Scottish 2014 Rail Consultation

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Pen Mill

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Yes I'm sure it has to be in the public interest to privatise our railways and let other national governments run them for profit... (irony smiley)

I'm right with the Scots here, this is totally non-sensical and should be unravelled .
 

route:oxford

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Mr Neil has told Ms Greening: "It is perverse that largely state owned companies such as Deutsche Bahn or SNCF can operate rail services in Scotland, but a Scottish public body cannot, even in circumstances where this may be the most effective, value for money option available. This situation verges on the ridiculous when one considers that the bulk of funding for railways in Scotland is provided by the Scottish Ministers, yet our options on how these services are delivered are unduly constrained.

It's very difficult to argue with that point.

I certainly don't have a problem with an arms length state-owned company operating Scotland's Railway.

(As long as Open Access and "International" services were still welcome.)
 

ainsworth74

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I wonder if they'd be wanting to take over NR's Scottish region as well or if they'd want to continue with the current system of infrastructure management/ownership?
 

michael769

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As I mentioned in another thread I suspect that Scotland's long term goal is to have the railways run by an arms length wholly owned company - this may well be the first foray towards that goal.

It may also be an attempt to "sound out" the UK government to see how much control can be exercised by the Scottish Government over the new franchise. I have no doubt that, if they could get away with it, they would like to see the incoming ToC reduced to nothing more than a contractor doing exactly what TS tells them to do, in a similar relationship as the Trunk Road Maintenance Companies - a fate that would also I suspect befall Network Rail once the political and legislative climate allowed.
 

cogload

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As ever the Scottish government will meet the reality of European Law in the not too distant future (various Scottish ministers seem to think it doesn't apply to them).

Such as the procurement rules, tendering of public contratcs and the third railway package.
 

michael769

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As ever the Scottish government will meet the reality of European Law in the not too distant future (various Scottish ministers seem to think it doesn't apply to them).

Transport Scotland have loads of experience already in this area, as a concrete example of this I give you the Trunk Road Maintenance Contract process, which has been in place for over a decade now.

Anyhow a statement will be made to the Scottish parliament in a few hours which will reveal more about their medium term thinking.
 

HH

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Never trust a politician. The cost of the SR subsidy is so high (and probably largely borne by English taxpayers) due to the specification by TFS, which includes a lot more staff than would normally be employed for revenue collection - there has be a 'ticket collector' on every train, as well as revenue protection (numerous gates) and heavily manned stations (for footfall).

I don't know what the real motive is, but it's not about saving the taxpayer money.
 

tbtc

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Never trust a politician. The cost of the SR subsidy is so high (and probably largely borne by English taxpayers) due to the specification by TFS, which includes a lot more staff than would normally be employed for revenue collection - there has be a 'ticket collector' on every train, as well as revenue protection (numerous gates) and heavily manned stations (for footfall).

I don't know what the real motive is, but it's not about saving the taxpayer money.

Well, you could argue that having so many people ensuring that people are travelling with tickets (and the right tickets!) ought to pay for itself - I wish other TOCs were so keen to collect ticket money (and not just rely on the big subsidies that they get).
 

87015

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Well, you could argue that having so many people ensuring that people are travelling with tickets (and the right tickets!) ought to pay for itself - I wish other TOCs were so keen to collect ticket money (and not just rely on the big subsidies that they get).
TOCs will have done the sums and the numbers don't add up - you will spend more money attempting to get every fare than you actually end up bringing in... As has been said before, revenue protection is largely a commercial decision by the TOC - if there was a massive sum of money to be made they would be doing it.
 

tbtc

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TOCs will have done the sums and the numbers don't add up - you will spend more money attempting to get every fare than you actually end up bringing in... As has been said before, revenue protection is largely a commercial decision by the TOC - if there was a massive sum of money to be made they would be doing it.

So what's the alternative to spending money on revenue collection?

Assume that some people will pay nothing and hope that as many others as possible will pay the full amount that they should?

That sounds like the Government's tax policies! :lol:
 

cogload

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Transport Scotland have loads of experience already in this area, as a concrete example of this I give you the Trunk Road Maintenance Contract process, which has been in place for over a decade now.

Anyhow a statement will be made to the Scottish parliament in a few hours which will reveal more about their medium term thinking.

Obviously that ingrained knowledge has not extended to the tendering process for Northlink and the Isles ferries which turned out to be interesting to say the least.

The press release is basically one SNIP minister, who having seen his own pride and joy savaged, using the Alex Salmond fall back position of blaming the English. As Holyrood currently spends what is handed to them by Westminster and raises zero revenue to all intents and purposes (although they could have varied the basic rate of Income Tax by 3p but Mr. Swinney forgot to inform the Revenue) the moaning is irrelevant.

They could switch to a concession, hand the concession out to tender (as required by European Law) and then give it to a Scots based firm such as First or Stagecoach. If they wish to nationalise the infrastructure then prepare to fork out a large sum of money to Network Rail, as the RAB is not devolved and £5.5bn at say 8% over 30yp makes for a hefty sum.
 

michael769

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(and probably largely borne by English taxpayers)


Unlikely given that the Westminster treasury has issued figures that inidicates that it receives more tax per head in Scotland than it does from England.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The minister has given his statement to Parliament focusing on the regime for the next franchise.

Highlights:

* Targetted fare reductions and other "innovations" to boost usage of off-peak and poorly used services (the 65% cut in Stranraer fares was given as an example)
* Wi-Fi rollout to cover entire rail network within 7 years
* £100million pounds to help improve reliability and punctuality, encourage more rail freight and to close level crossings
* Next franchise will be 10 years with an option to cancel after 5 years if ToC performance does not meet required standards being considered
* Stricter punctuality targets - ToC will have to publish how many trains arrive bang on time every day
* Changes to the regime for compensating ToCs during strike action
* Caledonian Sleeper will be a separate franchise to make best use of the announced funding package
* Rail users to see improvements delivered within the next few years

More details will no doubt seep into the press in due course.
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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Essexman

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Looks like good news for the sleepers -

In considering the future of rail services the Caledonian Sleeper stands as a unique and cherished service for rail users to and from Scotland.
In December we announced our contribution to the £100million plus transformational investment in this service. To get the best from that investment, and ensure the Caledonian Sleeper remains a unique, valued and high profile service, we intend to let a separate franchise of up to 15 years.

The sleeper is more than just a train service, it is part of a holiday, it is a business office and it is a hotel. The Caledonian Sleeper is special to passengers and it is special to Scotland. Users should be clear – the improvements will be seen in the next few years. And a separate, longer franchise coupled with over £100million of investment will give this historic service the 21st century future it deserves.
 

ainsworth74

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That separate franchise is going to require a bucketful of subsidy to run and it will be interesting to see just how expensive the sleeper is to run seeing as there will be nothing to cross-subsidize it which will be a first for sleeper operations in the UK (I think).

Actually thinking about it if we assume that fifteen years bring the Mk3 SLEPs to the end of their service life I wonder if they might be able to point to the massive subsidy required to keep the service going as a reason to then cancel it and not bother with replacements. Of course that would be some very impressive long term thinking!
 

tbtc

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* Next franchise will be 10 years with an option to cancel after 5 years if ToC performance does not meet required standards being considered

That's surprisingly short - given the longer term view that seems to work best elsewhere (Chiltern etc) - I thought all franchises would be longer in future.

Then again if Holyrood is doing the strategic planning (what is to be electrified, what new stock is required etc) then I guess the franchise holder is going to be sticking to a "management" role, so a five/ten year term may be okay.
 

michael769

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Full ministerial statement :
http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk...2014_-_Ministers_statement_to_Parliament_.pdf

Something I missed first time round is the proposal to extend fares regulation to protect commuters and rural users.

Could not be more different to the direction proposed by McNulty.... With infrastructure and rolling stock driven by TS, fares regulated and ever stricter right time punctuality targets - there will be even less scope for a ToC to innovate.
 

HSTEd

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So yet more fragmentation, because that has worked so well so far.

Pity it seems like a wasted opportunity to delay the new franchise bidding until the Scotland Act goes through and they can amend the Railways Act 1993.

Or will they be doing that and have Transport Scotland submit an "in-house" bid?
 

