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If Sectorisation ever returned, how would you organise the sectors?

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PTR 444

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I would bring back the Intercity and Network SouthEast brands, but carve up Regional Railways into separate NSE-like operations focused on region so there would be the following:

NETWORK SOUTHEAST: Covering all services that were previously branded as NSE before privatisation, including the Gatwick Express but excluding Weymouth/Exeter/Salisbury - Waterloo, Chiltern north of Banbury and LNWR north of Milton Keynes.

NETWORK SOUTHWEST: Covering all services currently operated by GWR that were formerly part of RR and subsequently Wessex Trains, as well as the SWR services mentioned above.

NETWORK MIDLAND: Covering all services currently operated by WMR as well as XC Cardiff - Nottingham, EMR Crewe - Derby, Chiltern services that operate north of Banbury and LNWR services that operate north of Milton Keynes.

NETWORK EAST: Covering all services operated by Greater Anglia and EMR that were formerly part of RR, excluding Crewe - Derby but including XC Birmingham - Leicester/Stansted.

NETWORK CYMRU: Covering all services currently operated by TfW

NETWORK NORTHWEST: Covering all services currently operated by Merseyrail and Northern that centre around Manchester

NETWORK NORTHEAST: Covering all services currently operated by Northern that centre around Leeds and Newcastle

NETWORK SCOTLAND: Covering all local and regional Scotrail services.

As for INTERCITY, I would have the following services come under the brand:
  • All GWR services that were Intercity in the BR era
  • All Avanti services
  • All EMR services from St Pancras
  • All LNER services
  • GN London - Kings Lynn
  • GA London - Norwich
  • Southeastern High Speed
  • All XC services operated by Voyagers/HSTs
  • All TPE services except for Manchester - Cleethorpes and the Huddersfield stoppers
  • Scotrail Inter7City services
If you were tasked to do the same, what would you do?
 
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SeanG

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Scotrail would surely remain as such a strong brand name
 

HamworthyGoods

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We’ve been through this idea of trying to split up Great Western into Intercity and ‘west’ before and it highlights the efficiency of running it as a complete service - traincrew especially in the south west will work a ‘local’ service one way and ‘intercity’ service another way. A prime example is in the high summer when the local Newquay to Par service becomes a through London service and yet all year round it can now be worked by the same traincrew on the ‘branch’

You also have local services run with ‘intercity’ rolling stock.

I don’t understand why you would wish to remove the efficiencies that have been gained by reversing the former sectorisation back to a regional operation.

Carving Scotrail into two would have similar inefficiencies. We are trying to improve the efficiency of the railway not make it worse.
 

PTR 444

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What would become of the Manchester-Cleethorpes services out of curiosity?
It would probably become part of my “Network Northeast” as most of the route lies in the Yorkshire & Humber region.

We’ve been through this idea of trying to split up Great Western into Intercity and ‘west’ before and it highlights the efficiency of running it as a complete service - traincrew especially in the south west will work a ‘local’ service one way and ‘intercity’ service another way. A prime example is in the high summer when the local Newquay to Par service becomes a through London service and yet all year round it can now be worked by the same traincrew on the ‘branch’

You also have local services run with ‘intercity’ rolling stock.

I don’t understand why you would wish to remove the efficiencies that have been gained by reversing the former sectorisation back to a regional operation.

Carving Scotrail into two would have similar inefficiencies. We are trying to improve the efficiency of the railway not make it worse.
Okay I see. Maybe a better idea would be to just use those names as brands on a nationalised network rather than them being affiliated with the entire operations and staffing.
 
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Peregrine 4903

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Just divide it up based on the current Network Rail regions, if you were going to do sectorisation again.
 

43096

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I don’t understand why you would wish to remove the efficiencies that have been gained by reversing the former sectorisation back to a regional operation.
Because you could then provide InterCity rolling stock for InterCity services with InterCity comfort and InterCity facilities rather than using units with SouthEast commuter/Regional facilities like we have now.
 

