The Anonymous Widower

Crossrail Funding Contributions From Developers Forecast To Hit £600m Target A Year Ahead Of Schedule

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in City AM.

The funding has come from the mayoral community infrastructure levy (MCIL) and Section 106 contributions.

The two biggest contributions came from |Tower Hamlets at £40m and Westminster at £34m.

What the author doesn’t point out is the collateral benefit from all this extra development. Transport for London must be getting more far revenue from more passengers going to and from the developments.

It’s certainly good news.

Are areas like Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle seening similar cast flow increases?

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Finance, Travel | , | 1 Comment

DfT Names Five Winners Of Fresh £16m Stations Fund

The title of this post is the same as an article in Rail Technology Magazine.

It announces the five winners of funding from the Second New Stations Fund.

Stations chosen are as follows.

  • Horden Peterlee in County Durham
  • Warrington West in Cheshire
  • Reading Green Park
  • Bow Street in Ceredigion, Wales
  • Portway Parkway near Bristol

Note the fund is for England and Wales only!

The stations will be described in the next few sections.

Horden Peterlee

Horden Peterlee station will be on the double-track Durham Coast Line, between Seaham and Hsrtlepool stations.

This Google Map shows the area of the proposed station close to South East View.

Wikipedia says this about the proposed station.

This station, if built, would have 2 platforms with waiting shelters, benches, lighting, help points and CCTV. The platforms would be linked by a covered footbridge and the station would have a car park with space for up to 100 cars as well as facilities for drop-off, taxis and bus services.

Let’s hope the lie of the land, enables the architects to design a good station.

Wikipedia also says this as the reason for building the station.

It was identified that one of the key benefits of reopening Horden station rather than any of the other closed stations on the line was its close proximity to Peterlee which has grown significantly since 1964 and thus, if constructed, a new station in Horden could allow 61,000 residents to benefit from improved access to employment opportunities across the region.

It sounds to me like this station is needed. I would hope to go when this station opens, as it could be a day to remember  in Horden.

Train Services

Looking at Passenger Services in the Wikipedia entry for the Durham Coast Line, it would appear that local services between Middlesbrough and Newcastle are a bit thin, at just hourly. An important local route like this deserves to have at least two trains per hour.

Grand Central and Virgin do run trains through the area to Sunderland, but I don’t think they will stop at Horden Peterlee station.

Certainly, a smart new station deserves to have a train service to natch.

Warrington West

Warrington West station will be on the southern Liverpool to Manchester Line between Sankey and Warrington Central stations.

This Google Map shows the area of the station.

It looks like the development site in the South East corner of the map could be Chapelford urban village, with the railway running East-West across the map.

This article in the Warrington Guardian gives more details of the station.

This is a visualisation of the station.

As this station is halfway between Liverpool and Manchester, I have a feeling, this could be a very busy station.

Train Services

Services at Warrington Central station has as many as eight trains per hour passing through.

There is a lot of scope to provide a quality southern service between Liverpool and Manchester calling at Liverpool South Parkway, Widnes and Warrington Central. Warrington West station could be a part of this and I could see it getting between two and four semi fast trains per hour

Reading Green Park

Reading Green Park station will be on the Reading to Basingstoke Line between Reading West and Mortimer stations.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note the Reading to Basingstoke Line down the Western edge of the map.

Train Services

It is expected that services will be at least two trains per hour at the station.

The Reading to Basingstoke Line has the following characteristics.

  • It is electrified with 25 KVAC overhead at the Reading end.
  • It is electrified with 750 VDC third rail at the Basingstoke end.
  • It has less than fifteen miles of line without electrification,

Consequently, I feel that in a few years, this line will be within the capability of a battery powered train, charging on the short lengths of electrification at either end.

Bow Street

Bow Street station will be on the Cambrian Line between Aberwrystwyth and Borth stations.

This article on the BBC gives more details.

Train Services

The Cambrian Line has approximately pne train per hour between Aberwrystwyth and Shrewsbury.

Portway Parkway

Portway Parkway station will be a one platform station on the Severn Beach Line adoining the Portway Park-and-Ride.

Train Services

Wikipedia describes the Services on the line.

Costs Summary

This article from Railway Gazette International has a detailed summary of the costs of the five stations.

Horden Peterlee, Warrington West and Reading Green Park are medium-sized schemes to support housing and business developents and make it easier to get to employment in nearby towns and cities. But they will cost an average of £15million a station.

Certainly, where I live in Dalston and all across North London, the improved North London Line has had several positive effects.

Bow Street and Portway Parkway are small one-platform schemes, which hopefully will provide better Park-and-Ride facilities. The averae cost is a lot less at £4.5million.

Conclusion

It is well-proven that new stations are a way of increasing train usage and they are generally welcomed by train companies, passengers, residents and businesses.

