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All across the Great Western territory => The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom => Topic started by: broadgage on February 27, 2020, 10:37:08 am



Title: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: broadgage on February 27, 2020, 10:37:08 am
I have heard a rumour that the coming budget will include a requirement for railways to use the more expensive fully taxed white diesel fuel, rather than the cheaper and less taxed red diesel used at present.

Is anyone able to confirm or deny ?

If there is any truth in the rumour, I suspect that it might be a long term plan, rather than starting in the next budget.

EDIT TO ADD, now confirmed to be untrue. See later posts made on budget day for details.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: Electric train on February 27, 2020, 05:54:58 pm
I have heard a rumour that the coming budget will include a requirement for railways to use the more expensive fully taxed white diesel fuel, rather than the cheaper and less taxed red diesel used at present.

Is anyone able to confirm or deny ?

If there is any truth in the rumour, I suspect that it might be a long term plan, rather than starting in the next budget.

If the Government do it too quickly a number of ToC may hand their contracts back unless they can put the fares up to cover the additional cost.  Electricity used for traction power also has special tax exemptions could this be at risk as well


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: Robin Summerhill on February 27, 2020, 06:38:01 pm
Could you possibly tell us where you heard this rumour? From somebody who ought to know about such things or a geezer down the pub?

My first thought when I read it was that it was a Press Release that had breached its 1st April embargo, but I suppose we'll find out for certain when someone goes through the small print of the forthcoming Finance Bill.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: Celestial on February 27, 2020, 07:28:23 pm
Could you possibly tell us where you heard this rumour? From somebody who ought to know about such things or a geezer down the pub?

My first thought when I read it was that it was a Press Release that had breached its 1st April embargo, but I suppose we'll find out for certain when someone goes through the small print of the forthcoming Finance Bill.

It's behind a paywall of course, but The Times reported the rumour a few days ago, so maybe slightly more believable than from someone down the pub.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rishi-sunak-budget-chancellor-to-cut-red-diesel-subsidy-s68t3jvjc

Rishi Sunak is expected to cut subsidies for a type of diesel used by off-road vehicles and machinery as he backs away from ending the freeze for fuel duty paid by motorists.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: broadgage on February 27, 2020, 08:07:32 pm
I heard the rumour from two sources that are independent of each other, so far as I know.
One was a train driver who works for a UK freight company.
The other was an employee at a major fuel distributor.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: infoman on February 28, 2020, 08:04:22 am
Have this awful picture of a cross country train being "pulled over" at Yatton loop for their diesel tanks to be "dipped."

Electrification won't cause this problem.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: Celestial on February 28, 2020, 09:41:41 am
Re electrification freight operators are likely to be hit badly.

Unlike passenger operators who will (likely) be able to renegotiate the terms of their franchises with the government to cover the loss, freight operators won't. So, you say, a good incentive to use electric traction where possible, and not run diesel services under the wires. Well, yes, but the east coast line doesn't have enough power in the north for all the passenger trains yet, with some bi modes having to run diesel under the wires.  And the power upgrade that is being put in place will only cater for passenger services, so freight will still be left wanting.



Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: broadgage on February 28, 2020, 09:42:54 am
If red diesel was found, would the passengers be left at the trackside and the train taken away to be crushed ?


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: johnneyw on February 28, 2020, 10:48:38 am
If red diesel was found, would the passengers be left at the trackside and the train taken away to be crushed ?

Better than the other way round! 😯


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: Oxonhutch on February 28, 2020, 02:28:47 pm
Better than the other way round! 😯

That could describe most people's commute in the LTV area at the moment.  :)


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: Robin Summerhill on February 28, 2020, 03:42:32 pm
I am surprised that this thread has engendered so much debate, because if you read the quote from the Times carefully it says nothing about the railway being forced to use "white" diesel. Here is the quote again (without the colour so my poor eyesight can read it!:



https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rishi-sunak-budget-chancellor-to-cut-red-diesel-subsidy-s68t3jvjc

Rishi Sunak is expected to cut subsidies for a type of diesel used by off-road vehicles and machinery as he backs away from ending the freeze for fuel duty paid by motorists.

First, a pedantic point but an imprtant one. Red diesel is not "subsidised." When something is subsidised it means that the cost of producing it is greater than the price received for it. Red diesel costs less to produce than its selling price so it is not subsidised - it is just not subject to the punitive rates of taxation that the stuff that we pur into our cars is.

So from that we can deduce that the man at no.11 might have his eye on increasing the tax on red diesel, and if that goes up by a penny or two a litre then I can't see there's going to be much fuss made about it by anyone who is currently permitted to use the stuff.

