True stories from the Great Railway Disaster; No 50: so you want to open a new station ?

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The Independent Online
CHRIS SHAW, borough planning officer for Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, is appalled by the escalating cost of reopening the main-line station at Ashchurch.

In 1992 reopening was estimated to cost pounds 353,000. In June 1995 Railtrack put it at pounds 1,025,000. In other words, the price had nearly trebled in three years.

Railtrack explained to Mr Shaw that "the parts of British Rail supplying engineering services are being prepared for privatisation and have been learning about the costs involved in subcontracting". Mr Shaw cites one example of extra costs: as site workers are no longer British Rail employees, safety supervision has to be purchased at a cost of pounds 70,000. Another is that "Railtrack now have penalty clauses in its train path contracts . . . such that if engineering works delay trains, then compensation is payable". This estimated expense has been added to the station costing.

As a result, Mr Shaw writes, "no further station reopenings will take place in the county while project costs remain at this inflated level".