Abellio Greater Mk3 shortages due to withdrawal of stock when overhauls are required

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by hooverboy, 13 Oct 2019.

  1. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    The FLIRT itself is a proven product in other European countries, I don't disagree with that at all.

    The problem is that the UK is not another country, we have a different gauge, we have different rules and regulations and we have different safety requirements to these other countries and Stadler has not had experience of building a product for these so there was always going to be a learning curve for this and to expect them to get things 100% right, first time was naive at best on Greater Anglia's part if indeed they did rely and expect that.

    Some of the concerns I heard about a long time ago were in relation to how Stadler were going to adapt the trains and their software and the Automatic Selective Door Operation and camera set-up in line with union and Greater Anglia requirements and these have proven to be some of the problems that GA have had, if what well informed people on this forum have suggested, are right.

    FLIRTS on the whole are very well built trains in the other countries which they run, if they are constructed to the same standard I have no doubt they will have a good life. Just they were never going to bed in right away, no unproven UK fleet ever does, especially not from a manufacturer building it's first UK Trains. Even the classic Desiros had transformer issues before going on to be the most reliable fleets in the country.
     
  2. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    Depends what the agreement is between GA and the leasing company.
     
  3. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Official word from GA is
    Generous of them not only return them in the state that they received them, but also to allow them to keep the upgrades. It's almost like one should be thankful.
     
  4. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    Presumably ‘state we received them in’ involves technical changes and day to day maintenance, not ‘well it had just had an overhaul when you took it so you have to give it one just before you hand it back’
     
  5. chubs

    chubs Member

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    For those who remember the state ONE received them in (they were immediately pressed into service as the mk2's were so awful) they were really manky with more toilets out of use than working, most vestibule doors broken and dirty both outside and in. Failing all over the place too although that might have been the 90.

    Why are the 755's flimsy? 99% of feedback I've seen has been overwhelmingly positive. How do you know they won't last? Meanwhile the 15x units continue to dump water on their passengers. Have the 90s ever been that reliable?
     
  6. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Delete
     
  7. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    And some of us were saying that nothing from any manufacturer is working out of the box and all are incurring substantial delays but the Stadler fanclub were declaring Stadler are different and wouldn't listen.
    Fleet introduction issues and long term durablity are different things though.

    Abellio have been hopelessly optimistic.

    What has become clear is that approvals in some other countries are a bit more relaxed than the UK and in the UK there is also external performance scrutiny in a divided industry.
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2019
  8. EE Andy b1

    EE Andy b1 Established Member

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    The only form of traction that i know of that worked straight out the box, or straight off the ship were the General Motors built Class 66.
    I cannot think of any other traction that was as successful.
     
  9. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    The 156 and 150/2? Ok the latter maybe cheating as the 150/1 had a lot of problems they fixed by then.
     
  10. EE Andy b1

    EE Andy b1 Established Member

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    Not too sure about them as i remember door and interlocking problems from day 1. But they didn't take as long to sort out as now with everything software based.
     
  11. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    I was meaning working out the box. Let’s forget about the 158 and the leaves.
     
  12. James James

    James James Member

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    The UK has a different gauge, and so do Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the US, Germany, and probably most other countries that Stadler has built trains for. Back in their home country they even build to different rail gauges (as opposed to loading gauge as you seem to be referring to). Gauge has nothing to do with the issues at hand anyway...

    And pretty sure they all have different safety regulations too.

    The issues are all secondary components, aka ASDO and the camera systems. For all we know it was a bad supplier for that system (which happens to be Stadler's official word on it too).
     
  13. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Saying that someone has built a train that works in one country, so it's going to be able to work out of the box in another country is exceptionally naive. I'm glad that I don't have people with your mindset in my company because that kind of view quite frankly scares me because it's fully based on assumptions rather than any kind of knowledge of such projects and proper experience.

    Saying that things are secondary components, that things were bad luck or other people didn't meet their deadlines and therefore it is not their fault is pretty much typical deflection tactics. The trouble is deflection tactics don't fix problems. The best rolling stock projects are achieved when departments, suppliers and rolling stock manufacturers work together in a no blame environment.

