Greater Western Franchise post 2013?

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by charlee, 24 Oct 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. charlee

    charlee Member

    Messages:
    160
    Joined:
    14 Sep 2011
    Location:
    Plymouth
    Is it fair to say that with the tender process of the Greater Western franchise for 2013 onwards, that First will be the ultimate winner in the end? Or is it fair game? I dont see how they would risk losing the franchise by this course of action to have more long term goals and aims only for it to be nabbed by say Stagecoach or someone. WHen doe sthis process open up, i suppose sometime next year.
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. Tomonthetrain

    Tomonthetrain Established Member

    Messages:
    1,290
    Joined:
    12 Jul 2011
    To be honest (with a bit of bias) I wouldn't mind seeing National Express bid.
     
  4. fgwrich

    fgwrich Established Member

    Messages:
    4,952
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2009
    Location:
    Between Edinburgh and Exeter
    With the investment and huge amount of improvement put into the Greater Western franchise by First, then im definatly up for them to retain it!

    Ok, so back in 2006, things got off to one heck of a shaky start, not helped by the DfTs removal of at least 12 150s(ATW), 4 153s (Storage, then EMT) And at least 12 158s (Various) - no one can doubt that, but thanks to the hard work put into the franchise by the likes of Andrew Haines & Mark Hopwood & Co, they have certainly turned around what was one of the worst perfoming franchises in the UK into one of the best.

    Plus, there's another reason as to why id be happy to see First retain the franchise - The Night Rivera sleeper - Which is probably the best it's ever been, both in terms of patronage and quality, and remember back in 2006, Only First Group were the ones to speak up and say we'll keep it! Ok, so the Plymouth portion had to be dropped, but it's still here! Which, i seem to recall, that there was no mention of it from NX, and would be under review by Slavecoach...

    In fact, looking back to 2006 & having just come back from a weekend in the west country, things are soooo much better under FGW than they were with Wessex - Better timetables, better standard of rolling stock thanks to the complete fleet refurbishment (Heck, even FGWs 142s arnt that bad inside thanks to the 'refreshment'!), Better puntuality...

    As for NX taking it on...After NXs Shambolic fall from grace and the way East Anglia is 'being run' - No Thanks!

    But with the continuing improvements to the franchise and the plans for the future - I'd say that the GWML's future looks likely to be safe under First for the next few years! Afterall, How many other franchises would the DfT let bring in the likes of the 180s, and possible Mk3 rebuilding (Buffet to standard), with less than 2 years to go on the clock?

    First may have made mistakes on the GWML over the years, but theyve certainly made up for them through had work and an Enterprising nature! :)

    (Potentially a contrversial post, but heck! Looking up the likes of the competition, and as the power car is named, First for the Future!)
     
  5. heenan73

    heenan73 Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    5 Oct 2011
    Location:
    Canterbury, UK
    There's no way to know; First have lost very successful franchises before, while they've hung on the others where logic suggests they'd lose them.

    I'd guess that they are favorites, for two reasons:

    1. First are the kind of company that DaFT likes; little fuss and scandal, and where there is a fuss, make the right noises. Plus (of course) financially they deliver the goods.

    2. There's no obvious rival; sure there'll be stiff competition on the day, but GWR is a unique mix of Intercity, interurban and rural; not quite commuter country (Govia), not quite Virgin country, or even Stagecoach. Plus there's the electrification going on.

    While it's (very) early days to be guessing, I'd go for (1) First, (2) Abellio, (3) NatEx

    But there could be wildcards; RATP, SNCF ... and you can never rule out DB Arriva, these days.
     
  6. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,179
    Joined:
    19 Aug 2008
    Location:
    South Wales
    My money will be on first wining the next franchise. As other had said there have been problems sadly i think FGW got a lot of the blame for something that wasnt really their fault. However the management have managed to turn things around and are still trying to sort problems out.

    An example being trying to get the class 180's back for services from London Paddington - Oxford/Wrocester etc.

    The proposal to use the 2 non standard class 150's on the Reading - Bassingstoke line to free up 2 class 165's to boost capacity on other services around the Thames valley.

    I think a lot of praise has to be given to the management of first great western they have managed to turn the franchise around. The way they have managed to boost passenger numbers on the night riviera sleeper service I think is another sucess.
     
