Abellio Scotrail Franchise to end early in March 2022

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hkstudent

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As I understand it, the Abellio franchise was due to expire in 2022 anyway, with a 3-year optional extension possible if both parties agreed.
So all Transport Scotland is doing is not exercising the extension, as is its right.
The franchise is not terminating "early" or being taken from Abellio as some sort of penalty or sanction.

TS, unlike DfT franchises, has the option to invite public as well as private sector bids.
...
Which means that, if SG managed to form a "Transport for Scotland" company, then SG can actually run a concession model through sub-contracting the service?
 
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BucksBones

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TS will need to raise their game over the remaining term to ensure that the demotivated exiting management team don't let the mediocre standards fall yet further in the remaining 2 years

The 385s are already dirty and poorly cleaned , stations knee deep in weeds
Sorry to be a pessimist but I'd say the chances of Abellio raising their game towards the end of the franchise are pretty much zero. They'll probably adopt a corporate "work to rule" strategy and coast to the finish line spending as little money as possible.
 

alangla

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Oh dear... Calmac rail back on the agenda then? (Have a look at their recent procurements)
Suspect Abellio will be glad to see the back of this one. Talking of performance, I’ve been watching a couple of Glasgow suburban peak hour messes unfold recently, the common theme seems to be that there’s far too many trains running over (generally BR created) single lines, e.g. Westerton to Bearsden, Haughead tunnel, Craigendoran to Helensburgh, the Larkhall & Balloch branches, which means one single incident (last week it was a passcom pulled at Cambuslang) means hours of disruption with services turning short. Changing the operator won’t fix that.
 

james_the_xv

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Wouldn't be surprised if it was awarded to a publicly owned company, regardless of merits of other bids.

Not that having a publicly owned company running will change a whole lot though, worst case scenario the service is as mediocre as it is now but with a bigger money pit. Best case? Service is marginally better, a publicly owned company will still work to cut costs where it can...
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Which means that, if SG managed to form a "Transport for Scotland" company, then SG can actually run a concession model through sub-contracting the service?
Pretty much, yes.
Wales has such a devolved deal, and a concession model was widely expected, but still chose a commercial franchise model for its contract with Keolis.
It then confused everybody by calling both the public sector WG body and the private sector franchisee "Transport for Wales".

SG is of course looking for more devolution in terms of hiving Network Rail Scotland away from NR UK.
 

InOban

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Oh dear... Calmac rail back on the agenda then? (Have a look at their recent procurements)
Suspect Abellio will be glad to see the back of this one. Talking of performance, I’ve been watching a couple of Glasgow suburban peak hour messes unfold recently, the common theme seems to be that there’s far too many trains running over (generally BR created) single lines, e.g. Westerton to Bearsden, Haughead tunnel, Craigendoran to Helensburgh, the Larkhall & Balloch branches, which means one single incident (last week it was a passcom pulled at Cambuslang) means hours of disruption with services turning short. Changing the operator won’t fix that.
Precisely.
Of course they made some mistakes, but no more than other TOCs.
 

awsnews

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Oh dear... Calmac rail back on the agenda then? (Have a look at their recent procurements)
Suspect Abellio will be glad to see the back of this one. Talking of performance, I’ve been watching a couple of Glasgow suburban peak hour messes unfold recently, the common theme seems to be that there’s far too many trains running over (generally BR created) single lines, e.g. Westerton to Bearsden, Haughead tunnel, Craigendoran to Helensburgh, the Larkhall & Balloch branches, which means one single incident (last week it was a passcom pulled at Cambuslang) means hours of disruption with services turning short. Changing the operator won’t fix that.
Spot on. The growth in demand over the past decade or so has resulted in an infrastructure which is severely overstretched. This now results in relatively minor problems having a disproportionate impact as the network doesn't have sufficient resilience built in. The North Clyde network has effectively reached the point where nothing more can be pushed through Partick which makes dealing with further growth a major problem. The same goes for other parts of the network across Scotland. In this respect the actual operator of the trains is irrelevant as they cannot solve the fundamental issues. At this point in time the only way to have a more resilient network would be to run less trains, which is politically unacceptable.
 

JumpinTrainz

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Not sure the franchising system works particularly well. Given previous operations and how they worked out clarifies that.

