Mersey & Gtr Manchester calls for Arriva to lose Northern franchise

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

  1. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I mean you've pretty much stolen my follow up there :lol:

    I was going to go on to ask what @158756 could tell us about the contract that meant it was so deficient so as to not properly incentivise CAF. Because I had assumed that any such contract would include plenty as standard.

    What stock? Poached from where? I am unaware of much stock sitting around spare (apart from the HSTs that have recently come on the market). There are a few rakes of loco hauled I suppose that could still be cobbled together if required. But that's about it. Plus that tends to come with it's own issues (see the famed unreliability of the 37s on the Cumbrian Coast).

    The 319 conversion is ongoing but also late Northern are supposed to be receiving some but are still waiting for them to be accepted into service.

    You'll forgive me but I just don't see that it's as simple as you're making it out to be.
     
  2. 158756

    158756 Member

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    It certainly will (or should) have penalties for late delivery. Clearly either they weren't enough to get CAF to work to time, or CAF are not a competent manufacturer of trains, in which case Arriva shouldn't have chosen them, however cheaply they were offering the trains - remember CAF were an attractive option for Arriva essentially because no one else wanted their product.

    There should also be penalties for failing to deliver on the franchise contract. But Arriva are still around.
     
  3. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Indeed! The issue with enforcing contractual penalties BEFORE delivery is the risk if the relationship between the contracting parties falls apart. That will in no way lead to a sub standard product! Get the issuss fixed, get delivery sorted out then chase for the money unless you want to terminate the entire relationship.

    It is not simple but admitting that means admitting nortern arent completely awful and useless!
     
  4. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    I am not sure you have ever been involved in mutli national contracting! It is almost as if it is easier to ignore reality and keep pressing a line based on nothing but anger!

    Also what are the issues? Do you know exactly? Hiw do you apportion blame?
     
  5. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    Can I just ask if you actually have any experience in these matters, as your comments to date suggest otherwise.
     
  6. 158756

    158756 Member

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    Experience in multinational business or the legal profession should not be a requirement to have an opinion on passengers and taxpayers being swindled for an unacceptable standard of service. Or do you actually think Northern, or any part of our system, is a model for the rest of the world to follow?
     
  7. RT4038

    RT4038 Member

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    If Arriva were going to take on that kind of black and white risk on their franchise, the cost to DfT would have been much higher. And if that risk had paid off (i.e. no problems) and they had made a handsome profit, lots of people on this forum would have been screaming about Arriva getting money for nothing. You can't have it both ways.
    If CAF have to build in costs to cover their risk in every eventuality, the cost of the product will skyrocket. This would then be reflected in the lease costs and ultimately paid for by the taxpayer. I don't think taxpayers want to pay for the kind of delivery guarantees that are being suggested here.

    It is no good bankrupting the franchisees unless they have done something really negligent, otherwise the number in the market will contract and prices surely rise.
     
  8. mlambeuk

    mlambeuk Member

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    Why is Northern getting all the guff?. From my point of view it seems to be TPX that are more unreliable.
     
  9. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Reading the opening article the reason the OLR is starting to sniff around is because the franchise is in danger of becoming financially unviable. It isn't directly due to poor performance, so presumably, despite apparent poor performance, TPE remain viable financially for the time being.
     
  10. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    But of course poor performance can lead to financial unviability as customers stay away due to the (Northern) advertised service not being provided on Sundays, Saturdays or indeed on Monday to Fridays.
     
  11. bobbyrail

    bobbyrail Member

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    Because this is the Northern bashing thread!

    Can't get to work on time because ..................of Northern
    Can't get out of bed earlier because .................of Northern
    Costs me more on the very convenient train rather than the bus because .................of Northern
    Can't get a train exactly where i want to go on a Sunday because .................of Northern
    A train has been cancelled due to a line side fire because .................of Northern
    Someone has trespassed on the railway cancelling or delaying my train because .................of Northern
     
  12. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes of course I'm not disputing that but it seems likely that the poor performance could continue almost indefinitely as long as the sums still added up.
     
  13. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    I didn't refer to multinational business or the legal profession so I'm puzzled by your response. I was enquiring about your expertise when it came to contracts in particular and, probably, procurement in general.
     
  14. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Personally speaking the time to sit up and take notice of the OLR actually possibly taking over the franchise will be when DFT OLR3 gets a name change on Companies House.
     
  15. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    In its franchise agreement, Arriva contracted with the DfT to introduce its new trains by specific dates, and introduce new services and capacity uplifts dependent on those trains.

    In making those commitments, Arriva should have assessed the capabilities of its chosen supplier, and made due allowance for the risk of delivery delays and/or development issues. Arriva should also have planned for staff recruitment and training to support the new trains and services, including changes to traincrew terms and conditions as required.

    Contractual arrangements between Arriva and CAF are no concern of the DfT. Arriva is solely responsible for delivering its franchise commitments and the taxpayer cannot be expected to pick up the tab for late entry into service of the new trains, or for service cancellations due to lack of traincrew.
     
  16. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    Point is that Northern has failed the attitude test.

    In other words in the way that they have interacted with all the relevant stakeholders (certainly in the past year) they have managed to lose friends and make enemies. Nobody wants to hear why it's anyone's fault but Northern anymore.
     
