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  • Williams Review - 1st deadline: January 18, 2019
  • Williams review - final inputs: May 31, 2019
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Author Topic: Williams Rail Review  (Read 10947 times)
stuving
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« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2019, 01:48:09 pm »

From Railnews:
Quote
Branson says franchise competitions should be cancelled

VIRGIN founder Sir Richard Branson has called for all outstanding Department for Transport franchise competitions to be scrapped until the recommendations of the Williams Rail Review have been published in the autumn. He has also claimed that four current franchises are ’struggling’...

This goes on at length, and includes this paragraph:
Quote
It is something of an open secret in the industry that four other current franchises are now also struggling. And that’s before the £750 million risk of split-ticketing and potential £7.5 billion of pensions risk are applied across the industry. There is also the risk of new open access operators taking significant revenue from franchises. The inescapable conclusion is the government is setting franchisees up to fail.

So what's this "£750 million risk of split-ticketing" then?
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grahame
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« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2019, 03:42:38 pm »

So what's this "£750 million risk of split-ticketing" then?

Someone's back to putting the cart before the horse again.    It's absurd that separate tickets on the 07:53 from A to B and then on the 09:30 B to C (a continuation of the same train) work out cheaper than buying a ticket all the way from A to C via (and calling at) B on the same train.

Fares should not be distorted as they are ... once the distortions are sorted out, split ticketing becomes the just-occasionally useful facility it was supposed to be in the first place - a convenient way of commuting from B (home) to A (office) in the morning, but then returning via B to C (rail user group meeting) in the evening without having to get off and rebook at B.
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stuving
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« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2019, 04:04:24 pm »

So what's this "£750 million risk of split-ticketing" then?

Someone's back to putting the cart before the horse again.    It's absurd that separate tickets on the 07:53 from A to B and then on the 09:30 B to C (a continuation of the same train) work out cheaper than buying a ticket all the way from A to C via (and calling at) B on the same train.

Fares should not be distorted as they are ... once the distortions are sorted out, split ticketing becomes the just-occasionally useful facility it was supposed to be in the first place - a convenient way of commuting from B (home) to A (office) in the morning, but then returning via B to C (rail user group meeting) in the evening without having to get off and rebook at B.

Yes, but Branson is talking about some new development that will cost the (presumably) TOCs £750M extra in lost revenue. Is that his view of the RDG fares proposal? If not, what is it?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 05:17:12 pm by stuving » Logged
Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #48 on: May 02, 2019, 05:02:37 pm »

So what's this "£750 million risk of split-ticketing" then?

Someone's back to putting the cart before the horse again.    It's absurd that separate tickets on the 07:53 from A to B and then on the 09:30 B to C (a continuation of the same train) work out cheaper than buying a ticket all the way from A to C via (and calling at) B on the same train.

Fares should not be distorted as they are ... once the distortions are sorted out, split ticketing becomes the just-occasionally useful facility it was supposed to be in the first place - a convenient way of commuting from B (home) to A (office) in the morning, but then returning via B to C (rail user group meeting) in the evening without having to get off and rebook at B.

Two things should be borne in mind; 1 the savvy traveller will always find the best deal and 2 there have been idiosyncrasies in ticket prices since I was a lad (if not since railways were invented). Let me give you a f’rinstance:

Back in my “trainspotting years” in the 60s, and in the days when ticket prices were still set by the mile, I had privilege rate travel because my father worked on the railway, whilst a friend who often came with me did not.

If, say, we wanted to go from Bristol to Manchester, I could by a child privilege return. He couldn’t buy a day return because in those days day returns were generally only available between selected locations, usually for local journeys, to popular seaside resorts or to London. And, as now, were only a few pence more than an ordinary single between those two points. As a day return wasn’t available for his full journey, he would have had to buy a full price child ordinary return from Bristol to Manchester which, at effectively 11/2d per mile, didn’t come cheap if all you had for income was pocket money and a Sunday paper round.

The system we used could not be done today because station dwell times were much longer back then.

He would buy a day return to Hereford and, on arrival, would scoot off to the booking office to buy a day return to Shrewsbury. The process was then repeated at Shrewsbury for a day return to Manchester.

Mid week returns were also available for a couple of years in the 60s. These allowed outbound travel on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, allowing return travel TWThO in the following week. Initially designed to attract the holiday market, it wasn’t only the pair of us who spotted that they allowed cheap long distance travel if you went two weeks’ running, as when you got to the other end you simply bought another mid-week return to go back the same week, then use the return portions of both tickets in the following week. Useful in the school holidays for Carlisle or Scotland runs, they were… Smiley

The moral of the story is that discounted fares then, as now, were designed to encourage discretionary leisure travel. Anything that the railways to potentially depress that demand may well result in a fall in passenger numbers.

