Alliance Blackpool service to be run by Grand Central and start in 2021

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ainsworth74

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No one is going to re-fit the Mk4s for tilt so let's leave it there. If anyone is truly desperate to talk about it then please do so on a new thread not this one.
 
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ainsworth74

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If they've not reappeared by May 30 then I think we can safely say that they're not launching in May otherwise they could appear and the service launch at very short notice.
 
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I do think this service might be a white elephant. The Avanti service isn’t the busiest either, practically carts fresh air. Is there really that much demand from Blackpool to London, of course it provides an alternate from Preston, but I feel it won’t be heavily used by people from Blackpool, which I’m assuming is where they are targetting
 

wensley

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scrapy

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I do think this service might be a white elephant. The Avanti service isn’t the busiest either, practically carts fresh air. Is there really that much demand from Blackpool to London, of course it provides an alternate from Preston, but I feel it won’t be heavily used by people from Blackpool, which I’m assuming is where they are targetting
Probably revenue extraction from Preston that they are targeting but this can't be seen to be their main aim.
 

Ju135

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Avant's service isn't busy due to the fact that it was started up by Virgin Trains as a means to essentially block and cause damage to proposed GNWR service - an attempt to get some sort of passenger flow before Grand Central start. That is also the reason why their trains are dead - it's what is essentially left over stations which they can call such as Rugby as GC already have what I call the good stops which I believe VT weren't allowed to use as part of that service.

Grand Central will have a good flow of people as their stopping pattern allows for better connections to services up north.
Milton Keynes - will open up better, faster connections for people between Watford and Northampton
Nuneaton - connections to Derby, East Midlands and Stanstead Airport
Preston - connections to everywhere up north along with commuters who do travel to Blackpool.
 

VT 390

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Avant's service isn't busy due to the fact that it was started up by Virgin Trains as a means to essentially block and cause damage to proposed GNWR service - an attempt to get some sort of passenger flow before Grand Central start. That is also the reason why their trains are dead - it's what is essentially left over stations which they can call such as Rugby as GC already have what I call the good stops which I believe VT weren't allowed to use as part of that service.

Grand Central will have a good flow of people as their stopping pattern allows for better connections to services up north.
Milton Keynes - will open up better, faster connections for people between Watford and Northampton
Nuneaton - connections to Derby, East Midlands and Stanstead Airport
Preston - connections to everywhere up north along with commuters who do travel to Blackpool.
For Derby would it not be easier and quicker to go via Birmingham or Crewe as you will still have to change at either Leicester or Tamworth to get to Nuneaton?
 

Ju135

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For Derby would it not be easier and quicker to go via Birmingham or Crewe as you will still have to change at either Leicester or Tamworth to get to Nuneaton?
It would be quicker but you can get tickets issued NOT VIA Birmingham which makes it cheaper. Perfect for those who are on a tighter budget ie students.
 

paul1609

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Avant's service isn't busy due to the fact that it was started up by Virgin Trains as a means to essentially block and cause damage to proposed GNWR service - an attempt to get some sort of passenger flow before Grand Central start. That is also the reason why their trains are dead - it's what is essentially left over stations which they can call such as Rugby as GC already have what I call the good stops which I believe VT weren't allowed to use as part of that service.

Grand Central will have a good flow of people as their stopping pattern allows for better connections to services up north.
Milton Keynes - will open up better, faster connections for people between Watford and Northampton
Nuneaton - connections to Derby, East Midlands and Stanstead Airport
Preston - connections to everywhere up north along with commuters who do travel to Blackpool.
Difficult to see what Grand Central provides for Milton Keynes other than a direct service to Blackpool.
If I lived in Milton Keynes and wanted to go away for the weekend theres much better resorts closer to home on the south coast, north wales coast or the likes of the Lakes, Snowdonia etc all of which have better trains than Grand Centrals service. They are not going to be able to use their ECML fares strategy either because LMR and LNR already offer ultra cheap fares on the WCML. My next football trip to Fleetwood is costing £9.90 each way (railcard discount) from Euston to Blackpool North splitting at Crewe doesn't leave much profitability for an open access operator.
 

Ju135

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It's a clever strategy. It's not about A-B journeys. You don't get a train leaving full from its origin arriving with the same exact passengers at its destination. The strategy is targeting a variety of passengers to ensure a successful business (commuter traffic, business and leisure).
Passengers don't actually care what type of train they are on as long as it's clean, comfortable, reliable and accessible.
National Passenger Survey shows this - Chiltern Railways was scored a satisfaction rating of 90% on Birmingham route compared to Virgin Trains (84%) and London Northwestern Railways (76%), both of which have newer trains, and on the Oxford Route CR (91%) compared to GWRs 83% whose trains are only a couple of years old.
And another big one is consistency in service hence the success of Grand Central on the East Coast. If they can replicate this they'll do quite alright on the west coast.
 

