Dire VT Punctuality for P8

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by LNW-GW Joint, 23 Nov 2011.

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  1. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    VT punctuality performance was down to 77.5% for the last month (p8, 16 Oct-12 Nov).
    NR gives plenty of reasons/excuses worthy of Reginald Perrin, but in all seriousness this must be very worrying for NR and VT.
    It's three years since the £8b WCRM was completed and the route is still in deep trouble.
    It was not even a month when they could blame the weather.
    NR talks about throwing £20m at the problems, mostly at "small renewals to remove some speed restrictions".
    Anybody know what they are?
    How will they prevent dewirement/signalling problems?

    http://www.networkrailmediacentre.c...PERIOD-8-IS-89-3-193a/SearchCategoryID-2.aspx

    Nothing on the VT web site of course.
    They are not good at explaining service failures.
     
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  3. Matt Taylor

    Matt Taylor Established Member

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    The national network will never reach it's potential until somebody in government is prepared to provide the huge capital investment required to renew signals and pointwork across the nation.

    SWT has had a rough time in the last two days but it has almost all been due to signal problems, track problems, ill passengers and bridge strikes.
     
  4. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Well they have spent more than 10 years doing just that on the WCML.
    The DfT (and passengers/customers) are entitled to expect better.
    The punctuality target is 90.9% in the new draft franchise ITT.
    Poor performance may yet cost VT the franchise renewal unless it improves.
     
  5. Schnellzug

    Schnellzug Established Member

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    yes, i really don't think just throwing yet more millions in their general direction is really the way of doing it. They always seem to spend literally billions on grand projects to completely reconstruct this, that and the other, and then for years afterwards it never works properly. I'm not sure how long they can continue to get away with the "decades of underinvestment" argument.
     
  6. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    *deep breath*

    For the 100th time on this forum, franchise bids are sealed. They are therefore anonymous and it is not possible for Virgin, or any other bidder to be "marked down" due to poor performance.

    It's also important to remember that the vast majority of delay minutes have been outside TOC control. Infrastructure failings and fatalities, for example.
     
  7. Schnellzug

    Schnellzug Established Member

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    Anonymous? :-? You mean until they open them, the DfT doesn't knjow who they're from, like Christmas presents?
    I know that past performance is not taken into account when franchises are re-let, which is absurd, but is just the kind of stupidity that you really shouldn't be surprised about from Governments, I suppose.
     
  8. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    That's precisely what I mean. It is to prevent any allegations of favouritism or "politics" in deciding who runs the franchise, apparently.
     
  9. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Well, bidders will have a performance figure (using current ie VT figures) as a baseline and are asked to offer improvements (with 90.9% by 2014 as the figure DfT currently say is the minimum they will contract).
    They then have to produce a credible delivery plan to demonstrate how they will achieve their offered performance level.
    If VT are stuck at 77% after umpteen years, how can they produce such a plan?

    I fully agree it is probably NR rather than VT who are liable for most of the performance problems, in which case it is the new NR Route Director who will get the flack.
    My point really is that it is a bad time politically, for both VT and NR, to be so far adrift of the rest of the network on performance.
     
  10. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    If VT were being very clever and were working on the assumption that the DfT were anti-VT, all they would have to do in order to muddy the waters would be to fill their franchise application paperwork with phrases like:

    "The current operator, VT, provides bla bla bla; should we win this franchise we would intend to..." thus giving the impression the application is from someone else.
     
  11. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    I couldn't disagree with you. Performance has been awful in P8. It is so frustrating trying to run a service on a "Swiss cheese" infrastructure. It's even more frustrating for the passengers who have to bear the brunt of the delays. :|
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    :lol::lol::lol:
     
  12. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Over the last month there have been several cable thefts, an incident where a train suffered pantograph damange and a person hit by a train on at least one occasion, among other things.
     
  13. ChrisCooper

    ChrisCooper Established Member

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    Especially the same passengers who've for the last 10 years had to put up with delays, closures, replacement buses and all that whilst the line was being "upgraded" with the aim of making it so much better and more reliable. They are also paying higher fares for the privalage of travelling on this wonderful "new" railway too.

    I do wonder if when the WCML franchise is re-let, especially if Virgin don't win it, the gloves will come of as far as the mess the WCRM really has been.
     
