InterCity East Coast Franchise consultation opens

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rail-britain

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http://www.dft.gov.uk/news/press-releases/dft-news-20120626c/
DfT advising that passengers on the East Coast will receive improvements...
New rolling stock, additional services, and better stations
12 year franchise, from 2013
Closing date 18 September 2012
The consultation will run alongside the Invitation to Tender, from January 2013 and closes April 2013
Documents :
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2012-24/

Confirms that DfT will acquire the new rolling stock (IEP) for the franchisee during the franchise, to replace the existing HST fleet
The additional rolling stock will allow additional services
The DfT may replace the existing Class 91 and Mark 4 fleet during this franchise, there is no timescale

Overall, little else appears to change...

edit :
Better Stations
This section in the consultation document starts at Page 29, and lasts just a few paragraphs!
It is well worth a read
Obvioulsy improving the SFO stations is easy enough, but the others could be a challenge (as East Coast only serve these, they do not manage them)
"It will be for bidders to consider what enhancements might be desirable"
I personally think this will be the selling point for the bidders...
 
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Masboroughlad

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Who will bid? I always forget, can interested parties say that they are bidding or intend to from the beginning or does it have to be 'secret'?

List will be the usuals I guess:

Stagecoach (alone)
Virgin
First
DB/Arriva
Go-via
SNCF
Abellio

Would be nice to see some new players.....

I wouldn't have thought National Express dare even declare interest!!

Virgin will get it, if they lose West Coast......
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Interesting that it doesn't rule out re-mapping and adding local lines ala FGW and EMT.

(Wonder why they don't consider this for West Coast?)
 

rail-britain

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List will be the usuals I guess:
Stagecoach (alone)
Virgin

Virgin will get it, if they lose West Coast
Stagecoach (personal discussion with Directors) have made it very clear they would not bid alongside Virgin Rail Group
The timing of this is very good
If Virgin Rail lose the West Coast (highly likely), then it allows them to bid for East Coast
If Virgin Rail win the East Coast, then Stagecoach will bid for the East Coast
However, if Stagecoach did win East Coast, this would then give them a monopoly of both routes between London and Leeds
Finally, no matter who wins what franchise, there is now going to be overlap

As an aside, I cannot see a reason why the Scottish Government setup a private company and then bid for the East Coast franchise
 

HH

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Govia do not bid for InterCity. I'm told that Abellio are not interested either, as it clashes with GA & Northern.
 

HSTEd

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As an aside, I cannot see a reason why the Scottish Government setup a private company and then bid for the East Coast franchise
Because a company owned by an emanation of the crown is banned just like the Scottish Government itself is.
I read the relevant parts of the Railways Act 1993.

As to new stock.... finally ICEC gets something that was built after privatisation (is this the only franchise that is still all ex-BR equipment?)..... how many IEPs is it supposed to be getting now to replace its HST fleet?
 

sprinterguy

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As to new stock.... finally ICEC gets something that was built after privatisation (is this the only franchise that is still all ex-BR equipment?)..... how many IEPs is it supposed to be getting now to replace its HST fleet?
According to the consultation document (linked to in the opening post of this thread), East Coast will see ten 9-car Bi-mode IEPs in use each day to replace the HSTs directly, plus an additional ten 5-car IEP electric and eight 5-car IEP bi-mode trainsets working "additional ECML services".

These figures aren't set in stone, as a "contract variation process" is envisaged to allow bidders to amend the precise fleet size and formation.
 

BrianTheLion

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Personally I don't really care too much who wins the franchise as long as the service levels and frequencies remain similar to at present. I'm all for giving TOC's benefit of the doubt and giving them a chance at trying something new.

Im a firm believer that some TOC's, not all, have poor customer service ratings, etc due to problems with the infrastructure in some parts of the UK.

If I had to pick, I would like to see SNCF run it for a change.
 

sprinterguy

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Northern Rail (although they have inherited some second hand during franchise)
You're forgetting the 333s.

