T&W Metro: Nexus won't extend DB Regio contract past 2017

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Tetchytyke

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http://www.sun-fm.com/news/local/1917388/the-tyne-wear-metro-system-will-have-a-new-future/

If you're catching the Metro from Sunderland things are about to change.

Nexus today confirmed its plans for the future of the Tyne and Wear Metro operating contact, as part of a long-term strategy to develop the system.
Nexus is seeking endorsement from Leaders of the North East Combined Authority to manage Metro operations directly for two years from April 2017, once the current contract has expired.

Although Nexus has the contractual right to extend the current contract for a further two years, it today said it did not wish to exercise this option.
It is instead proposing to manage train operations and stations directly until 2019, allowing it to prepare for significant changes that will come with investment in a new train fleet.

Both Nexus and the operator, DB Regio Tyne and Wear Ltd, are dissatisfied with the structure and the financial and operational performance of the current contract, as passenger outcomes are not where either party would want them to be.

Nexus has agreed an investment package with DB Regio to deliver improvements in fleet performance and customer service for Metro’s 40 million passengers over the final year of the contract.

Nexus, as a public body, already sets fares and service specifications for Metro as well as maintaining most of the infrastructure on which trains run.
Under the proposals it would manage Metro stations and train operations directly from 2017 until 2019, when a new and different contract would begin incorporating delivery of a new train fleet during the first half of the next decade.

Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Nexus, says:
“The future of the Tyne and Wear Metro holds a major investment in a new fleet of trains, and we need to prepare the business for that".

“The current contract that expires in March 2017 is not delivering the outcomes for passengers that either we or the operator wants to see. As a result we propose not to exercise our option to extend it beyond its natural expiry date".

“An investment package has been agreed to improve performance over the final year of the contract.”

“Managing Metro directly for a limited period will allow Nexus to prepare the Metro business for the significant change that will come with further investment of more than £400m in a new train fleet in the coming years.”
Metro passenger numbers have grown 14% over the past two years to 40.4 million, and it remains one of the most high-frequency and lowest cost urban rail operations in the UK for both passengers and taxpayers.

Nexus is working on a business case for a new train fleet to be introduced in the early 2020s, along with a draft specification for rolling stock. This is expected to be completed in the summer, and will set out the benefits of investment to fund-holders and other stakeholders.

It will present options for future operating models and fleet to the Leadership Board of the North East Combined Authority during the summer, and this will inform discussions with the government and other fund-holders.

Responding to the news the RMT have also released a statement.

Transport union today hailed it a massive victory in the battle for public ownership as Nexus confirmed this morning that Deutsche Bahn will have their contract for the Tyne and Wear Metro ripped up with the service being taken into direct public control from April next year.

General Secretary Mick Cash says:

"Today's announcement on the Tyne and Wear Metro is a massive boost in the battle for public ownership and comes after years of hard work and pressure from RMT members and officials across the North East. This is their victory".

"RMT will now press for the initial two year transition to be turned into a permanent arrangement for this essential public service".

"Today's announcement proves that the combination of a strong union and a relentless public campaign is unstoppable."

I don't think many will be sad to see the back of DB Regio, but can't help wonder how Nexus will cope when they can no longer blame them for everything.
 
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WatcherZero

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Lot of hopes of improvement when this franchise was signed. Where did it go wrong? The investment has certainly been put in.
 

142094

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Still going to be the same trains and same infrastructure and same old problems. Where has it gone wrong? The investment has been in the wrong areas.
 

Tetchytyke

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The investment has certainly been put in.

It has, but mostly on the infrastructure not on the trains, and it is the trains that are mostly causing the problems these days.

Not all the investment has been spent as wisely as it could have been, and I'm thinking about the refurbishment of North Shields station in particular.

But the main issue is that Metro needs new trains, and that is getting more and more obvious every day. The refurbishment was welcome but is mostly cosmetic, but given they only had £20m to spend that's about as good as you'll get.

