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This topic was started nearly nine years ago and the arguments, questions and answers virtually the same.  So neither we nor the government will ever get this endeavour off the ground it would seem.:unknw_mini:

       Brian.

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Could be worse, they had an article about other delayed projects around the world (including Crossrail)

 

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In California, another high-speed rail line is late and more expensive than planned. A 2008 referendum approved a $10bn (£7.8bn) budget to begin a rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The project is now $46bn over budget and at least a decade behind schedule.

 

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2 hours ago, bimble said:

Could be worse, they had an article about other delayed projects around the world (including Crossrail)

 

 

 

Except the initial budget for the California project was $40 billion, not $10 billion.  So yes, over-budget but not as bad as insinuated.

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Of budgeting:

I used to work with a civil engineering consultants who made an exciting living out of the end of Empire: delivering new airports, universities, infrastructure w.h.y. to countries gaining Independence - from the Caribbean through Africa to East Asia. The name of the game was trying to deliver realistic estimates for "stoker proof" projects that were without precedent in the former colonial territory.

 

I then got lured into Academia and multilateral aid projects at the time of "Economic Restructuring" throughout the 1980s. This seemed dominated by Harvard Business School managerial MBAs.   I was astonished to find they were driven by a completely different ethos: "Do not disclose the the probable complexities. Much better to come up with a projected budget that is likely to gain project approval from the range of differing interests.

dh 

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28 minutes ago, runs as required said:

Of budgeting:

I used to work with a civil engineering consultants who made an exciting living out of the end of Empire: delivering new airports, universities, infrastructure w.h.y. to countries gaining Independence - from the Caribbean through Africa to East Asia. The name of the game was trying to deliver realistic estimates for "stoker proof" projects that were without precedent in the former colonial territory.

 

I then got lured into Academia and multilateral aid projects at the time of "Economic Restructuring" throughout the 1980s. This seemed dominated by Harvard Business School managerial MBAs.   I was astonished to find they were driven by a completely different ethos: "Do not disclose the the probable complexities. Much better to come up with a projected budget that is likely to gain project approval from the range of differing interests.

dh 

I can't say I'm surprised by your revelation.

 

It could be translated as "Fiddle the figures to get the answer you want, gain approval, then once your (sucker) client has swallowed the bait and spent some money, locking themselves in, let the costs take their course. "

 

Call me cynical if you like....

 

John.

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1 hour ago, runs as required said:

... dominated by Harvard Business School managerial MBAs.   I was astonished to find they were driven by a completely different ethos

...


In my sector, we were taught that a management consultant is someone you pay to look at your watch and then tell you the time.

 

Calling them in usually means either there’s a lack of basic managerial competence, or there’s a lack of trust within the organisation and the consultant’s report is needed before higher-ups will believe something that their own staff have been telling them.
 

Paul

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10 minutes ago, Fenman said:


In my sector, we were taught that a management consultant is someone you pay to look at your watch and then tell you the time.

 

Calling them in usually means either there’s a lack of basic managerial competence, or there’s a lack of trust within the organisation and the consultant’s report is needed before higher-ups will believe something that their own staff have been telling them.
 

Paul

I couldn't agree more Paul.

 

My own experience of these people tended to the second of your causes, namely support for a course of action already recognised but thought to be needing independent affirmation.

 

The galling thing as a finance person was that the consultants work mainly consisted of asking my staff to provide reams and reams of data, which they then put into some fancy folder on their logoed paper, charging us a fortune for the privilege. Actual value added was negative!

 

John.

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The other thing that shocked me was that fee totals with the Business School Consultants handling things jumped from between 12.5%  and 15% of project costing to around a third !

My son tells me City law firm solicitors charge £500 per hour.

dh

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18 hours ago, brianusa said:

This topic was started nearly nine years ago and the arguments, questions and answers virtually the same.  So neither we nor the government will ever get this endeavour off the ground it would seem.:unknw_mini:

       Brian.

Although do't forget that work - real work on the ground - has already been underway for some months in various places.

42 minutes ago, runs as required said:

The other thing that shocked me was that fee totals with the Business School Consultants handling things jumped from between 12.5%  and 15% of project costing to around a third !

My son tells me City law firm solicitors charge £500 per hour.

dh

I'm surprised that city law firms are that cheap nowadays.    Still a lot though when I remember that 14 years ago my employer (who was also based in the city although I wasn't) was charging £500 per day for me plus certain of my expenses , like the client had to pay for my flights to/from Australia

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1 hour ago, runs as required said:

The other thing that shocked me was that fee totals with the Business School Consultants handling things jumped from between 12.5%  and 15% of project costing to around a third !

