Train Graphic
Great Western Passengers' Forum
GWR advice (Project Phoenix)
Forum in and beyond Coronavirus
Great Western Coffee Shop
[home] and [about]
Read about the forum [here].
Register [here] - it's free.
What do I gain from registering? [here]
 18/08/20 - Tuesday Club - ONLINE
24/08/20 - Challenge of Decarb. - ONLINE
16/09/20 - Melksham Rail User Group
17/09/20 - National Rail Awards
Random Image
Train Running Polls Acronyms/Abbreviations Station Comparator Rail news GWR co. site Site Style 1 2 3 4
Next departures • Bristol Temple MeadsBath SpaChippenhamSwindonDidcot ParkwayReadingLondon PaddingtonMelksham
Exeter St DavidsTauntonWestburyTrowbridgeBristol ParkwayCardiff CentralOxfordCheltenham SpaBirmingham New Street
August 14, 2020, 05:21:07 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Forgotten your username or password? - get a reminder
Most liked recent subjects
[197] Finn and bignosemac's return to the rails. Where were we today...
[83] HST derailment, near Stonehaven, 12th August 2020
[41] Okehampton-Tavistock. Discussion on reopening and potential us...
[28] Arrival of JelliaJamb, and a request for a bit more thought at...
[15] Electrification of freight traffic
[13] Problems with the Night Riviera sleeper - December 2014 onward...
News: A forum for passengers ... with input from rail professionals welcomed too
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3
  Print  
Author Topic: Getting a grip on GRIP.  (Read 981 times)
grahame
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 30233



View Profile WWW Email
« on: July 08, 2020, 09:06:29 pm »

From Christian Wolmar in a letter to The Times

Quote
Sir,

The process for reopening railway lines as currently set up is cumbersome and slow. It will take at least half a decade, and probably more to see any of the schemes proposed in the ‘reopening Beeching’ programme to see the light of day. They have to have a good ‘business case’ and then go through Network Rail’s incredibly bureaucratic but aptly named GRIP (Governance for Railway Investment Projects).

Therefore if the government is serious about stimulating the economy with investment in these schemes, it should throw caution to the wind. Do a quick back of the envelope assessment and then hand out the money – some, of course, will be wasted but probably less than paying for consultants to spend months or years working out detailed but often wrongly-argued business cases. Just look at the success of the Borders Railway south of Edinburgh which has greatly exceeded expected passenger numbers and all the consultants’ predictions.

Christian Wolmar
Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
Trowres
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 556


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2020, 01:24:34 am »

There is nothing wrong with back-of-envelope calculations provided that they are done with care and integrity; avoiding biased assumptions as much as possible.

Unfortunately there's more than a hint of bias in Mr Wolmar's reference to the Borders Railway, as he could have chosen a number of reopenings that have not achieved the forecast demand.

While professional consultants should rightly be criticised if they use "wrongly-argued business cases", it is unfortunately true that scheme promoters are also prone to shaky assumptions and logic.

(I don't think I'm going to have many friends on this forum if I keep doing this).
Logged
grahame
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 30233



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2020, 06:26:31 am »

There is nothing wrong with back-of-envelope calculations provided that they are done with care and integrity; avoiding biased assumptions as much as possible.

[...]

While professional consultants should rightly be criticised if they use "wrongly-argued business cases", it is unfortunately true that scheme promoters are also prone to shaky assumptions and logic.

[...]

Agreed on both points.

The enthusiasm for a case from an early-stage promoter can give it an optimism bias and can ignore elephants in the room.  And optimism bias and elephants can compound and breed.  Sadly, it's in human nature for someone who comes up with a good idea to turn a question from "Is this a good idea?" to "this is a good idea!" without actually addressing the question.

I have seen a number of ideas floating around of late which I scratch my head at and think "I can't see there being a case there" but  (and it's a big but) I don't have the background data and local knowledge.  Surprises happen; if I had been forced to comment on the Welsh Highland Railway 50 years ago, I would probably used words like "I can't see it happening ...." and having - as it has turned out - a faulty crystal ball.

There are quality ideas out developed on envelopes, fag packets, whiteboards.   And there are also ideas on those same media which are not only not worth the media they are written on, but are doing a dis-service to the quality developed ideas and there is a need to evaluate / sort out the wheat from the chaff.

However - I agree with much that's written suggesting that the evaluation and sorting out is done in an overkill manner - the hurdles are systems that are more complex, take longer, and cost far more than is necessary or good for the final outcome.  Think of a current example such as reopening a passenger train service to Portishead and ask "is it best overall investment to report and enquire to this degree and though these cycles?"




Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
Electric train
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3298


The future is 25000 Volts AC 750V DC has its place


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2020, 06:52:04 am »

The GRIP process a process the ORR expects NR to work to, and yes it is bureaucratic but the railways is a complex environment to engineer within, complex legislation, regulations, performance criteria place on it by the investor, but no where near as bureaucratic as the DfT processes when they direct fund a project

GRIP is a pain in the  Shocked (neck  Grin ) but it would need to be replaced with something else, it does take a project from conception to completion, some stages work better than others
Logged

Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.     
Dwight D. Eisenhower
CyclingSid
Data Manager
Hero Member
******
Posts: 958


Hockley viaduct


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2020, 07:07:33 am »

Consultants tend to deliver what the client expects.
Quote
Scottish Government got consultants to put a monetary value on “removing driver frustration” after A9 dualling project cost-benefit analysis didn’t pan out how it wanted
from https://road.cc/content/news/cycling-live-blog-july-07-2020-275229.

Quote
This means that the project would return 78 pence in benefits for every pound spent by the Scottish Government. ... The value of removing driver frustration is assessed as £430 million – £86 million more than the value given to collision reduction.  Once the value assigned to removing driver frustration is added, the project would return £1.12 for every pound spent by the Scottish Government.
from https://spice-spotlight.scot/2020/02/18/the-a9-dualling-project-crucial-for-scotland/
Logged
infoman
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 383


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2020, 09:29:25 am »

Installing tickets gates at Bradford on avon Trowbridge and Westbury MIGHT help pay for the new Devizies Parkway.
Logged
Bmblbzzz
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 2907


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2020, 10:19:51 am »

There seem to be two general sources of frustration with GRIP: the monetary value assessment, and the number of stages a project has to be taken through with no way of saying "Case proved! Jump the next stage, call in the diggers!"
Logged

Tuesday had come down through Dundrum and Foster Avenue, brine-fresh from sea-travel, a corn-yellow sun-drench that called forth the bees at an incustomary hour to their bumbling.
Red Squirrel
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3741


There are some who call me... Tim


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2020, 10:57:18 am »


[...]

Unfortunately there's more than a hint of bias in Mr Wolmar's reference to the Borders Railway, as he could have chosen a number of reopenings that have not achieved the forecast demand.

While professional consultants should rightly be criticised if they use "wrongly-argued business cases", it is unfortunately true that scheme promoters are also prone to shaky assumptions and logic.

(I don't think I'm going to have many friends on this forum if I keep doing this).

It's right to question these things, though it's always good to cite examples! Which reopenings were you thinking of?

The two biggest ones I can think of are the Borders Railway and Ebbw Vale, both of which have been far more successful than the professional consultants anticipated. This has led to constraints where value engineering based on anticipated loadings has rapidly become an obstacle to further expansion.

Logged
IndustryInsider
Data Manager
Hero Member
******
Posts: 8262


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2020, 11:04:57 am »

Eurostar was much lower than initial predictions, as was Midland Metro, though I think the general trend is for expected numbers at new lines and stations to be handsomely beaten.
Logged

To view my GWML Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
Red Squirrel
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3741


There are some who call me... Tim


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2020, 03:44:44 pm »

Would it be a cheap shot to point out that Eurostar was not a re-opening? Probably; for many schemes so much re-engineering is required to meet modern standards that we might as well consider it to be a new railway.

This report, which I'll admit I only scanned over, may make interesting reading for someone with time on their hands. It looks and the demand forecasts for HS1 and attempts to assess why they were so wide of the mark. 'For all sorts of reasons' seems to be the answer!

I haven't found anything on the Midlands Metro - how far out were the forecasts for this? I note that they are still expanding this, so presumably they weren't too disappointed with it...


Logged
IndustryInsider
Data Manager
Hero Member
******
Posts: 8262


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2020, 04:34:56 pm »

I haven't found anything on the Midlands Metro - how far out were the forecasts for this? I note that they are still expanding this, so presumably they weren't too disappointed with it...

It was forecasted at 20 million a year, but stalled for many years at 5 million after opening.  It only started picking up (as you would expect) when the terminus moved to New Street, and with many extensions and new lines planned, hopefully it will climb to 20 million eventually?

