EU Rail Privatisation & Prospects – Part 1

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It is over 25 years since the EU determined that separating train operations from the management of the tracks and infrastructure would be a good idea. 15 years ago, I covered the topic in detail, and at that time there was a clear distinction between what was happening in the UK compared with the rest of Western Europe in particular.

Britain had charged headlong into a massive restructuring of the rail industry, creating bodies that would own and lease rolling stock to businesses who would simply run trains under a franchising scheme, not dissimilar to that used by parcel delivery firms today. The track, signalling and communications were the province of a single business unit we called Railtrack plc.

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But, we went a step further still, breaking down the assets of the infrastructure company, and allowing a variety of smaller maintenance and other businesses to repair, update and manage the track and trackside systems. And, we did this over a 2 or 3-year window. Railtrack plc proved to be a disaster, and following various court processes in 2001, the private business of Railtrack was transferred to Government ownership as a not for profit business – Network Rail in 2002.

In Europe, by contrast, the separation of operation from infrastructure was more protracted. The former national railways of France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands separated their train operation functions from the teams that looked after the track and established separate business units. They were accounted for separately, but still reporting under the group umbrella.

The 1991 EU Directive required member states to separate operations from infrastructure, and by the turn of the century, success was partially achieved, with most Western European states adopting a structure with a single company running the trains, and another supporting and maintaining the track and routes.   In 2000, just under 10 years after it was agreed, this liberalization had been progressed by 21 countries, since when, several further reforms of the directive have been carried out, and significant changes in rail operations has taken place across Europe as a whole.

EU DirectivesBack in 2000, in conclusion, I wrote:

  • “All member states of the EU are required to commit to the liberalisation and separation policies defined by EC Directive 91/440. An overall view of “privatisation”, “railway reform” or “liberalisation” of the rail business across Europe, ranges from a two company approach, to multiple businesses, covering operations and infrastructure.”

This liberalisation has certainly moved on a great deal since then, although it has not – in general – achieved one of the major aims; reducing state subsidy and improving efficiency in operation. Of course, it must be said that much of the progress has been ‘hampered’, or at least challenged by the interoperability question across Europe, and the directive’s amendments has tried to introduce commonalities across operational and management. On top of this, the EU has expanded by more than 9 new member states, and suffered the consequences of the financial/banking crisis and economic recession.

Bruges 2000 - RPBNorwegian Suburban emu_ABB photo 1993

Nonetheless, the opening up of the rail markets to new operators – be it train operator, or infrastructure manager – has continued apace. It could be argued today, that the British approach ‘pioneered’ in the 1990s, has dominated the liberalisation, or privatisation process.

One striking feature in the past 10 years, has been the number of new agencies and representative bodies that have been established, whilst others have had name changes, and national governments have re-organised functions. A classic example is in Sweden, where Trafikverket, which now has responsibility for rail, road and maritime services, replaced Banverket in 2004. This is mirrored in the UK by the ORR, which has morphed from the old SRA into ORR – originally Office for Rail Regulation, into the Office for Road & Rail.

Examples of some of the new organisations demanded by the increasing fragmentation of the individual state rail networks includes “RailNetEurope (RNE)” an association for ‘infrastructure managers’, which cover such tasks as co-ordinating timetabling across Europe, coordinating access charging, train pathing, operation monitoring, the One-Stop Shop (OSS) system, etc.

There are now 28 EU member states, but not all have fully implemented Directive 91/440, or its subsequent amendments, which since 2001 have been described as “Railway Packages”, whether or how the dreaded “Brexit” negotiations and the UK’s position will affect this is as yet unknown.

ICE3 Train on 09_07_1999 at Wildenrath_Adtranz PhotoOut of the original 19 countries reviewed in 2000, 9 had stated they would definitely complete the separation – although in some cases, this took longer than planned. Germany, Greece and the Netherlands were “in progress”, whilst only one country – Ireland – had said a definite no. At the same time, both Austria and Switzerland had said no, but were progressing reforms, and in Spain, partial separation was claimed at the start of the new millennium.

Here, in Britain, we set up a new train operating company grouping, with the catchy title the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). We’re good at setting up committees, and this one seemed to be an umbrella organisation for a number of businesses running train services on the Railtrack infrastructure. Mostly, these were regional operators, in some ways mimicking the outline of the old pre-grouping railway companies!