    A blame culture is toxic and never helps achieve the aims of a project. Go ask anyone who worked for First Great Eastern when the Desiros were introduced. Some of the senior staff there were involved with the Alstom trainers for First North Western and the difference in the relationship between FGE and Siemens and FNW and Alstom was night and day.

    The cameras are from the same supplier that has supplied Siemens and Bombardier, amongst others from what I have heard from a good industry source. I would imagine that if the camera supplier was that bad, then they would not have so many rolling stock manufacturers on their client list.

    The difference between Stadler, Bombardier and Siemens is that the later two develop pretty much all of their hardware and software in-house to work with the cameras and other on train equipment, where it's believed that Stadler may well have outsourced this work and/or bought some of the equipment from a third party to integrate with on train systems rather than developing this in house.
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2019
  14. 87015

    87015 Established Member

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    @James James What was Stadlers official word to late delivery in Berlin and Munich, blaming others too?
    How come there is yet again a Flirt shortage at Munich currently despite the crash repair sets being back/replaced from there incident?
     
  15. chubs

    chubs Member

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    Did anyone actually say they would work perfectly out of the box? I've followed the thread (now split into many unfortunately) and don't remember that. It was said it's a proven design so it isn't all doom and gloom and 100% going to fail. Have any new stock rollouts gone perfectly smoothly at all? There's always issues but we'll get there.

    Is this just gloating from the mk3 and 15x fanclub who think the schmuks in Anglia land should be saddled with this clapped out life expired junk for eternity?
     
  16. James James

    James James Member

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    Two delays are hardly a symptom of systematic issues are they? Or should we start comparing to Bombardier with their international lateness (BART in the USA, everything in the UK, 5 years late in Switzerland, etc.)

    That said, looking at Stadler's issues: in Berlin: they stated partly their own fault, partly due to changes in regulations during construction (not much you can do there). Haven't found much about Munich delays, but those were before the days of Stadler being publicly traded, hence no financial reports explaining risks to results. Stadler's statements on the Greater Anglia situation were noted in their financial report, and given the legislation around financial reports I'd be surprised if they were making up lies.

    As to current issues: surely that must be down to maintenance? SBB manage to operate their just fine. I mean.. it's not like GA are managing to maintain their MK3's either :p.

    Not sure what your point is. I'd be completely horrified to have someone in my company who so blatantly misrepresents my message.

    It's fairly obvious that Stadler have a track record of getting trains approved and running in many countries. The UK is not unique in terms of needing adjustments. The UK has different challenges, and it looks like Stadler were too optimistic in this case, but fundamentally the UK shouldn't be any harder than redesigning trains for meter-gauge, redesigning trains for Russia, redesigning to new crash standard when France threw a hissy fit, building a new bodyshell design for Norway, etc. On top of fitting appropriate safety systems that differ by country. All done before. Except for ASDO and those pesky outdoor cameras.

    And they have run into issues before, as you make obvious. It seems like there's something more serious going on in this case however.

    All a fair point, but given that Stadler has made public comments about quality issues with an external british-supplied component, it's hard not to be suspicious. It takes two to tango, and we don't even know if Stadler are being supplied the same system that others have been using - if it's a new system it's not hard to imagine it not being to spec.

    Then again, we don't actually know if ASDO and cameras are the real issue here. Could be something else, there's precious little public information, and I think it's entirely fair for us to speculate in the meantime without questioning each other's professionality.
     
  17. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    My gripe isn't with Stadler for not having the units work out of the box, because there were always going to be teething problems, pretty much any rolling stock has unless it's another run of almost identical trains or a subclass from the last one, so GA turning around and blaming Stadler and Bombardier is symptomatic of a blame culture if they are indeed doing that, since a good project plan anticipates the potential problems, risk factors and possible delays that could happen and how to deal with them before any train comes anywhere near the UK.

