FirstGroup Monopoly on northern part of West Coast Mainline: could this have an impact?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by 185, 14 Aug 2019.

  1. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    The WCP contract will be signed in 10 days' time if there are no objections from other bidders (ie MTR - who happen to be First's partner on SWR).
    After that it will cost HMG if it reneges on the contract.
    If Labour do get in in a few month's time, they will have a lot more on their plate which is more important than renationalising the railway.
    Listening to their spokesperson today they have no clue as to the complexity of running the railway.
     
  2. njlawley

    njlawley Member

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    Competition concerns were raised when First gained the SWR franchise, because of overlaps with GWR, particularly London - Exeter and London & Salisbury - Bath & Bristol.

    Nothing came of it, as long as there was no occurrence of price fixing.
     
  3. Llandudno

    Llandudno Member

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    Just watch most of the special advance fares disappear.
    Not great for split ticketing options either.
     
  4. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    True - we get this every time a franchise changes hands, people finding examples of flows where there's a new "monopoly".

    Stagecoach were fine to run the three InterCity franchises north of London - the only bit that the competition people found to complain about was the minor overlap between Grantham and Newark IIRC (since they also ran buses in this area - part of the old Lincolnshire Roadcar) - but fine to run all the daytime trains from London to Edinburgh/ Glasgow!

    Fine for franchises to be merged together (e.g. Anglia + First Great Eastern... Valley Lines + Wales & Borders)... fine for one mega franchise in south London (Thameslink + Southern + Gatwick Express)... we had arguments when Arriva had the Wales & Borders franchise plus the Northern one... we'll be having the same arguments next time the Government actually get around to awarding a new franchise too.

    I mean, the TPE WCML services are going to be operationally separate from the rest of the franchise, with dedicated stock (the 397s), so it *could* be split off much easier than a few years ago (when the "Scottish" services were interworked (and even portioned) with the Windermere/ Barrow/ Blackpool - Manchester Airport services - but it's only a few days since we were discussing improved co-ordination north of Preston (and why can't the operators work together to improve capacity/co-ordination during the Edinburgh Festival...)
     
  5. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Didn’t seem to be a problem having one company run services on the line from 1847-1997.
     
  6. PR1Berske

    PR1Berske On Moderation

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    That's because it was nationalised, I don't get the point you're making.
     
  7. Trainguy90

    Trainguy90 Member

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    There isn't much of a monopoly as most of the competition is over and done with during the franchise bidding period. what might help with this new agreement is that they will get reviewed every year to ensure they are keeping up with their obligations and promises, whether it will actually work in practice is a whole other question though
     
  8. talltim

    talltim Established Member

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    It was only nationalised for a relatively short period of that time
     
  9. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    The point being that the railway managed 150 years with one operator on it (regardless of state or private ownership).
     
  10. route:oxford

    route:oxford Established Member

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    1992 was the first Open Access Service on the WCML wasn't it?
     
  11. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    Yes, and for much of that time there was little effective completion from road or air either (until the 1960s really).
     
  12. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    Such as what?
    Their Advance tickets south of Preston are very rarely competitively priced. Cheapest Manchester to London is £48 return, restricted time of day, and that's booking many months in advance with no refund rights. Less than a 50% saving over the price on the day. 'Peak' time Advance tickets can save more proportionally to the Anytime fare but are still eye-wateringingly priced.
     
  13. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    Another planet...
    Was that when Stagecoach had a couple of Mk2 day coaches attached to the Sleeper, which they sold their own bargain-basement tickets for?
     
  14. muz379

    muz379 Established Member

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    Whilst there is a lot of speculation on this thread over possible fare increases as a result of this change .

    There is at least in theory also one positive benefit we could speculate over , that is the chance that it could result in quicker ticket acceptance in the event of service disruption . Say a problem at Manchester airport or surrounding area stops the Airport-Scotland TPE services it should at least be possible for ticket acceptance to be granted on the Scotland-London services to get people south to say Preston,Wigan or Warrington while the issues are resolved or whilst TPE Scotland services are turned back short .

    And say a problem effects the London-Scotland services , it could be possible for ticket acceptance to be granted on TPE services to get passengers to Manchester and continue their journey on WCML services from there .

