Arriva accused of 'massive rail fail' after 150 passengers unable to board packed tra

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47802

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Virgin is clearly 100% to blame for this end of, and should have provided some alternate capacity either, by talking to Arriva about extra capacity, providing buses or digging out a 57 to drag a 390 to and from Crewe although the later seems to be regarded as too expensive and difficult these days.
 
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Hyphen

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Good that Arriva's unwillingness to attempt to be flexible when faced with extra demand is being noticed.

Now just need someone to look at their continued use of inadequate 2-car 175s/158s (and occasionally 150s!) on ATW Manchester-South Wales runs, as well as 2-car 170s on AXC Nottingham-Birmingham-Cardiff runs.
 

berneyarms

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Virgin is clearly 100% to blame for this end of, and should have provided some alternate capacity either, by talking to Arriva about extra capacity, providing buses or digging out a 57 to drag a 390 to and from Crewe although the later seems to be regarded as too expensive and difficult these days.
There was no need for any of that.

A VT voyager was sitting unused in Holyhead until 13:58.

Why could it not have operated at 08:55 to Chester, arriving there at 10:28 and then return at 11:16 from Chester to Holyhead arriving there at 12:50.

An onward connection to Crewe was at 10:55 and a train arrived from Crewe at Chester at 10:45.

That would have sorted the problem out.

Instead, we have people here blaming ATW for something that frankly is not their fault.
 

185

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I have spent rather a lot of time stood up on ATWs 'local train' 150s operating such local routes as Cardiff-Manchester and Birmingham-Holyhead, and whilst I agree this was 50% Virgin's issue, ATW deserve great criticism for a badly run unit desk in their control on so many occasions in recent years.

3 car 175s on Crewe shuttles whilst broken-toileted 153s on Manchester-Shrewsbury, they cited 'overnight maintenance positioning'. :(
 

47802

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Good that Arriva's unwillingness to attempt to be flexible when faced with extra demand is being noticed.

Now just need someone to look at their continued use of inadequate 2-car 175s/158s (and occasionally 150s!) on ATW Manchester-South Wales runs, as well as 2-car 170s on AXC Nottingham-Birmingham-Cardiff runs.
I think that's an unreasonable comment really Arriva were providing additional Loco hauled services just not at that time, and Virgin had simply withdrawn significant north wales capacity on a busy day.
 
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Hyphen

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I think that's an unreasonable comment really Arriva were providing additional Loco hauled services just not at that time, and Virgin had simply withdrawn significant north wales capacity on a busy day.
I'm not going to dispute that Virgin's withdrawal of their own capacity on this route on this day didn't help matters, but I'm talking about the bigger picture really. Not knowing whether you'll be standing for 3+ hours on the longer routes of some of Arriva's TOCs is a day-in-day-out issue.

I got fairly lucky on Saturday with travel plans, but wasn't surprised to see a 2-car 170 between Nottingham and Cardiff. Packed out at Birmingham as usual, and got even busier at Chepstow of all places.
 

47802

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I'm not going to dispute that Virgin's withdrawal of their own capacity on this route on this day didn't help matters, but I'm talking about the bigger picture really. Not knowing whether you'll be standing for 3+ hours on the longer routes of some of Arriva's TOCs is a day-in-day-out issue.

I got fairly lucky on Saturday with travel plans, but wasn't surprised to see a 2-car 170 between Nottingham and Cardiff. Packed out at Birmingham as usual, and got even busier at Chepstow of all places.
That's an issue on many other TOC's trains as well though for which there isn't a quick fix.
 

Greenback

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ATW's stock isn't sufficient for normal operations, capacity wise. However they diagram the units, there will be problems somewhere as a result.

The issue here wasn't a lack of flexibility by ATW, or their management being on leave, it's an industry issue where one TOC can suspend it's operations on a route without making any effort to deal with the inevitable consequences.
 

WelshBluebird

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To be fair to those blaming ATW though, if you are a "normal" passenger on that service, there is a fairly high chance you won't realise the underlying reason why the service was so rammed full. So of course you would blame the train company whose service it was.
And even if the guard had say made an announcement saying so, that then just comes across as essentially "passing the buck" which is something that does seem to happen way too often in this fragmented railway we have.
 

Phil from Mon

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To me something needs to happen - with heads being knocked together - between the two operators so that if VT services are being cancelled such as this that an alternative service along the coast is provided in that path - as far as Crewe at least.
This is surely the crux of the matter, someone in WG needs to sit down with ATW and VT and bang heads together until they realise they are jointly responsible for providing a service in North Wales, and whatever their own short-term commercial advantage may be, when there are problems they need to work together to solve them. I've banged on to them about this for years, but never even had a response, so it must be time to get AMs and MPs involved.
 

