Public Transport in your particular part of the region

cwathen
Posts: 1135
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

The East Coast franchise will be nationalised (again) from next month, the current fashion for using pre-BR names continues, this time it will be called 'London & North Eastern Railway' (presumably LNER will be the actual branding used).

Not being or travelling in that part of the world very often, I've never really understood the difficulties with this franchise over the past decade, particularly when it seemed so stable in the decade before that. GNER lasted 11 years and seemed fine for most of that time until the new contract, then succesor NXEC was dead in less than 2. The temporary nationalisation into East Coast to make sure the franchise was right before being relet ended up going on for over 5 years, whilst the final solution of Virgin Trains East Coast has only lasted another 3 before we're back to nationalisation again.

The obvious would be to point at the shortcomings of Virgin, Stagecoach and National Express, but they've all been involved in rail franchising since the start (well, NX no longer are but they still had a long tenure in the industry) and have been succesful at operating other franchises.

Grayling has also received 'official advice' that Virgin and Stagecoach should still be allowed to bid for other franchises.

Bets on how long it will last this time?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44142258
all new Phil
Posts: 1598
Joined: Sun 13 Feb, 2005 00.04
Location: Next door to Hell

I know a lot less about this subject than many here so excuse my ignorance. What is the benefit of having different franchises and operators? Wouldn’t one national operator (public or private) be a much better system that would presumably work better for commuters? Do any other countries operate in such a disjointed way?
Thought this was a nice forum, clearly not.
Martin Phillp
Posts: 968
Joined: Wed 11 May, 2011 01.28

The Government have been so quick in removing the East Coast franchise, not once, but twice back into public hands, yet Govia Thameslink Railway continues to be a pain in the backside continues to run the franchise until the three brands are split up again.

Rumour is Great Northern will be merged into the new East Coast franchise.

There's also a dramatic change in the timetable for all GTR branded services and Southeastern this weekend, which heavily inconveniences passengers, so that Thameslink can run their ironing board trains to such sexy places as Peterborough from Sunday, while I lose a direct train to East Croydon in the peaks.
TVF's London Lite.
JAS84
Posts: 444
Joined: Fri 12 Aug, 2011 10.23
Location: Hull, UK

cwathen wrote:
Wed 16 May, 2018 14.50
The East Coast franchise will be nationalised (again) from next month, the current fashion for using pre-BR names continues, this time it will be called 'London & North Eastern Railway' (presumably LNER will be the actual branding used).
Yep.
Image
Alexia
Posts: 2967
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

MarkAshley wrote:
Thu 17 May, 2018 19.13
How long has that branding been ready and waiting in the wings?
At least March, but the TM was only filed yesterday. Gone through in a day. The bods at Ebbw Bridge must have LOVED that.

Very reminiscient of the new GWR logo, the way the bits point up and down like that.

Waiting to see what the new Wales rail franchise name / branding is going to be.
cwathen
Posts: 1135
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

Alexia wrote:
Thu 17 May, 2018 20.41
MarkAshley wrote:
Thu 17 May, 2018 19.13
How long has that branding been ready and waiting in the wings?
At least March, but the TM was only filed yesterday. Gone through in a day. The bods at Ebbw Bridge must have LOVED that.

Very reminiscient of the new GWR logo, the way the bits point up and down like that.

Waiting to see what the new Wales rail franchise name / branding is going to be.
You also can't fail to notice how the pointy bits on the 'N' very much imply a service running to/from the North West rather than the North East.

Somewhat reminiscent SWR's 'arrow' logo pointing the wrong way. Not only is 'South Western Railway' (just as 'South West Trains' before it) a somewhat dubious name for a TOC which operates predominantly in London and the South East, but that arrow is clearly pointing North East!
MarkAshley wrote:
Thu 17 May, 2018 14.23
Martin Phillp wrote:
Thu 17 May, 2018 00.18
There's also a dramatic change in the timetable for all GTR branded services and Southeastern this weekend, which heavily inconveniences passengers, so that Thameslink can run their ironing board trains to such sexy places as Peterborough from Sunday, while I lose a direct train to East Croydon in the peaks.
Well quite - I keep seeing Plan 2020 or something posters with some ceo in a suit happily announcing EVERY train time will change with this new timetable. Now I'm not a commuter, but I can't read that poster without thinking "that sounds REALLY annoying" ...
I think this is truly the problem with privatisation. 'Improvements' always need to mean sexy projects like new train fleets, remodelled stations and electrification, just so you can put a man in a suit out declaring that due to this investment all the country's transport problems will all be solved in a period of time which is conveniently in the near future yet never quite now. Rather than GWR and SWR obsessing about retiring HST's and 455's, these operators need to look at introducing new supplemental fleets to run as well as rather than instead of their old fleets where they remain perfectly serviceable (as in the two previously mentioned classes). For GWR, I think major investment in new trains would be best placed by a bulk order of new DMU's which they will run alongside, rather than instead of, all of their existing DMUs (OK, maybe not Pacers) to increase capacity and frequency.

