[BBC News] "Trains outside London are 'cast-offs' MPs say"

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jopsuk

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Trains outside London are 'cast-offs' MPs say


Rail passengers outside the south-east of England are expected to put up with "cast-off" trains, MPs say.

The Commons Transport Select Committee said rail investment had been focused on London "for far too long".

It also said ministers "must address" delays to improvement works to avoid a repeat of the issues seen at Christmas.

The Department for Transport said it was building a "world class railway" with "ambitious plans" to improve services in northern England.

The committee said it welcomed Network Rail's planned investment up to 2019.

But it called for "a fairer allocation of rail investment across the country".

'Fairer funding'
The formula used has meant the "far south-west" has been "starved of investment", the MPs said.

Labour MP Louise Ellman welcomed the "record" spending planned, but said: "Treasury statistics demonstrate that for too long this spending has been focused on London.

"We call for revised - and published - criteria to ensure fairer funding allocations that reflect wider economic and social objectives."

The MPs also said the government should take responsibility for train rolling stock and address shortages. They questioned the "cascading" of trains to other parts of the country when new stock is bought for the south-east of England.

The report said: "It is concerning that the department has chosen to order brand new trains for passengers in London and the South East, while expecting passengers in the rest of the country to be content with reconditioned older trains - cast-offs from more prosperous areas."

Ms Ellman said Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin had refused to say when the "outdated and unpopular" Pacer trains would be removed from the network, adding that they should go by 2020 at the latest.

Pacer trains were built between 1980 and 1987, and were originally intended a short-term solution to a shortage of rolling stock, but remain in use today.

Economic gap
Passengers faced severe delays at King's Cross and Paddington stations over the festive period as engineering work over-ran.

The committee said the "unacceptable" disruption was "a worrying sign for the capacity of Network Rail to manage multiple, complex engineering projects simultaneously".

It said the company had to show it could deliver improvements such as electrification in north west England on on the Great Western Main Line on time.

A Department for Transport spokesman said Pacer trains would be replaced as part of improvements including the proposed "HS3" rail link across northern England.

He added: "Together they will improve services for passengers and help close the economic gap between north and south. We have made it clear to Network Rail that we expect the company to deliver the government's investment programme on time and on budget."

Is there an election soon?

Ahem. Struggling, prior to the cascade of the 319s, to think of "cast offs" that "not London" has been sent. The Pacers and Sprinters were built for Regional Railways, the 323s have worked their original routes all their lives, Turbostars, 185s, 175s, 332s etc are not "ex London" trains.
 
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anti-pacer

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Trains outside London are 'cast-offs' MPs say





Is there an election soon?

Ahem. Struggling, prior to the cascade of the 319s, to think of "cast offs" that "not London" has been sent. The Pacers and Sprinters were built for Regional Railways, the 323s have worked their original routes all their lives, Turbostars, 185s, 175s, 332s etc are not "ex London" trains.
Pacers especially were cheaply built and would never been allowed in the South East.

Take Northern for example. Their newest trains are now, what, 13 years old. They run on three lines out of Leeds and the same out of Bradford. A small drop in Northern's ocean.

The majority of their services, save for a handful of electrified routes, are run by these original 80's trains. Contrast that to most of the South East, where all its original slam door stock was replaced with brand new modern trains. What will happen when Pacers and Sprinters life expire, will brand new trains be built? Will they hell!

Maybe THAT'S what MP's are trying to say.
 
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Pacers especially were cheaply built and would never been allowed in the South East.

Take Northern for example. Their newest trains are now, what, 13 years old. They run on three lines out of Leeds and the same out of Bradford. A small drop in Northern's ocean.

The majority of their services, save for a handful of electrified routes, are run by these original 80's trains. Contrast that to most of the South East, where all its original slam door stock was replaced with brand new modern trains. What will happen when Pacers and Sprinters life expire, will brand new trains be built? Will they hell!

