Operation Princess

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Kier

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I was just wondering why it happened and why it was such a failure? I used to use XC services regularly in the 90s all across the network and never had a problem with them.

I loath XC services now, I breathed a huge sigh of relief yesterday when I saw it was a HST instead of a voyager. Why did the HSTs have to be replaced?

They are still used extensively by East Coast and EMT (whilst not being the main stock) and FGW for pretty much all their express services.

Or is there a thread where this has been discussed? I have searched but have not seen one.

Thanks.
 
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YorkshireBear

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The idea was logical but flawed. Short trains more frequently no reduction in capcity but much more attractive.... = overcrowded trains :/ The thing is should the voyagers of been built to 7 or 8 cars you would not loath them anywhere near as much.

It has been discussed at length here in various threads, (the failings of XC that is) and im sure the same things will appear here. And following on from this post will be a massive voyager bash.....
 

hairyhandedfool

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The idea was to run twice as many services with 4/5 car Voyagers and then extend them later, but the DfT decided XC didn't need the extra coaches when the scheme failed (It's also worth noting that the DfT stopped Virgin extending their Pendolinos and then ordered some extra stock for the next franchise anyway).

I'm lead to believe timetable issues were the worst of the problems, with services through Birmingham being the most prone to delay.
 

The Planner

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It was all squeezed down to the wire, so if anything went wrong it fell like a pack of cards and couldnt recover.
 

Yew

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They should have taken the mk2/3's refurbished them. and then used them on 170's routes. Giving more capacity, and similar speeds (3/4 carriage LHCS vs 2/3 car DMU's)

Then more money would be available for voyagers as fewer 170's would have been bought :)

Waittttt..... we had a Labour government So I forgot. Old trains bad. New trains Good.
 

Zoe

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The idea was to run twice as many services with 4/5 car Voyagers and then extend them later, but the DfT decided XC didn't need the extra coaches when the scheme failed (It's also worth noting that the DfT stopped Virgin extending their Pendolinos and then ordered some extra stock for the next franchise anyway).
It was the SRA rather than the DfT back then and they put both franchises onto management contracts at one time.
 

sprinterguy

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They should have taken the mk2/3's refurbished them. and then used them on 170's routes. Giving more capacity, and similar speeds (3/4 carriage LHCS vs 2/3 car DMU's)

Then more money would be available for voyagers as fewer 170's would have been bought :)

Waittttt..... we had a Labour government So I forgot. Old trains bad. New trains Good.
The 170s in used with Crosscountry now were ordered by Midland Mainline and Central Trains (Plus two previously spot hire units) for the expansion of services rather than for use specifically on the routes they are now used on, so there would have still been the same number of 170s. Plus, the Turbostars make for a much better suited train than do the Voyagers.
 

pt_mad

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The claustrophobia wouldn't be half as bad if they refitted the Voyager interiors to appear more spacious with bigger seats.


The 222 Meridien interiors aint half bad considering. Its the glass shelf and bigger seats that are closer together with a smaller gangway that creates the illusion.

Check out this picture:
http://www.gbrailwayworld.co.uk/Tra...teriors/i-PLWtv3m/0/M/222003-interior-4-M.jpg


Anyone agree?
 

sprinterguy

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I loath XC services now, I breathed a huge sigh of relief yesterday when I saw it was a HST instead of a voyager. Why did the HSTs have to be replaced?

They are still used extensively by East Coast and EMT (whilst not being the main stock) and FGW for pretty much all their express services.
HSTs are beginning to play a bigger and bigger part in East Coasts' services as frequencies have been increased; I'm beginning to wonder if they are going to end up with a fleet as big as that which the East Coast had before it was electrified!

