Thursday, 3 February 2011

Adam Smith Institute plays trains

Good to see that the Adam Smith Institute has its fingers well and truly on the pulse.

An article from the think tank celebrating the 'Railways Renaissance' contains some over excited wibble about running trains all night with peppercorn fares.

Presumably in the Age of Austerity there will be no need to pay staff, fuel trains, or indeed maintain the railway?

No matter.

The plugged in Adam Smith nerds helpfully illustrated the lame piece with the following image:

Stick with the Hornby '00' boys.

DafT invests £27m and buys errr... nothing!

Exciting news from the ever-profligate Department for Transport.

This written answer from Cruella on the 1st February...

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which companies his Department has contracted to carry out consultancy work on the Intercity Express Programme; what the total monetary value is of each such contract; and how much each such company has been paid to date.

Theresa Villiers (Minister of State (Rail and Aviation), Transport; Chipping Barnet, Conservative)

holding answer 18 January 2011

From the start of financial year 2005-06 until approximately 30 April 2010, the amount paid to companies carrying out consultancy work, rail industry advice, legal, financial, business case, technical, project management and procurement advice associated with both the Intercity Express and Great Western Electrification Programmes under the previous administration is as follows. These figures include the time spent by companies in response to Foster Review queries and expenses such as travel and meeting room hire, and exclude VAT and payments to individuals.

Barkers HR Advertising16,632
Capita Resourcing431,218
Clifford Chance1,606
Congress Centre11,970
Ernst and Young161,042
First Great Western149,873
First Class Partnerships5,913
Jim Standen Associates10,620
Mott MacDonald11,827,506
MWB Business Exchange1,903
GNER, NXEC and East Coast Trains1,233,895
Reed Employment51,054
Steer Davies Gleave1,235,628
Willis Ltd13,615

For the period from 3 May 2010 until 11 January 2011 the figures are as follows. Most of these costs constitute time spent by companies in response to Foster Review queries, and the continuation of the Great Western Electrification Programme.

Capita Resourcing7,842
First Great Western22,261
Mott MacDonald79,468
East Coast Trains46,574
Steer Davies Gleave82,343

The Department for Transport currently has live contracts with the following companies. The monetary amounts set out represent the maximum total authorised spend, not the amount remaining for each. As such, much of the work under these contract has already been carried out and invoiced for, and is included within the amounts in the previous tables.

Mott MacDonald15,000
Steer Davies Gleave45,125


How can you spend over £27m of taxpayers money and have nothing to show for it, apart from reams of paper?

If privatisation is such a good idea perhaps time to flog off Great Minster House and pretty damn quick, before it wastes any more of our hard earned cash?

UPDATE: This from the French Taunter...

Eye readers may be wondering why Cruella has bundled the electrification of the Great Western Main Line into a question about the Incredibly Expensive Procurement.

A glance at Rail Amateur reveals the following story posted yesterday:

Bi-mode Hitachi Super Express trains would operate the inter-city service, using pantographs to Bristol and under-floor diesel engines thereafter. Hitachi would build a final assembly plant at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham for the trains. The company says it would create up to 800 jobs.

Evidently the Department now has a cunning plan!

UPDATE: This from several people in the industry who wish to remain anonymous...

"These figures include the time spent by companies in response to Foster Review queries"

Folks get paid to respond to Foster!

Where do we send the invoice?

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

Could Cruella explain why GNER / NXEC / EC costs are 10 times those of Great Western, when the costs are supposed to relate to the IEP and GWML Electrification Programme?

UPDATE: This from D1039...

May I draw the bowler hat's attention to the following from PA, under the perhaps misleading heading "Hopes rise for rail electrification"

Welsh Colonial Governess Cheryl Gillan told MPs: "Whatever we are left with when an announcement is made, you can rest assured we have left no stone unturned in making the case for electrification into Wales. I remain optimistic about a good outcome."

If, as Rail Professional reports, wires will stop in CUBA*, how can it be a good outcome for Wales?

Is Wales the new Albania?

*CUBA = the County That Used To Be Avon eg Bristol, or in the case of Parkway, South Gloucestershire

UPDATE: This from Howard Wade...

Surely, the prospect of driving a stake through the heart of the Zombie Train and puncturing the Reality Distorting Bubble enclosing Great Minster House was reward in itself.

That Foster and his two old railway ramrods were seen of with ease by the bi-mode cabal suggests that we might as well have stayed in the office doing something which could be invoiced...

UPDATE: This from The Velopodist...

Eye readers responding to the Rail professional IEP story are all commenting on the basis that the story is accurate.

I'm getting the phone equivalent of blank stares when I ask the people in Great Minster House about this story.

The Midland Main Line electrification looks a particulalry flimsy theory. On top of that, I'm far from sure that the bi-mode cabal have seen off the electric-with-diesel locomotives idea.

These points aside, it looks a super story.