Greater Anglia 2019 - What could possibly go wrong?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Wivenswold, 9 Dec 2018.

  1. Wivenswold

    Wivenswold Established Member

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    Morning all.

    I have a vested interest in the implementation of the new December 2019 Greater Anglia timetable being a smooth transition as I'm a commuter on the GEML. I am also genuinely excited by the upcoming fleet even if my own trains, while very nicely kitted out, will be somewhat cosy.

    But there are some worrying signs. Without any fanfare or mention in the railway press, the introduction of the Aventras has moved from February to "Autumn". Just in time for 73 x 321s to come off least at the end of October. The issue of the rolling stock depot that never was (Brampton) appears to be up-in-the-air.

    The progressive change to the timetable seems to have been pushed back to late 2019 and will surely now be more of a "Big Bang" event.

    So there are warning signs enough, but now I've found out that the man charged with leading us into the unknown has....er...left GA. Mike Kean as jumped ship to work at Rock Infrastructure, who are leasing the new rolling stock, by some incredible coincidence!

    Worrying times.
     
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  3. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    To many of us, this comes as no surprise.

    As you know, I had concerns from day 1 about this bid, the deliverability of the bid, the experience of the management team and the specification of the rolling stock and promising things I didn't believe were possible based on the timeframes they pencilled in as well as how it's all going to work operationally.
     
  4. eastdyke

    eastdyke Established Member

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    You are right, Brampton never was, the site was to be Cattawade (Brantham).
    There has been some talk bringing in the little used sidings at Parkeston Quay, adjacent to Harwich International, but I have heard nothing just recently. Perhaps someone 'in the loop' can update?
    But it's not just the big things, there are lots of little ones as well.
    eg That a cab end change on the BMU's takes 10 minutes, that would wreck the Felixstowe timings. Or perhaps that was 'just another rumour'?
    Exciting, worrying and white knuckle all in equal measure!
     
  5. Wivenswold

    Wivenswold Established Member

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    The new Franchise & Programmes Director at GA is Ian McConnell, his Linkedin page says this about his 3 year stint at ScotRail. The appointment has the look of him being head-hunted. He certainly has experience in Railway project management but is not what I'd call a "Railway Management type", far too much business-speak in his profile for him to be a genuine talent (going on 30 years of personal business experience).

    LINKEDIN - "Director of the Alliance between Network Rail and Abellio ScotRail. Accountable to the Board for delivery of the transformational change projects; including stations development, smart ticketing & integrated transport, new trains delivery and infrastructure projects."

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/ianmcconnell77
     
  6. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Yeah - he's another internal appointment from elsewhere in Abellio with a similar background in some respects, so that is disappointing, but at least he has a bit of experience with new trains even if you'd say that it's not exactly a huge amount for what is a massive project.
     
  7. 306024

    306024 Established Member

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    Enjoyed the typo, perhaps Brampton would have been a better location. :smile:

    Nothing now up in the air regarding Brantham, is has simply ceased to be. All the excitement seems to surround bi-mode units just now, but the EMU cascade is far more complex to implement.
     
  8. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Hopefully when the new Bombardier stock comes in it will benefit from being a later version of some of the earlier stock that has had problems, like the 707s have been better than the 700s, but saying that, how much of that is down to the trains and how much of that is down to the fact SWT and SWR have a well regarded and experienced engineering team is open to debate.
     
  9. Wivenswold

    Wivenswold Established Member

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    Ha, yes, still waking up, I should know better, it's about 7 miles from my house.

    That site is, by the way, where Margaret Thatcher had her first post-grad job as a Chemist. Given her attitude towards public transport I wonder if it was haunted and therefore doomed from the off.
     
  10. GB

    GB Established Member

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    By "little used" and "adjacent" do you mean the old container terminal between Harwich International and Harwich Town? I have heard rumblings of GA wanting to take over the freight and carriage sidings west of the station but these are currently in constant use by FOCs and NR's HOBC/TRS trains.
     
  11. HH

    HH Established Member

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    I also had my doubts from the original announcement. As bid it required a heroic effort and everything to go right. Already several things have gone wrong; it doesn't take a genius to expect further mishaps.

