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Author Topic: Railways and the Queen’s Speech  (Read 664 times)
bradshaw
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« on: October 13, 2019, 08:29:29 am »

The end of the franchise system is announced
From the BBC News report on the contents of the Queen’s Speech
Quote
Scrapping the rail franchise system - the contracting out of services introduced when the rail system was privatised in the 1990s 
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bradshaw
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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2019, 08:31:52 am »

The BBC News website reports the contents of the Queen’s Speech. One part of which is:

Quote
Scrapping the rail franchise system - the contracting out of services introduced when the rail system was privatised in the 1990s   
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2019, 09:17:45 am »

Topics merged - I suspect a "double post" of the original as it was posted at exactly the time our server would have been slow to respond due to a major backup going on in the background.
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bradshaw
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2019, 09:58:12 am »

Graham, many thanks. I posted the original but got a server message. Checked whether it had been posted, could not see it so reposted it. Feel free to delete one.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2019, 10:47:54 am »

This is included, so we are told, in the Queens Speech to Parliament on Monday.

A Queen Speech sets out the programme that the government plans to undertake in Parliament's next session.

Should that government fall, and/or a General Election is called, no further action will be taken until a new government is formed, and they will write their owb Queens Speech for the new session.

Of course, any party that committed itself to "sorting out the railways" would get a few brownie points from some members of the population. Some, more cynical than me, might consider this to be a cynical example of electioneering.

Given the current political climate, I wouldn't get my hopes up too high on this if I were you... Wink
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2019, 11:21:41 am »

Should that government fall, and/or a General Election is called, no further action will be taken until a new government is formed, and they will write their owb Queens Speech for the new session.

Of course, any party that committed itself to "sorting out the railways" would get a few brownie points from some members of the population. Some, more cynical than me, might consider this to be a cynical example of electioneering.

I got a strong whiff of electioneering from the minister in his Friday speech, majoring on how much progress has been made this decade (now, let me see, the majorly Conservative government took over from Labour in 2010).  And undoubtedly, massive progress has been made.  How it would have been under a different government, I'm not going to speculate here;  we are encouraged to look forward to enjoying the fruits of all the investment with faster London trains and 5 carriage trains running the local service in the Bristol area, many more trains in the West Country from December.

The Queen's speech is an interesting one, bearing in mind the probability of an election (personal reading of the situation) fairly soon.   I would anticipate that it will provide many manifesto elements for the current government party, but how many of those make there way into the legislative program of a new government, I would not know; if the new government is of roughly the same colour and the matter is only a war rather than a burning hot potato, I expect it would ...

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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2019, 11:59:17 am »

Electioneering notwithstanding, it's a least of signal of awareness even if not genuine intent.
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Day return to Infinity, please.
Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2019, 01:56:21 pm »

I think it wast succinctly summed up by someone on The World This Weekend on radio 4 about 40 minutes ago, who suggested we think of this Queens Speech as the first draft of the next conservative party manifesto.
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grahame
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2019, 09:33:43 pm »

From City a.m.

Quote
The speech is understood to include a commitment to publish a white paper that will use recommendations from an ongoing rail review by former British Airways chief executive Keith Williams.

Concrete proposals for a new model will not be revealed until this report is released, however one option reportedly being discussed is the concession model.

The concession model sees private companies being contracted to run the train lines, but with local authorities setting fares and timetables.

Bruce Williamson from advocacy group Railfuture said the group welcomed the news.

“We have for some time been an advocate for a change to the franchise system, because it’s been clear for a long time that it’s not working,” he said.

“We’ve been an advocate for a concession model for some time, but we’ll just have to wait and see what Boris Johnson comes out with.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2019, 09:53:52 pm »

From Mick Cash at the RMT

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"From what we've seen trailed by the Government on rail franchising this is nothing new and the old Tory principle that profits and privatisation come first remains locked in. Nobody will be fooled by this "same meat, different gravy" spin that's coming out of Downing Street.
 
"Private operation of our railways in incompatible with reliable and high quality services, lower fares and investment in infra-structure as the train companies will always suck the life blood out of the system in profits and dividends. That is a cold hard fact.
 
"Trying to repackage the racket of franchising for political purposes will fail. Ruling out the public sector option exposes the whole policy for the sham that it is. We need a nationalised railway where quality, investment, planning and safety come first."

and from Manuel Cortes at the TSSA

Quote
“anything that falls short of full public ownership of our railways amounts to tinkering at the edges. The British travelling public have had enough of franchising – full stop.