    What exactly did they say? Do you have a link? Publicly criticising a supplier and singling them out in a way that could potentially identify them generally is not the best way to foster a good working relationship and getting problems resolved. People need to work together, not point fingers at each other.

    I never expected them to work straight out of the box myself either, although the timescale for both the new fleets of trains entering service seemed very, very optimistic to me and didn't really allow for any real teething problems, which there were always going to be.

    I have every confidence that Stadler will get it right, having traveled on many of their excellent products around Europe, I just think in my opinion the timescales that were in the bid were not realistic and that's the crux of the problem here.
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2019
  18. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Every manufacturer has delays - look at the final 717 in service today 20months late.

    Certain manufacturers are better at PR surrounding delivery etc delays.

    "Bad supplier " in your previous comment - You mean the same one that Bombardier, Hitachi and Siemens use without issue? Same DOO equipment going into 5,700+ UK vehicle from other manufacturers currently without issue

    One of my German colleagues who has kept an eye on them for 15 years has an entire file of Stadler (pre listing when they were private and ultra secretive) of blaming suppliers for problems / delays when other manufacturers don't have issues with the same suppliers. Stadler as a smaller company (with a history of buying lots in) have a problem of not quite knowing what they are procuring or getting the contract detail right and then hoping for supplier good will to sort everything for them. Unlike the other manufacturers they don't have their own TCMS systems / software which they buy in so are less able to sort integrating new equipment themselves.
     
  19. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Hopeless optimism from Abellio - every rolling stock manufacturer has issues resulting in delays.

    Take what the manufacturer says and add 12-18 months...

    Then plan to maintian existing rolling stock in service for those 18 months.
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2019
  20. James James

    James James Member

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    They weren't really pointing fingers, more just saying "we could have a financial issue here, underlying reason is X":

    >> Homologation process completed in record time but partial delay of final customer acceptance for certain vehicles within the East Anglia contract due to third-party supplier product
    >> Potential risk of penalties
    from:
    https://www.stadlerrail.com/media/pdf/2019_0903 presentation half-year report 2019.pdf

    Slightly more in a (German language) article where they are quoted stating there were delays with a supplier, and that a subsystem wasn't working right (again no blame, but clear indication of what might be going one):
    https://www.cash.ch/news/politik/st...prung-unmut-der-investoren-zu-spueren-1392635


    Looking through various reports, it looks like historically that Stadler's German plant is involved in most of the big issues (Berlin and Munich delays), but perhaps thats also because the German Federal railway regulators seem to be a bit difficult and slow to deal with (an issue that I believe Siemens have also run into in the past).
     
  21. James James

    James James Member

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    From a more philosphical standpoint: it's hard to see the UK's ROSCO/TOC/privatisation combination not being a major factor in these issues. When TOC's have to pay to lease stock, they're obviously going to want to minimise the amount of time they sit on unused rolling stock, and will base their financial planning around minimsing leasing costs. So they're going to plan in (mostly unrealistically) short transitions, and try to get rid of old stock ASAP. Yes it's typical beancounter stuff, but also highly incentivisted by the system.

    Whereas with a single operator + owner there's much more scope for having a smooth transition because there are no ongoing leasing costs to worry about when you're winding down a fully depreciated fleet while transitioning to a new fleet. (And ideally they're using that older stock to finally scrap the even older emergency-use-only replacement trains that are sitting around the network.)
     
  22. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Honestly you are saying that is not blaming? Because what I am reading, especially in the context of what HWL has said above, it really does read like blaming someone else to me, because it keeps pointing out that things are being delayed due to a third party supplier product and the other example they're talking about a supplier and their subsystem not working right.

    The fact that Stadler is bringing a lot of suppliers in and and buying a lot of stuff from third parties rather than doing it in-house, is a decision that they have to take responsibility for and also take responsibility for the integration of such systems and the relationship between them and their suppliers. This always ads complexity since often when something goes wrong it's always a temptation to point fingers at each other because of the frustrations that things don't work how they want them to but it's also a distraction from what matters.

