Abellio Scotrail - 1 year on

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Blindtraveler

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Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
So...How do we all think theyv done? Im trying to find positives like more loco hauled trains, power points on 334s and introduction of 321s but the DMU shortage, delayed 158 refurbs and industrial issues last summer keep filling my mind. Also were they not ment to smarten up catering by mow? Wasnt expecting majajor changes but at the mo i would quite like first back. Thoughts? Particularly staff if you can share without getting shot for it.

Should say that i was impressed with how they handled large numbers on borders rail and the forth bridge situation
 
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cactustwirly

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I've only used them on the WHL, and the trains were on time and the staff were friendly (much like SA Northern).
 

scotraildriver

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From a staff viewpoint things are much improved. Much better morale.The arrogant, aggressive management style of Firstgroup is gone. Not sure what you mean by the delayed 158 refurb - it is in full swing with 6 units now done and the 156 and 170 refurb is also ongoing.The industrial issues were caused by First as well. They banned any overtime as part of the pay deal which Abellio inherited. This years is all done and dusted in an amicable fashion with no industrial relation issues at all. That was unheard of under First. Abellio have had to spend most of their first year contingency planning - firstly for the Winchburgh blockade, the Forth Bridge closure and now the Queen St closure. Both these projects have taken massive organisation and resources and I feel they have done quite well. Until these are done and everything settles down it is hard to judge how they are doing - especially with regards to performance figures as these are all over the place just now. The DMU shortage is ongoing, but that was down to the Department for Transport sending 4 170 to Southern - that wasnt Abellios doing. However they have managed to secure a extra 13 170 units until the end of the franchise so that will help massively.
 
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Agent_c

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Seems to be same Old, same old in the Strathclyde region. A bit weird Wifflet line trains end at exhibition centre one way, but start at Anderston the other way wilst the Queen Street works go on, but I thought they did well at communicating it with posters everywhere a month beforehand and people walking down trains in the fortnight leading up to it.
 

380101

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From a staff viewpoint things are much improved. Much better morale.The arrogant, aggressive management style of Firstgroup is gone. Not sure what you mean by the delayed 158 refurb - it is in full swing with 6 units now done and the 156 and 170 refurb is also ongoing.The industrial issues were caused by First as well. They banned any overtime as part of the pay deal which Abellio inherited. This years is all done and dusted in an amicable fashion with no industrial relation issues at all. That was unheard of under First. Abellio have had to spend most of their first year contingency planning - firstly for the Winchburgh blockade, the Forth Bridge closure and now the Queen St closure. Both these projects have taken massive organisation and resources and I feel they have done quite well. Until these are done and everything settles down it is hard to judge how they are doing - especially with regards to performance figures as these are all over the place just now. The DMU shortage is ongoing, but that was down to the Department for Transport sending 4 170 to Southern - that wasnt Abellios doing. However they have managed to secure a extra 13 170 units until the end of the franchise so that will help massively.

Interesting you think morale has improved and that you rate Abellio as better than First. I would say it's not seen that way at my depot or in Central. Continuous issues with pay slips, uniforms, lack of maintenance on units all seem to be pointing to Abellio struggling with the basics.

First may have left issues to be resolved but Abellio were well warned of them by plenty of us on those roadshows they did and by the Unions. I would say this year's pay deal was relatively pain free because they can't afford to have industrial action when queen Street is shut. The DRI 2 negotiations will be harder and more prolonged and could cause issues; especially Sunday in the week.

Depot facilities are poor and are getting worse in terms of cleanliness and small repairs seem to be getting ignored.

For me, and alot of other drivers the jury is still out on Abellio. If they continue to penny pinch on the basics then they will quickly fail on the grand projects they promised in their franchise bid.
 

380101

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Do you mean there are errors within the breakdown or do you still get paper payslips? It's been about 16 years since my firm went electronic...

We get the choice of electronic or paper. They were late for a while.and have had errors on them.
 

scotraildriver

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To be fair the payslip errors were only on the actual payslips. Amounts paid to banks and pensions were correct. It was caused by a change to a different system. I'm not saying everything is rosy, but definitely think things are better than under First. There will always be variations, I've not personally had any more train faults than before but some people may have. Our depot facilities are fine and the temporary messrooms for the Queen St closure are actually quite good. Everyone has their own opinion. Mine is that people are more relaxed and are left to do their job, and there has been a marked decrease in operational incidents at our depot. Others may not have. Each to their own.....
 
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JohnR

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I would always benchmark a franchise holder on whether they had achieved things that someone else couldnt have, and not attribute "wins" to them that anyone could have delivered.

On that basis, I think its too early to say.
 

ScotTrains

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They have introduced the standard class £5 tickets. I've used them a few times but they are quite hard to find, and very annoyingly don't come with seat reservations. We're still waiting on the £7.50 First class fares and improved onboard catering. I think the GSW route was to be getting catering too. Hopefully these will be introduced soon. I don't think First Group ever made any improvements to catering.
 

47271

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I'm pretty certain that I'm getting more train faults on 170s but that'll be because they're so stretched.

They're making a good job of the QS HL closure, but who says First wouldn't have done.

Otherwise I can't see much difference, I'm happy enough with them.
 

kkong

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We're still waiting on the £7.50 First class fares

The £10 first class fares have been on sale for a couple of weeks now. I think they're available for travel dates from mid May onwards.

It was always explained that the £5 standard and £10 first class advance fares wouldn't come with seat reservations.

Regarding the catering, I remember Mary Dickson insisting on a change of coffee provider, as the previous one was not to her liking!
 

clc

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Was on the 14.15 Glasgow to Aberdeen today. No seat reservations were put out and the reason given over the tannoy was:

"the printer was out of order".

