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If TPE and Northern merged...

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HST43257

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Picture the scene: TPE has been let go by First and it, like Northern, comes under the control of the Operator of Last Resort. Northern and TPE could (maybe) merge.

As part of this new venture, I’d split it into sub-operators. What would people think about certain routes into certain groups:

My ideas are:

Express:
TPE + some long distance express Northern routes like Manchester to Barrow/Windermere and York to Blackpool

Metro:
Short distance frequent stopper services like Liverpool to Crewe (via Manchester) and Darlington to Saltburn

Regional:
Long distance stopper services that are often mostly in the countryside like Barrow to Carlisle and Middlesbrough to Whitby.


Thoughts?
 
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AndrewE

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I would oppose any move to create sub-operators or "business units." Why split Express and Regional? Most of those trains should run fast from (e.g.) Manchester and then fit in to the semi-fast or all-stations slot in the timetable at the "outer" end. Liverpool to Crewe via the airport is an appalling compromise anyway, and is 2 services spliced end-to-end which confuses passengers and neither of which should be all-stations, and certainly shouldn't be revealed to the public as a "through" service.

By all means advertise services and even demarcate rolling stock by intended use, but don't encourage small-minded management to protect their own bottom line at the expense of customers disappointed or even abandoned when "the railway" fails to deliver.
Things like traincrew depots where a service is terminated because no locally-employed driver knows the traction, or where the local business unit is looking after its own rather than seeing the bigger picture, are the inevitabole consequence.

If you see an opportunity to put the railway back together then grab it, forget shelling out money to the management accountants.
 

Llandudno

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Jeez, no!

Clapped out 150s would be allocated to Manchester - Edinburgh services!
 

randyrippley

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A more efficient and uniform system that helps different communities and areas receive the benefits they need and not get neglected.
That's not a justification.....it's a meaningless political slogan.
By replacing two business units with three you're actually reducing efficiency by increasing management overhead, and by the same logic the system would be LESS uniform
 

Bletchleyite

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I think you would potentially have three levels of service in a merged TPE-Northern - basically regional, regional express and inter-regional. I don't see a great benefit to doing those as business units, though, they're just categories of service.
 

daodao

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TPE should be abolished, with the WCML services from NW England via Carlisle transferred to the WCML franchise, the Manchester-Cleethorpes service transferred to the EMR franchise, and the services via Standedge transferred to Northern Rail and run as another Northern Connect service.
 

JonathanH

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TPE should be abolished, with the WCML services from NW England via Carlisle transferred to the WCML franchise, the Manchester-Cleethorpes service transferred to the EMR franchise, and the services via Standedge transferred to Northern Rail and run as another Northern Connect service.
...and those services via Standedge should be reduced to a core overlapping high capacity Liverpool to Leeds and Manchester Victoria to York services. York to Middlesbrough, York to Scarborough and Leeds to Hull should be shuttles with York to Newcastle and Edinburgh left to the East Coast franchise.
 

JonathanH

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How does this benefit passengers?
Increased reliability
Matches capacity to the right part of the route
Simplifies the operation
The timetable across the Pennines isn't constrained by the need to fit in with the extremities of the route
 

Purple Orange

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Increased reliability
Matches capacity to the right part of the route
Simplifies the operation
The timetable across the Pennines isn't constrained by the need to fit in with the extremities of the route

Simplifying the networks should be done regardless, but increased reliability and matching capacity to where it is needed is no guarantee.

Take the capacity point - what would you change about TPE & northern services in a merged org?
 

CBlue

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Northern appear to struggle to run the routes they already have without a merger and more timetable changes on top of that.
 

Djgr

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TPE should be abolished, with the WCML services from NW England via Carlisle transferred to the WCML franchise, the Manchester-Cleethorpes service transferred to the EMR franchise, and the services via Standedge transferred to Northern Rail and run as another Northern Connect service.
Is Northern Connect still a thing?
 

37424

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I see no point merging the two, TPE has emerged into a higher quality product rolling stock wise and rightly so, while Northern has gone from utter garbage to poor in the rolling stock stakes, TPE should be a Regional Intercity Service and stay seperate and I would add the Nottingham Liverpool service to it. If it hadn't of been split it would still have been on the same level as Northern.
 

Bletchleyite

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I see no point merging the two, TPE has emerged into a higher quality product rolling stock wise and rightly so, while Northern has gone from utter garbage to poor in the rolling stock stakes, TPE should be a Regional Intercity Service and stay seperate and I would add the Nottingham Liverpool service to it. If it hadn't of been split it would still have been on the same level as Northern.

It might well have got more regional-like DMUs, but I don't see a reason to think that. TPE was always "a cut above", even when it was operated by the utterly awful NorthernSpirit[1] using some very classily-done-out 158s. Whereas, in recent years, under FirstGroup it was pretty dire - overcrowded, lots of staff rudeness (presumably because they didn't like their jobs) and institutionally arrogant - only with the coming of "First TPE Mk2" with the Nova fleets has it improved to even surpass what it was in NorthernSpirit days.

[1] It was often mooted on uk.railway that NorthernSpirit was a product available from the trolley, presumably to drown one's sorrows at having to use the service.
 

37424

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It might well have got more regional-like DMUs, but I don't see a reason to think that. TPE was always "a cut above", even when it was operated by the utterly awful NorthernSpirit[1] using some very classily-done-out 158s. Whereas, in recent years, under FirstGroup it was pretty dire - overcrowded, lots of staff rudeness (presumably because they didn't like their jobs) and institutionally arrogant - only with the coming of "First TPE Mk2" with the Nova fleets has it improved to even surpass what it was in NorthernSpirit days.

[1] It was often mooted on uk.railway that NorthernSpirit was a product available from the trolley, presumably to drown one's sorrows at having to use the service.
Just because First group haven't performed particularly well at ground level I don't nessesarly see that as reason to merge it with another franchise which didnt perform well either, and of course some of TPE and Northerns problems were due to late electrification, undeliverable timetables, and late delivery of new rolling stock which were mostly beyond the control of either franchise.
 

Bletchleyite

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Just because First group haven't performed particularly well at ground level I don't nessesarly see that as reason to merge it with another franchise which didnt perform well either, and of course some of TPE and Northerns problems were due to late electrification, undeliverable timetables, and late delivery of new rolling stock which were mostly beyond the control of either franchise.

I agree that FirstGroup's poor standards in the previous franchse aren't a reason to merge them. However what is a very good reason to merge them is the improved connectivity that could result, rather than the two having a very shallow competition between themselves over 10p here and there. Of course that might be solved a different way now by increased Government control of e.g. fares.
 

Bletchleyite

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95% PPM yesterday doesn’t sound like a struggle

They're running a heavily lopped timetable with almost no passengers to get in the way - I'd say 95% is poor in that context to be honest. At the moment, most TOCs should be able to achieve 99% with some 100% days because they are basically running a 12" to the foot train set.
 

Purple Orange

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I see no point merging the two, TPE has emerged into a higher quality product rolling stock wise and rightly so, while Northern has gone from utter garbage to poor in the rolling stock stakes, TPE should be a Regional Intercity Service and stay seperate and I would add the Nottingham Liverpool service to it. If it hadn't of been split it would still have been on the same level as Northern.

True. Id also add that the future of TPE services sits closer to HS2, at least in spirit if not in practice. The Manchester to Leeds NPR services have had so much air time and promotion from a political perspective, thay regardless of whether NPR infrastructure is built or not, the government will want to be able to claim to have made a significant improvement. That could just be new trains that look like they go fast, perhaps under the same branding as HS2 trains. The fact that they running the same services as TPE will not be the point.
 

Bald Rick

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They're running a heavily lopped timetable with almost no passengers to get in the way - I'd say 95% is poor in that context to be honest. At the moment, most TOCs should be able to achieve 99% with some 100% days because they are basically running a 12" to the foot train set.

Northern are running 86% of their normal timetable - which is more than the average for the country, and is well over 2,300 trains a day. Only GTR are running more trains. I wouldn’t describe that as ‘heavily lopped’.

I don’t know if you’ve ever run a railway operation, but 95% PPM on a network like here is remarkable. Nobody, anywhere in the world, runs a 99% railway (over time) without a segregated network, simple operations, modern infrastructure, and no external influences (or discounting them when they do happen, as they do in Japan, Singapore, Etc). The Northern network has none of them.
 

Dspatula

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TPEs reason for being used to be that it ran the profitable routes and gave a premium back to the government. If I were looking at it cynically right now I would see an expensive duplication of back office, management and probably some front line staff. Along with a train crew that might be better placed in a single pool providing a more reliable service overall. I suspect there’s a large number of contracts and legal issues make the status quo the easiest option for the time being.
 

JonathanH

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Along with a train crew that might be better placed in a single pool providing a more reliable service overall.
That is a bit naive though - you would need to train TPE staff to drive Northern units and Northern staff to drive TPE units - so you might as well continue to keep them separate. Remember that even TPE staff don't drive more than one type of 'Nova' train (plus 185s).
 

Neptune

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I don’t understand why people think they shouldn’t be merged because TPE is an Intercity service and Northern isn’t.

GWR, TfW Rail, Scotrail, Greater Anglia, EMR anyone? All have a similar mix of services and nobody complains.
That is a bit naive though - you would need to train TPE staff to drive Northern units and Northern staff to drive TPE units - so you might as well continue to keep them separate. Remember that even TPE staff don't drive more than one type of 'Nova' train (plus 185s).
Well the last sentence doesn’t stack up. York crews sign both 802’s and Mk 5 sets as well as 185’s.
 
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