Wednesday, 9 July 2008


From our International Correspondent

The Atkins sponsored "Case for Electrification" supplement in the July issue of Modern Railways has a forward by Secretary of State for Transport Ruth Kelly.

A good thing, as it is so incoherent and financially illiterate that your Treasury will almost certainly use it to justify never again having to electrifying a single chain of your network.

In one article RSSB is quoted as costing electrification at between £550k - £650k per single track-km.

On that basis Tier 1 alone (London-Bristol, Bedford-Sheffield and Edinburgh-Glasgow) would cost somewhere in the region of £400 million. And remember that's just for the wires. The cost of trains isn't included.

The £400 million "investment" would need to be serviced at a minimum rate of 4% per annum.

Servicing the debt would be achieved through a number of ways:

Savings by not running diesel trains (approx £40,000 maintenance saving per train per annum), additional "sparks effect" tickets sales and a reduction in carbon emissions which, according to supplement sponsor Atkins, delivers just 20% efficiencies over diesel - i.e pretty much what you get if you cruise your elderly HST at 100mph vice 125mph (or run it smoothly without signal checks, TSRs. or delays whilst the wires are down).

Deduct the loss of income during the endless weekend possessions whilst engineers do the knitting unmolested by trains and you have a pretty big income hole to be plastered over using Cost Benefit Analysis (i.e think of a number, get an academic to double it and then a Transport Planner to add the number originally thought of plus an optimism bias).

Now in Europe we just build the damn things and count the Euros rolling in afterwards.