Rail Industry Focus

12.04.16

Infrastructure planning: Moving away from stop-start investment

Source: RTM Apr/May 16

Devolution of Network Rail’s routes should not be seen as the panacea for solving every problem the industry comes up against, according to Jo Kaye, director of network strategy and capacity planning at Network Rail. 

Following the recent Shaw Report into the future shape and financing of Network Rail, which recommended that the infrastructure owner should go “deeper and faster” with its devolution model, Kaye noted that devolution may be the answer to a number things – but not everything. 

Devolved relationships 

She told the audience at Infrarail’s Infrastructure Planning Platform, organised by RTM, that as devolution is rolled out across the country, both at Network Rail and politically, it will be interesting to see how relationships develop with the new bodies on what can be network-wide issues. 

“Clearly, we need to find ways to work with the devolved bodies who are all different in their own ways,” said Kaye. “There are services which are network-wide, so it will be an interesting challenge as new bodies have more powers.” 

Kaye added that differences in funding cycles between the various partners will also be hurdles to be overcome. “I’m very aware that the planning and funding cycle in Network Rail is slightly different to many of the local authorities and organisations we work with and, again, it will be different with NIC (National Infrastructure Commission),” she said. “So we need to work closely together on this.” 

Northern route 

The Shaw Report also recommended the establishment of a new route for the north, which would be formed from the northern sections of the current London North East (LNE) and London North West (LNW) routes. 

Asked about the developments in this area, Kaye said: “For some time now we’ve had a dedicated infrastructure projects organisation across the totality of the north to interface more effectively with colleagues in Rail North and Transport for the North (TfN). Similarly, in strategic planning, for some years, we’ve had a directorate dedicated to the north of England. 

“Mark Carne has asked Michael Holden [the former CEO of Directly Operated Railways] to take a look at that proposal, as there is a multiplicity of stakeholders and customers involved in the concept of a Northern route.“Michael is doing the rounds, on how we can meet those needs. He will be making his recommendations in the next few months.” 

During the panel session David Hoggarth, director at Rail North, added that his team worked very closely with the Shaw Review team and was “delighted with the recommendation and are happy with the proposal”. 

He added that Rail North will now work with Network Rail to implement it as soon as possible. “This is a policy strategic decision to align a major infrastructure provider with the new client of the north, TfN,” said Hoggarth. 

Oomph - Infrarail - 2016 - The Platform - Day 3 -19Left to right: Crossrail 2's Michèle Dix CBE, Network Rail's Jo Kaye and Rail North's David Hoggarth

Speaking about devolution, and Rail North’s ground breaking agreement with the DfT to co-manage the new Northern and TransPennine Express franchises, Hoggarth added that the clear aim is to have full devolution, like Transport Scotland, going forward. 

“To do that we need additional powers,” he said. “We are working with TfN to put those powers into the order to create TfN from next year. Having that strategy and delivery is really important.” 

Hoggarth also noted the importance of ensuring that devolution to the north is followed through and has a continual programme of infrastructure upgrades. “We need to move away from stop-start investment.” 

Asked how this funding should be delivered, and whether Rail North and TfN could implement a business rates supplement for the north similar to Crossrail, Hoggarth said that they do not have the powers for this and it is something that hasn’t actively been considered. 

“What we do want to do is work with industry and business to understand their needs, which hasn’t always been possible in the past,” he said. 

Project funding 

Michèle Dix CBE, managing director of Crossrail 2, also joined the panel session on the final day of Infrarail. She told the audience that while recent NIC recommendations, which say that Crossrail 2 must be developed ‘as a priority’, are welcome, there are risks without having a “complete strategy” in place for the whole country.

“You might want to deliver a strategy first across the country, and then look at individual schemes within that strategy to understand when you make decisions and recommendations that when something goes forward, when there is competition for funding, you have the priorities right,” said Dix. 

“I’d like to have seen that strategy in place already. I think it is a fundamental thing that is required to underpin the whole process.” 

She added that NIC also made recommendations to see if her team could make Crossrail 2 more affordable, as the project is estimated to cost £30bn. 

“So, one of the challenges is to look at all the branches and stations; we’ve got to justify those,” she said. “NIC also threw out a challenge saying if Crossrail 2 is going to deliver homes for London we need to say how we are going to deliver rather than just enable them. 

“Also, what private sector involvement can we get in building some parts of the scheme. Rolling stock? Yes, and then some stations. An example people throw out is Canary Wharf on Crossrail 1. Are there other stations like that along the route?” 

She added that the Crossrail 2 team will aim to replicate the Crossrail 1 model with a business rates supplement and, hopefully, an extension of the Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy. 

“Those are the challenges we are looking at this year, then we’ll make the business case and then start in earnest on a single preferred scheme come March 2017, which we aim to submit for a Hybrid Bill in 2019,” she said. 

Private funding 

On the second day of Infrarail, Network Rail’s chairman, Sir Peter Hendy, stated in his keynote speech that there is a necessity to get private funding into the railway to deliver future upgrades. 

Discussing this change in funding mindset, Kaye said: “It is a conversation that has only recently started. 

“I think the reliance on central government funding for big infrastructure schemes has been there for some time, and it will take some time for people to get their heads around another way of doing things. 

“But I think it is well understood that railways don’t just exist for their own good; they are there to serve communities and bring benefits in all kinds of ways whether it is employment, housing or social.

“It therefore only seems right and proper that those who ultimately benefit from the things that railways do should be thinking about how they contribute. It is a very different way of thinking. 

“For many years, people have not had to think like that. It is a conversation we want to start and continue with.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

View all News

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Year with brand-new infrastructrure to... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio ... more >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to innovate and maximise efficiency in all aspects of its work. Data is just one such way of achievi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >