Results tagged “open access” from Passenger Transport Networks

PTN Document

Pathing the East Coast : do we want to follow the Swiss ?

5 June 2015

Network Rail, with an endorsement from the Department for Transport, has published a report on the application of Swiss timetabling principles to the Anglia network.  Meanwhile the Office for Rail and Road (as ORR now is) is grappling with a decision about Open Access paths on the East Coast Main Line that could create the very opposite.  Network Rail has produced a plan that shows how giving priority to a very fast Edinburgh <> Newcastle <> London service (run by Deutsche Bahn) would fragment the East Coast timetable, including the removal of through London trains from Berwick-upon-Tweed and of inter-city stops at Stevenage.  This article from Modern Railways discusses what is at stake.  It also highlights the ambivalent position of the DfT, torn between protecting its income from the franchisee and promoting 'competition'.

Modern Railways article - June 2015.pdf


You can comment on this article, and read others' comments here.

PTN Document

Time to debate Open Access objectively

16 August 2014

Open Access (OA) operators have generally had a good press.  However the downsides of the concept have received less attention.  It is time to redress the balance and to have an objective debate about all the issues - which go far wider than the satisfaction of travellers on particular routes.  Specifically, the East Coast Main Line timetable cannot be planned sensibly until the scale of OA operations has been resolved.  PTN has tried to initiate debate with two pieces:

(1)  Christian Wolmar reviewed PTN's ECML report [see the 13 June entry under 'Reports'] in Rail magazine [issue 751].  This was challenged by the Managing Director of Alliance Rail [752] and PTN replied [754].

(2)  Following a less-than-balanced presentation of the case for Open Access at a conference at Huddersfield University on 11 July PTN prepared an article for the Viewpoint slot in Local Transport Today [issue 652].

Read the debate : Open Access debate.pdf


You can comment on this article, and read others' comments here.

PTN Document

The ECML timetabling saga - descent into farce

6 April 2012

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.


You can comment on this article, and read others' comments here.

PTN Document

Open Access on a congested railway : the sceptical case

2 April 2012

In the autumn of 2011 the Office of Rail Regulation [ORR] ran a consultation on the potential for increased on-rail competition.  The consultation document and the academic paper accompanying it were manifestly supportive of promoting more competition, ie. more open access.  The responses however were more mixed: the only unequivocal support came from two organisations with a direct interest, while other passenger operators, local governments and the freight industry expressed considerable reservations.  The Department for Transport made very clear its disquiet, thereby highlighting the absurdity of the overlapping functions (it estimates that open access increases the net cost of the railway by £30m/year).

PTN made a comprehensive submission, looking at on-rail competition from every aspect and drawing attention to some overlooked disadvantages of open access.

The ORR documents and the responses can be found at

PTN's submission: ORR_competition_consultation_PTN.doc .


You can comment on this article, and read others' comments here.

PTN Document

A franchise free-for-all ?

23 September 2009

In 2006 Jonathan Tyler was invited to contribute an article to The Guardian on the legal and political battle between franchise and open-access companies over paths in the timetable of a congested railway.

Read the article at The Guardian website


You can comment on this article, and read others' comments here.