Rail 744: Rolling stock chaos highlights DfT ineptitude

March 12th, 2014 Rail Magazine 2 comments
It is not often that the railways are mentioned at Prime Minister’s Questions but on March 5th they came up from an unexpected source, the veteran Labour MP Jack Straw who has rarely expressed any previous interest in the industry. Mr Straw asked about the proposed transfer of nine diesel multiple units from TransPennine Express to Chiltern which would represent a loss of an eighth of TPE’s rolling stock and ...

Rail 743: the secret of Merseyrail’s success

March 5th, 2014 Rail Magazine 1 comment
Merseyrail topped the recent Which? report poll on train companies, something that it has done regularly as it also was deemed the best franchise in the larger National Passenger Survey which has a rather different methodology. This success is often dismissed by rivals as a quirk of the franchise pattern. Merseyrail is a discrete railway, with no freight or other operators cluttering up the tracks, it is all electric, it operates ...

Rail 742: the mysterious Rail Delivery Group

February 28th, 2014 Rail Magazine 1 comment
So what is the Rail Delivery Group? Since writing a few issues ago about this somewhat mysterious outfit (Rail 734), there has been a major change with its merger with the Association of Train Operating Companies. This was a response to the failure of the RDG to establish a presence either in the industry or with the wider public and an attempt to provide it with a clear task. A bit ...

Rail 741: Railways must embrace the information age

February 21st, 2014 Rail Magazine 3 comments
  Rail passengers suffer from having too little of the wrong sort of information and not enough of the right sort. We live in a digital age and expectations about information have changed radically in just a few years but the industry has, to some extent understandably, not kept pace. I will not dwell on the wrong sort of information, as I have mentioned numerous times in this column about the ridiculous ...

Rail 740: HS2 is the wrong scheme in wrong place

February 12th, 2014 Rail Magazine 15 comments
This will be a make or break year for HS2. If there is good progress in  the committee stage of the Bill and no unpleasant surprises for its promoters, the odds will be stacked in favour of the scheme. If, on the other hand, there are further mishaps like the despatch of tens of thousands of letters to householders warning mistakenly that their homes will have to be compulsorily purchased ...

Rail 739 Back to the past as Network Rail comes back into the fold

February 8th, 2014 Rail Magazine 3 comments
So it’s welcome back British Rail. I jest somewhat, but permit me to enjoy a few laughs at the sight of the government being forced to take Network Rail’s £30bn debt on to its books. The announcement by the Office of National Statistics that new European rules mean that the debt can no longer be considered as being in the private sector is, in fact, a long overdue adjustment to ...
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