Separation

By 2000, our next-door neighbours in Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark and France had taken the separation approach in what was perceived as the orthodox manner, establishing Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen, NS Railinfratrust BV, Banedanmark, and Réseau Ferré de France (RFF) respectively. By 2015, Maatschappij had been replaced by Infrabel , RFF by SNCF Réseau in France, and ProRail B.V. became the trading name of NS Railinfratrust BV in the Netherlands, whilst Denmark opted for keeping the same name – essentially.

The regulations did not specify how the train operations or the infrastructure companies were to be created; it simply stated that there should be separation between the two elements of a railway system. The same technique was used in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

EU Separation

As you can see from the table, there have been quite a number of changes in the past decade, some connected with technological development, but equally as many with business process changes, especially in regard to managing and charging for access to the infrastructure. A key theme running through the changes that have been made is “multi-modal” operation, where either the operating company, or infrastructure manager runs bus, ferry or road and freight logistics services.

Also noted in the table – ironically – is the difference between the separation plans from Ireland and Norway. Ireland an EU member state indicated it was not progressing separation, whilst Norway, NOT a member state had made a commitment to follow the EU Directive!

Train Operators

The train operators are perhaps the ones who have changed most – not least because we tend to see them at work! A characteristic of the separation that has undergone the most reform is the way access rights and charges are granted, and the financing schemes to underpin one of the original objectives – to reduce indebtedness and secure a more financial, and commercially stable railway system. This vision was to apply across Europe, and develop interoperability through designated corridors and high priority projects, whilst at the same time opening up the markets to competition and innovation from new entrants.

Has it achieved this aim so far? In part perhaps, but the introduction of this ‘openness’ across national boundaries has also led to more collaboration, and partnerships developing between existing operators. Take Britain as an example – which UK train operators run services in other countries? These are not so easy to determine, since they are usually with the scope of a partnership, such as Arriva, or Abellio. Their business includes operations in Germany and the Netherlands, mostly offering regional, or corridor specific services.

Perhaps the most significant change in Britain was setting up the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) in 2014, following the recommendations of the “McNulty Report” in 2011. The fact that the RDG was established perhaps reinforced the notion that fragmenting through franchising privately run train operations in the UK, on an essentially state owned infrastructure business, was a poor choice of implementing the 1991 EU Directive. In short it seems to have said – train operators and the infrastructure maintainers were not talking to one another, and co-ordination is necessary. It remains to be seen if “decentralisation and devolution” within Network Rail will be any more effective, and it seems to indicate that fragmentation practices applied in the early 1990s are still in favour.

-oOo-

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Not so High Speed Northern Rail

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Last month (November), the Government published its vision paper on rail, entitled Connecting people: a strategic vision for rail”, extolling the virtues of the latest UK plans for ‘modernising” the rail infrastructure and services. It sets great store by the increased investment already made, against the backdrop of ever increasing passenger numbers, much of which is accurate.

At the same time it makes some bizarre statements about cuts in journey times of 15 minutes between Liverpool and Manchester that are simply not borne out by facts. Here’s what it says on page 21 of the published document:

  • “2.18  This investment in rail networks in the North of England has already delivered improvements, with the fastest journey between Liverpool and Manchester cut by 15 minutes, new direct services between Manchester Airport and Glasgow, and Manchester Victoria station upgraded. 
”

It carefully avoids any comparison with a figure for earlier years, so we are left to wonder if they mean the journey is 15 minutes quiker compared with 1947, 1957, or 1977.

However, comparing this claim between the timings for 2017 with those of the 1972 timetable – 45 years ago! – the fastest journey time is only 6 minutes quicker, and in 1972, there was still a lot of steam age legacy infrastructure and systems in place.

This is 2017

Liverpool to Manchester 2017

Fastest Journey Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester (Piccadilly / Victoria)

 

1972 - 2017 TimingsThe fastest services in 1972 were operated as ‘Inter-City’, with this example of a weekday service leaving Lime Street at 08:35, and arriving at Piccadilly 51 minutes later. Today’s service has only 1 more stop, at Wavertree Technology Park, a new station, and yet only manages a 6 minute reduction in journey time.

Still it is quicker, and yes, I am being picky!

This is 1972

Overall, the ideas suggested include work that has already been done, and work that might get completed. With the cancellation of electrification in the north earlier this year, in favour of Crossrail 2, I’m not holding my breath.

Investment in new trains as well as new technology is and has been long overdue, but to keep referencing HS2 in this ‘vision’ paper does not cut the mustard if the DfT want to demonstrate a commitment to rail services. Changes to franchising are perhaps just adding ever more complexity and ‘red tape’ to a privatisation scheme that has not offered a major performance – both operationally and economically – improvement to the UK’s network. The UK is still, after 25+ years of a ‘privatised railway’, still subsidising train operating companies.

