Invitation to tender for the next Northern franchise

Status
Not open for further replies.

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
Do we know when to expect an invitation to tender for the next Northern franchise to be issued? Apparently, with it not already being issued Northern are assuming they've been given the April 2014 extension.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
when does TPE end? might be extended further to 2015 to coincide with that?
TPE ends May 2015 but with an option to terminate the franchise early, no earlier than April 2014. That could allow both terminating at the same time or for TPE to lose routes gradually to other franchises - like with FNW losing the North Wales services, then later the Manchester Airport to Cumbria services.
 

VTPreston_Tez

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2012
Messages
1,159
Location
Preston
I'd doubt that NT will get 2 extra years. The service isn't the best and I think another group could take it over and do better, never mind the fact that Abellio now also own Greater Anglia so Serco should be feeling a bit of pressure.
Who's up for the next franchise? (RENFE or whoever runs LM for me)
 

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
I'd doubt that NT will get 2 extra years. The service isn't the best and I think another group could take it over and do better
Whoever takes over the Northern franchise will be stuck with the same trains that Northern currently use in the first instance. They will, however, have the option of fully refurbishing stock, something Northern opted against.
 

swt_passenger

Veteran Member
Joined
7 Apr 2010
Messages
23,262
The DfT issued a timetable last August. Subject to bringing forward TPE to April 2014 - 'exercise of the option', see below. The relevant dates shown then are still achievable, with the OJEU notice planned for December 2012:

Northern / TransPennine Express: The Department has extended the current First Keolis TransPennine Express rail franchise to 1 April 2015, with an option for the Department to terminate from 1 April 2014 to enable alignment of relevant timescales. It is anticipated (subject to discussions on the 7 month franchise extension for Northern and the exercise of the option relating to the TransPennine Express) the Northern and TransPennine Express Franchise(s) will be let as follows: OJEU notice published December 2012; invitation to tender(s) issued May 2013; award(s) announced end 2013; contract(s) start April 2014.
http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/rail-franchise-pin/pin-20110805.pdf
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
14,649
Location
Mold, Clwyd
The recent Rail Review docs show Sept 2013 for Northern with an option for the usual 7-period extension if DfT desires.
It then says Northern and TPE could co-terminate in April 2014.
Given the log-jam on refranchising policy I think that is very likely.
The real problem with both franchises is the degree of PTE involvement to be allowed.
I think DfT want to be seen to devolve powers but don't really want to!
It's not going particularly well in Wales (lots of squabbling about priorities, and a general lack of transparency).
 

VTPreston_Tez

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2012
Messages
1,159
Location
Preston
Whoever takes over the Northern franchise will be stuck with the same trains that Northern currently use in the first instance. They will, however, have the option of fully refurbishing stock, something Northern opted against.
Exactly the point I made.

Just a thought, did people think the co-termination would be good or should they be seperate? Seperate for me, they have a somewhat higher chance that they'll both go to the same operator IMHO, and that could cause trouble...
Virgin taking over TPE would be fantastic, I could picture them getting Voyagers on Manchester-Newcastle or something like that! (However Richard Branson isn't that dim and Virgin-branded 185s would be ace to see, and I think services would be even more improved if Virgin took TPE over)
And as well as RENFE for Northern, joint with Stagecoach/Virgin/SNCF? Stupidity aside, two big operators working together would be perfect for a declining ToC to revive its trains and routes.
 

MidnightFlyer

Veteran Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
12,846
Just a thought, did people think the co-termination would be good or should they be seperate? Seperate for me, they have a somewhat higher chance that they'll both go to the same operator IMHO, and that could cause trouble...

...

Virgin taking over TPE would be fantastic, I could picture them getting Voyagers on Manchester-Newcastle or something like that!
I think the best way forward would be a merger between TP / NT. I fail to see how one operator having them separately simultaneously would cause trouble too.

Virgin would never in a million years go for something like TP, and especially not Northern, it is far too removed from their brand identity.
 

VTPreston_Tez

Established Member
Joined
26 Jan 2012
Messages
1,159
Location
Preston
You pose a valid point Matt. Now I note that they operate similar routes it might just be a roaring hit. However with so many trains and routes, I believe that 3 owners are needed, just as it is now (First, Serco, Abellio) however 2 might work. Certainly not one though, unless someone can convince me otherwise!
 

