty is committed to making this happen.”

ENDS

To read the paper in full, please click here and get involved in the conversation using #ExpertEngineers

Alas, link was there none!

Perhaps a good old fashioned analogue fax address would have been more reliable?


Industry 'improved finances' - a gentle reminder

This from Benjamin Disraeli...

According to the Rail Delivery Group Notes to Editors on today's launch of the 'Landmark coming together':

"The plan details the progress that the industry has made since it was restructured in the 1990s, when Britain’s railway ran a £2bn a year operating deficit (1997-98) compared to generating a £200m surplus today, benefiting taxpayers. The plan says that improved finances have helped to sustain improvements in the railway that see Britain’s network now ranked by passengers as the best major railway in Europe".

In 1997-98 all Government subsidy to the railway went to the train operators who then provided all Railtrack's income through track access charges. In other words, they met their full operating costs.

Today Network Rail's income comes from a combinatioon of track access charges and a direct grant from DfT.

According to the ORR, in 2016-17, only South West Trains and Virgin Trains East Coast made a net contribution to DfT after Network Rail's Direct Grant had been allocated to the TOCs. The rest ran an operating deficit requiring subsidy. 

And SWT was in revenue share, while VTEC is running at a loss

Railway Pride - Hampton Court (update)

Good news for fans of Railway Pride and Hampton Court station.

Regular Eye readers may recall this sorry image of the buffer stops at Platform 2 from a post on the 14th October?


The situation is now much improved as this photo from the weekend shows!


As the legend on the billboard behind notes: 'Ever onwards' indeed!