HamworthyGoods

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Because you could then provide InterCity rolling stock for InterCity services with InterCity comfort and InterCity facilities rather than using units with SouthEast commuter/Regional facilities like we have now.

At massively increased cost....
 

Clansman

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Aside from one or two questionable examples down London way, the current TOC boundaries and brands aren't that bad.

At the very least, further sectorisation should leave ScotRail and TfW well enough alone. Returning the 'Intercity' and 'Network' brands just seem like rationalisations for the mess of England's current structure of TOCs. It's gotten better over the years in all fairness with brand rationalisations here and there (GWR, London Overground, and Thameslink spring to mind), but it baffles me as to why you'd want to include ScotRail and TfW in any such attempt to banner regional and intercity services together UK wide.

After all, sectorisation involves integrating TOCs or services under the same branding. Ironically with Scotland and Wales you'd be doing the opposite and carving it up!
 

Purple Orange

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I think it is important to distinguish between branding and operating structures. People say GWR is the most efficient model for the south west, but that does not mean that two brands can’t operate within that structure. Branding is very helpful from a passenger perspective, which might work for defined Intercity routes. In fact ‘Intercity’ may not be the best brand name.

Also the franchise system is changing therefore the operating structures could be changed completely and we don’t know what length of contract the DfT is seeking to award. It might be that they go for consistent branding across certain types of operation.
 

CBlue

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Because you could then provide InterCity rolling stock for InterCity services with InterCity comfort and InterCity facilities rather than using units with SouthEast commuter/Regional facilities like we have now.

Which is all well and good, but certainly until COVID hit some "Intercity" routes have commuter stock on them due to required capacity. Kings Lynn - Kings Cross is a good example of this - and does a 40 minute journey from Cambridge to King's Cross really need any of the frills associated with such branding?
 

43096

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Which is all well and good, but certainly until COVID hit some "Intercity" routes have commuter stock on them due to required capacity. Kings Lynn - Kings Cross is a good example of this - and does a 40 minute journey from Cambridge to King's Cross really need any of the frills associated with such branding?
By InterCity I'm generally referring to services formerly operated by BR's InterCity sector - Cambridge/Kings Lynn is firmly Network SouthEast territory.
 

Sad Sprinter

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Whilst I think NSE is a must, I'm torn between seperating Intercity and RR or to merge RR and Intercity together in the style of EMR.

This didn't happen in the 80s of course, due to the fashion of worrying about branding at the time and attracting customers from cars. Having a strong Intercity brand is less important now I think.
 

CBlue

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By InterCity I'm generally referring to services formerly operated by BR's InterCity sector - Cambridge/Kings Lynn is firmly Network SouthEast territory.


Apologies! I meant to quote the original post above yours that suggested the King's Lynn service become part of an InterCity sector.

I'm sure the Swallow livery wouldn't really fit well on an Electrostar...
 

175mph

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I would bring back the Intercity and Network SouthEast brands, but carve up Regional Railways into separate NSE-like operations focused on region so there would be the following:

NETWORK SOUTHEAST: Covering all services that were previously branded as NSE before privatisation, including the Gatwick Express but excluding Weymouth/Exeter/Salisbury - Waterloo, Chiltern north of Banbury and LNWR north of Milton Keynes.

NETWORK SOUTHWEST: Covering all services currently operated by GWR that were formerly part of RR and subsequently Wessex Trains, as well as the SWR services mentioned above.

NETWORK MIDLAND: Covering all services currently operated by WMR as well as XC Cardiff - Nottingham, EMR Crewe - Derby, Chiltern services that operate north of Banbury and LNWR services that operate north of Milton Keynes.

NETWORK EAST: Covering all services operated by Greater Anglia and EMR that were formerly part of RR, excluding Crewe - Derby but including XC Birmingham - Leicester/Stansted.

