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  • Williams Review - 1st deadline: January 18, 2019
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Author Topic: Williams Rail Review  (Read 10610 times)
PhilWakely
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« 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

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

« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 08:15:48 am by grahame » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #1 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


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?"   Grin Grin
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grahame
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« Reply #2 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.
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« Reply #3 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!!!!.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #4 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.....




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grahame
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« Reply #5 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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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 06:14:30 pm »

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47378448

Quote
Britain's rail franchise system no longer delivers clear benefits and cannot continue as it is, says the man leading a review of the network.

Keith Williams will say in a speech later the industry is not responding to fast-changing consumer demands.
Rail franchising - contracting out passenger services - has drawn heavy criticism, with some contracts failing and customers complaints rising.

The rail industry said it accepts that the status quo cannot continue.

Mr Williams, appointed by the government last year to lead a "root-and-branch" review of the rail network, will give an update on progress in a speech on Tuesday evening.

But according to comments released ahead of the speech, he is due to say: "I have heard a great deal about the franchising model… driving growth in passengers and benefits to services. But with this growth, the needs of passengers have changed, whilst many of the basic elements of our rail system have not kept pace.

"Put bluntly, franchising cannot continue the way it is today. It is no longer delivering clear benefits for either taxpayers or farepayers."

[continues]
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2019, 08:41:32 pm »

The full report can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/781749/role-of-railway-evidence-paper-rail-review.pdf

Having had a quick read I must say I learnt a new word today......

Agglomeration
Agglomeration arises when transport links better enable
individuals and firms to derive productivity benefits from
locating in closer proximity to other individuals and firms.

 Roll Eyes Tongue
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 09:09:44 pm by SandTEngineer » Logged

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stuving
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2019, 10:45:20 pm »


To clarify what this document is - it's called an Evidence Paper:
Quote
Engaging the people, businesses and organisations using and running the railway is critical. At each stage of the Review, we will seek to understand the full range of perspectives and options in pursuit of the right answers.

To support this engagement we are publishing a series of evidence papers to inform the debate. This is the first of these papers. They draw on the extensive engagement with passengers, the rail industry, and wider stakeholders undertaken by the Review to date. They also draw on responses that we have received so far to our Call for Evidence launched in December 2018.2 (While we have yet to fully quality assure all the material received, we have included some extracts in the papers to provide the fullest possible range of insights.)

The papers provide factual summaries of a number of key issues in the rail industry. They are focussed on evidence, and do not seek to set out options or potential models. The Independent Chair of the Review will be setting out some of his early thinking on these areas in a series of speeches in parallel with publishing these evidence papers.

This first paper reviews the role of the railway in Great Britain, and its costs and benefits. Further papers will be published over the coming weeks. These will examine the experience of railway users (both passengers and freight); the organisation of the railways in Britain and other countries; and rail’s role in
the wider transport system, including in the context of potential future technological, economic and societal changes.

We are determined that each stage of the Review will be properly evidence-based. So, having published the papers we will use the Call for Evidence to invite formal feedback, alongside our ongoing engagement with stakeholders.
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Western Pathfinder
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2019, 11:05:54 pm »

The Bradshaw Address
https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-bradshaw-address-by-keith-williams.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2019, 11:51:06 am »

Thanks WP for posting that link. It is a rather more nuanced statement than has been generally reported, and I am pleased that he emphasises the needs and perceptions of passengers. Perhaps my initial response was a bit too cynical?

It is though disappointing to see language mangled as highlighted by S&TEngineer - Agglomeration does not mean that, it simply means lumping things together. I think the word they were looking for is "connectivity" - see Cristaller's Central Place theory that I learnt about over 45 years ago at school! If they used it, it would be rather clearer that the quality of communications networks serving a place or settlement are probably the biggest factor in its long term sustainable (sorry - another over- and misused word) enduring success.

 
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ChrisB
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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2019, 12:08:50 pm »

It is though disappointing to see language mangled as highlighted by S&TEngineer - Agglomeration does not mean that, it simply means lumping things together.

Isn't that word 'aggregation' though?
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eightonedee
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2019, 01:01:08 pm »

Here's what the on-line Oxford Dictionary says

Quote
agglomeration
NOUN
A mass or collection of things; an assemblage.
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rogerpatenall
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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2019, 03:53:56 pm »

Here's what the on-line Oxford Dictionary says

Quote
agglomeration
NOUN
A mass or collection of things; an assemblage.

An oft used word in French usually to describe any urban area.
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stuving
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2019, 07:44:52 pm »

Here's another hint offered by Keith Williams, this time addressing yesterday's board meeting of transport Focus. As picked up by City AM:
Quote
The former British Airways chief executive tasked with a full-scale review of the railways has hinted that the industry regulator could be tasked with handling compensation claims.

Keith Williams, who was appointed by the government to carry out the review in the wake of last year's May timetable chaos, suggested the rail industry could learn from the airline industry in tasking the regulator with handling compensation claims.

Speaking at a board meeting of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, Williams said European legislation changed the way customers claimed compensation from airlines and became a benchmark for how claims were made.

"I actually do think it brought benefit in terms of the airline and in terms of ensuring that we put regularity and punctuality at the heart of what we did – if we couldn't do that, we'd be paying out compensation," he said.

Williams said the routes to claiming compensation were "not obvious" and that it needed to be "made clear". He said he has asked the rail regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), to look at how it thought compensation should look in the industry.

"In the airlines industry, the Civil Aviation Authority has that role," he said. "Whether we need the same in rail is a question for the review."
...

I assume the headline was based on a misreading - Williams wasn't suggesting the ORR should handle claims, but that they should be responsible for how it is done.

Even then, I'm not sure what he's going on about, as I don't think the CAA has much of a role in dictating airlines' compensation systems, and not much more in telling them what they should be paying out for. Air travel claims are all fairly big, compared to rail fares, so a different system would in any case be appropriate.

If he's saying that someone (DfT or ORR or whoever) should write one set of rules, rather than allowing TOCs to make up their own passenger charters (including how the claims systems should work, i.e. how it looks to the customer) I suspect most members here would agree.
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