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Old September 18th, 2011, 04:28 PM   #961
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There aren't many low-usage lines in the UK, because we have already gone through many deletions of many routes, the network we have is a very slimmed down one already. Part of the reason why some routes are unprofitable is because centralised government prevented the necessary modernisation work over a period of about 40 years. Much of the money that goes into Network Rail is to pay for maintenance and improvements that have been put off for decades in a false-economy move by the then governments. Much of the rest goes to underperforming train operating companies due to the cap-and-collar franchise agreements that were agreed by the previous government before the global economic slowdown. These will change in future, and longer franchise agreements will be employed to make it worthwhile for the Train Operating Companies to pay for improvements themselves. An example is Chiltern, who are paying for an upgrade of the chiltern route, which 15 years ago was the sort of loss-making route earmarked for closure. Now they going from strength to strength and making lots of money, whilst also providing a useful service to society and the wider economy.
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Old September 18th, 2011, 06:26 PM   #962
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TOCs shouldn't mess with infrastructure and vice-versa IMO.
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Old September 18th, 2011, 10:28 PM   #963
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That's just like 2.5 miles... a walking distance if you're not crippled. And are you saying it costs 'twice' (i.e. something in the range of £5) to take a bus? That's strange because a comparable bus journey in London using cash is £2.20 and Oyster card is £1.30.

Rail journeys, on the other hand, are quite similar in London and it certainly isn't cheap for something you can just WALK in 25 minutes or cycle in 8 minutes.
A peak bus ticket from Headingley to Leeds is £4.30.

The peak train fare is £2.60.

You cannot walk from Headingley to Leeds. You are talking an hours walk!

All I am saying is that in comparison the train is very cheap. A peak return to Barnsley is like £9 or £6 with a railcard.
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Old September 18th, 2011, 10:42 PM   #964
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TOCs shouldn't mess with infrastructure and vice-versa IMO.
You have obviously no idea how railways work. Railway lines and rolling stock make up one inextricable technological unit. Each on its own is completely useless and so is the division into train operating and infrastructure companies.
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Old September 18th, 2011, 10:54 PM   #965
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You have obviously no idea how railways work. Railway lines and rolling stock make up one inextricable technological unit. Each on its own is completely useless and so is the division into train operating and infrastructure companies.
Doesn't need to be, as long as signaling is standardized.

Other elements of infrastructure like gauges (not only track, but load, vertical, horizontal), cant etc. are pretty much standardized as well.

It's like airplanes and airport runways. Sure, they need to work together, but they are not inherently intermingled so that you can't separate companies.
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Old September 18th, 2011, 11:36 PM   #966
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A peak bus ticket from Headingley to Leeds is £4.30.

The peak train fare is £2.60.

You cannot walk from Headingley to Leeds. You are talking an hours walk!

All I am saying is that in comparison the train is very cheap. A peak return to Barnsley is like £9 or £6 with a railcard.
Enjoy it while it lasts, there will be RPI+5% fare rises annually for a while now to pay for a few extra cascaded carriages!
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Old September 19th, 2011, 12:27 AM   #967
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A peak bus ticket from Headingley to Leeds is £4.30.
£4.30 for a 2.2 mile bus ride must be BY FAR the world's most expensive bus fare! This is beyond extortionate. It by no means makes a two stop train ride for £2.60 'cheap'. Comparable bus ride in London would cost you £1.20 while a train ride should be about the same i.e. £2.60. Those unfoprtunate people paying £4.30 for such a bus journey should rather take a cab and start saving their money!

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You cannot walk from Headingley to Leeds. You are talking an hours walk!
Why no? Only because everyone says so and you have never tried it? I just checked google maps. It's actually 2.2 miles and takes 43 minutes. If you're fast and not physically incapacitated you can make it in 25-30 minutes. On a bike it would take about 10-12 minutes and perhaps a little longer in a car depending on traffic.

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All I am saying is that in comparison the train is very cheap. A peak return to Barnsley is like £9 or £6 with a railcard.
The comparison is flawed in this case because nowhere in the world a 2.2 mile bus ride costs £4.30. Leeds must be somehow unique and special.
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Old September 19th, 2011, 03:53 AM   #968
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Doesn't need to be, as long as signaling is standardized.