But as the costs for these stations show, medium-sized full-function stations don’t come cheap.

Surely, though on the right housing or business development, designing a station into the development, as at Warrington West or Reading Green Park, must give a payback to the developer in easier sales and rentals.

The two simpler schemes would seem to be part of a trend, where well-designed one-platform stations are built for Park-and-Ride facilities, hospitals, housing developments and sporting venues.

I discuss these stations in The Rise Of One-Platform Stations.

Bow Street and Portway Parkway stations will add two more one-platform stations.

 

 

 

 

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Finance, Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Finance For Crossrail

In the August 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a Crossrail Update, with a section entitled Planning Cash Comes Good.

It starts with this paragraph.

How often do you come across a rail project that receives more funding than it budgeted for? well, an update to the TfL Finance Committee suggests Crossrail could be heading that way. Long, long ago when the Crossrail budget was nailed down it was agreed that £600million should be contributed in the form of planning obligations – the idea bing that property developers who benefit from the improved transport links that will be provided by the Elizabeth Line should contribute to the capital cost.

This is the current progress.

  • So far £100million has been collected from Section 106 contributions, with £200million still to come.
  • However, the Mayor of London’s Community Infrastructure Levy has contributed £400million to date.
  • The forecast is that by the time the line opens receipts will have risen to £700million.

I suspect that other Mayors will be looking at Crossrail’s funding model.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Finance, Travel | | Leave a comment

When Will We Ever Learn?

One of our mistakes in 2008 was to rescue banks, rather than let them go bust! Retail customers up to the savings limit should be compensated, but for everything else, that’s business!

This article on the BBC is entitled Santander Rescues Rival Banco Popular From Collapse.

One of the things, I was told by my friend, who rose to be Business Banking Director of a major Clearing Bank, was to never bank with a bank, that was headquartered and/or owned outside the UK. I would change that to England after Royal Bank of UK Taxpayers and Bank of Scotland.

So who will eventually pay for Santander’s purchase?

Incidentally, with Qatar’s problems at the moment and their stake in Barclays, I personally will be staying clear of that bank.

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Finance, World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Labour Party’s Fantasy Economics

Today, the Labour Party has added a rail fare cap to their list of give-aways to all and sundry.

In the 1970s, I was asked to do a programming job for the Chief Management Accountant of a major clearing bank, who are still trading successfully, so my work didn’t toss them down the toilet.

I programmed a system, so that the Bank could work out how much every one of their management functions would cost. The program could be run so that the Bank could see how much say a pay rise for staff would add to the cost of clearing a cheque, in all of their branches. As you can imagine costs were very variable and the reasons for some of the high costs in some branches appeared in the tabloid newspapers.

It was fascinating and three things happened.

  • I learned a tremendous amount about the way bankers and accountants look at figures, which I put to good use in Artemis
  • I learned a lot about the way bankers think.
  • But above all, I gained a good friend, which was sadly cut short by the Chief Management Accountant’s early death from cancer, We regularly celebrated our fruendship  in Mother Bunches Wine Bar.

I also decided to move my Bank Account to the Bank and by luck, I was introduced to a Bank Manager, who played a large part in my life.

  • He became Metier’s Bank Manager and helped us to be the success we were.
  • He went on to be Business Banking Director of the Bank.
  • He loaned me the money to buy my first Porsche and then introduced me to the joys of owning a Lotus.
  • But as with the Chief Management Accountant, we became firm friends and put the world to rights in many convivial lunches.

Sadly, he died a few days before C.

These two friends taught me a lot about banking.

But I remember one conversation with the Bank Manager in particular.

We were talking about lending millions of pounds to companies, with strong Chilean, Israeli and South African ownership links. He said they were always difficult and risky because of the politics and determined individuals involved, but you satisfied this risk by adding a percentage or two to the deal.

Since then I have been involved in both a small finance company and Zopa; the peer-to-peer lender, as an investor, and the same principles apply.

Just as they do when the banks are lending to countries with dodgy finances.

So what makes the Labour Party think that they any sane Banker will fund their socialist fantasies, by loaning them billions at zero or low rates?

 

June 1, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Finance, World | | 2 Comments

Forget Trump: The Private Sector Is Still Going Green

This is title of a piece by Irwin Stelzer in this week’s Sunday Times.

Read the article if you can. It talks about how large companies like Exxon and Shell and individuals like Bill Gates are putting prices on carbon and backing reliable clean energy.

The last paragraph sums it up nicely.

Presidents come and go. The private sector will be engaging in long-run research and long-lived investments, perhaps more efficiently than the government has been doing. The profit motive might just turn out to be more productive than the vote-getting or ideological motives of politicians.

