Tuesday, 26 March 2013

New Franchising Policy - RAIL Exultant!

Amongst senior industry figures the take on today's New Franchising Policy has been somewhat upbeat.

Phrases like: 'competent', 'pleased', 'deliverable' and 'making the very best of a bad job' abound.

Meanwhile there is near euphoria in Peterborough, the home of RAIL, as tomorrow (Wednesday) is press day.

After much lobbying it appears that  DfT has finally gotten the message!

Today's announce allows RAIL scribes to analyse the New Franchising Policy so that subscribers can ruminate over both it and their cornflakes on Saturday morning.

And as any ful kno RAIL has '523,198 copy sales a year with an estimated 2,615,990 readers'.

New Franchising Policy - Rail.co has clear view

This from Eobhann...

According to Rail.co...

Surely this is a trypo and not a comment on our august Transport Secretary...

Perhaps we should be told?

New Franchsing Policy - DOR rejoices!

This from Directly Operated Railways...

Today’s announcement
In this morning’s announcement, the Transport Secretary said he has decided that the East Coast franchise will now be returned to the private sector in February 2015, some five years and three months after DOR took over the business in November 2009. The decision means that the competition process for East Coast will re-commence almost immediately.

DOR has actively worked to prepare the business for a return to the private sector when the Government decided that the time was right. Due to the delay to the original programme caused by the cancellation of the West Coast competition last autumn, DOR agreed with the Government that it should prepare a fresh medium term business plan to cover a five year period starting in April 2014. This work is almost complete and will be used to guide the further development of the business over the remaining two year period of operation before the new franchise is scheduled to start, and to inform the work of bidders at the appropriate time.

East Coast today
Since 2009, the East Coast business has been transformed. The Company has returned more than £640 million in cash to the taxpayer, achieved record beaking customer satisfaction, and last year delivered the best operational performance on the route since records began in 1999.

Clearly DOR can't wait to get rid of East Coast...

New Franchising Policy - Bad news for Boris

A fairly torrid week for Boris has been topped off today by the small print of the New Franchising Policy.

The long extension to SouthEastern won't just annoy long suffering Kentish commuters, it will also infuriate Transport for London!

As the franchise isn't due to be re-let until 2018 it looks like BoJo's ambitions to take on the 'inners', or metro services, before the next Mayorial election are doomed.

Of course Centro will be similarly disappointed that London Midland will be extended to 2017.

But Eye can't help but feel in Boris's case this is personal. Nice work Dave.

Greater Anglia - We're all in it together!

This gem from the Ipswich Star...

The Prime Minister ditched his train at Manningtree yesterday amid fears engineering work would push his schedule off track.

Mr Cameron jumped off the train into waiting cars in the Essex town as he rushed to deliver a keynote speech in Suffolk’s county town fearing overhead line work at Needham Market would create congestion at Ipswich station.

Eye wonders if he used Mr Toad's motor, which is no doubt on stand-by at his Chelmsford constituency?

DfT slips funny into New Franchising announce

Someone at the DfT clearly has a very keen sense of humour!

This from the press announce on the New Franchising Policy:

"The delivery of new state-of-the-art British-built trains from 2017 as part of the Government’s £4.9bn Intercity Express Programme."

Stop it, you're killing me! 

New Franchising Policy - Doomed

So. A big Eye welcome to the exciting New Franchising Policy unveiled today.

In many ways it is very much like the old franchising policy, except that it just takes longer and this one is sans Directly Operated Railways... for the moment.

The industry has of course been underwhelmed by the paucity of ambition shown, with many of the worst performing TOCs receiving extensions to cover the Department's blushes (shurely: ...overwhelmed by the breadth of ambition shown, with top performing TOCs being rewarded with well deserved extensions designed to benefit the passenger? Ed).

Trebles all round at London Midland, CrossCountry and SouthEastern to name but a few.

With only InterCity East Coast likely to be let by the election (in your dreams. Ed) the revised programme will afford Labour ample opportunity to reactivate DOR and take over swathes of the passenger railway when it wins the inevitable landslide in 2015.

No matter.

Meanwhile, of more pressing concern to the cash strapped Treasury will be what this exciting programme does to the Statement of Funds Available.

If you think it's cold now, wait until CP5!

McLoughlin unveils new staff cuts shocker!

This from the Man by the Photocopier...

DAfT may be about to improve upon the McNulty report, which recommended that trains should be driver only by default, saving the costs of conductors.

In his statement about the much-improved, washes whiter-than-white franchise programme today, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has revealed that matters could go further, when he said:

“The future competitions will also place passengers in the driving seat”.

It might be cheaper to let passengers do everything, Minister, but is that perhaps a little too courageous?