That's the one. Thanks! The double headed arrow is still used by the Rail Delivery Group, so it it they, presumably, who commissioned this advert. A previously unseen organisation, one wonders if they are increasing their visibility as a sort of demonstration of faux re-nationalisation?
It's really just an industry lobby group that has a number of pan industry responsibilities tacked on (such as Rail Settlement Plan, Staff Travel and others). It was the former ATOC but, as stated already, added Freight and I believe Network Rail (despite it being a part of government). They're trying to persuade people there is some sort of "guiding mind" when RDG is nothing of the sort because each TOC / FOC is answerable to their shareholders and no one else (when push comes to shove). Passengers are a long way down the list and as for the presumed "ownership" of the "rail modernisation programme" I've never come across anything so laughable. If it belongs to anyone it's the DfT and then farepayers as they're the folk who are funding it. There's negligible risk with the private sector and they're not raising money without a high level of certainty that they'll get a pack back / it's funded within the franchise. I can't actually watch that advert without feeling deeply cynical about the thing. I have more time for those nauseating Virgin Trains adverts and they're bleepin' annoying.
IMO there are no easy answers but there are significant risks if people go "dabbling" with the structure of the industry with no coherent view of what the end result should be.
I sincerely hope you are not accusing the DfT of having a coherent view of what the end result should be...
Of course not. I felt that Patrick McLoughlin, previous SoS, was a decent enough minister who seemed to like his job and who was not overly partisan. He did, though, recognise the political risks of not doing something about the reletting of franchises in Northern England hence the decision to order new DMUs and to get some electrification under way. He also didn't stand in the way of TfL getting more devolved services. I was genuinely disappointed when he moved out of the department. Under Grayling I fear we will see a lot of "dabbling" which will be poorly considered and not thought through. The inevitable mess will, of course, not arrive while Grayling is still at the DfT. Some other poor soul will have the job of sweeping up the mess and the taxpayer will cover the costs.
Hello, being new to this forum I don't know if this is the right place to post this. But...
Being a regular Southern and Southeastern commuter to get to school, I am usually late to get there because of the current problems with the trade unions.
I overheard my friend's father saying that when the mainline network was nationalised, there were less delays, more trains and better customer service which led me to think: if the railways were renationalised into British Rail and its sectors, i.e. Network SouthEast would the quality be better, or is it just wishful thinking?
Honest answer - it's almost impossible to say as so much has changed since BR's days.
If someone wanted to renationalise the rail network there are many, many issues that would need attention. I think some people have a view that a modern day "BR" would instantly lead to lower fares, thousands of new trains appearing in a matter of months and the abolition of delays. It doesn't work like that because railways are hard things to run well and to modernise effectively. BR had many decent attributes given the parlous funding levels it faced in the 80s but it had made many mistakes over several decades compounded by political interference. One key issue in a "new" BR would be keeping any central "bureaucracy" as small as possible while ensuring the operational and engineering departments were efficiently run and kept costs under control. If you could maintain efficiency, keep passenger growth and fund investment sensibly with coherent planning then it might be worth doing. There are risks, though, that a centralised state controlled BR would lose some of the commercial acumen that *some* TOCs display and passengers might not like to see that happen if they lost out financially (loss of cheap advance fares) or service quality fell.
The TOCs you quote are, of course, London commuter TOCs and those services will *always* be under strain at peak times. They were under BR and the only difference now is that even more people are trying to crush onto trains. There is probably never going to be an ideal and "perfect" commuter railway in London and the media and some politicians keep stoking a false prospectus of a seat for everyone and perfectly reliable services. You might be able to ratchet up the reliability with new trains and better infrastructure but that will just pull in more people so no chance of a seat.
As already said some of the issues on South Eastern (a poorly specced, dull franchise) and Southern (being used to crush the TUs) can be directly traced to the DfT and who would a new BR be ultimately accountable to? Oh yes, the DfT. Be careful what you wish for if you want a wholly nationalised system. IMO there are no easy answers but there are significant risks if people go "dabbling" with the structure of the industry with no coherent view of what the end result should be.
Quoting the original specifications in passengers per hour, but the current ridership in passengers per year is really annoying me! Could kind soul convert one to the other to make the comparison easy for those of us who are not mathematically inclined.
Being a tiny bit more precise (well as much as you can with such poor data) than the Flyer from Kingston the original system's theoretical capacity was around 6.9m pass per year. Looking at Government official stats the first recorded year's patronage (88/89) was 6.6m pass jnys. There has been a steady rise in patronage barring some blips in the early 1990s but that was because the system was being rebuilt and extended to Bank. The system was shut for endless weekends and in the evenings. Unsurprisingly the cross river extensions have driven large increases in patronage.