  7. richw

    richw Established Member

    Messages:
    7,660
    Joined:
    10 Jun 2010
    Location:
    Liskeard
    I cant see them awarding it to stagecoach, on the basis they operate Waterloo-SW services, and in any other industry that would breach the government set competition rules. (or Whatever they call it) where the same company cant have total domination)

    NX no chance after the shambles of the EC and Anglia.

    SNCF, several of their subsideries are in severe financial difficulty (Sea France being the biggest one that springs to mind), so is that a sensible choice?

    I honestly cant say a bad word against First Great Western at the moment. There customer service is excellent in my opinion. I sent a question about part of their service, along with a suggestion to improve this area, and they sent me a voucher, despite not wishing for them. The letter said they were in thanks for assisting them in research, and helping develop their customer service! I personally can't see how my letter was either of these. I only questioned what products should be available complimentary in first, as it seemed to vary every time i travel. I asked if there was anyway to know in advance whats available on each service, as it doesnt seem to be available in public.
     
  8. burneside

    burneside Member

    Messages:
    212
    Joined:
    12 Sep 2011
    Location:
    Isle of Dogs, London
    You must be joking! When I visit my family in Dawlish I am appalled by the risible local FGW service. They use clapped out rolling stock imported from the north west (which initially had the original destination indicators, "Rochdale" means nothing to people in Devon), and spruced up upholstery doesn't count for much when passengers are squeezed into a two car train that really should be four! FGW has failed miserably in the west country and does not deserve a second chance.
     
    Last edited: 24 Oct 2011
  9. FrozenPoints

    FrozenPoints Member

    Messages:
    94
    Joined:
    2 Jan 2011
    You seem a little hysteric, or even familiar with the rail infrastructure.

    Rolling stock is in finite supply and although I'm not FGW biggest fans, they've made the best of a uphill job, and getting much better...than back in the day.
     
  10. fgwrich

    fgwrich Established Member

    Messages:
    4,952
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2009
    Location:
    Between Edinburgh and Exeter
    Sadly so...And of course First could be running, and improving the Eastern Anglian mainline now if the GB Railways takeover had gone to plan* - that and First's highly sucessfull and award winning Great Eastern franchises of course went over to NX's 'ONE' when the franchise was relet, and now look at the state that's in - hardly describeable as a 'franchise'...

    Though as for the Franchises first have lost, apart from First Great Eastern / Anglia Railways, the only other one i can recall is that of First North Western - so really, only 2 possibly 3 franchises lost by First so far, compared to that of the shadow of its former self NX - Wessex Trains (Merged),
    Wales & Borders (lost and merged into ATW),
    Central (Split between London Midland & EMT)
    Midland Mainline (Lost to Stagecoach),
    Scotrail (Lost to First),
    WAGN (Split into WA - 'ONE' & WA into First Capitol Connect - again, lost the bid for)
    Silverlink (North London is now London Overground, Sliverlink County now London Midland),
    Then there's the shambolic short running of East Coast (Now state owned Directly Operated Railways) - the franchise even they knew they couldnt afford, and now at last, East Anglia breaks free from the NX Shackles (Soon to of course, be Abellio East Anglia)...Leaving NX With only one, rather isolated franchise in the form of not so bad C2C...

    As for the other potential bidders:

    Stagecoach - Bit of an outside chance, but arnt afraid to upset the applecart within the Dft. Simular Franchise operation to EMT with the mix of Intercity, interurban and rural...

    DB / Arriva - Perfomance wise, a pretty mixed bag - ATW & AXC, But i just don't think they really have the 'ompf' to take on such a mighty mixed franchise...And Despite Arriva's operations portfolio now unfortunatly including Chiltern, even Chiltern themselves don't seem to be what they used to be...

    Govia - Potentially too much for them?

    The outside shots could, as you say be Abellio & SNCF - But the pair of them would need to prove that they could sucessfully run a fairly demanding UK Franchise...

    We shall see!

    *For those of you not so in the know, GB Railways owned and operated Anglia Railways, Hull Trains and GB Railfreight before First Groups purchase in 2004.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Ah, but whose fault was both the condition of the stock when it first arrived? And whose fault was it requiring the use of the 142s on the devon metro?

