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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Jala_150, 2 Jun 2015.
Announced this morning by DfT
Same old same old.
Intercity West Coast - 49%
IC East Coast - 90%
East Midlands - 100%
South Western - 100%
Greater Anglia - 40%
Several bus networks in the SW/ London/ Manchester/ other locations
Stagecoach are going to rule the world. End of.
I think an Abellio/Stagecoach joint venture is a new one, even if it isn't as new as a company like Renfe getting shortlisted.
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Plus potentially TPE. They aren't bidding for Northern though.
Finally things can begin to improve for this area!
I'd say Souter's investment in the SNP is his canniest one yet...
It's interesting that they're going for franchises but not putting their name above the door. I guess it stops it looking like Stagecoach control everything. "Free market" my foot.
Same strategy as Govia.
The worry with this is how prominent Norwich in 90 seems to be; given it's prominence would it have been better to split the locals and InterCity services a la Anglia Railways so Great Eastern services don't suffer as a result of Norwich in 90?
If Arriva or Govia put in for it, they lost out.
Interesting that Abellio felt they needed to go to a JV to bid for a franchise they already run by themselves.
Maybe they needed more financial backup for the longer franchise.
Seemingly it's 60% Abellio, 40% Stagecoach:
A tad concerned at NX if I'm honest, given that a lot of effort was put into getting rid of them!
NX could do well to return, seeing how well they've looked after C2C. I think the franchise could be a poisoned chalice for whoever gets it... aging OHLE, bottlenecks on network etc...
My money is on NX to win personally
First. Please let it be First with a mix of the former award winning Anglia Railways (GB Railways) and First Great Eastern managements (with a bit of FGW!). Both were rather well run franchises, both were award winning and both were a lot better than as run under the other two operators. It's also fairly comparable to the set up First already has on FGW - you've got your London Commuter, Intercity and Long Distance and Regional Rail at the other end, so given a FGW style management back onto it and I reckon it'll improve nicely.
After the dreadful way NXEA was run, it really would be a travesty to let NX back onto it in my opinion. GA still haven't got it perfect, but better than NXEA ever had it.
I hope for First too. Its a shame Abellio have joined up with Brian Souter's lot, theres no way I can support a man like him.
If you want to predict who'll win, you may as well draw straws. The ITT is not published till later this year, we'll not know what the winning bid looks like until next year.
First: not universally loved in FGW land but may be a good indication.
NX have been brought low by NXEC and NXEA, but manage C2C well and hopefully will have learned about over promising/under performing
Abellio-Stagecoach- now have experience of this franchise in particular. Stagecoach generally well liked with regards SWT and EMT
How do DfT actually pick a shortlist months before they know what exactly the ITT will say? I realise it's not practical for DfT to consider 20 bids for each franchise they let due to the amount of work involved in analysing them. However, it seems a little strange some operators (NX in particular) get shortlisted for some franchises and don't have any hope of being shortlisted for others.
Having worked for BR, GB Railways, National Express, briefly First Group & now Abellio theres only one left.
It's Stagecoach to win for me even if in bed with the Dutch lot
Then maybe next time one involving Kelios or Arriva?
All potential bidders are offered the chance to prequalify. The assessment is then made on preset criteria, and the best 3 to 5 qualify.
Good old privatisation. Providing competition aplenty for us passengers. Might as well give the lot to Stagecoach and rename it British Rail.
Maybe! Sadly this time we are not blessed with them. Here's to 2025 or whenever if i can still be bothered.
I'm not too sure which of these options I prefer - ideally none of them really.
Although not quite to the same extent as some of my peers, my confidence in Abellio is somewhat diminished having seen their current operation in practice. National Express may not have been ousted for service quality reasons but it's not been very long since they lost the franchise and I don't recall it being all that impressive either. That just leaves First.
My experiences of First in recent times will obviously be Great Western and Capital Connect. Capital Connect I found Thameslink punctuality pretty atrocious, but then it's not improved yet under Govia's management either. Great Western I associate with eye-wateringly high fares, but reasonable, if ageing rolling stock. Certainly FGW do a ten times better job of looking after their Mk3s and 150s than the respective Abellio franchises have. The 150s on the St Ives Bay show their age a little but they're respectable and pleasant enough inside, the Northern sprinters I've used have been pretty rough. Likewise despite their age I find FGW Mk3s very nice to travel on, other than the excessively bright lights and questionably-placed power sockets nobody can use.
