Consultation on abolition of BRB (Residuary) Ltd

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WatcherZero

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http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2012-11

Unlike many of the bodies scheduled for abolition under the Public Bodies Act 2011 (“the Act”), it has always been the intention to wind-up BRB (Residuary) Ltd (BRBR) at the appropriate time. That time is now at hand and the Act provides the most efficient means by which to achieve the winding-up of BRBR.

Since BRBR (Company No: 04146505) was established in 2001, the Company has pursued with vigour its remit of extracting value from the disparate portfolio of assets and liabilities inherited from the British Railways Board. By the date of abolition BRBR will have disposed of more than 90% of its inherited property assets and in doing so will have generated over £400m by way of sales proceeds. Over this period of time BRBR has also expedited and reduced the cost of handling industrial injury and disease claims from former employees, and acted in support of various government policy initiatives. This has included developing former railway offices in order to provide accommodation for civil servants.

However, it is no longer viable given the reduced scale of BRBR’s activities to maintain BRBR as a separate corporate entity. It is therefore proposed that BRBR be abolished and its functions, properties, rights and liabilities transferred to a combination of the Secretary of State for Transport (the Secretary of State), London & Continental Railways (LCR), Network Rail (NR) and Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB).

The Act includes a requirement in Section 10 for consultation in respect of all proposals which require an Order to be made under Sections 1 to 5 of the Act. As the impact of the proposed reform is neutral the Department for Transport (DfT) is undertaking a targeted six week informal consultation. This meets the consultation requirements for a body with specialised functions and a limited user group. This consultation is therefore seeking views on the proposed abolition of BRBR and on the transfer of its functions, property, rights and liabilities to the Secretary of State, LCR, NR, and RSSB

Will read the documents when I get back in tonight.
 
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Tiny Tim

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It's not as if BRBR is particularly relevant to today's railways. Apart from acting as custodian for redundant railway sites such as Waterloo International, the rest of their role is disposal of assets and maintaining old BR liabilities. There's no particular reason any longer why these functions shouldn't be performed by other bodies. Emotionally it could be seen as the end of an era, but that's all.
 

WatcherZero

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Well actually reading it now, impact assessment £0 saving (since its self financing). Transfer of the profitable assets to NR (18 properties and 22 structures) considered preferable option, transferring them to the Secretary of State (for transport) either at the Highways Agency or the wholly state owned London & Continental Railway, could leave them in control of assets still partially in use or others they dont know how to maintain lacking the specialist knowledge and unable to sell on legally. NR would take on the £500k a year running costs but also (theortically) a property portfolio which has a nominal value of the upkeep costs.

Remaining assets can be categorised in three ways
1. “Anomalies” of property ownership arising from rail privatisation in 1994 where the position of the fence or electrification of the neighbouring railway line renders future sales uneconomic.
2. Assets which should be managed by a body with a rail-specific remit such as memorials to railway staff killed during the wars and those who died in railway accidents
3. Assets which are important to the railway industry such as a high speed, electrified test track and an operational railway currently leased as a heritage railway.

Old Dalby Test Track is a problematic asset, its profit or loss is hard to categorise as its benefits are mostly to the industry at large and it would be hard for the Dft to manage while NR could get additional benefit from owning it.

Couple of examples of how NR owning the property would be more efficent, Whitebridge Crossing Cottage transferred to NR could allow its demolition and a new level crossing to be built leading to a line speed improvement. Transferring the property at Cockshut Road, Lewes to NR would be cheaper than building a new boundary fence. Several properties have sidings and disconnecting them from the running lines would make the properties uneconomical for anyone other than NR. Access to the Nene Valley Heritage Railway would be most sensibly given to NR since its an operational railway line.

Old Dalby test track is leased by BRBR from UK Coal then subleased to London Underground. With a complicated ownership and a active rail asset makes sense for NR to control it.

This leaved the 3,400 properties in the so called 'Burdensome Estate', viaducts, bridges, tunnels, etc.. with no income and significant upkeep costs. Its proposed these are transferred to the Highways Agency as most are near or directly benefit roads.



Next up the ownership of intellectual property and a library of locomotive and other technical drawings from before 1996, 300,000 drawings and 30,000 maintenance documents. Currently this is licensed for free upon request to the Railway Documentation and Drawing Service, give the IP directly would save administration costs. There would be a cost of looking after this library and licensing it to other parties so the Governments prefered option is to transfer it to the Railway Safety and Standards Board, it has a large administrative staff and the extra work would be a nominal cost. Third option is giving it to the Secretary of State, however this would add extra administrative costs and they would have to hire rail experts who understood it to look after it.
 

Eagle

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This leaved the 3,400 properties in the so called 'Burdensome Estate', viaducts, bridges, tunnels, etc.. with no income and significant upkeep costs. Its proposed these are transferred to the Highways Agency as most are near or directly benefit roads.

