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Author Topic: Upcoming election - what may it bring for transport?  (Read 3228 times)
chrisr_75
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2017, 01:05:48 AM »

However, rail travel is almost insignificant when compared to the number of road journeys undertaken in any given year.

The existing road system is crumbling and desperately needs funding for improvements (mostly basic maintenance such as resurfacing) which will have a positive impact on fuel economy, safety, traffic flow and reduce mechanical failures. Road investment does not necessarily mean building new roads.

This election is purely about a government cementing its position (probably for the next decade if the predicted landslide occurs) and seeking a mandate to continue negotiations to leave the EU, nothing of note will change, exiting the EU will still happen.
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Noggin
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2017, 11:32:05 AM »

However, rail travel is almost insignificant when compared to the number of road journeys undertaken in any given year.

The existing road system is crumbling and desperately needs funding for improvements (mostly basic maintenance such as resurfacing) which will have a positive impact on fuel economy, safety, traffic flow and reduce mechanical failures. Road investment does not necessarily mean building new roads.

This election is purely about a government cementing its position (probably for the next decade if the predicted landslide occurs) and seeking a mandate to continue negotiations to leave the EU, nothing of note will change, exiting the EU will still happen.

Sure, both rail and road have to be maintained to a reasonable standard. That should be built-in to budgets. In recent decades both the railways and local authorities have put-off all but essential maintenance of roads and railways to meet budgets, but in the long-term it ends up costing much more. It has been suggested that part of the reason the GWML upgrade has cost so much is that NR have found what a poor state the infrastructure was in, and have chosen to do things properly - reconstructing trackbeds so they will last for 20 years rather than bodging them for 5.

But when it comes to capital expenditure, I think that most of us agree that rail offers much greater value for money than expanding roads. Taking Portishead for example. The A369 between Portishead and the M5 could be turned into a dual carriageway, and the junction with the M5 beefed up, arguably a reasonable thing to do, it would be appreciated and would help at rush hour. But it would be massively expensive, dump extra traffic on the M5 and fill up in the long-term. But rail would be far cheaper, even at the current 100m+ cost and with an initial subsidy, and take a large number of cars off the road, leaving the existing roads much clearer and reducing wear and tear.

The other point about rail is its ability to be economically and socially transformational. Time and time again it has been shown that people will move house to take advantage of new rail links, companies will build offices to be next to railway stations, tourists will travel on trains more readily than the bus etc. New roads rarely have so great an impact. The Severn Beach line is already heavily used with minimal subsidy, but if it were redoubled, had a 15 minute frequency, and went through to Bedminster and beyond, then arguably it would transform much of Bristol and help considerably with reducing the traffic. 

The election will inevitably make a difference to Government policy, as faces will change in Parliament, the Cabinet will be reshuffled, priorities will change.

On a lighter note, if the Northern Powerhouse rail strategy does appears to have won the Conservatives a few new seats in the north of England, then I'd argue that Westminster should pay for electrification of the Welsh Valley Lines itself. What better way to reduce Labour's majorities than to flood them with commuters from Cardiff ;-)
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Gohither68
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« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2017, 04:37:45 PM »

I'm afraid that little will change until the next control period, unless the Consevitives commit to increased funding of Network Rail. This seems unlikely given the GWML electrification fiasco. Also the prospect of TOC's sending nearly new rolling stock and BR era EMU's off lease will do little to ease overcrowding.
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broadgage
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2017, 07:20:52 PM »

Taking into account the colossal overspend/overrun on GWR electrification and ongoing serious reliability problems on the rails, favouring roads is a pretty easy sell for Westcountry Conservative MPs.

Regretfully, I agree.
Money spent on roads is generally called investment, not subsidy, and also has the political merit of producing prompt and demonstrable benefit.
 "look I promised to widen the road between ABC and XYZ, I have now done this , observe the reduction in delays. Vote me in again, and I will push to widen the next section and further cut delays"

In contrast, spending on railways is invariably called subsidy, takes much longer to produce tangible benefits, and sometimes produces no tangible benefit at all.
The ongoing works in the GWR area are not exactly a vote winner at present despite the promises of jam tomorrow.
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"When customers say that they want a seat, they dont mean they want to sit with their knees behind their ears so that 4 more can sit down. They mean that they want an extra coach so that 74 more can sit down"
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2017, 11:40:10 PM »

Indeed: we seem to have lost sight of the previously universally acclaimed public transport benefits of reopening the Portishead Line to railway passengers, for example.  Roll Eyes

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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

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Kernow Otter
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« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2017, 10:55:35 PM »

If Mr Corbyn is successful in election, I find myself wondering just how in his renationalisation programme does he propose gaining ownership of the predominantly ROSCO owned rolling stock.  It is all well and good comandeering a franchise as it expires, but that can't include guaranteed use of the stock. Surely the ROSCO s have  an effective monopoly on trains and could name their price?
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broadgage
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« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2017, 11:02:21 PM »

If Mr Corbyn is successful in election, I find myself wondering just how in his renationalisation programme does he propose gaining ownership of the predominantly ROSCO owned rolling stock.  It is all well and good comandeering a franchise as it expires, but that can't include guaranteed use of the stock. Surely the ROSCO s have  an effective monopoly on trains and could name their price?


