Tuesday, 30 October 2012

DfT - the big question post Laidlaw

Now that the DfT is officially broken...

Who will be sent in to fix it?

Anyone have an answer?  

(Apart from FCP and DOR obviously. Ed)

Cautious RfG welcome for NR/DBS depot deal

This from the Rail Freight Group...

Consultation launched over reform of rail freight property

Commenting on the Network Rail / DB Schenker consultation on reform of rail freight property, Maggie Simpson, Executive Director, Rail Freight Group, said: 

We welcome this consultation setting out the proposals for reform of DB Schenker's land and property interests. The proposed deal offers strategic benefits for the growth of rail freight by separating land ownership from rail haulage, and by encouraging Network Rail to take a proactive role in developing the freight business.

“However, this is a complex deal, and RFG members and rail freight customers are likely to have legitimate concerns over any impact on their businesses. It is imperative that they respond to this consultation, and that Network Rail and DB Schenker address all concerns in full prior to the conclusion of this deal


Network Rail's consultation can be found here.

Philip Hammond - a gift that keeps on giving

This from yesterday's interim Laidlaw report...

And this from Eye favourite Petrol-head Hammond on 19 May 2011...

Amongst other proposed changes, we intend to replace the current “cap and collar” revenue sharing system that has driven perverse behaviour by train operators, with a GDP-based risk-sharing arrangement and a profit-share mechanism which will ensure the taxpayer benefits from any unexpected profits over the term of the franchise.

Because relaxation of full prescription of train services in line with Sir Roy’s recommendations was not signalled in the consultation document that we published on 19 January, I have decided that it is right and proper to consult on these proposals again, starting today, and ending on 17 August.  As a consequence of this decision, Mr Speaker, I can inform the House that the new franchise on the Intercity West Coast will now be awarded in August 2012, after a competitive process involving the four shortlisted train operators, and will commence operations on 9th December 2012.  In making this decision, I have deliberately avoided a change of franchise immediately ahead of or during the Olympic period and have also decided to take advantage of the short delay to complete the integration of the 106 new Pendolino carriages into the fleet prior to the commencement of the new franchise...

Longer franchises and a changed relationship with Network Rail will have a positive impact on the behaviour and appetite for investment and risk taking by train operators.  But I want to send a clear message that the new culture of cooperation in the rail industry, and the focus on cost reduction, is here to stay and it is mandatory, not optional.  So I can today announce that, as a matter of policy for all future franchise competitions, a significant part of the assessment of bidders’ capability at the pre-qualification stage will be evidence of success in collaborative working and driving down costs.

Success in driving down costs? 

With the ICWC debacle costing taxpayers at least £40m without a wheel turning in anger perhaps we can all afford ourselves a hollow little laugh.

Update: This from a Mrs A P Tis...

Perhaps all the DfT's current problems over the WCML can really be tracked back to individual political opportunisim?

Christian Wolmar writing on the 17th September 2010:

"Talking to a well informed source at the Rail awards last night, I learnt that the Department for Transport has become one of the first departments to agree a budget with the Treasury. The transport secretary, Philip Hammond, has not only accepted the Treasury figure, but he has done so quickly because he wanted to jump over the table to sit on the other side of the Star Chamber. So now he will sit alongside Osborne and Alexander pronouncing on the budgets of other departments.
"In a way that is hardly surprising. Hammond never wanted to be Transport Secretary. He is a Treasury man through and through, and now, with Osborne about to become the most unpopular man in Britain after Ashley Cole, he must reckon that, having been shafted over the Chief Secretary job because of the deal with the Libdems, he has a chance of the big job in a year or two. By the time the damage he is wreaking in transport starts to become apparent, Hammond will not be in Marsham Street".

Mystic Wolmar indeed!