Public Transport in your particular part of the region

Alexia
Posts: 2966
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

Fri 06 Oct, 2017 02.03

BUMP

A lot's happened in the last year.

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> South West Trains is now South Western Railway, indeed under FirstGroup although we at GWR haven't been given reciprocal travel on it yet, although a SWR manager got on in First Class of my GWR train the other day so perhaps it's working the other way.

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> The cancellation of electrification between Cardiff and Swansea meaning that the brand new Maliphant Depot at Swansea will only be used by diesel trains for the forseeable future. Came after the Tories lost their only two seats along the route. Coincidence surely. Anyway there's also plenty of other scuttlebutt going around about the whole GWR electrification process, from underpowered trains that can only get up to 80mph on their diesel engines, to the newly installed overhead electrical infrastructure in the Severn Tunnel already corroding and rusting away.

> The tendering of the Wales & Borders franchise which is up for renewal in 2018 with little to no sign of the Welsh Government's preferred option of a public/private partnership akin to TfL coming to fruition any time soon.

> Stagecoach continuing to haemmhorage routes in South Wales and surrounding areas, with local operators picking up the slack at a cost to the taxpayer who have to subsidise the routes.

Elsewhere, there's more strike action going on against various things, including DOO implementation and changes to working rosters, including cutting Hidden down to 8 hours for non-safety critical staff. Greater Anglia have been using rapidly "trained" strikebreaking office staff to run trains, with trains leaving stations early, dispatch attempts being made against red signals, and in one case, opening the doors on the wrong side of the train.

Welcome news that Arriva and the FAW have got their heads together to provide football special trains for North Walian fans to get to and from late night kickoffs in Cardiff.

Another welcome distraction this summer was Geoff & Vicki visiting all 2563 mainland stations in Great Britain (and Anglesey, and possibly the Isle of Wight, we think.) I got to meet them when they came through Bristol and bought them lunch. Lovely couple. Great series. Well worth a watch if you like railways.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoA1OTQ ... G-C_2tH1W9
cwathen
Posts: 1116
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

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).

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: 1526
Joined: Sun 13 Feb, 2005 00.04
Location: Next door to Hell

Wed 16 May, 2018 16.03

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?
*ass
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MarkAshley
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Joined: Tue 28 Oct, 2003 13.53
Location: Near the Bottom

Wed 16 May, 2018 21.48

BigPhil asks a particularly good question.

Especially given that in my region at least I have three different brands operating on the lines offering, seemingly, a competing service between London and the south coast: Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express.

The dweebs amongst you will already have noticed that all three of these are owned and operated by Govia Thameslink Railway.

I can tomorrow morning, for example, catch a Southern branded green and white train to London Victoria on Platform 2; or cross the bridge to Platform 4 and catch a Thameslink branded white and purple train to London Victoria. Or I could catch either service and change at Three Bridges for a Gatwick Express branded red and white train to London Victoria.

Who exactly is benefiting from this variety of colour, because as an ignorant traveller, I can't quite believe it's me.
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Martin Phillp
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed 11 May, 2011 01.28

Thu 17 May, 2018 00.18

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.
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MarkAshley
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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" ...
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JAS84
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Location: Hull, UK

Thu 17 May, 2018 17.31

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.
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MarkAshley
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Thu 17 May, 2018 19.13

How long has that branding been ready and waiting in the wings?
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Alexia
Posts: 2966
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

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.
cwathen
Posts: 1116
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

Thu 17 May, 2018 21.22

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: 2966
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

Thu 17 May, 2018 22.42

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.
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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!
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