Monday 8 December 2003

Wrong kind of rail company?

I had planned to mention this a few days ago but was reminded of it today when I read that train fares in Scotland may rise by as much as 6%

From the original article:

A MAJOR row over the spiralling cost of Scotland’s railways was brewing last night as ScotRail accused Network Rail’s "overblown" cost estimates and "excessive bureaucracy" of jeopardising future expansion.
It looks as though the train operating companies are being overcharged by Network Rail:
Mr Cotton (of ScotRail) will say that ScotRail has repeatedly had to rescue station improvements rather than let them "fall by the wayside on the basis of exorbitant cost estimates" provided by Network Rail.

Mr Cotton will point to work such as the replacement of automatic doors at Glasgow Queen Street, Dundee and Ayr stations being completed by ScotRail for £32,000 - less than half the £72,000 quote by Network Rail’s contractor. Platform lighting at Annan station in Dumfries and Galloway cost ScotRail £18,000 rather than the £55,000 estimate, and anti-trespass and vandalism work totalled £88,000 rather than £330,000.

I note that Network Rail says that: "Looking to apportion blame helps no-one." Nonsense. Apportioning blame is just what's needed. Why am I not surprised to note that the expensive Network Rail is a nationalised entity whilst it's the privately owned ScotRail that is able to improve our stations at reduced cost?