Thirdly, and most importantly, nothing that anyone has posted so far has confirmed the original "rumour" which was:

Quote from: broadgage
I have heard a rumour that the coming budget will include a Cl fuel, rather than the cheaper and less taxed red diesel used at present.

Where have we read that "the coming budget will include a requirement for railways to use the more expensive fully taxed white diesel fuel, rather than the cheaper and less taxed red diesel used at present?" We haven't.

Methinks people are adding 2 and 2 here and getting 87...



Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: broadgage on February 28, 2020, 04:31:33 pm
I did state that it was a rumour, and not a confirmed factual report. I was unaware of the report in the Times when I posted this.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: stuving on February 28, 2020, 04:38:10 pm
What that Times article said, specifically, was:

"However, only farmers will be entitled to use the fuel [red diesel] under provisions being finalised for the budget on March 11. Mr. Sunak will justify ending the subsidy for hauliers, who use if for refrigeration units, and the construction industry, saying the measure is needed to improve urban air quality.

...The Treasury first consulted on restricting entitlement to red diesel in 2017, but Philip Hammond backed away from scaling it down.
"

So I guess that's the source of the rumour, though that doesn't mention railways per se - and neither do the gov.uk pages on this, which are not much use as a guide. However, that 2017 call for evidence (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/red-diesel-call-for-evidence/red-diesel-call-for-evidence) make quite a good fact sheet, if you want one. Obviously there is more background to this than I for one realised (having missed that 2017 announcement, and the 2018 follow-up - the result of which is still awaited).

A complete switch away from red diesel is one possible result of such a review, but obviously it isn't the only option. Perhaps the budget will include something like this:

The current system of taxes on petroleum fuels grew up with two main objectives. Road vehicles pay a high rate, as a proxy for a road usage tax roughly proportional to milage and vehicle weight. Other users pay a low rate, apart from a few industries felt to be in need of help that get exemptions. Air quality, and reducing fossil fuel use so as to reduce climate change, were not considered in setting these taxes, and it is time to start doing that.

The higher tax on road vehicles does, in fact, provide a strong incentive to switch to electric vehicles. It does not need to be increased at the moment, as the reduction of electric vehicle prices (even if partly offset by a reduction of purchase subsidies) is already widening this gap. For other uses, we need to increase the duty paid so as to provide a similar incentive to switch. The size and speed of such an increase will chosen according to the circumstances of each user group or industry.


And perhaps we will get the result of the 2018 consultation (https://consult.defra.gov.uk/airquality/non-road-mobile-machinery-and-red-diesel/)? This (originally meant to inform the October 2018 budget) was entitled "Call for Evidence: Non-road mobile machinery and red diesel - excluding use for agriculture, fishing vessels, home heating and static generators". It primarily asks for details on what red diesel is used for, saying that the government doesn't collect such data. It says almost nothing about railways' use, but perhaps they reckon they do have these data available already. The stated motivation was, as suggested by the Times, improving air quality rather than climate change - which is not mentioned once (apart from a keyword on the web page). 





Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: Robin Summerhill on February 28, 2020, 05:55:17 pm
A good post there from Stuving, and a salutory lesson for us all in why not to get our knickers in a twist on either side of an argument based on rumour alone  ;D

But a few points spring to mind which I hope our learned friends in the Treasury will take into account:

1.Making hauliers pay more for their fuel when being used for refrigeration may be a sinhularly unwise thing to do until we are absolutely certain that there will not be gridlock at the ports following our departure from the EU

2. Diesel powered trains to not generally sit around in traffic jams like road transport does, so their pollution rating should be lower anyway (except under the footbridge at Manchester Victoria where that remark most certainly does not apply...)

3. Given the amount of subsidy that railways already effectively get from the Treasury in one form or another, increasing the price of their fuel may result in little more than a "money switching pockets" exercise in the Treasury.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: grahame on March 11, 2020, 04:36:23 pm
I have heard a rumour that the coming budget will include a requirement for railways to use the more expensive fully taxed white diesel fuel, rather than the cheaper and less taxed red diesel used at present.

Is anyone able to confirm or deny ?

If there is any truth in the rumour, I suspect that it might be a long term plan, rather than starting in the next budget.

From the BBC (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-51832634) after the budget:

Quote
Subsidies for fuel used in off-road vehicles - known as red diesel - will be scrapped "for most sectors" in two years' time

Red diesel subsidies will remain for farmers and rail operators

You saw smoke ... but not quite from the fire that you thought.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: onthecushions on March 11, 2020, 08:05:52 pm

IIHC,
The Chancellor exempted farming, rail and heating oil from the end of the "red" concession.

Pity...

OTC


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: stuving on March 11, 2020, 10:22:33 pm
The full words from the OOTLAR (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/budget-2020-overview-of-tax-legislation-and-rates-ootlar)* say:
Quote
2.31 Fuel Duty – As announced at Budget 2020, fuel duty rates will remain frozen for the tax year 2020 to 2021. Fuel duty rates are set out in Annex A.

2.32 Red diesel: removing entitlement – As announced at Budget 2020, the government will legislate in Finance Bill 2021-2022 (and later secondary legislation) to remove the entitlement to use rebated heavy oil (known as red diesel) and rebated biofuels from all sectors that currently use it from April 2022, apart from the agriculture (including pisciculture, forestry and horticulture) and rail sectors and for use in non-commercial heating. The government will consult later this year on whether the entitlement to use red diesel and rebated biofuels is justified for any other users, and whether to align the proposed treatment of these rebated fuels with fuel oil and non-aviation kerosene.

Note, that's next year's Finance Bill, not the one due out Thursday next week. What does happen this year is a baffling technical change to the red/white diesel rules for leisure vessels. This has its origins in attempts to stop people moving between European countries gaming the different approach to applying similar tax rules, leading up to an ECEJ decision.

*Yes, I'm sure it used to be called something else. Anyway, it's the Treasury's "full" set of words corresponding to the Chancellor's PR-tinged version. It's split into three sections - what's in the budget speech and not implemented in this year's Finance Act, what's in both, and what's in the FA but wasn't in the budget. Plus there's technical annexes.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: rower40 on March 11, 2020, 11:26:34 pm
Until April 2006, the three-phase electricity supply had phases coloured red, blue and yellow.  We then moved to the CENELEC standard of brown, black and grey.  With Brexit, we can go back to easily-recognised colours - and the red electricity won't be taxed as much, and can be used for off-road vehicles and trains.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: ellendune on March 12, 2020, 12:20:04 am
Until April 2006, the three-phase electricity supply had phases coloured red, blue and yellow.  We then moved to the CENELEC standard of brown, black and grey.  With Brexit, we can go back to easily-recognised colours - and the red electricity won't be taxed as much, and can be used for off-road vehicles and trains.

Ah but CENELEC is not an EU organisation and BSI is the UK member, not the government so we have not left it. 


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: IndustryInsider on March 12, 2020, 01:28:22 am
Until April 2006, the three-phase electricity supply had phases coloured red, blue and yellow.  We then moved to the CENELEC standard of brown, black and grey.  With Brexit, we can go back to easily-recognised colours - and the red electricity won't be taxed as much, and can be used for off-road vehicles and trains.

Ah but CENELEC is not an EU organisation and BSI is the UK member, not the government so we have not left it. 

A good example, along with with a whole load of other things, that in the post Brexit world "Can now go back to how they used to be!", when in fact they can't!


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: ellendune on March 12, 2020, 08:00:51 am
Of course the reason why your example cable colours would not be practical is that the UK is a small market and "special" products are more expensive. CENELEC standards are increasingly moving over to be IEC standards (International Electrotechnical Standards) and so this will get more pronounced. The most noticable thing for which there is widespread continued national variation is the domestic power socket/plug.  Domestic supply Voltages are now typically either 220-240V 50Hz or 110-120V 60Hz with 230V 50Hz being the most common. 


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: broadgage on March 12, 2020, 12:29:31 pm
The old UK colour code for 3 phase was becoming less sensible as the years went by.
In particular the use of blue for one phase, when blue was becoming standard for neutral in so many other places.

Yellow was also becoming less sensible on account of yellow being prohibited in in mains voltage flexibles.

One phase pretty much had to be brown, as that had been used for decades in flexibles.
For the other two phases, it was easier to list the colours that were unsuitable.

Green, recently used for earth
Black, recently used for neutral
White, too widely used overseas for neutral
Yellow, prohibited in flexibles, so better avoided for installation cables also.
Any striped or bi colour, prohibited in flexibles except for green/yellow earth. So best avoided in cables.

Possibilities included.
Grey, not recently widely used for anything else (limited use for earth in some places)
Orange, not widely used for anything else. (limited use for phase in USA)
Violet, not widely used for anything else, slight risk of confusion with blue neutral.
Red, already accepted for live/phase in UK and some other places, limited historical use for earth in Europe.

A better choice for 3 phase IMHO, would have been brown, orange, and violet. Limited existing use of orange for phase in USA no problem. Brown and orange might possibly be confused, but confusing one phase with another is less bad than confusing phase with earth or neutral.
Violet would have to be well specified to be as "un blue" as possible.
Alternatively, brown, orange, red. Not ideal due to limited legacy use of red for earth in Europe.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: Oxonhutch on March 12, 2020, 05:23:13 pm
Domestic supply Voltages are now typically either 220-240V 50Hz or 110-120V 60Hz with 230V 50Hz being the most common. 

I love the pragmatism of compromise in these international negotiations and adaptation of standards. UK voltages tend to range from 230V to 250V (mine measured 251V just now) and the Continent from 220V to 240V. A standard of 230V ± 6% wouldn't work, so to accommodate the high UK end, the voltage standard was set at 230V (-6%, +10%) - sorted!


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: rower40 on March 12, 2020, 05:30:38 pm
All this from the tongue-in-cheek idea of having "red" electricity!  Sorry for setting off this thread drift. ::)


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: TonyK on March 13, 2020, 11:21:16 am
What that Times article said, specifically, was:

"However, only farmers will be entitled to use the fuel [red diesel] under provisions being finalised for the budget on March 11. Mr. Sunak will justify ending the subsidy for hauliers, who use if for refrigeration units, and the construction industry, saying the measure is needed to improve urban air quality.

...The Treasury first consulted on restricting entitlement to red diesel in 2017, but Philip Hammond backed away from scaling it down.
"

So I guess that's the source of the rumour, though that doesn't mention railways per se - and neither do the gov.uk pages on this, which are not much use as a guide. However, that 2017 call for evidence (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/red-diesel-call-for-evidence/red-diesel-call-for-evidence) make quite a good fact sheet, if you want one. Obviously there is more background to this than I for one realised (having missed that 2017 announcement, and the 2018 follow-up - the result of which is still awaited).

If it were true, then the ToCs would say that it is only an issue because of the government's failure to completely electrify the railway, that they only use the rolling stock they are given and have little choice, but that they will have to bow to the government's well thought out solution to the pollution problems with an unfortunate fuel surcharge on season tickets, doubling just before the next election. More details will be in the huge billboard advertisements outside every railway station, and on passenger information displays on every train. Which is why I think it isn't true.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: broadgage on March 13, 2020, 12:40:54 pm
All this from the tongue-in-cheek idea of having "red" electricity!  Sorry for setting off this thread drift. ::)

Electricity starts of red, but turns black as it is used up. That is why we used a red wire for fresh electricity, and a black wire for the used electricity that is being returned for recycling. As any fule knoweth.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: stuving on March 13, 2020, 01:07:29 pm
All this from the tongue-in-cheek idea of having "red" electricity!  Sorry for setting off this thread drift. ::)

Electricity starts of red, but turns black as it is used up. That is why we used a red wire for fresh electricity, and a black wire for the used electricity that is being returned for recycling. As any fule knoweth.

I know quite a few electrons who think otherwise ...


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: TonyK on March 13, 2020, 09:43:16 pm
I know quite a few electrons who think otherwise ...

You may indeed, and they may think otherwise, but those electrons can't be positive.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: stuving on March 13, 2020, 11:36:33 pm
I know quite a few electrons who think otherwise ...

You may indeed, and they may think otherwise, but those electrons can't be positive.

But they can be very particular, and they have direct, current experience and the potential to overcome any resistance put in their way.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: Gordon the Blue Engine on March 14, 2020, 09:21:15 am
Electricity hasn’t started “red” for a long time.  It now starts brown and turns blue.  In some lighting circuits it might turn black or white on the way. 


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: rower40 on March 14, 2020, 09:43:33 am
I know quite a few electrons who think otherwise ...

You may indeed, and they may think otherwise, but those electrons can't be positive.

But they can be very particular, and they have direct, current experience and the potential to overcome any resistance put in their way.
Ohm my goodness, watt's with all the puns?


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: TonyK on March 14, 2020, 11:40:03 am
Ohm my goodness, watt's with all the puns?

Don't worry, they'll be gone tomorrow. It's only faraday or two.


Title: Re: White diesel to be required for railway use ?
Post by: stuving on March 14, 2020, 12:29:36 pm
Ohm my goodness, watt's with all the puns?

Don't worry, they'll be gone tomorrow. It's only faraday or two.

I did think I might get leapt on for this sort of thing.



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