Mersey & Gtr Manchester calls for Arriva to lose Northern franchise

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by LeeLivery, 29 May 2019.

  1. Djgr

    Djgr Member

    Messages:
    280
    Joined:
    30 Jul 2018
    What is undoubtedly the situation is that Northern have lost the confidence of Transport for the North.

    If it is indeed the case that TfN will be responsible for the next franchise then I would respectfully suggest that Northern either adopt a far far more pro-active attitude and approach or they might as well being "reaching for their coat" now.
     
  2. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    43,358
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    What we need is to stabilise the operation so it can operate at 99%+ punctuality and reliability, which to me has to involve simplification and reduced frequencies (and lengthened trains to compensate). Only once that has been achieved would it then make sense to add services back in on a controlled basis, based on the areas of highest demand.

    From April-May this year, "on time" performance (actually on time, not the rather sloppy 5 minute measure) was just 61%. That is not acceptable by any standard. Even using the 5 minute measure it's a fairly atrocious 90-ish %. (Though interestingly by that measure LNR is rather worse).

    https://d2cf7kiw5xizhy.cloudfront.net/images/performance/2019-05/On_Time_Graph_2002.pdf

    I hope the 32.9% early figure does not imply early departures and only arrivals, as that's unbelievably sloppy if it means departures.
     
    Last edited: 29 May 2019
  3. td97

    td97 Member

    Messages:
    578
    Joined:
    26 Jul 2017
    It seems to me that the blame for poor service lies with:
    • CAF/Eversholt - late introduction of new stock
    • NR - usual late delivery of infrastructure
    • ARN - poor industrial relations, staff shortages
    Wonder how much of the weekday crew shortages are down to crew training on the new stock too.
    Don't see the metro mayors blasting the former 2. No mention of the smooth TT change either.
     
  4. Andyh82

    Andyh82 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,598
    Joined:
    19 May 2014
    The only situation I’d want to see Arriva lose the franchise is if the franchise was abandoned altogether, and a new more generous Greater Anglia/Transport for Wales franchise was let.

    Letting the current franchise continue but just under public ownership would achieve nothing and would just be a distraction, with the same problems continuing.
     
  5. Sleeperwaking

    Sleeperwaking Member

    Messages:
    131
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2018
    You've missed the DfT from point 3 as it's their franchise requirement for 50% DOO that caused most of the grief in the first place, and they don't seem to have done much to help ARN / RMT find a workaround. The DfT also needs its own bullet point wrt changes in transport policy that affected how ARN operate their services (such as cancellation of Windermere electrification which meant changes to planned fleet deployment, and hunting around for bi-modes in the shape of the Class 769s which will have sucked up a lot of resources).
     
  6. Mogster

    Mogster Member

    Messages:
    319
    Joined:
    25 Sep 2018
    Instead of this sort of posturing why doesn’t Burnham do something useful and ask why a decision hasn’t been made about 15&16 yet...
     
  7. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

    Messages:
    5,614
    Joined:
    22 Sep 2013
    As an outsider, it just looks like Burnham & co trying to score a few points. Arriva got a terrible network, with ancient trains, but my trips have generally worked as efficiently as all the other circumstances allowed.
     
  8. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

    Messages:
    4,272
    Joined:
    22 Apr 2010
    I think that at least some of the problems can be attributed to DfT franchise specifications, and their long term failure to allow BR & successors to obtain enough rolling stock, dating back to at least the 1980s. Arriva is just one of many to suffer the consequences of bad judgements made elsewhere.

    Six trains per hour between Manchester & Leeds was a silly idea. Three (decent length) trains per hour would have been adequate to provide the necessary capacity.
    Apart from peak hours, three trains per hour between Manchester & London Euston is probably also too many.

    Some local services have been sacrificed or made worse, just to permit those DfT "bright ideas".

    The lack of adequate infrastructure in key locations has been demonstrated. What may work perfectly on paper can easily be transformed into chaos even by some minor delays miles away from Manchester.

    And personally, I do not think that having Platforms 15/16 at Manchester Piccadilly would be much help - the problems at Castlefields Jn, Ordsall Lane Jn, Ordsall Curve, etc. would still exist.