The 2+7 HST formations that were used by Crosscountry were unable to keep time with Voyager schedules, which was the reason that they were shortened to five carriage formations in the last couple of years. It is a shame though that Virgins' plan to refurbish, IIRC, fourteen HSTs in 2+5 formation and keep them on long term as class 255 "Challengers" never came to fruition, they would have been exceptionally welcome when Virgins' approach to Operation Princess proved insufficient to cope with rising passenger demand and existing quantities of luggage.
 

pt_mad

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Long term though they need to look at something else other than HSTs on the XC network. Its obvious the Voyagers aren't enough and HSTs wont go on forever. What about some modified 185s?

Does anyone know why they wanted tiling trains on the main South West - North East non-tilt route anyway?

The whole thing sort of reminds me of Great Western's adelantes. They just wern't up to it so Great Western admitted defeat and put everything back to HSTs. Cross Country however do not have that option.
 

MidnightFlyer

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The whole thing sort of reminds me of Great Western's adelantes. They just wern't up to it so Great Western admitted defeat and put everything back to HSTs. Cross Country however do not have that option.
... Except FGW are about to take 5 (?) back to replace Class 16xs on the Cotswolds line.

Further, I don't see the advantages of 185s on XC jobs - 100mph in lieu of 125 which Voyagers / HSTs provide is a massive backward step.
 

tbtc

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I was just wondering why it happened and why it was such a failure?
You could argue that they were far from a failure, and was too successful.

Apart from the extensions (Dundee and Cardiff bi-hourly etc) at the extremities, the whole Operation Princess worked too well, meaning that the stock was inadequately short.

If the Voyagers had been extended after a year or two (as they should have) then we wouldn't have all the problems that we do now.
 

pt_mad

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... Except FGW are about to take 5 (?) back to replace Class 16xs on the Cotswolds line.

Further, I don't see the advantages of 185s on XC jobs - 100mph in lieu of 125 which Voyagers / HSTs provide is a massive backward step.
Good point but a lot of the Network speeds are less than 100. I know there are bits between Kingsbury and Derby and then on ECML sections but surely if 185s were drafted in to add to rolling stock as extra services this would not be a problem.

Also I presume 185s could actually be modified to go a lot faster anyway. What with the 350s soon to go 110mph.
 

tbtc

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The whole thing sort of reminds me of Great Western's adelantes. They just wern't up to it so Great Western admitted defeat and put everything back to HSTs. Cross Country however do not have that option.
Agreed - Virgin weren't the only TOC to replace "full sized" trains with shorter new ones - FGW's 180s were a similar move.

The difference is that FGW were able to replace their five coach 180s with full sized HSTs and Virgin weren't
 

pt_mad

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Agreed - Virgin weren't the only TOC to replace "full sized" trains with shorter new ones - FGW's 180s were a similar move.

The difference is that FGW were able to replace their five coach 180s with full sized HSTs and Virgin weren't
Thing is I think they've got to the stage now where even if they modified all units to 8 coaches people would still be annoyed due to cramped interiors and lack of luggage space.

You ride on a Mallard Mk4 coach or a XC HST and you realise what real intercity long distance travel should be like. Then the voyager turns up and you spend the whole journey cramped and annoyed. And the vibrations are annoying as well.

I think by XC running the HSTs they are actually making their own customers realise how rubbish the Voyagers are.
 

YorkshireBear

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Thing is I think they've got to the stage now where even if they modified all units to 8 coaches people would still be annoyed due to cramped interiors and lack of luggage space.

You ride on a Mallard Mk4 coach or a XC HST and you realise what real intercity long distance travel should be like. Then the voyager turns up and you spend the whole journey cramped and annoyed. And the vibrations are annoying as well.

I think by XC running the HSTs they are actually making their own customers realise how rubbish the Voyagers are.
I doubt it. My mates cant tell the difference. Think your over estimating how much normal passenegers care/notice.
 

districtline

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http://www.alycidon.com/ALYCIDON RA...VE/INF SRCS 2003/Informed Sources 01 2003.htm

If you read that link you will see that Virgin wanted 7 car DMUs to replace the HSTs. The Voyager fleet was however specified by the DfT to be only 4/5 cars in length. Could we once and for all stop blaming Virgin for the mess as it had absolutely nothing to do with them and if they had their way there would be a fleet of 7 car DMUs which I doubt many would be complaining about.
 
