Parties Rail Policies Election 2015

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Morgsie, 11 Apr 2015.

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  1. Morgsie

    Morgsie Member

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    With a General Election less than a month which is predicted to be another hung parliament again. This thread is to discuss Rail policies of the Political Parties

    I only know that Labour's big policy is a review of Franchising and a possibility of Amending the the 93 Act to include public sector bidders. Conservatives is the rail fares and the Greens is renationalisation. I have not heard anything from Susan Kramer and the Lib Dem's recently about their rail policy. Renationalisation will never happen due to a theory called Historical Institutionalism and Path Dependency.

    We know HS2 is an ongoing issue
     
  2. SamYeager

    SamYeager Member

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    When do Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories release their manifestos?
     
  3. Agent_c

    Agent_c Member

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    There's the Tory "price freeze" which given the current rate of RPI has the same value as a 0 pound note...
     
  4. Masboroughlad

    Masboroughlad Established Member

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    Do any parties propose re-openings? If so, of what?

    What do the Labour plans actually mean?

    I would like to see BR back, but sadly that is unlikely to happen.

    Next best thing would be to go back to 'INTERCITY' and let that be privatised to some extent. Some of their profits would go back into the lines that need subsidy.

    My preference would be to see a professionally managed British Rail return. Lines re-opened, research re-instated, an over-arching body to see the development of the railway - freight, parcels, catering, etc. With a strategic head, the railway can develop plans, make money and give the country the rail system it needs!
     
  5. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    We can but hope. A well considered, funded and comprehensive reopening plan would be a vote winner with me.

    I should add, a reopening programme for England, as well as our Celtic partners. Not good enough to just point to lots of reopenings in Scotland and Wales (although these are of course, welcome as well).
     
    Last edited: 11 Apr 2015
  6. Masboroughlad

    Masboroughlad Established Member

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    Me too! Will we ever see it?
     
  7. Polarbear

    Polarbear Established Member

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  8. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Actually most of the infrastructure work over the course of the next parliament, assuming it lasts 5 years, is already committed and funded by the Coalition in NR's CP5 (2014-19).
    That covers electrification, Crossrail, East-West, IEP, ERTMS, ROCs and a host of other things.
    Whoever gets in, that will be the baseline until the next HLOS is prepared in 2017 (to cover 2019-24).
    Then there's HS2, which Con/Lab/Lib Dem support (UKIP would scrap it).

    Plaid has said: https://www.partyof.wales/2015-manifesto/
    - public ownership of the railway in Wales
    - electrify all major lines in Wales, notably the North Wales main line
    - fund feasibility studies into reopening closed lines, notably Carmarthen-Aberystwyth
    - support South Wales Metro
    - introduce a Welsh transport smartcard
    All based on £1.2 billion extra funding devolved from Westminster to resolve today's "unfair" funding.
     
  9. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    For Labour I think they did say they were thinking of bringing back British Rail and they were very vocal with calls to re-nationalize the rail network however if I remember correctly I think they mentioned that if they won an independent Government company would be able to bid for franchises but full scale Nationalization won't ever happen.

    I think the Lib Dems and the Greens have said they would re-nationalize but the Conservatives have said they will keep things as they are.
     
  10. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Labour don't explicitly back renationalisation (though there are those in the party which do). What they were talking about last year was keeping East Coast nationalised and using it as a comparator to gauge the performance of the other rail franchises against.
     
  11. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    The last I heard from Labour is that it would "review the franchise process", allow public sector bids, and make "an attractive fares offer" .
    That's far short of nationalization or return to BR.
    On HS2, they support it but make vague noises about affordability and route choices.
    UKIP and the Greens would cancel HS2.
    The Lib Dems would keep things much as they are.

    Devolution hangs over the agenda but is hardly discussed in practical terms.
    Labour in Wales wants complete control of the railway and its funding, and have made noises about public ownership/operation, notably of the next W&B franchise.
    That all depends on more devolution and funding parity with Scotland.
    That could lead to the break-up of national rail bodies like NR into English, Welsh and Scottish bodies, with different policies.
     
  12. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    "An attractive fares offer" certainly sounds promising - although I'd need more information on what this actually entailed to make a firm decision.

    I can't really see NR being broken up on National lines, particularly given the main InterCity routes cross the borders and the main overall trend is towards standardisation across Europe rather than fragmentation.

    Most likely scenario is that Wales and Scotland have their own franchises for local routes which they will choose whether to franchise out or "nationalise".
     
    Last edited: 12 Apr 2015
  13. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    The elephant in the room, irrespective of which party(ies) win, is the need for public spending cuts, combined with the large cost overruns on the current electrification programmes... Will the planned electrification programme be reduced or pushed out?
     