Bletchleyite

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Did this really happen? I thought there were strict rules as to who could travel in cabs, and these wouldn't include passengers.
Was it a 150/2? Not technically allowed I guess, but they might have closed the cab off as if opening the gangway and allowed passengers into the vestibule (which is a passenger door with an interlock and passenger door controls, though not usually used as such) and the secondman's side?

Neil
 

NX

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There is no way passengers were sitting or standing 'in the drivers cab' at best they were standing in the gangway behind the drivers cab (some TOCs permit this, some dont'.

As for passengers in any part of any cab, not on my train. If you can't get on and I can't get on behind you to safely close the doors then people have to get off until it's safe for the train to move.

NX
 

Bellbell

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ATW don't have enough stock as it is, as has been said upthread. It's all very well some of you lot clutching your pearls and wailing that something should be done but really, where do you think they should magic stock from? Atw has many faults and I know a few friends who work for them who feel frustrated but this was clearly virgin's fault. I don't necessarily expect the passenger on the ground to understand but I'd have thought most on a forum such as this would realise that someone can't just nip down to the train shop and pick up a couple of 175s on their way to work.

As for the comment that they can find stock when Gerald fails, I assume that your sources and insiders have reminded you that a chunk of atw's stock is stuck south of Hereford?
 
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455driver

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Good that Arriva's unwillingness to attempt to be flexible when faced with extra demand is being noticed.
What should Arriva done then?
Strengthening that service would mean it would be over length when it attached to the other portion at Shrewsbury so not viable!
Running a relief wouldnt be possible because no train crew available!

Yeah definitely Arrivas fault!

But go on then tell us what Arriva should have done bearing in mind they would have to pay for it all!
 
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bramling

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What should Arriva done then?
Strengthening that service would mean it would be over length when it attached to the other portion at Shrewsbury so not viable!
Running a relief wouldnt be possible because no train crew available!

Yeah definitely Arrivas fault!

But go on then tell us what Arriva should have done bearing in mind they would have to pay for it all!
Obviously it would help for many of these services not to be too short in the first place, but this takes us back to cost and lack of available trains, which is an issue which runs deeper than the TOCs.
 

berneyarms

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What should Arriva done then?
Strengthening that service would mean it would be over length when it attached to the other portion at Shrewsbury so not viable!
Running a relief wouldnt be possible because no train crew available!

Yeah definitely Arrivas fault!

But go on then tell us what Arriva should have done bearing in mind they would have to pay for it all!
To be fair six car 158s do operate between Shrewsbury and Birmingham International - the length of the train would not be an issue. But having another set in Holyhead over Christmas may have been.

The real point is that a VT Voyager was sitting idle in Holyhead when it could have been used.
 

Robertj21a

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That isn't the reality of rail travel at all.

People book tickets for particular services, sometimes months in advance. If I had booked tickets for this particular Train and was not allowed on due to overcrowding I wouldn't be happy.

Can you imagine what a mess the network would be if all train operators ran trains with that in mind? Oh, these towns don't need to worry about a service - by the time the train gets to them they'll be overcrowded and they can get a train two hours later.
Can you actually book seats on a 2-carriage dmu ?
 

jones_bangor

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From what's already been said, seems like the real culprit is Virgin trains!

Travelling on Sundays and at Christmas is so often a nightmare!!
 

fowler9

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Oh the joys of competition, multiple units and how much choice it gives us. Lets face it Virgin should carry the can for this one. They won't loose any passengers as a result of it though as Joe public doesn't really have a choice.
 

merlodlliw

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ATW don't have enough stock as it is, as has been said upthread. It's all very well some of you lot clutching your pearls and wailing that something should be done but really, where do you think they should magic stock from? Atw has many faults and I know a few friends who work for them who feel frustrated but this was clearly virgin's fault. I don't necessarily expect the passenger on the ground to understand but I'd have thought most on a forum such as this would realise that someone can't just nip down to the train shop and pick up a couple of 175s on their way to work.

As for the comment that they can find stock when Gerald fails, I assume that your sources and insiders have reminded you that a chunk of atw's stock is stuck south of Hereford?
When Gerald fails at Holyhead, ATW have always used a replacement 175 three car,since the Manchester Loco Hauled started,a 175 is now spare.
This was last used when the Crewe based Loco haul was cancelled twice during Xmas week. The key problem is Welsh Government have no control over VT, except a slapped wrist from the Minister.
Local North Wales politicians are are fully aware of what happened,all read the Daily Post, I for one will ensure a complaint is lodged, there was no reason the VT could not have been used to Crewe,but I understand the driver has to travel over 100 miles from booking on,so I understand.
Anyone confirm the booking on dept for Holyhead VT Drivers.
 