So do away with split ticketing if you think that’s the best thing to do, but be careful how you do it.

I would finally draw an analogy with the accountancy profession. Every time the Chancellor or HMRC identify a “tax loophole” and closes it, any accountants worth their salt will find new ones. And in my view that is exactly what is likely to happen with railway fares after any review.

As the old saying goes: “Be careful what you wish for”




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grahame
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« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2019, 11:16:44 am »

From Rail News

Quote
THE Rail Delivery Group is reported to be divided over what the Williams Review should do to restructure the industry, with one union leader claiming that its members are ‘like rats fighting in a sack’.

Article goes on to describe some of the differences.

I have an uneasy feeling that the desired outcome ...
* for passengers is an excellent public transport network
* for train operator companies is a good business prospect
* for the Government is good news which costs them as little as possible
... may head in the same direction but are not totally compatible.
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jamestheredengine
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« Reply #50 on: May 08, 2019, 03:33:35 pm »

It's absurd that separate tickets on the 07:53 from A to B and then on the 09:30 B to C (a continuation of the same train) work out cheaper than buying a ticket all the way from A to C via (and calling at) B on the same train.

Mathematically the way to achieve this is a flat peak surcharge irrespective of distance.
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grahame
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« Reply #51 on: June 02, 2019, 05:49:18 am »


This goes on at length, and includes this paragraph:
Quote
It is something of an open secret in the industry that four other current franchises are now also struggling. And that’s before the £750 million risk of split-ticketing and potential £7.5 billion of pensions risk are applied across the industry. There is also the risk of new open access operators taking significant revenue from franchises. The inescapable conclusion is the government is setting franchisees up to fail.

So what's this "£750 million risk of split-ticketing" then?

Somewhat ironic that Virgin have now launched their split ticketing app, with the weight of their marketing behind it, isn't it, then?  Perhaps we're in for something more like a public railway operated by private concessions with the risk taken by the public, and back to some sort of profit and loss limiter such as we saw under 'cap and collar'.  But then is the DfT the right body to manage such a system?  Echos of "SRA" which - however, was neither strategic nor with any authority and was rapidly taken back in-house. Might be difficult for those who currently make any decisions to let others make them if that's what Williams comes up with, and we could end up back in a world where the frustrations of getting a DfT decision at present are dwarfed by the problems of getting development approved by a rail specifying body which also needs to have all its decisions still ratified by the DfT.

At least we're currently seeing replacement of older trains with new ones and major infrastructure works on GWR, even if some of us feel that some of the changes are so biased towards the trunk and main limbs that they're being made at the expense of the smaller branches.

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grahame
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« Reply #52 on: July 16, 2019, 06:17:43 am »

Wiliams Interview for BBC - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48995511

Quote
Government should not manage railways

Quote
The man tasked with working out how to improve UK railways says a "Fat Controller" type figure, independent from government, should be in charge of day-to-day operations.

The former boss of British Airways, Keith Williams, said government involvement should be limited to overall policy and budget decisions.

But he said the Department for Transport should not manage the system.

His review of the rail system will be published this autumn.

The Fat Controller is a fictional character who manages the railways in Thomas the Tank Engine, the children's television series based on the The Railway Series books.

Mr Williams said he also believed that, in the future, rail franchises should be underpinned by punctuality and other performance-related targets.

Quote
In a BBC interview Mr Williams insisted the interests of passengers would shape every aspect of his work and that the creation of an individual or organisation with oversight of the entire rail system would be "key for regaining public trust."

"Someone needs to be accountable to the public," he said.

He is still to decide on what relationship the individual or organisation would have with government but he said Network Rail, the public company managing rail infrastructure, should not take on an overall managerial role.
The idea has echoes of the Strategic Rail Authority, a body which, from 2001 to 2006, provided "strategic direction" for the industry.

Mr Williams had already said that the current rail franchising model was finished, but he has now indicated that a franchise should last longer than the current average of seven to eight years.

Quote
He argues that if train companies were in charge of networks for more time they would have more incentive to invest.

As things stand, under a franchise agreement, a train company will make a series of commitments to the government which have to be delivered.

According to Mr Williams, a franchise should no longer be about "how many ticketing offices there are in a station".