Aictos

On Moderation
Joined
28 Apr 2009
Messages
9,333
Thing to remember is was it really better under one operator, I'm referring to Regional Railways days here with every service branded the same or have one operator but have two sub brands ie Express and Local with Express working the former TPE services and Local working the former Northern Rail services.

Of course, the DfT could keep things the way they are with two operators if they so wished.
 

ainsworth74

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
16 Nov 2009
Messages
22,478
Location
Redcar
With TPE I'd be tempted to reorganise the routes a bit but not actually fully roll the franchise into Northern. I'm thinking hand over York - Blackpool to TPE (and possibly extend to Scarborough once the wires go up with the existing Scarborough - Man Airport being caped at York and EMU operated) whilst handing Blackpool/Barrow - Man Airport (and possibly the Windermere services) to Northern and in a perfect world hand over the Man Airport - Glasgow/Edinburgh services to ICWC. Basically focusing TPE on running, you know, trans-pennine services.

Certainly I would like to keep the two separate TOCs but I think there is room for moving the routes around between the two.
 

aformeruser

Veteran Member
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
30,637
The McNulty review mentioned a few options for TPE but the general conclusion was that TPE is too small by itself.

Each option comes with constraints. For instance, EMT taking over Manchester Airport to Cleethorpes was suggested which from one prospective makes sense but if you look at the rolling stock - EMT won't want a small 185 fleet so that'll probably mean more refurbished 158s, which won't happen overnight.

Now the 3 hour Newcastle-Liverpool service is 99% likely to both exist as a service and to exist as an electric service, the option for some TPE services to go to East Coast or XC seems all the more likely.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Virgin would never in a million years go for something like TP, and especially not Northern, it is far too removed from their brand identity.
You may recall when Virgin had XC and around half the Manchester-Birmingham services terminated at Birmingham, Virgin were offered the option to take on some 350s to run the Manchester-Birmingham services which didn't continue south of Birmingham. They rejected the option apparently as they felt they were inferior to their existing stock.
 

142094

Established Member
Joined
7 Nov 2009
Messages
8,789
Location
Newcastle
Putting TPE in with Northern makes sense, seeing as nearly all the routes Northern run on are duplicated by TPE. Although the Scottish services are popular, I've never really been convinced that Glasgow and Edinburgh need a TPE service, and could be served just as well by Virgin.
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
14,649
Location
Mold, Clwyd
If TPE is right for Lancs-Scotland, why not for Yorks-Scotland too?
ie Leeds-Edinburgh (-Glasgow) (all electric).
Cut back XC to Newcastle (I would merge XC with EMT).

Otherwise, merge the two to form
(a) Metro (PTE-funded/run) services (5 PTEs as a consortium)
(b) Regional/longer distance (DfT funded/run)
 

sprinterguy

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2010
Messages
10,548
Location
Macclesfield
You pose a valid point Matt. Now I note that they operate similar routes it might just be a roaring hit. However with so many trains and routes, I believe that 3 owners are needed, just as it is now (First, Serco, Abellio) however 2 might work. Certainly not one though, unless someone can convince me otherwise!
First Great Western operate a varied array of services that encompasses everything from 125mph Intercity to local branch line trains, and successfully manage an extensive, sprawling network of local trains that are quite similar to the Northern network in terms of rolling stock used and many of the sorts of routes they operate. And lone operator SWT operate a much more intensive network of services than Northern do and have to manage what I presume is a much bigger fleet of trains. And First Scotrail look after the domestic services of an entire country (the same can be said for ATW, but outside of the Valleys rail coverage in Wales is pretty sparse) and seem to get on alright.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
.
Virgin taking over TPE would be fantastic, I could picture them getting Voyagers on Manchester-Newcastle or something like that! (However Richard Branson isn't that dim and Virgin-branded 185s would be ace to see, and I think services would be even more improved if Virgin took TPE over)
And as well as RENFE for Northern, joint with Stagecoach/Virgin/SNCF? Stupidity aside, two big operators working together would be perfect for a declining ToC to revive its trains and routes.
Arriva were looking to order a fleet of four carriage Voyager/Meridian units if they had been successful in their bid for the Transpennine franchise last time round. But that was with fleet replacement written into the franchise (I believe), now that TPE has the 185s, and with Transpennine North electrification on the horizon nothing is going to change in terms of rolling stock anytime soon.

It is likely that the new Northern franchise will be intended for growth, rather than the no growth, sweat the assets format that the current franchise is operating under. So a greater range of tangible improvements may have nothing to do with the new operator and everything to do with the terms of the franchise. The Northern franchise certainly isn't "declining" either: It's continuing to experience year on year growth, although admittedly I can't speak for the state of some of the rolling stock!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Thing to remember is was it really better under one operator, I'm referring to Regional Railways days here with every service branded the same or have one operator but have two sub brands ie Express and Local with Express working the former TPE services and Local working the former Northern Rail services.
Even in Regional Railways days the Northern franchise area didn't operate as a single unit though, it was split distinctly into RR North West and North East. And in many cases the trains did carry different liveries and branding!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
If TPE is right for Lancs-Scotland, why not for Yorks-Scotland too?
It isn't right for Lancashire to Scotland, if you ask me.

Personally, I would like to see the Manchester to Scotland services hived off to join the West Coast franchise; initially with the 350/4 units, but hopefully to be later replaced by Pendolinos.

I'd then advocate joining Transpennine North with the Northern franchise. I think there's a lot of scope to develop a more extensive "Northern Citylink" network of services, as has been advocated by others on this forum, principally Nym I believe, involving things like York to Blackpool as well as the current TPE services.

Transpennine South would be combined with EMT, where it would make most sense for EMT to gain additional 158s to operate the service as part of a larger common fleet which could be obtained through 185s being used on a number of "Northern Citylink" services and displacing 158s.
 
Last edited:

IanXC

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
18 Dec 2009
Messages
5,809
I think given the change that is due over the next few years in the patch currently covered by Northern and TPE, the franchises need to be smaller to ensure effectively delivery.

I'd have:

TP North - transfer to CrossCountry franchise (with new EMU stock)
TP South - transfer to EMT franchise (with a suitable number of 158s)

Manchester-Scotland, TP North West and the west side of Northern into a recreated North West franchise

Eastern half of Northern into a recreated North East franchise.

I'd review whether the boundaries between LM and NW, and EMT and NE are correct, and potentially transfer services between them, thinking of the Northern island in North Lincolnshire, and maybe the Liverpool-Birmingham service.

Another reason to look for smaller franchises in the north is that if there is to be further devolution of franchise decisions, the idea of having 5 PTEs appointing 1 franchisee seems a bit troublesome to me.

I would hope that the North West franchise would have financials similar to LM, allowing it to make the kind of investment which is required to replace ageing stock.

Unfortunately there aren't the same kind of more lucrative routes to transfer in the North East.
 

142094

Established Member
Joined
7 Nov 2009
Messages
8,789
Location
Newcastle
Regional Railways did operate as two distinct areas - the NW and NE, which is why Northern have headquaters in both York and Manchester, as well as two seperate payrolls and some differing working conditions. RR also did have quite a bit of variation in liveries, but this was mainly due to the PTEs.
 

PR1Berske

Established Member
Joined
27 Jul 2010
Messages
2,877
Putting TPE in with Northern makes sense, seeing as nearly all the routes Northern run on are duplicated by TPE. Although the Scottish services are popular, I've never really been convinced that Glasgow and Edinburgh need a TPE service, and could be served just as well by Virgin.

I agree to a point. I think that there is something to be said about competition (after all, that was the point of selling off the railways!), and TPE seem to have made a pretty good name for themselves along the Scottish services. It does 'fit' them to a degree - not exactly, but it seems to be working and without serious delays or reputation damage.

Merging TPE with Northern seems to be one of the worst kept conclusions to a story since the first film version of "Titanic".
 

HSTEd

Veteran Member
Joined
14 Jul 2011
Messages
11,725
Could always fold the eastern side of Northern and East Coast into a Greater North East franchise..... could even be called GNER
 

Bellwater

Member
Joined
10 Jan 2010
Messages
522
Location
on a 158
I agree to a point. I think that there is something to be said about competition (after all, that was the point of selling off the railways!), and TPE seem to have made a pretty good name for themselves along the Scottish services.
I must have missed all them complaints about overcrowding Carlisle-Glasgow then.
 

142094

Established Member
Joined
7 Nov 2009
Messages
8,789
Location
Newcastle
I agree to a point. I think that there is something to be said about competition (after all, that was the point of selling off the railways!), and TPE seem to have made a pretty good name for themselves along the Scottish services. It does 'fit' them to a degree - not exactly, but it seems to be working and without serious delays or reputation damage.

Merging TPE with Northern seems to be one of the worst kept conclusions to a story since the first film version of "Titanic".
It seems that the DfT are content with the competition being in the bidding stages, judging by the fact that there are very few Open Access Operators out there (and even thse are all focussed on providing services into and out of London).

I haven't travelled with TPE from Scotland but when I use TPE from Newcastle towards Leeds, they normally have cheaper advances than EC, and I'm guessing that TPE between Scotland and Manchester etc will be a cheaper rival to Virgin.
 

tbtc

Veteran Member
Joined
16 Dec 2008
Messages
16,150
Location
Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire
A few thoughts:

1. The Transpennine franchise is too small. According to a recent Private Eye article it requires *more* subsidy than Northern (despite the arguments for splitting off the "profitable" services etc)

2. The three "branches" of TPE have got nothing to do with each other - they could easily be part of three separate franchises

3. I think its pointless trying to go into "ideal world" specifics until we know exactly what the electrification map will look like in a few years time. For example if Leeds - Hull doesn't get wired then there's an argument for splitting it from the current TPE North services (maybe replacing the through service to Piccadilly with a Hull - Doncaster - Sheffield - Manchester service?)

4. Generally I'm in favour of one big TOC (like Greater Anglia, FGW) running a mixture of services. However the problem that Northern has (unlike these other lines) is that it covers such a big area and variety of lines

5. Similarly the current service patterns don't fit nicely inside the PTE areas - I can't see a PTE-run Northern working (too many routes go into North Yorkshire/ Derbyshire/ Cheshire/ Lancashire etc)
 

Nym

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
8,395
Location
Somewhere, not in London
I'd then advocate joining Transpennine North with the Northern franchise. I think there's a lot of scope to develop a more extensive "Northern Citylink" network of services, as has been advocated by others on this forum, principally Nym I believe, involving things like York to Blackpool as well as the current TPE services.

Transpennine South would be combined with EMT, where it would make most sense for EMT to gain additional 158s to operate the service as part of a larger common fleet which could be obtained through 185s being used on a number of "Northern Citylink" services and displacing 158s.
Yes, it is me.

Also, if I where folding TPE South into EMT it would also involve diverting the Cleethorpes - Airport service over the CLC in the 2nd Semi Fast path to maintain 2SF and 2S services per hour. Unless, combined with either a major re-moddeling of Oxford Road or Re-opening Central with some new passing loops on the CLC will result in 3SF+3S being able to run over the route. Then I could see services running as 1tph MIA, 1tph Piccadilly and 1tph Sheffeild (or beyond) with the EMT service via Sheffeild splitting at Sheffeild Midland for Cleethorpes and Norwich. And the remaining services being provided by 'Northern Citylink'.

If the service pattern on the CLC is not going to change, and we're looking at 4 car 158s on each service through the Hope Valley, I'd have the xx07/xx11 (Piccadilly) services running Liverpool Lime St - Cleethorpes and Hull Paragon via Stockport, Sheffeild and Doncaster and the current Norwich running as is. With the xx07/xx11 services run by either EMT or 'Northern Citylink' as it would sit within either territory, but they would definately run to Liverpool Lime St and any Sheffeild - Airport service would run via Victoria and the Ordsall Cord and New Mills. Providing a semi fast service calling Victoria - Guide Bridge -Chinley - Hope Valley Stns - Dore - Sheffeild or something similar.

If we're looking at keeping high quality stock to Sheffeild, and remaining optimistic about TP North Electrification, it would depend on how much one needs to reduce diesel under wires. But divvying up the 185 fleet around 'Northern Citylink' in the following way would be sensible in my eyes.

Working on having 45 available diagrams...

