Failed Franchise Bids

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by WillPS, 28 Oct 2011.

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  1. WillPS

    WillPS Established Member

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    Is there a repository anywhere containing details of failed franchise bids? In particular I'm looking for material on Arriva's failed TPE bid.
     
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  3. Masboroughlad

    Masboroughlad Established Member

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    It is something I've tried to find before but without success. Some of the early bids were quite ambitious and well marketed. Nobody shouts about their plans anymore.

    If it's the Arriva bid from a long time ago, there was talk off adding lots of new stations to TPE and re-opening Woodhead! If only....! We might have got some trains with enough seats!

     
  4. michael769

    michael769 Established Member

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    Perhaps a FOI request to the DfT would yield something?
     
  5. 185

    185 Established Member

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    It was for large 4-car trains 'Express-type' with doors at each end of the saloon, unlike First.

    My reckoning is that the decision boiled down to both cost, and the ORR (DfT) were probably already aware the Welsh and XC franchises were destined for Arriva.

    In 2003, at the Arriva Trains Northern staff family day in the NRM conference suite, there was a small event about their bid, hosted by their managing director Ray Price (the day was smack bang in the middle of the strike too, so many boycotted it).
     
  6. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    It was quite an ambitious looking bid, with four coach 180/Voyager equivalents mocked up in Arriva colours, it was to be a lot more ambitious than the First bid (based on the route map on the literature, there were direct TPE services from Sheffield to Blackpool and Hull).

    Yet, whilst I remember this from several years ago, I couldn't tell you what the rival bids for the (recently announced) GEML franchise were planning on - a sign of how scaled down ambitions now are, or of how companies think there's no point in advertising their plans to the public (since the ones making the decisions will be in the Government).
     
  7. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    All franchise bid requests from the public would fail the "commercial confidence" test , - so no disclosure would be likely. I reckon.
     
  8. Eagle

    Eagle Established Member

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    Not quite. At the time of the decision in 2003/4, Arriva already ran Wales, but the XC refranchise was still a good three or four years down the line.
     
  9. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    So could the bidders actually pick and choose which routes they took over from FNW and ATN?

    fTPE tried running a Manchester-Hull-Bridlington service initially but that ended a few months after it started.
     
  10. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    I presume so, that was the impression given by the bid (I'm fairly sure that this was when the Bradford service was still part of ATN"s Transpennine branded operation).

    All different nowadays, with the DfT being a lot more prescriptive, of course.
     
  11. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    The DfT strictly forbids any of the bidders from saying anything now doesn't it?
     
  12. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    The DfT issues a core franchise specification - any bidder can submit costed options on top of this , as long as the "bread and butter" bid is covered.
     
  13. TUC

    TUC Established Member

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    And the likelyhood that Arriva would have fulfiled such a franchise committment is ....:)
     
  14. Masboroughlad

    Masboroughlad Established Member

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    Very slim! Lol. I used to like the ambitious, fairy tale bids though! GSWR were going to rebuild and tunnel under Clapham Junction if they won South West Trains! Anyone else recall any other pie in the sky bids?!

     
  15. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    My favourite bid being the Virgin one for the East Coast franchise, featuring three new sections of "fast" railway (London - Doncaster, Durham avoider, Morpeth avoider), allowing existing ECML paths to be used for services like London - Retford - Sheffield...
     
  16. Masboroughlad

    Masboroughlad Established Member

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    Oh yes, forgot about that work of fiction!! Real pity because if all of these outlandish bids had taken off, we'd have a half decent railway!

    Why didn't the DfT take up any of these bids? Did they know they would never happen? I personally think they are anti-railway deep down and didn't like the innovative ideas.

     
  17. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Probably because they were asked to pay for it, franchise payments pay for the route subsidies. Large investment by a Franchise is usually at least in part compensated by a reduction in franchise payments so the Dft ends up out of pocket. While a franchisee may recover some or even a significant percentage of the investment they put in through increased revenue or savings they will rarely recover 100%.
     
  18. rail-britain

    rail-britain Established Member

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    No, but you could make a FOI request (and would have to be specific to ensure you receive the correct information)

    However the names of the bidders is never disclosed, as you will see by this FOI request :
    http://assets.dft.gov.uk/foi/dft-f0007501/f0007501.pdf
    The applicants are simply listed by letters A to H
     
  19. HH

    HH Established Member

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    As far as details of bids are concerned they also ask permission of bidders, who may decide that the information is commercially sensitive, which would also cause it to be withheld.
     
  20. WillPS

    WillPS Established Member

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    Thanks for the information.

    I think it's a total crock that we're not given the information necessary to judge the decisions the DfT are making on our behalf. Fair enough if you want a closed bidding system, but even then the final dossiers should be made public soon after a decision has been made.
     
  21. David

    David Established Member

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    The worst thing about the bid being rejected, is that 2 out those 3 new sections of line would be extremely useful today.

    With the Durham avoider (assuming it's a new 125mph alignment from between Northallerton and Darlington) to somewhere around Birtley, plus the Morpeth (Nedderton to West Chevington) cuts out all the slow running and makes a 4 hour London - Edinburgh journey highly achievable
     
  22. Zoe

    Zoe Established Member

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    I don't know if the plans referred to above were part a 1996 bid but when Virgin bid in 2000 I remember reading plans for high speed sections but the SRA decided not to proceed with the refranchising, GNER were instead given a franchise extension.
     
  23. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    As a matter of interest, did the decision-making criteria of the SRA differ from those used by the powers currently in power that grant franchises these days?
     
  24. ajax103

    ajax103 Established Member

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    Same here, it's a pity that Virgin didn't win back then but if they did 390s would probably be used on the ECML today.
     
  25. Eagle

    Eagle Established Member

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    Would the ECML actually be improved by being cleared for the use of tiltworthy stock? A lot of it is rather straight and flat, after all...
     
  26. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    Its my favourite "what if" since privatisation - it makes me strangely nostalgic for just a few years ago (pre Hatfield etc), when the railway was ambitious and creative (rather than managing existing assets and maintaining a minimum franchise required service).

    We could have had lots of spare paths on the ECML, scope for more "local" services on the "classic" lines, the kind of "big bang" that we got with VHF/ Operation Princess, but with proper trains... who knows?
     
  27. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    The trouble with the Virgin bid for EC back in the day was that it was at such variance with the other bid , there could be no meaningful comparison as a franchise competition.(new lines versus a more moderate bd) Things then went very awry with a major failure to agree with the youthfull SRA (pre Bowker) and Railtrack over the precise implications of an ECML upgrade - throw in the post Hatfield stresses and you can see what a difficult time it was.
     
  28. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    Aye, I appreciate that it must have been like comparing chalk and cheese, in terms of bids.

    But now, the DfT is basically considering new franchises with virtually identical bids (with none of the ambition/ spark/ ideas that we were meant to get with Privatisation).

    The Virgin ECML bid was one of the few times that we saw some of that entrepreneurial spirit that Privatisation was meant to give us (rather than just "managing")
     
  29. HH

    HH Established Member

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    It should be clear that the SRA's own decision making criteria changed over time, let alone what the change to DfT has done.

    But essentially the move has been a continuous slide towards being dominated by Treasury considerations, i.e. cost.
     
  30. ajax103

    ajax103 Established Member

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    Yes south of Peterborough, but northwards especially around Newcastle to Scotland it would have been useful.

    Course not everywhere is flat and straight on the ECML, Offord and South of Peterborough stations has curves.
     
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