  14. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Their spending 37.5bn over the next five years, electrification cost overruns will only ever amount to a fraction of it. They've also already borne their share of cuts with 1/4 efficency cut in CP4 by ORR and a further 20% in CP5.
     
    Last edited: 12 Apr 2015
  15. MidlandMainlie

    MidlandMainlie Member

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    Politically I think cancelling electrification schemes would be too damaging for either Labour or the Tories, however some schemes could be pushed back into CP6 (Transpennine electrification already has been pushed back to 2020/21 and MML electrification could also be pushed back by a few years) but outright cancellation is unlikely due to the political damage that would be caused.
     
  16. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    The first worry on May 8 is whether the new lot will continue to run with the Northern/TPE franchise bids.
    These are due back with the DfT by May 28 (TPE) and June 26 (Northern).
    Any tinkering with the process affecting these bids would take us back to the log-jam of 2012 after the West Coast trouble, and severely upset the bidders.
    You can also imagine the public uproar in the north if Pacer replacement was not immediately confirmed by the new government.
    The next upcoming bid is for East Anglia starting in August (pre-qualification in progress, short list due in June).
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2015
  17. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    From BBC News the main Transport policies are

    Conservative:
    • Deliver the biggest programme of investment in roads since the 1970s
    • Deliver the biggest investment in railways since the Victorians, including 850 miles of electrified railways
    • Reform strike laws, including on the transport network
    • Start work on High Speed 2 rail lines and continue development for a "HS3" Leeds-Manchester link

    Labour:
    • Allow a public sector rail operator to bid for and take on new lines
    • Cap annual rail fare increases
    • Devolve regional transport decision making
    • Give cities and regions London-style powers to regulate bus services

    Lib Dem:
    • Give 16-21 year olds two thirds off all bus travel
    • Oppose expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick, or a new airport in the Thames Estuary
    • Electrify all suburban and major rail routes, reopening many stations
    • Support light rail schemes in urban areas

    UKIP:
    • Scrap plans for a new High Speed 2 rail line
    • Oppose toll roads
    • Require foreign vehicle to purchase a "Britdisc" before entry to the UK
    • Ensure speed cameras are not used for profit by councils

    Green:
    • Renationalise the rail system
    • Introduce an immediate cut of 10% to public transport fares
    • Scrap High Speed 2 rail project
    • Promote cycling and walking to reduce pollution and improve people’s health

    SNP:
    • Continue improving the roads network, including the dualling of the A90, and a new Forth crossing
    • Wants faster journey times between Scotland's cities
    • Encourage low carbon transport and expand "park and rides"
    • Faster and more frequent rail services

    Plaid Cymru:
    • Bring railways back into public ownership
    • Wales to get a fair share of any spending on HS2 or major investments in England
    • Support cheaper ‘blue route’ to reduce south Wales M4 traffic; invest in all regions, including A55 north Wales
    • Support a fuel duty regulator
     
  18. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    That is enshrined in the coalition-agreed CP5 funding for NR, so is a fixture for all parties, not just Conservative (and Lib Dem).
    Might change at the edges of course, and NR may under-deliver, but £38 billion for NR 2014-19 on ORR-agreed projects is a given.
     
  19. CdBrux

    CdBrux Member

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    Is it? Or is it the current plan that a different government could describe as unaffordable, unfunded, wrongly prioritised, and try to alter?
     
  20. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    I would hope they don't make any major revisions to the ITT documents.

    The long term rolling stock strategy identified a need for 350-500 additional self-powered carriages to be acquired. 500 would presumably be if growth was at the higher range of the forecast level, electrification isn't accelerated and Pacers were banned outright across all franchises post-2019. To me it would make sense to issue an ITT for new carriages sooner rather than later. I can't see why the option for the ITT for new carriages to say something like:
    120 new carriages for Northern in x car formations
    60 new carriages for TPE in 4 car formations
    Option for 170 additional carriages.

    If keeping costs low is important then if the requirement for additional carriages over 180 could include refurbished 143/4s and D-Trains alongside the add-on for 170 more carriages, depending exactly how many are needed.

    Then when another franchise comes up for renewal (like LM or EMT) they could get the some/all of the add-on plus in the long term the carriages that TPE initially acquire post-electrification.

    Nothing like re-announcing already announced policies.
     
  21. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    One advantage public transport has at the moment, are the external factors making it harder to cut such as DDA and Emissions.
    This is especially notable in London, where first low floor, then air quality issues have kept a constant flow of new buses arriving despite the recession.
     
