Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Kettles exempt

The European Parliament approved an agreement reached with the Council on the EU-wide approval of different types of railway rolling stock.

Under the new legislation, any rolling stock already approved for use in one Member State will have to be accepted in the other states. This will cut red tape and should boost the development of rail transport in Europe.

Heritage, museum and tourist railways are exempted from the directive, as the result of another successful demand by Parliament.

Let's see them try to run a TGV on the ECML then!

EU press release here

Labour discovers Transport

***Over on Tom Harris' blog there is an announcement about the formation of a new Labour Transport Group who are "organising to promote debate on transport policy within the party".***

Tom provides a contact email for those interested in further details.

The Fact Compiler has already signed up but wonders if after 11 years this may be too little too late...


From our International Correspondent

The Atkins sponsored "Case for Electrification" supplement in the July issue of Modern Railways has a forward by Secretary of State for Transport Ruth Kelly.

A good thing, as it is so incoherent and financially illiterate that your Treasury will almost certainly use it to justify never again having to electrifying a single chain of your network.

In one article RSSB is quoted as costing electrification at between £550k - £650k per single track-km.

On that basis Tier 1 alone (London-Bristol, Bedford-Sheffield and Edinburgh-Glasgow) would cost somewhere in the region of £400 million. And remember that's just for the wires. The cost of trains isn't included.

The £400 million "investment" would need to be serviced at a minimum rate of 4% per annum.

Servicing the debt would be achieved through a number of ways:

Savings by not running diesel trains (approx £40,000 maintenance saving per train per annum), additional "sparks effect" tickets sales and a reduction in carbon emissions which, according to supplement sponsor Atkins, delivers just 20% efficiencies over diesel - i.e pretty much what you get if you cruise your elderly HST at 100mph vice 125mph (or run it smoothly without signal checks, TSRs. or delays whilst the wires are down).

Deduct the loss of income during the endless weekend possessions whilst engineers do the knitting unmolested by trains and you have a pretty big income hole to be plastered over using Cost Benefit Analysis (i.e think of a number, get an academic to double it and then a Transport Planner to add the number originally thought of plus an optimism bias).

Now in Europe we just build the damn things and count the Euros rolling in afterwards.

'Allo 'allo

Whilst DafT occupies itself with moving the deckchairs around it is instructive to see how our continental cousins are meeting the challenge of encouraging modal shift from air to rail.

The FT revealed last week that national-flag carrier Air France is looking to move short-haul flight passengers onto Europe’s high-speed railways.

The company is holding discussions with Paris-based Veolia Transport with the aim of having Veolia run Air France branded trains from the airline’s hub at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport to destinations across Europe.

The potential for such services can only increase as the number of electrified high speed lines in Europe multiply. Last year the LGV Est opened between Paris and Strasbourg and a new line linking Antwerp and Amsterdam is due to open next year.

If the plan succeeds AirFrance will reduce both fuel costs and carbon emissions.

Meanwhile in the UK electrification policy can be summed up by the word "maybe", additional lines to address capacity have been kicked into the long grass whilst NR (at DafT's behest) undertakes a "study" and procurement of a 21st Century UK high speed train is mired in non-compliant bids and late reshuffles to bid consortia.

C'est Magnifique, Mais Ce N'est Pas la Gare


More mutterings following the late publication yesterday of the National Passenger Survey.

InterCity operator National Express East Coast is absolutely furious with watchdog PassengerFocus .

When the survey was published the PassengerFocus press office went into overdrive, screaming that the survey was a "red alert" to a number of long distance operators where overall passenger satisfaction "had plummeted 4% points."

But what's this?

Amongst the list of dire operators singled out for attention was NEEC - this despite the fact that their rating had actually gone up by 4%.

Meanwhile no mention was made of piss-poor operator Worst Great Western who are so loathed by passengers that they have been told more than once by Daft that they are drinking at the last chance saloon.

If the Fact Compiler didn't know better he might be tempted to think that the two month delay in publishing the figures had something to do with their being massaged. As PassengerFocus is funded by DafT one wonders who might do such a thing?

More examples of spin over substance please.