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Author Topic: Government cuts rail infrastructure budget  (Read 962 times)
grahame
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« on: December 04, 2020, 05:21:31 am »

From the BBC

Quote
The government has cut ?1bn from the rail infrastructure budget following the chancellor's Spending Review.

Rishi Sunak had previously promised record infrastructure investment as part of the government's "levelling up" agenda.

Until now, Network Rail's "enhancement" budget for the five year period from 2019-24 had been set at ?10.4bn.
But, this week rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said that the budget would now be ?9.4bn.

That has put a question mark over some long-planned improvements to rail infrastructure.

Quote
And the rail industry has raised concerns that the budget could be cut by as much as 10% overall if the government tries to claw back some funding that it was unable to spend this year, partly because of the pandemic.

The cuts were not mentioned in Spending Review documentation, which stressed record investment in strategic road and rail projects.

The shortfall is likely to leave some projects without funding. Meanwhile, the government is believed to have told the industry to concentrate on so-called "Northern Powerhouse" rail and reversing the Beeching cuts, which closed thousands of miles of railway in the sixties. Both plans featured in Boris Johnson's manifesto.

Since the start of the pandemic, the government has spent billions subsidising the rail network, so that trains were able to continue running during lockdown, even as commuters stayed at home.

Article continues
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2020, 07:01:32 am »

Speak with forked tongue?
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The PM said the "ambitious" target would see the UK cutting emissions faster than any major economy so far.

And he urged other world leaders to follow his lead at a virtual climate summit on 12 December.
from
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-55179008
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2020, 07:20:38 am »

Network Rail has been anticipating that a budget cut for enhancements and renewals was likely.  The review of the project portfolio was carried out in April.   Percentage cuts and various levels were allowed for.

I expect NR will announce they are disappointed about the cuts, but understand the situation the economy is in and will work to reduce the impact this will have.

 
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2020, 11:29:07 am »

On the other side of the equation the recent 'Project Speed' introduced by Andrew Haines, Network Rail's Chief Executive, is intended to speed up project design and execution and reduce costs. Somewhere I have read recently (though I am afraid I can no longer find the reference) that using 'Speed' principles two years and some ?25million  have been taken out of the proposal to reopen the line to Okehampton to regular passenger services.

If this can be repeated for other proposals/projects then this (real or proposed) reduction in funding may not be quite so severe in practice as one might think at first sight.

I hope that I am not being overly optimistic.
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rogerw
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2020, 02:08:56 pm »

Okehampton reference is in December edition of Modern Railways
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2020, 04:35:25 pm »

On the other side of the equation the recent 'Project Speed' introduced by Andrew Haines, Network Rail's Chief Executive, is intended to speed up project design and execution and reduce costs. Somewhere I have read recently (though I am afraid I can no longer find the reference) that using 'Speed' principles two years and some ?25million  have been taken out of the proposal to reopen the line to Okehampton to regular passenger services.

If this can be repeated for other proposals/projects then this (real or proposed) reduction in funding may not be quite so severe in practice as one might think at first sight.

I hope that I am not being overly optimistic.

I wonder what using "Speed" principles could have saved on HS2 and Crossrail?
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2020, 05:51:03 pm »

On the other side of the equation the recent 'Project Speed' introduced by Andrew Haines, Network Rail's Chief Executive, is intended to speed up project design and execution and reduce costs. Somewhere I have read recently (though I am afraid I can no longer find the reference) that using 'Speed' principles two years and some ?25million  have been taken out of the proposal to reopen the line to Okehampton to regular passenger services.

If this can be repeated for other proposals/projects then this (real or proposed) reduction in funding may not be quite so severe in practice as one might think at first sight.

I hope that I am not being overly optimistic.

I wonder what using "Speed" principles could have saved on HS2 and Crossrail?

Neither of which are Network Rail project
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2020, 07:01:32 pm »

On the other side of the equation the recent 'Project Speed' introduced by Andrew Haines, Network Rail's Chief Executive, is intended to speed up project design and execution and reduce costs. Somewhere I have read recently (though I am afraid I can no longer find the reference) that using 'Speed' principles two years and some ?25million  have been taken out of the proposal to reopen the line to Okehampton to regular passenger services.

If this can be repeated for other proposals/projects then this (real or proposed) reduction in funding may not be quite so severe in practice as one might think at first sight.

I hope that I am not being overly optimistic.

I wonder what using "Speed" principles could have saved on HS2 and Crossrail?

Neither of which are Network Rail project

Should that prevent the sharing of good practice in the same industry with colossal amounts of public money at stake?
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ChrisB
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2020, 07:05:55 pm »

If Network Rail are only just adopting it, how can it be described (yet) as 'best practice'?
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Surrey 455
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2020, 07:46:33 pm »

On the other side of the equation the recent 'Project Speed' introduced by Andrew Haines, Network Rail's Chief Executive, is intended to speed up project design and execution and reduce costs. Somewhere I have read recently (though I am afraid I can no longer find the reference) that using 'Speed' principles two years and some ?25million  have been taken out of the proposal to reopen the line to Okehampton to regular passenger services.

If this can be repeated for other proposals/projects then this (real or proposed) reduction in funding may not be quite so severe in practice as one might think at first sight.

I hope that I am not being overly optimistic.

On the other hand, perhaps Crossrail construction should have been slowed down...

From Construction News
Quote
Political pressure to start work meant that design problems on Crossrail were not addressed properly, its chief executive has said.

Reflecting on lessons learned from the London rail project, Mark Wild said political pressure to speed up start times should be resisted on future schemes.
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ellendune
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2020, 08:35:07 pm »

On the other hand, perhaps Crossrail construction should have been slowed down...

From Construction News
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Political pressure to start work meant that design problems on Crossrail were not addressed properly, its chief executive has said.

Reflecting on lessons learned from the London rail project, Mark Wild said political pressure to speed up start times should be resisted on future schemes.

I am a firm believer in designing the whole thing before you start. The worst example of where this was not done that I can think of is WCML upgrade of the 1990's where Railtrack committed to providing increased line capacity without even working out what work would be needed to achieve it!

Clearly you also need to work out the best option for a scheme.

However, the amount of work required to plan a simple project is much less than a project like HS2. AIUI project speed is about applying an appropriate governance to a project depending on its complexity. So I would guess less saving possible on Crossrail (except perhaps all the delay caused by political arguments about which direction it should go at the East and West ends) than for say Portway Parkway Station. 

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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2020, 07:56:45 am »

The big stumbling block to the Andrew Haines "revolution" of GRIP and NR's project delivery process, is more likely to be the DfT and ORR and not the internal railway industry

Andrew Haines is asking all of NR to be "revolting"  Shocked  Revolting in terms of challenge the process of getting projects and maintenance delivered without compromising safety, the DfT and ORR are known for being ubercourteous to extreme and not the quickest in responding. 
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2020, 12:33:56 pm »

Okehampton reference is in December edition of Modern Railways
Yes, thank you!

My copy of MR arrived - about a week later than the normal monthly schedule - after you posted. I obviously read the reference in Roger Ford's monthly email preview a couple of weeks ago. The issues with getting older...!
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ChrisB
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2020, 03:28:45 pm »

Probably delayed by the ORR requiring a correction to their Stonehaven accident coverage....
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bradshaw
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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2020, 04:22:50 pm »

My Modern Railways arrived yesterday, I had rung them on Monday and it appeared that many subscribers were having the same problem.
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