Ah well, let’s see what happens next.

-oOo-

 

Lacklustre Performance Continues

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There is a lot of waffle in the 21st century surrounding the measurement of train performance and punctuality.   This is what the public see today:

Public Performance Measure” (PPM) – defined as the percentage of  trains arriving at their terminating station within five minutes for commuter services and within 10 minutes for long distance services.”

See: Public Performance Measure

However, ‘on time’ means within five minutes of the scheduled destination arrival time for regional operators, or within ten minutes for long-distance operators”

So, in 2017, with this definition of ‘on time’ it actually means being LATE!

Amongst other ‘odd’ definitions accepted in current performance and punctuality measures is the idea of trains being cancelled whilst still on route.  This is the CaSL definition, perhaps better described as train service failures, and covers:

  • Being cancelled at starting point.
  • Cancelled en route.
  • Change of departure station.
  • Failing to make a scheduled stop at a station.
  • It is significantly late (ie it arrives at its terminating station 30 minutes or more late).

There is a difference between ‘punctuality’ and ‘performance’, where the latter could include intermediate station to station times, or train capacity/loading, on a particular route.  However, today, the performance is described as a combination of punctuality and reliability, but the raft of statistical data available from UK Government sources does not give simple clarity, and it’s not easy to compare with what had been the case in the 1980s say.

In overall terms, train performance and punctuality between 1978 and 1982 on main line/long distance services was definitely not great, but at least the less meaningful phrases such as MAA (Moving Annual Average), or CaSL (Cancellation and Significant Lateness) are not there:

Train Performance 2

In the 1980s, British Rail targets for punctuality of trains was set at 90% of all InterCity trains to arrive within 10 minutes of booked time, before that the target was 85% within 5 minutes of booked time.  More flexibility to allow more late arrivals?  Why?

British Rail was divided into 6 regions until 1982 when the division into business sectors began – InterCity, NetworkSouthEast and Regional Railways for passenger operations, followed later by a similar exercise with freight services.  The principal objective being to try and introduce the then fashionable business management practices into operating and managing the railway.

1990 figures for “InterCity” Sector punctuality:

Train Performance 1

It didn’t improve punctuality directly, but was targeted at reducing the central government support, and ultimately paved the way to privatisation.  Ironically though, by 1987 to 1990, operations of trains on the nationalised railway was making a profit.

Today, we have access to these pieces of information about train performance:

  • The national PPM is 88.9%.
  • This compares to 86.5% for the same period last year.
  • The moving annual average (MAA) is 88.0%.

Source; Network Rail

The closest we get from the simple available and published details is a chart showing the measure of trains arriving within 1 minute of their booked time – the green line is that measurement in this chart:

Performance 2002-17

It does appear that between 2002 and 2010 that measure of within a minute of Right Time (RT MAA in the graph above), was steadily improving, but since 2011 it has continued to decline.  Why is that?

-oOo-

Confusing Statistics

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I know its boring, but I couldn’t help myself today – with the flurry of news about East Coast franchising and Chris Grayling’s announcement on the government Transport Strategy I had a sneaky browse through some ONS statistics on railways.

One table in particular made me smile, it was preceded with this heading:

“K33U Railway locomotives and rolling stock up to and including May 2016”

This is what the summary of locos and rolling stock in the official ONS spreadsheet displayed:

Loco Stock Summary

Apparently the UK had no stock in 2009, but by 2010, 2.3 vehicles (locos or rolling stock items) had disappeared when compared with 2008.

What is 0.1, or 0.3 of a rolling stock asset?

Clearly an absurd set of numbers, but the apparent increase of 15.2 items of rolling stock assets – or around 18% – between 1996 and 2013 may be what Mr Grayling was referring to in the “Strategic Vision for Rail” policy:

“The last few years have seen massive growth on Britain’s railways. This industry has reversed decades of decline under British Rail, delivered new investment and new trains, and doubled the number of passengers.”

Well, can’t argue with the increase, based on the ONS numbers, but are these really useful way or reporting, or measuring railway assets?

A bit more digging

The information I obtained above from the ONS is actually related to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) calculations, but in the ONS search box I simply input the term “railway” to see what it produced:

ONS Search box

I suppose, since the rolling stock is not directly owned by the UK, the assets are private company data, so I should not have been surprised when I learned that the numbers and tables simply relate to fluctuation in operational costs to the traveller.

