Watchdog rap for Railtrack
Sunday 15 November 1998
In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, John O'Brien, the head of the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising (Opraf), denounced Railtrack for arguing that train operators were motivated to run lots of trains but not to run them well.
His comments come just days after John Swift, the rail regulator whose job is to oversee Railtrack, warned the company not to massage performance figures to bolster its case for railway reform. Such a tactic, said Mr Swift, was "unacceptable".
The rail industry has "every incentive in the world" to schedule more trains, Mr O'Brien said. "They would attract more passengers and therefore more revenue. I'm perfectly happy to accept that at the margins we should be reviewing performance regimes. But I do not accept that the way they are structured systematically produces poor performance. It is manifestly untrue."
Railtrack and the 25 train operators, who have been summoned for a meeting on 26 November with John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, are blaming each other for poor levels of reliability and punctuality.
One railway source said: "The train operators are steaming mad [at Railtrack]."
Go-Ahead Group, which operates Thameslink and Thames Trains, was angered after Railtrack said that it was to blame for only 35 per cent of delays, while 65 per cent were the fault of the train firms.
Go-Ahead said Railtrack's chief executive, Gerald Corbett, "should concentrate on getting his own operation to perform before pontificating". Go-Ahead added that Railtrack was responsible for 80 per cent of delays on both its franchises.
Currently, operators pay Railtrack for access to the railway lines, of which about 90 per cent is fixed. The train companies then receive subsidy from - or pay a fee to - the Treasury to run their services and may then receive money or be penalised under the incentive scheme.
Railtrack wants a new "economic architecture" for the rail system. Subsidy would depend on performance. A spokesman said the company was trying to "add to the debate about what is the best framework for punctuality".
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 3 Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
- 4 Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£500 - £550 per day: Cornwallis Elt : Business Systems, Business Analyst, Plat...
£90000 - £110000 per annum: Cornwallis Elt : Solution Architect, Credit Risk, ...
£44999 - £60001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A Top Tier firm i...
£77099.84 - £96375.26 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Harrington Starr: My clie...