Those who hadn't booked chuckled. Those who had booked weren't so amused.
 

Richard1960

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Had a nice trip on the Highland Line last week on Holiday went from Oban to Helensburgh interesting trip clean trains which were on time trolley service on board and very nice scenery.

The staff on board were friendly too.

Could not get an advance though but £29 return for a two and a half hour trip each way was not too bad.:D
 

NotATrainspott

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Was on the 14.15 Glasgow to Aberdeen today. No seat reservations were put out and the reason given over the tannoy was:

"the printer was out of order".

Those who hadn't booked chuckled. Those who had booked weren't so amused.

Eversholt included a digital seat reservation system in their Mk4 mockup so it would be nice to see something similar in the ScotRail HSTs.
 

All Line Rover

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They have introduced the standard class £5 tickets. I've used them a few times but they are quite hard to find, and very annoyingly don't come with seat reservations. We're still waiting on the £7.50 First class fares...

£7.50? They are willing to devalue an £86 first class ticket (Aberdeen to Glasgow) for the sake of generating an extra £2.50 of revenue?

What sort of passenger will not make a 120 mile journey if a £5 standard class fare is available, but will make the journey if a £7.50 first class advance fare is available?

How many first class passengers using Anytime tickets will decide that the higher price is no longer worth it when they discover the small first class compartments to be full of £7.50 (£5, if holding a 16-25 Railcard) ticket holders, compared to previously having a handful of passengers off-peak?

Daft.
 

Skimble19

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Interesting you think morale has improved and that you rate Abellio as better than First. I would say it's not seen that way at my depot or in Central. Continuous issues with pay slips, uniforms, lack of maintenance on units all seem to be pointing to Abellio struggling with the basics.

First may have left issues to be resolved but Abellio were well warned of them by plenty of us on those roadshows they did and by the Unions. I would say this year's pay deal was relatively pain free because they can't afford to have industrial action when queen Street is shut. The DRI 2 negotiations will be harder and more prolonged and could cause issues; especially Sunday in the week.

Depot facilities are poor and are getting worse in terms of cleanliness and small repairs seem to be getting ignored.

For me, and alot of other drivers the jury is still out on Abellio. If they continue to penny pinch on the basics then they will quickly fail on the grand projects they promised in their franchise bid.

It's interesting to see the views of employees of another franchise that has transferred from First to another operator. At GTR things have got considerably worse since Govia took over for the vast majority of staff (especially those on the ground, although I'm sure there will be some who disagree), largely with similar things to what you have mentioned... Sadly Govia also decided to cause some serious bad morale with the pay rises, so that really didn't help.

Apologies for going slightly off topic !
 
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170401

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.The arrogant, aggressive management style of Firstgroup is gone. .

Whilst I do agree with this sentiment and am more than happy to see the back of First, I don't think staff morale is good just now. With the recent slip of the 'proposal' to Conductors their is now massive unrest in the grade and it almost looks like Abellio are playing the old divide and conquer tactics of First. It doesn't affect me personally but I'm seeing a lot of demoralised staff at the moment and it's making for a horrible place to work.

It's a real shame this is souring things just now as other than that they seem to be doing a good enough job with the tools they have. Sure their have been the payslip errors and late payments to various organisations but these have largely been blown out of proportion by many staff. Their management of the Q st blockade appears to have gone extremely well so far and they seem to be trying hard to communicate with both staff and passengers.

I think we are still a couple of years away from seeing their true nature, it will take for the new trains to come into service before such things as stock shortages are fully resolved and its probably unfair to be critical of them before that happens.
 

kkong

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How many first class passengers using Anytime tickets will decide that the higher price is no longer worth it when they discover the small first class compartments to be full of £7.50 (£5, if holding a 16-25 Railcard) ticket holders, compared to previously having a handful of passengers off-peak?

Daft.

The headline £10 First Class Advance fare is a franchise requirement.

I am not sure where the £7.50 has come from; that is not mentioned in the Franchise agreement.
 

All Line Rover

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The headline £10 First Class Advance fare is a franchise requirement.

I am not sure where the £7.50 has come from; that is not mentioned in the Franchise agreement.

Is that something specified by a devolved body?
 

ScotTrains

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bAzTNM

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Seems to be same Old, same old in the Strathclyde region. A bit weird Wifflet line trains end at exhibition centre one way, but start at Anderston the other way wilst the Queen Street works go on, but I thought they did well at communicating it with posters everywhere a month beforehand and people walking down trains in the fortnight leading up to it.
Still think it's really weird they have cut back the services to Uddingston. What's the deal with that?
 

scotsman

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@170401 wasnt aware theyd got issues within the conductors grade, nothing to seriouse I hope? It does explane the staff moralle which im sure others have also noticed

Story is that a 'document' was leaked (and then rapidly photocopied and emailed) stating that DCO would be coming in on routes that no one expected it to come in on. The Conductors would still work on those trains, but only to do tickets - something to do with customer research saying that the word conductor went better with flagship routes, or something like that. That's what I've heard anyway.
 

scotraildriver

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Story is that a 'document' was leaked (and then rapidly photocopied and emailed) stating that DCO would be coming in on routes that no one expected it to come in on. The Conductors would still work on those trains, but only to do tickets - something to do with customer research saying that the word conductor went better with flagship routes, or something like that. That's what I've heard anyway.

Don't believe everything you hear! I don't want to discuss the proposal on a public forum but it wasn't unexpected, and hasn't been universally condemned as you might imagine. Indeed the RMT reps think it is a reasonable place to start discussions. It is an initial starting point with Abellio stating they wish to come to agreement without industrial action. Very much in its infancy at the moment.
 
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