Williams review now the Williams-Shapps- Review

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Nicholas Lewis

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Grant Shapps at the transport committee yesterday was questioned when the Williams review was going to be published. He said its being updated to reflect the impact of the pandemic and now referred to it as the Williams-Shapps- review and a white paper will be published when they can see some restoration of normal passenger numbers

https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/20fceb87-bc67-4158-98db-dbf8d131e00a starts about 10.50

Doesn't appear we will see it until Spring at the earliest so the industry will continue to drift for a while yet.
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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Meanwhile the Railway Gazette reports that he pretty much confirmed the pay freeze policy:
Pay freeze looms as rail staff declared public sector employees | Rail Business UK | Railway Gazette International
‘There will need to be pay freezes outside of things like healthcare, and I think most people understand why, given people aren’t actually using out rail system at the moment’, Shapps said. ‘Protecting jobs and employment in rail is frankly higher on my agenda right now than pay rises this year.’
Industry sources confirm that DfT has written to passenger operators to clarify its decision to treat railway staff as ‘public sector employees’ and therefore subject to a pay freeze, unless they are earning below £24 000 where a small increase previously announced by the Chancellor will be awarded.

And also the RG has an analysis of the franchise termination negotiations, which have now run on past the DfT deadline:
Franchise termination negotiations run on past deadline | Rail Business UK | Railway Gazette International

Speaking to the Transport Select Committee on February 3, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said ‘the rail operating companies right now are involved in paying back tens of millions, hundreds of millions of pounds in termination fees. These termination sums have been agreed with, I think six operators so far, and it’s real money.’

I would have posted this in the dedicated thread but it has been locked - nobody's interested in the future structure of the rail industry, evidently!
 

HSTEd

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So how out of date will the review be by the time it is released?
 

SynthD

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Would it be correct to think that if a cabinet member adds their name to a report that the report has been aligned with government priorities?
 

GRALISTAIR

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It's name will now be prey to the next cabinet reshuffle, if they take too long over it...
Yes it makes me want to scream at times. I think Roger Ford will definitely come up with a new Informed Sources Law for all these reviews that just produce paper and keep civil servants in jobs. All talk and no action.
 

BrianW

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Yes it makes me want to scream at times. I think Roger Ford will definitely come up with a new Informed Sources Law for all these reviews that just produce paper and keep civil servants in jobs. All talk and no action.
Con-temp-lating ... the Shapps Line- is it a route or is it talk? Perhaps over Shap between a filmed Brief Encounter at Carnforth (change for 'blue wall' Barrow)and another photo-opportunity when terminating at the 'Blue Wall' Carlisle Citadel for Border Control and quarantine at at a local hotel, it will pre-sage the demise of the Portillo Line over Ais Gill? And Williams? There must surely be some Welsh politician in need of some good news? I note that Ken Skates MA has a wide 'portfolio': https://gov.wales/ken-skates-ms Perhaps a photo-call for him in Wrecksam, or Cardiff, or Swansea, or Cambridge- a Skates Line somewhere. Or not, he's Labour. Why is Oxford-Cambridge not going to Hatfield, yet? Expecting four-tracking of Digswell viaduct? Or maybe a 'relief' route which will free-up seats to/from Welwyn? Action? A bad day to bury good news?
 

theironroad

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I'm not sure it's being renamed officially., It was a pretty casual remark if you watch his testimony before the committee.

As I believe the substance of Williams was done before the pandemic and publication had been anticipated for a long time, I think he was just saying that the obvious collapse in rail meant that it was being adapted by Schapps. He did say, once again, that the pandemic has brought forward the need for Williams.
 

BrianW

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I'm not sure it's being renamed officially., It was a pretty casual remark if you watch his testimony before the committee.

As I believe the substance of Williams was done before the pandemic and publication had been anticipated for a long time, I think he was just saying that the obvious collapse in rail meant that it was being adapted by Schapps. He did say, once again, that the pandemic has brought forward the need for Williams.
How far into the video is that; I'd like to 'hear it' without having to submit to 3 hours of 'stuff'. Thanks.
 

BrianW

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As i said in #1 its around 10.50 (parliament live use real time not elapsed time)
Sorry. I missed that. Must get better at reading back. Thank you.

Having now viewed and listened I loved the reference to a 'change of platform'. Sounding like not only a change of track but also of destination, and fare? Thank you again, quite revealing.