My son tells me City law firm solicitors charge £500 per hour.

dh

I suspect senior staff such as partners are at least that, specialists in areas such as corporate tax planning are probably a lot more.

 

IIRC there was something of a fracas a year or two back when it was revealed that lawyers working for the government in respect of the Brexit process were being charged at £5000 a day, say £650 - £700 an hour.

 

John.

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35 minutes ago, The Stationmaster said:

Although do't forget that work - real work on the ground - has already been underway for some months in various places.

I'm surprised that city law firms are that cheap nowadays.    Still a lot though when I remember that 14 years ago my employer (who was also based in the city although I wasn't) was charging £500 per day for me plus certain of my expenses , like the client had to pay for my flights to/from Australia

 

Make that several years, in reality, when including prep works.

 

In BR, then RT then NR, we were paying about that (allowing for inflation) for solicitors, but only using them for third party deals. But on the 2012 Olympics (using one of the same firms) we were starting to pay nearly £1k per hour, because of the supposed risks involved. After a short while, when we realised no-one would be suing anyone else (apart from a few of the main contractors perhaps), whatever happened, we dropped the use of solicitors like a hot brick.....apart from final contracts review.

 

Peer review is a far more effective method, in place of "independent" reviews, except where mandated by the Regs. or by HMG - when they pursued this, and insisted we pay the costs, we simply increased our contract price back to them. 

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16 hours ago, mdvle said:

 

Except the initial budget for the California project was $40 billion, not $10 billion.  So yes, over-budget but not as bad as insinuated.

Erm, maybe so, however, if we take the quote literally:

  Quote

In California, another high-speed rail line is late and more expensive than planned. A 2008 referendum approved a $10bn (£7.8bn) budget to begin a rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

 

I don't doubt it. You have to start somewhere, and 10bn was the approved budget to start. The total cost of the project isn't mentioned.

 

Now that could well be lazy journalism and what it should say is:

 

In California, another high-speed rail line is late and more expensive than planned. A 2008 referendum approved a $10bn (£7.8bn) budget for a rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

 

Little words mean a lot, and perhaps why those in law get paid so much. Perhaps I should be charging half a grand an hour?

 

C6T. 

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New Capital ?

 

Widnes, and make "our leaders" work out of unheated Portacabins !!!!!!

 

Brit15

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19 minutes ago, Classsix T said:

Erm, maybe so, however, if we take the quote literally:

  Quote

In California, another high-speed rail line is late and more expensive than planned. A 2008 referendum approved a $10bn (£7.8bn) budget to begin a rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

 

I don't doubt it. You have to start somewhere, and 10bn was the approved budget to start. The total cost of the project isn't mentioned.

 

My point wasn't about what the article claimed, but rather that the proposition that was voted on and approved by California voters in 2008 stated that the line would cost $40 billion, and that the proposition would be approval for bonds to be issued to the amount of $9 billion towards the construction of the high speed line and $950 million for existing rail transit to build connections to the new high speed line stations to allow passengers to transfer between modes.

 

So when you use the numbers that were provided to voters, the situation isn't anywhere near as bad as claimed by the article you are quoting.

 

19 minutes ago, Classsix T said:

Now that could well be lazy journalism and what it should say is:

 

Or perhaps deliberately misleading journalism to serve a belief.

 

For example, a blog that points out some incorrect reporting in California:

 

https://sf.streetsblog.org/2019/10/21/high-speed-rail-reporter-cant-read-a-map/

 

Perhaps the reporters really are that bad at their job, or perhaps the stories are a deliberate attempt to sell the public on an agenda.

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16 hours ago, mdvle said:

 

Except the initial budget for the California project was $40 billion, not $10 billion.  So yes, over-budget but not as bad as insinuated.

 

Well actually, no.

 

The current $64 billion estimate refers to Phase 1 only, and the initial budget allowed for that (in 2008) was $33 billion, so it has doubled, despite massive downgrades (and that still appears to be under considerable pressure). Only the central section is included in that $64 billion, with no "centre to centre" operation envisaged - postponed indefinitely, with no funding allocated for the route through into San Fran or LA.

 

The $40 billion you refer to included all phases, and Phase 2 has also been postponed indefinitely. It was ridiculously optimistic.

 

Whilst what is left of Phase 1 is likely to be delivered only a few years late, the full Phase 1 is also likely to be delivered some 15 years late (if at all), and counting. Phase 2 and its offshoots, may never happen, although climate change issues may change federal support for that, given a new incumbent.

