First win Intercity West Coast franchise

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F Great Eastern

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Yes there have been two franchises who have gone like that.
National Express East Coast was the second highest bidder
GNER had other problems but they did overbid as the highest bidder.

So this means that there has been one company who offered the highest premium who had to default, and one who was the second highest premium who defaulted with around 20 others, some of which have also been the highest bidder, who have not defaulted.

The ECML was without doubt a problem, but if there was a serious problem with the way the DFT was going about it's tenders, I'd expect to see far more franchises going to the wall than there actually are. It seems Richard Branson is basing his idea that the highest bidder will go bust on GNER (who were ironically an incumbent) , seeing as National Express does not fit this criteria (for all their faults), despite the fact there are many more examples that prove the contrary.
 
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Wath Yard

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The tendering process is not good enough. All those pages of facts and figures. Sod that. Put it out to a public vote by letting each company show its logo and say on 10 words or less why it should win. Existing companies get extra points if the public like the brand or the boss.

Virgin Trains; because it has electrolytes...

Still too complex and time consuming, and of course not transparent enough. All that is needed is to ask billionaires who spend most of their time on private Caribbean islands who they think should run services, and how much they would like to fleece everybody for doing so.

However, a public vote could be a reasonable idea. Perhaps we could also get Simon Cowell involved in some way. Charge them £1.50 per text/phone call and it could go some way to paying the premiums Branson claims First won’t be able to.
 

jon0844

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Even just asking Richard for his opinion seems quite a tedious process for people with the attention span of a.. Wait, what were we talking about again? Just saw a trailer for TOWIE on the TV...

Ah, yeah, trains. Why doesn't any bidding where Virgin puts in a bid just go to Virgin? So much easier and the public are bound to agree, unless Richard suddenly gets arrested for tax evasion, child molesting or something.

Only if Virgin didn't bid should we ask Richard who he thinks should win, to ensure total transparency. And then give him one last chance to put in a bid in case he changed his mind.

If he wished he'd bid for something after the contract starts, all contracts should have a termination clause in them to let him take over.

Has he ever thought about going into politics? How could he not win?
 

DynamicSpirit

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The UK rail passenger franchise system is a complicated mess! It needs radical overhaul. This farcical situation is a symptom of a much bigger problem.

Ummm, what farcical situation? As far as I can see, the bidding and tendering process completed, and there's no reason to think it didn't go exactly according to normal procedures. A winning bid (First's) was chosen. Nothing farcical about that at all.

Of course what's happened since then has been an arguably somewhat farcical campaign by Virgin and some, apparently badly informed, members of the public, for the decision to be overturned. That may have attracted a lot of publicity, but again there's no reason to think that is any reflection of the franchising process.

It may well be that the franchising process does need overhaul, but there's nothing in the current campaign by Virgin that provides any evidence of that. It seems to me the only thing that the current situation shows is that lots of people jump on bandwagons without taking any trouble to understand the facts first :(
 

starrymarkb

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Branson does seem to be kicking off more of late. For example in the BMI sale the bid Virgin put in would have meant Lufthansa would have to PAY Virgin to take BMI off their hands. With BA they still got some money.

You can't win them all!
 

Masboroughlad

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DynamicSpirit:1193325 said:
The UK rail passenger franchise system is a complicated mess! It needs radical overhaul. This farcical situation is a symptom of a much bigger problem.

Ummm, what farcical situation? As far as I can see, the bidding and tendering process completed, and there's no reason to think it didn't go exactly according to normal procedures. A winning bid (First's) was chosen. Nothing farcical about that at all.

Of course what's happened since then has been an arguably somewhat farcical campaign by Virgin and some, apparently badly informed, members of the public, for the decision to be overturned. That may have attracted a lot of publicity, but again there's no reason to think that is any reflection of the franchising process.

It may well be that the franchising process does need overhaul, but there's nothing in the current campaign by Virgin that provides any evidence of that. It seems to me the only thing that the current situation shows is that lots of people jump on bandwagons without taking any trouble to understand the facts first :(

I understand it fine thank you. Just happen to think the way the railways were privatised and subsequent iterations thereof are not good.
 

Realfish

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Labour have wandered into this , asking for a delay

They had 13 years to change the system but they kept it

True.

In the meantime:

Lawyers for Virgin Trains are preparing to launch a last minute legal challenge to stop the Government signing a contract which will strip them of their right to run the West Coast Mainline service.

The company said it had a team of lawyers working over the Bank Holiday examining their options for a judicial review of the decision to hand over the West Coast franchise over to FirstGroup.

A final decision will be made tomorrow but a spokesman for the company said a challenge was “likely” unless the Government backed down and allowed Parliament to scrutinise the deal.