Other elements of infrastructure like gauges (not only track, but load, vertical, horizontal), cant etc. are pretty much standardized as well.
There 7 different classes of loading gauges and two different track gauges in operation in the United Kingdom. Add to that three different systems of electric power supply. There are constraints in platform length and heights and a lot more parameter to consider. The British railway network is a long way off from being standardised. And neither are networks in other European countries.
The signalling is just the icing on the cake of a whole range of parameters that have to fit. And that's why a strict division between rolling and stationary equipment doesn't work in the railway industry. It might be possible for aviation and road transport but certainly not for railways.
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Old September 19th, 2011, 09:09 AM   #969
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There 7 different classes of loading gauges and two different track gauges in operation in the United Kingdom. Add to that three different systems of electric power supply. There are constraints in platform length and heights and a lot more parameter to consider. The British railway network is a long way off from being standardised. And neither are networks in other European countries.
The signalling is just the icing on the cake of a whole range of parameters that have to fit. And that's why a strict division between rolling and stationary equipment doesn't work in the railway industry. It might be possible for aviation and road transport but certainly not for railways.
Having these variations is not that problematic, because infrastructure works are inherently slow and the parameters don't change everyday. Moreover, when there is some upgrade for loading, track, vertical, horizontal gauges, for instance, it's very rarely one that downgrades the railway. A train with loading gauge of 16ton/axle will use with no problems tracks reinforced to cope with 18 ton/axle. A train meant to operate on 220m platforms will keep operating if it is lengthened to 250m. Legacy problems are usually restricted to track gauge (not going to change AFAIK) and platform heights. Even electrical power can be dealt with multi-tension engines that can even take AC and DC with an on-board rectifier (the French do that a lot with their North-South division of 25kV (AC) / 3kV (DC) network.

And some standardization is needed, or else you will not have competition or, in the worst case, your routes would be fixed with few possibilities of change over a different combination of tracks (which might be valid in some high-frequency closed systems like the London Tube, but not in a national track network). How can you provide open access without a clear set of current and future infrastructure parameters the TOCs can work around when shopping for rolling stock first place!

It reminds me of the Virgin Pendolinos, fit to run at 140mph but not going over 125mph because the government decided not to fully upgrade the sector of WCML where they were supposed to operate in the middle of the project. That is bad management. It's like an airport expansion in the World hub of an airline that all the way is announced with 3700m runway fit with ILS-3 and double deck-double bridge featues, so that the airline orders a bunch of A380 to run there, only to be informed, in the middle of the project, aircraft soon to be delivered, that now the runway and terminals will be simpler and no longer accommodate the A380.

This is what Railtrack did with Virgin Rail...
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Old September 19th, 2011, 01:49 PM   #970
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Suburbanist will you please lie down before you hurt yourself. You live in a fantasy land in your own head. Nearly everything you have to say is wrong.

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Having these variations is not that problematic, because infrastructure works are inherently slow and the parameters don't change everyday.
So differences are not a problem because they don't change very quickly? So a train with Route Availability 6 does not have a problem because it can't travel on a Route Availability 4 track because that RA4 parameter won't change very quickly? Rubbish.

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Moreover, when there is some upgrade for loading, track, vertical, horizontal gauges, for instance, it's very rarely one that downgrades the railway.
So. Doesn't mean the network is compatible with itself though does it.

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A train with loading gauge of 16ton/axle will use with no problems tracks reinforced to cope with 18 ton/axle.
No, duh, but a 18/t axle train will have a problem on a 16/t axle route won't it?

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A train meant to operate on 220m platforms will keep operating if it is lengthened to 250m.

No, duh, but a 250m train will have a problem on a 220m platform won't it?

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Legacy problems are usually restricted to track gauge (not going to change AFAIK) and platform heights.
No they aren't. Legacy problems apply to signalling, route availability, and loading guage. Track guage is the ONE thing in the UK where there is never ever ever ever ever a problem. Sheesh you couldn't be more wrong if your name was Charlie Sheen.

