The Rail Value for Money Study : profound insights or another denial of the obvious ?

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In February 2010 the Department for Transport and the Office of Rail Regulation jointly commissioned a study of the Value for Money of the railway and appointed Sir Roy McNulty to lead it.  His group reported in May 2011, and the findings have influenced Government policy as expressed in the Command Paper published in March 2012

See http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/reforming-our-railways/reforming-our-railways.pdf.

The industry has accepted the main findings, including the setting up of a Rail Delivery Group composed of senior people from the principal companies and the move toward close working between the newly-devolved route administrations of Network Rail and the associated Train Operating Company/ies.  However, many commentators have queried both the reliability and the interpretation of some of McNulty's conclusions and noted the absence of a recommendation to reunify the railway, despite the recognition that when a system is so fragmented it becomes inherently inefficient and costly.

A curious feature of the Study was that no public invitation to submit evidence and ideas was issued, while its method of working was opaque.  Nonetheless PTN did make a submission (although it was never acknowledged !).

The reports can be accessed at http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/realising-the-potential-of-gb-rail.

PTN's submission is here : VFM.doc.

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