Zoe

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Pity it seems like a wasted opportunity to delay the new franchise bidding until the Scotland Act goes through and they can amend the Railways Act 1993.
Where exactly in the Scotland Act are the Scottish Parliament given the power to do this? There was a debate about this in the House of Commons some time ago where it was stated that the Scotland Act would not give the Scottish Parliament this ability even though there were calls for an amendment to allow this.
 

cogload

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The Scotland Act is now law, attempts by both the SNIPs and Labour to amend the legislation so that the Scottish government could renationalise the infrastructure were given the short shrift.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Looks like good news for the sleepers -

In considering the future of rail services the Caledonian Sleeper stands as a unique and cherished service for rail users to and from Scotland.
In December we announced our contribution to the £100million plus transformational investment in this service. To get the best from that investment, and ensure the Caledonian Sleeper remains a unique, valued and high profile service, we intend to let a separate franchise of up to 15 years.

The sleeper is more than just a train service, it is part of a holiday, it is a business office and it is a hotel. The Caledonian Sleeper is special to passengers and it is special to Scotland. Users should be clear – the improvements will be seen in the next few years. And a separate, longer franchise coupled with over £100million of investment will give this historic service the 21st century future it deserves.

Love the Orwellian double think speak. What the press release should say is " we wanted to bin this as it costs too much but George called our bluff by promising £50m for new stock and so we have to match it".

:roll::roll:
 

Failed Unit

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So yet more fragmentation, because that has worked so well so far.

Pity it seems like a wasted opportunity to delay the new franchise bidding until the Scotland Act goes through and they can amend the Railways Act 1993.

Or will they be doing that and have Transport Scotland submit an "in-house" bid?

When you think about the fragmentation I don't think the sleepers really share much. But I guess it all adds up.

Depots - Inverness & Aberdeen but they also use Virgin as storing points.
Drivers - are they all EWS?
Staff - don't they only work sleepers - although i know the booking and back office are shared.

You would hope that any charges for use of inverness depot will see a reduction in subsidy for scotrail.
 

tbtc

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When you think about the fragmentation I don't think the sleepers really share much. But I guess it all adds up.

Depots - Inverness & Aberdeen but they also use Virgin as storing points.
Drivers - are they all EWS?
Staff - don't they only work sleepers - although i know the booking and back office are shared.

You would hope that any charges for use of inverness depot will see a reduction in subsidy for scotrail.

Can anyone see a freight TOC bidding for the Sleeper service?

Or maybe at the other end of the scale a luxury operation like Orient-Express Hotels (the Royal Scotsman people)?
 

DaveNewcastle

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Where exactly in the Scotland Act are the Scottish Parliament given the power to do this? . . . . .
In terms of Constitutional Law, there are certainly some unanswered questions (if not unanswerable).
Notwithstanding those, I'm not persuaded that either nation has the stomach to contest their jurisdiction on a matter such as this (which despite this forum's interest in railways, it is not likely to be the pivotal substance of constitutional dispute between Holyrood and Westminster).

I'm inclined towards Scotland's position, including its robust defence of the Sleepers in several meetings and discussions over the past months*, simply because its motives, whatever they may be construed to be by the English, are manifestly selfish. And that selfishness is the interests of rail passengers and freight operators in Scotland.
The remaining difficulties are not likely to be any worse than they are at present: i.e. the lack of effective local stopping commuter services across the England-Scotland border.

[*It has been , politically, interesting to note that discussion about the future of the sleepers and cross-border long-distance services have been with (on the English side) largely with East Coast, who as we all know, are, constitutionally if not effectively, a limb of the UK government]
 

HH

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Unlikely given that the Westminster treasury has issued figures that inidicates that it receives more tax per head in Scotland than it does from England.

SPEND per head is far larger though. And I won't even go into Labour's economic redistribution policies.
 

68000

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HH - are you saying that spend per head in Scotland is far larger than the income per head from Scotland?
 

HH

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HH - are you saying that spend per head in Scotland is far larger than the income per head from Scotland?

From what I recall just about everywhere spend's more than it's taxed except London (& surrounds). London pays around twice what it spends. It's London that should be calling for devolution (well Boris has started to do that...).
 

michael769

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From what I recall just about everywhere spend's more than it's taxed except London (& surrounds). London pays around twice what it spends. It's London that should be calling for devolution (well Boris has started to do that...).

As I understand the figures Scotland's relative "subsidy" is lower than anywhere else in the UK except London and the South East. The North West of England has the highest "subsidy" of any part of the UK.
 
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