  14. Windcutter

    Windcutter Member

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    Help, !! Trying to post for the first time but details have gone to wrong post
     
  15. All Line Rover

    All Line Rover Established Member

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    I agree with this.

    First of all, Virgin have been shortlisted for the ITT, which is the only stage where the DfT knows who is who. After this stage, all bids are sealed (or "secret" ;)). Clearly, the DfT don't have any big "issues" with Virgin, as if they did, they would't shortlist them!

    Second, I don't think it's Virgin's fault for the recent poor performance. I rarely hear the excuse of "a train has broken down" - it's always "someone has been run over," "the OHLE has collapsed," "some cable has been nicked," or "there's been a signal failure." Virgin have no control over these problems, and I struggle to understand why the DfT expect the new franchise bidder to reach a certain punctuality target, when they should really be focusing on Network Rail.
     
  16. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    They had a cracker last week between Cov and Rugby, took them about 3 hours to get a Thunderbird to shift the dead Pendo.

    They do, I've no doubt there will be the token gesture fine at some point next year.
     
  17. 87015

    87015 Established Member

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    Be careful, saying anything bad about Virgin on here gets Branson's babies out on the attack usually...
     
  18. Pumbaa

    Pumbaa Established Member

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    I'm putting my faith in DfT car-park watchers for this next one...
     
  19. MK Tom

    MK Tom Established Member

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    I assume the minor upgrades NR's referring to are the Bletchley remodelling and the Norton Bridge grade-separation? What else is there planned?
     
  20. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Norton Bridge, minor and for £20 million ? I doubt it very much !
     
  21. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    No, can't be those, they are several hundred million between them.
     
  22. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    Since this is turning into a "general" Virgin thread, and rather than wasting time setting up a separate thread, has anyone read this?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/23/nonsense-virgin-success-dependent-on-state


     
  23. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    That is all true.
    But if you read this DfT document: http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/dft-business-plan-indicators-input-01
    you will see that the West Coast franchise was subsidised to the tune of 3.7p per passenger mile (last year).
    Everybody forgets the NR grant element, which negates VT's paper "premium", however well deserved.

    This performance is actually near the top of the list (ie lowest subsidy).
    On this measure the only "profitable" TOC is FCC, with EC being pretty close to breaking even.
    There are some horrendous figures here (and it excludes ATW and Scotrail).
     
  24. Schnellzug

    Schnellzug Established Member

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    i really don't understand how this works. They say far from receiving subsidies, we now pay more than £100m a year to the taxpayer, but then the Government themselves say the West Coast franchise was subsidised to the tune of 3.7p per passenger mile (last year). These two things seem a direct contradiction. Can they both be true, and if so, how can this be?
     
  25. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    Yes. The route is subsidised in the first instance. This may or may not contribute to a TOC's profit. Owing to cap-and-collar franchise agreements, the Government will take a percentage of the profit any TOC makes, and the amount they have taken in the last financial year was in the region of £110 million, which I understand amounts to a net contribution to the State.
     
  26. Schnellzug

    Schnellzug Established Member

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    Ah, so it's the line that's subsidised. That kind of makes some sense, I suppose, considering the amount that's been spent on it.
     
  27. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Not really. Virgin's £100m or whatever "premium" is not to "the state", it's to the DfT money-go-round.
    DfT also fork out £2B a year direct to NR (eg to fund the WCRM work that Virgin's trains run on, or GE rewiring etc), and that £2B "Network Fund" has been divi'd up between the TOCs to get an individual subsidy figure.

    Virgin still make their "profit" and pay out Sir Richard and Sir Brian accordingly, but DfT/HMG still make a loss on the overall franchise operation.

    McNulty is all about reducing that total subsidy.
     
  28. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    The DfT is the State. They are a government department, funded by the taxpayer. The money is in effect being paid back to the taxpayer, no?
     
  29. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    The Premium is effectively churn from the DfT to Network Rail to Virgin to DfT.
     
  30. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Well if George Osborne asks Justine Greening for the £110m cheque due from Virgin he's just read about, he won't get it because she's already spent it and more on keeping the very same WCML going, and has the begging bowl out for more...

    I agree it gets absorbed into the overall DfT budget, and £110m premium is better then what went before, and better than forecast, but it still doesn't make the franchise "profitable" for HMG.

    The real problem lies with the very large subsidies (Northern etc).
     
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