David_itl
Topic Author
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Eurostar "wastes" £300 Million In Train Deal

Thu Mar 21, 2002 8:41 pm


Taken from http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/news/content.cfm?story=268965

MPs blast £300m rail blunder

MPs have blasted a £300m train deal for a doomed plan to extend Channel Tunnel services to Manchester and other cities.

In a damning report, the Commons public accounts committee, says: "It is disappointing that large sums of public money have been wasted on buying expensive trains in advance of need or evidence of need."

Some of the trains have been used for testing and others have been leased to rail companies. The committee says it is disappointed that regional Eurostar services to Manchester and other cities had not been introduced.

The report said the Strategic Rail Authority had not yet made a final decision on whether to run services from London to Manchester and the regions.

"But the Department of Transport did not expect services to be introduced in the near future and consultants have been employed to consider whether such services would represent value for money,'' says the committee.

The committee points out that only (my emphasis) 12 per cent of existing Eurostar passengers travelling through the Tunnel to Paris or Brussels were from regions outside of the south east.

The MPs were also critical of the deal to build a fast link between the Channel Tunnel and London - which was originally intended to link up with Eurostar regional services.

The contract to build the link and run the UK arm of Eurostar services was awarded to London and Continental Railways on the basis of government grants of £1.7 billion.

It was expected the building would start in 1998 and the link would open in 2003.

In January 1998, the company asked for an extra £1.2 billion in grants from the government, this was rejected but ministers said the deal had been restructured to avoid paying public grants to the company.

But today the committee chairman, Tory MP Edward Leigh, condemned the fact that the taxpayer had been left to pick up the tab for a flawed deal.

"All very reminiscent of the Millennium Dome. It is very likely that further substantial sums of public money will be needed to keep the company afloat,'' said Mr Leigh.

----

I'm amazed that as many as 12% of their passengers come from outside the South East!

David/MAN
 
donder10
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RE: Eurostar "wastes" £300 Million In Train Deal

Thu Mar 21, 2002 8:53 pm

The MPs were also critical of the deal to build a fast link between the Channel Tunnel and London - which was originally intended to link up with Eurostar regional service

Why?Its still needed for the London-bound Eurostars instead of trundling along at 60 MPH on crappy Connex South East lines through Kent
 
Banco
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RE: Eurostar "wastes" £300 Million In Train Deal

Thu Mar 21, 2002 9:26 pm

The high speed link through Kent is now well on the way to completion. You can see the scar through the Kent countryside from the air. But the cost has been prohibitive.

Of course, when you are as far in debt as Eurostar and Eurotunnel, an extra few hundred million doesn't make any difference.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
donder10
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RE: Eurostar "wastes" £300 Million In Train Deal

Thu Mar 21, 2002 10:28 pm

Of course, when you are as far in debt as Eurostar and Eurotunnel, an extra few hundred million doesn't make any difference

LOL Exactly.Having the tunnel shut down due to greedy,economic reguees doesnt help them much either
 
qantas744
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RE: Eurostar "wastes" £300 Million In Train Deal

Fri Mar 22, 2002 7:05 am

Sadly this is only half the story.British Rail (as it was then) in partnership with French and Belgian railways purchased (exclusively using taxpayers money) an enormous fleet of overnight sleeping cars to supplement the daytime Eurostars.These carriages went the same way as the 'Regional Eurostars' and spent over five years in storage untill they were eventually sold for a pittance to Canadian Railways where they now enjoy a happy and fulfilling existance.The Regional Eurostars are currently in various stages of disrepair,3 of them are leased to GNER and operate on the Kings Cross to York route,a further two are being returned to service and will also be leased to GNER,the remaining units may never see passenger use as they have been in storage for so many years.

Eurostar itself is burdened enough with the normal Eurostar units which it can't fill,and the units weren't designed to be split into shorter sets-so the London-Brussels services continue to run half empty most of the time.They also have three big depots (one in London,one in Brussels and one in Paris so as not to upset anyone) when only one is needed.Unfortunately when passenger forecasts were made in the late 1980's the consultants who did the job got their sums seriously wrong,hence the over capacity.Railway industry insiders accepted years ago that regional services are not gonna happen.If Eurostar went and got some shorter trains there is a good chance that it might work.But why take the train from Glasgow to Paris when the plane is far more competitive in terms of price and time? Eurostar would end up having to lower the prices to make up for the lack of competitiveness in terms of time-and where's the money in that.


