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Author Topic: Biggest investment since the Victorians....  (Read 1124 times)
YouKnowNothing
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« on: June 10, 2019, 10:29:39 am »

I keep hearing and seeing GWR, NR and others across the wider rail network trumpet that we are currently undergoing the largest investment since the Victorians. Well that was over one hundred years ago, what happened in the meantime? I know there was significant under-investment in rail infrastructure at certain points but money was spent, significant amounts of money for the time.

Does anyone have any detailed information showing the works/projects that were proposed for each control period since the demise of the private ventures collapse? Any other times of significant investment in the rail industry. Surely there was a period of huge investment after each world war?
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YouKnowNothing
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2019, 11:33:23 pm »

Anyone have a source Iíve looked everywhere online.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2019, 04:37:42 am »

Anyone have a source Iíve looked everywhere online.

I don't.  Have you thought of asking those who make the claims for their sources?  Grin
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2019, 10:19:09 am »

...the largest investment since the Victorians.

I suppose one reason that people can make this kinds of claim without fear of contradiction is that it is almost impossible to make a fair comparison. In absolute terms, I'm sure they are right - the whole railway network probably cost less to build than was spent on the recent refurbishment of St Pancras - but that doesn't really tell us much other than that there's been a lot of inflation since the 19th century.

There have been three significant waves of investment since the Victorian era:

  • The 1930's, after Britain came off the Gold Standard and the money supply rose (leading to expansions to third rail electrification, Metroland, four-tracking of Filton Bank etc;
  • The Modernisation Plan of 1954 (which led to dieselisation and the ECML electrification);
  • The current round of investments, including tube expansion, Crossrail, GWML electrification, Borders Railway, Northern Powerhouse, EGIP, East-West Rail, four-tracking of Filton Bank etc.

There is still a lot to do, and some schemes may of course yet be cancelled - but I think it's clear that of the three waves, we're witnessing the biggest.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2019, 10:33:25 am »

Anyone have a source Iíve looked everywhere online.

I don't.  Have you thought of asking those who make the claims for their sources?  Grin

Perhaps Mark Hopwood, now that he is a member of this forum, is best placed to substantiate his company's claims and will lay out the evidence for us?
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Celestial
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2019, 12:12:56 pm »

Anyone have a source Iíve looked everywhere online.

I don't.  Have you thought of asking those who make the claims for their sources?  Grin

Perhaps Mark Hopwood, now that he is a member of this forum, is best placed to substantiate his company's claims and will lay out the evidence for us?
I do wonder whether we expect too much of organisations to justify or respond to things that get raised in social media discussions (and I think that goes beyond this forum or the railway industry).  It's a bit of marketing fluff - and surely in the grand scheme of things is one of the less important things that we could be asking a response for from GWR management. 
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2019, 12:34:55 pm »

Perhaps Mark Hopwood, now that he is a member of this forum, is best placed to substantiate his company's claims and will lay out the evidence for us?

His company's current claims are:

Quote
More than £7.5 billion is being spent on electrifying routes from London to Newbury and Cardiff, station improvements, and track upgrades.

Once Network Rail have finished our new trains will increase capacity, and shorten journey times. And, we'll be able to run more than ever.
Source: https://www.gwr.com/about-us/modernising-gwr

Note use of passive voice. Has GWR ever claimed that it was spending the money?
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2019, 01:59:41 pm »

Perhaps Mark Hopwood, now that he is a member of this forum, is best placed to substantiate his company's claims and will lay out the evidence for us?
I do wonder whether we expect too much of organisations to justify or respond to things that get raised in social media discussions (and I think that goes beyond this forum or the railway industry).  It's a bit of marketing fluff - and surely in the grand scheme of things is one of the less important things that we could be asking a response for from GWR management. 

I have so much to add ...

This forum has changed - moved forward - over the years and one of the elements where we have been doing that is in setting up routes and dialogues for discussion.   The past couple of days has been intensely valuable in helping that along, and yet at the same time it "merely" built on the groundwork we had or were having in place. We have communication channels that I've not seen reflected in social media groups in other parts of the UK - but then I'm not party to their internals.  And those communication channels include a "checkpoint" every 3 months so that we can pick up on outstanding issues (and raise new ones and new ideas) both ways.

Great Western employs around 6000 staff.  For sure, most are operational but then a considerable number are either managerial or specialist too, and you / we cannot expect the "head poncho" to be able to instantly and unprepared answer a question on what any has been said or done by any of them.  Nor can we expect him to be the one who answers everything and anything that comes his way - I want him to get on with running a darned good railway, motivating his staff, negotiating an excellent setup for his passengers, giving his managerial overview and direction where it's best employed - helping connect things.  So - on "the largest investment since Victorian Times" and where it came from, no, please, getting an answer to that can be delegated and you'll probable be able to get a far better answer from the person/people who came up with it than from Mark.   

