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Author Topic: The Spectator view of Network Rail  (Read 2380 times)
grahame
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« on: June 07, 2019, 03:23:32 am »

From The Spectator

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We donít hear enough about Network Rail these days. By that I mean that the entity recently described by the Sunday Times as Ďsynonymous with incompetence and delaysí doesnít receive anything like the abuse it deserves for failing to provide the infrastructure essential for a 21st-century railway. I refer you to the Crossrail project, in which the inability of new trains to connect with old Network Rail signalling systems is one reason for the delayed opening that has become a major national embarrassment. I invite you to observe LNERís expensive new fleet of Azuma bullet trains that were due to launch in December but delayed by incompatibility with Network Rail signals. And of course if youíre a London commuter, youíll have your own observation of the frequency with which track and signal failures ruin your day.

But Iíll bet you donít know who controls Network Rail, or whether it sits in the public or private sector or (as Labour ministers pretended when they confiscated its assets from Railtrack shareholders in 2002) somewhere in between. The answer is that Labourís sham was unwound several years ago, so that Network Rail is now wholly nationalised, its debts sitting on the Treasury balance sheet and its sole shareholder Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling. One consequence of this change is that, when £1.5 billion-worth of Network Railís property was sold to private equity earlier this year (to the distress of railway-arch businesses whose rents shot up in consequence), the Treasury snaffled most of the proceeds as a contribution to deficit reduction, rather than allowing them to be reinvested in overdue rail upgrades.

Why does this matter, apart from the irritation for rail passengers? Because John McDonnell has plans if he comes to power, as well he might, to nationalise utilities ranging from Thames Water to National Grid, with sub-market compensation for shareholders, and to take train franchises into public hands ó and voter opinion on this issue is reportedly 80 per cent behind him. But voters should take a close look at the one example we have of a large-scale nationalised utility, namely the unfit-for-purpose, half-hidden fiasco that is Network Rail.

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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2019, 09:21:49 am »

Well, having worked for the organisation mentioned (and its predecessors), I can tell you that its no so much incompetence at a technical level, although the skills level is dramatically reduced from a few years ago, but very much about the lack of management skills with a railway background.  You can't run what in effect is a utility company without knowledge of how that utility functions in the environment in which it operates.  Thats the problem, and it really started when privatisation came about in 1994.  Now then, I wonder which government was in power then.......

.....and here is a good example.  Day one of privatisation.  Oh, what are all those thousands of drawings stored away there.  We don't need those and cant afford to keep them.  Get rid of them.  So they did.  One year later, start on new scheme.  We need all the curent records, so can somebody go and get them please......
« Last Edit: June 07, 2019, 09:33:28 am by SandTEngineer » Logged

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martyjon
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2019, 10:09:20 am »

1994 saw the privatisation of the rail network enacted BUT was as a result of legislation enacted by a different governing party and to the timetable set by that party. I wonder if it could have been scuppered by the party in power in 1994 if they had the will to do so.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2019, 10:31:07 am »

From The Spectator

Quote
We donít hear enough about Network Rail these days. By that I mean that the entity recently described by the Sunday Times as Ďsynonymous with incompetence and delaysí doesnít receive anything like the abuse it deserves for failing to provide the infrastructure essential for a 21st-century railway. I refer you to the Crossrail project, in which the inability of new trains to connect with old Network Rail signalling systems is one reason for the delayed opening that has become a major national embarrassment. I invite you to observe LNERís expensive new fleet of Azuma bullet trains that were due to launch in December but delayed by incompatibility with Network Rail signals.

Looks as though the Speccy needs to gen up on what NR does too....

Is NR at fault on Crossrail? I don't think they're the project manager, never mind employing the workers on the central section that still isn't ready...

Surely it is the Azuma manufactuirer that has the build the train so that it works on NR infrastructure, not NR's responsibility to change their infrastructure so that Hitachi can run its trains?!!

Really poor examples by the Speccy there!
« Last Edit: June 07, 2019, 11:37:27 am by Red Squirrel » Logged
SandTEngineer
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2019, 01:29:56 pm »

From The Spectator

Quote
We donít hear enough about Network Rail these days. By that I mean that the entity recently described by the Sunday Times as Ďsynonymous with incompetence and delaysí doesnít receive anything like the abuse it deserves for failing to provide the infrastructure essential for a 21st-century railway. I refer you to the Crossrail project, in which the inability of new trains to connect with old Network Rail signalling systems is one reason for the delayed opening that has become a major national embarrassment. I invite you to observe LNERís expensive new fleet of Azuma bullet trains that were due to launch in December but delayed by incompatibility with Network Rail signals.

Looks as though the Speccy needs to gen up on what NR does too....

Is NR at fault on Crossrail? I don't think they're the project manager, never mind employing the workers on the central section that still isn't ready...

Surely it is the Azuma manufactuirer that has the build the train so that it works on NR infrastructure, not NR's responsibility to change their infrastructure so that Hitachi can run its trains?!!

Really poor examples by the Speccy there!

I don't think your right there.  Crossrail is a very complex project and NR has committed to altering its signalling system to cope.  I believe the trains use standard ETCS so not the trains fault.  More likely NR unable to get its signalling to work with the trains then.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2019, 01:49:08 pm »

I don't think you're right there.....(didn't read what I wrote)

Agree though - but even if they had, they're not the cause of the delay as the central section construction is even further behind & still wouldn't be open if NR had completed their part. I didn't say it was anything to do with the (Crossrail) trains.
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