“You don’t pay expensive lawyers to work over the Bank Holiday weekend unless your intensions are pretty clear,” said a spokesman for the group.
 

Rich McLean

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Looks like they will get that in before the sign off, and the Dft will have no choice but to halt the contract signing until it's been discussed in Parliament and investigated. However, after an investigation takes place, I am still confident first will take over, albiet at a later date than planned
 

swt_passenger

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Labour have wandered into this , asking for a delay

They had 13 years to change the system but they kept it

If I were in Greening's shoes, I'd be asking Eagle to explain why, if the franchise process is so wrong, how come Labour used it so many times already, for instance when awarding the EC franchise to NX Group?
 

WelshBluebird

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Lawyers for Virgin Trains are preparing to launch a last minute legal challenge to stop the Government signing a contract which will strip them of their right to run the West Coast Mainline service.

Just to pick up on a little wording issue here (I appreciate it may not be your wording) - Virgin Trains do not have any such right, so it cannot be stripped from them. They entered into a contract to run the service until December 2012. That contract is now about to end. Simple as.

Also, I really don't see what a potential legal challenge could be based on. First bid the most, and the DfT chose the higher bid. Again, simple as. Unless there is evidence of wrongdoing that Virgin are aware of that we are not (I don't think there was).
 
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Wath Yard

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True.

In the meantime:

Lawyers for Virgin Trains are preparing to launch a last minute legal challenge to stop the Government signing a contract which will strip them of their right to run the West Coast Mainline service.

The company said it had a team of lawyers working over the Bank Holiday examining their options for a judicial review of the decision to hand over the West Coast franchise over to FirstGroup.

A final decision will be made tomorrow but a spokesman for the company said a challenge was “likely” unless the Government backed down and allowed Parliament to scrutinise the deal.

“You don’t pay expensive lawyers to work over the Bank Holiday weekend unless your intensions are pretty clear,” said a spokesman for the group.

Do you have a source for that? If you have just cut and paste the excerpt from a news website I am a bit concerned they cannot spell intentions correctly.
 

Wath Yard

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Oh, right. The newspaper that greeted the news of the awarding of the franchise to FirstGroup with a full transcript of Branson's rantings with no right to reply to any of the other parties involved and has run articles with headlines such as 'Branson furious at 'insane' choice for West Coast line'.
 

tbtc

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If I were in Greening's shoes, I'd be asking Eagle to explain why, if the franchise process is so wrong, how come Labour used it so many times already, for instance when awarding the EC franchise to NX Group?

Agreed. Whilst I'd normally be a Labour(ish) voter, I'm getting frustrated with the way they seek cheap headlines at the moment - you could argue that Balls/ Milliband happening to be filmed in a Greggs shop a few months ago was the kind of political opportunism that any party would stoop to, but this is just silly - as you say, they had the chance to change it, they didn't, they are now complaining about it...

I really don't see what a potential legal challenge could be based on. First bid the most, and the DfT chose the higher bid. Again, simple as. Unless there is evidence of wrongdoing that Virgin are aware of that we are not (I don't think there was)

I'm not sure (other than "S'not fair - we want to make millions of pounds so don't let First run it").

First's bid was deemed to meet the minimum service levels, their extensions/ improvements were deemed to be "deliverable", so can the Government turn them down because they offered to pay too high a premium"? Virgin are on thin ground here, but if they throw enough mud at First/ DfT/ Government, people will believe something is "up"...
 

radamfi

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Perhaps the current Labour leadership have disowned the Blair-Brown administration and now take a different view?
 

NSEFAN

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Lampshade said:
They don't have their own view as such, they're just anti-everything this government does.

Isn't that the done thing, though? The opposition will spend all of their time whinging about the leading party, and then screw up, make U-turns and quietly drop promises when they get elected next. We might as well be ruled by a carousel. :lol:
 

DynamicSpirit

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Agreed. Whilst I'd normally be a Labour(ish) voter, I'm getting frustrated with the way they seek cheap headlines at the moment - you could argue that Balls/ Milliband happening to be filmed in a Greggs shop a few months ago was the kind of political opportunism that any party would stoop to, but this is just silly - as you say, they had the chance to change it, they didn't, they are now complaining about it...

Are they actually complaining about the process though, or merely asking for a debate about the particular result of this instance of the process.

(Not that I think either is justified, and I agree with you that this does seem opportunistic, but it's not obvious to me that what they are asking for is inconsistent with their having managed the same process on other occasions).
 

cambsy

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If Virgin using top lawyers to mount legal challenge, then I would expect them to succeed, u only have to see how celebrities get off with various things, to see that money can buy u anything, if e petition and mp's won't stop Greening from burying her head in the sand and pushing on, then fair do to Virgin for mounting legal challenge, wish them luck.
 