I would say a lot of improvements have been made to make Scotland a better railway in terms of fleet. I mean the 314s are now gone, the 385s have been pretty much fully introduced now (albeit later than planned), 320s and 318s have been fully refurbished meanwhile more 321 conversions have taken place to add more capacity. I haven’t travelled on the HSTs so can’t comment but there has been a refurbishment programme brought in to make travel better to areas like Aberdeen.

IMO I think Station maintenance could be better. Some stations are pretty medieval and an example of that is that I was travelling from High Street last night and it’s really old for such a busy station into the City Centre. Staffing has also been a huge problem the past few years with service cuts left right and centre.
 

thejuggler

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Spot on. The growth in demand over the past decade or so has resulted in an infrastructure which is severely overstretched. This now results in relatively minor problems having a disproportionate impact as the network doesn't have sufficient resilience built in. The North Clyde network has effectively reached the point where nothing more can be pushed through Partick which makes dealing with further growth a major problem. The same goes for other parts of the network across Scotland. In this respect the actual operator of the trains is irrelevant as they cannot solve the fundamental issues. At this point in time the only way to have a more resilient network would be to run less trains, which is politically unacceptable.
The operator is only irrelevant if they took the franchise on without having any idea the number of services they would have to run.

Isn't this the point of franchises? If the infrastructure is inadequate to meet the service expectations wouldn't this be a consideration before bidding?
 

Andyh82

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I was impressed by Scotrail when I used them last summer.

7 to 8 car brand new trains operating between Edinburgh and Glasgow every 15 mins on a fully electrified line. Lots of other services using electric stock, or modern 170s, extra capacity with the HSTs.

It was worlds apart from what operates between any two cities in Northern England in every way.
 

pt_mad

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I was impressed by Scotrail when I used them last summer.

7 to 8 car brand new trains operating between Edinburgh and Glasgow every 15 mins on a fully electrified line. Lots of other services using electric stock, or modern 170s, extra capacity with the HSTs.

It was worlds apart from what operates between any two cities in Northern England in every way.
Yes the Edinburgh to Glasgow express service does seem to be run maticulously and can't really fault that imo.
 

Deltic1961

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Did anyone hear Alex Hynes on Radio Scotland?

He is clearly delusional. Thinks they've done a great job and it's getting better. Idiot.
 

pt_mad

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It always has been. It’s the route the politicians & lawyers use between the 2 cities.
Aye but obviously previously it was class 170s, no wires, and less polished trains. It has improved massively within the last several years and I doubt many would disagree with that. First class is also half decent for a shuttle and journey times too.
 

Steve childs

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Hi. I'll throw my twopence in. Abellio failings have been staff morale and lack of spending on OT and recruitment. They have in their defence invested on rolling stock and infrastructure. Where previously First invested in Staff and they looked at their staff as their main asset. The next company needs to be lead by Steve Montgomery or Mary Grant. People who know the Scottish model. Cal mac can bid but they are the first to say they have zero rail experience. If Abellio continues to deliver refurbished HSTs then the next franchise holder will have it handed to them in great shape on a plate. I believe the HST lease runs until 2032. Abellio will scale back like any franchise owner would do now. They have been bad for penny pinching and silly spending all rolled into 1. I hope everyone gets a good outcome from this.
 

alangla

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Aye but obviously previously it was class 170s, no wires, and less polished trains. It has improved massively within the last several years and I doubt many would disagree with that. First class is also half decent for a shuttle and journey times too.
Yep, first route to get 170s, 158s, 47/7s....
 

Northhighland

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Changing the operator will not necessarily change the performance of the service.

more than that needs to change. There is no focus on customers, on many occasions it appears that passengers are a nuisance.

the project management of the HST programme has been and continues to be simply woeful.

so for me I want to see what the thinking is on how to ensure the next franchise is different.
 

47271

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Good riddance to the architects of the HST shambles and dim witted penny pinching, although I'm not sure if the announcement is particularly newsworthy.

If Matheson had announced that Abellio was getting its extra three years then that really would've been worth remarking on.
 

FelixtheCat

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Well....much of LNR's woes are Abellio's fault...this says there is something potentially going wrong at the group level. GA doesn't seem to be doing well either.
That doesn't answer my question.

