Alliance Rail - East Coast Luxury Proposals

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by hibtastic, 3 May 2015.

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  1. hibtastic

    hibtastic Member

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    Didn't see this posted anywhere, sounds like an interesting proposal:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/luxury-travel-pledged-in-bid-for-east-coast-trains-1-3761677

     
    Last edited: 5 May 2015
  2. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    A good idea using the GNER brand as that's still very strong over here. I'll have to look at their plans as Pendolino and luxury aren't two things I associate together!

    They'd have to get the pricing right but if it's as good as they claim I'd personally be willing to pay a premium over VTEC. But they'll need to do their research whether others would do the same.
     
  3. thealexweb

    thealexweb Member

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    If privatisation has any shred of life left in it this must be approved, along with First's plans. Even if it means VTEC cannot run as many services as it would like.
     
  4. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    What about other services on the route? (not just VTEC); bear in mind that the drop-off and pickup arrangements at Newcastle are now seriously messed up following the redevelopment works. And yes, I mean now that they are completed...
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Also, it would need TASS bailises to be fitted and maintained.
     
    Last edited: 3 May 2015
  5. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    I can't see it working, given Virgin West Coast's aggressive competition with cut price fares which stopped open-access services such as FNW Manchester - London as well as Wrexham and Shropshire out of business. It will be a good experiment though which would be replicated throughout the country if successful.

    One major flaw I have seen though is currently Virgin Trains East Coast sets the any permitted off-peak and anytime fares for the East Coast Mainline will these tickets be valid on a GNER service with the extra features and could GNER stop Any Permitted tickets being used on their services given that they will cost far more to run.
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I doubt that with a less frequent service (even if the onboard service quality is higher, just as it is with say Grand Central) they could realistically charge more than the Any Permitted fare. It would have to be less, even if only a little less.

    What hasn't yet happened in the UK is an Open Access operator opting out of national ticketing and ORCATS. Is there scope for that? Might they consider separate sales channels as European open access operators have? (Though it's interesting that HKX have now joined the DB ticketing system[1]).

    [1] Even more interesting that they, despite being an IC type operation, have joined as "Nahverkehr", so ridiculously cheap tickets like the Wochenendticket and Quer Durchs Land ticket are valid - the only reason not to use one of these is that they won't do seat reservations for holders of them.
     
  7. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Actually, it doesn't. There are limited paths on the ECML so they should be allocated to the proposals with the best business case. I don't see the proposals stacking up very well as compared to additional services for VTEC.
     
  8. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    I'd rather saw my legs off
     
  9. Western Lord

    Western Lord Member

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    Where are these "tilting Pendolino trains" coming from? I doubt that Virgin West Coast will be letting any of theirs go and I cannot see any manufacturer being interested in a special order for a few non standard trains
     
  10. glbotu

    glbotu Member

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    I don't think so, my understanding is TASS balises are there to allow fast running on bendy routes. The ECML runs non-tilt stock at 125mph. This would suggest that the Pendolinos could run at 125mph without the need for tilt. Only in speed restricted areas would it make sense to use tilt.

    As a more general point, is 1 open-access path per hour (Edinburgh - Morpeth - Newcastle - Stevenage - London King's Cross) not specified in the franchise agreement. Is VTEC therefore applying to run its own open-access service along its own route?
     
    Last edited: 4 May 2015
  11. MCR247

    MCR247 Established Member

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    No reason why Alstom wouldn't sell them a 'new pendolino.'
     
  12. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    They are certainly persistent, I'll give them that. Agree with the Pendo stuff as well, if they cough up the cash they would get built, much the same if Virgin say they want the rest of theirs 11 car.
     
  13. SkinnyDave

    SkinnyDave Established Member

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    I believe TASS would only be needed North of Darlington no point further south
     
  14. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Tony Miles has previously said Alliance keep going to Alstom and asking for the price of 390s for different bids they've done. He claims Alstom have obliged each time up to now but have got fed up of pricing up different potential orders to the extent that if Yeowart approaches Alstom again and it isn't to place an actual order he'll be told to do one.
     
  15. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I thought it was the case that there wouldn't be any additional class 390's built, any future Pendolino order would have to be a completely new class as the original jigs and tooling no longer exist.
     
  16. Aldaniti

    Aldaniti Member

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    A Virgin spokesman said: “We don’t believe the open access proposals would be compatible with our timetable proposals.”

    Translation: We don't want any competition. We're swashbuckling, free-market capitalists - but only when it suits us.
     
  17. Western Lord

    Western Lord Member

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    My belief as well. Who is going to tool up for a brand new bespoke design for such a tiny order? In addition, the entire East Coast service is to be operated with non titing stock. The idea that it is economically feasible to equip the route (or parts of it) for tilting trains for a couple of services a day is daft. In addition, tilting trains running faster than the rest of the service would eat up track capacity. They would be better off buying a few IEP trains.
     
