April 2002


April 27, 2002

Some More On Vertical Integration

Patrick Crozier | Fragmentation

I believe that railways work best when they are vertically integrated ie. that the operator of the trains owns the track. I got more support for that view from Central Railway.

Central Railway (as I mentioned yesterday) is planning to build a 400 mile freight railway from Liverpool to Northern France via the Channel Tunnel. They are desperate to keep control of both the trains and the track. Why? They know their business will stand or fall on reliability. If goods do not arrive on time, or pretty close to it, customers will find an alternative. Reliability is built on reliable trains running on well kept tracks. Both parts are vital. It is of course, possible to divide the two and manage the interface by contract. That is precisely what has been tried on Britain's railways, without conspicuous success. It seems that managing a railway by contract is just too difficult.

The difficulty in the fragmented approach comes into sharp focus with the issue of engineering works. The operator wants the work carried out at night. That way he can keep his trains running during the day. The contractor, on the other hand, wants the work carried out during the day. That way, he has more time, can do the job in fewer "goes" and doesn't have to fork out a fortune in overtime payments. In a contractual arrangement there is a constant tension between these two points of view. But if there is no contract and the operator and contractor are part of the same company, one person at the top can decide which approach should be taken according to the specific circumstances involved.

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April 25, 2002

The Central Railway

Patrick Crozier | Best of Transport Blog | Rail Economics

Imagine, if you will, an entirely new railway starting at Liverpool and calling at Manchester, Sheffield, Leicester and the West of London before travelling through the Channel Tunnel on its way to Northern France.

Imagine it being fully electrified and capable of taking fully-laden lorry trailers (something that no UK railway can currently do.)

Imagine this railway taking 3 million lorry journeys off the roads every year.

Imagine reasonably generous compensation being made to those affected and imagine the whole line being built in the private sector without a penny of government subsidy.

Too good to be true? Not if the Central Railway has anything to do with it.

The Central Railway was set up in the early 1990s to make this dream a reality. Its directors believe that there is a potentially huge market for its services and that it will make a handsome return to its shareholders. In doing so, it would take huge numbers of lorries off our roads, make trade with the Continent faster and cheaper and go a long way to meeting the Government's freight on rail targets. It would also provide additional passenger transport capacity on parts of its route as well as electrifying part of the diesel-only Chiltern line North West of London.

This project comes as close as anything on the railways to the libertarian ideal. So why hasn't it been built yet?

Two words: the State. New railways need parliamentary approval. They need it in order to slice through the UK's convoluted planning system and to secure the compulsory purchase of land along the route. An attempt was made to gain approval in 1996 but foundered when it failed to get Government time and was "talked out" by backbenchers. Now, six years later Central Railway is gearing up for another bite at the cherry. One can only hope it succeeds.

If it does succeed (and that's a big "if"), that will mean it has taken the thick end of 10 years to get approval for one railway. In the 1840s (if my memory serves me correctly) hundreds of railway bills were pushed through parliament. In a brief whirlwind of activity the foundations were laid for the best railway anywhere in the world. It's not as if it can't be done, so why the delay?

Part of the reason stems from the vast increase in the amount of (usually bad, usually unnecessary) legislation that the Government lays before Parliament. Getting time for bills like Central Railway's is no laughing matter. But there is another factor here: the Government's own involvement in the railways.

In the 1840s, the Government couldn't care less. "You want a bill? Fine, here's the approval. But if you go bust that's your neck on the block." But here and now in the noughties, Governments do care. They have ministries, regulations, European regulations, subsidies and strategic authorities. They are up to their necks in railways and the voters know it. If things go wrong it is the government that gets the blame. If the Central Railway were to go bust it could become the government's problem. They might have to pay for it to be completed just like they are having to with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Not a happy prospect.

So, the government is undertaking its own assessment of Central Railway's viability. The fools. Don't they realise that this makes their position a whole load worse? Don't they realise that if they give their imprimatur to the project and it fails they'll be under even more pressure to bail it out?

It's not just the viability issue that is holding things up. The Government has targets for rail freight. It wants an 80% increase by 2010. But Central Railway, by taking such a huge amount of freight off the roads affects this target. Now, it would seem that this is all to the good. Surely, if someone is offering to help you out and it's not going to cost you a penny you should take them up? But it is not that simple. If the Central Railway succeeds, it would go a long way to showing that government intervention and "strategic" thinking aren't necessary. People would start to wonder if we really need all those Ministry of Transport civil servants. It could be P45s all round. Expect some tortured arguments as bureaucrats find ever more esoteric ways of hanging on to their jobs.

