Roberts’ Rant: For 2020

Dear Readers,

I hope you had a great Christmas and are looking forward to what will be an interesting year.


Today we have heard that the Northern franchise is to be terminated. The Secretary of State has announced that he can no longer stand aside and see the train service collapse further. It is regrettable that it has come to this as there are good railwaymen and women throughout the Northern franchise. I hope the new regime that takes over will give the people of the North the railway they deserve but to do this it will need investment, infrastructure changes, step change in industrial relations and a supportive government. Just changing the people at the top will achieve nothing.


Brexit will happen on 31 January and whilst half the nation will rejoice the other half will worry. Still, with the transition period lasting to December 2020 perhaps that’s the time to be concerned.

All change

Well more like All Credit Cards as the latest price rises come into force for regulated fares on the railway.  Its the same every year, hammered when the price rises are announced and hammered again when they come into force. Its about time the government in partnership with the industry found a way to break this cycle.

Delay Repay

After one of my many business trips, I’m pleased to announce that Advanti’s Delay Repay scheme is working well in my case anyway. I was on my way home to Coventry when, due to tilt failure, the train was eventually terminated at Rugby. After putting a claim into the system I received an email within 24 hours that the claim had been successful – if only other large IT systems were so effective!

Train Journey

My monthly train journey of note this month is one of my regular local journeys between Coventry and Birmingham New Street. Although I travelled with Advanti, I may as well as travelled with West Midlands Railway as the actual journey times always seem to be the same no matter what the timetable says. The restrictive infrastructure between Coventry and Birmingham really needs addressing and I look forward to seeing the Midlands Engines plans in due course. The West Midlands Mayoral election takes place in April 2020 perhaps we will hear something during the campaign?


If you or your company require any professional railway operations advice, project management, human factors, customer experience or business transformation expertise then please get in touch at We can put a great team of specialists together to deliver your requirements.

And Finally

It’s a short rant this month because I know that you will want to get back to celebrating the arrival of 2020, so from all of us at S and L Roberts (Railway Consulting) Ltd have a very Happy New Year.


Feel free to agree or disagree, go on rant back or politely like and share. It’s always nice to hear from you!

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