My memories of First running the Great Eastern franchise were fairly positive, the only exception being their poor decision to run 4-car metro services at weekends resulting in crush loading of every service. Thankfully that's no longer relevant, so if I had to pick from the three bids, I'd probably pick first. They also seemed to do a fairly reasonable job of keeping Scotrail in order, which can't be an especially easy franchise to run either.
If Stagecoach had bid on their own, or in partnership with a company I have less of a negative opinion of, I'd probably go for them as I think they do a pretty fair job of running the franchises they've got so far. SWT routinely impresses me with both value for money, rolling stock condition (including their oldest units) and even though their delay minutes count is pretty poor, I've found them typically a little more punctual than Abellio, if not by all that much.
It's all down to investment really, who is going to do the best job of handling the introduction of new routes, timetables and rolling stock? With Stagecoach the minority shareholder, I just have the horrible nagging feeling based on prior experience that Abellio will take the cheap way out. I also find myself thinking National Express might do the same. They do a good job of running c2c, but apart from maintaining the status quo, there's no real need for major investment there as to my recollection that was almost all handled by Prism shortly before the takeover (correct me if I'm wrong there) - as well as Network Rail-related stuff.
When NX lost the franchise to Abellio I thought 'ah good, someone else is going to take over and hopefully improve' - I can't say that's been what's happened in practice. Conversely, I don't recall having the same feelings about NX taking over from FGE, in fact I almost thought 'that's a shame, were they doing it wrong then?' - but then, back in those days I wasn't a regular London commuter!
Monopolistic concerns or otherwise, is the antipathy towards Stagecoach group shown here really warranted?
I think realistically it has to be the Stagecoach/Abellio partnership.
I have concerns over th ability for First Group to remain viable long term, the loss of any more of their franchises will wipe out any remaining value to the company and will put them on a destructive course. The amount of debt must also be of concern. As for reputation with customers, they have a serious image problem and would likely move away from the First brand.
National Express - really?! There would be a serious backlash in East Anglia if they reappeared.
Stagecoach/Abellio - Neatly enables them to deal with any "anti competitive" issues out of London, the EMT, IL, SWT operations are generally well regarded, even amongst commuters. I feel that only Stagecoach really have the experience required to turn the franchise around, with good Intercity operations on the WCML, MML and ECML. The Greater Anglia franchise is very similar in scope to EMT.
Abellio cant really be blamed for the current state of the franchise, it was never supposed to be more than a "keep it running" temporary franchise with minimal investment pending a full long term franchise. They have met that requirement pretty much. That was all they were paid to do!
Mmm interesting timing the pre qualification list at the same time the owner of 321's announced they would refurbish them all in time for the start of the next Anglia franchise, even if the bidders for the franchise didn't want them.
Looking at it like that i'm now all for First. Got a few grands worth of FG shares haha. Im so fickle.
Now Stagecoach only want franchises they can make healthy profits off. I can't see them ever bidding for Merseyrail or London Overground - those would be too similar to the Manchester Metrolink operations that they successfully bid for and then thought "We can't make much profit off this operation, put Stagecoach Metrolink Limited up for sale and see if some sucker will buy it off us."
Souter is an extremely capable businessman. Many people make a point of supporting his ventures as his record of successes to date far surpasses most others.
In the first round National Express had a majority of franchises, now they are down to one.
They were replaced by First winning everything that moved in the second round. Nowadays they can't win anything.
Arriva haven't won anything in their own name since Cross Country in 2007.
Stagecoach, Abellio and Govia are the ones with recent successes.
We might well know the winners of TPE/Northern before the East Anglia ITT comes out, so that will be another pointer.
But if you look at the managers of the TOCs, the same names keep coming round, working for different employers (or moving into/out of Network Rail).
Abellio Greater Anglia (as a brand) is a bit of a poisoned chalice, particularly with 'he who shall not be named' 'gracing' twitter with his presence and his campaign against abellio. I do fear he has some effect over others who aren't all that clued up on railway operations, and suspect that even with a rebrand, having abellio in the name will be a bit of a trigger for years of hate
Might we see something almost a bit like the reverse of VTEC, where stagecoach branding is used to hide abellio's operation?
Maybe so, but his views on things like gay rights make him odious IMO.
A shame, because the pure stagecoach franchises (SWT and EMT) are actually well run in comparison to others.