Having now viewed and listened I loved the reference to a 'change of platform'. Sounding like not only a change of track but also of destination, and fare? Thank you again, quite revealing.
The transcript is now available online. From that I see this at Question 40, it's as questioning is moving on from Aviation to Rail:

Q40 Grahame Morris: I would be grateful if you could furnish that information. We are all terribly disappointed, not just members of the Committee but employees and operators, about the delay in publishing the aviation recovery strategy. Could you shed any light on the position in relation to the Williams review—the White Paper? Do we have a date for publication of that piece of work?

Grant Shapps: I hope the whole Committee is not disappointed about the aviation recovery plan. I don’t know if you are speaking for everyone. The fact is that we cannot publish it until we know where we are with the ending of coronavirus, otherwise it will not make any sense and will be out of date within a couple of weeks. It is not that I am somehow keeping it in the bottom drawer and not publishing it. It is because we need to see the end of the coronavirus, or a clear route out. If coronavirus has taught us one thing, it is that you cannot predict it very confidently. We have seen that before with the second wave coming back, and so on and so forth. We have the vaccine now, so it is different, but we are looking across the channel and around the world to see how fast other people vaccinate as well. That will help to guide it.

I am very keen to publish the Williams review. I have been working on it for a year and a half. We will have a Williams-Shapps version, which now takes into account coronavirus. Again, it would have been well out of the door if it had not been for coronavirus, but with coronavirus and the railway having to have £10 billion-plus of funding, and us having, essentially, to take over all of the running of the otherwise independent train operating companies, it has obviously changed the platform on which we were based. In some ways, that helped to accelerate the Williams review recommendations because we want a guiding-mind approach to our railways. I hope you will not have to wait too long for a Williams-Shapps White Paper on rail. Again, it is only because of coronavirus and needing to know broadly when we are going to return to normal passenger numbers that we are waiting to publish. I hope it will happen presently.
 
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JacobWrenn

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Keith Williams, the former British Airways boss who was tasked by the Government to conduct a “root-and-branch” review of the railways two-and-a-half years ago, is expected to reveal a new overhaul at an industry conference on Thursday alongside Chris Heaton-Harris, the rail minister.
Keith Williams, author of the Williams Review, and Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris have joined the stellar list of speakers for RAIL’s National Rail Recovery Conference (February 23-25).
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I wouldn't expect too much detail to emerge in a public session, before Parliament gets to hear of it.
The expectation has been for a White Paper to outline legislative changes for rail.
There has to be a settlement for each commercial franchise TOC as well, to enable any new agreements to start.
I'd expect it to be made clear that the private sector will still have a major part to play in the rail sector.
 

theironroad

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I wouldn't expect too much detail to emerge in a public session, before Parliament gets to hear of it.
The expectation has been for a White Paper to outline legislative changes for rail.
There has to be a settlement for each commercial franchise TOC as well, to enable any new agreements to start.
I'd expect it to be made clear that the private sector will still have a major part to play in the rail sector.
I do wish the government would just get on with publishing either the full Williams review or a white paper or both so everyone can just see what they propose to do.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Some reports are emerging after speeches by Peter Hendy (NR Chair) and Chris Heaton-Harris (Rail Minister) at the Rail conference.

1. NR should be renamed and drop the "high cost/never listen" baggage.
2. Engineering work should move to midweek to encourage weekend leisure travel.
3. NR planning options for 60-80% return of traffic.
4. Flexible seasons due this year to save part-time commuters "hundreds of pounds".
Get used to fewer trains, says rail body - BBC News

Something designed to send NR planners into apoplexy (from the boss!):

Network Rail chair says weekend engineering works may soon end | UK news | The Guardian
The pain of holiday weekend rail engineering works may soon be over, a top UK rail executive has signalled, as leisure passengers grow to rival the weekday commuter.
Sir Peter Hendy, the chairman of Network Rail, suggested it may be better to close tracks on weekdays for maintenance: “A lot of leisure travel is going to be within Great Britain. Last year we saw a lot of really packed trains going to [seaside resorts] … It wouldn’t surprise me if on summer Saturdays we have more demand than in the working week.
“The railway might have to get used to that. If Saturday and Sunday get busy in summer, we should do engineering works at another time.”
He added: “We’ve got to be dextrous. There’s no point in us saying: we planned these engineering works on a Sunday 18 weeks ago. We should be prepared this summer to say: they want to come and we’ll take them.”
 

Bletchleyite

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Rename it? Does someone in Government have shares in a PR/branding company? What a waste of money; there is no need to rename it, just change how it works.
 