 

So HS2 looks professional (so far) in light of that.

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55 minutes ago, Mike Storey said:

So HS2 looks professional (so far) in light of that.

 

Ouch! Saucer of milk for Mr. Storey.

 

C6T. 

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8 hours ago, John Tomlinson said:

I couldn't agree more Paul.

 

My own experience of these people tended to the second of your causes, namely support for a course of action already recognised but thought to be needing independent affirmation.

 

The galling thing as a finance person was that the consultants work mainly consisted of asking my staff to provide reams and reams of data, which they then put into some fancy folder on their logoed paper, charging us a fortune for the privilege. Actual value added was negative!

 

John.

Having worked as a Management Consultant for nine years (in defence acquisition projects) I can honestly say that all the stereotypes are actually true.  The #1 priority of any consultant is to keep themselves employed.  I experienced a huge amount (and charged for) generating work and the 80:20 principle could not have been applied more beneficially than in our field; we could have easily delivered 80% of the benefit of our work in one day a week, rather than charging for five.

 

Public and private organisations alike, need to learn some simple rules: agree a very firm statement of work with a consultant, do not depart from it, ensure it is delivered on time and politely show them the door when it is.  Otherwise they'll be there longer than you are.

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Posted (edited)

Just to re-invigorate this topic, given the recent air-plucking figure from Lord Haw-Haw Berkeley, and the imminence (???) of the release of the official, final report on recommendations for the progression (or otherwise) of HS2.......

 

A little catching up with my back reading of those folk in t'other lands reveals:

 

1. The Suedes are Boiling: the predicted cost of building Sweden's proposed High Speed network has soared from 21.8 billion euros, to somewhere just shy of 40 billion and very liek;ly to rise further, according to the Chamber of Commerce (and it amounts to less than HS2 Phase 1 and 2A in length and capacity). Studies have shown that Swedish rail projects are costing far more to implement than their initial initial estimates - between 28% and 50% on average

 

2. A French Fry: a recent report by the French equivalent of the UK NAO, Le Cour des Comptes, shows that TER (i.e. non-TGV local and inter-regional services, in this case) are costing 8.5 Billion euros per year, by SNCF, to operate, of which 88% is covered by subsidy, mostly from Regional governments. Occasional journeys are falling fast (not surprising at all, given the absolutely crap timetables), leaving mostly season ticket holders, who effectively pay for only 7 days travel for a whole month (or in many cases, schoolkids, the unemployed and pensioners in particular, nothing). Those same governments cannot wait for "liberalisation" to be brought into play, whereby they can tender the provision of services out to third parties. Due in 2023, some are jumping the gun with service contract changes planned by 2021.

 

3. Green German Sausage: German Railways (DBAG) are due to get an additional (i.e., over and above their current funding)106 Billion euros (up by about 50%) compared to the current settlement, between 2020 and 2029, based on a Climate Package windfall, for investment and operating costs subsidy. DBAG is baying for this, as their losses, despite an enviable degree of commercial freedom for the past seven years, are mounting heavily. This might be strictly, illegal, under longstanding EU rules, as none of it is due to go to DB's competitors, nor to the governmental Regions (Lander) who contract most local services. This means DB may not have to sell Arriva or DB Schenker after all. All long distance rail fares will benefit from a reduction in VAT, from 22% to 7%, although this is being held up for a year, due to suspicions that the cost of the cut will fall on those same Lander. Of note for this thread, is that the sums will be released in tranches, subject to bi-annual reviews, because of DBAG's failure to spend previous amounts efficiently......

 

4. Extreme Whether: the storms and snow of October and November hit Central Europe harder than most, with some lines in Austria, and many more in Italy, shut for lengthy periods (six weeks in a few cases) with no substitute bus service in many cases. France and Germany were hit too, but, bar one or two lines, did not suffer as badly. Of note, is that their new, high speed lines did not suffer any such closures.

 

5. Spanish Omelette: Liberalisation in Spain is proceeding faster than elsewhere, on long distance services particularly. Most of the highly vaunted High Speed lines are not earning their keep, due to the reluctance of RENFE to run more trains than they can get away with. This is due to the relatively high track access charges they face, per train, from their infrastructure partner. There are several, advanced applications of interest, mostly involving the state-owned railways of France, Holland, Germany and Italy, in partnership with various private operators.