Update 30/08/04

The Central Railway's application for government support was turned down on 25 March 2004

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April 23, 2002

Glossary

Patrick Crozier | Transport General
BRBritish Rail. The former nationalised railway in Great Britain
CLGCompany Limited by Guarantee. No shareholders, no profits, board appointed by the government.
HSEHealth and Safety Executive. The nationalised safety police
JLEJubilee Line Extension. Runs from Green Park to Stratford via Westminster, Canary Wharf and the Dome. Cost £3.5bn. Estimated return to property owners on the route: £13.5bn
NSENetwork SouthEast. The bit of BR that used to run commuter trains in London and the South East.table with merged cells
PSRPassenger Service Requirement. The minimum level of service that a TOC is contracted to deliver
RSARailway Study Association. Membership based industry association which organises lectures and study visits.
SRAStrategic Rail Authority. Awards franchises and funds large projects on Britain's privatised railway
ShinkansenThe Japanese bullet train. First introduced in 1964. Runs on dedicated lines that other trains cannot use.
TOCsTrain Operating Companies. The people who operate trains on the UK's network. Position is awarded for a limited period (known as a franchise) by the SRA
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April 22, 2002

Safety is Dangerous

Patrick Crozier | General Points (not just transport) | Rail Safety | State Hypocrisy

U-turns are normally confined to public highways but according to this article it seems it is about to tried out on the railway. A government-appointed, totally independent, expertly-advised commission has stated that ERTMS, the all singing, all dancing safety system is dangerous. It is dangerous because it will reduce capacity hence forcing people onto the roads which are something like 50 times more dangerous than railways. This is strange because not six months ago another government-appointed, totally independent, expertly-advised (and shockingly expensive) commission (the Cullen Inquiry) was telling us that ERTMS was absolutely essential. So which are the bunch of morons, Prime Minister? From whom should we seek an apology and our tax money?

Of course, it doesn't work like that. Governments are short term and we are merely seeing the latest flip-flop. As I pointed out a few weeks ago, now that Railtrack has been nationalised the government has to pay the bills. It was quite happy to saddle the privatised Railtrack with no end of obligations (one of the reasons it got into difficulty) but sees no reason why consistency should ever apply to such a noble undertaking as the state.

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April 21, 2002

Graffiti and Vandalism

Patrick Crozier | Rail Crime

I was interested to see this article in the Independent. I have complained about glass and other kinds of graffiti before and I am somewhat surprised to hear that the Train Operating Companies and the British Transport Police are on the case. I am just not sure I entirely believe it.

Yesterday, I was passing a branch of Cafe Nero in Central London. What caught my eye was the guy outside who appeared to be buffing away a piece of glass graffiti on the front door. So, it can be done. And if so, why aren't the train operators doing it?

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April 20, 2002

Accentuate the Negative, Disregard the Positive

Patrick Crozier | Media | Privatisation Benefits

Passengers hit by rail delays. That's what the headline says so it must be bad news, right? No, wrong. Actually, it is a good news story. Chiltern Railways is actually laying a whole new piece of track. This will mean that the section between Banbury and Bicester is a double track. This is good because it means trains heading in opposite directions won't in future have to wait for one another. This will mean more services, faster services and more reliable services. But because the story in the UK right now is all gloom and doom of course the headline has to be about the unfortunate but unavoidable delay that is the inevitable consequence of carrying out this very useful work. Tossers.

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April 19, 2002

Transport Iberia

Patrick Crozier | Railways - Other

Our friends at Spangolink explain how things are done (sort of) in Spain

Imagine a hub (Madrid) with six spokes, pointing northwest to Valladolid/Galicia/Oporto/La Coruña, north to Burgos/Bilbao/Basque Country/France, northeast to Zaragoza/Barcelona/Catalonia/Costa Brava/France, east-southeast to Valencia/Alicante/Costa Blanca/Murcia, south to Córdoba/Sevilla/Costa del Sol/Cádiz/Málaga, and west-southwest to Badajoz/Lisbon/Portugal. Now imagine a wheel connecting the endpoints of those spokes. That's the traditional and correct model of land transport in Iberia.