The Planner

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Some reports are emerging after speeches by Peter Hendy (NR Chair) and Chris Heaton-Harris (Rail Minister) at the Rail conference.

1. NR should be renamed and drop the "high cost/never listen" baggage.
2. Engineering work should move to midweek to encourage weekend leisure travel.
3. NR planning options for 60-80% return of traffic.
4. Flexible seasons due this year to save part-time commuters "hundreds of pounds".
Get used to fewer trains, says rail body - BBC News

Something designed to send NR planners into apoplexy (from the boss!):

Network Rail chair says weekend engineering works may soon end | UK news | The Guardian
All very well and possible if the TOC/FOCs play ball, otherwise it is just another nice idea. Plenty of stuff we do now is ending up in big blockades so as long as its planned properly far enough in advance it can be done, it is just when they try the project SPEED and PACE route is when it is going to fall over.
 

HSTEd

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If he really wants a seven day railway in the long term, that will require substantial investment to reduce future need for maintenance possessions.
 

Joe Paxton

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All very well and possible if the TOC/FOCs play ball, otherwise it is just another nice idea. [...]

The TOCs are different beasts now than they used to be - they are creatures of the DfT really. So if it's what the DfT wants, then the TOCs will play ball. The world has changed.
 

The Planner

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The TOCs are different beasts now than they used to be - they are creatures of the DfT really. So if it's what the DfT wants, then the TOCs will play ball. The world has changed.
They should be doing that now, but believe me, they aren't in a lot of cases.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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All very well and possible if the TOC/FOCs play ball, otherwise it is just another nice idea. Plenty of stuff we do now is ending up in big blockades so as long as its planned properly far enough in advance it can be done, it is just when they try the project SPEED and PACE route is when it is going to fall over.
TOCs have to do as there told under EMRAs and quite frankly the industry is there for the people it serves so im delighted to see Peter Hendy putting a marker down.
 

Watershed

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The TOCs are different beasts now than they used to be - they are creatures of the DfT really. So if it's what the DfT wants, then the TOCs will play ball. The world has changed.
However the FOCs are not in the DfT's pocket. They will probably not be best pleased at disruption to their profitable flows - bearing in mind freight operates predominantly on weekdays, with a bit on Saturday and a handful on Sundays.

They have Track Access Agreements, for which they would no doubt have to be 'suitably compensated' if any change was to be forced through.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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However the FOCs are not in the DfT's pocket. They will probably not be best pleased at disruption to their profitable flows - bearing in mind freight operates predominantly on weekdays, with a bit on Saturday and a handful on Sundays.

They have Track Access Agreements, for which they would no doubt have to be 'suitably compensated' if any change was to be forced through.
Im very much doubt they will do anything that forces rail traffic back to road. This as ive said in other thread should be about protecting the main traffic flows through the summer months from any non critical engineering work. NR and it teams are more than capable of handling this challenge its just needs to laid out for them and then let them come up with workable solutions.
 

The Planner

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Im very much doubt they will do anything that forces rail traffic back to road. This as ive said in other thread should be about protecting the main traffic flows through the summer months from any non critical engineering work. NR and it teams are more than capable of handling this challenge its just needs to laid out for them and then let them come up with workable solutions.
The solutions are already there, NR have always wanted to move out of bank holidays and Xmas. We just need to make sure the DfT aren't toothless and actually instruct operators to play ball.
 

Joe Paxton

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The solutions are already there, NR have always wanted to move out of bank holidays and Xmas. We just need to make sure the DfT aren't toothless and actually instruct operators to play ball.

Fair point, very much so considering the DfT's MO (or lack thereof). At least Peter Hendy gets it. Given the opportunity, perhaps a Hendy-led NR can drive some interim change this summer and show what can be done, ahead of any substantive reorganisation of the industry (i.e. show, rather than just discuss).

It'd need at least some responsive people in a few TOCs to get involved for it to work. But the upcoming 'staycation summer' of 2021 is a great oppotunity to show that flexibility and adaptability is posible.
 

The Planner

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Fair point, very much so considering the DfT's MO (or lack thereof). At least Peter Hendy gets it. Given the opportunity, perhaps a Hendy-led NR can drive some interim change this summer and show what can be done, ahead of any substantive reorganisation of the industry (i.e. show, rather than just discuss).

It'd need at least some responsive people in a few TOCs to get involved for it to work. But the upcoming 'staycation summer' of 2021 is a great oppotunity to show that flexibility and adaptability is posible.
Lots of discussions on what engineering work can be pulled from this year and moved already, purely on this basis.
 
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