 

 

Whilst Brexit means the application of similar rules will no longer apply, this snapshot perhaps indicates that the grass is not greener, even across the little river. I just hope someone is learning a few lessons, what with the Williams Report, HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse submissions, along with other, perhaps lesser, but no less important locally, proposals.  We cannot afford to either get this wrong, or put it off for the sake of political, budgetary expediency.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mike Storey
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3 hours ago, Mike Storey said:

Just to re-invigorate this topic, given the recent air-plucking figure from Lord Haw-Haw Berkeley,

He's been against it from day one so is hardly going break any good news, even if he was given some.

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Posted (edited)
On 05/01/2020 at 22:49, melmerby said:

He's been against it from day one so is hardly going break any good news, even if he was given some.

 

He comes across as the ultimate 'crayonista' - he knows enough to think he has viable 'alternatives' like his Euston Express scheme, but not enough to see how fundamentally flawed and/or hopelessly undeveloped they are. Even when attempts are made to explain the problems to him, as they were at some length during the committee stage of the hybrid bill, he seems either unable or unwilling to understand.

 

Unfortunately his latest report is just more of the same vague and muddled thinking; William Barter has tweeted a useful analysis of which I've picked out a few: 1214156556566237191https://twitter.com/WilliamBarter1/status/1214156556566237191

 

Quote

Here we go – the Berkeley report. A vague report relying heavily on assertions, quotations and weasel words - “could easily”, “probably” and other terms intended to cover up lack of analysis. This is most apparent in anything about operations and service planning.

 


Factual errors and misprints need no comment, there will always be some – but he keeps quoting the HS2 London – Manchester journey time as 82 minutes, whereas it will be 72 minutes. This mistake is made twice so needs to be called out.‏

But the worst example is in 2.4 para 2. There is blatant double-application of the UIC ‘75%’ prudent use of theoretical capacity in practice – HS2 reduces the theoretical 24 tph to 18 tph by applying the 75% guideline, but then Berkeley applies it again to reach 13 tph.

 

 

Quote

Para 6.3.3. Old Oak could not reliably accommodate even the 10 tph of Phase 1 as a terminus, as the space available does not permit a track layout as flexible as Euston – because it doesn’t have the grade separation that Euston has even in Phase 1.

 


Here the casual flashing of “could easily” is a complete giveaway – Berkeley has no analysis to support his contention that Old Oak could handle 10 tph as a terminus, with the reliability, and flexibility of paths to and from NR, that Euston has.

As for “another platform or two” for Phase 2B! Anyone can smell here, on such a critical issue and location. Of course, to Berkeley Phase 2B is not 18 tph, which could not in any universe be dealt with at Old Oak with “a platform or two” extra.

 

 

Quote

Then there’s a few buried nasties! ‘Incorporation of DC lines into the WCML’. It’d be nice to know what the ‘reassessment of the Bakerloo line’ means! What’s the cost of a reasonable substitute, including termination of the Bakerloo service clear of the WCML?

 


‘Review of Cheddington, Tring and Apsley station’. What does ‘review’ mean? What can it mean other than closure? Please come clean on this, Lord Berkeley. Why Tring anyway, which is very well used? Why Apsley and not Kings Langley?

 

 

Quote

And there is nothing in this report about the services that would run. That’s not just a gap, it’s a key element of proving feasibility. If the proposals don’t work, they have no value. If they don’t deliver what HS2 does, they are not alternatives to HS2.

 


There is a lot of detail about freight loops North of Preston, which isn’t really anything to do with HS2. But nothing whatsoever about the services he hopes his ‘options’ will run, let alone a basic train graph to demonstrate feasibility.

You show whether they work by specimen timetabling. And Berkeley hasn’t. You don’t show feasibility by just saying “could easily”. That’s not just naïve, it’s laughable. It’s as if he doesn’t realise that a railway runs trains, and does so to serve passengers and freight.

 

 

Edited by Christopher125
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On 18/11/2019 at 12:58, Fenman said:


In my sector, we were taught that a management consultant is someone you pay to look at your watch and then tell you the time.

 

Calling them in usually means either there’s a lack of basic managerial competence, or there’s a lack of trust within the organisation and the consultant’s report is needed before higher-ups will believe something that their own staff have been telling them.
 

Paul

Or said managers need a scapegoat,"the consultant"  to carry the blame.

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58 minutes ago, ess1uk said:

Why does the BBC publish such rubbish without any checks regarding accuracy?

I got as far as the phrase "currently on hold" and that was enough for me.

It would be far better if they did an item on the cost of cancellation, looking into just what contracts exist with subcontractors and what financial penalties they involve.

Bernard

 

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