It is splitting hairs though: There are a few franchises such as Northern, which only has the 333s, and FGW, which only has five 180s, where the infiltration of post-privatisation rolling stock is so limited that for many passengers the only rolling stock they see will be BR era stuff.
 

sprinterguy

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Additional services??? (Can find no specific details...)
No, nothing specific is mentioned at this early stage. It seems likely that the currently specified fleet of IEPs is to allow for flexibility in the service pattern that bidders offer. The consultation says that (I've picked out the most poignant bits in bold):

IEP introduction provides the opportunity to make improvements to the timetable on the ECML to take advantage of the operational characteristics of the new trains and potentially to resource an increase in service frequency to six trains per hour off-peak and up to eight trains in peak hours. It is anticipated that the industry will undertake a major timetable review for May 2019, though some limited changes may be possible at an earlier date. Bidders will be encouraged to make proposals that:

 offer improved journey times and service frequencies for the principal passenger flows;

develop secondary flows where appropriate, including taking advantage of the IEP bi-mode capability to serve new locations;

 improve the match between service provision and demand, particularly where services are lightly used;
 

GNERman

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6tph off-peak in comparison with 5tph, hmm, I wonder where the new destination would be. Leeds? Another York?

Secondary flows would probably be extensions to current services to places not well served AND to fight off OAO's. Skipton, Bradford, Harrogate and other locations could benefit...
 

Failed Unit

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However, if Stagecoach did win East Coast, this would then give them a monopoly of both routes between London and Leeds
e
So what? There are many routes that have monopolies. Is this point relavent and if it is why is it worse than London - Ashford or London - West Country or London - Manchester.

I would love to see Lincolnshire in the franchise, but just can't see how it would work. The franchise will not want a small fleet of units, even if it would be good as most Lincolnshire passengers want decent connections to ECML.
 

IanXC

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The options for what further service groups could be included in the franchise are interesting. Potential service groups mentioned (page 16-17) are:
  • Services which are currently included in the Thameslink franchise, but will continue to terminate at Kings Cross and Moorgate post Thameslink Programme.
  • East Midlands Trains and Northern services in Lincolnshire.
  • Doncaster-Cleethorpes, York-Scarborough and York-Middlesbrough from the Transpennine franchise.
  • Northern's Sheffield-Doncaster-Hull, and all other Northern Yorkshire services east of the ECML.
  • Northern's North East service group around Middlesbrough and Newcastle.
Couple of first thoughts from me, electrification to Cleethorpes makes much more sense if the Doncaster-Cleethorpes leg of South TPE is separated from the rest of the route.

Its also interesting to think about the consequences of devolution of franchises to the PTEs. If all these Northern services were to transfer to the EC franchise the remaining (eastern) parts of Northern would be almost entirely within the South and West Yorkshire PTE areas, which presumably makes their devolution much easier from a governance point of view.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The consultation doesn't give ICEC any scope to acquire new rolling stock except IEP.
It doesn't mention electrification on its patch (TP, Hull etc).
No real indication of how they will coexist with OA operators (or not).
No hint of CP5 enhancements (but we will know in a few weeks).

Seems to me be be a "going through the motions" consultation, like the ICWC one.
All the real choices (except IEP) are under wraps until the ITT is issued and CP5 programme confirmed.
 

IanXC

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If virgin do get the franchise, will they be doing any rolling stock replacing because I'd hate to see the IC225s go
I think they are going whoever gets it? Replaced by IEP.

They would go somewhere else though - isn't there some talk of the mk4s going to Greater Anglia?
The original specification for IEP included replacement of the IC225s however during one of its many reviews the scope of the project was cut back to just involve replacement of the HSTs with EC. Whether any/all of the bidders propose/give options to replace the IC225 fleet too its much too early to say.

Greater Anglia is one possibility, another is an electrified Midland Main Line.

The consultation doesn't give ICEC any scope to acquire new rolling stock except IEP.
It doesn't mention electrification on its patch (TP, Hull etc).
No real indication of how they will coexist with OA operators (or not).
No hint of CP5 enhancements (but we will know in a few weeks).

Seems to me be be a "going through the motions" consultation, like the ICWC one.
All the real choices (except IEP) are under wraps until the ITT is issued and CP5 programme confirmed.
I think you're right that its "going through the motions". Some of the questions have assumptions behind them which show the direction of travel the Department is going in.