The latest Commissioner's report says TfL hope to select a contractor for Beckton depot modifications in the near future with a EU procurement notice being issued in April for the new trains (he says desperately trying to claw back on topic )
So just to clarify - theres no more official progress on whether or not the scheme is going ahead yet. ?
Only what was referenced in the article. There is no mention of the scheme in the newly published TfL Budget for 2017/17 and there are no papers to the Board either about the project. If I was to speculate I suspect we might see something go to May's Board but I'm not holding my breath given this is all wrapped up in politics.
A quote about the incident from the newly published Commissioner's Report that goes to next week's Board Meeting.
On 23 February, a 30-year-old member of the public was seriously injured by a piece of architectural steel that was blown off the recently opened Cardinal Place entrance to Victoria station during the high winds of Storm Doris. The root cause is still being investigated. The two areas of focus are the design of the structure and the installation of specific components. A full investigation is under way by London Underground (LU), and the principal contractor Taylor Woodrow BAM Nuttall (TWBN). Owing to the severity of the incident, a formal incident investigation has also been called by LU.
Details of the Sarah Hope Line have been provided to the family of the person injured. The site was made safe and additional checks were carried out on similar assets. The entrance has since reopened.
All employees working on the affected site have been briefed. LU and TWBN have both put support measures in place for employees.
If its going to be a road project then having diesel buses stuck in traffic is not so wonderful. Lowest of the low.
Instead its best to go for something bolder and different. How about trolleybuses which use electricity sourced from a renewable facility - wind, solar, etc?
Or, light rail... this could also use much of the planned infrastructure and at a later date could be extended as a tram train at the Junction end to St Albans... and then as a tram again to meet the Midland Main Line station.
Passengers who use Watford Met would be delighted at a solution that retains their station. Some might even raise their arm and with index finger pointing towards Watford Town Centre suggest completing the project that was planned and would likely have been achieved had the Met survived a little longer.
The UK will not see trolleybuses. There is no government support for a scheme that would involve costly unfamiliar infrastructure and most likely require restraint of competition to make it viable. If you can't get them in Leeds you certainly won't get them in Watford. You won't get light rail either in somewhere as insignificant as Watford. The Chancellor has no great enthusiasm for infrastructure spend other than that which he has inherited and cannot stop like HS2. He has far bigger risks to manage.
If Croxley Link is scrapped then the local councils have to take a view on how much money they are prepared to spend / waste on seeking new powers to construct something. I rather suspect that the view will be they don't want to spend any more money on anything remotely radical or challenging. TfL will no doubt be delighted to save resources and bank the £50m that had been allocated to the project.
I wonder how much cost is attributable to overall improvements at High Street and Junction that, while desirable, may not be absolutely essential to MLX, and could therefore be removed from its budget and addressed elsewhere, or later?
Probably very little to be honest - only that which is necessary to accommodate the rolling stock and possibly something like platform humps, if feasible, to give improved accessibility to / from the train. The scheme has already been reviewed and descoped to pare down costs. There's little more to be done without losing stations in their entirety and then you sink the business case (even more than it's already sunk).
It's important to note that the positive CBR was mostly down to congestion easing, business rates etc etc, i.e. benefits to the economy of Watford rather than benefits in terms of fare revenues which Watford wouldn't see much of at all. As TfL were obviously a partner in the scheme, the revenue bit for them was included in the calculations but it was nowhere near even breaking even. They were shaving £6 off the £113m price in order to tip the scales. Now it's more than doubled! They really ought to be revisiting the original comparison of schemes.
Any contemplation of what they could do instead, though, is crayonista territory.
Going back through some old TfL paperwork it is worth noting that the business case overall remains a HCC responsibility (content.tfl.gov.uk/board-20150701-part-1-item12-croxley-rail-link.pdf refers). It is not transferred to TfL so interestingly HCC have to appease the DfT and goodness knows how they can do that with costs at the level they are now at.
This old TfL paper from 2011 shows a b/c ratio of 2.6:1 which isn't bad but that was for a constrained scheme. THe paper also notes that the revenue from the extension is hypothecated to pay off their contribution and then any excess is shared with LU. At this rate it'll take centuries to pay off their share.
... How do you know that there was not a request for a financial contribution to TfL? I assume the development will be caught by things like the Crossrail levy and possibly CIL..
As the linked article makes clear I am pretty sure there is some expectation of funds for transport improvements although no real indication of how much or indeed for what! Hence the question mark in my post. As it stands the press release notes mostly focus on affordable housing (something I am sure is needed) and providing accessible parking spaces which I guess might count as transport improvements.
With electrification and longer trains and potential extra patronage on the short term horizon, platform crowding seems likely to be a growing problem which will simply not go away. Hence I really hope that some of this potential funding source was specifically allocated towards widening at least the most crowded sections of the station platforms.
