Taxpayers bore all the risk when the Department for Transport decided to buy new Intercity Express Programme and Thameslink fleets the Public Accounts Committee said on December 17 when it published its Procuring New Trains report.
Margaret Hodge, Chairman of the PAC, said: "The Department for Transport’s decision to buy the new trains for Intercity Express and Thameslink itself has left the taxpayer bearing all the risk." The Department has no previous experience of running a procurement of this kind, let alone two with a combined value of £10.5 billion, the report said. Yet it has chosen to break with its previous approach of leaving it to rolling stock companies and train operators to buy trains, transferring risk away from the rail industry back to government it added.
This means that if passenger forecasts are wrong and fewer new trains are needed in future taxpayers will have to pick up the bill.
- For more information, see RAIL 764, published on December 24.