I equally think the best thing they could do to improve intercity services would be building more MK3 carriages to extend all their HSTs to 9 cars and then to look at a smaller order of newer trains to supplement rather than replace the HST fleet so they can get more services out. Instead they're rolling out their Hitachi trains (which are nothing more than this decade's Adelantes and Voyagers) at the expense of withdrawing huge numbers of HSTs, and shortening the few they are going to keep.

And of course there are improvements that can be made with zero investment in new infrastructure and stock. They could finally sort the damn timetable out so it isn't full of trains which almost but don't quite connect. Of course with something so complex there is an inevitability that it will never be perfect, but this is certainly not a coverall excuse and things could certainly be better than they are if they were willing to view a root and branch timetable review as investment. They could change staff attitudes so that certain platform staff don't defiantly close the doors in front of people feet away from the train whilst others do not. It might not be the staff's fault about how trains are timed but it shouldn't come down to legging it down a platform and see your heart sink because it's 'the twat with the glasses' rather than 'the guy with the beard' dispatching it. The smallest changes can deliver the biggest impact.

If you didn't have a CEO keen to build his LinkedIn profile on the basis of managing change before fucking off to another company, would we actually be better off?
Alexia
Posts: 2967
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

cwathen wrote:
Thu 17 May, 2018 21.22
You also can't fail to notice how the pointy bits on the 'N' very much imply a service running to/from the North West rather than the North East.
Indeed, and you're not the first to point it out. I would however, in true railway mitigation style, point out that the East Coast Mainline is very much a south-east to north-west aligned railway until Edinburgh.
Image

Somewhat reminiscent SWR's 'arrow' logo pointing the wrong way. Not only is 'South Western Railway' (just as 'South West Trains' before it) a somewhat dubious name for a TOC which operates predominantly in London and the South East, but that arrow is clearly pointing North East!
Again, it looks like an arrow, and you're probably aware of this, but that logo is actually a track diagram showing all the routes coming out of Waterloo.

When a brand needs explaining, it's not a great brand!
all new Phil
Posts: 1598
Joined: Sun 13 Feb, 2005 00.04
Location: Next door to Hell

They’ve recently electrified a large amount of the line near me - but not all of it. So the bit that branches off to where I live (about 5 miles of so of line) can still only accommodate diesel trains. Which seems silly.
Thought this was a nice forum, clearly not.
thegeek
Posts: 569
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 12.35

Alexia wrote:
Thu 17 May, 2018 20.41
MarkAshley wrote:
Thu 17 May, 2018 19.13
How long has that branding been ready and waiting in the wings?
At least March, but the TM was only filed yesterday. Gone through in a day. The bods at Ebbw Bridge must have LOVED that.

Very reminiscient of the new GWR logo, the way the bits point up and down like that.

Waiting to see what the new Wales rail franchise name / branding is going to be.
London Reconnections has been doing some digging in this thread: https://twitter.com/lonrec/status/996745787051773953
cwathen
Posts: 1135
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

MarkAshley wrote:The emboldened bits here are where I would like to raise a further issue. Just how much longer is diesel electric going to be a viable medium on British railways? I live in a predominantly "third rail" EMU area, but I note from the past few decades that most of the services heading towards the West (now in the GWR franchise) are 2-rail diesel only services. And my holiday a fortnight ago in North Wales saw nothing but diesel trains.
I would say a very long time, since as far as I am aware there are no plans to electrify the entire network (and even if they did, there are still multiple standards in use - eg whilst new electrification is generally 25KV overhead I'm not aware of any plans to change the DC third rail system in use where you live).

Whilst fossil fuel powered traction (and diesel in particular) is extremely unfashionable at the moment, I think it is acknowledged that when it comes to heavy vehicles like trains there isn't really anything suitable to replace diesel (apart from electrification - which also begs the question of where the electric comes from - in most cases from power stations that are oil or gas fired so fossil fuels are being used anyway) nor is there likely to be for decades, which will continue to see demand for diesel powered stock.

New DMU's are being built right now - the class 195's to replace Northern's pacers.
MarkAshley wrote:The Intercity 125 series that litters the network is a diesel electric set from the 1970s.
However, the body shell itself is basically the only original part left in most HST's. Everything else from the engine to the seats is barely a decade old in the bulk of them. These trains may have been around since the 70's but due to the investment that has gone into them they still provide a very high quality and perfectly modern rail experience (manual doors aside - but even they are going to be replaced with electric ones for DDA compliance). There is nothing wrong with them and no need to retire them.

At least though the HSTs being retired from GWR service are being cascaded to other operators (or going off lease but being stored presumably to be leased again), but SWR are about withdraw all their 455s and due to them being specialised third rail commuter units it is unlikely anyone else will take them. Most if not all of them are almost certain to be scrapped. Yes they are 35 year old trains but they had new traction equipment fitted just 3 years ago (at a cost of £40 Million) and they are well suited for the commuter services they run - with a cosmetic refurb (and maybe a toilet, maybe even aircon) they are quite fit to go on for another 20 years.

It's an absolute waste to spend hundreds of millions on new trains where the existing ones have nothing wrong with them.
Martin Phillp
Posts: 968
Joined: Wed 11 May, 2011 01.28

I take it SWR will get those 455s replaced with more ironing board sets?
TVF's London Lite.
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