Inherently the Overground is now becoming a victim of its own success especially compared with the depths of Silverlink. Whilst the rising patronage on GOBLIN is something TFL should be congratulated for, I rather doubt I am the only person on here who really hates standing on narrow crowded platforms? Obviously if you ignore the yellow lines (as many routinely do just to get past platform furniture) then yes the platforms are adequate. But there is very little shelter and places where the remaining available platform width is less than the width of a buggy, hence people tend to bunch up by the entrance rather than spread along with obvious impact on peak hours dwell times.
Well if there is a funding contribution it goes to the local authority anyway. They then negotiate with TfL as to how it will be spent and when. It is relatively rare for S106 monies required by TfL to support development to go into capital works. In the cases I am aware of the money tends to fund bus route extensions (e.g. the 382 short extension near Mill Hill East or 235 extension to North Brentford Quarter) or into service enhancements (extra frequency on the 267 near Chiswick Business Park, other routes were extended there). Waltham Forest Council did manage to use S106 funds from the Olympics to part fund the reopening of Lea Bridge station but that was a rare example and they nearly ran out of time to use it given the delays in finalising funding for the new station.
I agree that the platforms at Blackhorse Road are not what you call spacious and I suspect in time there will be an issue. In the current funding environment I expect TfL will postpone capital works at Blackhorse Road for as long as they possibly can and will instead try to use operational practice to manage any congestion even if it means holding people back in the ticket hall. There are other stations on the Overground that are well ahead of Blackhorse Road in terms of requiring congestion relief works but I understand that the work programme has had to be scaled back too because estimates have come in too high for the first few stations (West Hampstead, Dalston Kingsland and Hackney Central). Places like Seven Sisters (LO) have chronic congestion problems and also need accessibility works and I'd expect that to be ahead of B'horse Road too. We shall, of course, see how things develop when the new trains arrive.
As an aside is patronage picking up again on the GOBLIN now people realise it's opened again? I've not been on it yet so have no idea how things are going other than knowing the trains keep conking out and there have been points failures two days in a row.
As I think I said before, the "new" BHRd built by BR was done on the ultimate cheap - narrow platforms, no canopies, no ease of access. The old BHP was a commodious station with wide platforms. The number of people using the narrow platform now, let alone on electrification, is just too great.
Given someone is going to make a shed load of money out of this decision, I am astonished that the Mayor (or at least someone at TFL) did not press for some sort of planning gain contribution to widen the platforms at Blackhorse Road Station? 350 extra homes is probably going to significantly increase patronage at BHR, so why on earth did not the Mayor also demand the developers a significant contribution to upgrading this busy Overground station?
Sadly I rather doubt the Local Government Ombudsman will take any interest in this sort of weird decision now their days are numbered.
How do you know that there was not a request for a financial contribution to TfL? I assume the development will be caught by things like the Crossrail levy and possibly CIL. The other side of the equation may well be that there was a deliberate decision not to extract extra funds from the developer in order to ensure a wholly "affordable" development was provided. Unfortunately I doubt there are easy answers here. While we may think the platforms need widening TfL may well be of the opinion that absolutely no work is needed hence why nothing has been done.
While I am pleased to see affordable housing being built I am concerned about the loss of the car park. It is busy throughout the week and there is no apparent idea as to where those commuters will go. Not all of them can turn up on a bus as people drive in from outside London and park there - especially at weekends for access to football fixtures and shopping in the West End. Tottenham Hale can't take up the slack and I doubt Walthamstow Central can either and we don't need more cars trying to crawl along Hoe Street.
I had a ride on this line today. Aside from the fact that I rather like the little 172s from my one ride on them, I noticed that a lot of the masts are up but that the bit where the wires actually go has been turned 90 degrees so it is is parallel with the track for the time being.
Also, no 'car stop' signage yet for the new stock.
I doubt you'll find new car stop signs appearing until much later in the year when the first train appears for testing / gauging / clearanc purposes. Probably some time in the Autumn - assuming we have wires up and plugged in by then. Still waiting to see what emerges in terms of a programme of closures to actually complete the work although I'm not expecting much wiring work of any great substance will happen before June.
Pretty much the same story has now appeared in the Standard but with a quote from the Mayor's office (its outside London) which rather confirms they are washing their hands of this project. Meantime the Chancellor's recent Budget has inadvertently lost a heap of expected NI contributions so I rather doubt the Treasury will magically be finding another £50m for Croxley. Together it rather confirms the project is once again dead in the water - well at least for the next electoral cycle.