The simple fact is that £300m sounds like a lot of money, but it doesn't go far these days. Metrolink's expansion, by comparison, is costing over £1.5bn. Heck, even the Blackpool tramway revamp cost £100m.
 

ModernRailways

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It has, but mostly on the infrastructure not on the trains, and it is the trains that are mostly causing the problems these days.

Not all the investment has been spent as wisely as it could have been, and I'm thinking about the refurbishment of North Shields station in particular.

But the main issue is that Metro needs new trains, and that is getting more and more obvious every day. The refurbishment was welcome but is mostly cosmetic, but given they only had £20m to spend that's about as good as you'll get.

The simple fact is that £300m sounds like a lot of money, but it doesn't go far these days. Metrolink's expansion, by comparison, is costing over £1.5bn. Heck, even the Blackpool tramway revamp cost £100m.

It's been put in about evenly. They couldn't get new trains because the Government at the time had little money and so refurbished trains with some infrastructure upgrades was the best and most practical business case.

Station refurbishment was much needed. It's not just about what you see. Station refurbishment is also a tiny cost with much bigger benefits.

The metrocar refurbishment wasn't 'mostly cosmetic' at all. Most of the refurbishment changed things that the public don't see.



Now my own two cents on this :p


This isn't going to be good for Tyne and Wear at all. The service quality will likely decrease as I've already posted about in the other Metro thread. Nexus will have no financial incentive to run the best service possible. DB right now incur penalties, fines etc. if a train is late/cancelled and so they want to minimise those fines so try to run the best service they can. Nexus won't overly care in my view.

Nexus pull most of the strings with Metro anyway so nothing will change, service will just decrease as the trains get older.
 
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Tetchytyke

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Station refurbishment was much needed. It's not just about what you see. Station refurbishment is also a tiny cost with much bigger benefits.

Some of it was, especially the installation of more lifts, but the work at North Shields just seems ridiculously grandiose.

The metrocar refurbishment wasn't 'mostly cosmetic' at all. Most of the refurbishment changed things that the public don't see.

I'm curious, as I thought the refurbishment stayed well away from things below the solebar (and the doors, as we all know too well).

Nexus pull most of the strings with Metro anyway so nothing will change, service will just decrease as the trains get older.

Agreed. It should never have been franchised out- Nexus were forced to in exchange for the government money- but I don't think bringing it back in house will make much difference. It might improve industrial relations, which would be a start, but that's about it.
 

ModernRailways

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Some of it was, especially the installation of more lifts, but the work at North Shields just seems ridiculously grandiose.

I'm curious, as I thought the refurbishment stayed well away from things below the solebar (and the doors, as we all know too well).

Agreed. It should never have been franchised out- Nexus were forced to in exchange for the government money- but I don't think bringing it back in house will make much difference. It might improve industrial relations, which would be a start, but that's about it.

Don't get me wrong, North Shields was definitely an outlier but I'd say North Shields was more about improving safety etc. Haymarket, is the only other station to have a major refurbishment and let's be honest, Haymarket is so much nicer to wait in than Monument. It's brighter, cleaner (for the most part) and a lot more airy. Same will likely be said for Central Station once that's finished.

I couldn't tell you what was done exactly (142094 will probably be best with that) but I do know most of the work was what the public can't see. There were a lot of things skipped though and iirc those parts that weren't refurbed are what is causing most of the issues we are having now.

See, I think putting in private hands is a good thing. The problems were Nexus were still pretty much running the show and pulling the strings. It's pointless giving it to a private company when all it's basically doing is being your puppet. I'm hoping Nexus will have learnt from this and have a better system in place next time it goes out to a private company. But I hold out little hope. This is Nexus after all.
 

142094

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I can give a fuller explanation the next time I have access to a PC but a lot of the undercarriage components such as traction motors, camshafts and gearboxes were not touched during the 3/4 life refurbishment. There was a time at the end of last year where a lot of cars had cracked gearboxes, which had Nexus worried as new gearboxes of the type that a Metro uses are very hard to find.
 

ainsworth74

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What's the plans in terms of new stock? Or is the plan not to have a plan...
 

