Berlin S-Bahn privatisation

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WatcherZero

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For those that say the Europeans dont follow our method of rail competition. The Berlin Senate has just voted to split the 331km S-Bahn network into three seperate 15 year concessions to increase competition starting from the end of the current DB franchise in 2017.

The three service groups will be:
North-South
East-West
Ring & Branches, the first to be tendered will recieve 1.2bn Euros in subsidy including 600m Euros to purchase 190 two car EMU's as DB Regio has refused to sell its fleet of 541 two car sets.
 
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radamfi

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Is that any different in philosophy to any of the other regional lines in Germany that have been tendered?
 

WestCoast

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This isn't anything new, it appears to follow the standard process of gross-cost tendering in a number of European countries. There are very few UK-style net-cost tendering contracts on the continent.

In Germany, one line of the Rhein-Ruhr S-Bahn and all lines of the small Bremen S-Bahn are operated by 'private' TOCs

The operators will be paid to run the service and all fare and revenue matters will be covered by the local transport board. The operators only run the service and there is effectively no revenue risk to the operators. London Buses are a relevant comparison.

The aim here appears to be to get a more attractive service package for the Berlin taxpayer and DB Regio will probably also bid for each of the franchises as well. DB have come under criticism for their operation of the S-Bahn after well publicised technical issues.

Therefore, it's not directly comparable to the net-cost tendering undertaken by the DfT.

This presentation gives an insight into the system: www.conferinte.clubferoviar.ro/mass_transport/wp-content/uploads/2012/prezentari/franz-werner.pdf
 
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starrymarkb

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I can't say I'm surprised. DB hadn't really endeared themselves to the local authorities.

Plus given the number of high profile groundings would anyone want the 481s?
 

Schnellzug

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Indeed, DB seem to have made a bit of a pig's ear of it in the last few years, with service reductions due to maintenance issues, so i wonder if there might be an element of politics involved as well.
 

HSTEd

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mainly gross incompetence by DB, what on earth do DB intend to do with the existing stock?

Well I imagine the fact they have existing stock with limited value means that they will be able to submit a cheaper tender than anyone else who has to buy new stock.....
 

WestCoast

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They could be used to replace the 472s in Hamburg, which I believe are of mainly late 1970s vintage. I think the local DB division has a better reputation there, so on second thoughts might be worth keeping the 481s away! :o
 

starrymarkb

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A 481 has visited Hamburg but not under power (IIRC Hamburg is a higher voltage then Berlin). There are pictures on Railfaneurope.
 

317666

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At least they've seen sense to split the franchises into the three main S-Bahn lines through Berlin. The Ringbahn, North-South tunnel, and Stadtbahn (East-West). The oldest rolling stock left on the Berlin S-Bahn was built in the late 1980s as far as I know, however the whole BR485 shambles means I'm not sure whether any rolling stock should be replaced or cascaded.
 
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There are very few UK-style net-cost tendering contracts on the continent.

If we must have UK rail privatisation, I do not understand what is stopping the DfT from moving from net-cost tendering to gross tendering.

How hard would it be ? As each UK rail franchise comes up for renewal, just issue a gross tendered contract.
 

WestCoast

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If we must have UK rail privatisation, I do not understand what is stopping the DfT from moving from net-cost tendering to gross tendering.

How hard would it be ? As each UK rail franchise comes up for renewal, just issue a gross tendered contract.

There's nothing to stop them, but the DfT, rightly or wrongly, believes in net-cost tendering as the most effective way of operating the network. I believe ATOC has done a presentation of some sort in Brussels to representatives of other EU networks to tell of their apparent success using net-cost tendering and promoting this system as an effective method of rail privatisation.

Moving towards gross-cost tendering would probably mean additional state funding and a nominated body controlling ticketing and so on. Just like the buses in London, where TfL organises the system but lets First, Stagecoach e.t.c get on with running the actual services. The British policy (especially in the provinces) is very much centered on shifting the cost of the railways away from the taxpayer, but most continental countries don't share that policy.

The success of a gross-cost tendering railway would very much depend on how well the network is managed at state level and I suspect many in the UK would rather the DfT was not given more power in the day-to-day operations.
 
