Grand Central to suspend services from end of Friday 3 April 2020

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yorkie

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In addition to this, the fact that the government were unwilling to provide financial support to Hull Trains, yet immediately use their own operator (LNER) to provide a stand in service is, in my opinion, disgraceful.
Not really; open access operators were always set up on the understanding that they did not get Government support.
 
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Starmill

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In addition to this, the fact that the government were unwilling to provide financial support to Hull Trains, yet immediately use their own operator (LNER) to provide a stand in service is, in my opinion, disgraceful.
The Secretary of State has an obligation to support franchised railway services under the law. He could have chosen to allow them to all fail and then bring them each in-house in order to preserve them. Sensibly, a much less disruptive offer was made and has been quickly accepted in those cases where there's an incumbent operator.

The Secretary of State doesn't have an obligation to ensure that the services currently operated by GC and HT continue. As it's thought that some of GC's market is still significantly loss-making, and is being funded by the profits of other parts of the business as a capitalist venture, it would be pretty appalling if the taxpayer stepped in to support their investment turned bad.

Vast amounts of general money from taxpayers has been offered to these businesses through other means already.

If GC really believed that continuing to run a reduced service for a week would convince the government to give them specifically a bailout, they have even worse businesses sense than I thought.
 

MontyP

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On the contrary, a lot of people didn't really believe them when they said they would continue, and they've been proven right. I think loyal customers almost always value honesty and realism over blind faith.


You've hit the nail on the head. It shows that Shell, IAG and HSBC are adapting quickly to an exogenous shock. Grand Central and Arriva are not.
Yes but Shell and HSBC are companies that are worth multi-10s of billions and have 10s of thousands in their head offices (i.e. people that strategise, plan, co-ordinate marketing and comms etc). I would guess that GC’s equivalent team is less than 100. I know they are owned by a bigger org but they operate independently / at arms length
 

Starmill

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Yes but Shell and HSBC are companies that are worth multi-10s of billions and have 10s of thousands in their head offices (i.e. people that strategise, plan, co-ordinate marketing and comms etc). I would guess that GC’s equivalent team is less than 100. I know they are owned by a bigger org but they operate independently / at arms length
And Hull Trains are smaller than Grand Central, but managed not to tell everyone they were going to continue operating when it became pretty clear that they couldn't.
 

MontyP

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And Hull Trains are smaller than Grand Central, but managed not to tell everyone they were going to continue operating when it became pretty clear that they couldn't.
I suspect that you’ve never been involved in running a business during any kind of crisis. Were GC supposed to just immediately cancel all their services just because HT did?
 

AndyCK

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I suspect that you’ve never been involved in running a business during any kind of crisis. Were GC supposed to just immediately cancel all their services just because HT did?
No one in modern times has run a business through a crisis like this.

As much as I have every sympathy for anyone affected by Grand Central’s decision, I would have expected them to cancel all their services not because HT did but because they came to the same conclusions on the viability of their service based on the available evidence, advice and data.

Hopefully now they can reduce costs, take advantage of government help such as furloughing and have a viable business to restart services when we come out of the other side.
 

mikeg

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Unfortunately looks like I'll have to owe the company I work for half an hour or so then on Sunday... GC operated the last service back!

There's the problem with Open Access, or at least relying on it, no sense of obligation, just skim the cream of profitable routes.
 

DoubleO

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Some pretty insensitive comments on here given the impact on their staff. Or do they deserve it for being so stupid as to work for an OA operator....
 

JonathanH

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There's the problem with Open Access, or at least relying on it, no sense of obligation, just skim the cream of profitable routes.
I suspect it would be cheaper for the operator to put you in a taxi than run its service just for you. If you have been relying on them, presumably you have been just about the only passenger.

Far better to be able to continue to operate in the future if the Coronavirus is eventually overcome than go bust now operating for almost no one.
 

mikeg

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Some pretty insensitive comments on here given the impact on their staff. Or do they deserve it for being so stupid as to work for an OA operator....
Absolutley do not deserve it! The industry structure is not their fault, I was just pointing out its shortcomings from a passengers' perspective. My thoughts are with the staff, hope they have secure jobs to go back to in 2 months time.
 

mikeg

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I suspect it would be cheaper for the operator to put you in a taxi than run its service just for you. If you have been relying on them, presumably you have been just about the only passenger.