    Answers A - Northern, And B - The Dft - Don't forget that almost as soon as the franchise started, FGW had to put up with a fairly substantial fleet reduction because of the actions of our wonderfull Dft, who ultimatly decided that FGW didn't need 12 150s (Exeter based), 4 153s (Exeter Based) and 12 or more 158s (Then exeter based too!)...With really, the only increases in the fleet over the past few years into FGWs West Fleet has been:

    1x 153 From ATW 2007
    12x Class 142 {Now reduced to 7} On loan from Northern Rail via Dft to replace some of the lost fleet. (Includes several class 142s formerally stored by Northern at Blackpool) - Now under replacement 2 at a time by ex LM Class 150s
    2x 150/1 From London Overground 2008
    6x 150/1 From London Overground 2010
    2x 153 From London Midland 2011
    9x 150/1 From London Midland 2011 - Both Ex LM Fleets Delayed by the late delivery of the Class 172 Fleets to London Midland,

    So to be fair, whilst the 142s may or may not be ideal, they where hardly FGWs choice - And at least you have a half hourly service to Dawlish! Don't forget too, that FGW Has 'Refreshed' the 142s out of their own money just to try to bring the things up to some level of standards!

    Afterall, if you want spruced up upholstery...Try This, Oh look, It's Northern Rail again - Whats changed from FNW, The seat covers!...

    http://www.gbrailwayworld.co.uk/Tra...-Interiors/16769687_w7zVfv#1412339279_z374sGq

    Now this is worth a read!
    http://www.northernrailways.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=780

    The 'refreshed' interior of 142029
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dxr7rYnBD68

    But please bear in mind, that the 142 Fleet was only brought into FGWs fleet with very little choice whatsover, and that they are temporary! And, out of their own pocket, FGWs mods have included: Interior deep clean, Full Interior panels repainted, Repainted doors / door upgrades and Yes, repaded & re-upholsted seat covers!

    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Me? Possibly because im tired, possibly because i would have been working for them had things worked out, partly because im friends with a fair few FGW staff, and partly because, i believe that really, they are vastly becoming one of the few credible TOCs left - Management has turned the franchise Up, Whereas for example, the likes of Arriva / NX seem to be bringing franchises down...

    But also, because of the amount of energy, Enterprising nature that unlike some TOCs, FGW shows strongly in - the potential use of the 150/0s on Reading - Basing to bolster up 165s for the thames valley being an example!
     
    Last edited: 24 Oct 2011
  11. richw

    richw Established Member

    Messages:
    7,660
    Joined:
    10 Jun 2010
    Location:
    Liskeard
    As you are probably aware, FGW do not have control over their trains and amount of them, this is down to DfT ,

    Again FGW do not have the rolling stock to put a 4 car service on no matter how much they'd like to due to the DfT not prepared to allow them sufficient coaching stock.

    as someone who commutes daily in Devon and Cornwall, i am very satisfied with the service provided. the staff are amongst the friendliest (barring the odd 1 or 2). I'll be quite happy to see the franchise retained by First.
     
  12. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

    Messages:
    8,429
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2008
    Really ?? I think FGW could do so much more with what they have, and if you saw the amount of changes they throw at us during the timetable periods you would sometimes wonder if they can make their minds up !
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    They will bid, and won't want to make the mistake again of missing on out pre-qualifying like they did on the WCML.
     
  13. heenan73

    heenan73 Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    5 Oct 2011
    Location:
    Canterbury, UK
    A couple of points so that this doesn't look too much like the FGW fan club:

    1. Stock levels (and therefore overcrowding) are outside the TOCS control - DaFT decides.

    2. Similar for timetable - not really FGW control.

    3. FGW's sprucing & refreshing left right and centre may not help them keep the franchise - in fact, it can hurt their chances.

    FGW don't pay directly for the work, the ROSCO does (after all, they own the things!). But the ROSCO gets its cash back by increasing the leasing charges on renewal (ie for the next fanchisee), or sooner (ie if first asked for extras, they'll have agreed to pay higher rental for them).

    All this means that by cleverly doing all this late in the franchise means FGW gets the kudos for doing it (see above posts), but has little to pay, as the franchise is ending. The NEW franchise applicants (FGW and whoever) knows these costs, and so adds a bit to their bid to cover it. So ultimately, DaFT is the loser. And DaFT don't like losin'
     
  14. 87015

    87015 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,059
    Joined:
    3 Mar 2006
    Location:
    GEML/WCML/SR
    If it was as successful as is being made out, it wouldn't be in revenue support. Either on the floor or in the bid someone has dropped the ball there.

    If c2c is rated as 'not so bad' that makes GW performance abysmal surely??!!
     