    When a blame game is going on, people tend to be less open. Openness is critical with a project like this since it means people will have their say without fear and this promotes discussion and brainstorming, and often helps with solutions. You do that by having the people who made a system discussing it with the people implementing it into their rolling stock and other key stakeholders. Attitudes about 'them' being the problem so they need to come up with a solution aren't the answer here since if people feel that proposing something that involves the other party doing something that will help achieve their goals will be met with resistance then they won't say it and the solution will take longer to find.

    The only good thing that will come out of this, is hopefully Abellio will learn the lessons from this for future franchises when it comes to making bids. the way that First did in the past. Failing that, I believe an ex FGE MD is available for consultancy work ;)
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2019
  23. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    As other European countries move towards more divided and accounted for railways a number of other manufacturers are also running into problems where previously they didn't and delays could be massaged and kept quiet. e.g. CAF
    The MTIN concept isn't going down well for Alstom in France either.
     
  24. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Stadler are a small company who have grown comparatively quickly and they have growth problems.
    They are a family run Swiss firm and naturally secretive...
    They have only recently a listed company so are new to public reporting and probably worried about good perception as newly listed companies get looked at in more detail by analysts.
    Stadler seem to get on well with natural local (day trip range) helpful suppliers that they have long term relationships with e.g. TSA for the traction motors, Selectron for the TCMS that have a southern Germanic type attitude AND are generally very helpful (can do / we'll sort it attitudes). Other relationships are less good.
    The Stadler German (traditionally tram) plants came bargain cheap due to a competition issue divestment.
    Management / internal technical head count is very lean
     
  25. Alfie1014

    Alfie1014 Member

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    Trouble is that you are the only bidder factoring such timescales then you’ll almost certainly not win the bid!
     
  26. HLE

    HLE Established Member

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    Good post. Too much reliance has been placed on things going almost exactly to plan. I daresay there's some headscratching going on at GA HQ with how they plan to operate the regional services from January onwards.
     
  27. squizzler

    squizzler Member

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    I think that the decision to integrate third party components to a greater degree is the norm in other industries. Apple, the US based computer firm, actually contracts out the build itself to Taiwanese and other factories - they don't even own the facilities where their stuff is assembled.

    Even in the motor trade a lot of parts are brought in. Whilst we might look down on the humble motor car - and sure the parts therein don't have to survive such arduous duty as in rail - I suspect the subcontractors in that field still produce parts in spec more frequently than that of the rail business. Motor subcontractors might have more practice, but firms like Stadler will hopefully encourage rail part suppliers to raise their game.
     
  28. swills

    swills Established Member

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    Delivery wise, was it not stated somewhere, that Stadler, being a small Company were caught out but the size of the order, and the higher specs for the UK, and had / have trouble keeping up ?
     
  29. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    As has been stated earlier in this thread, if we are talking about the camera/DOO system, then this same product is currently being used by Bombardier and Siemens amongst others in other UK modern rolling stock with no issue, so I would suggest that the product cannot be solely to blame here.

    It's more likely that various systems are not playing ball with each other and there are issues with the intergration of systems and products working together and to resolve such problems at optimal speed, it is essential that all parties work together in an open fashion without any preconceptions of who is to blame where nobody feels they cannot make a suggestion as it might result in the other party turning around and saying "we're not doing that, it's your problem, not ours." which then results in people being scared to make suggestions again which further delays a solution.

    Project management isn't just about delivery, it's about solid planning, scoping out potential issues and how you would react to them if they happened, management of relationships between departments and parties and having a culture that allows problems to be overcome, openly debated where everyone feel they can speak up and make a suggestion without fear of being blamed and ensuring that everyone involved is focused on the end goal rather than trying to find someone to blame when there is a setback and stopping people looking out for their own agendas over the team goal.

    Don't get me wrong, a project of this size is not easy and managing my first project I made mistakes, but that is why the experienced people and the consultants earn the big bucks, they've been there done that and probably learnt from their mistakes and won't make them again.
     
  30. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    All this talk about subsystems...I am sure I read Roger Ford saying the problems are engine related?
     

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