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And some standardization is needed, or else you will not have competition....
You're putting the cart before the horse here. Yes standardisation would help competition. But the UK network isn't standardised. The end. You cannot argue with this, though no doubt you will try.

...
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, or, in the worst case, your routes would be fixed with few possibilities of change over a different combination of tracks (which might be valid in some high-frequency closed systems like the London Tube, but not in a national track network). How can you provide open access without a clear set of current and future infrastructure parameters the TOCs can work around when shopping for rolling stock first place!
Exactly, which is what the DfT and Network Rail have been trying to work out a way to deal with over the past few years, because everybody knows it has a negative impact on the rolling stock procurement process and makes UK rolling stock more expensive than the european equivalent. But this is the case, we do have this problem and we don't want it, but we have it. No amount of idealogically based desires will magic away this current state of affairs.

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It reminds me of the Virgin Pendolinos, fit to run at 140mph but not going over 125mph because the government decided not to fully upgrade the sector of WCML where they were supposed to operate in the middle of the project.
I love the fantasy world you live in.

The 'government' had virtually no part to play in the in-cab signalling fiasco on the WCML. Railtrack, a PRIVATE COMPANY, screwed up. They thought they could develop in-cab signalling in a short amount of time, that was an independent system to the ETRMS system that was just starting to get developed across Europe. Railtrack then screwed up a million other things as well, and for the safety of the public were deleted out of existence by the government who replaced it with a not-for-profit organisation called Network Rail. They took over the project and discovered that in-cab signalling was not only difficult, but with the system proposed by Railtrack, was actually impossible and a load of shit. So they opted for normal signalling. This had NOTHING to do with governemnt intervention. So get your facts straight. I know this might mean you have to slightly rearrange the furniture in your fantasy land so I hope it doesn't disturb you too much.
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Old September 19th, 2011, 02:39 PM   #971
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Having these variations is not that problematic, because infrastructure works are inherently slow and the parameters don't change everyday. Moreover, when there is some upgrade for loading, track, vertical, horizontal gauges, for instance, it's very rarely one that downgrades the railway. A train with loading gauge of 16ton/axle will use with no problems tracks reinforced to cope with 18 ton/axle. A train meant to operate on 220m platforms will keep operating if it is lengthened to 250m. Legacy problems are usually restricted to track gauge (not going to change AFAIK) and platform heights. Even electrical power can be dealt with multi-tension engines that can even take AC and DC with an on-board rectifier (the French do that a lot with their North-South division of 25kV (AC) / 3kV (DC) network.
You don't know that re-gauging of railway lines is a waste resources. You don't even know what the term loading gauge means. You want to operate 220 m trains on 250 m platforms in a network where overcrowding is the biggest issue. You completely ignore the additional expenses of dual-voltage unit. And you don't know who tenders rolling stock order.

Do yourself a favour and stop posting in this thread. You just don't know what you are writing.
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Old September 20th, 2011, 06:21 PM   #972
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Passenger figures grow on route to London

Passenger numbers on the East Coast Main Line rail service rose three per cent to 18.5 million journeys in the year to March 31. The nationalised rail company said services between West Yorkshire and London, the East Coast’s busiest market, saw a four per cent increase in passenger growth.

Passenger numbers on the flagship Anglo-Scots services rose by 13 per cent over the year.

Parent company Directly Operated Railways said it anticipated the franchise would be re-let again to a private operator at the end of 2013.

Chairman of East Coast Elaine Holt said: “We’ll hand it back in a much better shape. This is a very difficult railway to run. 50 per cent is leisure travel and we haven’t got a very strong commuter base with only three per cent from commuters, so 97 per cent of revenue is discretionary.”

A major timetable change was introduced in May with a new first class complimentary food and drinks offer. “Whilst there still remain some inconsistencies, the new product has been overwhelmingly welcomed by our customers, and we’re working hard to deliver a good service on every train,” said Ms Holt.

The number of first class journeys rose by 24 per cent since the new timetable and complimentary service were launched in May. This represents an additional 74,000 first class journeys, compared with last year. Ms Holt said that more long-distance travellers were switching from planes to East Coast trains.

Figures from the Association of Train Operating Companies show in the past five years, East Coast’s market share on the Edinburgh to London route grew by six per cent to 27 per cent last year while its share on the Newcastle to London route grew by five per cent to 64 per cent.