  15. curly42

    curly42 Member

    Messages:
    700
    Joined:
    23 May 2008
    As someone very closely involved in the F.G.W./Wessex merger back in 2006,I have to say that there's a lot of history being re-written in this thread.
    It was an absolute disaster for quite a while,but the blame has been carefully shifted,and rumour has become fact.
    The sooner First lose the franchise the better.
     
  16. ACE1888

    ACE1888 Member

    Messages:
    823
    Joined:
    2 Apr 2011
    Location:
    Penzance, Cornwall
    First have, overall, done a decent job down this way IMHO, spectacular? No, but with the Rolling stock 'constraints' previously mentioned, not too bad at all. But with the Franchise 'process' who knows??:roll:
     
  17. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,802
    Joined:
    22 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Mold, Clwyd
    Not so. Franchises are not inter-competitive, otherwise you would never get adjacent franchises operated by the same parent (eg Merseyrail/Northern today, or many of the early NX franchises).

    Stagecoach could get GW just as First could get SW.

    In any case, First's big test will be on the WC bid.
    That may show us whether DfT is still miffed at First forcing an early rebid on a GW franchise that is in revenue support.
     
  18. charlee

    charlee Member

    Messages:
    160
    Joined:
    14 Sep 2011
    Location:
    Plymouth
    Do you think it would essentailly be better if they resplit into two franchises again? Having Wessex and GW?

    From my recall i remember Wessex getting stick for the franchise they operated, so maybe the Franchise is diffcult to "get right"

    I wasnt a big fan of the franchise merging at first but it seems to have remained the same
     
  19. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

    Messages:
    14,751
    Joined:
    16 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Sheffield
    The current franchise was "front loaded", so that First received money in subsidy during the first few years of the franchise, on the understanding that they'd be paying a premium back to the Government by the end of the franchise.

    Getting out of the franchsie soon (rather than getting it extended) means that First get to keep the subsidy received in the early years but don't have to pay a few more years of "premium" back to the Government.

    Even if it means them losing the franchise earlier than they might have, they are only missing out on a couple of years in which they would have been commited to paying large sums back to the Government - they've picked a good moment to get out!

    Plus, with the complication of Crossrail engineering impacting upon path capacity in the Thames Valley, the next franchise might be quite awkward to run (a delay caused by Crossrail works at Ealing might mean delays in Plymouth...)
     
  20. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

    Messages:
    17,583
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2010
    Southern and Southeastern are another good example of two overlapping franchises held by the same company, and Stagecoach were a shortlisted bidder for Southern at the last competition - and if they'd won they'd have had two that overlapped; so I'd suggest that it isn't an issue for DfT at all.
     
  21. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    16,306
    Joined:
    7 Aug 2005
    Location:
    0035
    I hope that First do win the franchise. Despite their initial problems, they have proven to be a competent operator, have a good standard of customer service, delivered a fairly consistent service and worked very well with stakeholders to deliver improvements.
     
  22. YorkshireBear

    YorkshireBear Established Member

    Messages:
    7,195
    Joined:
    23 Jul 2010
    I second most most of what is being said here. They seem to be doing a good job. I would be interested to see what proposals they have for the future. ie electryfying thames valley branches? What they make of IEP? would they extend any electrification? What they going to do to help DMU capcity around bristol.
     
  23. heenan73

    heenan73 Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    5 Oct 2011
    Location:
    Canterbury, UK
    I doubt DaFT are miffed at that; it was a contractual break point, and whoever had the franchise would have been insane NOT to call it a day, and keep their powder dry for the new contract.

    Although (theoretically) DaFT will consider past performance, the franchise will be won or lost on the business case going forward, not looking back.

    That's how First lost GE, and that's how GNER lost EC - both, as it happens replaced by companies who had made unrealistic profit projections, and both, if I'm not mistaken, owned by NatEX. They are not called DaFT for nothing, don't forget.
     
    Last edited: 25 Oct 2011
  24. Unclepete

    Unclepete Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    18 Oct 2011
    Location:
    Newbury
    Speaking as someone in the GW area, I'd say they were doing a good job with what they have & who can blame them for stopping at the point they have.

    I'm sure they will have a fair idea of what they want to do, should they come out on top when it's relet. Also, would I be right in thinking that one of the things likely to come out of the new franchise agreement/s is for the franchisee to fund any improvements/new stock that maybe required? If so, more 172's could be on the way.....:D
     
  25. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,598
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Redcar
    GNER went down the pan because Sea Containers (the backing company) entered financial difficulties and could no longer meet the premium payments they were supposed to be making to the DfT.

