Wednesday, 12 January 2011

TfL budget hit by revised listing

Good news for lovers of architectural gems!

This from The Architects Journal...

Charles Holden’s St James’s Park Underground Station and the London Underground Headquarters has had its listed status upgraded from Grade II to Grade I.

Not such good news for TfL though, who would dearly love to realise the value of this prime piece of SW1 real estate.

No doubt fare payers will be happy to make up the resulting budgetary shortfall.

DfT rolling stock procurement exposed

Compare and contrast.

This from Stagecoach...

The Perth-based transport group is investing £52million in 360 new buses and coaches for the coming financial year.

DfT could spend that amount on consultancy fees without a single new rail vehicle to show for it.

Cameron backs IEP as part of trade deal?

This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

During my regular lunch at Rules with a former departmental colleague I was told, between mouthfuls of steak and oyster pie, that our very own Prime Minister has 'done an amazing trade deal with the Japanese PM which sees IEP going ahead in return for a fantastic quid pro quo which, sadly, I am unable to divulge even to you old boy.'

'But aren't you supposed to be evaluating that banker fella's so called credible alternatives to IEP?' I asked him.

'Oh that', he replied after a thoughtful sip of St Emillion, 'that's just to keep Sir Andrew sweet in case we need his services again. And anyway we all enjoy seeing our very own train-spotter-in-chief getting het-up over perceived threats to his pet project!'.

'Appropos of which', he added, 'did you enjoy Hammond's little tease when he said that civil servants shouldn't buy trains the other day?'.

We both agreed that young Hammond is quite the wag and will do well when he moves to the Treasury, before we were distracted by the arrival of the port and cheese.

UPDATE: This from Our Man at 222 Marylebone Road...

As one of the Railway Eye pioneer posters, I have always assumed that Sir Humphrey Beeching was not the pseudonym of a former DfT senior mandarin, but a figment of the Fact Compilers imagination.

It seems I was wrong.

I had booked a table for a late lunch at Rules yesterday and they sat me down next to two distinguished looking gentlemen who had obviously enjoyed an extremely good lunch and were now on the Port.

Keeping an ear open on their conversation, as one does, I picked up the elder one asking about 'McNulty'.

The younger of the two grimaced and said 'The man's running amok and wants to close all the rural lines as uneconomic. If our LibDem minister manages to get as far as page 26 of McNulty's interim submission the coalition is doomed'.

But he didn't seem overly concerned when he said it...

West Coast franchise - and they're off!

This from Billy Connections...

The West Coast franchise documentation is now available on the DfT website.

For students of such things there is an interesting paragraph in the Pre Qualification Process Document:

In addition, the Department will assess any past failure to deliver on contractual commitments, including those of price and quality, whether arising from over-optimistic bidding or from poor management. In the case of rail franchise contracts this will apply to those let since January 2001. Where the Department considers that a severe incidence of failure to deliver contractual commitments may have occurred it will review the circumstances against the following four indicators: the significance of the contractual breach; the time elapsed since the breach occurred; the relevance of the circumstances to UK passenger rail franchising; and the materiality of any estimated financial loss to the taxpayer or counterparty. The Department reserves the right to exclude an Applicant where it considers that a severe past failure to deliver contractual commitments has occurred.

With DB owned Arriva having singularly failed to deliver the promised WiFi to Cross Country passengers will this rule out the Hunish Hordes from the West Coast competition?

If not then how big a "failure to deliver on contractual commitments" does a potential bidder have to make before it is barred?

UPDATE: This from Ithuriel...

For an exclusion to stand up in law, DfT will have to demonstrate a clear process for evaluating the significance of the 'four indicators'.

They can't just do a Lord Adonis in Peggy Mitchell mode rant, as with National Express East Coast and say 'You're barred'

Will there be a numeric scale, with each indicator scored and a maximum total above with bids will be excluded?

Should be worth half a million in legal and accounting fees making the exclusion process water-tight.

And since the Department is determined to have its revenge on Virgin, why isn't there a fifth indicator covering past negotiation with threats (Virgin's use of the PUG2 nuclear option) and a sixth for ungentlemanly behaviour (exploiting DfT's poor negotiating skills)?