The next target will be to improve the level of service in standard class. Ms Holt said that staff morale had improved with sickness absence days per employee reducing from over 14 days in November 2009, to just under 9.5 days in March 2011, a reduction of some 50 per cent.
http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/busin...ndon_1_3789384
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Old September 20th, 2011, 07:38 PM   #973
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Doesn't need to be, as long as signaling is standardized.

Other elements of infrastructure like gauges (not only track, but load, vertical, horizontal), cant etc. are pretty much standardized as well.

It's like airplanes and airport runways. Sure, they need to work together, but they are not inherently intermingled so that you can't separate companies.
But there is also scheduling. Scheduling has a huge inpact on the efficiency of both the infrastructure and operation. This requires close cooperation if the maximum return is to be had from the employed capital.
That is best done when infrastructure and operation remain in the same unit. Japan is a good example of this.

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Old September 20th, 2011, 08:04 PM   #974
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But there is also scheduling. Scheduling has a huge inpact on the efficiency of both the infrastructure and operation. This require close cooperation if the maximum return is to be hade from the employed capital.
That is best done when infrastructure and operation remain in the same unit. Japan is a good example of this.
Only if you believe that operation of any transportation is a natural monopoly.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 12:12 PM   #975
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Only if you believe that operation of any transportation is a natural monopoly.
I do not believe transportation is a natural monopoly. I don't understand the relevance of your remark however. The different private railways in Japan are not monopolies.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 01:14 PM   #976
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Guys... Suburbanist is just a troll...


IGNOR him
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Old September 21st, 2011, 01:32 PM   #977
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I do not believe transportation is a natural monopoly. I don't understand the relevance of your remark however. The different private railways in Japan are not monopolies.
K., natural monopolies are more related to individual markets than to national ones, strictu sensu.

A central rail station in a city like Glasgow, or the tracks under the English Channel on Eurotunnel are examples of natural monopolies.

Most of UK franchises operate as effective monopolies, because despite the presence of many franchises in UK, most cities are served only by one company, and there is no actual competition for train services (only competition with other modes like buses, cars or domestic air travel).

This is one of the faux-passes of the British Rail privatization: it tried to push a model where the competition is supposed to happen at a tendering stage (effectively auctioning off local/regional/route monopolies) instead of at the service operation licensing stage. This is true to the large extent in which open carriers are forbidden to operate, even if paths were available to them, is they want to "skim off" the most profitable relations of a franchise, for instance, by means of running peak-time express trains only Manchester-Birmingham-London on 2nd class seat arrangement only.

Then, UK has a franchise system that is long enough to halt competition (as it would be in - say - 3-year based auctioning of paths and station movement slot rights), but short enough to allow for long-term investments in rolling stock.

Apparently, they are going for the second route (longer franchises) to shore up the muscles of TOCs and give them more leeway in rolling stock and other decisions. I'd prefer the other route, but any change to the current standstill model is welcome. Let's wait until they put that franchise that went bankrupt and will be re-tendered in late 2012/early 2013 (I forgot its name).
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 11:34 AM   #978
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So far, most would agree that Chiltern Railway is one of the more successful franchise. They have a long term and because of that, managed to re-invest to upgrade the infrastructure.

Shorter franchise terms would not encourage more competition, only increase costs. Longer franchise terms is better as long as proper clauses are put in the contract by the relevant parties to prevent abuse. The upside being it allows the TOCs to invest some profits back into the railway.
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 12:46 PM   #979
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Yes longer franchises do help the TOCs invest. If it is too short any plans that get delayed for any reason would lose their attractiveness to the operator, because of the short window to recoup their investment, so they don't. So the Department for Transport has to step in to over-specify the franchise terms, allowing the TOCs even less wriggle room.

The result is that today, to say the UK railway is privatised is something of a misnomer. Pretty much most railway workers are singing to the DfT's hymn sheet, but just happen to receive their paycheque from a private company. The trains are owned by private banks, but apart from that go exactly where the government wants them to go, and there is little scope to do anything else with them.

