Grayling failing to get it, again

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by quantinghome, 23 Oct 2018.

  1. quantinghome

    quantinghome Member

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    According to Grayling, the boom and bust funding cycle for the rail industry is nowt to do with him. Apparently we need to 'get on our bikes' and sell our expertise around the world! He doesn't appear to realise that UK companies are only going to be able to do this if they have a reliable base load of work in their home market.

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  3. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    the man isnt, actually, wrong though.....................
     
  4. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    What about private sector funding? We are supposed to have a privatised industry aren't we? ;)
     
  5. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Exactly - is it the job of government to fund commercial operations. is that not the point of capitalism?

    ( obviously that is slightly factious in relation not the railways when the majority of the money comes from central government but the point remains. That funding stream might not be there for ever and to build your business entirely on one source of funding seems foolhardy! However I am fairly sure the major players in the railway contracting world are selling their skills all over the shop.)
     
  6. LeeLivery

    LeeLivery Established Member

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    That's probably his private view of the North East's economic problems. I can't wait for the amazing free trade deals...

    In all seriousness, he's not totally wrong. However, could you imagine the French and German governments telling their industry this? Just today, I've seen Alstom are exporting some Coradia units to Senegal after French companies have built a new line. The French have worked with Morocco for the High Speed Line, Germany with Israel for its lines. Britain? Plans on flying a 70+ year old Spitfire around the world to "show off" our engineering. I'm guessing it's the EU's fault we've only built one EMU for export in my lifetime.

    I'm far from a colonial fan, but the French are making sure it's companies are taking advantage, investing in the former colonies. Britain abandoned them, even the ones with Lillibet is still Head of State. Jamaica has desired to re-open its railway for a long time; what did David Cameron do when he was there? Provide money for a prison. Jamaicans here and there were dismayed.

    A government is supposed to lead. These lot just blame everyone else...
     
  7. CdBrux

    CdBrux Member

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    It would be interesting to know had the various electrification projects in particular been delivered much more closely to budget and to schedule if the volume of work going to the various parties involved, all with their different specialities, would have got a more stable flow of work or at the very least something they could have planned well around.
     
  8. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Saudi Arabia is in the news at the moment, and over many years it has ordered huge amounts of defence technology and hardware from the UK (as well as from the US).
    Meanwhile its new high speed railway line (450km from Jeddah/Mecca to Medina) has just opened, built by a Spanish consortium and with Talgo high speed trains.
    All off the back of huge investment in high speed rail in Spain over the past 25 years or so.
    We (ie the British rail industry) are nowhere in rail export markets like that, despite the often close relationships at government level.
    https://www.railwaygazette.com/news...speed-rail.html?sword_list[]=saudi&no_cache=1
     
    Last edited: 23 Oct 2018
  9. NSEFAN

    NSEFAN Established Member

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    When it comes to infrastructure, the government is most certainly responsible for the boom and bust approach. A wide scale electrification project is a good thing, but arbitrary, unrealistic and politically-convenient deadlines are not.

    If the infrastructure isn't ready, then rolling stock cascades and timetable changes need to be postponed until it is. The existing timetable and trains will still be there, it just means that improvements get delayed. The railway recently seems to have each constituent part do their own thing with no regard for the other bits. It's no wonder what that the timetable changes on Thameslink and Northern were a failure.

    If the government wants to control the railway then it needs to have a coherent long-term plan which is actually feasible. Not only will this help with domestic issues like upgrades, but also keep a steady amount of work for train builders, which will make them more capable of fulfilling orders for other nations.
     
  10. richieb1971

    richieb1971 Established Member

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    I assume we have the correct gauging on our tracks to export by rail to all these countries? And where from Derby? The most inland central place you can get!

    I figured HS2 would help in that regard. Also the trough period would need to align itself with foreign orders. The boom periods otherwise would create ration spending periods otherwise
     
  11. K.o.R

    K.o.R Member

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    Our gauge being smaller should mean our stuff could run without too much difficulty off-the-shelf, right?
     
  12. RWill35396

    RWill35396 Member

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    What government can't seem to grasp is that if you get the basics right, invest in a world-class public sector infrastructure, the orders will come. Those on the outside looking in, right now, see only chaos, and who wants to purchase from what is seen as a chaotic enterprise? The private sector here can't seem to get it right either in a lot of cases. Sure, defence etc is world-class, but we have become too focused on the Square Mile, allowing what was a world class manufacturing base to fall apart.
     
