BR train on train competition.

Status
Not open for further replies.

Failed Unit

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2009
Messages
8,158
Location
Central Belt
Did BR ever compete formally against itself?

ie offer NSE only fares where IC and NSE competed directly (Peterborough, Reading, Milton Keynes etc)
likewise RR only between Newcastle and York, Peterborough and Grantham, Birmingham- Gloucester etc.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

pdeaves

Established Member
Joined
14 Sep 2014
Messages
4,423
Location
Gateway to the South West
Did BR ever compete formally against itself?

ie offer NSE only fares where IC and NSE competed directly (Peterborough, Reading, Milton Keynes etc)
likewise RR only between Newcastle and York, Peterborough and Grantham, Birmingham- Gloucester etc.
To an extent, yes. I'm fairly certain some flows had tickets valid only by one route (e.g. London-Exeter, via Taunton or Honiton), thus NSE and IC were in a bit of competition.
 

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,731
Was BR having different point-to-point fares for significantly alternative routes (e.g. Anglo Scottish journeys routed either via Carlisle, or via York) really BR competing against itself?
 

Failed Unit

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2009
Messages
8,158
Location
Central Belt
Was BR having different point-to-point fares for significantly alternative routes (e.g. Anglo Scottish journeys routed either via Carlisle, or via York) really BR competing against itself?

Back in BR days Cleethorpes / Grimsby had a “route Doncaster” fare to London. It was more than via Newark to reflect the greater distance. The abolished it when the 153s were introduced and the Lincoln route needed passengers removing from it to prevent over crowding. (The made a lot of connections 6 mins as well to force people off the trains). Not really BR competition just demand management.

don’t recall a Peterborough- Doncaster (or Lincoln) via Spalding fare.
 

davetheguard

Established Member
Joined
10 Apr 2013
Messages
1,391
I can certainly remember competition in action at London Victoria between the Network SouthEast & InterCity sectors for passengers to Gatwick Airport. There were posters branded Network SouthCentral (as the sub sector was called then; the area now covered by the Train Operating Company Southern) advertising their Gatwick Airport fare as the "good value" choice.
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
12,156
Location
Airedale
Was BR having different point-to-point fares for significantly alternative routes (e.g. Anglo Scottish journeys routed either via Carlisle, or via York) really BR competing against itself?
Just looked at my 1983 Fares Manual and tickets were then sold to/from Kings Cross or Euston (Scotland), St Pancras or Euston (Manchester), Paddington or Waterloo (Exeter), but at the same prices. The only different price I can quickly find is Manchester to Kings Cross which is routed Via Leeds. This I think reflects Regional boundaries and pre-ORCATS revenue allocation.
NSE originally terminated at Honiton (Feniton?) for fares purposes BTW
 

WesternLancer

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
3,890
Did BR ever compete formally against itself?

ie offer NSE only fares where IC and NSE competed directly (Peterborough, Reading, Milton Keynes etc)
likewise RR only between Newcastle and York, Peterborough and Grantham, Birmingham- Gloucester etc.
Yes, as @davetheguard says, Gatwick-London was the one that came to my mind. Pretty sure Inter City sector priced those fares and that they did not accept certain cheaper tickets that NSE would have issued on Gatwick Express - eg from other nearby stations, but I am not sure exactly when this started. I do recall getting off trains from Brighton to London to change onto a Gatwick Express service to enjoy the IC Mk2 stock and Class 73 haulage (and vice versa taking a Gatwick Express from Victoria and then changing into other services at Gatwick for onwards travel) , but I would not have paid more to do that. This may have been in the very early days eg c1984, but by later on (eg early 1990s) fares may have been adjusted as I described with different validities so I didn't do it any more.

However, I don't recall NSE using lower fares to actively attract Gatwick passengers off Gatwick Express onto their services (eg offering a Gatwick London ticket 'not valid on Gat Ex for example) in order to poach business.

Interested if others recall differently and correct me if I am wrong.
 

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,731
Just looked at my 1983 Fares Manual...
Was thinking of Manchester Stns -> Edinburgh. Is that flow in the manual you have? (The full set of fares manuals took up quite a bit of space!)
 

gimmea50anyday

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2013
Messages
3,174
Location
Back Cab
Think the competition between NSE and IC was more down to differing routes or obviously different market rather than any direct competition. Waterloo-Exeter behind an ageing 50 and rake of mk2s was a notably different route and train product compared to a HST out of Paddington, I'm not totally sure if there was a different fare on the different routes but it is likely that a more expensive via Reading route would have been valid on both whereas a lower via Woking ticket would only be valid on that route.