Today modern divided limited-access highways trace the spokes and wheel; the older ones, in Catalonia and the northeast, carry heavy tolls. Resentful Catalans often whine, whimper, and weep about this shockingly clear evidence of the perfidy of hated Madrid.

The basic rail network also traces the spokes quite well, but the wheel fairly badly except along the France-Barcelona-Valencia-Murcia Mediterranean route.

Now. Let's imagine that it's the mid-80s and you're introducing a high-speed rail network to Spain. What do you do first? Logical answer: Build the spoke connecting your hub (Madrid) to your sixth city, Zaragoza, and your second city, Barcelona, also a sea and air hub, which would then go on to link with the high-speed network of your biggest neighbor, TGV pioneer France. Spanish answer: Build the spoke to your fifth city, Sevilla, because they were having a World's Fair there in 1992 and because the PM at the time, Felipe González, is from there. Then get working on that Madrid-Barcelona-France spoke sometime or another, like maybe so it'll be done as far as Zaragoza by 2005 or so.

Originally published by Spangolink. Reproduced with permission.

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Flights to London to double

Patrick Crozier | Airport Expansion

Well, what do you expect? People want to come to London and Londoners, having earnt a packet want to spend it on holidays in the sun. But, of course, this is not going to be presented as good news or a sign of progress but as an opportunity to whip up fears about noise. I have an interest in this. I live underneath the flight path at Heathrow. When most planes fly over the TV goes funny and when Concorde flies over I have to explain to anyone on the phone that they'll have to wait because I can't hear a word they are saying. Heathrow and its planes are a minor inconvenience to me. A doubling of flights would be a slightly bigger minor inconvenience.

If there is to be such a doubling I would like to receive some form of compensation but in the crazy world of statist economics this possibility doesn't exist. The only way potential losers can fight is by opposing ALL development. This is done through local councils who hire armies of lawyers to fight the airport and its army of lawyers. The whole thing lasts an age an at the end of the day everybody loses. If, on the other hand, the airport just built the facilities and asked a court to sort out the compensation, not only would we get the extra capacity in double quick time but us locals would not feel so put out. So, why doesn't it happen? Beats me.

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Read This

Patrick Crozier | Road Pricing

In his blog from yesterday Tim Evans listed a number of articles related to road privatisation including this one by Brian Micklethwait. For some reason I had overlooked it. Damn. It really is very good. It looks at many aspects of how private provision would work and does it very well. Rather better, in fact, than I have done here. Double damn. I don't know what Brian's talent is. I suppose it is the ability to put down in writing what the rest of us think. Sounds easy but it isn't. The only consolation is that Brian admits that it took him two years (on and off) to produce. So, the rest of us don't have to feel completely inadequate.

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April 18, 2002

Take me to the supply side, Comrade Ken

Guest Writer | London Congestion Charging | Road Pricing

Dr. Tim Evans welcomes 'Red Ken' to the world of capitalist rationality... sort of

I have long been an advocate of private roads and road pricing. State ownership of public space and its attendant services such as police beat patrols is madness. Indeed, I have long believed that London and all other geographic areas will only get decent integrated roads and transport systems through genuine private ownership and good old free market price signalling.

What I did not expect was that that doyen of the British left and now Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, would be the man to instigate the transition to such an approach. Let me be clear, Livingstone is planning to introduce road pricing into the capital city early next year. However imperfect his plans will be (and my God, they have some glaring holes at present) and however he seeks to dress this move up with all the usual environmental waffle, the long term affect of his policy of "congestion charging" is going to lead to the commodification of public space. By pricing roads, encouraging an income stream down them and therefore deriving revenue, Livingstone will slowly become addicted to the money.

As he becomes addicted and the approach spreads - already Durham, Cheshire, Milton Keynes, Surrey, Warwickshire, Isle of Wight, Cumbria, South Gloucestershire, Leeds, Hampshire, Derby and at least twenty other areas are already talking to the Department of Transport about introducing road pricing - the incentive for a supply side revolution in roads and public space will mount. For as money pours into the coffers and drivers slip into the psychology of becoming consumers of road space, so there will be ever more pressure to find new ways of generating more income and therefore getting the supply side of public space to meet people’s demands: that is - some semblance of a market approach.