34Short

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Ummm, what farcical situation? As far as I can see, the bidding and tendering process completed, and there's no reason to think it didn't go exactly according to normal procedures. A winning bid (First's) was chosen. Nothing farcical about that at all.

DfT followed procedure. The most cash = Franchise. Much like you would on eBay.

It may well be that the franchising process does need overhaul, but there's nothing in the current campaign by Virgin that provides any evidence of that. It seems to me the only thing that the current situation shows is that lots of people jump on bandwagons without taking any trouble to understand the facts first :(

It does need an overhaul. It's all great offering it to the highest bidder, but what would happen to the services? The staff? Facilities? I don't think they look far enough - and come to think about it, the public are offered no consultation whatsoever. It's the public's services, not just for those who sit in the House of Commons.

I get sick at how this country is run like a business, with very little consideration for the people.
 
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Wath Yard

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It does need an overhaul. It's all great offering it to the highest bidder, but what would happen to the services? The staff? Facilities? I don't think they look far enough - and come to think about it, the public are offered no consultation whatsoever. It's the public's services, not just for those who sit in the House of Commons.

I get sick at how this country is run like a business, with very little consideration for the people.

Not bothered reading the ITT or reading or responding to any of the consultation documents then?
 

tbtc

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Are they actually complaining about the process though, or merely asking for a debate about the particular result of this instance of the process.

(Not that I think either is justified, and I agree with you that this does seem opportunistic, but it's not obvious to me that what they are asking for is inconsistent with their having managed the same process on other occasions).

I'm scratching my head trying to work out what reasonable grounds Labour have here.

"It's not been explained to MP's who's constituencies are affected": Is it normally? Why is the WCML franchise different? Was that an issue when GA were awarded their franchise? And the dozens awarded under Labour?

"It was announced during the parliamentary recess": Why is this a problem, since franchises have never been debated in parliament before?

First "have not finished a contract on the Great Western": Yes, they did - they just didn't take up the option of a further three years (the option that was created under Labour).

This franchise will last for three parliaments: So, what, Labour are wanting five year franchises?

"It's difficult to make proper judgements": It's not for Labour or any other MPs to make judgements

There's suggestion that a short delay wouldn't be much of an issue, given the long length of the franchise: But with hundreds(?) of staff on fixed term contracts that expire in December then how would you deal with that? First need to get their feet under the table so that they can start offering longer term contracts to these staff. Postpone the decision another month or two (because, lets be honest, it's going to take more than a few days for Branson's PR machine to squeeze all they can out of this process) and suddenly we are in danger of losing these people - to be fair to them, they are more likely to walk away to another job if a new WCML franchise isn't likely to get signed sooner.

This is weak by Labour - stirring things up to court popular opinion, rather than acting on real principles.
 

3141

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I should think that at present Branson is trying to buy time. He wanted to win and he hasn’t. At the moment it would be very difficult to prove that First’s bid is unrealistic, though it possibly may turn out to have been, some years ahead. The situation is a gift for Maria Eagle and Labour, who can use it to imply that the Coalition has got it wrong, and at the same time appear to be supporting Bob Crow. If Branson can delay the signing of the contract with First, his lawyers will have more opportunity to look for some procedural error. Quite possibly there is one, though it wouldn’t necessarily have changed the outcome of the franchise selection process. Surely Branson cannot hope to have the whole process restarted, and if he did, and then bid more, it would contradict his claim that to have bid more this time would risk bankrupting Virgin Trains.

As far as I can tell (without reading through this whole thread) Virgin seem to have missed a trick by not planning to buy new electric trains for the Birmingham to Scotland services and thus release Voyagers for new services elsewhere. Part of First’s justification for increasing their revenue and thus being able to pay higher premiums is that they will be offering more capacity and attract more passengers.

Transparency? I don’t think it’s realistic to have each bidder’s complete submission made public. We pay civil servants to assess the bids and sort them out. The obvious purpose is to get the best financial deal combined with the provision of a good rail service. Getting people to vote? On what basis would they decide? Most of the people who have signed the petition supporting Virgin will have no idea of the validity of the bids. They’d be against First because their bus was full last Wednesday, or against Branson because they couldn’t sit where they wanted on their last Virgin flight.

Virgin have made a substantial contribution to the rail industry and I shall sorry to see them leave. I don’t see convincing evidence that the DfT have reached the wrong conclusion.

I wonder what everyone would be saying if Abellio or Keolis had won.
 
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