AFAIK, all that is proposed initially is take over franchises as they expire and to nationalise rolling stock companies at least to begin with.
A lot of new rolling stock is on its way which should help a bit. A labour government could of course purchase or build some rolling stock independently of the ROSCOs. It might not take a great deal of new stock to reduce the near monopoly that exists at present.
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"When customers say that they want a seat, they dont mean they want to sit with their knees behind their ears so that 4 more can sit down. They mean that they want an extra coach so that 74 more can sit down"
"Capacity on intercity routes should be about number of vehicles, not compressing people"
ellendune
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« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2017, 11:06:45 PM »

If Mr Corbyn is successful in election, I find myself wondering just how in his renationalisation programme does he propose gaining ownership of the predominantly ROSCO owned rolling stock.  It is all well and good comandeering a franchise as it expires, but that can't include guaranteed use of the stock. Surely the ROSCO s have  an effective monopoly on trains and could name their price?

I think there is something in the legislation or the leasing contracts that protects what are termed 'franchise assets' - Others may be able to give more information.

Even if there are no restrictions there is a limited market elsewhere in the world for UK specific stock.

If they conspired together to raise prices that would be anti-competitive behaviour and be illegal.

If they independently decided to raise their prices excessively they would probably find the CMA come in break them up into smaller competing entities.  
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2017, 11:09:03 PM »


A labour government could of course purchase or build some rolling stock independently of the ROSCOs.


As indeed they did, so noticeably, last time they were in power.  Lips sealed

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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Kernow Otter
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« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2017, 11:28:03 PM »

I suppose the wider point is that while a headline grabbing policy of renationalisation may be appealing to an idealistic section of the electorate, I also suspect that the majority of the public may not be aware of the intricacies of privatisation and assume that come the revolution the state will simply take control of all aspects of the country's 'train set'.  It is more than posible that the owners of rolling stock could simply refuse to play ball and withdraw access to the trains until a suitable and mutually acceptably agreement had been reached - potentially months - and that they could again name their price.

Bear in mind that it is effectively the City that owns these assets,and that they might not just roll over while a significant source of their revenue is commandeered in the name of some misguided socialist ideal.

"Edited for punctuation"
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ellendune
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« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2017, 08:29:54 AM »

It is more than posible that the owners of rolling stock could simply refuse to play ball and withdraw access to the trains until a suitable and mutually acceptably agreement had been reached - potentially months - and that they could again name their price.

While the trains are on lease the rolling stock leasing companies (ROSCOS) have very little control either in law or in practice - after all "possession is nine points of the law".

Surely the ROSCO s have  an effective monopoly on trains and could name their price?

Technically since there are several of them it is an Oligopoly.  The sort of markets that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) already have power to investigate and where necessary apply a remedy. 

And why would they.  Is there any evidence that they are charging unreasonable prices?

Holding out like that also would not stack up commercially as it is like property rental where the biggest loss is void property - where you get no rent at all.  No its worse than that because the ROSCOs would have to pay someone to store them somewhere and to do some minimum maintenance to ensure that the value of the asset did not plummet. Just finding the facilities would be quite a challenge for a large quantity of rolling stock.

As oft quoted at the moment in another instance  - no deal would be the worst possible deal.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2017, 09:36:16 AM »

I suppose the wider point is that while a headline grabbing policy of renationalisation may be appealing to an idealistic section of the electorate, I also suspect that the majority of the public may not be aware of the intricacies of privatisation and assume that come the revolution the state will simply take control of all aspects of the country's 'train set'.  It is more than posible that the owners of rolling stock could simply refuse to play ball and withdraw access to the trains until a suitable and mutually acceptably agreement had been reached - potentially months - and that they could again name their price.

Bear in mind that it is effectively the City that owns these assets,and that they might not just roll over while a significant source of their revenue is commandeered in the name of some misguided socialist ideal.

"Edited for punctuation"

......and of course the minute renationalisation is announced, any motivation for the franchisees to undertake any investment or service improvement disappears, so expect the bare minimum until the franchise expires.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2017, 10:58:42 AM »

Thatt'll be from next Friday then, if a certain Party wins
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richwarwicker
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« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2017, 06:11:54 AM »

All I can say is things are going to be interesting for the next few days.

The labour chap who's gained Plymouth Sutton promised 2.5bn to improve rail links to Plymouth.
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grahame
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« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2017, 06:20:21 AM »

All I can say is things are going to be interesting for the next few days.

The labour chap who's gained Plymouth Sutton promised 2.5bn to improve rail links to Plymouth.

Indeed they will be interesting.    Does the labour chap actually have that 2.5bn to spend, though?
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