Clarence Yard

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Probably revenue extraction from Preston that they are targeting but this can't be seen to be their main aim.
Scrapy - it's called "Abstraction" and that now has as much relevance to Open Access business plans as running steam engines, thanks to the overwhelming move to Dedicated Tickets, which has cut the ORCATS sharing out of revenue on major IC flows to near peanuts.

They will have to compete on service, price and accessibility or they will be out of business pretty quickly.
 

Aictos

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I imagine Poulton-le-Fylde will be a popular pick up/drop off destination for services to Eus. Especially as VT and Avanti service does not call at PFY
Just in case you weren’t aware Avanti took over from Virgin Trains in December last year so no longer run trains at all.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Avant's service isn't busy due to the fact that it was started up by Virgin Trains as a means to essentially block and cause damage to proposed GNWR service - an attempt to get some sort of passenger flow before Grand Central start. That is also the reason why their trains are dead - it's what is essentially left over stations which they can call such as Rugby as GC already have what I call the good stops which I believe VT weren't allowed to use as part of that service.
No it wasn't.
Virgin was specifically asked by Patrick McLoughlin (Transport Sec) to introduce services to Blackpool (and Shrewsbury) as part of their direct award.
It's part of the agreed franchise spec.
It was not a Virgin blocking raid (any more than the moderation of competition 1997-2012 was of their making).
The service to Wrexham is a bit different and I think it is on an open access basis.
Avanti now picks up those franchise commitments.
 

scouseyb123

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No it wasn't.
Virgin was specifically asked by Patrick McLoughlin (Transport Sec) to introduce services to Blackpool (and Shrewsbury) as part of their direct award.
It's part of the agreed franchise spec.
It was not a Virgin blocking raid (any more than the moderation of competition 1997-2012 was of their making).
The service to Wrexham is a bit different and I think it is on an open access basis.
Avanti now picks up those franchise commitments.

Regarding Blackpool originally yes that’s why they ran was it one or two services a day using a Voyager to Blackpool. Then when they found out about Alliance Rail being approved to do a service from Blackpool-London they increased the number of services. A then senior director at Virgin (as it was then) told me they either increase the number of services and lose £2mil a year or don’t do anything and lose £10mil a year
 

totally

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I imagine Poulton-le-Fylde will be a popular pick up/drop off destination for services to Eus. Especially as VT and Avanti service does not call at PFY
Absolutely correct. Poulton-le Fylde is a no brainier, which Virgin and now Avanti have ignored. In particular the mid morning departure from Blackpool would have a good number of 'people of a certain age' who travel to London for a few days away etc. Poulton and Kirkham have good catchment areas in terms of prospective outward passengers whereas Blackpool is much more limited to returning passengers. Additionally Virgin and now Avanti have the off peak trains calling at Preston Wigan and Warrington 4-6 minutes behind a Southbound Euston(via West Midlands) Service, odd to say the least. I do get the impression that there must be another reason why these trains are run. Personally I find them useful, but not many of us do!
 

VT 390

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Absolutely correct. Poulton-le Fylde is a no brainier, which Virgin and now Avanti have ignored. In particular the mid morning departure from Blackpool would have a good number of 'people of a certain age' who travel to London for a few days away etc. Poulton and Kirkham have good catchment areas in terms of prospective outward passengers whereas Blackpool is much more limited to returning passengers. Additionally Virgin and now Avanti have the off peak trains calling at Preston Wigan and Warrington 4-6 minutes behind a Southbound Euston(via West Midlands) Service, odd to say the least. I do get the impression that there must be another reason why these trains are run. Personally I find them useful, but not many of us do!
I don't think they have been Ignored by Virgin and Avanti as the daily Voyager services call there, I think it is because the Pendolinos are to long for the platforms, I may be wrong though.
 

totally

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That's certainly been stated on this forum before.
Yes i'm sure it has but the point is that there must be a way of stopping the trains if the will was there as they have selective door opening do they not? I think Alliance are onto a good move here since they are intending to run trains which fit the stations.
 

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The Avanti BPN-EUS services barring the Voyagers are too long to call at Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham & Wesham, and the early morning services that do call to London are too early for the older passengers.

What GC are doing IMHO is providing a decent service for not only those wanting to to to Blackpool for the activities there but also older passengers from the South East, Midlands and Staffordshire that want either a few days away in somewhere like Lytham, St Anne's on the Sea, Blackpool or Fleetwood as there are good connections by rail or tram to all.

Similarly the southbound services would convey these to London for a day trip or weekend away.
 

totally

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The Avanti BPN-EUS services barring the Voyagers are too long to call at Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham & Wesham, and the early morning services that do call to London are too early for the older passengers.

