Issue 10/2013

1st March 2013

  • Commuter must vote for TOCs, says Passenger Focus
  • More Network Rail-maintained overhead wires collapse
  • West Coast Railways concern at new ORR compensation rules
In this issue:

Top stories this week

Passengers should be given a vote on whether train operators should continue running services, Passenger Focus‘s Anthony Smith has said. [Daily Telegraph]

West Coast Railways, which boasts services including the train in the Harry Potter films, said it would struggle to absorb proposed ORR compensation payments to other companies if one of its trains broke down. [The Herald]

The West Coast Main Line near Milton Keynes has become the latest part of the rail network to see damage to overheard wires. [BBC News]

  • Network Rail has blamed faulty components on power lines for previous issues on lines in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. [BBC News]

So few passengers use the £60million Thames cable car backed by Boris Johnson that it lost £50,000 in a week, a critic has claimed in [The Times]

  • Defending the system, London Underground’s Mike Brown said the Emirates Air Line has already met its first year target. [The Times]

New services

Services on the Manchester Metrolink tram network were extended to Rochdale railway station on Thursday. [Transport Briefing]

High Speed 2 has been boosted by government plans for a Paving Bill, which will give the transport secretary powers to raise some early funding for the project. [Railnews]

TfL will now provide all the funding for Crossrail‘s new trains, replacing the public-private model announced last year. [TfL press release]

Other news

Fundamental errors combined with a lack of leadership at the Department for Transport led to the West Coast rail fiasco, according to a report by the influential Public Accounts Committee. [Financial Times]

  • [BBC News] quotes the committee as saying the DfT demonstrated a “complete lack of common sense”, costing taxpayers “£50m at the very least”.

Network Rail has been found guilty of breaching health and safety laws after a train killed a car passenger at a level crossing where the track operator had decided not to install an automated safety device. [The Guardian]

London Underground and contractors were fined £300,000 for a runaway maintenance unit in 2011, which came within 600 metres of a packed commuter Tube train near Archway. [Daily Mail]

Bombardier is being sued for more than £780,000 for allegedly failing to pay for goods and services provided by a supplier. [Derby Telegraph]

This week marked six years since the last passenger death on the railways, in stark contrast to a road death every six hours. [The Scotsman]

Financial update

National Express has criticised the Chancellor of the Exchequer for abolishing a grant that allowed heavily discounted travel for the elderly and disabled. [The Times]

  • [4 traders] reports the firm, whose full year profits were affected, called 2012 one of the toughest years in the group’s history.
  • Shares in National Express rose after the results were posted.