Go on Ed, be brave and end franchising

May 6th, 2014 Times 2 comments
Politicians sometimes need to be brave and this is one such moment for Ed Miliband over the future of the railways. He is being pressed hard by swathes of his own party to end the present policy of franchising out the whole network and instead take back into public ownership the franchises as they run out.    He should do it. For once, ...

Rail 742: the mysterious Rail Delivery Group

February 28th, 2014 Rail Magazine 2 comments
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 ...

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 fares are out of control

June 26th, 2013 Daily Express 2 comments
Rail fares have got out of control. Year after year since 2004 they have risen by more than the rate of inflation and now, at a time of austerity and cuts, passengers are finally saying ‘enough is enough’. Kevin Steele, a regular rail user between London and Scotland yesterday tried to buy a ticket to travel this weekend between Dundee and Manchester and found that the lowest fare for this ...

Franchise fiasco deepens

March 26th, 2013 Christian Says 8 comments
The Department for Transport bombarded me with several copies of the press release on franchising but that did not make its contents any more coherent.Essentially, apart from speeding up the process on the successful publicly owned East Coast, the whole franchise programme has been delayed, with temporary extensions to most franchises.  The most extraordinary bit about this abject failure is the statement that ' in order to roll out the programme ...

A bluff that the train companies can only lose

March 8th, 2013 Christian Says 4 comments
There is a big game of bluff going on. The fact that all four bidders in the collapsed Great Western franchise have filed a court case to try to reclaim the money lost in the bidding process does not mean they want to go to court. Quite the opposite. They are merely putting pressure on the  Department to cough up. However, as often is the case with railway companies, they fail ...

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