Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 9140 - 9159)

  9140. MR TAYLOR: Good afternoon, Mr Garratt.

   (Mr Garratt) Good afternoon.

  9141. I want to start off by asking you some questions about the issue about infrastructure. As I understand it, the railway timetable models, like Railsyst, which is being used in this case, can be sensitive to changes in impetus options. Would you agree with that?

   (Mr Garratt) The timetabling exercise we are talking about today was not Railsyst.

  9142. The system that is being used by the ORR to determine the 92 per cent objective test is Railsyst, as I understand it.

   (Mr Garratt) That will be Railsyst, but the exercise we are talking about today, which the ORR took comfort from and so forth, was not Railsyst.

  9143. Let us go back to my question about the railway timetable modelling as opposed to the model that you used to forecast freight growth. Railway timetable models can be quite sensitive to changes to their input assumptions.

   (Mr Garratt) Are we talking generically about Railsyst? Yes.

  9144. Even small changes in the input assumptions can have quite significant consequences for network performance in the model, can they not?

   (Mr Garratt) Yes. I repeat my caveat before.

  9145. Let us take a hypothetical example of a hypothetical freight loop that is being added to an existing network. Precisely where the new junctions for the loop were going to be located relative to existing junctions may be important in terms of the timetable modelling, might they not?

   (Mr Garratt) They are. May I expand on that answer?

  9146. Yes, certainly.

   (Mr Garratt) We are well aware that the infrastructure measures that we are discussing here today have not been completely designed. Certainly, there may be means whereby their designs can be improved upon, so we are not actually asking today (or I am not asking today, anyway) that every fishplate, so to speak, is exactly specified. What I would say, though, is that there needs to be, one, a commitment to replicating the functionality of each of these measures, otherwise the timetabling exercise upon which this exercise is predicated is invalid. I think the ORR's exercise or support and approach here, in going along with this timetabling exercise, agreed by both parties, carries with it the implication not just the timetable movements of trains but on the infrastructure.

  9147. The railway timetable models contain assumptions about signalling, do they not?

   (Mr Garratt) They do, but the exercise that was conducted in this case simply used the Rules of the Plan. So the implications of improvements in signalling, which Railsyst could have been sensitive to, would not have been a feature in this case.

  9148. But improvements in optimisation signalling is something that can be examined as part of the exercise to look to see whether we can get an uplift from the 71/72 per cent figure that has been discussed now towards the 92.

   (Mr Garratt) Yes, of course.

  9149. Other assumptions—let us see. The assumptions made about the intervals between trains can be changed, can they not?

   (Mr Garratt) Well, if you resignal you can change the intervals between trains.

  9150. The assumptions about the speed of turnout, across junctions—again, those can be altered, can they not?

   (Mr Garratt) That is right. That is my point. I am not suggesting that the designs are complete, only that the principles of the infrastructure measures which were used in the timetabling exercise have to be kept in there, otherwise the timetabling exercise is useless.

  9151. Where we have got to is that when we look at your client's request for a commitment to specific infrastructure enhancements, you are unable, at this stage, to produce a design showing exactly where the junctions are going to go, how long the freight loop is going to be, you cannot tell me what the speed of the turnout is going to be. All of those are matters which you are unable to specify at this stage. That is right.

   (Mr Garratt) We took it on trust that the timetabling exercise done by Crossrail took into account those infrastructure measures and treated them or modelled them, so to speak, in a realistic manner.

  9152. All of those are matters which, as I understand it—signalling, precise design, assumptions about train intervals, assumptions about speed of turnout—that your clients are happy to leave to the detailed design stage to come, are they not?

   (Mr Garratt) I do not think my clients would wish to precisely specify every detail. However, what they would want to be assured of is that their functionality was in no way compromised.

  9153. What I am struggling with, Mr Garratt, is to understand why it is, then, that your clients say it is appropriate to allow further detailed work to be done in relation to signalling, the precise design and layout of the infrastructure, speed of turnout, intervals of trains, all for optimisation in the future, but it is saying that we have to specify that particular items of infrastructure should be committed to at this stage.

   (Mr Garratt) My view is it is the functionality that matters.

  9154. Is it not better to adopt the approach that the ORR has adopted of putting everything into the pot so that all aspects of the inputs into the timetable modelling can be considered at one go and looked at as a whole, rather than taking one little piece out of the equation?

   (Mr Garratt) Well, one, that varies from the practice in a normal planning situation. Hutchison have explained their experience in that respect. Secondly, it removes a lot of certainty around other people around the industry, so that we cannot know whether various measures are going to take place if Crossrail proceeds. So we could end up with a sort of planning blight in some cases around some terminals where we do not know whether Crossrail will proceed and if there are works, and therefore it is difficult to build on those assumptions in making people's own plans.

  9155. Can I take you, then, in regard to the issue about certainty, to paragraph 79 of the ORR's final decision, which is at 05-111.[47] In terms of the certainty to your client, what they want certainty in relation to is to particular train paths. That is what they want certainty in respect of, is it not?

  (Mr Garratt) They want certainty as to rail freight capacity.

  9156. They want certainty so that particular paths are available.

   (Mr Garratt) Quantum of paths? Not particularly—

  9157. The ORR's decision requires assumptions to be made that guarantees the current level of freight services and allows for growth up to 2015.

   (Mr Garratt) That is right, yes.

  9158. So they already, through the ORR's decision, have certainty, do they not?

   (Mr Garratt) I am not sure I am confident about that because if these infrastructure measures are not undertaken and the services start and are discovered to not deliver adequate performance, and there is inadequate freight capacity, it will be a bit late then to retrospectively introduce those measures.

  9159. If Crossrail starts and capacity enhancements are not being provided to the extent that the 92 per cent figure is not achieved, Crossrail loses its access rights, does it not?

   (Mr Garratt) So does freight, effectively. Freight services will also be compromised.

47   Crossrail Ref: P63, The Office of Rail Regulation's decision on the application for a Track Access Option for Crossrail passenger services on Network Rail's network, Para 79, 14 April 2008 (LINEWD-34_05-111) Back

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