Whilst the answers won't be as quick as on a forum, so many questions do get answered - perhaps slower but more fully, and with some we are probable best to be pragmatic and accept "don't know" or "do we really need to put considerable resource into researching that".   But with the keeness of so many of the GWR team, thos categories are much rarer than you might imagine.

I first engaged with the First Group - First Great Western as it then was - some 12 years ago. And I campaigned and fought against some of the things they were doing - be they things off their own bat, or under contractual and supplier instruction. Words like "against" and "fought" have faded - perhaps not to the point of total elimination - to largely be replaced by "with" and "co-operated".  "Campaign" is still there - but for the most part it's campaigning or working alongside towards mutual goals. I can still be the critical friend; I can still ask the awkward "why don't you xxxxx" and I can still argue for passenger benefit (and long term business growth) where the HQ and contract instruction majors on short term financial expedients.

I am a long way from answering "largest investment".  What I can tell you, based on discussions over these last few days, that we're getting ever better at getting good answers, and providing community inputs to our local rail industry too so that we partner in making as much better as we can for all - even if we don't get a surfboard special from Newquay at the end of Boardmaster's week, complete with a buffet, and a three hour run from Plymouth to Paddington.


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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2019, 04:00:56 pm »

Perhaps Mark Hopwood, now that he is a member of this forum, is best placed to substantiate his company's claims and will lay out the evidence for us?
I do wonder whether we expect too much of organisations to justify or respond to things that get raised in social media discussions (and I think that goes beyond this forum or the railway industry).  It's a bit of marketing fluff - and surely in the grand scheme of things is one of the less important things that we could be asking a response for from GWR management. 

I have so much to add ...



I want him to get on with running a darned good railway, motivating his staff, negotiating an excellent setup for his passengers, giving his managerial overview and direction where it's best employed - helping connect things.  So - on "the largest investment since Victorian Times" and where it came from, no, please, getting an answer to that can be delegated and you'll probable be able to get a far better answer from the person/people who came up with it than from Mark.   




I'm sure we'd all love him to do that one day, it's a noble aspiration for him. When he gets to running a "darned good railway", I will offer my congratulations. There's some way to go yet however.

Naturally I wouldn't expect him to answer the question re: investment personally however he's uniquely well placed to identify the appropriate person to whom it should be delegated.

To address Red Squirrel's point, "Building a Greater West" was the tagline for a huge NR infrastructure investment programme, upon which coattails GWR hung, and the (arguably) disingenuous nature of its advertising campaign at the time which suggested that it was providing the investment was discussed at great
length at the time within the forum.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2019, 05:48:07 pm »

To address Red Squirrel's point, "Building a Greater West" was the tagline for a huge NR infrastructure investment programme, upon which coattails GWR hung, and the (arguably) disingenuous nature of its advertising campaign at the time which suggested that it was providing the investment was discussed at great length at the time within the forum.

Hmm... out of interest, who was arguing that the campaign was disingenuous?
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2019, 05:56:37 pm »

we cannot expect the "head poncho" to be able to ....
I think this is a deliberate wordplay Ė poncho because the one position must cover the whole organisation Ė but even if only another of Graham's famous TOBAGOs* it's a very good phrase and deserves to be used more widely.  Smiley

*Typo but a good one.

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bignosemac
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2019, 09:28:59 pm »

Hmm... out of interest, who was arguing that the campaign was disingenuous?

Ooh I know this one...

"Sir, Sir. Me Sir!"
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2019, 11:20:57 am »

Hmm... out of interest, who was arguing that the campaign was disingenuous?

Ooh I know this one...

"Sir, Sir. Me Sir!"

Really? Hey ho, I suppose life wouldn't be much fun if we all saw things the same way... Personally I was really disappointed the other day when I opened McVities packet and found it just contained biscuits. These ad agencies, eh? Tsk.
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Timmer
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« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2019, 12:02:42 pm »

Really? Hey ho, I suppose life wouldn't be much fun if we all saw things the same way... Personally I was really disappointed the other day when I opened McVities packet and found it just contained biscuits. These ad agencies, eh? Tsk.
I can certainly see why you were most disappointed to find you didnít get what you thought youíd be getting. Iíd suggest taking them back for a refund and reporting McVities to the ASA for a highly misleading advert.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2019, 01:16:04 pm »

Really? Hey ho, I suppose life wouldn't be much fun if we all saw things the same way... Personally I was really disappointed the other day when I opened McVities packet and found it just contained biscuits. These ad agencies, eh? Tsk.
I can certainly see why you were most disappointed to find you didnít get what you thought youíd be getting. Iíd suggest taking them back for a refund and reporting McVities to the ASA for a highly misleading advert.

.......it wouldn't be the first time......https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/mar/30/train-operators-adverts-banned-owned-by-public-gwr-great-western-railway
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