His team is looking into how franchises could focus instead on performance targets such as punctuality and whether or not services have the correct number of carriages - something which continues to be a problem for passengers in the north of England.

The rail review also looks set to recommend an overhaul of the complicated rail ticketing system, which has not been reformed since the mid-90s.

"Pay-as-you-go across regions and cities has been difficult to implement because of the fares system that exists today," said Mr Williams.

He said a national system should be created to allow more third-party companies like thetrainline.com to improve the way people buy tickets.
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grahame
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« Reply #53 on: July 16, 2019, 07:05:03 am »


Quote
The man tasked with working out how to improve UK railways says a "Fat Controller" type figure, independent from government, should be in charge of day-to-day operations.

Is that an (major) extension of the ORR's role ... Stephen Glaister or Declan Collier
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=16558.msg244559#msg244559

So - who would YOU choose as a "Fat Controller" ??
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grahame
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« Reply #54 on: July 16, 2019, 11:04:32 am »



The BBC have updated and added to the article

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48995511

added the following:

Quote
Mick Cash, general secretary of rail union RMT, said it had warned that "Keith Williams had been hand-picked by Chris Grayling and the Tories to try and get them off the hook over the privatised chaos on our railways".

He added: "RMT also warned that Keith Williams would side 100% with his big-business mates and duck the issue of public ownership of the railways - the option supported by over two-thirds of the British people.

"He has and after months of deliberation has come up with the classic cop-out of another unaccountable quango."
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jamestheredengine
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« Reply #55 on: July 16, 2019, 11:52:18 am »


Quote
The man tasked with working out how to improve UK railways says a "Fat Controller" type figure, independent from government, should be in charge of day-to-day operations.

Is that an (major) extension of the ORR's role ... Stephen Glaister or Declan Collier
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=16558.msg244559#msg244559

So - who would YOU choose as a "Fat Controller" ??


It has to be Broadgage. He has the appropriate appreciation of what constitutes a really useful engine.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #56 on: July 16, 2019, 12:04:01 pm »


Quote
The man tasked with working out how to improve UK railways says a "Fat Controller" type figure, independent from government, should be in charge of day-to-day operations.

Is that an (major) extension of the ORR's role ... Stephen Glaister or Declan Collier
http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=16558.msg244559#msg244559

So - who would YOU choose as a "Fat Controller" ??


Clearly it will be someone with a large appetite.... for the job.
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« Reply #57 on: July 17, 2019, 04:45:15 pm »

I'm not sure having a Fat Controller is a good idea. I seem to recall that railways with a FC have a very poor safety record, judging by the number of crashes they seem to have on Sodor. (Or maybe it just feels that way having watched each episode more often than a Broadgage complaint on IETs.)

Though maybe they could reuse one idea and run all the hated pacers when withdrawn into a tunnel and then brick it up. Chris Grayling could even drive them in. (You see where I'm going with that?) That would save having to come up with silly ideas as to what to do with them. 
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #58 on: August 12, 2019, 10:05:32 am »

The rumour mill has started.  From the Sunday Times, 11th August 2019:

Quote
A review of the railways by the former boss of British Airways has recommended a huge increase in Network Rail’s powers, putting it at the heart of a powerful new organisation.

Keith Williams’s review, which was commissioned by former transport secretary Chris Grayling, is understood to have proposed a new structure called the National Rail Body, which will own the tracks and oversee train services. Uniting track and train was Grayling’s central ambition for the railways.

The National Rail Body will encompass Network Rail, in effect increasing the powers of the state-owned behemoth that owns 20,000 miles of track and most big stations.

It will also swallow parts of the Department for Transport (DfT) responsible for commissioning rail franchises, and it is expected to include the Rail Safety and Standards Board.

The organisation will have about 40,000 staff and be split along Network Rail’s new structure of five regions, which will have greater local control of trains and tracks.

However, given Network Rail’s record of delayed and over-budget projects, such as the upgrade of the London to Swansea Great Western line, the decision will be controversial.

The National Rail Body is expected to take over commissioning train services, tearing up the existing structure of franchising where operators report to the DfT. New contracts are likely to see less risk passed to private operators, which are reeling from the collapse of the East Coast franchise and the struggles of Northern Rail and South Western Railway.

Williams, who recently took over as chairman of Royal Mail, said last month that the “current franchising model has had its day”.

The DfT will shortly name the operator of the West Coast mainline, which will eventually also encompass High Speed 2. A consortium of FirstGroup and Trenitalia is likely to win the contract. The DfT refused to comment.
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