Gatwick Express was different in that it was marketed as a premium route under the InterCity Shuttle concept which was also employed on Anglia and EBW workings. A train always available for boarding at the origin station with an open buffet car (where provided) but again these fares were valid any reasonable route (which is what any permitted used to mean) Thameslink did offer lower prices on the Gatwick route and these tickets were route "not Gatwick express" but otherwise valid on any NSE service.

In the early days of MK4 introduction I used to travel from London to Durham using a 225 to Leeds then on to a 158 to Durham from there rather than opt for the HST direct. There wasn't any difference in the fare despite using two different routes with brand new rolling stock over a faster direct service. The same couldn't be said now as the use of a LNER azuma switching to a TPE Azumaesque Nova 1 would likely command a different and confusing fare structure splitting tickets at Newark and Northallerton or a direct fare which would probably force a change of trains at York despite Darlington offering an easier guaranteed same platform connection
 

JonathanH

Established Member
Joined
29 May 2011
Messages
9,313
In the early days of MK4 introduction I used to travel from London to Durham using a 225 to Leeds then on to a 158 to Durham from there rather than opt for the HST direct. There wasn't any difference in the fare despite using two different routes with brand new rolling stock over a faster direct service. The same couldn't be said now as the use of a LNER azuma switching to a TPE Azumaesque Nova 1 would likely command a different and confusing fare structure splitting tickets at Newark and Northallerton or a direct fare which would probably force a change of trains at York despite Darlington offering an easier guaranteed same platform connection
You can still buy exactly the same walk-up fare to travel via Leeds from London to Durham using LNER / TPE - eg the Saver has become a super-off-peak return.
 

Starmill

Veteran Member
Associate Staff
Events Co-ordinator
Joined
18 May 2012
Messages
17,591
Location
Manchester
Wasn't the Network Railcard part of this? I.e. you could use it to buy a discounted ticket on an NSE service between London and Gatwick Airport but not on an 'Inter City' Gatwick Express one. Of course, this example changed not many years ago, but it does persist on the London to Devon axis today. Fares bought on the day* for the cheapest period return from London to Exeter, to a Network Railcard holder, are £54.45 via Honiton and £95.50 via Taunton. Very noticeable difference.

*there's always a possibility that GWR may have a cheaper Advance ticket on sale even on the day, but it's still very difficult to come down close to that £54.45 return.
 

nickw1

Established Member
Joined
9 Aug 2013
Messages
1,314
Was it more a case of BR wishing to prevent IC trains being used by local passengers (and thus overcrowding them) through pricing them higher, rather than competition as such?

Certainly this pattern persists on the continent today ('today' = 2009-14, the most recent period I travelled by train regularly on the continent) and I think, though I am not certain, that the rationale is to keep local passengers on local trains and IC passengers on IC trains.
 

WesternLancer

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
3,890
Was it more a case of BR wishing to prevent IC trains being used by local passengers (and thus overcrowding them) through pricing them higher, rather than competition as such?

Certainly this pattern persists on the continent today ('today' = 2009-14, the most recent period I travelled by train regularly on the continent) and I think, though I am not certain, that the rationale is to keep local passengers on local trains and IC passengers on IC trains.
Yes, I suspect a strong element of that as part of it.
 

Starmill

Veteran Member
Associate Staff
Events Co-ordinator
Joined
18 May 2012
Messages
17,591
Location
Manchester
Was it more a case of BR wishing to prevent IC trains being used by local passengers (and thus overcrowding them) through pricing them higher, rather than competition as such?
Of course the great irony of this is that overcrowding was very common indeed in 2019 on the West of England line, even to the point where another six car train was needed on Fridays I think, chiefly because the end-to-end traffic was being grown by the good prices on offer, both in the form of advance tickets and the Network Railcard discount. Super Off Peak weekend tickets have brought real prices down also, as have new products to stations beyond Exeter. It does not really make much sense in today's world to offer a much cheaper alternative for long-distance passengers on the West of England, such as the new London to Plymouth advance tickets. Even Woking to Torquay (and similar) now have SWR & Connections Advance tickets.
 
Last edited:

AY1975

Member
Joined
14 Dec 2016
Messages
1,043
Was it more a case of BR wishing to prevent IC trains being used by local passengers (and thus overcrowding them) through pricing them higher, rather than competition as such?

