Has McNulty put us on the right track for rail reform?May 20th, 2011 by Simon Haddock
Sir Roy McNulty’s long awaited report into the rail industry was published on Thursday. The former Civil Aviation Authority chairman pointed out that rail costs should be 20-30% lower but in order to achieve this there will need to be a ‘very substantial programme of change.’
The good news for passengers is that he recommends there should be no overall increase in fares and no line closures. However he does suggest that changes to the current fare system should encourage people to abandon peak time travel and make journeys off-peak.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers welcomed the report in principle. President Elect, Professor Rod Smith, said existing industry arrangements have left us with a railway that is more expensive and less efficient than it should be.
“Engineering expenditure, difficulties with the introduction of innovative technologies and inconsistent messages to the engineering supply chain have all contributed to higher than necessary costs.”
He went on to say the “key tests for the new system will be the speed at which new, more efficient technologies can be adopted, and whether there will be sufficient confidence from the engineering supply chain to make the investments needed to improve the efficiency of railway projects and operations.”
The Institution recently surveyed 1,000 manufacturers and discovered that 67.3% of them thought our rail infrastructure to be inadequate for a modern manufacturing sector.
Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, also welcomed the McNulty report but said that if we are to achieve the goal of saving £1 billion per year, everyone involved in the industry would need to work together.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union, on the other hand, is far from overjoyed. Bob Crow, the RMT General Secretary, said the railway could be set back decades if the government implements McNulty’s suggestions. He claims there would be massive cutbacks in staffing and increased structural safety risks.
It’s now up to the government to consider the McNulty report and decide whether to implement his proposals into their rail industry reforms.
Do you think McNulty’s recommendations are the right ones or would you have tackled this problem differently? We’d love to hear your opinions…