Far better to be able to continue to operate in the future if the Coronavirus is eventually overcome than go bust now operating for almost no one.
To be fair, I've not been on a service with a significant number of people on since the lockdown began. One may then ask the question: Shouldn't we stop trains run altogether and subsidise taxis for key workers?
 

JonathanH

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To be fair, I've not been on a service with a significant number of people on since the lockdown began. One may then ask the question: Shouldn't we stop trains run altogether and subsidise taxis for key workers?
Possibly not taxis but bus services that more directly link key workers from workplace to home place rather than traditional routes might be a sensible idea as I noted in the bus thread.
 

Starmill

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I suspect that you’ve never been involved in running a business during any kind of crisis. Were GC supposed to just immediately cancel all their services just because HT did?
Nope. To be honest I'm very surprised they didn't close down rather sooner.

Whatever you do, you don't say one thing and then do the opposite. And you try to give as much notice as possible, even if it's only a few days.
 

Starmill

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Some pretty insensitive comments on here given the impact on their staff. Or do they deserve it for being so stupid as to work for an OA operator....
What impact on their staff? Have Grand Central announced any job losses?
 

TT-ONR-NRN

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Some pretty insensitive comments on here given the impact on their staff. Or do they deserve it for being so stupid as to work for an OA operator....
It is being suggested that customers who rely on Grand Central to get to work, some of which might have key worker roles (hopefully all at the moment, if they’re travelling), cannot publicly complain that their key train service is being cut. Of course it’s concerning for staff too, but that doesn’t mean customers who rely on it just as much cannot be upset!
 
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davido39

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In this brave new world, there will be no need for open access when the rail network is going to be re-nationalized. Not many small (smaller) businesses are going to survive this current crisis and the ensuing economic depression that we may now witness.
 

DoubleO

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What impact on their staff? Have Grand Central announced any job losses?
Not as it stands, staff are to be furloughed, initially until the end of May. But they haven't promised against job losses. Plus some members of staff are looking at a 50% pay decrease as the company are refusing any form of top up to the furlough pay.
 

Ianno87

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In this brave new world, there will be no need for open access when the rail network is going to be re-nationalized. Not many small (smaller) businesses are going to survive this current crisis and the ensuing economic depression that we may now witness.
Logic doesn't follow. If franchised services end up thinned out, means more spare capacity for Open Access to take advantage of where there is a market to fill.
 

Starmill

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Not as it stands, staff are to be furloughed, initially until the end of May. But they haven't promised against job losses. Plus some members of staff are looking at a 50% pay decrease as the company are refusing any form of top up to the furlough pay.
Given the firm possibility that Grand Central won't resume some or all of their services, it would be very surprising if the company gave either assurance right about now. Almost nobody in the private sector has an assurance that their position is safe or that the company would pay more than furlough rate.
 

Tim_UK

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Given the firm possibility that Grand Central won't resume some or all of their services, it would be very surprising if the company gave either assurance right about now. Almost nobody in the private sector has an assurance that their position is safe or that the company would pay more than furlough rate.

In the non transport world. Loads of companies really busy up until 1st April ish. Back orders. Orders from companies scrambling to get people working at home. Finishing off projects. Reporting record months for March.

And then on Friday Furloughed all their staff. Because the orders just disappeared or all their customers Furloughed all their staff. I’m not surprised there has been a rapid about turn.

Nobody really knows what is going on. It is prudent to do whatever you can to have a company you can still run whenever we get out of this mess.

And that means working capital in the bank, still having staff you can bring back.
 

backontrack

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They tried to continue to run a service and they realised it was not possible, I think they deserve credit for trying.
This TBH. It seems as if they wanted to attempt a little harder to maintain continuity of operation, and I don't think that's necessarily worth decrying.
 

Mag_seven

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As Grand Central have now suspended their services there is nothing more to discuss.

If there are any further developments with the company and their services please contact a member of forum staff and we will look to have the thread re-opened.

Thank You.
 
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