142094

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Still need to submit a case for funding, which they should have done 5 years ago.

Too much time wasted on developing the QCS scheme for the buses.
 

WatcherZero

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They've been putting it off because they want to build a case for expansion in tandem with a rolling stock order.
 

edwin_m

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The rolling stock spec ought to be very similar to what TfGM would need if it goes ahead with any tram-train schemes. Possibly some scope for joint procurement to save money, although there is always the risk of one scheme not going ahead and sinking the other one.
 

Tetchytyke

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Still need to submit a case for funding, which they should have done 5 years ago.

Too much time wasted on developing the QCS scheme for the buses.

The buses scheme and the Metro are totally separate. You'd have more of a point if you were to blame the waste of time that was the Project Orpheus nonsense.

The reason why they've not submitted a case for funding is the desire to expand the Metro. But really they should have realised long ago that the expansion can be dealt with separately.

Out of interest, would a fleet of Flexity 2 trams not be sufficient for the Metro, or would NR refuse to let them on their metals?
 

ModernRailways

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The buses scheme and the Metro are totally separate. You'd have more of a point if you were to blame the waste of time that was the Project Orpheus nonsense.

The reason why they've not submitted a case for funding is the desire to expand the Metro. But really they should have realised long ago that the expansion can be dealt with separately.

Out of interest, would a fleet of Flexity 2 trams not be sufficient for the Metro, or would NR refuse to let them on their metals?

No, they're not seperate. Nexus can't do both projects at once.

That's simply not true. It's something they'd like to add to any push for new funding for Metrocars, but they wouldn't push back getting new Metrocars just to add more to the system.

Trams wouldn't be suitable for the type of service we currently have. And in my view wouldn't cope with peak demand and the increasing usage of Metro. Flexity 2 is out of the question as Metro doesn't have low floor platforms. We need new trains, not trams.
 

Paul_10

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The buses scheme and the Metro are totally separate. You'd have more of a point if you were to blame the waste of time that was the Project Orpheus nonsense.

The reason why they've not submitted a case for funding is the desire to expand the Metro. But really they should have realised long ago that the expansion can be dealt with separately.

Out of interest, would a fleet of Flexity 2 trams not be sufficient for the Metro, or would NR refuse to let them on their metals?

Thats how I feel, plans should of been more focused on designing and securing new metro vehicles way back around 2005 instead of the overly ambitious plans of street tram running mixed in with the current system however Nexus rather focused on that and its part of the reason why we are in this situation today.

Whether putting it back into the public hands will improve matters i'm not sure but a lot of people did fear profits will come before the passengers and the service would get worse under privatisation and you can't say they were wrong.

Of course social media does not help matters on the public's perception of the service and I bet for 97% of passengers, they would have a trouble free journey but with social media you are now aware of most of the problems that occur on the system. I mean if you live in on the yellow line in North Tyneside and you hear there is a failed train at South Hylton, you would probably not have any idea that is the case but with social media you are aware of it and no doubt people will have a moan about it when it does not even affect them! :roll:
 

nerd

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The buses scheme and the Metro are totally separate. You'd have more of a point if you were to blame the waste of time that was the Project Orpheus nonsense.

The reason why they've not submitted a case for funding is the desire to expand the Metro. But really they should have realised long ago that the expansion can be dealt with separately.

Out of interest, would a fleet of Flexity 2 trams not be sufficient for the Metro, or would NR refuse to let them on their metals?

Replacement and expansion are bound together AT; if Nexus are to go shopping for a light rail product in the market place, they need to get something that could potentially both run as a train across the current core network, and also run as a tram-train along the proposed extensions around Sunderland.

For the moment, Network Rail are continuing to allow Metrocars to run over NR rails; but long-term, the only light rail vehicles that will be able to do so will be those that satisfy tram-train standards - as specified from the Sheffield trial.

