This is published today by the UK government's Department for Transport (DfT). It is worth reading. See for yourself here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-brown-review-of-the-rail-franchising-programme.
It has good bits and some not so good bits and there are some areas that I don't think are clear for the reader but overall, pragmatic if unimaginative. He comes down on the side of franchising (well he would wouldn't he?) and tells the DfT to get on with it. He also suggests that the franchising process should be properly mapped out and individual franchises renewed in a considered programme to avoid peaks and troughs in workload. Blindingly obvious really. Why didn't they do it before? See Laidlaw.
What they really need in the DfT are people who understand the railway business both commercially and technically. They need to understand the railway system and its interfaces at all levels. Then perhaps we can avoid some of the really daft ideas that have come out of the organisation over the last few years - IEP for example.
Friday, 4 January 2013
A lecture will be given by Professor Felix Schmid on Thursday 10th January 2013 at 13:00 at the University of Birmingham, Gisbert Kapp Building and will be entitled
‘Managing the Complexity of High-Speed Rail through Simplicity’
Felix will report on the lessons that he drew from his study visit to Central Japan Railway in late October-early November 2012. He will suggest that the Shinkansen system must be viewed as a successful example of railway systems engineering. He will argue that the choice of a different starting point for the design has led to a more economical and sustainable solution even though it may be viewed as rather old fashioned when compared to French / German / Spanish high speed lines.
A buffet lunch will be available beforehand. If you are interested in attending, please contact Mrs Joy Grey at: Dept of Civil Engineering, Gisbert Kapp Building Tel: +44 (0)121 414 4342 Fax: +44 (0)121 414 4291 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org