Like you mention there are plenty of things which maybe should be included in a consultation on the future of the franchise but which aren't. I think its primarily because those choices are already included in other programmes, which are due for announcement shortly, and so will be decided before this consultation closes.
 

TrainBoy98

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Why doesnt RailUK create a bid and go for a Franchise? Maybe start with something small, the current c2c when it comes up for example? Would be good to have people that actually like trains to be running trains for a change! We could all collaborate on ideas and what to do...
 

sprinterguy

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Why doesnt RailUK create a bid and go for a Franchise? Maybe start with something small, the current c2c when it comes up for example?
You've already missed the boat with the C2C services, the bidders for the Essex Thameside franchise have already been shortlisted and the Invitation to Tender is out on Thursday! I should know, I'm involved with writing one of the bids; so a RailUK bid would have been a conflict of interests for me anyway :)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I agree really - seems changing them for the sake of it!

Can imagine them done up under a Virgin refurb and being fit for another 25 years!
The only problem with the IC225 fleet on the ECML is that it is too small to operate all of the electrified services now provided by the East Coast franchise: There are four HST diagrams each day that are completely under the wires. Fortunately, I should think that the 5-car electric IEP sets should solve this problem and I can envisage them being used on the York and Newark stoppers (and Bi-mode units as well, if the Newarks are extended to Lincoln as was originally intended), freeing up 225s to work all the longer distance services as they should. As there is absolutely nothing to stop the 225s continuing to operate the services they were designed for for another 20 years.
 

Zoe

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If Virgin Rail lose the West Coast (highly likely), then it allows them to bid for East Coast
If Virgin Rail win the East Coast, then Stagecoach will bid for the East Coast
If Virgin Rail win East Coast then it won't be possible for Stagecoach or any other company to bid for it until the next franchise is let in 15 years time. Also even if Virgin win the West Coast franchise, this does not prevent them bidding for East Coast, they made they shortlist in 2007. Virgin Rail is also 49% owned by Stagecoach and if Virgin Rail bid then I can't see the DfT accepting a separate bid from Stagecoach.
 
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Failed Unit

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If Virgin Rail win East Coast then it won't be possible for Stagecoach or any other company to bid for it until the next franchise is let in 15 years time. Also even if Virgin win the West Coast franchise, this does not prevent them bidding for East Coast, they made they shortlist in 2007.
Correct :).

I know there are limits on the ownership of the rail network a franchise is allowed. National Express, first group and I believe GoVia have all got close to this in the past, but there seems to be a myth that a company can't hold both east and west coast mainlines. No idea why! Virgin had XC and WCML which is a bigger share of the market than ECML and WCML.

As you say why would stagecoach bid against virgin when it owns nearly half? It makes no sense to fund 2 bids of which will fail.
 

Zoe

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As you say why would stagecoach bid against virgin when it owns nearly half? It makes no sense to fund 2 bids of which will fail.
This doesn't prevent Virgin Group Ltd from setting up a new company to bid without Stagecoach though.
 

sprinterguy

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It's an interesting situation with the East Coast franchise, as it is not possible for us to express a preference for the current operator to retain it into the next term, as I have done for the West Coast and Great Western franchises. Assuming that Virgin are going to express an interest in bidding for the franchise, then I think that perhaps the time is right to let them have a crack at it and see what they can come up with.
 

Failed Unit

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This doesn't prevent Virgin Group Ltd from setting up a new company to bid without Stagecoach though.
I didn't say it did. But I can't see them doing it.

First or Arriva would be interesting to see how they would propose to merge thier open access operation with the franchise, if they are allowed to.

**Failed unit is not saying she wants them to win. Failed unit does not care as long as it isn't national express.
 

Zoe

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I didn't say it did. But I can't see them doing it.
I wasn't saying you thought they did, I was just saying that if Stagecoach did decide to bid separately then Virgin Rail Group wouldn't bid, it would need to be a separate bid from a company owned by Virgin Group Ltd.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Failed unit does not care as long as it isn't national express.
Even if you end up with the 91s and Mark 4 coaches replaced by 390s?
 
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