Flexity 2: likely not for the reasons stated by MR. But the new high floor Flexity-based Stadtbahn B replacement trams from Bombardier look pretty much tailor-made for the job. At least to me.

Large Image
 
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edwin_m

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long-term, the only light rail vehicles that will be able to do so will be those that satisfy tram-train standards - as specified from the Sheffield trial.
Why? They can use the existing vehicles providing they can demonstrate risks are ALARP, which doesn't necessarily require the Euro standards for tram-trains.
 

nerd

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Why? They can use the existing vehicles providing they can demonstrate risks are ALARP, which doesn't necessarily require the Euro standards for tram-trains.

that will be up to Network Rail.

the permission for Metrocars to run over Network Rail tracks to Sunderland was done as a one-off. But a purpose of the Sheffield tram-train trial is to establish general standards for all future such permissions. The Metrocar replacements will need to comply with these.

Part of the problem for Nexus; is that they would really like to place their order in advance of the date the Sheffield trial is now likely due to report. Hence the value of buying an existing product that satisfies the Euro standards.
 

Busaholic

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What a shame for Tyne and Wear that G. Osborne's understanding of what constitutes the North and its transport requirements doesn't encompass it. No doubt B. Johnson would have even less sympathy should he, by some national tragedy, assume high office.
 

nerd

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What a shame for Tyne and Wear that G. Osborne's understanding of what constitutes the North and its transport requirements doesn't encompass it. No doubt B. Johnson would have even less sympathy should he, by some national tragedy, assume high office.

Not sure whether this is the case; the Treasury does seem to be committed to fund the Metrocar replacement order; it is up to Nexus to agree a specification for a standard tram-train light rail vehicle. Which they are due to do this summer. We know Nexus are likely to ask for 100 of them (ten more than the current stock), so some indication of the degree to which Osborne's Northern Powerhouse rhetoric extends into Tyneside may be ascertained from whether the Treasury tries to trim down the order.

Otherwise, the follow-up issue is whether Nexus will be able to access the funding for system extensions - tram-train around Sunderland and Washington maybe; trams along the West Road and Gateshead. Presumably some sort of Earnback deal would be in prospect; so again it will be intriguing to see how amenable the Treasury will be to this.
 

Tetchytyke

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nerd

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Would a follow-on order for Manchester style trams be a cost-effective means of obtaining these? Would they fit?

Nexus would appear to have already identified the M5000 as being close to their preferred specification for a replacement.

http://www.nexus.org.uk/sites/default/files/Metro Strategy Background document.pdf

TfGM appear to have capped their order for the existing M5000 units at 120; but are currently evaluating the possibility of future fleet expansion. The implication being that they may be looking for a 'next generation' equivalent light rail vehicle; likely with similar external dimensions, but better ride characteristics and capable of dual voltage running in tram-train applications

Plus the latest TfGM stratgy document envisages that light rail vehicles could not only be run as trams or tram-trains - but also (presumably in longer trains) to convert existing commuter heavy rail services to cross-city light metro operation.

Which does suggest that TfGM and Nexus could well be converging on a very similar vehicle specification for substantial numbers of new orders; to be delivered in the period 2020 to 2030. There are advantages in big numbers.
 

S Lowes

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I'm curious, as I thought the refurbishment stayed well away from things below the solebar (and the doors, as we all know too well).

Taken from what do they know,

Vehicle Body:

Detailed inspection of the first five units with structural repairs undertaken as required over entire body.
Exterior paintwork to a livery agreed with Nexus.
Waterproofing issues addressed
Flooring evaluated with damage and degradation rectified.
“Bagged” insulation installed where replacement is required.

Passenger Saloon Area:

New lighting diffusers
Replaced window seals
New floor covering
Refinished interior surfaces
New seating layout, replacement seat bases and backs, replacement seat coverings
RVAR improvements including a call-for-aid button and door step lighting
Modified handrails/grabpoles
Passenger counting technology in first 22 units.