Matt
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
 
eg777er
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RE: Eurostar "wastes" £300 Million In Train Deal

Fri Mar 22, 2002 7:43 am

Eurostar will only ever make money if it is allowed to do, for example, Manchester-Lyon services with intermediate stops, and without the heavy security, 'airline' style process. Only on routes of this length can you get economies of scale etc.

As far as I am aware, the Night Stock was built even though if all the toilets were flushed at the same time, the train would ground to a halt, such was the drain on the power supply.

As for the Regional Eurostars, there is a plan to sell some of the 'Three Capitals' (18-car) sets to SNCF (this has already been done) for French domestic ops and then 'cascade' the Regionals to Eurostar for Brussels and (in the future), Amsterdam services.

It is also rumoured that GNER want to get route clearance for ops on the ECML to Newcastle and Edinburgh, and to clear the Regionals for 125mph ops (they are currently limited to 110mph, making them slower than the Class 91s!).
 
David_itl
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RE: Eurostar "wastes" £300 Million In Train Deal

Fri Mar 22, 2002 7:45 am

Matt

Why single out Glasgow-Paris? The Chunnel is of little relevance for passengers outside the South East part of the country, but with the freight services suspended, it has become almost totally irrelevant!

Strange but true: the company where I work aided and abetted in the translation work, so it was relevant to the Northwest then!

David
 
qantas744
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RE: Eurostar "wastes" £300 Million In Train Deal

Fri Mar 22, 2002 7:54 am

That is at the heart of Eurostars problems-inflexibility.There is no practical reason why London-Nice or Newcastle-Barcelona could not be made to work,Eurostar is an extension of the European high speed rail network and British cities can be a part of that network aswell,there's far too much politics in this situation and not enough joined up thinking.

I'm not so sure that the nice Mr Branson would be at all happy to see Eurostars running up and and down the nice new railway he is having built (at our expense),he's already been turned down once when he offered to step in and 'save' eurostar.I think we are more likely to see British Airways run trains on Virgin's network than Eurostar!!

Matt
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
 
qantas744
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RE: Eurostar "wastes" £300 Million In Train Deal

Fri Mar 22, 2002 8:06 am

David,

I wasn't singling out any particular place-Glasgow was the first to come to mind.Unfortunately the chunnel is also irrelevant for alot of people in the south east.A perk of working for a railway company is cheaper travel on Eurostar,but why would I want to use Eurostar when Heathrow is on my doorstep.The irony is that the last time I used Eurostar was three yeras ago when I was living in Crewe!

Looking at the bigger picture I would be more than happy to see Eurostar run the regional services,and I would love to see BA fly long haul out of BHX/MAN/GLA etc,there IS too much emphasis on the south east and London in particular and if this country is going to move forward the government has to look at sustaining growth across the nation as a whole not just this little corner of it.

Matt
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
 
David_itl
Topic Author
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RE: Eurostar "wastes" £300 Million In Train Deal

Fri Mar 22, 2002 8:13 am


Matt, I thought that might have been the case. We must have had at least 2 seconds rejoicing when it was formally opened.

Things may be improving around these parts, thanks to some event in July and August, the name of which escapes me for the moment:

Games boomtime for the city

THE Commonwealth Games has helped Manchester secure more than £600m of public and private investment, according to a team of independent consultants. And each year from now on, 300,000 extra visitors are expected to spend an estimated £12m in the region.

More on this is here:http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/news/content.cfm?story=269112

David
 
qantas744
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Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 6:25 pm

RE: Eurostar "wastes" £300 Million In Train Deal

Fri Mar 22, 2002 8:28 am

Yes,I'm jealous....Pity us Southerners trying to organise the new Wembley stadium,The Millenium Dome,Crossrail,the channel tunnel rail link........oh look,we're back where this thread started again.

Matt

By the way,whilst I was living in Crewe Eurostar were still running test trains from Manchester to London two or three times a week,although these have now fallen by the wayside-as has the Eurostar depot in Longsight.
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll

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