Blackpool North - Scarbrough (Now extended) 1tph (8dia)
York - Scarbrough Shuttle 1tph (1/2dia)

Leeds - Manchester Victoria via Halifax 2tph (7/8 dia)
Extending to:
Manchester Airport via Ordsall Curve 1tph (2dia)
Barrow in Furness or Windermere via Bolton and Preston 1tph (8dia)

Manchester Piccadilly - Buxton 2tph (Very peak dependant, 6 car in the peaks, 3 car outside, running on the fasts off piccadilly, limited stop to Hazel Grove) (8dia on peak, 4dia off peak, this allows off peak maintenance things)

This leaves another 9 diagrams kicking about, either just enough to cover TPE South but doubling up diagrams on that route is a must soon, but Northern is running out of routes that are suitable for 185 operation, I can't remember what I did before for the allocation, I think I put some onto Southport and combined them with Lakes services, so it ran in 6 car formation and split at Bolton, rather than extending a service from Victoria and running both services from the Calder Valley onto the Airport. (That would work nicely)

Anyway, must post this before everyone moves on.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

Veteran Member
Joined
17 Apr 2011
Messages
26,574
Location
A semi-rural part of north-west England
TP North - transfer to CrossCountry franchise (with new EMU stock)
TP South - transfer to EMT franchise (with a suitable number of 158s)

Manchester-Scotland, TP North West and the west side of Northern into a recreated North West franchise

Eastern half of Northern into a recreated North East franchise.

I'd review whether the boundaries between LM and NW, and EMT and NE are correct, and potentially transfer services between them, thinking of the Northern island in North Lincolnshire, and maybe the Liverpool-Birmingham service.
I feel that the matter of benefits that will be afforded by the Ordsall Chord project together with both the coming Lancashire triangle electrification and the cross-Pennine electrification should be borne in mind, together with other parts that have already been given approval of the proposals contained within the Northern Hub document, should be borne in mind when formulating ideas of new franchises to take advantage of these still-to-come improvements to the rail system in the North of England.

The matter of PTE involvement, following recent proposals put forward, noting the size of existing ones in the north-west and the north-east of England, is also to be considered. Has any PTE co-ordination been officially greeted yet by the PTE bodies themselves that would be involved in this matter?
 
Last edited:

IanXC

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
18 Dec 2009
Messages
5,809
I feel that the matter of benefits that will be afforded by the Ordsall Chord project together with both the coming Lancashire triangle electrification and the cross-Pennine electrification should be borne in mind, together with other parts that have already been given approval of the proposals contained within the Northern Hub document, should be borne in mind when formulating ideas of new franchises to take advantage of these still-to-come improvements to the rail system in the North of England.
I fail to see quite what point you're trying to make. Is it your view that my proposed remapping would prevent certain benefits being realised? If so which ones?
 

sprinterguy

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2010
Messages
10,548
Location
Macclesfield
Manchester Piccadilly - Buxton 2tph (Very peak dependant, 6 car in the peaks, 3 car outside, running on the fasts off piccadilly, limited stop to Hazel Grove) (8dia on peak, 4dia off peak, this allows off peak maintenance things)
I am in full agreement with everything you have said in your post there, but I will just add here that wasn't it ascertained a while back that the maximum train length that the platforms on the Buxton line can handle is a pair of 156s? Certainly, the longest trains I've seen in service on the Buxton line have been pairs of 150s or 156s.

I think I also recall it being said that the 185s aren't fitted with SDO, on the basis of posts stating that a unit has to be locked out of use if a pair of 185s was used on the Scarborough branch. So I'm not sure that six carriages would work down the Buxton branch, or be at all necessary beyond Hazel Grove tbh. Perhaps a fair compromise would be running as a pair of 185s from Manchester to Hazel Grove, and then the train splitting with three carriages going forward to Buxton and the rear three joining onto the next Manchester bound service.
 

IanXC

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
18 Dec 2009
Messages
5,809
This leaves another 9 diagrams kicking about, either just enough to cover TPE South but doubling up diagrams on that route is a must soon, but Northern is running out of routes that are suitable for 185 operation,
How about these for further Northern routes for 185s?
Leeds-Nottingham
Leeds-Carlisle
 

sprinterguy

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2010
Messages
10,548
Location
Macclesfield
How about these for further Northern routes for 185s?
Leeds-Nottingham
Leeds-Carlisle
They sound like perfect candidates to me. Though I hope that Ribblehead Viaduct would be up to the job <D Then again, given that it now deals with a regular traffic of 2,000 tonne coal trains, I don't think that the 185s would be an issue!
 

Xenophon PCDGS

Veteran Member
Joined
17 Apr 2011
Messages
26,574
Location
A semi-rural part of north-west England
Is it your view that my proposed remapping would prevent certain benefits being realised? If so which ones?
All that my point was to make, not forgetting the second part of my posting that you chose to ignore in the quote you showed, was how all of these future matters could be taken into consideration when new franchises were eventually granted by the the body concerned with this.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top