  17. Glenn1969

    Glenn1969 Member

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    Some of the blame lies with DfT for not authorising Castlefield which meant Northern had to defer some of the services that were in the TSR

    Some of the blame for the 2018 Timetable lies with NR for the bungled and delayed NW electrification

    Some of the blame does lie with Arriva. But not all of it

    For me the acid test is Dec 2019 when the rest of the TSR Commitments and Northern Connect are due to be implemented. I'm giving them another year before making judgement
     
  18. RT4038

    RT4038 Member

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    But I don't think it quite works like that. The Franchisee is micro-managed by the DfT far greater than this (and quite rightly, because they do not wish to pick up the labour cost tab for a profligate operator, even if they do go bust), and are only willing to pay (in the franchise price) so much for rolling stock lease costs, which won't include the sort of price the supplier will demand for cast iron delivery guarantees that you envisage.

    So you get a 'Northern' that the farepayers and taxpayers (as represented by the DfT) wish to pay for.

    We all know what the problem is, and need to face the reality that only a political solution (more taxpayers money) is going to solve it.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Not of the DMUs it isn't. And it's DMUs that are needed far more urgently than EMUs.
     
  20. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    The DfT has not micro-managed the new train procurement. The franchise ITT merely specified a minimum number of new "self-powered" carriages. It was Arriva, in its winning bid, that selected CAF as the supplier, chose to procure more new DMUs than specified, and chose to procure new EMUs as well. It was Arriva, in its bid, that promised to reduce the franchise subsidy year on year.

    Supplier management is not about "cast iron delivery guarantees". It is about working with the rolling stock supplier to make sure all the requirements are properly understood (particular when the supplier is new to the British network) and to ensure that the development and production programme is robust and realistic. Contingency should have been included in the dates promised to the DfT, to allow for unforeseen delays. Then supplier performance should have been closely monitored, and corrective actions jointly developed to recover the programme when issues arose. This all requires a proactive approach by the TOC senior management team.

    If Arriva now finds that the Northern franchise is financially unsustainable on the agreed terms, whether because it over-promised in its bid or because of subsequent managerial incompetence, it has the option of "handing back the keys" and forfeiting its performance bond, like VTEC. A bailout, in the form of increased subsidy payments, would encourage unrealistic bids in future franchise competitions.
     
  21. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    Is that in addition to all the DMUs they have gained in the last couple years?

    All those 150 & 153s from GWR, the 3x150s from the Midlands and the various 156/158 & 170s from Scotland.
     
  22. mrmatt

    mrmatt Member

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    How do you know this is not the case but that for all the planning and contingency in the world it has still slipped? Unless you are closely connected to these things exactly how competent the project delivery has been is impossible to say either way.

    Also to those who assume the contract does not have sufficient incentives for on-time delivery and that northern will simply get away with it how do you know those penalties are not going to be invoked on both sides (with effectively the penalty flowing straight through arriva to the DfT)?

    I'm not saying either of these is likely or unlikely simply that there are a lot of assumptions being used around their competence simply based on the fact their trains run late on a very congested network...
     
  23. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    there are a lot of assumptions being used around their competence simply based on the fact their trains run late on a very congested network.

    mrmatt, it is so, so much more than that!
     
  24. underbank

    underbank Established Member

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    There are lots of Northern problems that aren't on the most congested bits. There are also cancellations, late running, short forming, etc on the non congested areas too!
     
  25. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

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    Northern are only a symptom of a problem.

    They're operating on 19th century infrastructure with 20th century rolling stock in huge expanding 21st century metropolises like Manchester who've outgrown the outdated network.

    Last year was absolute chaos with the strikes, the timetable mess up and insufficient staffing levels to carry out the service. 2 out of 3 have been mostly resolved this year. They still can't run a proper Sunday service.

    Is their service shoddy? Yeah. It's overcrowded, over-congested and short formed in a lot of places. It's only trains that run in and out of London that run a good service in this country (well some of them).
     
  26. Glenn1969

    Glenn1969 Member

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    The Sunday service staffing issue isn't actually entirely Northern's fault. It's the DfT's fault for not realising the different terms would be an issue when the franchise was remapped from First North Western and RRNE to the current two franchises. The taking on of sufficient extra staff should have been written into Northern's franchise agreement when the franchise started. Right now I'm not sure what the answer is
     
  27. Japan0913

    Japan0913 On Moderation

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    Pressure increases on Northern franchise.
    19th June 2019 Railnews
    https://www.railnews.co.uk/news/201...se.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
    Is the local area at its limit?

    It's like Japanese National Railways 40 years ago.
    Intense labor-management conflicts.
    Privatization of the Japanese National Railways.
    to drastically cut the red lines like Beeching.

    through their painful experiences they have achieved remarkable growth
    To the JR-East Japan Railway Company
    Why don't you transfer the franchise?
     
    Last edited: 19 Jun 2019
  28. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Funny how there are multiple threads castigating Northern and TPE for poor performance, but when a report is published into the issues in the north, nobody pays any attention to it.
    This is a joint report by DfT and TfN (The "Blake Jones Review") about the May 2018 timetable meltdown.
    I've only skim-read it, but I'm still surprised at the lack of oversight by TfN and Rail North before them.
    Meanwhile, Burnham and Rotheram march around and lambast the TOCs, not bothering to find out what their appointed body has or hasn't done to manage the situation.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/blake-jones-review-rail-north-partnership-review

    The report seems to demonstrate the poor communications both within the rail industry and with the people who are supposed to have oversight of the northern franchises.
    I'd also observe that the report authors are based east of the Pennines, when the worst aspects of the failures last year were felt on the west side.
     

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