So what are the lessons? I am sure others have spotted that one aspect of the British political cycle is the rather wasteful feast/famine nature of central government readiness so spend on capital projects. Hence in the run up to almost any General Election it seems Chancellors can suddenly announce they are able to fund all manner of projects - only for many to be kicked into the distant future, dropped entirely or severely pruned once the election period is over. Like it or not - such is political reality so LUL need to factor this into their planning skills.
Inherently LUL need to look for ways to better scope projects both discretely and at minimal cost, and also work out how to concertina a project timescale to ensure that most if not all of the most costly elements are immediately ready to go - putting spades on the ground the moment that predictable supply of spare (electoral bribes) money becomes available.
For Croxley LUL need a signed off design with detailed planning permission and lined up a contactor(s) to supply all the big stuff especially that bridge in weeks not years. Sadly all manner of time consuming enabling work (diverting services) had not been started or indeed funded by Herts CC - despite their constituents being the prime beneficiary. The nature of "windfall" projects is they need to be completed in a very narrow window of opportunity or risk being put on the back burner. Inherently for Croxley to ever happen, Herts CC need to work with the LUL project team to ensure they have a clear run at delivering the project on time and budget whenever the Chancellor suddenly finds a heap of cash down the back of the sofa in the run up to the next General Election.
Inherently if a project gets off the blocks quickly, it can become too politically and financially expensive to cancel, so it will happen.
Unfortunately for Croxley the project was a long way from firm contracts being signed let alone spades on the ground or actual bridge spans being manufactured and delivered. Given the current unhelpful political stand-off between the Mayor and the Transport Minister, Croxley has unfortunately become a convenient political battle ground for finger pointing and political points scoring. Even once the protaganist's have moved to new roles, the ill feeling now surrounding this project, could delay what could be a really worthwhile project for many years to come. Indeed I am now tempted to place a fiver with William Hills that Watford Junction Station will not see any Met Line services before 2050.
Hey ho politics and common sense are rare bed-fellows.
Why are you seemingly suggesting any of this is down to LU? It was never LU's scheme. Previously LU were fully indemnified for all of their costs - a paper went to the TfL Board to that effect many years ago. The fact things weren't designed, estimated, funded or much else is not their fault. The previous Mayor concocted a deal with the Chancellor to dump this project (and all ongoing liabilities and risks) on TfL / LU when he knew he would not be around to deal with any of the consequences, good or bad. The reason this project was not "ready to go" is down to other parties. If you were being handed an open ended financial liability you would naturally want to take pause and work out what you think the bill might be and if your piggy bank had enough money in it. Electoral considerations in Watford at the last General Election overrode this crucial step because Bozza and George wanted to give Watford a little prezzie with a blue bow on it. TfL are subject to Mayoral Direction and Bozza *directed* TfL to allocate monies and take on the risk. If TfL had had any real say in the matter it would never have happened. There is no point saying people should be depressing timescales and getting bridges fabricated in a fortnight. Things take a natural amount of time and works typically have to follow in a logical sequence - especially on a railway where good quality, functional infrastructure is key to effective ongoing performance and keeping maintenance costs down in future.
If this project is "dead in the water" then let's hope someone has the good grace to kill it off properly. If Herts and Watford want the scheme they can fund it or they can go and prise open the Chancellor's money box. I doubt they will because they don't have the ability to raise any more money locally. This should not be left hanging round TfL's neck as it is not a London scheme. I'm less convinced this is part of the "spat" between the Mayor and Mr Grayling but it does, of course, highlight a rather contradictory stance from Horseferry Road. He won't devolve National Rail services to the Mayor but is quite happy to leave a Hertfordshire capital investment scheme with the Mayor to complete and carry the financial can. Not a very sensible state of affairs but hey that's politics for you.
That link doesn't seem to be valid any more; nor can I find the article on the railnews site. It's not on the Wayback Machine or in Google's cache.
So - what's the information that doesn't want to escape?
The article referenced a press release from Tory Assembly Members (not yet on the City Hall nor GLA Tories website). This was their usual unfocused diatribe about the Mayor's budget, "efficiency" targets, fares freeze etc being a disaster. They cited the Croxley Link as a casualty of the financial situation. At the very end of the article was a short two paragraph which quoted David Hughes, LU, as saying that LU had completed their project review and concluded an additional £50m is required to cover the total project cost. It continued by saying that LU did not have that money spare and nor did City Hall and that it was now for the DfT to find the cash. It closed by saying that LU would work with DfT to reach a conclusion or find ways to make the project more "affordable". I take the latter point to refer to "descoping" which would have to be pretty substantial given the project has already been pared down in scope more than once and I expect it has also been "value engineered" as well.
Mr Hughes apparently made his remarks at a recent conference. I suspect this emerging has been rather badly timed for City Hall and the DfT hence why the article has been pulled. A copy of the relevant quote was captured and tweeted this morning and is in the image below.