    Essentially the last two ICEC franchises both overbid for the franchise and once the payments started to bite they were unable to make them and failed. Hopefully this will cause the bidders this time round to be a little more cautious.
     
  26. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,179
    Joined:
    19 Aug 2008
    Location:
    South Wales
    Well FGW have said that they would electrify the branchlines to Henley, Marlow, Windsor etc if they win the next GW franchise. I wonder if they may decide to pay for the portishead branch to be re-opened depending on cost.

    As for new stock, maybe but you have to think that there could be a possibility that some class 158's or 170's could be released by scotrail after electrification of the routes between Glasgow & Edinburgh after 2015 so there could be a possibility of them trying to get some although they will be up against a few other operators.

    By all means however if FGW say they want to order some brand new rolling stock then I say let them.

    As for services around Bristol, I and a few others have suggested perhaps using some emu's to work a local stopping service between Bristol TM & Cardiff with an extension to Swansea if the line between Cardiff & Swansea is wired. This should free up 2-3 dmu's which could be used for extra capacity around Bristol.

    I think we will have to really wait what will happen, I cant really see any more dmu's becoming available to boost capacity til at least 2015.
     
  27. charlee

    charlee Member

    Messages:
    160
    Joined:
    14 Sep 2011
    Location:
    Plymouth
    I think with the eltrification that it needs to be extended to Plymouth. Devon and Cornwall are really suffering with this proposal jobs will decline, economy will decrease etc. All of the area is going to suffer due to the goverments lack of sight beyond Exeter, they think the country stops at Exeter! And the extent of railways beyond Exeter after 2015 doesnt bare thinking about.
     
  28. Zoe

    Zoe Established Member

    Messages:
    5,905
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2008
    Plymouth gets an hourly service to London and an hourly Cross Country service to Birmingham. It should also be noted that there are no plans to electrify to Exeter so it's not as though Plymouth is missing out on that. If all intercity trains terminated at Exeter and everyone was forced onto regional DMUs west of there then you'd have a point but this is not the case.
     
  29. Ivo

    Ivo Established Member

    Messages:
    7,308
    Joined:
    8 Jan 2010
    Location:
    Bath (or Southend)
    As said above, there's just no real need to extend to Plymouth. There is a case for at least looking into going as far as Taunton, but even it is unlikely, and once you go beyond it there really is no benefit to be gained from electrifying right through. CrossCountry (and all the Voyagers with pantograph cars malarkey) aside, there is very little traffic that would benefit from wires. Even around Exeter, there might be a case for Exmouth round to Paignton, but that's it - an isolated gimmick that if anything would be hurt by wiring. And then you'd have a whole new argument about the West of England route being ignored again...

    Unless you then do from Newbury right through to Taunton, which is all-but pointless, there wouldn't be any realy benefit in wiring beyond Taunton - and even if there was, at least one of CrossCountry (complete with pantograph malarkey) and B&H trains would be likely to repeatedly alternate between juice and diesel.

    By contrast, going to at least Taunton itself would allow electrification of the Weston stopper (which I would suggest anyway, together with an OHLE link to Yate), and also Cardiff to Taunton. This aside, I just can't see any point.

    I have to say though, I still don't see why Weston wasn't added in for OHLE. They could run one IEP/whatever from London every hour, and have a stopper or two as well.

    Lastly, back to Plymouth. Realistically, unless Cornwall becomes independent, or the day comes that the country is subjected to total wiring (by which time battery/flywheel units will surely be greatly improved), you will not see wires going beyond the Tamar Bridge any time soon.
     
  30. Zoe

    Zoe Established Member

    Messages:
    5,905
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2008
    If you routed all London trains via Bristol which in the future due to higher line speeds may not be any slower than via the Berks and ahnats then there may be a case but there is very little point in going beyond Taunton unless you go all the way to Plymouth unless of course you end the London intercity service at Exeter and get people to use a regional DMU service west of there.
     
  31. Pumbaa

    Pumbaa Established Member

    Messages:
    4,863
    Joined:
    19 Feb 2008
    Glad to see someone has said it, and as usual, everyone else has ignored it!

    Govia only want commuter franchises, so I doubt they'll go for it.

    As much as we all have a pop at Virgin for not wanting to do anything without Govt giving them cash in hand, First are just as bad with the GW franchise. A few people upthread were commending them on spending their own cash on refurbs, b*llocks was it, they wouldn't touch them until the Rosco and DfT had signed on the dotted line.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page