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 ...

East Coast set to remain in the public sector (sort of)

October 2nd, 2013 Christian Says 5 comments
There are some stories in the modern railway that you could not make up because they would be too far-fetched. The story of  the PPP on the London Underground was one, but now we have another great one. Eurostar is bidding  jointly for the East Coast franchise with Keolis, which normaly partners Go-Ahead. Now of course this is the franchise that is being rushed through for privatisation because currently it is ...

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 ...

Rail 720: Franchise timetable shows system is unworkable

April 15th, 2013 Rail Magazine 2 comments
My alter ego, Mystic Wolmar, sometimes gets predictions so wrong that I have contemplated smashing his crystal once and for all. But just occasionally he hits the mark as sweetly as a Gareth Bale piledriver. So allow him, for once, a little bit of glory. When the Department for Transport published its franchise plans, Mystic was quoted in The Sun (I know, but they did ask…) saying ‘I suspect they ...

Mcloughlin’s full plate

March 10th, 2013 House no comments
It’s fortunate that Patrick McLoughlin appears utterly unflappable because there has been an awful lot to flap about in the Department of Transport since he took over as Transport Secretary in the autumn reshuffle. If he expected a quiet time after seven years in the Westminster maelstrom as the Tories’ chief whip, he was sorely mistaken. Within days of taking office, he found himself having to deal with the West Coast ...

Rail 714: Brown review predictably disappoints

January 15th, 2013 Rail Magazine 3 comments
When it was decided to set up an enquiry on the scandal over the suicide of the scientist, David Kelly, in 2003, I happened to be on holiday near where a couple of members of the Labour government were staying. When the name of Lord Hutton, the judge appointed to hold the enquiry emerged in the conversation around the pool, the ministers smiled benignly:  ‘He’s a great appointment’, one of ...

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