Control Periods and other terminology

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ainsworth74

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RAGNARØKR;2507770 said:
What a strange term for a simple and easily understood concept. Why do management people do this?

What would you suggest instead of Control Period?
 
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NotATrainspott

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RAGNARØKR;2507770 said:
Cost benefit analysis is a nonsense because it rests on too many shaky assumptions.

However, there is a way of measuring benefits after the project has been built, and that is by working out the aggregate land value uplift. When the Jubilee Line extension was built, it was found to be three times the construction cost.

There is a lot of data on land values (hidden in house prices), and journey times from city centres such as Central London. The technique needs to be refined but it could potentially provide useful forecasts on the value of any infrastructure project.

It also points to a means for paying for these projects by clawing back, through the tax system, some of the land value which they generate. There is nothing new in that idea - it was the Metropolitan Railway's financial model.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
What a strange term for a simple and easily understood concept. Why do management people do this?

The best way of funding all public services is land value uplift through a land value tax. NR in particular would gain a huge amount if it were funded that way, even if the initial funding level were the same as at present. NR does enhancement works to improve the railway for passengers, and those improvements all cause land value uplift across a wide range of the country. Spending a few hundred million on grade-separating an ECML junction might allow another express service an hour, thereby increasing land values all the way from London to Aberdeen and Inverness.
 

RAGNARØKR

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What would you suggest instead of Control Period?
Investment period [dates]? Spending period? Investment plan? Planned investment?

Anything that does not need explaining. When people are on 6-figure salaries they ought to be able to come up with something so that the taxpayers who pay their salaries know what they are doing.
 

coppercapped

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RAGNARØKR;2508731 said:
Investment period [dates]? Spending period? Investment plan? Planned investment?

Anything that does not need explaining. When people are on 6-figure salaries they ought to be able to come up with something so that the taxpayers who pay their salaries know what they are doing.

The financial planning periods have been known as Control Periods since Railtrack was set up. The term has been in use for 20 years. Where have you been?
 

CdBrux

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Q1/2/3/4 are the quarters of the year, although you can never be 100% sure whether it's calendar year or financial year (starting in April) they are talking about.
The entire commercial, financial and project management world works by these things, and reporting against them affects things like share price movements.


Being a bit, but not too, picky this is not true. I have worked for a large multinational that rarely looked at annual budgets etc... but just if a project was good and deserving of investment or not. If it was it got the investment, of not it didn't. Cost control was of course expected and managers whose costs were not in control could not expect to gain responsibility for future projects. I'm not too sure rail projects really fall into a 5 year cycle, and I certainly don't think they should - they should be brought forward as and when ready with an expectation of a continual such process with a good balance of expansion, cost reduction, renewal etc... projects. I suspect in reality this more or less happens.
 

RAGNARØKR

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The financial planning periods have been known as Control Periods since Railtrack was set up. The term has been in use for 20 years. Where have you been?
Track the thread back. It was a railway employee asked the question. It is still an odd term to apply, whenever it came into use, obscuring rather than enlightening and informing.

Perhaps it says something about the mindset inside the late and unlamented Railtrack.
 
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jopsuk

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Being a bit, but not too, picky this is not true. I have worked for a large multinational that rarely looked at annual budgets etc... but just if a project was good and deserving of investment or not. If it was it got the investment, of not it didn't. Cost control was of course expected and managers whose costs were not in control could not expect to gain responsibility for future projects. I'm not too sure rail projects really fall into a 5 year cycle, and I certainly don't think they should - they should be brought forward as and when ready with an expectation of a continual such process with a good balance of expansion, cost reduction, renewal etc... projects. I suspect in reality this more or less happens.

if we're playing anecdote, my last job was with a large multinational. In research targets, milestones etc were all Quarterly based.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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RAGNARØKR;2509459 said:
Track the thread back. It was a railway employee asked the question. It is still an odd term to apply, whenever it came into use, obscuring rather than enlightening and informing.
Perhaps it says something about the mindset inside the late and unlamented Railtrack.

It's a government regulator's term, invented by control-freaked civil servants during Railtrack privatisation to show who's boss.
Not that it quite turned out that way...
 

D1009

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if we're playing anecdote, my last job was with a large multinational. In research targets, milestones etc were all Quarterly based.
To me, a milestone is a stone erected on a road to indicate mileage, and nothing more. I get more irritated by terms like that than Control Periods.
 

Emblematic

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To me, a milestone is a stone erected on a road to indicate mileage, and nothing more. I get more irritated by terms like that than Control Periods.