  22. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

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    That is the difficulty of being a sitting Government in an election. But it is good to have it reaffirmed as part of the plan for the next five years.
     
  23. deltic

    deltic Established Member

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    Labour manifesto published today

    "Labour will reform our transport system in order to provide more public control
    and put the public interest first. We will review the franchising process as a
    priority to put in place a new system and avoid a repeat of the Conservatives’
    franchising fiasco. A new National Rail body will oversee and plan for the
    railways and give rail users a greater say in how trains operate. We will legislate
    so that a public sector operator is allowed to take on lines and challenge the
    private train operating companies on a level playing field.
    Rail fares will be frozen next year to help commuters while we implement
    reforms. A strict fare rise cap will be introduced on every route for any future
    fare rises, and a new legal right for passengers will be created to access the
    cheapest ticket for their journey."

    "We will continue to support the construction of High Speed Two, but keep costs
    down, and take action to improve and expand rail links across the North to
    boost its regional economies. We will support long-term investment in strategic
    roads, address the neglect of local roads, and promote cycling.
    Following the Davies Review, we will make a swift decision on expanding airport
    capacity in London and the South East, balancing the need for growth and the
    environmental impact."
     
  24. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    To be honest though whoever wins the election I can't see the state of the railways changing much.

    I can't see Labour ever going through with their proposed public sector company being allowed to bid for franchises but who knows it may happen.

    I also can't see HS2 ever being built but again who knows.
     
  25. WillPS

    WillPS Established Member

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    It'll all depend on what alliance is formed following the election, of course, but I'm actually quite optimistic about that one.

    Labour will need to enact as much of their manifesto as possible in order to have any chance of increasing their share of seats in the general election to follow this one. Given this one doesn't have an associated cost (aside from getting whatever talent is necessary in to DOR), it seems to be an easy win. Can't see the Nationalists objecting, either.
     
  26. Masboroughlad

    Masboroughlad Established Member

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    What public companies will bid for franchises? DOR were set up to rescue failed 'franchises' weren't they?

    Surely there won't be a public company set up just to bid? Unless they win, they add no value?

    I want to see public ownership (overall I would like to see fill nationalisation with modern, strategic leadership), but am just not sure how!
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2015
  27. WillPS

    WillPS Established Member

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    Attach a bidding team to DOR and bobs your uncle, no?
     
  28. Wavertreelad

    Wavertreelad Member

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    Reading the Labour manifesto, Sir Humphrey might comment, "A review of the franchising system can be launched in the second year of the new parliament, following a full review of all government spending. The review will be charged with reporting in twelve months time, following which the Labour Government will draft proposals before Parliament. With the prospect of no overall majority and little cross party support for full scale renationalisation, it must be doubtful if any proposals would ever reach the statute book.
     
  29. Masboroughlad

    Masboroughlad Established Member

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    I am not sure. Does DOR exist when no TOCS need 'rescuing'? Surely they don't sit around waiting for one to fail?!
     
  30. Pigeon

    Pigeon Member

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    Useful summary, thanks. Albeit disappointing.

    No commitment to renationalisation except from the Greens, who don't have a hope of making any difference with our current electoral system, let alone getting in. Nobody even suggesting doing it "the easy way" ie. taking franchises back into national ownership as they expire. Not impressed by Labour's "review the franchising process" as to me that means "lot of talk leading to either no action at all or no effective action".

    Major parties all on the HS2 + electrification bandwagon both of which I see as huge expenditure for minimal gain. Britain is too small and dense for HS2 to be really valuable, and the idea that it will increase capacity is a myth, because it only does "end to end" so you have to keep running all the existing services otherwise all the places in between the "ends" get a rubbish service. Electrification leads to operational inflexibility, creates the possibility of single-point failures which put entire routes out of action, and is not worth it for any saving in fuel consumption; the difference in efficiency of local generation vs. remote generation + distribution is minimal and likely to be wiped out in any case by electric stock being more powerful than the diesel stock it replaces, so unless you are going to make a serious commitment to nuclear power generation - which nobody is AFAIK - it doesn't gain much. Of course, if we were still on steam it'd be different :)

    No party making any commitment to reopening closed lines, which is what I would really like to see - a huge deficiency of the rail network as it stands is that while journeys in directions which are to or from London are straightforward, journeys at right angles to that are mostly an utter pain or not feasible at all and this is largely because the lines that used to make them possible have been closed. It is frustrating to see projects like the eastern part of East West Rail becoming mired in endless fiddling on due to the need for a few miles of new construction when the hundreds of miles of new construction required for HS2 don't seem to be regarded as anything like such a problem.
     
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