There's an interesting article here:  http://www.britishtramsonline.co.uk/midlandfarewell.html
Logged

To view my GWML Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
Red Squirrel
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3741


There are some who call me... Tim


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2020, 05:12:37 pm »

According to Richard Faulkner and Chris Austin's 'Holding the Line', the top ten passenger re-openings by mileage are:

Nottingham-Mansfield-Worksop28.7mi1993-1998
Airdrie-Bathgate-Edinburgh23.7mi1986-2011
Ladybank-Perth20mi1975
Barry-Bridgend19mi2005
Ebbw Vale-Cardiff18.1mi2008
Crediton-Okehampton (Sundays only)18mi1997
Peterborough-Spalding15mi1996
Middlesbrough-Northallerton14.3mi1996
Wallsall-Rugeley14mi1989-1998
Barassie-Kilmarnock13.3mi1969

To this we can add 29.3mi of the Borders Railway.

Most of these involved re-introducing passenger services to freight lines. I can't help noticing that England seems rather under-represented in this league table!

How many of these, though meet Trowres' criterion of not having 'achieved the forecast demand'?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 07:58:19 pm by Red Squirrel » Logged
Trowres
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 556


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2020, 11:32:46 pm »

It's right to question these things, though it's always good to cite examples! Which reopenings were you thinking of?

The two biggest ones I can think of are the Borders Railway and Ebbw Vale, both of which have been far more successful than the professional consultants anticipated. This has led to constraints where value engineering based on anticipated loadings has rapidly become an obstacle to further expansion.

I was thinking more of this report than of any particular reopening:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/3932/demand-forecasting-report.pdf

However it does say of Ebbw Vale:
Quote
The forecast demand for Ebbw Vale Parkway station was 45,000 passengers, compared to the 2008/9 actual demand of 252,000...
... Two of the reasons for the under-forecast of demand have been identified as:
  • The exclusion (as requested by the Strategic Rail Authority) of rail demand arising from regeneration of the area and also the assumption that the local steelworks would remain open; and
  • The fact that the rail service operates to Cardiff, rather than Newport (as assumed in the modelling).

So, 780 ex-steelworkers; many looking for new jobs - and a service introduced to a more attractive destination (sorry, Newport!) than envisaged by the forecast?
Logged
TonyK
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 5111


The artist formerly known as Four Track, Now!


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2020, 11:39:33 pm »

Consultants tend to deliver what the client expects.
Quote
Scottish Government got consultants to put a monetary value on “removing driver frustration” after A9 dualling project cost-benefit analysis didn’t pan out how it wanted
from https://road.cc/content/news/cycling-live-blog-july-07-2020-275229.

Quote
This means that the project would return 78 pence in benefits for every pound spent by the Scottish Government. ... The value of removing driver frustration is assessed as £430 million – £86 million more than the value given to collision reduction.  Once the value assigned to removing driver frustration is added, the project would return £1.12 for every pound spent by the Scottish Government.
from https://spice-spotlight.scot/2020/02/18/the-a9-dualling-project-crucial-for-scotland/

As I have said before, the Benefit/Cost ratio is determined by writing the answer you want on a piece of paper, then giving that, plus £10 million, to some consultants to work backwards from, until they establish the right question. It becomes a tool to use to be able to go ahead with something - Borders - or not go ahead, as in the Bristol area tram system. In that respect, it is a political thing, deciding whether to do something or not, leading to GRIP, which decides how.

GRIP isn't political, because if Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak announce a new railway tomorrow, they know there will have been at least three more Prime Ministers and Chancellors before the first train runs. They know also that the way things work, the opposition party that fiercely opposes the new railway plan could easily be the government party taking the credit when it comes to fruition, as happened with the Edinburgh trams. So there is more political capital to be had in making short-term decisions, leaving the inconvenient jobs like Hinkley C, Heathrow's third runway or HS2 for someone else. But ET is right - there would have to be something instead of GRIP, and it could be worse.
Logged

Now, please!
Trowres
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 556


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2020, 12:43:24 am »

...
How many of these, though meet Trowres' criterion of not having 'achieved the forecast demand'?

Bearing in mind that most of the projects will have had more than one demand forecast and some were quite a long time ago, that isn't going to be an easy question to answer. The report I quoted earlier listed 23 stations studied (i.e. for which they could find the forecasting reports!) of which 10 had outcome passenger numbers below forecast. Of the 23, nine were within +/- 20% ... demand forecasting is difficult! I would suggest, however, that the spread of figures given falls far short of supporting the idea that schemes always turn out better than forecast.



Logged
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
Pages: [1] 2 3
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants

Jump to top of pageJump to Forum Home Page