    I know both Mike Kean and Ian McConnell. Mike is the type of guy who is full of self-confidence and will tell you everything is going great. Ian is more of a worrier and always expects things to go wrong. I know which one I'd rather have in charge of a project.
     
  12. Wivenswold

    Wivenswold Established Member

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    Ian sounds more like the type to face the issues head on then. Which is a good sign. What they really need to be doing is admitting there are concerns to DfT and getting a plan of action ready. Hopefully that is going on in the background. It's easier to sell "We've avoided issues by making temporary fixes" to customers than it coming out later that the issues were inevitable and nothing was done (as is the case with GTR).
     
  13. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    If Ian is the kind of person to worry it means that he's also likely to be the kind of person who is more likely to think of what can cause a fire and how to prevent them to happen, rather than the approach of someone who says that nothing will catch fire and when it does then having to put it out.

    Whilst you need positivity to a degree in a major project like this to rally the troops and make them believe in what is happening, you also need to be realistic to the problems that are on the horizon rather than saying that everything will be alright when there are clear signs it won't be. Best to admit the issues and face them head on than be in denial.
     
  14. 306024

    306024 Established Member

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    It has been well documented that these new trains don’t fit (for various reasons) without some minor or sometimes major work in various locations. All of which points to total fleet renewal taking longer than originally envisaged by the blue sky thinkers. Just what damage that does to the finances is one for the new Financial Director to get to grips with.

    MK may not have been a worrier, but it’s probably now safe to reveal he was rather concerned when told on 1st April a Roman settlement had been found in the early days of excavation at Brantham. Or so the story goes.
     
  15. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Yeah, I did hear that Golton had left and was replaced by Dolphin a little while back.

    Lets hope he lasts longer at Greater Anglia than he did at Northern, although I believe that it may have been an interim post there from what I have heard?

    The fact there's been a few senior management departures recently, as well as a few people jumping ship in middle management roles in the last little while is an ominous sign though.
     
  16. 306024

    306024 Established Member

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    Just Googled ‘Dolphin Greater Anglia’. All it shows is a stairlift, or a sighting off the Suffolk Coast :)
     
  17. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Matt Dolphin is the new Greater Anglia Finance Director, he was appointed in October I believe and was previously at Northern Rail and had a long history in British Airways prior to that.
     
  18. HH

    HH Established Member

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    Ah, so he's not the same Matt Dolphin that had a string of FD roles in East Anglian Bus Companies.

    Must be a shoal of Dolphin Accountants in Essex waters...
     
  19. nesw

    nesw Member

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    There’s also ‘talk’ of more voluntary redundancies happening early next year, once again management roles are being targeted.
     
  20. 306024

    306024 Established Member

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    LinkedIn suggests he could be. FD at First Essex buses at the turn of the century before an excursion into the airline industry with BA. Would have been around during the First Great Eastern era.

    And according to www.dolphins-world.com, it’s a pod or occasionally a school of dolphins ;)
     
  21. MrPIC

    MrPIC Member

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    2019 is certainly going to be an interesting time across the GA area. I've got my popcorn machine set up already
     
  22. 47421

    47421 Member

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    TSR2 is due May 19, only minor enhancements per below. Anyone know if GA is bidding for any of these?

    I am a WestAnglia commuter and have been following progress at GA. Agree it is not looking good at all. While Abellio have been franchisee since 2012 they have not introduced any new trains nor has there been any major timetable changes. Prospects of them successfully introducing 100+ new trains and recasting all the services into LivSt in next 18 months or so seems remote.

    The logistics of introducing all the trains are clearly very onerous - just completing the fault free running to have them accepted will need hundreds of driver shifts. Then there is all the training requirement.

    NR has not published its CP 6 enhancements program or any other info to indicate whether the platform extensions required under the Franchise Agreement by 1 Sept 2018 will ever be done. As others have noted unless the work is done Manningtree Harwich shuttle and [Walton] Wickford Southminster shuttle cannot go over to 720s using the bays, and if no work at Hertford East will be 5 car 720s only.

    And this is before taking into account the obvious financial strain that GA is under with the significant drawdown of shareholder support already and more expected this year. Shareholder guarantee is £272m, £80m drawn in Jan / Aug 2018, at this rate GA has a good chance of running out of money like VTEC did.

