DfT To Negotiate 6/10-year Direct Awards for GW and West Coast Services

LNW-GW Joint

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The DfT has published PINs (Prior Information Notices) that it will negotiate new National Rail contracts on a direct award basis for GW and West Coast services.
The GW contract will be for 6 years and the West Coast one (which includes initial HS2 services) will be for 12 years.
Both will have a half-way review point. These will replace the current GWR and Avanti contracts.
FirstGroup controls both operators (with Trenitalia as a junior partner for West Coast).
There is no hint of any change from the current geography of rail services (which run into Wales and Scotland).
Start dates are 26 June 2022 for GW, and 16 October 2022 for West Coast.
The West Coast contract could therefore extend until 2032.

While all this has been trailed for some time, it's the first concrete plan to involve private TOCs in the centralised GBR setup.
Whatever form the GBR organisation takes, it will need to encompass these contracts, and no doubt others involving private companies.
There seems no plan to put these contracts out to open tender, giving FirstGroup long-term operation of services on the GWML and WCML.

West Coast Partnership: prior information notice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Great Western: prior information notice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The prior information notice informs the incumbent train operator that we seek to obtain a Direct Award (DA) for up to 6 years.
We are implementing new national rail contracts as part of the transition towards a new commercial model for passenger services outlined in the Great British Railways: Williams-Shapps plan for rail.
 
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Nicholas Lewis

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The DfT has published PINs (Prior Information Notices) that it will negotiate new National Rail contracts on a direct award basis for GW and West Coast services.
The GW contract will be for 6 years and the West Coast one (which includes initial HS2 services) will be for 12 years.
Both will have a half-way review point. These will replace the current GWR and Avanti contracts.
FirstGroup controls both operators (with Trenitalia as a junior partner for West Coast).
There is no hint of any change from the current geography of rail services (which run into Wales and Scotland).
Start dates are 26 June 2022 for GW, and 16 October 2022 for West Coast.
The West Coast contract could therefore extend until 2034.

While all this has been trailed for some time, it's the first concrete plan to involve private TOCs in the centralised GBR setup.
Whatever form the GBR organisation takes, it will need to encompass these contracts, and no doubt others involving private companies.
There seems no plan to put these contracts out to open tender, giving FirstGroup long-term operation of services on the GWML and WCML.

West Coast Partnership: prior information notice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Great Western: prior information notice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
This suggests they won't be national rail contracts anytime soon and I suspect all TOCs will solder on under direct awards for several years yet so can't see much change to any services either.
 

Goldfish62

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The DfT has published PINs (Prior Information Notices) that it will negotiate new National Rail contracts on a direct award basis for GW and West Coast services.
The GW contract will be for 6 years and the West Coast one (which includes initial HS2 services) will be for 12 years.
Both will have a half-way review point. These will replace the current GWR and Avanti contracts.
FirstGroup controls both operators (with Trenitalia as a junior partner for West Coast).
There is no hint of any change from the current geography of rail services (which run into Wales and Scotland).
Start dates are 26 June 2022 for GW, and 16 October 2022 for West Coast.
The West Coast contract could therefore extend until 2034.

While all this has been trailed for some time, it's the first concrete plan to involve private TOCs in the centralised GBR setup.
Whatever form the GBR organisation takes, it will need to encompass these contracts, and no doubt others involving private companies.
There seems no plan to put these contracts out to open tender, giving FirstGroup long-term operation of services on the GWML and WCML.

West Coast Partnership: prior information notice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Great Western: prior information notice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
What is it about GWR that the franchise/contract seems to be deemed to be infinitely extendable? The length of the contract proposed is longer than others implemented to date.
 

matt_world2004

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Seems to undermine the whole point of the gbr concessions if they are being let as direct awards . The point of the tendered concessions is that the company that wins the lowest bid against the highly detailed specification of the concessions wins the franchise .

And I thought GBR concessions were managed by network rail not the dft.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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Seems to undermine the whole point of the gbr concessions if they are being let as direct awards . The point of the tendered concessions is that the company that wins the lowest bid against the highly detailed specification of the concessions wins the franchise .

And I thought GBR concessions were managed by network rail not the dft.
They will be but GBR not yet formed won't have legal standing for another 18 months then so add on tendering and mobilisation time and could easily get to three years given the snails pace the dept of transport operates at.
 

thedbdiboy

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Seems to undermine the whole point of the gbr concessions if they are being let as direct awards . The point of the tendered concessions is that the company that wins the lowest bid against the highly detailed specification of the concessions wins the franchise .

And I thought GBR concessions were managed by network rail not the dft.
Network Rail is being absorbed into GBR; Network Rail will not have anything to do with letting the concessions (it is an infrastructure company and does not have the capability). The devil is in the detail of the Direct Awards; given that DfT/GBR are retaining revenue risk and they are effectively going to be management contracts GBR is likely to have more freedom to vary requirements as the contractors just do as they are told.
It does make First's bid for GWR in 2006 remarkable value for money - they managed to get the all important first couple of years done before the 2008 financial crash, exercised their break clause at the right time and have been sitting pretty since then. However, I suspect the margins for the DA will be pretty thin with no revenue risk.
 

