Fares review dodges the big issues

November 14th, 2013 TSSA Journal 3 comments
It was never going to be easy sorting out the chaotic fares structure. Simplification, standardisation, information, clarity, smartcards  – all these are buzz words for what the long delayed fares review published in early October was going to solve e. Not surprisingly, the review did not manage to address all these problems comprehensively, a near impossible task. However, while undoubtedly the review did not go far enough in dealing with ...

Rail accidents must be put in perspective

August 17th, 2013 TSSA Journal 10 comments
As a result of the spate of four accidents on the railways across the world in July – Canada, France, Spain and Switzerland – I was interviewed several times about safety on the railways by both foreign and domestic media. The first question was invariably some version of ‘are the railways safe to travel on?’ It was an easy question to bat away. The fact that these accidents happened in quick succession ...

Rolling stock complexity is unnecessary

June 17th, 2013 TSSA Journal no comments
The most obviously scandalous aspect of the whole rail privatisation fiasco have tended to be over rolling stock deals. It all started with the sales of the three rolling stock companies, which was carried out in 1995 in great haste to put a few bob into the Treasury coffers, not unlike today’s hurried and equally shocking sale of the Royal Mail, which cheated taxpayers out of at least £1bn. Now ...

Decision over East Coast is pure politics

May 31st, 2013 TSSA Journal 1 comment
Rail privatisation was supposed to have taken the politics out of the railways. Well, that was never going to happen but the decision by Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, to prioritise the refranchising of East Coast shows that for the government political considerations still outweigh the efficient running of the railway. There were numerous good reasons not to rush through the reprivatisation of East Coast which has been run by the ...

London is booming but needs a transport rethink

March 1st, 2013 TSSA Journal 6 comments
London is a booming city and it’s going to get better. Successive governments have been accused of channelling railway investment into the capital and there’s no doubt that this is the case. Just look at how the railway scene in London will change by the end of the decade. The expanded Thameslink will allow up to 20 trains (24 theoretically) per hour through the capital, linking a whole host of new ...

Public bad, private good – or is it the other way around?

January 11th, 2013 TSSA Journal no comments
In his George Bradshaw lecture given at the Institution of Civil Engineers in October, Tim O’Toole, the boss of FirstGroup emphasised that the key reason behind the growth of the railways in the past 15 years was the fact that they were in the private sector. Moreover, he argued that it was the very complexity of the railways created by privatisation that has delivered that growth and therefore, the fragmentation ...

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