Friday, 28 November 2008

Misunderestimating the numbers

The story this week about the funding of the railways seems to confirm the point that I made recently about the lack of a long-term strategy for our railway system.

What we need is an overall long term plan for investment in railways which deliberately aims to switch traffic from road and air to rail. What we have is an attempt to respond to demand as and when it is identified, based on estimates of growth which seem to be plucked out of thin air, and are significantly lower than recent actual growth.

Being entirely cynical, this does enable the government to claim that they've allocated adequate funding to meet the anticipated levels of growth. No doubt, when the rail chaos and overcrowding continues, they will say it's because the demand has grown faster than anticipated (code for it being our fault for wanting to travel by rail). However, understating the anticipated levels of growth to meet the planned levels of investment is just sleight of hand. This is no way to run a railway – or a transport policy.


Glyn Davies said...

John - I've added you to my regular reads, so that I can write rude comments on your posts - Glyn

John Dixon said...

Welcome - although I didn't think 'rude' was your style!