Certainly this pattern persists on the continent today ('today' = 2009-14, the most recent period I travelled by train regularly on the continent) and I think, though I am not certain, that the rationale is to keep local passengers on local trains and IC passengers on IC trains.
This was also done by making certain stops on IC trains pick-up or set-down only to discourage passengers from using IC trains for short journeys where there was a perfectly good alternative, such as at Watford Junction and Stevenage (in both cases pick-up only northbound and set-down only southbound). I think this still applies to some extent today, although I believe that LNER (or one of its predecessors) has abolished this rule at Stevenage. Similarly the call at Stockport on Euston-Manchester trains is now pick-up and set-down in both directions.
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
12,156
Location
Airedale
Was thinking of Manchester Stns -> Edinburgh. Is that flow in the manual you have? (The full set of fares manuals took up quite a bit of space!)
Manchester Vic back then, no routing specified. (I suspect that if you had done Picc via Leeds, Stalybridge and Guide Bridge it would have been fine - if tedious.)

(I notice Dundee said via Carlisle/Berwick - as if there was any other?)
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
20,313
Yes, and there were some big arguments about how revenue was allocated. London - Scotland for example, all within InterCity.
 

Helvellyn

Established Member
Joined
28 Aug 2009
Messages
1,709
I suspect it depended very much on the routes. Something like Bournemouth-Winchester likely didn't have InterCity only fares for the CrossCountry trains because there was probably just walk-up tickets, whereas London-Birmingham or London-Peterborough I expect did have NSE only fares for the slower Class 321/317 operated services. This was probably primarily for walk-up and Season tickets given that AP tickets were still quite a novelty until really taking off under privatisation as a way of better managing yield/capacity, plus taking more (and in many cases) all the fare revenue.

I recall being told that SWT introduced "via Woking" fares from Basingstoke to London to get 100% of the revenue because the original "Any Permitted" routing that also allowed travel via Reading was allocated to Thames Trains for pricing purposes.
 

Starmill

Veteran Member
Associate Staff
Events Co-ordinator
Joined
18 May 2012
Messages
17,591
Location
Manchester
Yes, and there were some big arguments about how revenue was allocated. London - Scotland for example, all within InterCity.
Some route Banbury Preston (and similar) tickets even survive to this day, which were originally driven by this.
 

Failed Unit

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2009
Messages
8,158
Location
Central Belt
I suspect it depended very much on the routes. Something like Bournemouth-Winchester likely didn't have InterCity only fares for the CrossCountry trains because there was probably just walk-up tickets, whereas London-Birmingham or London-Peterborough I expect did have NSE only fares for the slower Class 321/317 operated services. This was probably primarily for walk-up and Season tickets given that AP tickets were still quite a novelty until really taking off under privatisation as a way of better managing yield/capacity, plus taking more (and in many cases) all the fare revenue.

I recall being told that SWT introduced "via Woking" fares from Basingstoke to London to get 100% of the revenue because the original "Any Permitted" routing that also allowed travel via Reading was allocated to Thames Trains for pricing purposes.
I remember around the 1991 electrification time, what is now the fast local service from Peterborough - London was in fact operated by IC liveried stock (although I don't recall if it was intercity)

The early morning one called Grantham, Peterborough and Huntingdon. The other one called at Peterborough, Huntingdon then London Kings Cross. It was 86 / 89 and whatever stock BR could find. It did convert to EMU fairly early in the 1990s - but it may have being the 365s that converted it (and it didn't start back at Grantham)

Before Privatization if I recall the majority of NSE services started at Huntingdon (with 1tph off peak at Peterborough). Huntingdon was the NSE boundary. Privatization gave us half hourly all day and I am sure that is when the cheaper season tickets and CDR appeared. WAGN actually had a fast service leaving Peterborough just after the morning peak services finished. I used to frequently split my journey at Peterborough from Lincoln to take advantage of this fare. But I don't recall this as a possibility under BR (or if it was I wasn't as Savy about splitting tickets). I had enough time to actually buy my ticket at Peterborough as I didn't think they would sell it to me at Lincoln (how times change)
 

Carlisle

Established Member
Joined
26 Aug 2012
Messages
3,520
I can certainly remember competition in action at London Victoria between the Network SouthEast & InterCity sectors for passengers to Gatwick Airport.
There was a period after Gatwick Express was introduced where Victoria’s departure board wouldn’t show any other services as stopping at Gatwick
 

superjohn

Member
Joined
11 Mar 2011
Messages
525
On the southern ECML I don’t recall any differentiation in fares after electrification. At Peterborough the NSE services were announced as a local stopping train to London. Stevenage certainly wasn’t pick-up/set down in the early nineties when I had many rides on the HST’s from King’s Cross.