It is with this in mind that the utopian ideas so long espoused by the Libertarian Alliance in such glorious pamphlets as:

...will begin to become relevant to everyday experience and discourse. And that in turn could well mean fantastic new private roads and even maintenance work being undertaken with the customer in mind and not the producer interest.

Sure, these new roads might be built underground by private sector companies who put in the latest air purification technology. And yes, the owners of X road might well want to contract with a private security company to breath test one in every 10,000 drivers for excessive alcohol. But hell, that is capitalism. The owners of X road will want to tell customers that this road is the cleanest and safest way to travel.

None of this will happen in the short term. But slowly, step by step, the incentives to engage a market in road provision are mounting. Sod the Queen’s nationalised highway. I want it owned by capitalists. As a driver, I want roads to be appropriately priced and to be served as a customer.

Come to think of it, perhaps that is why those most hard-line privatisers at the Adam Smith Institute had Ken Livingstone visit their offices three times over the last year on the subject of roads?

Come on comrade Ken, scatter those libertarian seeds and take us to the supply side!

Dr. Tim Evans

Originally published by Libertarian Samizdata. Reproduced with permission.

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Miscellaneous Index

Patrick Crozier |

Prior Planning and Preparation Produces Piss-Poor Performance
British Airways Goes Budget
Abolish the Ministry of Transport
Flights to London to double
Airport Landing Rights
Should we fear the EasyJet/Go Merger?
Air Traffic Control - delays across the UK
The dynamics of the relationship between the state and free enterprise - the bigger the state the worse it gets.
Pile-up on the ranting super-highway - private roads also have rules.
Our nuthead safety fascists...anti-car stupidity is not confined to the UK.
That Transport Plan - MPs savaage the Government's Transport "Plan"
More on the rules of the private road - James Haney on how bad things are in Texas
Road tolls seen as tax on business - why tolls are good for you.
Utilities fight hole-in-road charges
Abolish the Department of Transport
On helmets for cyclists
Public and private transport (generally speaking) do not compete
A Libertarian Transport Manifesto
L'affaire Sixsmith - or why spin no longer works
Now here's a challenge... - one person wonders what all the fuss is about
The car share to nowhere - why they won't work and what the alternative is

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Apologies Connex

Patrick Crozier | Connex | Rail Safety | Railways - Other

In an article I wrote about Connex a month ago or so, readers may have got the impression that I thought the organisation was on a downhill path to nowhere in particular. Last night I went along to a Railway Study Association lecture given by Olivier Brousse, Connex's Chief Executive, and now I am not so sure. Brousse gave the impression of being a man in charge of his business. In my earlier article I said that I felt that getting railways right was about getting a whole bunch of small things right and - hey presto - that is exactly what Brousse talked about. In the two years since he took over they have improved depot procedures, cleaning, staff rostering, staff training, staff conditions, communications between signal boxes and control centres and introduced co-operative working practices with Railtrack. They have decided to start listening and communicating with staff. They undertake an annual staff survey, publish an internal newsletter, gave staff money to spend on mess rooms and allowed staff to design their own uniforms.

Over the last few months I had been wondering why Connex no longer appeared at the bottom of punctuality league tables. Now I know why - it's improved. At some point Connex realised that rather than concentrate on profits it was time to concentrate on the business. This is a point that Michael Gerber and many others have made - concentrate on your system and profits will follow. As it happens Connex profits have not followed - yet. And there are still all sorts of problems but they are likely to be in a stronger position in the long term.

Brousse also made an interesting point about safety. He said "Even a minor derailment or a collision can cost a fortune. I mean millions." That would appear to echo what I have said in the past about how expensive accidents can be.

There were a few other gems. People (including me) often complain about the fragmented nature of Britain's railways. According to an SNCF (French railways) friend of Brousse, there the fragmentation is on the inside. SNCF may be one company but that does not mean that the different bits talk to one another. Connex seems to have made the decision to bury the hatchet with Railtrack. Which is odd because that is exactly what seems to be happening between Railtrack and its maintenance contractors. Maybe, just maybe Britain's railway is starting to sort itself out.