  13. EastisECML

    EastisECML Member

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    Most other countries have a bigger loading gauge, we have nowhere to test such trains in the UK. Nobody is going to order UK gauge trains for their much more generously sized network.
     
  14. richieb1971

    richieb1971 Established Member

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    As stated above. Because our tunnels and bridges are so tight nothing on the EU continent will fit through it over here. Therefore if an EU order came to Britain it would have to be built and transported by road and ship. As we do not have the facilities, gauge or experience of building bigger than UK gauge it produces problems when and if your going up against a foreign bidder for the same work. That A) Can transport a train by rail (still the best way to transport trains lol), B) Are probably on the mainland already and C) Because of A and B do it a lot cheaper.

    HS2 opens up things a lot. But I don't know how many plants it passes that are currently active in the UK.

    I don't know if HS1 will be connected. Although there is a connecting railway from north of Euston (HS2) to St Pancras international (HS1) the powers that be have declared it is to be used only for passenger services that it currently provides for. It amounts to a few hundred metres of track lol. Any disruption to those services is forbidden. Since the gauge clearance on one particular bridge would mean a double track being squeezed down to one track for the larger gauge its been ruled out. So we are at the mercy of those people changing their minds. I suppose it depends on what it means to the country to get exports out of Britain. We do well in the car market, several trains a day head for Southampton with Jaguars, Mini's, Range Rovers etc.
     
  15. eastdyke

    eastdyke Established Member

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    Mr Grayling could do some good by totally scrapping the strictures of Control Period planning.

    Infrastructure is a long term business. The programme should be rolled forward each year with 5 years of firm committments, a further 5 years of provisional projects and another 10 of indicative work beyond that.
    Obviously the larger projects would span a number of years, in some cases more than 5.

    I have never understood why The Industry has been subject to the CP framework, by the nature of which work planning is stop/start.
     
  16. quantinghome

    quantinghome Member

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    I think it was set up with the advent of Railtrack; it's similar to the investment cycle framework for the electricity and water industries. The 5 year cycle clearly has problems which need addressing as you suggest. But it's actually better than what went before, when BR didn't know what money it was going to get from the Treasury from one year to the next.

    Long term planning is the key. If the government wants our rail industry to be an exporter, it needs to be strong at home, and that means having guaranteed long-term investment from government (for the vast majority of the network it won't come from anywhere else).
     
  17. Tim M

    Tim M Member

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    Just a small issue for the sector I used to work in, namely signalling. I was involved in export Contracts for over 25 years, this included several large jobs in the Far East, and some small but remunerative work in Scandinavia. I understand that the latter area still provides a trickle of business but that’s all.

    Why? The main U.K. owned suppliers of 20 plus years ago are now owned by European companies, with U.K. offices confined to U.K. work. Rolling stock manufacture is in a similar situation.

    Mention has been made of Saudi Arabia and the work done by the Spanish. I am aware that on one job out there some signalling equipment was manufactured in the U.K. due to a long standing tie up between signalling suppliers in the U.K. and Spain.
     
  18. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    And prompt complaints of it being cramped by passengers used to the Continental loading gauge.
     
  19. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    I'm currently working on a rail design project for the middle east. However many of the designers are in other European countries and if Brexit impedes the free movement of people and information between them then it's likely that all the work on similar projects in future will be done outside the UK.
     
  20. zn1

    zn1 Member

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    British expertise in railway operating, etc is being fully exploited in middle east, We as a country lose out on their knowledge, The Middle east wants the best and they buy the best, in stock, P-way & Signalling and staff, I dont blame any of our time served railway engineers, operational geniuses etc not wanting to work in the UK, mainly due to the constrictions, their salaries being raped by the tax laws of the UK. If a railwayman can earn better money, with better projects to work on that give them better work satisfaction etc..then they will carry on working overseas and not at home where their knowledge base can be exploited and used for the better outcome of our railway, public transport and road networks
     
  21. B&I

    B&I Established Member

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    And what precisely has the government done to help our rail industry sell its products overseas ?
     
  22. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    Am I missing something?
    Chris Grayling went to Saudi Arabia in April this year and signed some sort of deal relating to transport investment. I seem to remember that there was some criticism on this board at the time for his leaving the UK ‘when the rail system was in crisis’, etc.
    (To be quite clear, I am not expressing any view on the suitability of otherwise of any regime or nation as development partners.)
     
  23. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    I think that five years is probably about right, given the length of projects, the political timetable, the distance you can really plan ahead.