I think he could be right!

Think of all those successful projects, that were were done without any Government support or blessing and think of all those government projects that sunk without trace taking millions of pounds with them.

And also think about all that legal money slushing around the world looking for a home in an innovation that will be a wothwhile investment.

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Business, Finance, World | , , | Leave a comment

Making An Investment Using My Zopa Funds

Over the past eight years, I have built up a seasonable six-figure sum in Zopa. It has paid me upwards of five or six percent  after all deduction of losses and charges over those years and it has been a safe investment compared to some others I could have made.

But now is the time to liberate it, as I want to invest in something important to me, and liberating any of my other investments, would mean reducing my pension pot.

I am not selling any of my performing loans in Zopa, but just liberating any interest and principal repayments. Typically, about six percent of the money I have invested in Zopa is returned to my bank account each month.

It has been a painless way to fund my investment.

Various financial advisers have told me that peer-to-peer lending like Zopa is risky. But of course, there’s no way they can get a commission.

February 16, 2017 Posted by | Finance | | 3 Comments

Trenitalia To Buy c2c

There are several several articles like this one in Railway Gazette, which is entitled Trenitalia buys c2c to enter UK rail market.

So what will it mean?

Ultimate Ownership

The ultimate ownership of a train operating company seems to have very little difference to the  quality of trains and customer service.

I will look at  a recent journey I made from Leipzig to Brussels on Deutche Bahn, that I wrote about in Deutsche Bahn’s Idea Of Customer Service.

It was not a good journey and in the post, I say that eutche Bahn is nowhere as good as Chiltern.

And who owns Chiltern? – Deutsche Bahn.

So I suspect we’ll see very few changes on c2c because of the change of ownership, with perhaps the following provisos.

When successful companies are taken over, the Senior Management Team often depart to pastures or in this case railways, new.

The article also says this.

Mick Cash, General Secretary of pro-nationalisation trade union RMT, was less enthusiastic about the announcement. ‘This is yet another part of Britain’s rail operations being sold off to a European state-owned outfit’, he said. ‘This time it is Trenitalia, an Italian operator, that is being given an open door to plunder passengers and the public purse to subsidise rail services in their own country.’

Looking at the mess, that the RMT and its fellow travellers have got Southern into, this could be omnious.

The Future For c2c’s Services

Look at the route map of most rail franchises and a twelve-year-old with a pencil could suggest obvious places where the network could be expanded.

But there are few places , where c2c could expand.

  • Reinstate the Tilbury Riverside Branch.
  • Direct access to Crossrail at Stratford.
  • A Canvey Island Branch

So much of the growth will come from more frequent and faster services to existing destinations, more and better trains and improvements to stations.

There must be scope for Automatic Train Operation (ATO) at the London end of the route to improve capacity and reduce journey times.

Conclusion

I had to scrape together a scenario for the future and it leads me to the conclusion that c2c is virtually fully developed. So have National Express decided to sell c2c, as it is a mature asset, that is worth more to xomebody else. Especially, a new entrant to the UK rail market, who wants to know how to run a UK train franchise.

In some ways it’s a bit like a bank selling on a long-term loan to a blue-chip company, to another back.

 

January 12, 2017 Posted by | Finance, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Why Did You Cancel Your BT Direct Debit?

I picked up the phone and a believable voice asked the title of this post.

As there was no number visible on the phone display, I said that I hadn’t cancelled it and said, that I’ll check with my bank, before I put the phone back in its cradle.

It rang immediately, so I picked it up and told the caller to Fuck Off, as no company like BT would react like that, after I’d told them, I would check with my bank.

The phone rang about four more times and I suspect they had control of it, so I didn’t use it, but conteacted my bank on my mobile. The BT Direct Debit was still there.

An hour or so later, I rang a couple of friends to check my phone and the phone appeared to be working fine.

On checking with BT, they told me it was a well known scam.

The strange thing was that the call came on the day before my BT bill was due to be paid.

So as the scammer, had my phone number, name and billing date, it sounds like someone had read my details in a BT database.

One thing though the helpful girl from BT told me, was that if you cancel your Direct Debit to BT for any reason, you’ll get an e-mail.

So if you haven’t received an e-mail saying you’ve cancelled, it would appear that you haven’t cancelled.

Bloodly scammers!

December 14, 2016 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | 1 Comment

Zopa Has A Problem

Zopa have just told me that because of the large amount of money they are getting in and the shortage of good creditworthy individuals to lend it to, they have decided that although existing borrowers like me can continue to reinvest, that for a few months we won’t be able to add new money.

This doesn’t appear to be any problem with Zopa except one of success.

But it does say to me that if you are an individual with a good credit rating, that Zopa could be a place to look for a loan.

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Finance | | 1 Comment