Class 170101

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The DfT has published PINs (Prior Information Notices) that it will negotiate new National Rail contracts on a direct award basis for GW and West Coast services.
The GW contract will be for 6 years and the West Coast one (which includes initial HS2 services) will be for 12 years.
Both will have a half-way review point. These will replace the current GWR and Avanti contracts.
FirstGroup controls both operators (with Trenitalia as a junior partner for West Coast).
There is no hint of any change from the current geography of rail services (which run into Wales and Scotland).
Start dates are 26 June 2022 for GW, and 16 October 2022 for West Coast.
The West Coast contract could therefore extend until 2034.

While all this has been trailed for some time, it's the first concrete plan to involve private TOCs in the centralised GBR setup.
Whatever form the GBR organisation takes, it will need to encompass these contracts, and no doubt others involving private companies.
There seems no plan to put these contracts out to open tender, giving FirstGroup long-term operation of services on the GWML and WCML.

West Coast Partnership: prior information notice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Great Western: prior information notice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Interestingly the West Coast PIN suggests it has been in existence since March 2021 if you read the file as as the GW PIN was only created on 20 August.
 

100andthirty

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The West Coast PIN document suggests a 10 year (120 month) term. It also has no information about the nature of the contract. The key difference between the former Avanti contract and the future in GBR is about which party bears revenue risk. Do they return to the former arrangement where the contractor takes that risk or stick with the current (ERMA) arrangement where the DfT takes revenue risk? It is the latter that aligns best with the aspiration for GBR. The HS2 obligations of the old Avanti contract were also free of revenue risk at least until the initial HS2 service had bedded in.
 

Goldfish62

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Look, I just found how Southeastern will get their 22nd direct award!
Add Cross Country to the SE - GWR list as well!

They will be but GBR not yet formed won't have legal standing for another 18 months then so add on tendering and mobilisation time and could easily get to three years given the snails pace the dept of transport operates at.
Quite possibly three years is on the optimistic side as well!
 
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What are the chances of the Avanti name being dispensed with under GBR , doesn't sound very British after all!
 

LNW-GW Joint

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What are the chances of the Avanti name being dispensed with under GBR , doesn't sound very British after all!
None at all, if Trenitalia remains involved with the operation (30% currently).
The brand is also being expensively applied to Avanti's Pendolinos in the refit just starting, and to their new Hitachi fleet coming next year.

Avanti is also the name of my gas supplier (based in Chesterfield).
Avanti Communications is a UK-based operator of communications satellites.
The Avanti brand name also goes with things like: water meters, conveyors, TV programmes, fitted furniture, insurance... (all British companies).
 

Snow1964

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The problem with another 3 years of direct award GW is that it tends to mean no change, and no new equipment.

Sort of remaining in the temporary status since the electrification was halted, there remains indecision over the remaining old rolling stock (the shortened castle HSTs and 165s both over 30 years old, and 166s which will be 30 years old soon).

Whilst 3 years doesn’t seem much, if it then takes another 3 years before anything ordered is put into service then end up with 6 years of suspended animation
 
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swt_passenger

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Sort of remaining in the temporary status since the electrification was halted, there remains indecision over the remaining old rolling stock (the shortened castle HSTs and 165s both over 40 years old, and 166s which will be 40 years old soon).
I think you’re ten years out with both the Turbos, according to the usual sources…
 

irish_rail

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The problem with another 3 years of direct award GW is that it tends to mean no change, and no new equipment.

Sort of remaining in the temporary status since the electrification was halted, there remains indecision over the remaining old rolling stock (the shortened castle HSTs and 165s both over 40 years old, and 166s which will be 40 years old soon).

Whilst 3 years doesn’t seem much, if it then takes another 3 years before anything ordered is put into service then end up with 6 years of suspended animation
Nothing wrong with the HST short sets. What's really needed is extending some 5 car IETs to 9 cars but that won't happen either way.
 

fgwrich

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None at all, if Trenitalia remains involved with the operation (30% currently).
The brand is also being expensively applied to Avanti's Pendolinos in the refit just starting, and to their new Hitachi fleet coming next year.

Avanti is also the name of my gas supplier (based in Chesterfield).
Avanti Communications is a UK-based operator of communications satellites.
The Avanti brand name also goes with things like: water meters, conveyors, TV programmes, fitted furniture, insurance... (all British companies).

You can even visit the Avanti Hairdressers if you feel that way, they'll cut your hair but they can't snip your tickets I'm afraid!

Nothing wrong with the HST short sets. What's really needed is extending some 5 car IETs to 9 cars but that won't happen either way.