Surely the Government can’t be subsidising train operators maintenance costs, or capital asset amortisation?

No, they apparently relate to the cost increase of using the product or service – in this case railways – but unless you’re a macro economist, or maybe a global bank, I’m not sure looking at some ONS tables does anything other than become a puzzle.

Here’s one, I wonder what the table and the chart mean:

Combined CPI and graph

The numbers seem to be just a statistical exercise to feed into the CPI measure for the UK economy as a whole, from an understanding of UK rail operations for the general public, the tables and charts are not useful at all.

Are they?

-oOo-

 

 

 

30 Years of Docklands Light Railway (DLR) – New Trains To Come

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This month TfL has announced the 4 pre-qualified bidders to design and build the new trains for the DLR including Alstom, CAF, Bombardier and a Siemens consortium, with the contract due to be placed in autumn 2018, and delivery in 2022.  5 Years to deliver 43 ‘walk-through’ trains, replacing the existing stock, and including features such as on-board real-time information, air-conditioning and mobile device charging points.

DLR at Canary Wharf Station

DLR unit 23 at the Canary Wharf Station in today’s livery – (c) Transport for London

It is worth remembering that 2017 also marked the 30th anniversary of the opening of the DLR by HM The Queen on 30th July 1987, and in the same year, GEC-Mowlem were awarded a £50 million contract to extend the line, even before it was opened.  All of this was in response to the huge level of investment in reshaping London’s Docklands – a process that continues to this day.

GEC-Mowlem were tasked with designing, building, and handing over to the DLR, a fully operational railway, and within a cash limit of £60 million, following placement of the order in 1984.

This was achieved in 3 years, so why does it now take 5 years to provide new rolling stock?

Whilst the DLR was an entirely new construction, extensive use was made of former British Rail lines, since the railway was to be built to standard gauge, with the old London & Blackwall Railway followed for some of its route  in phase one.  The Beckton extension was planned in to support what is now the London City Airport.

DLR Original No. 1

The original DLR colours seen on this view taken in 1987

Trains for the initial railway were twin-car articulated units, with bodies supplied by Linke-Hoffman-Busch, and powered by GEC Traction. The Germans won the order on their strength, and reputation in the rapid transit market, since in the UK there was little experience at that time.

DLR Train Diagram

General arrangement of the twin car articulated units.

The vehicles collected power at 750V d.c. from a bottom contact, steel faced conductor rail, insulated from accidental contact on the top and two sides. The innovative contact systems were supplied by Brecknell-Willis, and described by the Railway Industry Association in April 1987:

“On two new urban transit systems, more than 10,000km apart, a modern development of one of the oldest electric traction technologies is enhancing the performance of dc electrification. Both the Singapore Mass Transit Railway and the Docklands Light Railway in East London are being equipped with Brecknell, Willis aluminium/steel composite conductor rails to supply direct current power to trains.

DLR Contact System diagram

(c) Railway Industry Association

The conductor rail, of aluminium, is steel faced, to reduce wear from the under- running contact shoe, and the contact systems were supplied by Brecknell Willis.

Other UK companies involved in this automated railway were Brush Electrical Engineering, who were brought in to provide power equipments on the extension project.  GEC Transmission & Distribution Projects and GEC Telecommunications were all heavily involved in this work.

The new light railway was designed to operate automatically from day one, but were provided with the essential – at that time – control panels for use on the vehicle in an emergency.  The ATP and ATO control systems in the original railway were independent of each other, controlling and operating the railway from the the Operation and Maintenance Centre.  Information is fed to the train’s on-board computers by means of Data Docking Links (DDL) at each station, and update the train computers. The ATP system ensures trains observe speed limits and prevents unsafe train movements, with operating speeds regulated by the rate at which transponders are crossed on the trackbed.

The original layout looked like this:

DLR Route Map 1987

This was of course later expanded, and now looks like this:

dlr-route-map 2017

(c) Transport for London

The DLR was not the first of GEC’s major light rail projects in the UK, but, like the Manchester Metrolink, was one of the UK’s earliest, and ranks alongside Birmingham’s ill-fated Maglev as one of the most innovative.

-oOo-

 

Towards Nationalisation – Transport Act 1947

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On the 6th August 1947, the “Transport Act” was given the ‘Royal Assent’, which created the Transport Commission, who were empowered to – “…to provide, or secure or promote the provision of an efficient, adequate, economical and properly integrated system of public inland transport and port facilities within Great Britain for passengers and goods …”.   This included the railways, road passenger and freight transport, docks, canals and coastal waterways, and established the Transport Consultative Committees – both national and regional – to monitor and report on the performance of the services.

