Memorandum by North Western England Rail
Passenger Committee (PRF 23)
PASSENGER RAIL FRANCHISING
In respect of the above investigation by the
Transport Sub Committee of the Transport Local Government and
the Regions Committee, please find below some comments from the
RPC North Western England which are complementary to the submission
you will receive from the Rail Passengers Council.
These comments are relevant particularly to
the suggestion made to you, by the Rail Passengers Council, that
the SRA should seek consensus on any proposed change to an existing
franchise before asking for bids.
There is no such consensus on the proposed Trans
Pennine Express/Northern franchise split.
In summary our view is that the creation of
TPE will take away certain benefits of economies of scale and
lead to additional resource costs, particularly in terms of trains
and train crews, for both TPE and Northern Trains as separate
franchises. In addition there will also be interface difficulties
of timetabling, connections and fares on common lines of route
However, the recent draft franchising statement
creates additional cause for concern; principally, if TPE does
go ahead, what happens to the rest of the North? We have already
stated (in our letter of 24 July 2001 to the Right Hon. Stephen
Byerscopy enclosed) that retaining the residue of First
North Western and Arriva (Northern) as separate franchises, rather
than creating Northern as an amalgam of the two, would be completely
unacceptable to this Committee.
It would be totally at odds with the stated
aim of franchise replacement ie to reduce fragmentation and create
fewer franchises. Given these circumstances it would be better
not to award TPE at all, and retain the existing franchise structure
as far as possible. The additional resource and administrative
costs of creating TPE as a separate franchise could then be channelled
into investment that would directly benefit passengers.
I hope these points are helpful to you in your