    And the "Sunday" problems would still exist unless someone was prepared to risk industrial action in order to change the "Sunday working" issue.
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    43,358
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    You can operate a terrible network with old trains reliably if you don't try to ask too much of the infrastructure and rolling stock.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    43,358
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    I totally agree. 3tph at 240m would have more than the necessary capacity for many years to come. These could have been formed of two 120m trains splitting and joining to appropriate destinations.

    I'd probably agree there - 2tph off peak with peak extras up to 4tph would make more sense.
     
  11. Glenn1969

    Glenn1969 Member

    Messages:
    600
    Joined:
    22 Jan 2019
    I happen to disagree with the idea that reduced frequency will solve anything even if trains are longer. 5 trains an hour at least are needed Leeds- Manchester and Leeds- Bradford- Halifax if you want to avoid overcrowding and eliminate standing. Train lengthening will only get you so far because a reduced frequency for the same number of passengers does nothing to increase capacity and may well stifle growth and force people to consider driving
     
  12. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

    Messages:
    9,980
    Joined:
    12 Sep 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    A different governing body may set different objectives. The current industrial relations problems stem from DfT's obsession with DOO, although industrial relations in the north west have been shaky even since FNW days. Poor industrial relations affect everything, including traction and route training, as well as the more immediately obvious Sunday RDW.

    The rolling stock shortages ARE Arriva's fault though.
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    43,358
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    No, they're not - not if you had proper South East style train lengths.
     
  14. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

    Messages:
    9,980
    Joined:
    12 Sep 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    The current problems are partly due to rolling stock shortages, so that wouldn't make any difference at all. 4tph with 1 unit or 2tph with 2 units needs the same number of trains.
     
  15. Glenn1969

    Glenn1969 Member

    Messages:
    600
    Joined:
    22 Jan 2019
    I live up here and think longer trains are needed but certainly for most of the day the frequency has to stay the same if you want to eliminate overcrowding completely
     
  16. Andyh82

    Andyh82 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,598
    Joined:
    19 May 2014
    Increased train lengths will mean platforms need extending, and that is unlikely to be happening either.

    The problems with Northern goes back years, before the current franchise. The no growth franchise before just set them so far behind, as the trains got more and more crowded and the trains got older and older that it is a massive step to bring things up to an acceptable standard. The changes happening soon should have happened 10 years ago, and we should be moving into the next step again now. You only have to compare to franchises like the West Midlands and Scotrail where turbostars are now surplus, and Northern are still messing about refurbishing 150s.

    There are a lot of bad headlines still to come

    Pacers not being disposed of by the end of the year
    Realisation that 150s, 155s are actually not pacers and are staying
    New trains finally arriving but actually being just 2 cars in many cases
    The list goes on.
     
  17. scrapy

    scrapy Established Member

    Messages:
    1,159
    Joined:
    15 Dec 2008
    You could but you would still need at least 4 trains an hour between Manchester and Wigan. Line capacity between Wigan and Southport isn't a problem so why cut the frequency on this stretch? It wouldn't change anything at the most congested parts of the network.
     
  18. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    43,358
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    To free up crews, which seem to be the primary issue, for simplified diagramming.
     
  19. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,161
    Joined:
    6 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Yorks
    To be honest, I'd rather they kept whatever was needed to keep capacity up.

    This perpetuation of two-carriage units has been worrying me for a long time. We could end up with a load of shiny new trains (with hard seats) without anything like the capacity lift passengers actually need.

    The 153's should be retained on a long term basis to make more 3-carriage sprinters.
     
  20. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    43,358
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    The presence of 2-car units certainly raises a concern of them being run as 2-car units.
     
  21. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

    Messages:
    13,379
    Joined:
    27 Jan 2014
    Location:
    West of Andover
    And especially since looking at the interior pictures those 2-car units have a low density interior more designed for mid-distance 'regional' services rather than local suburban stoppers which no doubt they will find themselves working with the random northern unit generator.
     
  22. option

    option Member

    Messages:
    355
    Joined:
    1 Aug 2017
    Is the Northern franchise simply too big & geographically widespread to be properly manageable?