Maybe THAT'S what MP's are trying to say.
About 2 or 3 years ago we thought we had seen the back of the pacer
on the cumbria coast line except in the school holidays maybe

But now they are back on a daily basis we are going backwards in my eyes
I'm not 100 % sure but i think they could be using them for some
Lancaster-Carlisle via the cumbria coast journey's

That's over a 3 hour journey.....not good
 

starrymarkb

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Turbos from London are going to be moving west and with no replacement for the HSTs in sight barring a handful of IEPs making it this far West (on Exeter stoppers) they may have a point about the far SW. Most of the investment on the GW is going to the M4 corridor with just some new stations (IIRC developer funded) on the branches in the SW.
 

alex17595

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About 2 or 3 years ago we thought we had seen the back of the pacer
on the cumbria coast line except in the school holidays maybe

But now they are back on a daily basis we are going backwards in my eyes
I'm not 100 % sure but i think they could be using them for some
Lancaster-Carlisle via the cumbria coast journey's

That's over a 3 hour journey.....not good
There was a pacer on carlisle to Preston via cumbrian coast. 4 1/2 hours!
 

NSEFAN

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I don't see anything wrong with cascading rolling stock which is fit for purpose. Once upon a time, 319s were fit for purpose on the routes which they currently work, but the Thameslink core is so busy that different rolling stock is required. The 319s have plenty of life in them though, so it makes sense to reallocate them elsewhere rather than buy new stock so that everyone can feel special. The same could be said for 313s from the NLL, 315s from the GE and WA suburban services and the 165/166s on the GWML.

The only reason cascades tend to be originating from Greater London is because that's where the most people are. The bigger problem of late has been poor organisation to make sure that electrification and rolling stock cascades happen together. The GWML electrification is now so far behind that IEPs may first be delivered for the ECML instead!
 

Murph

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My take on the article. Lots of useless whining with zero practical value, totally devoid of a workable alternative plan.

London's constant growth means it frequently needs an increase in rolling stock, and it's more practical to have unified fleets. What else are we supposed to do with surplus London stock? It's mostly no good abroad, as UK stock is quite UK-specific, or at least difficult to export. Scrapping it is gross negligence with the country's assets (even when we don't own anything any more).

Giving it a good deep refurb (which can include changing seating config from London-optimal to wherever-optimal) and cascading it to somewhere else that it's a reasonable fit is the only reasonable answer, while it's still got plenty of service life left. It's also not as if there's been zero non-London new stock — there's the 22x fleet, 350s, 380s in recent years (pretty sure there's more, but don't feel like finding a comprehensive list).

We are simply not rich enough as a nation to have new stock everywhere all of the time. New stock in London gives an excellent return on investment which benefits the entire country, even people who never travel anywhere near London.

Of course, you could always get a 21st century Pacer2, cheap and not so cheery, but personally I'd much rather have a 20-25 year old properly refurbed ex-London train than a Pacer2, as long as it's fit for purpose. "New train smell" doesn't do a better job at getting you from A to B!
 

sprinterguy

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Take Northern for example. Their newest trains are now, what, 13 years old. They run on three lines out of Leeds and the same out of Bradford. A small drop in Northern's ocean.
There are, however, fifty one trains not quite ten years old operating Transpennine and North West "Express" services, which formerly were services under the remit of the predecessors of the "Northern" franchise. An arbitrary distinction.
The majority of their services, save for a handful of electrified routes, are run by these original 80's trains. Contrast that to most of the South East, where all its original slam door stock was replaced with brand new modern trains. What will happen when Pacers and Sprinters life expire, will brand new trains be built? Will they hell!
I'm not sure why you envisage so pessimistic an outlook. The South East slam door stock was a minimum of twelve years older than the Pacer and Sprinter fleets, some more like twenty. While the London suburban network does see more of a rolling programme of rolling stock renewal, this is at least in part due to the sheer heft of the network in terms of rolling stock numbers and the diversity of the operation. Yet it was still possible to see that the replacement of the last slam door units with Electrostars and Desiros constituted a "big bang" renewal programme due partly to the age of the slam door stock and partly due to legislation.

It's a generational thing, and the replacement of regional and local rolling stock across the provinces is typically around half a vehicle lifespan behind that in the South East. This has been driven by the fact that large numbers of Pacers and Sprinters were all introduced within a five year time period to replace DMUs and loco-hauled mark 1 and 2 rakes that were life expired and had also been introduced in a short period of time as part of the modernisation plan. The provincial rolling stock fleet will be due another "big bang" rolling stock replacement programme towards the end of the decade, again driven jointly by the age of the rolling stock and legislation governing accessibility.
 

sprinterguy

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Thanks for the info alex,your heart must drop when you see one of these
pulling up in the platform with a 4 1/2 hour journey in front of you
Would anybody in their right mind travel from Preston to Carlisle via the Cumbrian Coast?