Being in a Glasgow to Aberdeen service after a gap of ten years, I can confirm its a lot worse than 10 years ago. Clapped out HSTs, some still in FGW fitting. The refurbished once were OK but nog near a 170(?) standard.
Based on staff reporting, it seems customers prefer the unrefurbished HSTs to the 170s.
Also, how is WABTECs painfully slow refurbishment process Abellio's fault? How would a different company in charge of ScotRail have changed it?
 

PG

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Allowing the same people who appointed Abellio to appoint the next franchisee may not be a good idea.

With the Scottish Govt having got it wrong the last time surely it should be an independent decision by people who know about the rails this time round.
Frankly I wouldn't trust Transport Scotland to run a bath...
Its not. The Scottish government must put it back put to commercial tender as per the legislation. However, a publicly owned company can bid for the franchise on the same terms as any private company. Having it run "in house" won't change anything really despite what certain politicians and unions think.
If the next operator, however awarded, didn't have the same onerous pension liabilities as recent English franchise awards then maybe Stagecoach would bid for it :idea::?:
 

Bletchleyite

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Changing the operator will not necessarily change the performance of the service.

more than that needs to change. There is no focus on customers, on many occasions it appears that passengers are a nuisance.

the project management of the HST programme has been and continues to be simply woeful.

so for me I want to see what the thinking is on how to ensure the next franchise is different.
Bin the HSTs and order 68s and Mk5s, or at a push 80x (but they aren't quite as nice :) )
 

tbtc

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So many issues that make the railway unreliable.

Staff shortage - Abellio
Train faults - Abellio
Signal failures - Network Rail
People jumping in front of trains
Trespassers
Lineside fires
Power failures

Lots of reasons for delays and cancellation
That seems fair - though part of the train problem was down to late delivery of the 385s and the well documented Wabtec problems (which then put pressure on the existing fleet)

Just to clarify, the statement refers to using a contract break point that was already there. Thus, it's not being confiscated but, in a sense, being 'unrewarded' for the final three years.
This bears repeating - there'll be a lot of hysteria about them being "stripped" or "punished" - this is just a standard contract break that won't take place until the planned date in over two years time (rather than any actual punishment - if the Government were so angry about things then they'd do more than just let the contract run its natural course with no penalty). Still, the headlines will shout loudly...

Spot on. The growth in demand over the past decade or so has resulted in an infrastructure which is severely overstretched. This now results in relatively minor problems having a disproportionate impact as the network doesn't have sufficient resilience built in. The North Clyde network has effectively reached the point where nothing more can be pushed through Partick which makes dealing with further growth a major problem. The same goes for other parts of the network across Scotland. In this respect the actual operator of the trains is irrelevant as they cannot solve the fundamental issues. At this point in time the only way to have a more resilient network would be to run less trains, which is politically unacceptable.
Agreed - it's hard to see how much more can be squeezed through existing infrastructure.

Not a criticism of Abellio directly (as it'd have happened regardless) but one additional problem that ScotRail now have is that the complicated service pattern means that services are no longer self contained - e.g. Helensburgh/ Cumbernauld/ Ayr all have direct Edinburgh services, so the most minor disruption at Haymarket can spread disruption all over the central belt. In my day, nothing from Waverley went beyond Central/ Queen Street (other than the Sleeper), so the high frequency EMUs through Patrick were operationally separate, and the various "southside" routes operated as self contained shuttles to/from Central. No easy way of improving the reliability when there are so many services overlapping - if a butterfly sneezes on the single track outside Milngavie then the whole network might have caught pneumonia a couple of hours later.

I was impressed by Scotrail when I used them last summer.

7 to 8 car brand new trains operating between Edinburgh and Glasgow every 15 mins on a fully electrified line. Lots of other services using electric stock, or modern 170s, extra capacity with the HSTs.

It was worlds apart from what operates between any two cities in Northern England in every way.
It's incredibly good, when it works, light years ahead of supposedly equivalent inter-city services in northern England.
 

Struner

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No easy way of improving the reliability when there are so many services overlapping - if a butterfly sneezes on the single track outside Milngavie then the whole network might have caught pneumonia a couple of hours.
Couldn’t agree more :|, it’s a fine problem (theoretically :lol:, what else do I know about - sorry, but I can’t find hypocrite smiley? <D ).
 
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