    "Northern is the second largest train franchise in the United Kingdom";
    Stations called at 528
    Stations operated 476
    West Midlands;
    Stations called at 178
    Stations operated 146
    TfL Overground;
    112 served
    ScotRail;
    Stations operated 352

    There's lines not connected to any other Northern services, eg Cleethorpes - Barton-on-Humber
    There's areas that are barely connected to the rest of the Northern network, eg the north-east area bounded by Whitby, Saltburn, Bishop Auckland, Chathill
    Extensions that could be transferred to other operators, eg Sheffield-Nottingham, Sheffield-Lincoln to EMT.


    Maybe the best option is to let the current franchise run till it's expiry date.
    Whilst that is happening, see what the results of the Williams review are, see what the rolling stock & infrastructure situation/plans are, & completely redraw the services/franchise. That gives ~4years to do that work.
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    43,358
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Not any more than BR was, or Deutsche Bahn AG, or whatever. You just need an appropriate structure.
     
  24. jtuk

    jtuk Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    4 Jun 2018
    As far as I'm concerned, it's the exactly the same mediocre service it has been for 25 years, the current incumbents not doing anything different at all, apart from a couple of Saturday trains on the Stoke line now going straight through Stockport for reasons unknown
     
  25. PR1Berske

    PR1Berske Established Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    27 Jul 2010
    Location:
    Preston
    This perhaps should go onto the Speculative sub-forum but there is some truth in this. Northern is huge and is expected to be local stopper, commuter service, quasi-intercity, rural outreach, and as necessary for Manchester high-earners as it is Cheshire students. Of course it is very easy to say "Northern should be divided into two or three smaller franchises." The hard answer is what exactly those new franchises should be.
     
  26. Djgr

    Djgr Member

    Messages:
    280
    Joined:
    30 Jul 2018
    Well a good starting position might to be to carve a franchise area focused on the area covered by the Liverpool City Region and Manchester Metro mayors
     
  27. NorthernSpirit

    NorthernSpirit On Moderation

    Messages:
    1,627
    Joined:
    21 Jun 2013
    The two mayors are, in my view, only doing this to score cheap political points.

    Obviously the Northern franchise is large and should be merged with that of TransPennine and manage the whole network the same way as Network South East was - is the only way.

    The other problems are:
    - There's also too many two car units running in service, realistically we should be looking at four car units minimum.
    - Not enough paths, some services should join and split at certain stations e.g Leeds, Barnsley, Goole, Doncaster, Man Vic and Preston.
    - Too many services are routed via Bradford Interchange and the six trains an hour through Huddersfield. Why not have some services running via Brighouse which would help spread the services across two main routes between Leeds and Manchester, even routing one via Wakefield could replace the current Castleford to Huddersfield shuttle.
    - Too many services are terminating at Knottingley, surely extending the service to Hull could provide a cheapish solution for a stopper service between Leeds and Hull.
    - Too many services to Manchester Airport, there are other airports such as Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Leeds Bradford International Airport, Robin Hood Airport and Humberside. So what's special about Manchester Airport?
    - Network Rail being behind on projects such as electrification.
    - Various Combined Authorities, simply scrap them and let the local councils deal with buses/trams and the railway part hived off to Rail North or placed under a new brand e.g. Network North.

    I can't see anything being improved in the long term apart from the quad tracking between Ravensthorpe and Huddersfield and the insallations of dynamic loops between Leeds and Manchester.

    Edited to add in an extra point.
     
    Last edited: 30 May 2019
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    43,358
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    I can't see how you could do that without lopping services at arbitrary points (a bit like they do in some other European countries).
     
  29. Djgr

    Djgr Member

    Messages:
    280
    Joined:
    30 Jul 2018
    Perhaps Transport for Wales might be a useful template? They don't terminate and reverse trains at Hawarden Bridge once they leave the country. I am assuming that a little common sense would be applicable.
     
  30. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    43,358
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    But who would operate something like the CLC?

    (I suppose a traditional bus-style "joint operation" could be used)

    The other danger is that that leaves a "Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire rural branch lines" franchise which would be ripe for death by a thousand cuts.
     

Share This Page