    If we put together a five year plan today (starting in two years time) plus another five years of "provisional projects" and another ten years of "indicative work" then that would take us up to 2040. But the needs of the country will change - it'd be much better to plan five years ahead (against known demand) than be lumbered with a list from twenty years ago - we have enough complaints about being hamstrung by "poor" decisions made a decade ago (e.g. the "no growth" franchises).

    Also, how would you fund this twenty year plan? Governments can't pay that kind of money up front. Do you trust Network Rail with their Credit Card?

    And there's the danger that the "indicative" list would become a wishlist of various impractical schemes (put on there as a political sop to appease some angry campaigners), so that we'd end up committing ourselves to things that weren't priorities in the 2020s/ 2030s/2040s because they were once on a wishlist.

    Five years ought to be enough to commit to a fixed amount of things (rather than an open-ended list) and sufficiently far ahead for current politicians to want to commit to.

    True - I'm not a big fan of the bloke (or his Government!) but I think that people here are attacking the man rather than the ball - he's damned for "taking his eye off the ball" by going abroad to beat the drum for British exports then he's damned for not doing enough to sell things overseas (on behalf of private companies who presumably have their own marketing departments and shouldn't just be relying on politicians?).

    We seem to be currently in a period of "boom" (when you look at the monies being spent on new trains, the monies being spent on infrastructure, the monies being spent on subsidy), so this seems an odd place to argue against "boom and bust" - I'm not in favour of "boom and bust" (nobody is - it's one of those politically convenient phrases with which to beat up your opponents) but we have people currently complaining about "boom and bust" whilst also complaining about the Government not doing more in specific areas... I'm not sure what more can be done - all I know is that if anyone else had said the same words then there wouldn't be the same opprobrium from people. Doesn't matter what he says, people will criticise it.
     
  24. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Wasn't it Qatar? The CAA use Qatar Airways to sort out a lot of the Monarch collapse issues so possibly also a thank you visit?
     
  25. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    I just googled ‘Grayling Saudi Arabia’ and got a few news stories from April about some sort of ‘deal’. Sorry, can’t post link from mobile device. Didn’t see anything about Monarch or Qatar so may have been different issue?
     
  26. eastdyke

    eastdyke Established Member

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    I am actually not asking for much that isn't done already. NR already publish, in the Route Studies, works that could be required within a 30 year horizon to meet traffic growth. NR also have plans for major asset renewals.
    What I am asking for is a 5 year rolling plan to remove the series of stop/starts directly caused by the CP methodology.
    Funding is another matter entirely, choices always need to be made to advance or defer projects based on need and resource.
    Resource planning needs to ensure balance between time, money, materials/equipment and expertise/manpower. A 5 year rolling plan would do that so much better.
     
  27. Severn40

    Severn40 Member

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    At least it was nothing to do with his previous decision to help the Saudis to run their prisons....I digress.
     
  28. GRALISTAIR

    GRALISTAIR Established Member

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    I understood you and agree. A compromise would be to have a mid CP review. So not quite rolling but not far off. 2.5 years review and add to the program - or possibly even descope some things.
     
  29. CdBrux

    CdBrux Member

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    The problem with CP's, annual budgets and the like is that as the period comes towards the end then organisations tend to either speed up spending so all the money is spent (and therefore they get a similar amount next time!) which can result in some less than ideal spending on certain items not really needed, or spending cut right back as an overspend is on the way as has happened quite spectacularly with electrification projects. A better way would be to fund major projects individually and more predictable / lower risk smaller projects, maintenance and the like on an annual / 5 year period etc...
    I think Grayling may even have suggested something along those lines?
    This of course still will not help if the individual major projects do not spend / procure anything like the original plans
     
  30. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    I thought that this was what the recently announced ‘pipeline’ approach to major rail investment schemes was about. The Periodic Review process for CP6 is going to be mainly about ongoing maintenance and renewals, which ought to be relatively steady on a mature network. ORR Final Conclusions due any time now, aren’t they?
    From an overall supply industry perspective it isn’t just about Network Rail anyway. Crossrail 1 and 2, LUL, HS1 and HS2, let along export opportunities.
     
  31. muddythefish

    muddythefish On Moderation

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    Grayling is continually failing but is really a symptom of the political system in that (apart from HS2) there is no long term cross-party vision for transport in this country over the coming decades. Transport secretaries come and go at regular intervals, often reversing previous policies and cancelling projects in favour of their own pet schemes. Transport is still not even seen as important enough for the TS to be a member of the Cabinet despite its impact on the daily lives of millions.
     

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