Thursday, 12 May 2011

First instructs DafT to 'Assume the position!'

Eye salutes the financial genii at the Department for Transport!

These fiscal titans accepted First's heavily backloaded 2006 bid for the Great Western franchise under which the company promised to pay the Treasury £1.13bn over the life of the franchise.

But of course to be on the safe side First also insisted on a break point in the contract, at the point when premia payback became really chunky.

Needless to say First has now exercised this option which leaves the Marsham Street gnomes shy of a cool £826m which First should have paid in the final three years of the franchise.

Regular observers of the railway scene will of course recollect that this is the same franchise whose original service specification was also ballsed up by the Marsham Street Mandarins.

So badly in fact that after a year the DfT, which "doesn't renegotiate franchises" was forced to errr... renegotiate the franchise - begging First to run more trains. In return for saving the departments bacon grateful Civil Serpents brought Cap and Collar arrangements on the franchise forward by two years.

No doubt the resulting shortfall in the Department's budget has already been picked up by the poor bloody taxpayer!

No matter.

In happier news - Theresa's new, exciting and improved Franchising Policy goes from strength to strength.

Why only this Tuesday DafT failed to issue the InterCity West Coast ITT.

With Lin Homer admitting to the Public Accounts Committee on Monday afternoon that there is still no Franchising Policy this one looks like it will run and run (or not).

Perhaps it would be easier, and cheaper, for all concerned if DafT just gave the West Coast franchise to its latest favourite, along with a very large blank cheque?

UPDATE: This from a Concerned Berks and Hants Traveller...

Will DafT now insist on a de-naming ceremony for FGW HST Sir Moir Lockhead OBE before 2013?

Perhaps this sad occasion might be the final opportunity to obtain a remaindered copy of Sir Moir's Lovely Book?

Sadly Eye understands that Slugger O'Toole doesn't go in for such vapid PR stunts.

UPDATE: This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

Over an agreeable luncheon at Raoul's today an erstwhile colleague and I discussed the apparent delay in the publication of the Invitation to Tender for the InterCity West Coast franchise.

Over several glasses of a rather spicey white Burgundy we both agreed that the new Permanent Secretary in my former department is well and truly master of her brief.

Having commissioned Sir Roy McNulty to review industy costs it would be precipitous to announce a Franchising Policy before his findings are published next week.

As my First Division chum quipped "Why have a dog and then bark yourself?".