Friday, 5 October 2012

Mingay speaks!

This is the statement issued by Kate Mingay...

The PR Office issued the following statement today on behalf of Kate Mingay and her lawyers Mishcon de Reya:

5 October 2012

Statement by Mrs Kate Mingay (Director, Commercial and Technical Services, Department for Transport)

“While it has been widely reported in the context of the award of the franchise for the West Coast Mainline that I have been suspended, my role has been inaccurately portrayed mainly due to statements and other comment made by the Department for Transport itself.

I would like to make it clear that:

  • I did not have lead responsibility for this project;
  • Neither I nor any member of my team had any responsibility for the economic modelling for this project, or for any Department for Transport project;
  • Nor did I have any responsibility for the financial modelling in respect of this project;
  • I have not been involved in briefing Department for Transport ministers or other government ministers in respect of this project.

I will of course cooperate fully with all ongoing and future investigatory processes in relation to this matter, but wanted to correct the completely inaccurate portrayal of my role immediately.”


Farewell - keep it McLean and good Knight

Yesterday saw a farewell do for two time served railway PRs.

Virgin men, Allan McLean and Steve Knight, held a retirement breakfast aboard the Pendolino which was later named Chad Varah (see post below) at Euston.

Pictured are Allan and Steve aboard the train, as they head of to the Dun Spinning Retirement Home.

Eye wishes both well and is sure it won't be the last we've heard of them!

Quadruple naming for Samaritans founder

Amidst all the negative noise some good news!

Yesterday four railway companies named rolling stock at Euston in honour of the Rev Chad Varah, founder of the Samaritans.


London Midland...


And Network Rail - although their loco, a class 57, was called away to other duties...

No matter!

As the Samaritans do such sterling work Eye is happy to applaud all concerned.

Good effort!

New Irish Rail CEO appointed

So the UK brain drain to Ireland continues.

First Theresa Villiers took up the role of Northern Ireland Secretary, and perhaps not a minute too soon in light of recent developments at her former department!

Now Eye understands that David Franks, currently at Keolis, is heading across to the Emerald Isle to become CEO of Irish Rail when Dick Fearn retires in February.

A challenging role at a railway that is under significant financial pressure.

UPDATE: This the note circulated to Iarnród Éireann colleagues this morning...

Dear Colleagues,

In July, I informed you of my decision to retire from Iarnród Éireann in February 2013.

Yesterday, following a special meeting of the IE Board, the chairman announced the name of my successor.

He is Mr David Franks, a lifelong railwayman from England with extensive front line railway management experience, both in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

David (55) began his railway career at just 16 years of age, as a junior member the station staff at Salisbury in the south of England.

Subsequently, following many years in line management positions with British Rail and its successor companies, David has, in more recent years, led a number of rail businesses, including the train operations of National Express in the UK and the Stockholm Metro system in Sweden.

He is currently employed by Keolis, the UK division of the French National Railways, SNCF.

David will join Iarnród Éireann early in the New Year and I do hope you will extend the same warm welcome to him as you did to me when I joined the company back in 2003.

Regards, Dick Fearn


Cap and Collar costs revealed

This from the RMT... 

Evidence unearthed by rail union RMT has revealed that all of the rail franchises currently eligible for receiving taxpayer financial support under loaded contract rules are now claiming it with the exception of Northern Rail and London Midland who could move onto the same special measures shortly.

RMT research also reveals today that the total level of revenue support paid back to the train companies has shot up to £451 million, meaning that nearly half the £1 billion paid to the government in premiums is returned to the operators in a revolving door of corporate welfare. The revenue support payments have gone up from £290 million in a year and are still rising.

The so-called system of “revenue support” – better known as “corporate welfare - is where under the franchising “cap and collar” procedures, private train operators can get more subsidy or pay less premium if their revenue undershoots original inflated projections.

The Parliamentary information shows that the following TOC’s are now being bailed out by the taxpayer because they and DFT have got their sums wrong,

  • FGW
  • Virgin West Coast
  • FCC
  • South Eastern
  • South West trains
  • East Midland
  • Cross Country
  • Southern (from 20/9/13)

That means that eight out of the current 19 rail franchises are on taxpayer bailouts and, whilst Northern Rail and London Midland are in revenue share at the moment (paying more premium or getting less subsidy) this is only by a marginal sum and they could also apply for a bailout at any time.

Yet another reason for Richard Brown's remit to be extended. 

Rather than reviewing 'the franchising programme', now is the time to look into whether franchising is working and if there are better ways to provide passenger services. Through 'concessions' for instance...

UPDATE This blatant piece of puffery from a Mr Chris Jackson...

Interested to see that RMT has now 'discovered' how many TOCs are getting revenue support. 

Subscribers to Rail Business Intelligence would already be well aware, as we published the full list in issue 422 a fortnight ago.

(Can I have a discount on my subscription now? Ed)