    TSR2 enhancements are:
    - Hertford East 2TPH to 3TPH off peak only
    - Southend Vic 3TPh to 4TPH off peak only
    - Norwich Cambridge hourly extended to Stansted Airport all day
    - LivSt Ipswich hourly semifast extended to Norwich all day
    - introduction of STAR​
     
    Last edited: 10 Dec 2018
  23. TubeMapCentral

    TubeMapCentral Member

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    Walton to Southminster shuttle, is that a boat? Sorry!
     
  24. Wivenswold

    Wivenswold Established Member

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    The Southminster branch could feasibly run on to the siding on the London side of Wickford. The 360s are on lease until later in 2020 so there will be 4 car units available for a while yet. I seem to recall that First Great Eastern cleared the 360s for the Southminster branch but not down to Southend Vic. That last bit was based on info I saw back in 2003 though so it may not have happened in the end.
     
  25. samuelmorris

    samuelmorris Established Member

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    Probably nothing to do with how ambitious the bid was - The Aventra programme as a whole is well behind and if a 720 has entered service by Autumn 2020 I'll be stunned. The Stadler units seem to be progressing nicely so far and while it's early days and much could yet go wrong, I'm not too worried about them, other than that as we know, 321s are likely to be deputising for 745s a lot due to the lack of 745/0s ordered for Norwich services. (I say 321s as I think at this point it's almost a foregone conclusion that the 745s will be in service before enough 720s are running to consider borrowing any).

    The one thing (apart from the Aventra delay which will hit lots of TOCs with LO already hurting, SWR yet to come, and LNWR and C2C will eventually feel it too) that really has me concerned is the Brantham depot debacle. Quite how the new stock is to be supported without it is still a mystery to me. Fortunately, at current rate of progress it'll be a long time yet before there are many extra units to look after. That plus the franchise operator hemorrhaging money of course!
     
  26. eastdyke

    eastdyke Established Member

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    It was the sidings to the west of the station, 'little used' was a rather loose term - anything in short supply is likely to become regarded as a priceless asset :)
     
  27. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    2012-2016 do not count. Greater Anglia in it's current full term franchise is only just over two years old.
     
  28. 47421

    47421 Member

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    How do you think they are doing under the current franchise? Which bits of TSR2 do you expect to see delivered in May 19? Do you think GA has the management capability and staff to commission all the new trains in the next 12 months? Do you think the current rate of cash burn is going to get worse or better? Do you think they have got the money to pay for the platform extension work required under the Franchise Agreement?

    Personally I think the fact they have never faced any real challenges around new trains or new timetables in the short franchises is relevant to their ability to deliver those things now. But we will see next year what GA are capable of. May 19 timetable a good test - changes are relatively small with no change to peak timetable at LivSt - so they really ought to be able to deliver them, unless Network Rail have warned them off?
     
  29. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    I wouldn't like to comment on the financial situation as it's not really something I have much knowledge or follow to be honest.

    As for commissioning the new fleets & driver training tthey are more than capable from what I've seen from my experience on the Stadler area of operation. I cannot comment on the Bombardier 720 side of things but the building of those does seem to be meeting with delay.
     
  30. hooverboy

    hooverboy Member

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    good and bad sides to each management style.
    the self confident type are good at motivation,and also quite good at pick-me ups from bad situations.....but bad at spotting the unattainable and usually unwilling to scale back their optimism....leading to missed targets,disappointed clients etc

    the worrier type will generally set an "under the bar" target and most of the time meet it....however this does not sit well with investors/shareholders etc who are hardwired to see over-optimistic goals,and want them achieved.
    the main beneficiary in GA's case would be the commuter,because the PR has not been in overdrive and they will get most if not all what is promised.

    the problem here would be less funding from the spivs in the city in the first place,which would have led to a more conservative purchase and roll-out of new stock/diagrams.
     
  31. aylesbury

    aylesbury On Moderation

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    Every new train is subject to delays what is happening to cause this ,bad design ,construction and add to this the network is not even ready for them.Its not this franchise its spread over many and taking a franchise back will not help, Anglia is part of a well run company but is definitely not functioning well WHY.?
     

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