That makes no sense, being as most of the nearby roads you mentioned will not be managed by the HA (who are only in charge of trunk roads in England, which make up considerably under 5% of England's road total, and precisely 0% in Wales and Scotland).
 

WatcherZero

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Who else would manage a national network of 3,400 structures no longer used by the rail industry but are commonly used by cars?
Got an idea submit it to the consultation.
 

WatcherZero

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The Highways Agency has a £2bn budget, 6,500 miles of road and manages 34% of road miles and 67% of lorry miles on its network. Local Authority transport budgets are in the single digit millions.

Local authorities already recieved all the properties they wanted from BRBR, mostly when it was formed and a few purchased since then for leisure or cycling routes. No council facing huge cuts is going to want to take on hundreds of new safety/legal/maintenence liabilities, besides they would just have to recieve the money from the Dft anyway in the form of larger grants. Most councils are already several years behind just on their potholes, they dont want to have to be worrying about bridges, viaducts and tunnels too.
 

tsr

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The Highways Agency has a £2bn budget, 6,500 miles of road and manages 34% of road miles and 67% of lorry miles on its network. Local Authority transport budgets are in the single digit millions.

Local authorities already recieved all the properties they wanted from BRBR, mostly when it was formed and a few purchased since then for leisure or cycling routes. No council facing huge cuts is going to want to take on hundreds of new safety/legal/maintenence liabilities, besides they would just have to recieve the money from the Dft anyway in the form of larger grants. Most councils are already several years behind just on their potholes, they dont want to have to be worrying about bridges, viaducts and tunnels too.

It's not in the remit of the HA to manage these assets unless they directly relate to the trunk route and/or motorway network. A local authority or BRBR are the only sensible options. The word "Highways" in the name "Highways Agency" is too generic, I agree.
 

MattRobinson

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Next up the ownership of intellectual property and a library of locomotive and other technical drawings from before 1996, 300,000 drawings and 30,000 maintenance documents.
This could go to the national railway museum at York to further their archives?


Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk 2
 

Tomnick

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This leaved the 3,400 properties in the so called 'Burdensome Estate', viaducts, bridges, tunnels, etc.. with no income and significant upkeep costs. Its proposed these are transferred to the Highways Agency as most are near or directly benefit roads.
The document does indeed propose that these structures are transferred to the Highways Agency because "they have the requisite engineering and maintenance expertise". No mention of the proximity or otherwise to roads - as others have suggested, this would be irrelevant in most cases anyway, as very few of these structures will have anything to do with roads managed by the Highways Agency (especially as many such roads have been upgraded anyway, often making such structures redundant!). A good proportion of the structures won't have anything to do with any road anyway - tunnels, bridges between fields or bridges over watercourses for example.
 

WatcherZero

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The document does indeed propose that these structures are transferred to the Highways Agency because "they have the requisite engineering and maintenance expertise". No mention of the proximity or otherwise to roads - as others have suggested, this would be irrelevant in most cases anyway, as very few of these structures will have anything to do with roads managed by the Highways Agency (especially as many such roads have been upgraded anyway, often making such structures redundant!). A good proportion of the structures won't have anything to do with any road anyway - tunnels, bridges between fields or bridges over watercourses for example.

Did you read all the documents?

Anyway I agree with the Government the Highways Agency is the best fit. Unless a small portion of water related structures went to British Waterways. Im sure theres drainage, water courses and other stuff in the portfolio that may run into their property.
 

WCMLaddict

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That's interesting as BRBR is already working with 31st of March 2013 as their dissolvement date.
 

Mvann

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With Reference to the nene valley railway and the fletton loop, nene valley railway have applied for the transfer of the two and are in the process of buying it. All donations for this project will be gratefully received to help defray the legal costs involved.
 

DavyCrocket

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I'm sure that someone mentioned Old Dalby. I'm sure that that was bought my Metronet Rail (RIP) so is now owned by Transport for London.
 

WatcherZero

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I'm sure that someone mentioned Old Dalby. I'm sure that that was bought my Metronet Rail (RIP) so is now owned by Transport for London.

Its owned by UK Coal, leased to BRB then subleased to Transport for London (previously Metronet). Transport for London acquired the lease from Metronet.
 

DavyCrocket

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Its owned by UK Coal, leased to BRB then subleased to Transport for London (previously Metronet). Transport for London acquired the lease from Metronet.

Oh thanks. I did wonder of it was leased. I know that TfL then contract (maintenance/operation poss) to Serco.

Thanks
 

D1009

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Its owned by UK Coal, leased to BRB then subleased to Transport for London (previously Metronet). Transport for London acquired the lease from Metronet.

I thought this was the original main line from Melton Mowbray to Nottingham. How did UK Coal get involved?
 

WatcherZero

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I guess it was owned by a coal company prior to nationalisation or sold to one when it closed to passengers.

Edit: Yes it was owned by the National Coal Board prior to the lines closure.
 
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