Milestone has an alternative meaning of 'important event', in common use and literature from at least as far back as the 19th century. It has more precise definitions when used in project management, software development and health\education etc. but none are so different from common use that the meaning is obscured to the layman.

A 'control period' on the other hand is not a common phrase in everyday English, and it's meaning is unclear unless the definition is looked up. Business jargon at its worst.
 

AM9

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To me, a milestone is a stone erected on a road to indicate mileage, and nothing more. I get more irritated by terms like that than Control Periods.

If you take that route then business programmes must be wrong to use the word 'target' unless describing a flat round thing with a bulls eye in the middle surrounded by concentric circles of differing shades/colours ...

oh wait a minute, I'm sorry, a bulls eye is the thing that an un castrated adult member if the 'Bos Taurus' family of mammals sees through.
I suppose we'd better call it the 'bit in the middle'! You wouldn't want to get irritated again. :roll:
 

najaB

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A 'control period' on the other hand is not a common phrase in everyday English, and it's meaning is unclear unless the definition is looked up. Business jargon at its worst.
I don't understand this obsession that some people have with eliminating all jargon. Sometimes it isn't needed, but in many cases it saves a lot of writing and potential mistakes. "In CP5" is a lot shorter, simpler and less likely to cause mistakes than "between April 1st 2014 and March 31st 2019".
 

Philip Phlopp

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A 'control period' on the other hand is not a common phrase in everyday English, and it's meaning is unclear unless the definition is looked up. Business jargon at its worst.

It's not a common phrase in everyday English because it's a rail industry term, the people who need to know these acronyms know these acronyms.
 

Emblematic

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I don't understand this obsession that some people have with eliminating all jargon. Sometimes it isn't needed, but in many cases it saves a lot of writing and potential mistakes. "In CP5" is a lot shorter, simpler and less likely to cause mistakes than "between April 1st 2014 and March 31st 2019".

I'm not arguing against jargon per se; just saying that some is better than other. I know exactly what the control periods are, but would not use a term like CP5 when posting without careful consideration, particularly bearing in mind forum rules about use of rail jargon.
 

Emblematic

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It's not a common phrase in everyday English because it's a rail industry term, the people who need to know these acronyms know these acronyms.

After 20+ years, I think we can safely assume it's never going to catch on with the general public ;)
 

najaB

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I'm not arguing against jargon per se... ...but would not use a term like CP5 when posting without careful consideration, particularly bearing in mind forum rules about use of rail jargon.
I know where you are coming from, but there comes a point where we have to shift responsibility for learning the jargon to the reader. If someone is going to get involved in technical discussions of an arcane topic like railway electrification then they can't really expect to be spoon-fed the basics.

I fight with this all the time professionally, by the way. I write telecoms training material - 'good' training material isn't supposed to use an acronym or jargon without explaining what it means first, but you would have a hard time explaining something like inter-organisation SIP federation if you had to go all the way back to 'a bit is a binary digit....' every time.
 

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One final remark about 'Control Periods'.

When Railtrack was being planned - and don't forget it was originally intended that it stayed in the public sector - it was necessary to find a way for it to generate an income. The method selected was that of access charges for track, stations and so on payable by its customers, the Train Operating Companies for passenger traffic and the Freight Operating Companies for freight traffic[1] - the sum of all these were to be sufficient for it to operate and maintain the network.

The access payments were set for a period of five years by the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) after which the basic assumptions would be re-visited and the charges adjusted for the next five years. In other words its income was Controlled over five year Periods.

Hence 'Control Period'.

This expression has been used in the railway press and in Railtrack's and Network Rail's documents for the past 20 years. I just find it surprising that people working in the industry haven't heard of it - but I, an outsider, have. Oh well...:)

I happen to be interested in the business, engineering, political and historical aspects of 'the railways' so I try to understand the jargon. The minutiae of rolling stock diagramming and usage is not my thing, so I struggle with the enthusiasts' nicknames for rolling stock types I sometimes see here, 'skoda', 'gronk' and the rest. I just accept that I don't understand it - unless the meaning is clear from the context - and pass on. If I really want to find out - I do some research.


[1] I am spelling this out in case people are unaware of the acronyms 'TOC' and 'FOC'.:(
 

RAGNARØKR

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Mod note: split from http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=100841

Since you asked so nicely.

Network Rails delivery plans are broken into 5 year chunks (known as Control Periods). We are in CP5 at the moment which runs from April 2014-2019, CP6 runs from April 2019-2024 etc.

I'm a mere signalman so I expect someone like PHILIP PHLOPP can explain to far better than I!
What a strange term for a simple and easily understood concept. Why do management people do this?
 
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