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berneyarms

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When Gerald fails at Holyhead, ATW have always used a replacement 175 three car,since the Manchester Loco Hauled started,a 175 is now spare.
This was last used when the Crewe based Loco haul was cancelled twice during Xmas week. The key problem is Welsh Government have no control over VT, except a slapped wrist from the Minister.
Local North Wales politicians are are fully aware of what happened,all read the Daily Post, I for one will ensure a complaint is lodged, there was no reason the VT could not have been used to Crewe,but I understand the driver has to travel over 100 miles from booking on,so I understand.
Anyone confirm the booking on dept for Holyhead VT Drivers.
Yes but when a Class 175 replaced Gerald at Holyhead, it would have been rostered on one of the following services, which would have then either been cancelled or replaced by another set sent specially from Chester.

There are no spare sets sitting in Holyhead overnight.

Are you sure that there is now a set spare? I've not sat down to go through the new set diagrams, but I was under the impression that they were all being reallocated?

Realistically the VT Voyager could only have gone as far as Chester and back as I outlined above - there would be insufficient time to get back to Holyhead if it went to Crewe.
 
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PHILIPE

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Much of this goes back to my point earlier when a TOC (VT) cancel a train due to Engineering Work, there is often no considered as to if and how the passengers can be accommodated on other TOCs trains. Also, it seems difficult to estimate demand during the Xmas/New Year period and for those who say ATW should provide more carriages it would be more constructive if they came up with ideas suggesting where they could get them from.
 

berneyarms

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Much of this goes back to my point earlier when a TOC (VT) cancel a train due to Engineering Work, there is often no considered as to if and how the passengers can be accommodated on other TOCs trains. Also, it seems difficult to estimate demand during the Xmas/New Year period and for those who say ATW should provide more carriages it would be more constructive if they came up with ideas suggesting where they could get them from.
I could not agree more with this post.
 

tbtc

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The loco hauled stock was out on Saturday operating as follows:

08 46 Crewe to Holyhead
12 22 Holyhead to Crewe
14 24 Crewe to Holyhead
19 33 Holyhead to Crewe

It would be a bit hard for it to be in two places at once!

Surely the real issue here is that the Virgin services were cancelled?
Agreed - not sure what ATW were meant to do, if they were using all of their stock as it was - they did what they could

I recall last year someone started a thread complaining about the Northern Stoke-Manchester service being inadequate pre-Christmas based on one service. It turned out that line had more adequate provision than other lines and the real problem was XC had turned around a service at Macclesfield so Northern were carrying the XC passengers as well as their own.
...funnily enough, that's what came to my mind too - easy to blame the train/TOC that turns up, people don't notice the one that was "missing" (like blaming your left back for missing in a penalty shoot out, when your centre forward chickened out of taking a penalty).

ATW provided a service and are cast as the bad guys. Virgin didn't provide a service, yet seem to be getting less of the criticism.

Looks like that Pretendolino would have come in handy. Pity Virgin got rid of it.
What use would it have been (other than the "nice to have some loco hauled stock" argument)?

If Virgin had had any spare stock, they'd have used it on the London blockades.

It wouldn't have been worth ATW taking on the stock for the sake of one day (and not their "problem" to solve at great expense).

A lack of co-ordination between operators seems to be here as well. A better joint plan seems to be necessary as well.
It's not about co-ordination - it's about Virgin not providing their service (and therefore dumping their passengers onto another TOC, who got the blame).

ATW don't have the spare capacity to deal with taking on Virgin's passengers - there's nothing to "co-ordinate" - we just need the Intercity TOC to provide a service (and not leave it for the Provincial TOC to deal with)

But that train is normally only a two car service. It combines with another set at Shrewsbury. It was perfectly normal for it to be a two car unit.

The issue is clearly that the 08:55 Holyhead-Euston Virgin Trains service did not operate, which then caused a much higher loading for the following train than normal.

ATW then end up being blamed for another operator's lack of service and are expected to magically find additional rolling stock that it does not have
Agreed - can't blame ATW for the lack of a magic wand

as far as the general public is concerned, it will appear to be Arriva's fault for having not predicted such high passenger numbers, while Saintly Virgin suffers no negative fallout from it.
Agreed (sadly)

To me, it's Virgin's responsibility to provide replacements for their withdrawn trains. They shouldn't simply give up and leave it all to someone else.
True

I agree with VT not running causing some the problem ,but ATW must have known about the VTs being cancelled, it just seems the two just dont talk to each other
What could ATW have done though?

