Modern Facilities at Stations (MFAS)
The SRA has specified some 980 stations at which facilities are to be installed by applying specified criteria, the SRA have identified some 980 franchised stations which are eligible for MFAS facilities, provided these facilities do not currently exist at these stations.
Surveys have subsequently identified some 219 of these stations where MFAS facilities will not actually be required under this programme because the stations currently have these facilities.
Costs will be analysed in the Interim Review to determine appropriate prices which will then form the basis for amending the station long-term charge. Railtrack and ORR agreed in principle on 6 August 2002, that the feasibility and design costs, including rolled up financing costs, will be logged to the RAB in April 2004, and paid by increases to the track access charges at that time. The amendments to the station long term charge would therefore be related to the implementation cost only.
The SRA has confirmed that it expects SFOs to take responsibility for maintenance, repair and renewal of the new assets. There are a number of issues related to the ongoing maintenance, repair and renewal of the new MFAS assets that need further consideration and clarification. Firstly there needs to be clarity about the timing and conditions related to the handover from Railtrack, as contractor responsible for delivery of the new asset, to the SFO who will be responsible thereafter. This is being addressed in contractual arrangements currently being developed between SRA and Railtrack for the delivery of this project. Secondly, we are concerned about apparent inconsistencies between the proposals for the new MFAS assets and those for the split of responsibility for ongoing repair/renewal for other station assets described in the Regulator’s recent provisional conclusions on the review of the station access regime. E.g. it would be perverse if the repair/renewal responsibility for a particular class of asset was different for MFAS stations and non-MFAS stations.
MFAS will not include the DDA programme in its scope. However, the specific MFAS facilities have each been specified and designed with reference to the SRA’s Code of Practice for Disabled Access. For example the design of an MFAS waiting room will take account of the accessibility requirements of the Code of Practice, but the MFAS works will not include other work on non- MFAS assets which would be required to make the station itself accessible. 2.19 The proposed application of an adjustment mechanism for stage 2, using a formula based on a weighted average of initial price estimates and information on stage 1 bid/actual costs. Railtrack has always considered that stage 2 prices should be based on fully costed designs at level 5 for all stage 2 stations, rather than the application of a formula, to stage 1 pricing data. It is not clear how the proposed formula would be applied.
There will not be any actual stage 1 implementation costs at the time of the stage 2 cost submission, other than the contractors bid costs on which the stage 1 submission will be based.
The proposed timing of the stage 2 interim review is driven by the availability of actual bid and outturn cost information on stage 1 stations. Railtrack considers that the timing of the stage 2 review should be driven entirely by the process of obtaining competitive priced bids for the stage 2 stations, fully designed to level 5. Subject to any confidentiality exclusions, the cost submissions will be published on the ORR website. Railtrack requires the right to identify and agree with ORR in advance of publication, which items in the cost submission are appropriate for publication on the ORR website, and which items should not be published because they are commercially sensitive. In any event, Railtrack is opposed to publication of the Stage 1 submission while the Stage 2 submission is in preparation, and competitive tenders are being sought by Railtrack for Stage 2. 4.4 (f) From February 2003, a review implementation notice is issued for Stations in Stage 1. The February 2003 date for the implementation notice is later than the date by which the SRA have been urging Railtrack to start on site. The current draft of the implementation agreement between Railtrack and SRA includes a date for commencement for Stage 1 of 31 October 2002. In order to achieve this commencement date, Railtrack would be required to start work in advance of the implementation notice.
The Regulator would welcome consultees’ views on the merits of the proposal to conduct the MFAS Interim Review in two stages. The timetable in Section 4 of the consultation document indicates that the stage 2 start date may not be until July 2003, primarily because of the timescales involved in the Interim Review process, and also because of the timescales required for Railtrack to design and competitively tender the entire stage 2 works (some 629 stations). Railtrack is keen to explore with ORR and SRA how the earliest possible start on Stage 2 implementation can be achieved, in line with SRA’s demanding timescales for completion. Our suggestion for how this could be achieved is to identify a proportion of the current stage 2 stations for which designs have been completed, and which it may be possible to submit for Interim Review in advance of dates set out for Stage 2 in section 4 of the ORR consultation document. A third stage to the review would then pick up the remainder of the stations, in line with the overall timescales to be agreed with the SRA and ORR.
The following Standards for rail stations in the Tees Valley have been compiled from standards set by a number of sources, including the Strategic Rail Authority and the Rail Passengers Council. The resulting set of standards represents the requirements of the Tees Valley Authorities for rail stations.
The Strategic Rail Authority classifies stations into six bands, according to size. Some requirements are only applicable to larger stations, with only the basic safety and information standards applicable to all. Most stations within the Tees Valley are in SRA category "F"; unstaffed stations.
Stations within the Tees Valley have been assessed according to these standards.
- Signing requirements
At the very least all stations must be clearly signed from both the main highway network, ideally within a mile, and at the immediate approach to a station.
- Disabled Access - station and platforms
All stations must have easy access for disabled users with suitable ramps or a lift to both the station and platform. This is to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.
- Train Information - running, service
All unstaffed stations, as a minimum, need to have a public address system. To meet agreed modern facilities standards all staffed stations should have a Customer Information System in operation.
Ideally each station should have, as standard, a board on each platform showing the times of all services which use the station as well as timetable information at the approach to the station. The board should be in a well lit place and at a suitable height so that it can be read by people in a wheelchair.
- Destination signing and platform numbering
Every station should have destination signs in a visible location and platform numbers on every platform.
- Waiting shelters
As a minimum standard all sheltered waiting facilities need to have good all round visibility with seats and, preferably lighting, for safety reasons.
- Waiting rooms
All staffed stations should have waiting rooms which comply to at least SRA minimum standards with seating, heating, anti slip floors and glazing. The waiting room needs to be in full view of the platform. Train information should be supplied either by CIS or PA and should be in all waiting rooms.
All staffed stations must have minimum coverage of platforms, car parks, booking halls and waiting rooms to satisfy minimum SRA criteria. There should be wider coverage at all unmanned stations covering platforms and station car parks, particularly long stay, where there is a problem of vandalism of cars and station property. For safety and security all stations should be covered in the long term.
- Toilets at staffed stations
All staffed stations should be equipped with clean toilet facilities. According to SRA guidelines baby changing facilities should be supplied as standard at Category B and C (large staffed) stations.
- Lighting - stations and platforms
As a matter of course all stations should be well lit in all areas
- Public Telephones
Public telephones for the use of passengers should be on all platforms.
- Bus information
At each station bus timetables and details of nearest bus stops must be displayed, in a well lit place, for all services. Buses should service stations directly or be in close proximity to the station.
- Taxi Information
Taxi information should be available at all stations particularly those without a dedicated office or taxi rank.
- Car Parking
As a minimum, wherever possible, dedicated off highway space should be provided for short stay drop offs/pick ups and taxis. Long stay parking should be provided with dedicated provision for disabled vehicles. All station car parks must be well lit and should be properly surfaced.
- Cycle Parking
All stations should have dedicated and secure cycle parking facilities to meet local authority objectives and targets by 2005, preferably covered and in view of passengers. The safe storage of cycles raises security issues which could be solved by installing CCTV cameras.