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April News Stories

Patrick Crozier |

I know I haven't published for a while but I have been reading the papers so here is a list of the stories I have noticed:

Rail

Blaze cripples Liverpool St
Rail safety options announced
Germans recreate little bit of England
Two killed in California train crash
Worried banks put bid for Railtrack at risk
Why rail legal ticket's a sticky wicket (scroll down to end)
Crossrail back on track
'Paddington trauma made me kill'
New £3.5bn rail safety system 'will cost lives'
Rail safety system under fire
US groups plot £20bn rail deal
Delayed report shows Byers is failing to fulfil transport goals
Glass graffiti craze could halt trains
Analysis: Safety issue adds to Amtrak woes
NHS 'doctor' could be a sick joke [includes section about the treatment of the Rail Regulator]
US train crash kills three
Rail firm writes Winsor fears into contract
Regulatory buffer
Commuters: Don't ever expect a seat
Effect of a new North-South railway
Fast train to Provence puts Britain to shame
WestLB 'set to drop Railtrack bid'
Railtrack investors to reject compensation and sue Byers
100 left on tracks as train splits in middle
Railtrack payout
Cash plea to boost West Country rail
200mph dream of North-South railway to end roads gridlock
Commuters 'expect lasting chaos'
Rail safety system costs 'soar'
Rail link slammed over advert claims
Wrong Track - The Spectator
The track controller - Interview with Chairman of Network Rail
Christian Wolmar: £300m is worth it to get railways heading for the right destination

Other
North Circular roars into first place
The biggest hole in the road yet
'A tidal wave' of road restrictions
BA in new cuts as bmi suffers
Blackwall Tunnel safety slammed
Heathrow pollution extends 17 miles
In the Easyjet stream of a serial entrepreneur
Flights to London to double
Challenge of 'fly-by-nights' that fly all over

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April 03, 2002

£3bn is a Lot Of Money

Patrick Crozier | Channel Tunnel Rail Link | Railtrack Administration

I know that sounds banal but the news that Railtrack is to sell Phase I of the Channel Tunnel Rail link makes me feel the need to point it out. I hope I am wrong on this but the CTRL is going to cost £6bn of taxpayers money - that's £200 per taxpayer. Half of it - call that £3bn - is going to be sold for, wait for it, £375m. That's not far off an 85% depreciation before a single train has used it.

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Safety Costs Soar

Patrick Crozier | Rail Safety | Railtrack Administration

At least they about to according to this article in the Independent. It seems the much vaunted ATP system (actually it is either called ETCS or ERTMS but definitely not ATP) which campaigners demanded after the Ladbroke Grove crash is going to cost a lot more than even the original astronomical estimates. By the way, the article's claim that ERTMS increases capacity is something of a moot point in railway circles.

There is something of a shifting of the tectonic plates going on in government circles at the moment. In the good old days, when Railtrack was a private company, the Government would think nothing of bashing the industry, setting up enquiries, levying fines and wrapping it up in Red Tape. But now that Railtrack has to all intents and purposes been nationalised the Government is waking up to the fact that it now has to pay the bills. All of a sudden rhetoric has become an expensive commodity. It is remarkable that since Railtrack was placed into administration the formerly voluble Regulator and the Health and Safety Executive have been as quiet as church mice. I thoroughly expect this particular scheme to be quietly abandoned or downgraded before too long.

The sadness is that it seems the only time the State sees sense is when it has to take responsibility for its own actions. In such an atmosphere I despair that a sensible policy will ever come about.

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Prior Planning and Preparation Produces Piss-Poor Performance

Patrick Crozier | Planning

Or at least it does when it comes to land-use planning (US=zoning). I have touched on this subject a couple of times before because I feel that planning and infrastructure are inextricably linked. There's no point in building something if people can't get to it and no point in building the link if there is nothing to link to. Anyway, Mark Pennington, an academic, has written a pamphlet on the subject of planning in the UK; reviewed here by Matt Ridley. I have met Mark Pennington at, guess what, a seminar on infrastructure and planning. He is pretty switched on and I am sure he has written an excellent piece. With any luck we'll be able to get him along to one of Brian's Fridays before too long.

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Rush-hour chaos as Circle line

Patrick Crozier | London Underground

Rush-hour chaos as Circle line is shut. Headline says it all. Just another day in London's decline.

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Tom Burroughes lets the London

Patrick Crozier | London Underground

Tom Burroughes lets the London Underground get to him. Nifty logo.

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British Airways Goes Budget

Patrick Crozier | Airlines UK | Inter-modal Competition

BA is going head to head with EasyJet, GO and other budget carriers by abolishing Saturday night and advance purchase restrictions and selling far more tickets online on domestic routes. Good, and about time too. One of the reasons I have become such an EasyJet supporter is that they don't offer a confusing array of tickets and make it easy to compare prices online. So it is good to see BA following suit.

