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BLOGS


A selection of our recent blogs posted at www.railtechnologymagazine.com


August 20 From air to rails


How could security screening – as seen at airports – be implemented in a crowded railway station? That is the question the Home Offi ce is seeking answers to.


This mode of transport is much faster than fl ying, with far less room for delay. Many passengers commute, and are used to turning


up at the exact minute they need to – extensive security checks are one of the reasons that air passengers have to turn up hours before their fl ight departs.


And the space issues are paramount to a workable solution being developed. With more and more passengers expected on the railway in the coming years, station capacity will be under even more pressure.


r recent blogs posted at www.railtechnologymagazine.com


Passengers largely agree that the implementation of checks would improve the country’s security. Yet crowds of impatient people will be diffi cult to check. And it is widely accepted that even ticket barriers cannot completely eliminate


ticket-dodgers – could a screening system improve on this?


Another issue is which stations the system should be introduced in; obviously all rural, unstaffed stations would be impractical and expensive in an area of low risk from terrorism. But how would the larger stations be assessed for the need to implement these measures?


Many questions must be carefully considered before such security could be feasibly and effectively used at railway stations.


The danger is that any system convenient enough for the vast majority of passengers to put up with would be easy to get around for a determined criminal or terrorist – undermining the point of the entire scheme.


August 16 Taking a gamble?


The decision to award FirstGroup the West Coast franchise on such a high bid is a gamble for Government,


with the high


premium based on predictions of signifi cant passenger growth.


But how much room is left for this increase, on a line which is inching closer to capacity?


Previous failures to deliver on franchise agreements have led to a more robust system to keep FirstGroup in line, with even the threat of the company losing its other franchises if it reneges on this contract.


A lot can happen in 15 years.


August 13 Fighting the fares


Following a successful Olympic Games – both


rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 12 | 19


in terms of GB medals and the rail network’s performance – the industry must now turn to its other major publicity drama; fares.


The Government aims to shift the burden of funding the railway further away from taxpayers and put it more fi rmly on the shoulders of passengers. To do so, fares are set to rise 3% plus infl ation for the next three years, with operators able to charge up to fi ve percentage points higher than this as long as they balance such increases with fare cuts elsewhere.


Rail unions and campaign groups are gearing up to protest the decision; specifi cally highlighting how fares will increase much faster than salaries. In a time of extreme fi nancial pressure, this will have a huge impact on commuters.


At the same time, the industry is attempting to fi nd effi ciency savings and cut the cost of running the railway. Until then, those who use the train must continue to pay for the industry’s ineffi ciencies – and the Treasury’s desperate search for income.


i More blogs like this at:


www.railtechnologymagazine.com/ railway-blog


© Inha Leex Hale


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