NETWORK CYMRU: Covering all services currently operated by TfW

NETWORK NORTHWEST: Covering all services currently operated by Merseyrail and Northern that centre around Manchester

NETWORK NORTHEAST: Covering all services currently operated by Northern that centre around Leeds and Newcastle

NETWORK SCOTLAND: Covering all local and regional Scotrail services.

As for INTERCITY, I would have the following services come under the brand:
  • All GWR services that were Intercity in the BR era
  • All Avanti services
  • All EMR services from St Pancras
  • All LNER services
  • GN London - Kings Lynn
  • GA London - Norwich
  • Southeastern High Speed
  • All XC services operated by Voyagers/HSTs
  • All TPE services except for Manchester - Cleethorpes and the Huddersfield stoppers
  • Scotrail Inter7City services
If you were tasked to do the same, what would you do?
Would HS2 when it's eventually operational come under the Intercity sector or a sector of it's own?
 

Logan Carroll

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I don’t think bringing back any old BR sectors would be a good idea...

It would only cause confusion with modern rail users and it would probably be a better to have everything under one “national rail” identity.

Would HS2 when it's eventually operational come under the Intercity sector or a sector of it's own?
The intercity brand would probably be phased out in place of HS2
 

Purple Orange

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I don’t think bringing back any old BR sectors would be a good idea...

It would only cause confusion with modern rail users and it would probably be a better to have everything under one “national rail” identity.


The intercity brand would probably be phased out in place of HS2

I doubt but there will be a HS2 branded service. Nor do I expect that the trains will be branded with anything that relates to British Rail. It is plausible to have one brand that covers all HS2 services and NPR, or a common brand with variations.
 

The Ham

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I doubt but there will be a HS2 branded service. Nor do I expect that the trains will be branded with anything that relates to British Rail. It is plausible to have one brand that covers all HS2 services and NPR, or a common brand with variations.

Indeed, even Crossrail is being branded the Elizabeth Line.

I do however think that HS2 services would make a good fit being branded as InterCity if that brand was to be brought back (that's not too say that it would, just that it would carry most of the old InterCity network passengers, as most of the rest would be those on the likes of XC and GWR).

There could be a case for adding XC to the InterCity brand (although there's an argument for not, such as making it easier to identify fast and semi fast services at several key locations), however for most of the rest (such as GWR) having the regional brand makes more sense.

Depending on what NPR looks like there's likely to be some services which would fit into the InterCity brand but others which might not.

HS East (London - York via Cambridge) and HS South (London - Southampton/South West/South Wales) and HS West (Birmingham - South West/South Wales) could add further InterCity services and remove more of the XC services (to be replaced by HS services beyond the cores).
 

ac6000cw

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Don't forget that BR's sectors were much more than train operators - they had financial responsibility for infrastructure as well. The 'branding' was the public/marketing face of sectorisation, but the 'Organising for Quality' re-organisation of BR was also about getting more transparency on revenue and costs e.g. so that infrastructure costs were properly allocated to the services that used it, enabling better decision making.

So if you wanted to to do a BR-style re-sectorisation the of railway, you'd have to include Network Rail in the re-organisation as well i.e. make the Sectors 'king' with NR as a sub-contractor to them.
 

Merle Haggard

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Don't forget that BR's sectors were much more than train operators - they had financial responsibility for infrastructure as well. The 'branding' was the public/marketing face of sectorisation, but the 'Organising for Quality' re-organisation of BR was also about getting more transparency on revenue and costs e.g. so that infrastructure costs were properly allocated to the services that used it, enabling better decision making.

So if you wanted to to do a BR-style re-sectorisation the of railway, you'd have to include Network Rail in the re-organisation as well i.e. make the Sectors 'king' with NR as a sub-contractor to them.


Indeed.

Sectorisation's aim was to make British Rail's operations market-led rather than production-led. A criticism often made of British Rail(ways) was that it was entirely production-led.

It does seem to me that, with Network Rail seeming to have become the arbiter of so much policy, we have returned to a production-led industry.

It's noticeable that, on this Forum, suggestions about possible service improvements are often strongly countered by the view that they would be difficult or complicated for the engineering or operations functions, conforming the prevalence of the production-led view; and the Network Rail perspective seems to be dominant over that of the business (TOC) organisations.

But that's just my opinion, but working in Railfreight, and finding the difficulties raised by the production departments tiresome, did help to form it.
 

Purple Orange

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Indeed, even Crossrail is being branded the Elizabeth Line.

I do however think that HS2 services would make a good fit being branded as InterCity if that brand was to be brought back (that's not too say that it would, just that it would carry most of the old InterCity network passengers, as most of the rest would be those on the likes of XC and GWR).

There could be a case for adding XC to the InterCity brand (although there's an argument for not, such as making it easier to identify fast and semi fast services at several key locations), however for most of the rest (such as GWR) having the regional brand makes more sense.

Depending on what NPR looks like there's likely to be some services which would fit into the InterCity brand but others which might not.

HS East (London - York via Cambridge) and HS South (London - Southampton/South West/South Wales) and HS West (Birmingham - South West/South Wales) could add further InterCity services and remove more of the XC services (to be replaced by HS services beyond the cores).

Let’s say HS2 was branded as Intercity (or any common brandname). I’d expect any service that uses Curzon Street, the 11 Euston HS2 platforms and Piccadilly’s 6 HS2 platforms to be incorporated. The NPR trains (that will likely still use the existing TransPennine route through Huddersfield) will also be long distance services to Newcastle & Edinburgh from Lime Street or even starting in at Curzon Street and it makes sense to include them in the branding. The same with Paddington to Bristol, South Wales, Oxford, Cheltenham & Cornwall. The purpose of these services are the same as HS2 - connect people over long distances.

I wouldn’t include any long distance London bound trains that use the WCML, MML or ECML as these will be explicitly slower and stop at far more stations than they currently do. They will be more like Chiltern or LNW. The reminamts of XC will probably not work under the brand for the same reason.
 

43096

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Let’s say HS2 was branded as Intercity (or any common brandname). I’d expect any service that uses Curzon Street, the 11 Euston HS2 platforms and Piccadilly’s 6 HS2 platforms to be incorporated. The NPR trains (that will likely still use the existing TransPennine route through Huddersfield) will also be long distance services to Newcastle & Edinburgh from Lime Street or even starting in at Curzon Street and it makes sense to include them in the branding. The same with Paddington to Bristol, South Wales, Oxford, Cheltenham & Cornwall. The purpose of these services are the same as HS2 - connect people over long distances.

I wouldn’t include any long distance London bound trains that use the WCML, MML or ECML as these will be explicitly slower and stop at far more stations than they currently do. They will be more like Chiltern or LNW. The reminamts of XC will probably not work under the brand for the same reason.
You could follow the DB route and use InterCity Express for the HS2 services.
 

Energy

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I would have 3 brands, Network, Metro and Express (Intercity brings back BR a bit too much).

Metro - local area ones like WM Metro (West Midlands), SW Metro (South Wales), MS Metro (Merseyside, basically what Merseyrail is).
Express - longer distance services, Express West (GWR long distance), Express North West (Avanti), Express North East (LNER), Express Country (XC) but also Express Pennine (TPE services which have limited stops).
Network - middle sort of ones such as Network West Midlands (LNWR), Network East (non-intercity Greater Anglia), Network West (non-intercity GWR)

However, these sections would be contracted out to be run by private companies to try and gain the efficiencies and value for money from companies competing for the lowest price but also for the best customer experience. I think BR struggled from a lack of competition, people couldn't just go on another companies train and the government couldn't pick another operator. For private companies to win the concession/contract they have to compete by customer satisfaction as well as price.