  18. bluenoxid

    bluenoxid Established Member

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    Instead of TASS and Pendos, would infrastructure investment not be better placed into 140mph running south of Darlo/in cab signalling/gauge increases and adaptations to European stock (deleting where applicable).
     
  19. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Well, rolling stock doesn't come out of NR's budget so any savings made by not buying Pendolinos wouldn't be available to spend on track upgrades.

    Other than that, yes overall the country would derive greater benefit by improving the infrastructure to increase linespeed for all services.
     
  20. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Alstom as long as your willing to pay ;)
     
  21. D365

    D365 Established Member

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    If Alliance Rail believes tilting trains are so crucial (bearing in mind the restrictive interior), why were tilting trains not considered for IEP?
     
  22. bluenoxid

    bluenoxid Established Member

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    The question to ask is whether any of this will come out of NRs budget. I'm pretty sure that NR will be looking for a payment that reflects a premium service/upgrade. So any choices will need to come from the operator and be a balance of stock costs and infrastructure costs
     
  23. DownSouth

    DownSouth Established Member

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    The jigs and tooling would not be a problem so much as the non-compliance with the more recent evolutions of the structural standards.

    1. Because it wasn't in the IEP specification - although there's no reason that Hitachi couldn't build a UK-bodied variant of the tilting EMUs they make for the Japanese domestic market.
    2. Because the IEP tender was won by the Agility Trains consortium and not Alliance Rail.

    Of course. This is business, everyone has their price.
     
  24. D365

    D365 Established Member

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    That's my question. If Alliance considers tilt to be important why was this not in the IEP specification ?
     
  25. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Two different philosophies at work.
    Alliance wants to run on the WCML as well as ECML, and an order for "new" Pendolinos would work on both lines.
    The hard work on the Pendolino design (6-car version) has already been done by Virgin and First (for their 2012 bids) with Alstom, and Alliance are just piggy-backing on this.
    DfT has a different view. IEP already costs enough without asking it to tilt as well (probably not viable to retro-fit it anyway).
    There are two schools of thought on tilt. One crowd says it is essential on winding routes, the other says it's an unnecessary cost.
    Apparently the WCML timetable "will not work" south of Rugby without tilt.
    The bids for the new TPE franchise will also set a marker for new WCML trains.
    Somehow I doubt they will go for tilt, even though you would think it was a no-brainer.

    HS2 is another factor. The theory is that WCML North will have to ditch tilt when HS2 comes in, so why order any new tilting stock?
    I think this argument will rage until the next ICWC bids come in.
    There may be a market for another round of tilting trains for the WCML, there may not.
    Meanwhile, 20-odd tilt-capable class 221s continue to waste their potential on XC routes.
     
  26. Chrisgr31

    Chrisgr31 Established Member

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    I am not sure how this will work. I assume it is aimed at the business traveller. However if I was travelling London-Edinburgh by train I would be expected to take the cheapest option and therefore would be in standard class on a Virgin train, although the result is that more likely I would fly.

    I suspect many companies require their staff to travel on the cheapest ticket so not sure who will fill the expensive seats.
     
  27. route:oxford

    route:oxford Established Member

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    Perhaps because there are only so many paths?

    Being able to switch on the wiggle mode with faster services could permit National Rail to accommodate Alliance services between Virgin.
     
  28. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    In a way, it's an intriguing idea. Some sort of luxury service to compete with the airlines.

    Unfortunately, I have serious doubts as to whether there are enough of these people to fill up a whole train. It's the sort of thing where you might consider converting one 1st class carriage on the existing London to Edinburgh trains and seeing how it goes. However, this would be more akin to the original stab at privatisation with different companies having different carriages on the same train (remember Stagecoaches Mk 2's that were added to ICWC trains in the 90's ?).
     
  29. IanXC

    IanXC Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Its interesting to see a second potential Open Access operator for this route who is also clearly going up against Air as their primary competitor. One suspects First might be closer to the mark!
     
  30. route:oxford

    route:oxford Established Member

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    I too can see the potential for a single carriage of "luxury" accommodation, but only if the rest of the train is made of up high-capacity economy airline seating with a strict limit of one piece of cabin baggage per person.

    So to meet with requirements to provide accommodation for the full spectrum of walk-up fares with standard luggage. On an 11-car Pendolino train

    Leading coach - Super Luxury
    Second Coach - Composite 10 First Class Plus 1 First Disabled, remaining standard plus standard disabled.
    Remaining 9 coaches - Super-economy.
     
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