[RailUK] Franchises prequalified bidders announced

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DfT Rail have today announced the prequalified bidders for the three new franchises due to start in November 2007. The new franchises, formed of CrossCountry, East Midlands and West Midlands, are due to replace the four currently existing franchises owned by National Express Group (Central Trains, Silverlink Midland Mainline) and Virgin Trains (CrossCountry).

The new CrossCountry franchise is formed of the current network with the additional routes of Stansted Airport to Birmingham Cardiff Central to Nottingham being taken from the current Central Trains network. The prequalified bidders for this franchise are as follows:
  • Arriva Trains Cross Country Limited
  • First Cross Country Limited
  • NXC Trains Limited (National Express Group)
  • Virgin Voyager Trains Ltd
The East Midlands franchise, formed of Midland Mainline and the Liverpool Lime Street to Norwich service transferred from Central Trains, is the main midland intercity service, with the prequalifying bidders as:
  • Arriva Trains East Midlands Limited
  • First East Midlands Limited
  • NXE Trains Limited (National Express Group)
  • Stagecoach Midland Rail Limited
And, the West Midlands franchise, formed of Central Trains and Silverlink County services, the Silverlink Metro having been taken over by TfL Rail..., the prequalifying bidders are:
  • London Birmingham Railway Limited (GoVia)
  • MTR Corporation (UK) Limited
  • Serco NedRailways West Midlands Limited
It is interesting to note that First Group have bidded for the cross country and East Midlands franchises, perhaps this is a sign pre-warning the winner of the SW franchise? We can only wait and see...

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Mojo

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Interesting that the near Monopoly of Public Transport in the former West Midlands County by NEG is to be broken. We'll just have to wait now for the glossy literature costing in excess of £2Mill to appear... :|
 

ChrisCooper

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Since East Midlands is my main concern, I'm backing Arriva and Stagecoach. Neither are particularly well regarded TOCs, but neither are particularly bad either. Both have a record of innovative thinking, Arriva with the use of loco hauled trains, Stagecoach with the use of the Slammers, and in particular with the ex-CT part, innovative thinking is needed to make real improvements. Anyway, First already has a wide range of franchises, and would have a monopoly on the MML if they got this, NX already run it, yet don't have a good record (IMHO, MML's high regard is more down to the poorness of other equivalent TOCs than anything else), wheras Stagecoach and Arriva are fairly minor in terms of trains. Anyway, I'm interested to see what a HST would look like in Arriva colours. One thing is for certain though, EM is going to a bus company, and bus companies don't have the best records for running trains. Then again, these days you have to wonder how much the operator matters, since the DfT seems to have so much control over the franchises anyway. In many ways, it's the livery that's all that changes, and in that case, First are very much bottom.
 

AlexS

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Arriva Trains Wales services are dire. I'm glad they haven't qualified for the West Mids. I'm personally plumping for MTR, SercoNed appear to be awful with Northern.
 

clagmonster

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Can O just ask who will be getting the Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire local services (including Derby-Crewe), as they are not mentioned in East Mids and don't really fit elsewhere. I am concerned that once again, no matter who gets the franchise, these services will continue to be neglected.
 

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Does anyone have any details on whats going on with the Barton line? The franchise consultation document proposed transfer from Northern to East Midlands but that wasn't definite (and If you have seen my letter in the current Todays Railways UK you will have seen I am against any cahnge of operator).
 

clagmonster

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Yes, but surely it is illogical to have an isolated Northern outost (barring Saturday Brigg services), and presumably more costly buying in of TPE crews, as well as rediculous ecs moves to Scunthorpe (why not in passenger service I don't know). I can see the logic in doing it, after all the Barton service can't get much worse.
 

Humberside

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Can't it get much worse? I dont know if you've read my letter but the transfer to East Midlands franchise could put late evening and some of the remaining Sunday services at risk

If TransPennine had never been split from other regional services in Northern England, thiis situation would never have happenned and the stock for the line could be outbased at the new Cleethorpes facilities and attached to TransPennine services as needed for movement for maintenance ...
 

ChrisCooper

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The Liverpool to Norwich service also has similar problems, since both ends will be outposts. Currently, drivers are outposted at Cambridge, along with some trains, aswell as some who AFAIK travel by road to Norwich to pick up trains, since Norwich outpost closed a year or two ago. Oviously, Cambridge will have nothing to do with the EM franchise, so the only option would be to re-open Norwich, or have trains and drivers at Nottingham, with cuts to early morning trains from Norwich and late night trains to Norwich. Central also have an outpost at Liverpool, serving both the Norwich service and also the Birmingham service, but if this will be viable when it's only for Norwich is a good question. As far as ATW being "dire", I've travelled with them quite a few times and never had problems, and can't think of much to criticise. The same can't be said for First and NX TOCs.
 