The only, thing wrong with the HST short sets is the utilisation of them. They seem to have got themselves into a situation where they have too many sets, too little services for them.
 

dk1

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I was sort of pleased to hear this news this morning. At least we know where we are going now.
 

HamworthyGoods

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The only, thing wrong with the HST short sets is the utilisation of them. They seem to have got themselves into a situation where they have too many sets, too little services for them.

This is only temporary until the forthcoming timetable change which sees far more of the Cardiff to Taunton and Exeter to Penzance services linked together and run by Castle HSTs ahead of the reopening of Cullhampton and Wellington stations.
 

stuu

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This is only temporary until the forthcoming timetable change which sees far more of the Cardiff to Taunton and Exeter to Penzance services linked together and run by Castle HSTs ahead of the reopening of Cullhampton and Wellington stations.
Would they really change the timetable before anything has been been approved for either station? They won't exist for trains to stop at until 2024 or so
 

HamworthyGoods

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Would they really change the timetable before anything has been been approved for either station? They won't exist for trains to stop at until 2024 or so

Yes it’s due to happen in either Dec 21 or May 22 depending on crew availability
 

tiptoptaff

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Yes it’s due to happen in either Dec 21 or May 22 depending on crew availability
I'd wager they'll LTP it from Dec but the reality is the crew knowledge won't be in place and it'll get STPd back to units.

Huge backlog just at Bristol waiting to sign 2+4s and Taunton. If everyone who's supposed to sign them, did, it would be a very different story. Hopefully we'll get caught up soon
 

RPI

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I'd wager they'll LTP it from Dec but the reality is the crew knowledge won't be in place and it'll get STPd back to units.

Huge backlog just at Bristol waiting to sign 2+4s and Taunton. If everyone who's supposed to sign them, did, it would be a very different story. Hopefully we'll get caught up soon
Yet almost seems that they're core traction at Exeter depot!
 

tiptoptaff

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Yet almost seems that they're core traction at Exeter depot!
They're officially core for us. But my course didn't sign them. Last trainees to not. So going forward the fact all newly qualified drivers will sign them from the off will help.

For now it's still a massive game of catch up
 

RPI

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They're officially core for us. But my course didn't sign them. Last trainees to not. So going forward the fact all newly qualified drivers will sign them from the off will help.

For now it's still a massive game of catch up
No doubt yes, Penzance and Par seem to have the most work with them, I've not checked the detail myself, but a colleague was saying the other day that Cornwall now has more HST working than it did prior to May 2019 when they officially ended to and from London!
 

tiptoptaff

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No doubt yes, Penzance and Par seem to have the most work with them, I've not checked the detail myself, but a colleague was saying the other day that Cornwall now has more HST working than it did prior to May 2019 when they officially ended to and from London!
That is probably true!

The fact that they've banged 2+4s on nearly everything they can in the Bristol area during the works really exposed how far behind crew training was on both traction and routes
 

RPI

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More Penzance-Cardiff (and vice versa) services are more than welcome, it surprises me how much of a daytripper market there seems to be from Taunton/Bridgwater/Highbridge to Dawlish Warren and Torbay, obviously this will only help that market if the additional services also call at sea wall stations which not all of the current ones do, be handy to have catering on them too!
 

tiptoptaff

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More Penzance-Cardiff (and vice versa) services are more than welcome, it surprises me how much of a daytripper market there seems to be from Taunton/Bridgwater/Highbridge to Dawlish Warren and Torbay, obviously this will only help that market if the additional services also call at sea wall stations which not all of the current ones do, be handy to have catering on them too!
IMO they should have been 5cars, and formation (if you remember the high density HSTs) should have been K, F, C, B, A
And if you don't, then that was first class and a buffet - composite First/Standard coach, the micro buffet, generic TSO, disabled access coach and TGS.
 

irish_rail

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I'd wager they'll LTP it from Dec but the reality is the crew knowledge won't be in place and it'll get STPd back to units.

Huge backlog just at Bristol waiting to sign 2+4s and Taunton. If everyone who's supposed to sign them, did, it would be a very different story. Hopefully we'll get caught up soon
And the crazy thing is Plymouth were forced to take Taunton to Bristol off our route cards! Madness!
 

RPI

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IMO they should have been 5cars, and formation (if you remember the high density HSTs) should have been K, F, C, B, A
And if you don't, then that was first class and a buffet - composite First/Standard coach, the micro buffet, generic TSO, disabled access coach and TGS.
I remember the things alright, personally now I'd just have a trolley
 

HamworthyGoods

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I remember the things alright, personally now I'd just have a trolley

The days of passengers wanting buffet cars have long gone for the majority, people often travel with expensive equipment (tablets, laptops etc.) and don’t want to leave them at their seat to go to the buffet like old days but want at seat ordering via an app as offered on some TOCs.
 

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