Even from Barrow it is quicker to head across to Lancaster and up the West Coast from there, though I recognise that people often prefer the convenience of a direct train, if you're that far west to start with.
 
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AM9

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Pacers especially were cheaply built and would never been allowed in the South East.
Pacers would never be able to cope with the sheer volume of passengers on each of the commuter routes into London. That's why London continued to use the '50s and '60s slammers right until they were outlawed by health and safety rules.

Take Northern for example. Their newest trains are now, what, 13 years old. They run on three lines out of Leeds and the same out of Bradford. A small drop in Northern's ocean.
Excepting the slammer replacements mentioned above, very few trains in the south-east are newer than 13 years old. Those that spring to mind include 360s on Heathrow Link and GEML, 395 on HS1. Those two types were procured as there were no other suitable types available.

Maybe THAT'S what MP's are trying to say.
The problem with comparing the 'newness' of rolling stock is that no comparison is made of the differing traffic volumes, the availability of suitable trains from existing stock and the effect that has on procurement, (irresepective of where the requirement is).
The fleets of trains in the south east are huge compared with those in the north. There are nearly 1000 377 coaches in sets of 3,4 & 5, in use on TSGN routes. That is as many as all class 156, 158, and 170's anywhere outside the south east.
So when there is a need to equip a line into London the typical requirement is 300+ coaches of ac EMUs. Where would they come from? There are 96 'not new' ac EMU coaches in ther whole of the Northern franchise, so you could create a micro fleet of 323 and 333 stock in the south-east. Then buy shine new trains to keep you happy. Mmmm, the railway is expensive enough to fund without creating additional inefficiencies just to assuage the jealousy of a few passengers, and opportunism of journalists and politicians.
Just recognise that rail transport in London is all about volume. Over 4 million people travel to London everfy day and rail is the dominant mode as the investment in roads was (thankfully) not extended to the south-east as it was elsewhere in the UK.
The south-east has many examples of electric equivalents to pacers, e.g. tube trains. Most of them are feom the '90s, some are from the early '70s. They have hard seats, they are very cramped and they carry numbers of passengers that sleepy northern commuters just couldn't cope with.
 

W230

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Is there an election soon?
Spot on.

Murph said:
My take on the article. Lots of useless whining with zero practical value, totally devoid of a workable alternative plan.
Spot on.

anti-pacer said:
Pacers especially were cheaply built and would never been allowed in the South East. Blah blah blah...
Please, please, please, please, please. Just give it a rest. Just for for two minutes. :lol:

We get it. You're anti-pacer. You can whinge, moan and complain about the rolling stock cascades all you like. They are what they are, and in most people's opinions make the most sense with the stock that we currently have.

The slam door stock were still around years past their sell by date, the pacers are still around years past their sell by date. The 319s will probably end up around years past their sell by date.
A lot of people who set foot in the refurbished 319s will have no idea they SE cast offs anyway. They will vastly improve the current situation and give something to build on.
 

PHILIPE

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I have read posts which are saying there are more people in London and the South east so they should have the best trains. After all, wherever one lives, we are all passengers and therefore paying customers so should be treated equally.
 

Tetchytyke

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London has had a lot of new stock because it replaced a lot of old stock. The new trains were needed to get rid of the slam-door stock. But even in London there's plenty of old stuff there- the PEPs are 40 years old, even the Networkers are getting on for 25.

The problem with the northern stock is that the TOC doesn't look after it, doesn't do anything with it. Northern Rail have just let their entire fleet go to rack and ruin because "shareholder value". Northern Rail haven't touched a single train in their entire fleet since they got the franchise in 2005- a slap of blue paint and some cheap fabric doesn't count- and it's really beginning to show. Heaton's 156s are disgusting, absolutely disgusting, and the 155s and 158s out of Neville Hill are no better. The blame has to rest with the management of the TOC.