“Frankly, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that the system by which our railways are run is broken well beyond repair. I would urge Johnson to fully engage with the problem.

“Reform of the franchising model is not what’s needed – we need plans for the future of our industry which puts passengers before profit.

“As I have told Keith Williams – who's carrying out a rail review for the Government – only public ownership of our railways will ensure the public interest is served rather continuing with a system designed for the benefit of greedy shareholders.

“Surely even out of touch posh Tories know nothing else will do!”
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grahame
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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2019, 03:24:47 pm »

From Rail Technology Magazine and covered elsewhere

Quote
Boris Johnson to scrap rail franchise system in favour of reformed model

The UK’s rail franchising model is to be overhauled and proposals for railway reform brought forward, the Government has announced in today’s Queens Speech.

At the State Opening of Parliament, the Government revealed that it wants to scrap the rail franchising system, set up in the 1990s, as early as next year and replace it with a model focused on “performance and reliability.”

The railway industry is currently awaiting the results of the Williams Review, the government’s root and branch review of the current model, and further details will likely be released when the review is published.

Rail reform was just one of the 22 bills announced in this year’s Queens speech which included social care reform, climate change measures and changes to the UK justice system.

Speaking in the House of Lords, the Queen said the Government will “ensure that the benefits of a prospering economy reach every corner of the United Kingdom.”

On top of a broad national infrastructure strategy and new legislation on broadband connectivity, “proposals on railway reform are to be brought forward” to replace the current model which has private operators handed localised monopolies over rail networks.

The major shake-up will aim to improve reliability and reduce fragmentation in a railway system based on the same model used when the railways were privatised, as well having localalised decision-making about the day-to-day running of the network.
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eXPassenger
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2019, 05:37:58 pm »

I am having problems squaring an apparent circle.

The proposals appear to 'reduce fragmentation' as well as having 'localised decision making on the day to day running'.
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grahame
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2019, 06:54:36 pm »

I am having problems squaring an apparent circle.

The proposals appear to 'reduce fragmentation' as well as having 'localised decision making on the day to day running'.

The concept of both having your cake and eating it is an attractive one but hard to achieve - easy to suggest, and to gain support for a short while, but needs a magician to implement.
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stuving
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2019, 07:34:17 pm »

What's actually in the Queen's Speech as such is just this:
Quote
Proposals on railway reform will be brought forward.

The briefing notes say rather more, but don't really add anything to what we expect to come out of Williams anyway, based on what he's said.

Quote
  • The Government will publish a White Paper on the Williams Review
    recommendations later this autumn.
  • Following the publication of the White Paper, the Government will start
    implementing reforms from 2020, prioritising improvements for passengers.
  • In September, the Prime Minister announced plans to give Northern leaders
    more of a say on how the railway is run across the region. This proposal was
    based on the initial conclusions of the Williams review set out in July.
  • The Williams Review is the first comprehensive review of the railway in a
    generation, with a clear commitment from the Government to bring in root and
    branch change. The Review was tasked with making ambitious proposals to
    reform the rail industry and franchising model.
  • The Review is focused on reforms that will put passengers at the heart of the
    railway, provide value for taxpayers and deliver economic, social and
    environmental benefits across Britain. It will focus on five key areas:
    • Trains running on time. A clear focus on customer service excellence,
      driven by performance measures to bring about genuine behavioural
      and cultural change.
    • Simplified fares and ticketing to create a modern railway to promote
      innovation and customer-focussed improvements across the network,
      including the further roll out of pay-as-you-go.
    • A new industry structure, reducing fragmentation, better aligning track
      and train, creating clear accountability and a greater distance between
      Government and running the day to day railway.
    • A new commercial model that lets train operators get on with running
      services in the interest of passengers and allows greater flexibility and
      long-term incentives for creativity and innovation.
    • Proposals on leadership, skills, diversity and increased engagement, to
      better involve the rail workforce in the development of the sector in the
      long term, and to ensure the sector reflects modern working practices.
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RichardB
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2019, 10:35:14 pm »

Let's see what "A new commercial model" means in practice, in particular in safeguarding local and branch line services.

"Simplified fares and tickets" is another one to watch.  Good as an overall concept but what will it actually mean?  For example, will "single leg ticketing" lead to an end to day returns, as mad as that sounds?  Again, we'll see.
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