No spare stock sitting around for when Virgin are having a bad day. They were using the loco hauled set already that day.

However much ATW knew, they wouldn't have had the resources to pick up the additional passengers

the problem should have been foreseen by ATWs Cardiff mandarins,who were probably on leave
I've criticised those in Cardiff a few times on this Forum, but any foresight wouldn't have helped them find spare trains (if they were already using the loco hauled set).

Good that Arriva's unwillingness to attempt to be flexible when faced with extra demand is being noticed
How "flexible" could they be, if they were using all available trains at the time (including the loco hauled set)?

A VT voyager was sitting unused in Holyhead until 13:58.

Why could it not have operated at 08:55 to Chester, arriving there at 10:28 and then return at 11:16 from Chester to Holyhead arriving there at 12:50.

An onward connection to Crewe was at 10:55 and a train arrived from Crewe at Chester at 10:45.

That would have sorted the problem out.

Instead, we have people here blaming ATW for something that frankly is not their fault.
Good question - not sure why ATW are being blamed for running their regular service, when Virgin had given up (and had a Voyager sat unused in Wales?)...

whilst I agree this was 50% Virgin's issue, ATW deserve great criticism for a badly run unit desk in their control on so many occasions in recent years
Are we just blaming ATW for what happened this weekend because people have a chip on their shoulder about the TOC anyway?

(in the way that Northern managed to get criticised when they've done something unquestionably good, like introduce WiFi)

ATW's stock isn't sufficient for normal operations, capacity wise. However they diagram the units, there will be problems somewhere as a result
To take this thread in a slightly different direction (and since a lot of the anti-ATW stuff seems to be based on people who've had "previous" with ATW...), is there something to be said for chopping up some existing ATW services?

There's clearly very little demand to travel from end to end on services like Manchester - Milford Haven or Holyhead - Cardiff/ Birmingham International), but the current through services mean that ATW end up with bigger units stuck at the quieter end of a route when people are stood on shorter DMUs at the busy end of the route.

For example, cut the Manchester - Milford Haven service at Cardiff (maybe when the SWML is electrified?), and you can ensure that Manchester - Cardiff never sees anything shorter than three coaches (rather than seeing a three coach unit at Milford Haven whilst there's a two coach one struggling at the Manchester end of the route)?

All of the interworking and portion working doesn't seem to be helping. Keep things simpler?

The issue here wasn't a lack of flexibility by ATW, or their management being on leave, it's an industry issue where one TOC can suspend it's operations on a route without making any effort to deal with the inevitable consequences.
Yup.

Easy to pass the buck and leave it for another TOC to clear up - what Virgin have done here is the railway equivalent of "fly tipping"

ATW don't have enough stock as it is, as has been said upthread. It's all very well some of you lot clutching your pearls and wailing that something should be done but really, where do you think they should magic stock from? Atw has many faults and I know a few friends who work for them who feel frustrated but this was clearly virgin's fault. I don't necessarily expect the passenger on the ground to understand but I'd have thought most on a forum such as this would realise that someone can't just nip down to the train shop and pick up a couple of 175s on their way to work
Agreed

What should Arriva done then?
Strengthening that service would mean it would be over length when it attached to the other portion at Shrewsbury so not viable!
Running a relief wouldnt be possible because no train crew available!

Yeah definitely Arrivas fault!

But go on then tell us what Arriva should have done bearing in mind they would have to pay for it all!
Agreed

Oh the joys of competition, multiple units and how much choice it gives us. Lets face it Virgin should carry the can for this one. They won't loose any passengers as a result of it though as Joe public doesn't really have a choice.
How is this the fault of multiple units?

I'm not sure that it's really the fault of "competition" either (?) - just a case of cancelling one train without there being any spare capacity on the subsequent one.

It'd be like my local bus company cancelling a scheduled double decker and then expecting everyone to cram onto the next minibus (along with all of the other passengers due on that service).
 

SpacePhoenix

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I agree with VT not running causing some the problem ,but ATW must have known about the VTs being cancelled, it just seems the two just dont talk to each other,we have the ATW situation of two cars,be it winter,summer or when extra passengers will use it makes no difference,as usual the passenger suffers, which should be the first priority.
Don't know what's used on that route but if it's DMUs then there's probably no spare stock
 

Class 170101

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tbtc,
It is about co-ordination if VT had advised ATW about their train plan when it was bid (or a joint plan agreed before bid) Arriva may have been able to do something with their train plan and conversely the same applies in reverse.

I am afraid I don't believe anyone who says there isn't spare stock on Saturday and Sundays when the availability is built around weekday demand for most TOCs.
 
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