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All across the Great Western territory => Looking forward - 2019 to 2045 => Topic started by: PhilWakely on December 20, 2018, 12:16:48 pm



Title: Williams Rail Review
Post by: PhilWakely on December 20, 2018, 12:16:48 pm
I'm not sure whether this has already been mentioned on the forum............

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/williams-rail-review (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/williams-rail-review)

Mods: Feel free to delete this if it has already been mentioned elsewhere or edit these comments if not



Title: Re: Williams Rail Review
Post by: grahame on December 24, 2018, 08:13:38 am
I'm not sure whether this has already been mentioned on the forum............

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/williams-rail-review (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/williams-rail-review)


Don't you just love those consultations that take place over Christmas and the New Year - they give groups and organisations such an excellent opportunity (not!) to co-ordinate and think through joined up responses.

Quote
To inform the review’s initial ‘listening’ phase, where possible we ask that evidence is submitted by 18 January 2019. However the evidence portal will remain open until the end of May 2019 and all responses will be reviewed by the team. In the later phases of the review we will use the evidence portal to seek input on more specific questions.

You can contact the Rail Review team and feed in evidence at any time using the email rail.review@dft.gov.uk.

Quote
Consultation description

This call for evidence is to support the Rail Review, led by independent chair Keith Williams. The review was established to recommend the most appropriate organisational and commercial frameworks to support the delivery of the government’s vision for the railway.

The review invites written contributions to inform its work on any or all of the review principles, as set out in its terms of reference:
*commercial models for the provision of rail services that prioritise the interests of passengers and taxpayers
* rail industry structures that promote clear accountability and effective joint-working for both passengers and the freight sector
* a system that is financially sustainable and able to address long-term cost pressures
* a railway that is able to offer good value fares for passengers, while keeping costs down for taxpayers
* improved industrial relations, to reduce disruption and improve reliability for passengers
* a rail sector with the agility to respond to future challenges and opportunities

"Franchising is broken - what should we do NOW?"   ;D ;D


Title: Re: Williams Rail Review
Post by: grahame on January 15, 2019, 10:43:52 am
This thread is ... notable by its lack of activity ... on what is potentially a pretty big topic.  At yesterday's TWSW board meeting, we had a bit of. look at this consultation and will be looking to try to interpret it at the 20th March general meeting with. view to feedbacks well before the final close date.   On one hand there is a lot to consider, on the other hand so many constraints put on the term of reference that I really wonder if it will actually be able to consider them.  The chair of the consulting committee suggests he / it is independent, yet it looks so constrained that there question arises "can it be truly indepenendent?".   The question also arises as to whether the consultation / report will actually be welcomes / needed if there are significant governance changes in the next few months; I don't think we can answer that, but certainly a ready-written "independent" report for a government that's so busy doing other things it wants to just "go with a flow" could just pick up the report and implement key recommendations.


Title: Re: Williams Rail Review
Post by: Dispatch Box on January 15, 2019, 12:04:57 pm
What do we want!! A reliable and punctual railway, When do we want it?, We want it now!!!!.


Title: Re: Williams Rail Review
Post by: eightonedee on January 15, 2019, 10:35:30 pm
The problem with these terms of reference is that they do not really recognise the reality of funding infrastructure or evaluating the benefits it brings. It also ignores rule 1 of life, captured in that old northern expression "thee can't get owt for nowt"

On a bullet point by bullet point basis-

1 -
Quote
*commercial models for the provision of rail services that prioritise the interests of passengers and taxpayers

Unless taxpayers who do not travel by train are happy for all requests made for rail investment to improve matters for passengers be met whatever the cost, you will not do so. You might be able to lever in a profit-making layer in the rail industry you can franchise out, but I would guess most rail infrastructure (like most other transport infrastructure, education, health, social services, armed forces, police, courts, waste disposal etc etc) cannot stand on its own feet, and taxpayers have to support it (and them), and we cannot readily measure how much benefit society as a whole benefits, but you sure notice as a consumer of such services when they are not there or do not work well.

2 -   
Quote
* rail industry structures that promote clear accountability and effective joint-working for both passengers and the freight sector

Immediately you break up the delivery vertically, and put financial penalties in for whichever layer is held responsible for anything that goes wrong, you encourage those responsible for each layer to try to blame the others so they pick up the bill.
Unless you have one organisation responsible for everything from construction, maintenance, rolling stock, signalling and information it will always be the other guy's fault, and if it is all one organisation, it will always be someone in another department's fault, not mine, if something goes wrong.

Someone has to make decisions on how everything works overall and be the arbiter when interest conflict.

How about something radical - the only financial penalties should be for a failure to investigate and report all problems over a certain threshold (e.g. trains more than 30 minutes late, line closed for more than 15 minutes)? However it will cost to set up the relevant organisation - and may not actually deliver any improvements?

3 and 4 -
Quote
* a system that is financially sustainable and able to address long-term cost pressures
* a railway that is able to offer good value fares for passengers, while keeping costs down for taxpayers

See point 1 above!

5 -
Quote
* improved industrial relations, to reduce disruption and improve reliability for passengers

Ball's in the court of RMT - see continuing depressing story of DOO. A review like this will not change ingrained attitudes

6 -
Quote
* a rail sector with the agility to respond to future challenges and opportunities

It takes investment - see point 1

Conclusion - sadly, looks like a talking shop.

What we need is

- an examination of what has gone wrong in major infrastructure projects that have gone well over budget and program so lessons can be learnt to minimise repetition (insofar as human nature allows - see insightful comments by others on the Crossrail thread) in the hope (vain?) that we might get better value, or at least have a better idea how much major investment will really cost and how long it will take to deliver,

- some way of ensuring that any system rewards good passenger service (especially mitigating problems, provision of accurate and consistent information, and innovation in passenger service) whether by franchisees, contractors or employees.

- cross party and cross societal appreciation that infrastructure costs, you cannot immediately see the benefit but without it we are all worse off.

Which is probably also pie in the sky.....






Title: Re: Williams Rail Review
Post by: grahame on January 17, 2019, 09:42:08 am
The problem with these terms of reference is that they do not really recognise the reality of funding infrastructure or evaluating the benefits it brings. It also ignores rule 1 of life, captured in that old northern expression "thee can't get owt for nowt"

[snip]

Conclusion - sadly, looks like a talking shop.

What we need is

[snip]

Which is probably also pie in the sky.....


Also sadly, I'm inclined to agree.  But perhaps we should try / take any opportunity to input, however much we consider the  terms of reference straight-jacketed.   

I am reminded back to 2005 when I started campaigning against what I felt was a poor decision ... "we did a consultation but only got 7 responses on this" said the people running it.   Had they got not 7 but 70 or even 700, it may not have made any difference - but at least that would have refuted the "no pubic interest" argument, and it would have certainly helped a lot of people think about what they wanted.

By the way - the decision in 2005 was based on 2 lines on page 70 of a 200 page document ... not well advertised, and no surprise at all than the response rate was low.   How better informed we are on most consultations these days, and how better we ourselves are organised to share their presence.



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