East Coast franchise – direct award to LNER until 2025

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by JaJaWa, 10 Jul 2019.

  1. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,832
    Joined:
    3 May 2015
    That's a bit unfair. Improvements very early on in the franchise include introduction of the HST sets, introduction of the additional Southampton workings every two hours (helped by not carting half empty trains the long way round to Brighton) and minor increase in seating on the 170 and 22x fleet (albeit by ripping out the 'shop*' and some luggage space).

    And it now pays a premium back to govermnent.


    *Notice how people seem to have got over that now, despite an outcry at the time?
     
  2. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,149
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2010
    They ought to be using their significantly augmented numbers of trains (IEPs) to operate the services in the ECML track access application discussed in the thread here:
    https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/future-ecml-lner-services.177199/
    If they don’t there’s going to be a lot of spare rolling stock about...
     
  3. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,812
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    I would hope the planned timetable improvements would be carried through.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,546
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Because unlike GWR they are actually managing to deliver a reasonably OK trolley service?
     
  5. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

    Messages:
    3,444
    Joined:
    27 May 2013
    Hopefully the DfT will now realise that the Intercity East Coast franchise has lost a lot of its importance since privatisation particularly after the West Coast upgrade in the early 2000s and future franchise competitions should reflect this.
     
  6. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth Member

    Messages:
    82
    Joined:
    17 Dec 2018
    [
    Another “improvement” they made was to rip out the at seat audio entertainment that was introduced by Virgin. I thought that was s great idea until Arriva pulled the plug.
    No they aren’t. I was on one of their trains for over 4 hours yesterday without seeing a trolley or hearing a single announcement about its availability. Not great for potentially some of the longest journeys on the uk rail network. Surely someone travelling from Plymouth to Sheffield or Bristol to Newcastle deserves the option of a drink and a snack!
     
  7. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

    Messages:
    6,241
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    I think that had to go to allow WiFi to be fitted - the space the back of house equipment took up was needed for the WiFi equipment. Also since the introduction on Voyages and Pendolinos Ipads, IPods along with podcasts, iplayer etc rendered the at seat audio system redundant.
     
  8. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,812
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    It's still at least the next most important mainline artery I'd say and while I think that has been perhaps part of the issue in speccing previous franchises, I wouldn't want to see them descope service provision.
     
  9. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,557
    Joined:
    6 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Yorks
    The WCML isn't a lot of use if you want to travel to Leeds, Hull or Newcastle.

    With the exception perhaps of Scotland services, with increased use from places such as Hull, which were previously poorly served, the route is more important than its ever been.
     
  10. Jorge Da Silva

    Jorge Da Silva Established Member

    Messages:
    1,302
    Joined:
    4 Apr 2018
    LNER plans during the course of its franchise:

    • From September 2019, two hourly services (5tpd) will be introduced to Lincoln by extending the current Newark Northgate terminators
    • From December 2019, two hourly services (6tpd) will be introduced to Harrogate (extension of existing Leeds services, i think)
    • From December 2019, an extra Sunderland service will be introduced
    • By May 2020 An extra Stirling service will be introduced
    • From May 2020, two hourly services (7tpd) will be introduced to Bradford Forster Square (extension of Leeds services)
    • From May 2020, one train per day will be introduced to Huddersfield
    • From 2021, two hourly services will introduced to Middlesborough (extension of York services)
    • Leeds journey times reduced to just two hours
    • Edinburgh journey times reduced to just four hours.
     
  11. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    20,253
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Redcar
    Virgin also "pulled the plug" on their trains on the West Coast so perhaps its more that the system was hardly used by anyone due to advances in personal electronics and the space behind the scenes could be better employed by wifi equipment that more people will use than would ever use the audio equipment.
     
  12. SteveP29

    SteveP29 Member

    Messages:
    674
    Joined:
    23 Apr 2011
    Location:
    Chester le Street/ Edinburgh
    I've consistently found XC to be cheaper than LNER from Edinburgh to Newcastle and vice versa
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,546
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Like on-train payphones it was a good idea (born in the days of personal cassette and CD players which would maybe last 1-2 hours on the batteries) but was, as you say, superceded by technology. These days anyone wishing to listen to music on the go has a device capable of doing that in their pocket.
     
  14. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

    Messages:
    3,444
    Joined:
    27 May 2013
    I am not suggesting a decrease in service provision however I think the franchise premium payments need to be looked at as three private operators in a row have failed because of overbidding. While I know its the operator who makes the bid I think the DfT should be more realistic with what premiums it can expect.

    Since 1996 through the ECML has lost a lot of the Hull, Bradford, Sunderland traffic as well as some traffic from intermediate stations en-route such as Grantham through open access operators. Also in 1996 GNER operated a two-hourly service to Glasgow from London which at the time was the same as what Virgin Trains offered and the GNER services were only marginally slower. Today the London to Glasgow market is almost nonexistent for LNER.
     
  15. Jorge Da Silva

    Jorge Da Silva Established Member

    Messages:
    1,302
    Joined:
    4 Apr 2018
    I believe LNER can not compete with Virgin for Glasgow due to a massive difference in journey times post 2008, hence why it no longer exists. Hull, Bradford and Sunderland were gone before 1996, except the first two had 1 train per day each. Virgin reintroduced Sunderland into the Franchise and Bradford Interchange and Hull get regular services via Grand Central and Hull trains respectively.
     
  16. GrimShady

    GrimShady Established Member

    Messages:
    1,264
    Joined:
    13 Dec 2016
    Wasn't the 2 hourly Glasgow London from InterCity days?
     
  17. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

    Messages:
    15,358
    Joined:
    16 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Even the Chuckle Brothers would be able to pay a premium if put in charge of the ECML franchise - AIUI it's always paid a premium (under GNER, National Express, DOR, Stagecoach/Virgin and now LNER) - the question is whether LNER are paying a better premium to the Treasury than Stagecoach/ Virgin were actually paying under VTEC - that's the benchmark.

    Simply turning it into "are they paying a premium or not" is a pretty meaningless benchmark on a franchise that has always paid a premium.

    Yes - GNER inherited the bi-hourly service that British Rail had previously introduced.

    Made sense at the time - as wiring a relatively short distance from Carstairs to Edinburgh meant doubling the frequency of trains from London to Glasgow (in the black and white days when running Glasgow trains down the ECML had no real time penalty compared to running them down the WCML). Also worth pointing out how poor/ infrequent/ "tidal" the London - Glasgow services used to be - none of this "hourly plus regular via Birmingham too" malarkey... kids these days don't know they're born!
     
  18. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

    Messages:
    5,643
    Joined:
    7 Oct 2017
    Bletchleyite's point may actually turn out to be more subtle than it appears - whilst you are correct that the ECML has always been a premium-paying franchise, this does not take into account the massive amounts paid to Network Rail. When broken down by route and by TOC (something that is definitely the subject of interpretation and method!) this shows that the ECML franchise barely breaks even. So if LNER have managed to get it to actually bring the Government a profit once all costs are considered then they have done a good job. I don't think the ORR's annual statistics are available for LNER's period of management to determine this.
     
  19. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,557
    Joined:
    6 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Yorks
    Yes, realism in premium requirements would certainly be beneficial.

    Governnment also needs to revise its policy of driving down subsidy to beyond what is practical.
     
  20. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

    Messages:
    3,444
    Joined:
    27 May 2013
    With First East Coast Trains launching in 2021 supposedly I think it will give the DfT a good idea what to expect for Franchise premiums for a future east coast operator as it will mean that London-Newcastle services will no longer be a monopoly for a new East Coast Operator thus likely eroding revenue even more.
     
  21. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,546
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Not really - an unsustainable premium was part of the cause of the many collapses. A realistic, sustainable premium would be a sensible benchmark.
     
  22. dave1

    dave1 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    11 Jul 2019
    Last Saturday the 6//07/2019 i bought a ticket at Kings Cross and boarded the 21.00 hours train to Newcastle
    on boarding the train at Kings Cross and getting off at Newcastle my ticket was never checked and barriers were open at both ends
    A large number of people got on and off at different stations on route.
    i wonder how many fares are actually missed as this is not the first time i have done this late on a Saturday night without any ticket check
    If they are losing revenue because of this I would not expect much improvements to service etc.
    The train on Saturday was very old stock
     
  23. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

    Messages:
    3,444
    Joined:
    27 May 2013
    The services to Glasgow were cut to one train per day in May 2011 and at the same time CrossCountry extended their services from Edinburgh to Glasgow every two hours to compensate.
     
  24. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    20,253
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Redcar
    Discussion on the importance of the ECML has been moved to a new thread which can be found here.
     
  25. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

    Messages:
    10,318
    Joined:
    28 Jun 2010
    All well and good but not being able to stream content makes that idea a bit daft so was a bit of a shame when they did take it out
     
  26. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

    Messages:
    10,318
    Joined:
    28 Jun 2010
    But the on train WiFi won’t let you stream content and it’s a struggle getting a signal on your 4G and whilst I don’t mind some of the content on beam I begrudge having an app on my phone like that
     
  27. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth Member

    Messages:
    82
    Joined:
    17 Dec 2018
    I completely agree, these days iPhones, iPads and Android devices are in everybody’s pockets, and it may be the case that the space used by the at seat audio system is now used by the WIFI kit, however, I’m not sure we can give Arriva the credit for foreseeing an entertainment revolution :) I’d say it was more likely removed to save a few quid! When did XC and LNER/VTEC first introduce WIFI ?
    Coincidentally, that’s part of the route with competition for passengers. Sadly the same cannot be said for Bristol-Derby, Cheltenham-Wakefield, Leeds-Gloucester or multiple other stations along the way. XC have a monopoly and get away with charging too much IMHO
     
  28. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

    Messages:
    15,358
    Joined:
    16 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Sheffield
    So, if a "nationalised" operator are paying a higher premium then that's great because that proves that nationalised railways are more efficient (and you aren't paying private shareholders etc)

    But if a "nationalised" operator pay a lower premium then that's great too because that means that it's more sustainable (than those nasty private companies who would have paid a higher premium)?

    If the Government wanted to insist on a lower premium then I'm sure VTEC would have been happy (they were paying the premiums that they were required to, AIUI).

    I say nationalised in inverted commas because it's essentially been subcontracted by the Government, it's just that they've contracted it out to management consultants rather than a company that also runs buses (and a lot of people on here seem to think that one is acceptable whilst the other is ghastly).
     
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,546
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    I don't overly care who runs it, personally. However, the "race to the bottom" is the cause of almost all issues you get in any contracted service delivery.
     
  30. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth Member

    Messages:
    82
    Joined:
    17 Dec 2018
    I don’t think streaming was common when this happened and I suspect there was quite a gap before WIFI was introduced (not that they allow streaming content anyway). My portable DAB/FM radio barely even worked on anything newer than the IC225s so entertainment options were limited!
     

Share This Page