The bidding for these sections isn't completely separate either, the current GWR arrangement works well so the contract may be for both Network West and Express West, both would be operated by the same company and people just with 2 different brands.
 

30907

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I would have 3 brands, Network, Metro and Express (Intercity brings back BR a bit too much).

Metro - local area ones like WM Metro (West Midlands), SW Metro (South Wales), MS Metro (Merseyside, basically what Merseyrail is).
Express - longer distance services, Express West (GWR long distance), Express North West (Avanti), Express North East (LNER), Express Country (XC) but also Express Pennine (TPE services which have limited stops).
Network - middle sort of ones such as Network West Midlands (LNWR), Network East (non-intercity Greater Anglia), Network West (non-intercity GWR)

However, these sections would be contracted out to be run by private companies to try and gain the efficiencies and value for money from companies competing for the lowest price but also for the best customer experience. I think BR struggled from a lack of competition, people couldn't just go on another companies train and the government couldn't pick another operator. For private companies to win the concession/contract they have to compete by customer satisfaction as well as price.

The bidding for these sections isn't completely separate either, the current GWR arrangement works well so the contract may be for both Network West and Express West, both would be operated by the same company and people just with 2 different brands.
I was working tentatively on similar lines but would have a category for Community Railways (ie lines outside major conurbations/in shire counties), in which I would put your Networks East and West. The concessions for these would have their own set of specifications (which would include a tourism focus), but would not necessarily have different operators from the Metro or Express group.

I would reinstate the IC brand which is widely recognised across Europe, however.

You don't mention the old London and SE area - I would go for two specifications, one Metro and one Regional Express (in German terms, S and RE).

However, there are always going to be issues with borderlines either geographical or specification - e.g. where do the Sussex Coastway services fit in?
 

Purple Orange

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I like the express moniker, but I don't see why it needs to be regionalised from a branding perspective. We are a small country. Incorporating a reference to Britain or the United Kingdom may go down well. Not British Rail though.
 

Gareth

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I'm more into regions with vertical integration - not that any system will ever be truly perfect.

Also, leave Merseyrail alone, please.
 

Energy

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I'm more into regions with vertical integration - not that any system will ever be truly perfect.

Also, leave Merseyrail alone, please.
Yeah Merseyrail is fine, I would just keep it as is but put it under the Metro brand to make it simpler for people to know the UKs system as a whole.

Buses would be similar, all being under a similar brand to Metro (so WM Metro would be WM Bus) and contracts would be awarded by the local authority.
I like the express moniker, but I don't see why it needs to be regionalised from a branding perspective. We are a small country. Incorporating a reference to Britain or the United Kingdom may go down well. Not British Rail though.
The regionalised branding isn't needed, do people like having a bit of regional branding or not? I wouldn't bother putting Britain in the branding, I would hope that people already know the train they are about to board is in Britain otherwise I'd be a bit concerned.
However, there are always going to be issues with borderlines either geographical or specification - e.g. where do the Sussex Coastway services fit in?
I think it is dictated by depots and where staff are based, it is fine if operators go into others regions a bit, for example Network Midlands would go into other regions with the current XC Regional services but the services are still centred around the midlands.
I was working tentatively on similar lines but would have a category for Community Railways (ie lines outside major conurbations/in shire counties), in which I would put your Networks East and West. The concessions for these would have their own set of specifications (which would include a tourism focus), but would not necessarily have different operators from the Metro or Express group.
Include working with Community Rail Organisations as part of the concession.
 

Purple Orange

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@Energy nothing wrong with referencing the country. Scotrail or Transport for Wales is fine. Just like you don't need a northern brand to tell you that you're in the north. Trenitalia works, as does deutsch in DB.
 

Energy

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@Energy nothing wrong with referencing the country. Scotrail or Transport for Wales is fine. Just like you don't need a northern brand to tell you that you're in the north. Trenitalia works, as does deutsch in DB.
Nothing wrong but not necessary, you want to keep away from the BR brand.
 
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