Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Railcare enters Administration

This from the RMT...

RAIL UNION RMT today called for urgent intervention by Business Secretary Vince Cable to save 500 skilled engineering jobs in Glasgow and Milton Keynes after it was confirmed that rail fleet repairs and refurbishment company Railcare has been placed in administration.

RMT understands that the Government have been approached by the company for assistance in getting Railcare through a short-term cash flow crisis but that they were turned down. The union is pointing out that for want of what is estimated to be not much more than a million pounds in cash flow, the Government have turned their backs, whilst at the same time wasting an estimated £100 million on the aborted franchising timetable – a shambles which looks like it is the main cause of the crisis at Railcare.

Unions had been made aware earlier this week that Railcare was in trouble after it failed to pay staff wages and after a planned takeover by a German company collapsed. Crisis talks this morning with another potential buyer are thought to have collapsed forcing the company into administration with BDO appointed as the administrators.

RMT understands that although Railcare has a full order book and plenty of work in the pipeline from the train operators via the rail fleet leasing companies they ran into a cash-flow problem which has forced the move into administration threatening the jobs at the former British Rail plants at Springburn near Glasgow and Wolverton near Milton Keynes. RMT also understands that the key delays with moving the order book forwards have been caused by the franchising chaos in the wake of the West Coast fiasco which has held back fleet refurbishment plans while costing the taxpayer £100 million.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“RMT is today calling on Vince Cable and the Government to step in to secure the future of these 500 key rail fleet engineering jobs following the collapse of Railcare, the Government cannot sit on their hands and watch this situation play out for the want of what we believe is not much more than a million pounds of cash flow finance. Reports that Railcare have already been turned down for assistance make a mockery of the Government’s business strategy and their stated objective of protecting skilled jobs.

“This crisis has left 500 staff unpaid and without any security and the root cause appears to be the franchising shambles in the wake of the West Coast fiasco. Vince Cable and the Government have a moral and economic duty to intervene urgently to save these jobs and protect the scheduled work and RMT will meet with him at any time to assist in moving this on. All of us now need to work together to secure these jobs and the important work that the company is involved in.”


Pointless signs - Crewe

DfT's HS2 Taskforce recruits... Waterman!

This from the Independent...

Pop music producer Pete Waterman is a surprise inclusion on a new taskforce set up to maximise the economic benefits of the High Speed Two (HS2) rail project.

Says it all really.

Please. Someone. Get a grip of HS2! 

ORR declines Blackpool and Shrewsbury paths

This from the ORR...

ORR decision on West Coast track access application

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has decided at this stage not to grant access for additional services to Blackpool and Shrewsbury on the West Coast Main Line (WCML).

Extensive analysis of Virgin Trains' recent application for new passenger services on the WCML showed that there is not currently sufficient space on the line to run all of the additional services. The proposals would have also caused further deterioration in punctuality by adding traffic to what is already a very busy route, on which Network Rail is currently not meeting the punctuality targets it has been funded to deliver. The proposals would have a detrimental impact on the journeys of millions of passengers travelling on the route.

Note. This announcement has been made in advance of the adjudication of the Access Disputes Committee, which was due to give its view on Friday...

UPDATE: This from Messrs Dot & Tittle...

Presumably NR will, under the terms of the Access and Management Regs 2005, now have to declare the West Coast to be congested infrastructure

23.—(1) Where, after the co-ordination of requests for capacity and consultation with the applicants in accordance with regulation 20(4), it is not possible for the infrastructure manager to satisfy requests for infrastructure adequately, the infrastructure manager must declare that element of the infrastructure on which such requests cannot be satisfied to be congested.

This then triggers a series of actions, including,

(3) In seeking to determine measures to alleviate congestion the infrastructure manager must consider, in particular—
(a) re-routing of services;
(b) re-timing of services;
(c) alterations to the line-speed; and
(d) infrastructure improvements.

Sadly there doesn’t appear to be a clause in the Regs which allows them to do nothing for 13 years in the hopeful expectation that HS2 will solve everything!

Bring on PUG3!

Kelly's Heroes gains a deputy

A big Eye welcome to Dominic Cheetham, NR's new Deputy Director of Communications!

A quick glance at Linkedin reveals that Dominic previously worked at Serco as Communications Director and before that fulfilled a similar role at British Gas. 

His background is in newspapers, radio and TV.

Lots of experience, therefore, in regulated industries as we approach CP5!