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Schnellzug

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There's nothing to stop them, but the DfT, rightly or wrongly, believes in net-cost tendering as the most effective way of operating the network. I believe ATOC has done a presentation of some sort in Brussels to representatives of other EU networks to tell of their apparent success using net-cost tendering and promoting this system as an effective method of rail privatisation.

Moving towards gross-cost tendering would probably mean additional state funding and a nominated body controlling ticketing and so on. Just like the buses in London, where TfL organises the system but lets First, Stagecoach e.t.c get on with running the actual services. The British policy (especially in the provinces) is very much centered on shifting the cost of the railways away from the taxpayer, but most continental countries don't share that policy.

The success of a gross-cost tendering railway would very much depend on how well the network is managed at state level and I suspect many in the UK would rather the DfT was not given more power in the day-to-day operations.

Yes, as I've said before, it's a fine idea in theory, but I'm afraid that with the political system we have and the way that Government is organised (with Ministers not needing to have any actual expertise in the area they're Minister for, for example), I'd much rather leave it to the Fat Cat Rail Operators, I'm afraid.
 

radamfi

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So, in summary, gross cost tendering works in Germany, Netherlands, Sweden etc. but not in the UK? But net cost tendering is flawed, as we already know. Therefore I see no reason to stay in the UK.
 

WestCoast

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So, in summary, gross cost tendering works in Germany, Netherlands, Sweden etc. but not in the UK? But net cost tendering is flawed, as we already know. Therefore I see no reason to stay in the UK.

Gross-cost tendering relies on having an effective authority to control everything on a daily basis, the DfT couldn't be and/or doesn't want to be that figure. The continental networks have only really undertaken tendering on a regional level, the core intercity services or equivalents have remained under direct control.

Establishing super-PTEs could work in the UK, with I guess the DfT responsible for the intercity routes, although its almost certainly going to increase the taxpayer burden. You could say the intercity TOCs would be ran to the standard of East Coast.

A mixture of gross and net cost could be a compromise to consider in future, with net-cost tendering on the attractive intercity routes and gross-cost on the regional networks.
 

Schnellzug

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So, in summary, gross cost tendering works in Germany, Netherlands, Sweden etc. but not in the UK? But net cost tendering is flawed, as we already know. Therefore I see no reason to stay in the UK.

I think the difference is that Government seems to work in Germany, Netherlands, Sweden etc ....
 

LNW-GW Joint

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not sure how well privatisation worked in Sweden as (at least some) Connex services were brought back under SJ

I was surprised to find recently in Stockholm that the local metro (Tunnelbana) was run by MTR, and Arriva ran the local buses at Arlanda.

The airport trains (SL or Arlanda Express) were Alstom Coradia derivatives (the Arlanda trains being built in Birmingham at the same time as our Coradias - 175/180/334, the SL ones in Germany).

So much for other EU railways not being privatised and insisting on local train builders.
 

Schnellzug

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it's worth bearing in mind that not everything in Scandinavia has always been rosy. There was a big problem with financial issues with the consortium between DSB and First that ran the trains between Denmark & Sweden over the big Bridge, and First has now pulled out, and if you think the Class 180s have been troublesome, think about the IC4 DMUs that DSB ordered from AnsaldoBreda; the first of them was delivered in '03, and they only entered service, tentatively, last year. And I think they still can't run them in multiple.
Everything is not necessarily rosier on the other side of the Channel or North Sea.
 

radamfi

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Switzerland is as good as it gets, yet they don't have any tendering AFAIK.
 

Schnellzug

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Switzerland is as good as it gets, yet they don't have any tendering AFAIK.

Indeed, but SBB by no means has a monopoly, does it? There's literally dozens of private companies (albeit often part-owned by local authorities), and private freight operators, but they someone manage to fit it all together. Perhaps there are some lessons there from their system of governement.
 

Schnellzug

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I thought that the private rail operators in Switzerland only ran on branch lines?

There are standard gauge private operators as well; BLS and SudOstBahn, and DBS and various private freight companies run through. They all cooperate to a greater or lesser extent rather than competing with SBB, though.
 
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