My recollection of the southern WCML is much the same. There was no discount for taking the NSE stopper to Birmingham via Northampton. The service was set up such that people would use the most appropriate train for the journey.

The Network Card seemed more about filling underused off peak capacity rather than poaching Intercity passengers.

Privatisation brought us specific fares on competing routes and also hugely increased capacity that needed to be filled. I’m not convinced BR would have gone down the same route.
 

davetheguard

Established Member
Joined
10 Apr 2013
Messages
1,391
However, I don't recall NSE using lower fares to actively attract Gatwick passengers off Gatwick Express onto their services (eg offering a Gatwick London ticket 'not valid on Gat Ex for example) in order to poach business.

Well, I've finally found the photographs that I was thinking of when I wrote post number 5.

On the back of the prints I've written at the time (October 1993): "with the start of the Winter timetable, the Gatwick Express became the first "Shadow Franchise". In response to this NSE South Central began to advertise their trains as stopping at the airport (previously passengers were directed to Gatwick Express). Network South East are charging £1.10 less than InterCity - NSE single £7.50, IC single £8.60".

In these old photographs of mine, I noticed the following: the £7.50 NSE fare being advertised as "A better value choice" & "Ask for Network SouthCentral when you buy your ticket"; the fare even being shown on the big train departure board flaps; there appears to be two dedicated Gatwick Express ticket windows (no impartial retailing here!); and -off topic- B.R.'s own "Casey Jones Burgers" being advertised in the background - remember them?
 

Attachments

  • London Victoria 16th October 1993 1.jpg
    London Victoria 16th October 1993 1.jpg
    204.2 KB · Views: 46
  • London Victoria 16th October 1993 2 (2).jpg
    London Victoria 16th October 1993 2 (2).jpg
    190.2 KB · Views: 50
  • London Victoria 16th October 1993 3.jpg
    London Victoria 16th October 1993 3.jpg
    189.5 KB · Views: 51
  • London Victoria 16th October 1993 4 (2).jpg
    London Victoria 16th October 1993 4 (2).jpg
    193 KB · Views: 53
  • London Victoria 16th October 1993 5.jpg
    London Victoria 16th October 1993 5.jpg
    187.9 KB · Views: 46

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,731
Interesting! Don't think I've ever seen fare information / ticket prices advertised on a split-flap train departures display board before.
 

WesternLancer

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
3,890
Well, I've finally found the photographs that I was thinking of when I wrote post number 5.

On the back of the prints I've written at the time (October 1993): "with the start of the Winter timetable, the Gatwick Express became the first "Shadow Franchise". In response to this NSE South Central began to advertise their trains as stopping at the airport (previously passengers were directed to Gatwick Express). Network South East are charging £1.10 less than InterCity - NSE single £7.50, IC single £8.60".

In these old photographs of mine, I noticed the following: the £7.50 NSE fare being advertised as "A better value choice" & "Ask for Network SouthCentral when you buy your ticket"; the fare even being shown on the big train departure board flaps; there appears to be two dedicated Gatwick Express ticket windows (no impartial retailing here!); and -off topic- B.R.'s own "Casey Jones Burgers" being advertised in the background - remember them?
Good work - and interesting pics to see. So basically a fare distinction set up in the close run up to privatisation.
 

Bevan Price

Established Member
Joined
22 Apr 2010
Messages
5,853
Back in BR days Cleethorpes / Grimsby had a “route Doncaster” fare to London. It was more than via Newark to reflect the greater distance. The abolished it when the 153s were introduced and the Lincoln route needed passengers removing from it to prevent over crowding. (The made a lot of connections 6 mins as well to force people off the trains). Not really BR competition just demand management.

don’t recall a Peterborough- Doncaster (or Lincoln) via Spalding fare.
Although some would regard deliberately breaking connections as gross mismanagement......
 

nickw1

Established Member
Joined
9 Aug 2013
Messages
1,314
There was a period after Gatwick Express was introduced where Victoria’s departure board wouldn’t show any other services as stopping at Gatwick

While Gatwick Express may have made commercial sense, I am not sure whether it made sense from the POV of separating Gatwick passengers and regular commuters on a purely public-service level, as the higher fare would have put off non-business travellers.

That alone is evidence that BR was perhaps as commercially-minded as private operators, but I do maintain that from a public service POV, Gatwick Express would have been better implemented as a CIG shuttle calling at Clapham Junction and East Croydon, and keeping all the other Gatwick stoppers pick-up/set-down only as they were in the days of the Rapid City Link - so that Gatwick passengers were obligated to use the shuttle, keeping the other trains less crowded and less prone to delays.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top