    Of course during peak times this might be problematic because the TPE services from Scotland to the airport are some of the busiest services in the country , but off peak it could be a useful bit of flexibility to have .
     
  15. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Don't forget services north of Preston (north of Crewe really) are flighted over the 2-track railway.
    The practice is Euston-Glasgow goes first, Birmingham-Scotland second (with more stops), and Manchester-Scotland third (with even more stops).
    That's to maximise capacity while leaving much of the hour for slower freights and Northern services in places.
    So the marketing takes that into account, with TPE being slower and serving more local places than the fast Euston-Glasgow, much like LNWR does further south.

    Interesting that the proposed WCP services don't seem to change any of that, or to offer more services to Edinburgh which these days is busier relative to Glasgow.
    Crewe-Preston remains an awkward 1tph too.
     
  16. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    Another planet...
    Oh yes, I remember how both arms of Virgin Trains co-operated and gave ticket acceptance during the Lamington Viaduct closure... oh wait :rolleyes:
     
  17. muz379

    muz379 Established Member

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    That's why I said in theory , and of course we are talking First here not Virgin .
     
  18. route:oxford

    route:oxford Established Member

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    That's the one.
     
  19. 185

    185 Established Member

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  20. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    I'd like to them to list the 4 different routes between Oxenholme and Carlisle which give them competition concerns. :)
    In revenue terms, these flows are absolutely tiny, being localised and low volume.
    It seems like the different regulators (DfT/ORR/CMA) are just making a bureaucratic point so that their powers are visible to each other - and the market.
     
  21. oldman

    oldman Member

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    From the undertakings:

    The CMA talks about 21 (or 26 if you count Haymarket) flows in the official documents, but the press releases call them routes and divides them into 17 Preston-Scotland and 4 Oxenholme-Carlisle, which is daft and inaccurate (where does Preston-Carlisle fit in).

     
  22. 185

    185 Established Member

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    Tis a bit inaccurate referring to them as routes, however as LNW-GW mentions above, at least their press release serves the purpose of reminding the two FG TOCs that the CMA are there, and that fares over this section of route are occasionally being monitored.​
     
  23. oldman

    oldman Member

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    If you read the undertakings you will find it's a bit more than occasional monitoring, e.g.

     
  24. Scotrail314209

    Scotrail314209 Member

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    Sorry to bump this.

    But if they wanted to end the monopoly between Glasgow - Motherwell - Lockerbie - Carlisle, they could easily get a ScotRail service in, as well as making new stations where there are loops, as well as building new loops at places like Symington, where the WCML passes right through a town but doesn’t stop. This I feel would be insanely popular and would give Lockerbie a Scotrail service
     
  25. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    Well, they could... but that'd be spending millions of pounds (on stations that will take a few years to build) to squeeze 100mph trains out of Glasgow Central and down the WCML to deal with the fact that First operate two franchises in the same region, when one of those franchises will be finishing in three years time (which is probably before any stations are built). We'd then get complaints that the ScotRail EMUs were too "suburban" anyway...

    It seemed to work okay when Virgin ran all of the services up the WCML - then the boundaries changed - now First run both of the franchises.
     
  26. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    Regarding the section of the route between Glasgow and Carlisle, there is already a Route "via Dumfries" fare that exists. In all intents and purposes, Scotrail is the main (if not only) beneficiary of that particular fare revenue.

    Furthermore, in regards to the concerns of the monopoly between Preston and Glasgow/Edinburgh via Carlisle, could a workaround be for the fares for the West Coast display/print in the Route field "Intercity trains only" (or something like that), with the Manchester TPE trains displaying/printing in the Route field "Regional Express only"?
     
  27. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    Why is Birmingham to Glasgow 'Intercity' while Manchester to Glasgow is 'Regional Express'?
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Most of TPE is a RE but I'd call those services IC and they are about to get arguably the nicest IC rolling stock in the country.
     
  29. Gareth

    Gareth Member

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    What's Liverpool-Birmingham? Merseyrail Express?
     
  30. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    As things stand the entirety of the LNR part of WMT is a regional / regional express operation including that, possibly except the Trent Valleys which on the European type model might be IR (interregional).
     

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