Friday, 4 June 2010

Return to southern bias at the DfT?

The BBC Radio 4 is reporting that Petrol-head Hammond has ordered a review of "the need for new carriages".

This follows the publication today of an NAO report which suggests that with "projected demand falling and costs of carriages rising, there are risks to value for money from plans to increase capacity on the rail network"

Expect fury in the North of England, in particular from the Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authorities, where overcrowding is already seen as a major problem.

Of course not the sort of problem that is ever likely to be experienced by members of the exciting new Coalition transport team, as can be seen from a quick look at their constituencies:

Petrol-head Hammond - Runnymede and Weybridge
Theresa Villiers - Chipping Barnet
Norman Baker - Lewes
Mike Penning - Hemel Hempstead

No matter.

With Petrol-head already looking at allowing TOCs to introduce swingeing fares increases demand for rail travel North of Watford should be suppressed nicely.

UPDATE: This from Leon...

I was little surprised by your view of Ms Villiers' constituency. It does contain three Northern Line and three FCC (GN) stations.

Thus spake a true Metropolitan! Ed

UPDATE: This from the Grim Reaper...

Not quite – it looks like Petrol Head’s own constituents will be affected by what now seems the inevitable cancellation of the Windsor lines 10-car project (not to mention Cleggy and co. who on the morning peak cannot physically board their sardine-condition trains at Putney).

But then of course PH drives his Jag to work!

UPDATE: This from Driver Potter...

My dear old thing,

Further to your worrying post:

Rule One: Before we start tearing our hair out about "no new trains" lets calm down and think for a minute - what's sat idle, how much would it cost to reactivate and would it be cheaper than new builds?

Rule Two: If we can't have new shiny trains, then rebuilding existing stock to get better results and extend the lifespan shouldn't be seen as a sin; it's good thinking and it's cheaper. You ask Captain Deltic about the lovely things Hitachi are doing to the technical unmentionables on the South Eastern 465s...

Rule Three: Two out of four of our lovely coalition transport team are based on the former Southern Region, which means they understand the might and majesty of the third rail. this can only result in Gods Own Traction Supply being extended to all parts of our beloved isle meaning:

(a) I won't get gapped at Wokingham if I accidentally go straight on, and

(b) We all get a week off every year when it snows and the country comes to a grinding halt.

Rule Four: Putting fares up to cap demand is a very old BR trick and beneath any right-thinking government; you want the economy to recover, boy? Get your noses out of our business and get on with allowing us to run a bloody railway in peace

And if you really can't find the money for the new toys anywhere else, have a word with Network Rail; they can find credit where no credit can be found. It's just the "paying it back" bit they aren't very good at.

Network Rail to face further funding squeeze

This written answer from Petrol-head Hammond given on 2nd June 2010...

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington, Labour):
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the impact of planned reductions in his Department's funding of rail in 2010-11.

Philip Hammond (Secretary of State, Transport; Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative):
My Department has agreed to contribute a total of £683 million to the £6 billion of in-year budget reductions sought in the emergency budget.

As part of this Network Rail has indicated that, subject to the consent of the Office of Rail Regulation, it will reduce its requirement for Government funding by £100 million.

I am clear that similar efficiencies can be driven from the large organisations to which the Department for Transport makes grants, such at Network Rail, as can be found by the Department.


And there was Eye thinking that NR's efficiency savings were determined by the ORR.