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pt_mad

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I doubt it. My mates cant tell the difference. Think your over estimating how much normal passenegers care/notice.
Yeah you are probably right. Average Joe wanting to go from A to B probably just expects a seat and to get there fast. Now I have my rail head on though I can't help thinking they are rubbish.

What swayed them away from Loco hauled coaches originally? I read somewhere that the original Virgin plan was for MK3 coaches hauled by 67s. Lack of acceleration?
 

starrymarkb

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Thing is I think they've got to the stage now where even if they modified all units to 8 coaches people would still be annoyed due to cramped interiors and lack of luggage space.

You ride on a Mallard Mk4 coach or a XC HST and you realise what real intercity long distance travel should be like. Then the voyager turns up and you spend the whole journey cramped and annoyed. And the vibrations are annoying as well.

I think by XC running the HSTs they are actually making their own customers realise how rubbish the Voyagers are.
I find the Mallard/XC refurbs horrendously uncomfortable and would rather the voyager. Didn't someone find out that the pitch in the Mallard/XC HST was the same as a Pacer?
 

starrymarkb

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Long term though they need to look at something else other than HSTs on the XC network. Its obvious the Voyagers aren't enough and HSTs wont go on forever. What about some modified 185s?

Does anyone know why they wanted tiling trains on the main South West - North East non-tilt route anyway?

The whole thing sort of reminds me of Great Western's adelantes. They just wern't up to it so Great Western admitted defeat and put everything back to HSTs. Cross Country however do not have that option.
Remember that XC use to run up the West Coast as well, so tilt could be used.

As for FGW - the 180s were for fleet expansion to enable half hourly service to Bristol and Cardiff. They were not HST replacements... The horrendous reliability and high running costs combined with the ability to pick up second hand HSTs at the time meant they were dumped
 

D1009

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You could argue that they were far from a failure, and was too successful.

Apart from the extensions (Dundee and Cardiff bi-hourly etc) at the extremities, the whole Operation Princess worked too well, meaning that the stock was inadequately short.

If the Voyagers had been extended after a year or two (as they should have) then we wouldn't have all the problems that we do now.
You have to bear in mind the politics of the time and what was happening to Railtrack. Branson invested huge amounts of money and expected some return on it. The nuts and bolts of the railway industry simply wasn't geared up for that sort of approach. What we got were initially totally unworkable timetable proposals and a brand new unknown train fleet. That it didn't work was probably foreseeable. About the time Virgin lost the franchise, Bomabardier finally managed to deliver a reliable train fleet. Deactivating the tilt improved things even more. There are many similarities between today's very much watered down XC timetable to those original proposals, so to say Operation Princess was a failure is not entirely correct.
 

sprinterguy

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What swayed them away from Loco hauled coaches originally? I read somewhere that the original Virgin plan was for MK3 coaches hauled by 67s. Lack of acceleration?
The idea was for single ended locos based on the class 67 with four carriage rakes of new build coaching stock instead of the 220s, and the 221s were to only have been four carriages in length. I can't remember what the reason for Virgin going for a squadron fleet of DEMUs was, but I don't think that lack of acceleration was it (A 67 on load 4 can accelerate pretty rapidly!). Track access charges might have been.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I find the Mallard/XC refurbs horrendously uncomfortable and would rather the voyager. Didn't someone find out that the pitch in the Mallard/XC HST was the same as a Pacer?
It's all down to personal taste, I suppose: I think that the Mallard and XC HST seating (Grammer, is it?) is the best long distance seating out there.
 

Zoe

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It's all down to personal taste, I suppose: I think that the Mallard and XC HST seating (Grammer, is it?) is the best long distance seating out there.
The FGW seats offer better privacy. XC isn't used much for long distance though.
 
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