When East Coast finally recast its timetable in May 2011 the spin was that it had taken ten years to achieve and must, by implication, be a good timetable. It was, and remains, poor in many respects, and the long trek to create it was a sorry commentary on the industry processes (against which many individual specialists battled valiantly).
This article in the December 2008 issue of Modern Railways spotlighted an area of railway planning that raises many questions of policy but yet is largeley hidden behind an arcane system. In particular, it described the bizarre situations that are caused by the endemic problem of 'sequential franchising' - that is, the replanning of one route timetable, even one as important as ECML, being overly-constrained by prior agreements on paths for other franchises.
Read the article here : ModRlys_final.doc.