The main management bodies were the “Executives”, and at the start these consisted of:

  1. Railway Executive
  2. Docks and inland Waterways Executive
  3. Road Transport Executive
  4. London Passenger Transport Executive

Later the Hotels Executive was set up to manage the establishments and hotels created by the former privately owned railway and transport companies around the country.

The first members of the British Transport Commission, appointed in 1947 were:

  • John Benstead – NUR General Secretary
  • Lord Ashfield – Chairman of London Passenger Transport Board, Director of Midland Bank & ICI
  • Sir Cyril Hurcomb – Secretary to Minister of Transport, Chairman of Electricity Commission
  • Sir William V. Wood – President of the LMS
  • Lord Rusholme – General Secretary of the Cooperative Union

BTC Original Commission Members 1947

In the same year, and just 4 months earlier, the LMS had produced artists impressions of the new diesel locos they were planning to introduce. An illustration appeared on the cover of the company’s magazine for April 1947, as shown below:

Cover of April 1947 LMS Magazine

It is clear from this illustration that this shows the 10000 and 10001 classic diesels, and the bottom illustration shows what became 10800, as built by the North British Locomotive Co.

10000 with post 1956

Of course much of the argument against nationalisation was based on finance and compensation to shareholders. A particular point of concern was how to determine the value of the assets being taken into public ownership. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Glenvil Hall (MP for Colne Valley) made it pretty clear in one debate:

  • There were people in the party to which I have the honour to belong who believed that, in taking over certain industries and services, there was much to be said for confiscation. On the other hand, for many years it has been the settled policy of the Labour Party that right, proper and just compensation should be paid. When we faced the electors at the last General Election that principle was made clear in the document familiar to us all as “Let us face the future.” Therefore we say that in our view, in taking over industries and services mentioned there, just compensation should be paid.

Source: http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1947/apr/28/clause-16-compensation

The arguments to and fro continued, but the bill did finally receive its assent from the King on the 6th August, and from the railways’ perspective the next round of struggles would centre on whether LMS, LNER, GWR, or Southern practices in running the railways would take the upper hand. Those who perhaps think that the inter-war years and even the last years of the “Big Four” were success, should consider perhaps that the Government was subsidising private companies in the late 1940s, and even before World War II, company revenues were “managed”. As British Railways came into being, this comment made by Ernest Davies the labour MP for Enfield, during a debate in the House of Commons when opposition MPs were trying to reject the “vesting date” of 1st January 1948 is interesting:

  • “…There are many reasons why we should fix this target of 1st January, 1948, for the transfer of the railway and canal undertakings to the Commission. The first is that this country cannot afford to delay the transfer, because at present the taxpayer is subsidising the railways to the extent of £11,500,000 a year.”

Source: http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1947/apr/30/clause-12-vesting-of-undertakings#column_1973

So, the Government was subsidising private railway companies in the 1940s, just as it is today – we are back to where we were 70 years ago.

Last Days of “The Big Four”

On the matter of locomotives, steam was still king, but on the Southern the electrification works had progressed to cover – literally – a lot of ground, whilst the LNER had embarked on main electrification using overhead contact systems.

Small steps in adopting new technology perhaps, and with diesel shunters taking on increasing amounts of work, the LMS was the first to enter the fray with main line designs. It has to be said too, that both the LMS and GWR began flirting with less conventional propulsion systems – hence the arrival of gas turbine powered locomotives.

Steam traction was being converted to oil firing in many places, and with the shortage of coal, as many as 1,217 locomotives were planned for conversion to oil firing. The process was initiated by the Big Four in 1946, with the old GWR being first to start the process, when No. 5955 “Garth Hall” was converted in that year, and the North British Locomotive Co. was authorised by the then Minister of Transport to supply 1200 sets of oil-burning equipment.

This project was not a success, and all of the locomotives planned for conversion, and those which had been converted, were re-converted in less than a year after British Railways started operations in January 1948.

After the end of the Second World War, the railways in Britain – as in the examples above – were planning major, and in some cases, revolutionary changes. The majority of people still travelled by rail, although the trains, manpower and structures, had all suffered from the ravages of the recently ended hostilities. Steam was still the principal means of motive power, although elsewhere, in the USA in particular, the diesel-electric locomotive was making rapid progress, and it looked set for a promising future here too, as the LMSR had been demonstrating.