Passenger Saloon Doors:

Full door overhaul, with defective or unrepairable door leaves changed out.
Contrasting strip on external stepboards for RVAR compliance.
New audible door warning tone
Renewed door seals
Refinished RVAR-compliant door push buttons

Driver’s Cab (applicable to A-End only):

Replacement floor covering
Refinished interior surfaces
New lighting system
New driver’s seat
New Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) system
Refinished cab desk
Refurbished cab door
Improved cab step and handrails
Improved cab storage facilities
New cab signage
Replacement windscreen wash/wipe system

Electrical System:

Replacement of wiring including:
Wiring between central duct and door headers
Wiring of door headers on 4001 & 4002
Wiring between underframe and equipment cases/cases on the cab cupboard
Wiring contained within the main equipment cases
Wiring contained within the auxiliary cases
Lighting system wiring
Main cabling runs in the central duct, including existing spare wires
 

WatcherZero

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Tfgm option for future units at existing price expired, think they ultimately pretty much exhausted all the possible contract options anyway.

They did include ordering more rolling stock for an enhanced service level as a possible contract extension bidders to operate the next concession could propose.

Bombardier are transitioning to a new model the flexity2, any more orders for the flexity swift from european customers will likely be from existing contract options.
 

Busaholic

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HM Treasury has just lopped £33m from the promised funding for the current upgrade work.

HM Treasury may be many things, but committed to the north east it is not. We don't vote Conservative, see.

[

Berwick-on-Tweed went Tory last year after all those years of Lib, then Lib Dem, and the constituency extends a lot further south eg. Alnwick and Alnmouth, but that offers no hope for Nexus of course. Mind you, you can get every constituency in the SW vote you in (bar one) and this government will still treat you with contempt.
 

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Plus the latest TfGM stratgy document envisages that light rail vehicles could not only be run as trams or tram-trains - but also (presumably in longer trains) to convert existing commuter heavy rail services to cross-city light metro operation.

I'm not surprised to see that mentioned as an option - there would be a very strong draw to integrating and electrifying Manchester's entire non-regional-express network (so stuff like the Hadfields, the Atherton line as far as Wallgate, the Rose Hills etc) into the Metrolink system and brand, making the whole thing a bit more Merseyrail-esque.

And a vehicle suitable for Manchester's high floor system and that approach may well be ideal for Nexus too.

Perhaps the two could work together on a procurement plan?
 

nerd

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I'm not surprised to see that mentioned as an option - there would be a very strong draw to integrating and electrifying Manchester's entire non-regional-express network (so stuff like the Hadfields, the Atherton line as far as Wallgate, the Rose Hills etc) into the Metrolink system and brand, making the whole thing a bit more Merseyrail-esque.

And a vehicle suitable for Manchester's high floor system and that approach may well be ideal for Nexus too.

Perhaps the two could work together on a procurement plan?

Again, that looks like it could be the sub-text to Nexus's background document. Supposing Metrolink and Metro converge on a similar specification order - then, as TfGM found, it makes expansion a great deal easier. No need to go through the whole procuerment rigmarole for a dozen or so vehicles; just add it onto the back of an ongoing order.
 

ModernRailways

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What Nexus dreams of is not what Nexus will get.

The image was also part of Project Orpheus and not something that will happen. We will likely get new Metrocars that will also be compatible with any potential teams that may come further down the road.

We need a high capacity train. Trams are not suitable and this has been pointed out to Nexus on multiple occasions by both DB and NECA.

Nexus want a full new fleet of trains ready to roll out by 2021. Route extensions/additions and trams are no longer a priority and are a more long term ambition. New trains is both a short and long term ambition.

Nexus will operate the service for 2 years whilst putting it back out for tender.

There isn't much else to discuss here so anything about future additions/stock should probably go in the mega thread (fleet refurbishment).
 
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