Examination of Witness (Questions 320
WEDNESDAY 12 JULY 2000
MR T WINSOR
320. I must say that is the most breathtaking
thing I have heard this afternoon. Really the one thing which
would transform the attitude of the passenger towards the railway
system would be the arrival of new, modern, safe rolling stock
that they could see every day so they were not crushed onto enormously
old and totally unacceptable trains. I am absolutely astounded
that you are telling me that it was the industry itself which
ran away from it, not least because one of the arguments has been
that even when the companies ordered new rolling stock, even when
the manufacturers had provided new rolling stock, it was the behaviour
of the ROSCOs and the people in between which was holding up the
delivery because of the acceptance procedures. If you are telling
me that it is actually the people who need the rolling stock who
are also a barrier, that is really pretty horrifying.
(Mr Winsor) It was remarkable that they did not take
what they could have had for free. It is very important to stress
two additional things. One was that when those contracts between
Virgin and Railtrack were being approved by my predecessors as
Regulator, the question was put to Railtrack: is there any reason
why, if another applicant, train operator or other person, wanted
a contract in these terms, you could not give it to them? The
answer came back no. So Railtrack has already accepted that those
rules can apply industry-wide. The second thing I must say though
is that the reasons for the delays in approval of new rolling
stock are not only Railtrack.
321. No, I was not suggesting they were.
(Mr Winsor) I said that I believe the principal cause
is information but it is not the only one. Of course Railtrack
in looking at an application of this kind must not pass as safe
something which is not safe. I do not think anybody seriously
disputes that. The application which is made must be an application
which deserves to be approved. If the applicant has made a dog's
breakfast of the application, if he has not looked at the right
criteria or filled in the forms correctly, or if the train truly
does not deserve to be passed, then of course Railtrack is perfectly
entitled to and must refuse.
322. I just wondered where Mr Winsor was in
(Mr Winsor) I was a partner in a law firm in the City
323. You were not involved in the Rail Regulator's
office in any way.
(Mr Winsor) No, I was not working for the Rail Regulator's
office. I was advising clients as a private practice lawyer.
324. I think you accept that the experience
of Railtrack and the ROSCOs operating on the East Coast line is
very different to that endured by colleagues on the West Coast
(Mr Winsor) The operations are different. GNER had
the benefit of a far better network than Virgin does because the
West Coast Main Line has been left to rot and ruin for 30 years.
They did have a wee bit of an advantage; they also had better
Miss McIntosh: I always take the opportunity
to remind our Chairman that the West Coast route is a trans-European
network priority route.
325. I always find that a great comfort.
(Mr Winsor) As you stand at the station in Watford.
Chairman: I have given instructions that if
I disappear entirely Watford Junction should be searched very
carefully. I think, Mr Winsor, you have been really very informative
for somebody who did not intend to tell us anything. You will
understand that because of the timing of the various things we
have been discussing this afternoon, we shall want to talk to
you again. It is very helpful that you have been able to answer
some of the other problems which have been discussed in some detail,
but we are very grateful to you. We shall undoubtedly want to
return, once you have made public various of your decisions, to
why and how and when and what you expect of those decisions. In
the meantime may I just thank you for coming and say how appreciative