What GC are doing IMHO is providing a decent service for not only those wanting to to to Blackpool for the activities there but also older passengers from the South East, Midlands and Staffordshire that want either a few days away in somewhere like Lytham, St Anne's on the Sea, Blackpool or Fleetwood as there are good connections by rail or tram to all.

Similarly the southbound services would convey these to London for a day trip or weekend away.
Very well put.
 

paul1609

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The Avanti BPN-EUS services barring the Voyagers are too long to call at Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham & Wesham, and the early morning services that do call to London are too early for the older passengers.

What GC are doing IMHO is providing a decent service for not only those wanting to to to Blackpool for the activities there but also older passengers from the South East, Midlands and Staffordshire that want either a few days away in somewhere like Lytham, St Anne's on the Sea, Blackpool or Fleetwood as there are good connections by rail or tram to all.

Similarly the southbound services would convey these to London for a day trip or weekend away.
Sorry but the OAP market to locations such as Lytham from the south east must be close to Non existence.
This type of holiday screams coach trip but Shearings the market leader only offer the occasional weekend in Blackpool, the weekend mostly seems to consist of getting out of Blackpool with Day Trips to the Lakes and Liverpool. Cant see many people swapping a local departure to hotel coach for dragging luggage on to a commuter train up to London and then across London on the tube for a Grand Central Service to Blackpool and then a taxi to the hotel tbh.
 

Steddenm

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Sorry but the OAP market to locations such as Lytham from the south east must be close to Non existence.
This type of holiday screams coach trip but Shearings the market leader only offer the occasional weekend in Blackpool, the weekend mostly seems to consist of getting out of Blackpool with Day Trips to the Lakes and Liverpool. Cant see many people swapping a local departure to hotel coach for dragging luggage on to a commuter train up to London and then across London on the tube for a Grand Central Service to Blackpool and then a taxi to the hotel tbh.
You would be very wrong. I used to own a hotel on South Shore in Blackpool and we had a lot of OAPs come up from places like Sevenoaks, Folkestone and Dover by train for a few days to explore Lytham, St Anne's on the Sea, Fleetwood Market and the Freeport (now Afinity Lancashire).

They would use Virgin Trains as it was then to Preston and change onto Northern for Blackpool South. Some even came up to dance in the Tower Ballroom.

The Coach Holiday companies do run to Blackpool but most come from Scotland, Wales and the North East these days.

One company, Blackpool Promotions, operate their own coaches and hotels in Blackpool and come mostly from Glasgow.

It GC advertise this well with maybe some special promotional fares then I am sure that they will be doing well. Yes, they need to bed in a while, but they will get there.
 

MarkWiles

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I'm sure that Grand Central must think they can generate a business to sustain this proposal, after all, we regularly hear that Blackpool has more visitors per year than Greece and all it's islands and has more hotel beds than Portugal, with something like 17 million visits. Even if just a fraction of those decided to take a direct train rather than drive, I suspect there are enough numbers to stack up, especially if fares are competitive and with the growing trend towards "staycations" and reducing the need to drive changing the way people have their holidays.

Truth is none of us are privy to the commercial research the company has or hasn't undertaken, so frankly speculation as to the commercial viability of this new service is just that, speculation.
 

pnepaul

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I know it is winter but - the 13.29 to Euston was sparsely used. A handful in first class, 3 standard class coaches empty, not many in the others. Hard to guess, but I would have said well under 100 onboard.
 

cle

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I think they'd be better off running to Lancaster, Oxenholme, Penrith and Carlisle, linking those places (and Preston) with some of the stops which the Virgin/Avanti Glasgow service skips: MKC, Nuneaton and Stafford.

Many more possibilities than Blackpool - tourism to Lakes, uni traffic to Preston and Lancaster, and onward rail connections from all of them. Blackpool offer no rail connections, only Fleetwood.
 

RAPC

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I think they'd be better off running to Lancaster, Oxenholme, Penrith and Carlisle, linking those places (and Preston) with some of the stops which the Virgin/Avanti Glasgow service skips: MKC, Nuneaton and Stafford.

Many more possibilities than Blackpool - tourism to Lakes, uni traffic to Preston and Lancaster, and onward rail connections from all of them. Blackpool offer no rail connections, only Fleetwood.
But they wouldn’t get that as an open access operator. The point is that this route is to and from Blackpool as a convenient place to operate it based on what would be approved. Blackpool won’t be what is driving the tickets sales in either direction. Preston and Euston are the main two markets here and this is designed to grab a share of what is a busy and currently expensive route compared to the Manchester to London services. It will add some capacity and presumably, if they get their pricing right, will attract some business and leisure sales over to them from Avanti.

Revenue from Blackpool, MKC etc will be a nice bonus for them, but London / Preston will be what makes the operation a success or a failure.
 
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