Tomnick

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Yes, but surely it is illogical to have an isolated Northern outost (barring Saturday Brigg services), and presumably more costly buying in of TPE crews, as well as rediculous ecs moves to Scunthorpe (why not in passenger service I don't know). I can see the logic in doing it, after all the Barton service can't get much worse.
The 2103 Doncaster - Cleethorpes TPE service used to be used - can't remember whether the arrangement was the same as it currently is (ECS from Cleethorpes to form 0810 Lincoln) in the down direction, but we've certainly gained at least one ECS move since the TPE split (ridiculously early ECS Sheffield - Cleethorpes)
 

clagmonster

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Yes, westbound it always used to be the 05:25 from Cleethorpes. The ex-Doncaster started back at Sheffield in at some stages, as it does nowadays with 185s. Surely to prevent service cuts, the minimum service requirement could be used, protecting all services. There isn't a winter Sunday train service anyway, just a Stagecoach operated bus.
 

AlexS

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As far as ATW being "dire", I've travelled with them quite a few times and never had problems, and can't think of much to criticise. The same can't be said for First and NX TOCs.


Central Trains no complaints in the West Mids at present, clean trains, reliable generally as far as things go.

Arriva Trains Wales must be on sub 50% on time for New Street to anywhere, once again today the 1318 arrival at New Street running in excess of 30 minutes late and terminating at Wolverhampton. It's a daily occurence and happens to far too many of their trains. Trains also tend to be filthy.
 

CallySleeper

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My experience of ATW is that they always run on time or early, and their trains are in a reasonable state. Mind you, this is on the NWML where everything always ends up in Holyhead up to 5 mins early.
 

87015

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Arriva Trains Wales must be on sub 50% on time for New Street to anywhere

Most surprised that the last three or four times i have done G21 in the last few weeks the 1833 Aber has actually ran from New St, must be a record!

Central Trains seem blow hot and cold, its either good or dismal... Always a worryingly high risk of cancellations, especially on the Northampton or Leicester/Peterboro routes. Overcrowding also bit if there is no spare stock not much can be done...
Central is a pig of a franchise to operate though, with thinly spread resources and what not. Hopefully splitting it East/West will help.
 
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My hopes:

CrossCountry: Virgin Voyager Trains
West Midlands: GoVia (London Birmingham...)
East Midlands: National Express
 

ChrisCooper

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Central Trains no complaints in the West Mids at present, clean trains, reliable generally as far as things go.

Arriva Trains Wales must be on sub 50% on time for New Street to anywhere, once again today the 1318 arrival at New Street running in excess of 30 minutes late and terminating at Wolverhampton. It's a daily occurence and happens to far too many of their trains. Trains also tend to be filthy.

It probably shows something about the two franchises. Central seem to care more about the West Midlands side (even over the Citylink IMHO), with a lot of it down to Centro I bet, and ATW seem to care more about the Welsh routes. Hopefully, the New EM franchise will not just concentrate on the ex MML side of things at the expense of the rest of the network, especially since the EM side of Central, including the Liverpool to Norwich service, have always been the poor relations.
I have noticed myself that ATW seem to have a very bad record on the BNS services, which is out of character (I recently spent 3 days in Cardiff, much of it travelling on ATW services, and other than the odd few minutes here and there, none of my trains were delayed, and other than on the Wednesday when there was a signal problem near Swansea, I didn't notice any problems with other services either. The same goes for other trips involving ATW. Sadly, as far as filthy trains go, that's quite common across the board, and there are very few TOCs I'd rate in that department, oviously giving leaway for time of day and type of service operated (a suburban train towards the end of the day is likely to be dirtier than an Intercity train on it's first run).
 

AlexS

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Our Central Trains on the Shrewsbury line are generally quite good EXCEPT for one qualification, on certain trains of the day, ie the 1657 to Shrewsbury from New Street, the unit comes straight off the Stansted to New Street with a 7 minute turnaround so necessarily has half a journey's rubbish on it (which I can quite understand, I'd rather that over no peak hour train!).

In fact, Central Trains suprised me on Saturday, with a 5 car formation on the 2157 to Shrewsbury (I assume because one of the units was headed up to Abbey Foregate for maintenance!)

I just hope that in this franchise split we don't lose our Turbostars, because they are a cut above the 153s they have replaced.
 
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