Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tories destined to repeat mistakes of the past?

Telegrammed by Mons Star
As Captain Deltic's counter of days, since the placing of the last new train order, ticks ominously away the question on everyone's lips is 'will it be over by Christmas?'.

Three current deals could, in theory, stop the clock before it reaches 1,000 days on the 28th December.

The London Midland/TPE order for Siemens' Desiros is still being haggled over by DafT. LM's press release announcing preferred status for the only credible bidder already hinted that commercial close might slip into the new year...

Meanwhile the southern thrust of Siemens' drive, Thameslink, is in big financial trouble, with a respected finance journal reporting that the current liquidity situation has funders calling for higher returns. To add to the woe there are also reports that the money men have finally woken up to the risk involved in total train service provision PFI deals. The darkening shadows of London Underground's PPP draw ever nearer...

Finally , the IEP is reported to be neck and neck with Thameslink. Make of that what you will, but East Coast and Great Western are already devoting time and effort to looking at 'credible' alternatives. Could there be a link between Rail Barbie's departure and her insistence that the 'something must be done' with the lacklustre IC225 fleet?

So, all over by Christmas? More likely DfT is planning its usual costly and misguided war of attrition.

If so, 1st March will be a dark day - marking the second occasion when a Tory Transport Secretary has presided over a 1064 day hiatus in ordering new trains.