Rail 734: The mystery of the silent Rail Delivery Group

October 12th, 2013 Rail Magazine 1 comment
Remember Iain Duncan Smith’s most memorable speech, at the 2002 Conservative party conference  when he said ‘the quiet man is here to stay, and he's turning up the volume’. He lasted barely a year after that as his lack of public profile and charisma proved fatal. Well, the rail industry has its own version of the ‘quiet man’, the Rail Delivery Group, whose public profile is non-existent which has led ...

Rail 727: ATOC defends franchising system

August 7th, 2013 Rail Magazine 2 comments
In the last issue, I set out the arguments outlined in a TUC-sponsored report that was highly critical of the way that the railways are structured. Fortuitously, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has also put out a detailed document analysing the current state of the rail industry and, not surprisingly, has come to the opposite conclusion to the TUC’s report. The ATOC report is an attempt to justify the ...

Announcement madness

February 8th, 2013 Christian Says 27 comments
I know this is slightly a hardy perennial, but last night's trip to Ashford International and back was the pits in terms of the number and vacuousness of the announcements. Both trains were late, and that did not help, but on the outward one, there really were about a dozen in the first 20 minutes, and even when a measure of peace had been obtained as the station had been ...

Time to run trains on Boxing Day

December 26th, 2012 Times 10 comments
It seems apt in this season of goodwill that for once the forces of labour and capital in the railway industry have agreed on something. It’s just a shame that this consensus had to be in the form of the train operators and the rail unions coming together to prevent anyone letting the train take the strain today. First, we have the brothers and sisters of ASLEF, who, for the third ...

The chaos of the fares system

June 30th, 2012 TSSA Journal 3 comments
Everyone knows that the fares system is a complete mess. No other product has such a complex pricing structure. Nor indeed, does any other railway in the world have such a maze of fares. The reason for the complexity is, of course, buried in history and, oddly, has been made worse by the use of new technology. British Rail had a relatively simple set of fares though it began to offer ...

Greening gets a taste of her own medicine from ATOC

April 16th, 2012 Christian Says 4 comments
Having been rapped on the knuckles in my one ever (short) conversation with Justine Greening, I take some pleasure from the fact that she has had the same treatment meted out to her by the normally supine ATOC. My verbal bashing as I have reported before, came at the press conference to launch the government's long awaited Command Paper. I had the temerity to suggest that Paper did not seem to ...

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