However, there is a rail downside. Typically, companies like GNER and Virgin charge very similar fares to BA. This is because on, say, the London to Manchester or London to Newcastle routes the two modes are broadly speaking competitive on speed and comfort. I haven't looked up fares recently but I seem to remember that a 1st Class London to Newcastle Return on GNER is about £200. Now that BA is weighing in with fares as low as £69 the Inter-City TOCs could well find themselves squeezed.

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April 02, 2002

But Passenger Numbers Have Gone Up!

Patrick Crozier | Best of Transport Blog | British Rail Privatisation

The claim is often made that despite its many failings pseudo-privatisation of the UK's railways has led to a huge increase in passengers. Figures of about 30% are typically bandied about, the implication being that the private sector has created a more attractive package on the railways and that, therefore, more people want to use them. It is certainly true that a lot more people are using the railways but the question is why and does pseudo-privatisation really account for the increase? There are other possible explanations: people living further from work, the increase in taxes on petrol and Britain's economic boom. Is it possible to isolate these factors and come up with a reasonable estimate as to the real impact of pseudo-privatisation?

I ask because my own experiences on the railway leave me deeply sceptical. In the early 1990s I commuted to London using BR. It wasn't great, it wasn't particularly bad. Sometimes I got a seat, sometimes I didn't. The train was often full of litter but rarely dirty, though this may be because the trains were new. The service was acceptably unpunctual. I didn't really start using overland rail again until the late 1990s when I moved from Watford to Twickenham. It's a different service down here - electrified by third rail rather than overhead wire and the rolling stock is different so direct comparisons are difficult but my impressions are much the same. Trains are dirty, unpunctual and (if travelling at peak time) I sometimes get a seat. Vandalism, especially with the new practice of scratching windows seems to have got worse. I use trains more but that is mainly because I found the costs of keeping a car (in part due to petrol taxes) prohibitive and, well, driving is just no fun anymore. To sum up I do not use the train more because the service improved but because the alternatives got worse.

Is there a way of comparing things? Possibly. First of all in London we have the Tube which is still owned by the Government, so comparisons can be made there. Secondly, there is data from the last economic boom in the 1980s so it is possible to strip out (in a rather clumsy fashion) the increase in use due to economic growth. Unfortunately, I can see no way of factoring in the effect of the State's anti-road policy - all road users have suffered equally.

There is a further problem here. How do you measure train usage? There are at least three measures available: passenger journeys, passenger miles and revenue. And how are these being measured? The collection of fares is a haphazard business. Many stations in London do not have a ticket collector or an electronic gate. It is therefore very easy to dodge the fare and therefore the statistics. We have to assume that fare dodging has remained constant.

The only figures that are easy to compare are those between London Underground and the London Commuter TOCs.

According to the Ministry of Transport (or whatever it is called this week) the number of people arriving in London in the peak was as follows:

  LU LCTs 
1995/6 348 395
2000/1 389 465
Increase % 11.8 17.7
All figures in '000s click for source

Now, that sounds good for the TOCs but what we have to bear in mind is that TOC fares are controlled by an inflation-x formula while LU fares are controlled by politicians. According to my convoluted calculations the cost to travel a mile on LU has gone up by 9.4% in the period and on the ex-NSE it has fallen by 3.1%. See Tables 23 and 24

Cost/km on Network South East and its successors:

  Passenger Journeys (bn km) Receipts (£m) Cost/passenger km
1995/6  13.3 1293 0.097
2000/1  18.4  1732  0.094
Cost/passenger km (£) LU  NSE
1995/6  0.138  0.097
2000/1 0.151  0.094
Increase %  9.4  -3.1

From this point I have to make a leap of faith but it seems to me that the extra increase in journeys on "privatised" trains could quite easily be accounted for by the decrease in fares.

Or to put it another way passenger numbers have not increased as the result of a "better" service.

UPDATE

Are you from Malaysia? Have you reached this by typing in the words "unpunctual" or "train"? If so, you are one of many. I have got about 100 hits over recent days from people like you so please tell me, what is going on? Is it some school project or something? It may be the case that I can help you but I'll need to know a little more about what you want.

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IN BRIEF

This is a list of date-based archives from the In Brief section:

November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004