In comparison, the 455s operated by Southern and SWT are as old as most of Northern's trains. But with the new seats, and new panelling, and new PIS, you wouldn't tell. Merseyrail's trains are actually older than Northern's but, again, with the new seats and new PIS you'd really have them at 10-15 years younger.

Properly looked after and properly refurbished trains look like new to most punters. When Arriva/Metro did the 144s properly everyone marvelled at the shiny new trains. Do the same with the 155s and 158s and everyone will be amazed at these lovely new trains. Instead we have a franchisee who, quite frankly, couldn't give a monkeys about the standard of the trains they turn out, and have no intention of making things better. Just look at the song and dance they're making about sticking new seat covers on the 319s- whoop-de-doo.
 

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Excepting the slammer replacements mentioned above, very few trains in the south-east are newer than 13 years old. Those that spring to mind include 360s on Heathrow Link and GEML, 395 on HS1. Those two types were procured as there were no other suitable types available.
Not sure it's fair to say very few - Classes 172, 378, 379, 387 and many of the Class 377s which were not slammer replacements are younger than that.
 

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Historically, cascades have occured from major routes to minor routes. BR had a rolling plan or stock replacement which wasn't helped in the 80s by the 2 new for 3 old and a cheap as possible inference from the government. It was unfortunate that it was regional railways that needed the new stock inthe 80s. At that time the South East had 70s built stock, not all sliding door, and some of this was moved to Merseyside and excess bits resued in rather badly aesthetcally designed EMUs (455s).

The biggest issue with replacement rolling stock was the 1000+ day hiatus in new train orders which has skewed any idea of a coherent strategy. If this had not occured, then we might not be in the position of 'running out' of DMUs for the capacity required as new units would have been built during this time.

I remember Mk1s on Worcester & Oxford services in the 80s and 90s, but MKIIs on Trans-Pennine services...
 
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starrymarkb

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Good point, compare a 159/1 with a Northern 158 from TPX. Both were in the same condition when they left TPE, SWT put a lot of money into the refurbishment of their units (I know the ROSCO Pays upfront and then claws back in increased lease charges), with a complete strip to metal and interior rebuild. Northern, didn't...

IIRC FGW were not impressed with the condition the 142s arrived in, so gave them an internal repaint and new seat covers even though they were only supposed to be in the west for 18months
 

AM9

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Not sure it's fair to say very few - Classes 172, 378, 379, 387 and many of the Class 377s which were not slammer replacements are younger than that.
OK, the 172s were to interwork between the intensive freight services on the GOBLIN. There are just 8 two-car units. LO who is part funded by London ratepayers, decided to procure new when they took the line over. When it is electrified they will procure more new to match the performance of the 378s which are high-density stock.
The requirement for the LO electric lines coiuldn't be met with any available stock. The 313s were over 30 years old. The line is alspo an intensive freight route.
The 379s were to run a premium airport route so trains that fitted the profile of the fares were procured. There was no available stock to depl;oy on the lone.
Thje 387s are on loan because the 700 was late in being ordered. When released they could go anywhere under the wires. Take a look at the whingeing on the Class 387 thread to judge if they are really as luxurious as you think!
The 377s are asa a result of passenger volume increases.

So with all the above, how do you think that requirements should have been met?
 

aformeruser

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Pacers would never be able to cope with the sheer volume of passengers on each of the commuter routes into London.
Pacers can run in up to 8 car formations and yet some services in the South are operated by Sprinter/Turbostar formations shorter than that, so that's not a valid excuse in itself.

Pacers in 2/3/4/5 car formation are not adequate for peak time services out of major cities in the North and yet they are used in such formations with only the Calder Vale line being 'lucky' enough to get booked 5 car formations.
 

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Pacers can run in up to 8 car formations and yet some services in the South are operated by Sprinter/Turbostar formations shorter than that, so that's not a valid excuse in itself.

Pacers in 2/3/4/5 car formation are not adequate for peak time services out of major cities in the North and yet they are used in such formations with only the Calder Vale line being 'lucky' enough to get booked 5 car formations.
It would be a nonsense to run 75mph units on mainlines in the South East as this would seriously cut capacity. OTOH they would be well suited to some branch lines e.g. the Thames Valley or Bedford-Bletchley.