The rolling stock problem is exacerbated by the fact that we've ran out of stock and scarcity is the opposite of competition in a capitalist system. Also, at the moment the department for transport has been the only organisation with the real power to place orders on behalf of the railway industry (which is entirely their own fault for thinking that a centralised purchase arrangement would provide economies of scale. What the government misunderstood is that they would have achieved a better economy of scale by allowing TOC and ROSCOs to speocify and purchase trains, and let the manufacturers work out how to achieve economies of scale themselves, which is what they have done anyway - Desiro, Electrostar, Meridien/Voyager - but to less effect). And being government it takes them forever to it.

It would be far better to allow the TOCs and ROSCOs to order and purchase whatever they like, and then there can be competition in the rolling stock too. But it isn't quite that simple, because excess stock in one area cannot always be used elsewhere. The class 442s for example, were dropped by South West Trains when they recieved the Siemens class 444s, because the lease on the 442s was too expensive. So for a few years the 442s were in storage doing nothing, because there was nowhere else for the 3rd rail powered intercity cars (yes commuter intercity trains - odd) to be used. Luckily for the ROSCO the 3rd rail Southern Railways developed a need for express trains and eventually took up the 442s, but this was lucky as no other region of 3rd rail in the UK has a loading gauge large enough for them without the need to adjust a few bridges.

So what the UK needs is serious competition in the rolling stock leasing market. OK, since the introduction of large fleets of Bombardier Turbostars and Electrostars and Siemens Desiros, which pretty much can go anywhere (as long as the power supply is the right one for the EMUs) there is a developing standardisation of vehicles, however there still aren't enough of these vehicles to go round yet - there needs to be a small excess of stock to make the market function healthily.
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 03:26 PM   #980
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The result is that today, to say the UK railway is privatised is something of a misnomer. Pretty much most railway workers are singing to the DfT's hymn sheet, but just happen to receive their paycheque from a private company. The trains are owned by private banks, but apart from that go exactly where the government wants them to go, and there is little scope to do anything else with them.
To make things work, franchises should be separate between local/regional services and trunk services along main lines, and also provide that, at least on the most trafficked routes, 2 companies are operating trains on the same route. If they want - say - 46 daily Manchester - Euston trains, let one franchise operate 23, another operate other 23. That way, you could achieve price and service quality competition. Price-conscious passengers would take cheaper trains, those wanting to travel ASAP would take whatever trains, those seeking comfort would take more expensive trains etc.

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Also, at the moment the department for transport has been the only organisation with the real power to place orders on behalf of the railway industry (which is entirely their own fault for thinking that a centralised purchase arrangement would provide economies of scale. What the government misunderstood is that they would have achieved a better economy of scale by allowing TOC and ROSCOs to speocify and purchase trains, and let the manufacturers work out how to achieve economies of scale themselves, which is what they have done anyway - Desiro, Electrostar, Meridien/Voyager - but to less effect). And being government it takes them forever to it.
On top of that, you have politics getting mixed with business decisions, like the enormous pressure DfT is suffering to order something, anything that will mean Bombardier plant kept opened instead of placing order with more competitive French and German manufacturers.


Quote:
So what the UK needs is serious competition in the rolling stock leasing market. OK, since the introduction of large fleets of Bombardier Turbostars and Electrostars and Siemens Desiros, which pretty much can go anywhere (as long as the power supply is the right one for the EMUs) there is a developing standardisation of vehicles, however there still aren't enough of these vehicles to go round yet - there needs to be a small excess of stock to make the market function healthily.
Scarcity of rolling stock plays into the hands of the ROSCOs: they can charge higher prices, which provides little incentives for them to expand fleet greatly. From a holding managerial POV, this is especially the case since some ROSCOs were acquired and merged at overpriced (in many analysts opinions) prices: flooding the market with rolling stock is detrimental to their R.O.I.

As they operate now, ROSCOs are pretty much a mere financing agency for DfT which effectively decides what is running where.

In a more free market, excess rolling stock would attract knock-down short-term leases (2-4 years) from open access TOCs, who'd be able to use them to operate free routes within the system, helping push competition. But as it is now, there is no incentive for that, DfT puts safeguarding the franchises as a higher priority.
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