Is everyone tired of franchising?

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br0llz

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A lot of popular media seems to be giving privatised rail a real bashing, especially when it comes to the likes of Govia, Virgin, First etc etc. Has anyone else noticed a change in public opinion on a private railway?
 
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SpacePhoenix

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If franchising had never happened, would we have had less variety of units (and coupling types, heights and orientations)?
 

Agent_c

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A lot of popular media seems to be giving privatised rail a real bashing, especially when it comes to the likes of Govia, Virgin, First etc etc. Has anyone else noticed a change in public opinion on a private railway?

Its the media. If they only had good news, nobody would buy their product. No matter who runs the railway, and in what form, they'll bash it no matter how good it is.
 

NSEFAN

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Franchising can work well if done properly (see Chiltern). Short franchises however just end up turning into money-grabbing schemes for the holding company, as there's no sane economic reason to invest and improve the service.

Although the public do respect certain brands like Virgin, it's popular in public opinion to say "renationalise", especially for commuter railways where the customers have "no choice" but to use the train. However, given the way things are on GTR at the moment, I'd rather have a semi-private railway run by railwaymen and not civil servants who've never had a railway job...
 

Bodiddly

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Franchising can work well if done properly (see Chiltern). Short franchises however just end up turning into money-grabbing schemes for the holding company, as there's no sane economic reason to invest and improve the service.

Although the public do respect certain brands like Virgin, it's popular in public opinion to say "renationalise", especially for commuter railways where the customers have "no choice" but to use the train. However, given the way things are on GTR at the moment, I'd rather have a semi-private railway run by railwaymen and not civil servants who've never had a railway job...

I agree totally. To renationalise under this current government (or any other) would be a total disaster for the railways. The railways in the run up to privatisation were cash starved and there is nothing to suggest it would be any different today. A national rail system fully integrated under a not for profit model could and would work. A regulatory government body would inevitably be involved but it could be a lot less involved with the day to day running.
There is some fantastic talent in the rail industry with the likes of Chris Green, John Smith and many others who could be brought together to run a great railway for the people. Of course, this wouldn't work. There's no profit in it for fatcats.
 

Harpers Tate

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The main things that are wrong (IMO) with the privatised Railway isn't franchising per se but rather the manner in which it has been, and is being, done. The significant issue I see is the resultant fragmentation with non-promotional* fares being increasingly restricted to certain routes and/or TOCs to ensure (what the TOCs see as) proper revenue allocation; and with situations where some ticket office refuses to attend to a ticket upgrade or similar for the sole reason the ticket was bought from another company. Similarly, the inability of one TOC to quickly deploy rolling stock that is idle yet belongs to another in order to satisfy some contingency issue is also symptomatic**.

An integrated yet franchised railway would see a single system with all aspect of fare and ticket issue, and of rolling stock (and so on) completely independent of the various operators. Each franchisee would supply the service on its specified routes, including operation of stations and network-wide ticket issue as appropriate, but only as part of an integrated whole; the same model (more or less) used by London buses.

(* I don't have a problem with Advance fares as these are intrinsically TOC specific (for the "main" element of the journey) nor with promotions such as ATW's Club 55 and Northern's £10 deals - as long as it's more than 100% clear in timetables and and on websites which actual trains one may use - and I make that point because it presently isn't always true.)

(** Example: A few years ago on a Sunday morning at Sheffield, a London-bound train failed at Derby depot prior to its empty stock run to Sheffield. Thus "they" had at least 30 minutes warning before the scheduled departure that this train would not operate. What happened was a bus was laid on to Derby. What would have happened in all probability in nationalised days - and should be the case now - is a spare DMU would have been fired up for the trip to Derby. Why this did not happen was because the spare DMUs belong to another TOC.)
 
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Railsigns

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It's difficult to conceive of a worse way to run a railway than by franchising, its inherent inefficiencies vastly outweighing any benefits it's supposed to deliver. The fact that, after twenty years, the British franchising model hasn't been adopted by railways around the world is highly significant - and we have one of the most expensive railways in the world.

Privatisation is a scam to divert taxpayers' money into the pockets of the Conservative Party's friends and donors, and they get away with it because too many people are willing to believe without question the narrative that tries to convince them that it's all done in their best interests.
 

222ben

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This current system of franchising is a waste. Why can't TOCs own all the trains and pass them on to the next operator? seems simple enough. And, while you're at it, why don't you split the rail network into four seperate railway companies? Seems to have worked for the 20-odd years of the Big Four!
Anyway, get rid of ROSCOs and simplify the railway!
 
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lordbusiness

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The main things that are wrong (IMO) with the privatised Railway isn't franchising per se but rather the manner in which it has been, and is being, done. The significant issue I see is the resultant fragmentation with non-promotional* fares being increasingly restricted to certain routes and/or TOCs to ensure (what the TOCs see as) proper revenue allocation; and with situations where some ticket office refuses to attend to a ticket upgrade or similar for the sole reason the ticket was bought from another company. Similarly, the inability of one TOC to quickly deploy rolling stock that is idle yet belongs to another in order to satisfy some contingency issue is also symptomatic**.

An integrated yet franchised railway would see a single system with all aspect of fare and ticket issue, and of rolling stock (and so on) completely independent of the various operators. Each franchisee would supply the service on its specified routes, including operation of stations and network-wide ticket issue as appropriate, but only as part of an integrated whole; the same model (more or less) used by London buses.

(* I don't have a problem with Advance fares as these are intrinsically TOC specific (for the "main" element of the journey) nor with promotions such as ATW's Club 55 and Northern's £10 deals - as long as it's more than 100% clear in timetables and and on websites which actual trains one may use - and I make that point because it presently isn't always true.)

(** Example: A few years ago on a Sunday morning at Sheffield, a London-bound train failed at Derby depot prior to its empty stock run to Sheffield. Thus "they" had at least 30 minutes warning before the scheduled departure that this train would not operate. What happened was a bus was laid on to Derby. What would have happened in all probability in nationalised days - and should be the case now - is a spare DMU would have been fired up for the trip to Derby. Why this did not happen was because the spare DMUs belong to another TOC.)

From experience during BR days, no onward bus journey, no taxi, just wait for the next train. Even if it's the next day- happened to me at BNS.

Sorry mate, not my problem.
 

Deepgreen

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To answer the OP's question - I have always been utterly opposed to privatisation, so, while I can't speak for "everyone" - 'yes' for me!
 

Sleepy

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:D We (and the government) will find out the answer depending on who gets and what is happening rolling stock wise for new East Anglia winner. Political fallout could be huge if it is seen as a bad deal.
 

CosherB

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Privatisation is a scam to divert taxpayers' money into the pockets of the Conservative Party's friends and donors, and they get away with it because too many people are willing to believe without question the narrative that tries to convince them that it's all done in their best interests.

I don't remember any of the Blair administrations being elected with a manifesto promise of renationalising the railways. :roll: Corbyn has made such promises, but then he'll never be Prime Minister.
 

Railsigns

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I don't remember any of the Blair administrations being elected with a manifesto promise of renationalising the railways. :roll:

Blair was a Red Tory. What do you expect?

Corbyn has made such promises, but then he'll never be Prime Minister.

Could you send me next week's winning lottery numbers in a PM please? Thanks! :roll:
 

HH

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Privatisation is a scam to divert taxpayers' money into the pockets of the Conservative Party's friends and donors...

It must be great to be able to post such utter tripe with no worries about nasty things like facts. Please feel free to point to any donations made to the Conservative Party by any of the owning groups. The only large contributor I'm aware of is Brian Souter (in his personal capacity) to the SNP.
 

Bletchleyite

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In answer to the question posted by the title of this thread, my own personal response is that I am not tired of franchising.

It seems, largely, to work, though other approaches may well either be more cost effective or better for the passenger.

I would prefer it to a genuine commercial free for all.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I don't remember any of the Blair administrations being elected with a manifesto promise of renationalising the railways. :roll: Corbyn has made such promises, but then he'll never be Prime Minister.

The railways are near enough nationalised anyway. Network Rail is de-facto nationalised, while the TOCs have very little genuine commercial freedom.

All you'd do if you nationalised it is vest the TOCs in a state-owned company, a bit like East Coast was. It would change relatively little, as East Coast demonstrated.
 

Camden

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It wouldn't matter if people were sick to the back teeth of franchising, the EU loves the British concept because it means companies from different countries can bid to run each other's railway systems, so it is here to stay whether we like it or not.
 

hairyhandedfool

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It must be great to be able to post such utter tripe with no worries about nasty things like facts. Please feel free to point to any donations made to the Conservative Party by any of the owning groups. The only large contributor I'm aware of is Brian Souter (in his personal capacity) to the SNP.

I think you've read that the wrong way round, to me it reads as money from the taxpayer/government to the companies, which wouldn't be without merit, rather than paying off the government.
 

tbtc

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I offer no definitive opinion on franchises, but I am getting tired of having the same old arguments about the subject (on different threads)...

The main problem with these arguments is that (whilst there are a million things wrong with the current set up of franchises) there's no clear alternative that doesn't come with a million other problems).

Nationalisation? Instead of using the "1980s BR" as a template, imagine a modern state owned railway being similar to the fragmented/ partly privatised/ underfunded/ awkward situation that we see with the modern NHS/ schools/ Post Office. Are we prepared for that?

A modern "state owned" railway wouldn't be one big happy family, where the Government give a cheque to cover five/ten years operations and never interfere (whilst allowing "proper railwaymen" to get on with the job - whoever they are).

With the best will in the world, it'd be fragmented - even BR had different sectors and different hierarchies. What's the alternative? Longer franchises can mean stagnation, shorter franchises can mean short-termism. Until someone can come up with something better, I have to accept that the current model is the "least worst" option.

(and, in the grand scheme of things, I'm not worried about the cost of repainting trains every five/ten years or the cost of rebranding station signs)

the inability of one TOC to quickly deploy rolling stock that is idle yet belongs to another in order to satisfy some contingency issue is also symptomatic**

(** Example: A few years ago on a Sunday morning at Sheffield, a London-bound train failed at Derby depot prior to its empty stock run to Sheffield. Thus "they" had at least 30 minutes warning before the scheduled departure that this train would not operate. What happened was a bus was laid on to Derby. What would have happened in all probability in nationalised days - and should be the case now - is a spare DMU would have been fired up for the trip to Derby. Why this did not happen was because the spare DMUs belong to another TOC.)

Even if we had one big railway, you'd face problems in a situation like this.

Who at Sheffield is trained to take a 142/ 143/ 153/ 158 (or other type of DMU commonly found to be "spare" at Midland Station) to Derby? If it would mean taking stock on a route that it doesn't usually go along then would you need two drivers in the cab (one with traction knowledge, one with route knowledge)?

Is the stock permitted on that route (Pacers can't go south of Chesterfield, AIUI)?

Even if the 75mph DMU can get from Sheffield to Derby in the path that the 125mph train was due to take(?), is there a spare path back (slotted in between the various Voyagers/ Meridians?

Have you got time to couple two or three Sprinters/ Pacers together to ensure that all passengers on the InterCity service get a seat?

What was the "spare" DMU and the two(?) members of staff due to be doing? You may have spare DMUs sat around on a Sunday morning, but you wouldn't normally have two spare drivers "idle" on a Sunday morning (or available at just thirty minutes notice). Sheffield to Derby and back may mean being away for a couple of hours (depending on paths), which is going to knock later services out of synch (drivers and stock in the wrong place).

Maybe this is more of an argument for "we should use the same kind of stock on local and long distance services, so that we can tap into spare resources" (which, for me, is more about having one big fleet of unpowered coaches, or maybe about having significantly more "spare" resources for such emergencies). Otherwise, much easier to stick on a coach (since a coach driver doesn't have to worry about route training or finding a path on the motorway.
 

Bletchleyite

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There's a thread on here somewhere showing that, in actual fact, a Class 156 *was* commandeered and sent south to operate in place of a failed 222.

So this can be done, and is done.

Similarly, Pacers have got to Reading substituting for HSTs before.

It probably helps that it's the same TOC.
 

racyrich

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I don't remember any of the Blair administrations being elected with a manifesto promise of renationalising the railways. :roll: Corbyn has made such promises, but then he'll never be Prime Minister.

The 1997 Labour manifesto contained just such a promise.

Any discussion of franchising stalls until there is an answer to the Wolmar question - what is franchising for? Efficiency? Competition? Saving taxpayers' money? Providing better trains/service? All of the above?
 

Mikey C

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Our current system is around 20 years old. Indeed there is a whole generation of rail users who have no memory of the nationalised BR, which may mean that they accept the current arrangements as the norm.

While the current arrangements aren't perfect, the sheer numbers of people using the railways doesn't suggest that privatisation/franchising was a disaster either
 

Bletchleyite

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What people also forget, or haven't experienced, is how grim some parts of BR actually were. While I know it exaggerates the point slightly, the Victoria Wood Great Railway Journey is very educational.
 

Clip

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The 1997 Labour manifesto contained just such a promise.

I dont think it did. Are you mistaking Prescotts claim for sayingn they will renationalise within 10 years (or something) for a firm pledge in a manifesto?

Railways
The process of rail privatisation is now largely complete. It has made fortunes for a few, but has been a poor deal for the taxpayer. It has fragmented the network and now threatens services. Our task will be to improve the situation as we find it, not as we wish it to be. Our overriding goal must be to win more passengers and freight on to rail. The system must be run in the public interest with higher levels of investment and effective enforcement of train operators' service commitments. There must be convenient connections, through-ticketing and accurate travel information for the benefit of all passengers.

To achieve these aims, we will establish more effective and accountable regulation by the rail regulator; we will ensure that the public subsidy serves the public interest; and we will establish a new rail authority, combining functions currently carried out by the rail franchiser and the Department of Transport, to provide a clear, coherent and strategic programme for the development of the railways so that passenger expectations are met.

The Conservative plan for the wholesale privatisation of London Underground is not the answer. It would be a poor deal for the taxpayer and passenger alike. Yet again, public assets would be sold off at an under-valued rate. Much-needed investment would be delayed. The core public responsibilities of the Underground would be threatened.

Labour plans a new public/private partnership to improve the Underground, safeguard its commitment to the public interest and guarantee value for money to taxpayers and passengers.

http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/man/lab97.htm
 

HH

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I think you've read that the wrong way round, to me it reads as money from the taxpayer/government to the companies, which wouldn't be without merit, rather than paying off the government.

No I read it the right way. It was money going into the pockets of Conservative Party Donors (the implications of which must be obvious, even to fools of the hairy handed variety :lol: ). My point is I'm not aware of any of the owning groups donating money to the Conservative party. Most have a policy of not making any political donations. Whatever the faults of the franchise system, patronage isn't one of them.

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Our current system is around 20 years old. Indeed there is a whole generation of rail users who have no memory of the nationalised BR, which may mean that they accept the current arrangements as the norm.

More likely they see the grass as greener on the public owned side of the hill, because they never experienced BR.

There is no panacea, neither public ownership, nor private, nor even a mix of the two, will produce the perfect railway. What certainly could be improved is the current method of working, and I see the biggest problem in that being DfT. I take as proof of this that both ScotRail and London Overground run somewhat better than DfT's franchises, and the franchises that tend to run best have not been on the template franchise agreement.
 
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