Neil
 

aformeruser

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Good point, compare a 159/1 with a Northern 158 from TPX. Both were in the same condition when they left TPE, SWT put a lot of money into the refurbishment of their units (I know the ROSCO Pays upfront and then claws back in increased lease charges), with a complete strip to metal and interior rebuild. Northern, didn't...
Northern had a franchise agreement where if passenger numbers were higher than expected then some money gets returned to DfT and the rest can be kept as profit, with a need to reinvest.

SWT had a franchise agreement where if passenger numbers were lower than expected they get money from DfT to make up the shortfall.

That has worked to Northern passenger's disadvantage (as they have had exponential growth) and SWT passenger's advantage (as they've had revenue support some years.)

The TPE 158s weren't all in identical condition and the best seemed to go to SWT, FGW and CT, with FGW and CT sending some of their 158s to Northern.
 

aformeruser

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It would be a nonsense to run 75mph units on mainlines in the South East as this would seriously cut capacity. OTOH they would be well suited to some branch lines e.g. the Thames Valley or Bedford-Bletchley.
I didn't say anything about using 75mph on mainlines in the South (even though it seen as acceptable on the WCML in the North where paths are at a premium.)
 

Tetchytyke

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The TPE 158s weren't all in identical condition
Other than the handful of ex-Virgin 158s that arrived later, the TPE 158s were in pretty much identical condition because Northern Spirit refreshed the whole fleet in the late 90s.

The difference is that East Midlands Trains pretty much ripped everything out and started again when they got hold of the 158s, whereas Northern did nothing more than stick a new seat cover on with some velcro.
 

aformeruser

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Other than the handful of ex-Virgin 158s that arrived later, the TPE 158s were in pretty much identical condition because Northern Spirit refreshed the whole fleet in the late 90s.
TPE did have some ex-CT 158s between 2004 and 2007 (CT initially releasing some after getting MML 170s.) The last 158s TPE operated were ex-CT ones.
 

The Ham

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Pacers especially were cheaply built and would never been allowed in the South East.

Take Northern for example. Their newest trains are now, what, 13 years old. They run on three lines out of Leeds and the same out of Bradford. A small drop in Northern's ocean.

The majority of their services, save for a handful of electrified routes, are run by these original 80's trains. Contrast that to most of the South East, where all its original slam door stock was replaced with brand new modern trains. What will happen when Pacers and Sprinters life expire, will brand new trains be built? Will they hell!

Maybe THAT'S what MP's are trying to say.
If you compare SWT's fleet their newest trains are about 10 years old but they too have units built earlier in the 1980's than any of the Northern fleet.

The big difference (as pointed out by others) is that SWT's keep their fleet clean and carry out high quality refurbishments.
 

sprinterguy

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Other than the handful of ex-Virgin 158s that arrived later, the TPE 158s were in pretty much identical condition because Northern Spirit refreshed the whole fleet in the late 90s.

The difference is that East Midlands Trains pretty much ripped everything out and started again when they got hold of the 158s, whereas Northern did nothing more than stick a new seat cover on with some velcro.
Only one ex-Virgin 158 went to TPE.

You are quite correct though (IMO) on Northern and EMTs' differing approaches to their inherited 158 fleets. The TPE 158s weren't in a great state themselves by the time they were moved on to Central and Great Western, after First had run them into the ground, so it is all to the good that EMT and SWT put some effort into doing something about it.
 
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Bletchleyite

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I didn't say anything about using 75mph on mainlines in the South
You referred to Pacers which are 75mph units.

(even though it seen as acceptable on the WCML in the North where paths are at a premium.)
Paths are not at a premium on the north WCML in the same way, and Pacers aren't the only slow-speed stock on there anyway.

Neil
 

WatcherZero

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The report doesn't really add any new arguments, lot of rehashed arguments and observations of contradictions from here. Suggestions of minor ways NR could do better accounting or ensure that pacers are removed by 2020. I thought the most significant part though was the accusation from the committee that the Government was in denial, claiming it didn't have direct control over rolling stock yet the ROSCOs in their evidence say it does and the government also demonstrating through its past direct interventions that it does.
 
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