Electric traction was already a force to be reckoned with, notably the third rail systems, whilst electrification at1500Vd.c, with overhead catenary was gaining in popularity, as the lines from Liverpool St. to Shenfield, and across the Pennines between Manchester and Sheffield bore effective testimony. Very little real change was evident in the first couple of years after nationalisation, as the newly formed Railway Executive got down to the task of managing British Railways from its headquarters so recently vacated at 222 Marylebone Road – ‘TheKremlin’. The members of the 1948 Railway Executive included:

Sir Eustace Missenden W.P.Allen
Sir Wilfrid Ayre V.M. Barrington-Ward
C.Neville R.A.Riddles
J.C.L.Train Field Marshall Sir William Slim
D.Blee

The military connection was continued throughout those early years until Slim was replaced in 1949 by General Sir Daril Watson, and later, and perhaps more widely known, General Sir Brian Robertson, who presided over the early years of dieselisation.

The public face of the new organisation was given these early brand images as we call them today, but back then they were referred to as ‘totems’. Needless to say they soon acquired more colourful nicknames – the “double sausage” and the “cat on a mangle wheel”. The lion and wheel emblem was eventually applied to the sides of tank engines, and the tenders of main line locomotives, whilst the double sausage was used on station name signs, and a great deal of documentation.

Nationalisation was not of itself, a panacea to cure an illness which had dogged the industry for many years before 1948. The four main line railways had each earned themselves nicknames, which demonstrated the regard in which they were held by the travelling public the LMSR for instance was the ‘Long, Miserable &Slow Railway’, the GWR was not known as frequently as some would have us believe, as ‘God’s Wonderful Railway’, but more commonly, the ‘Great Way Round’. Punctuality featured heavily in the companies’ names, with the LNER becoming the ‘Late and Never Early Railway’, and the Southern was the ‘Slow Railway’. The latter particularly apt perhaps for the 21st Century equivalent in the latest incarnation of the Southern!

Changing Operations

BR Double Sausage

On the passenger front, in1948 the total number of passenger journeys made had fallen below the 1,000 million mark, since pre-war days, and remained at that level until 1955.   Freight carried by British Railways was always heavily weighted in favour of coal traffic, which made up around 60% of the total between 1948 and 1955, even showing a slight increase until the early 1960s. In contrast, there was a general decline in freight traffic between 1948 and 1962, from 273 million tons a year to 228 millions a year, a reduction of 16 1/2 %.

So 70 years ago, the massive programme of nationalisation of all the country’s transport undertakings was begun, and throughout the decade that followed, many changes were made, in both organization and technology – some at a rather quicker pace than others. Perhaps some of the most negative effects on the operation of railways – for both passenger and freight were to come after the mid 1960s – and the unfair competition with heavily subsidized road building schemes in particular.

The irony of today’s “privatised” railways is that they are even more fragmented in their operations than the pre 1948 railway companies had been, and they too are not meeting the needs of transport in the 21st century in the UK.

-oOo-

 

Crossrail 2 Hits the Buffers?

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In a press release today, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) expressed concern that Crossrail2 was not mentioned in this week’s Queen’s Speech, although commitment to HS2 was retained.

Crossrail 2 is targeted at relieving congestion on commuter routes into and across London, but it will be some years before this project is completed.  Crossrail 1, or “The Elizabeth Line” is not due to open for services until 2018/19.

“We are, however, concerned that there was no mention of Crossrail 2 in the Speech. This scheme is vital not only to keep London moving and to support its further economic and social development, but also as a key element of the national transport infrastructure which serves the entire national economy. As Britain looks to plan for a post-Brexit future, investment in mobility is of even greater importance. Therefore, CILT calls on the Government to make a clear commitment to the future of the Crossrail 2 project.”

The line itself – if it is ever built – follows the route illustrated below:

Crossrail 2

The core line from Tottenham Hale and Seven Sisters through St Pancras, Euston, Victoria and down to Clapham Junction.  I suspect that the ‘branches’ will never get built, and now, maybe even doubts about this ‘core’ section.

Maybe the CILT aren’t far wrong as Daniel Parker-Klein, Head of Policy, CILT said:

“It is imperative that Government commits to support the development of Crossrail 2.  This scheme is essential for not only London’s future but for the whole of the UK.  There is little time for delay – a hybrid bill must be submitted by 2020.  Without it, the benefits of HS2 may not be realised, the movement of goods and people will be constrained and the UK’s economy will be less resilient to meet the demands of an uncertain future.”

What a good job we have a competent and wide ranging transport strategy in the UK as leave the EU.

-oOo-