Virgin Franchise Extended

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Mike395, 27 Oct 2011.

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  1. Mike395

    Mike395 Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    According to their press office, Virgin have been awarded an extension of their contract for the WCML until December 2012 - presumably to stop a new operator making a mess of things over the Olympic period :P

    They've also pledged to add 2 carriages to each Pendo before the franchise expires :)

    Would be interesting to hear your thoughts...
     
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  3. SS4

    SS4 Established Member

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    Can't say it wasn't coming. I'd be far more impressed if they curtailed their retarded definition of peak time. 3pm is the middle of the afternoon for crying out loud and a Birmingham train leaves at xx:03
     
  4. callum112233

    callum112233 Member

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    Two carriages? Where will they get them from? Won't the trains then be too long to fit in platforms with the two extra carriages?
     
  5. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    Simple innit? Government are still dithering over the "next generation" franchise structure, the Olympics bit makes sense, and presumably they've reached a (finacial) deal with regards Virgin undertaking the work to bring in the longer trains, possibly on the basis of them being a relatively safe pair of hands?
     
  6. MCR247

    MCR247 Established Member

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    They get built.....
    And there is all ready going to be 34 or something extended, plus 054-058 so I theyd have taught of that. Virgin is just going to order more do they have a fleet of 57 11 car 390s
     
  7. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    I thought they were hoping to have more Pendolino diagrams on Birmingham-Scotland, meaning even at 9 car there are a big increase in capacity over a Voyager.
     
  8. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    The extra carriages are being built for this purpose (not all the Pendolinos are being lengthened)- theere's also a further three brand new sets in addition to the one already delivered. Platforms are/have been lengthened. The extra carriages are Standard Class. There's already been 11 car tests using the first of the four new ones (which is now shortened to 9 and in service). This is a long term plan, but it was going to be the new franchise who would have to bring in the longer trains and new timetable.
     
  9. callum112233

    callum112233 Member

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    So in essence, it's just a plan that has been brought into action earlier than expected?
     
  10. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

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    If you read the link the "two extra carriages" just refers to the 31 pairs already ordered. Nothing about lengthening the rest.
     
  11. bengolding

    bengolding Member

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    Quite surprised at this as I thought relations between DfT and Virgin were strained, or has a new SoS changed things? Gibb, Collins et all will no doubt be having a celebratory toast today :).

    Having spoken to many VT staff recently, I'm sure they will welcome this decision as I get the distinct impression that they would be sad to see Virgin go and have been looked after well in contrast to other TOCs.

    I'm all for strengthening Pendolinos and putting more of them on the Birmingham-Scotland route but please don't dump more Voyagers onto the Birmingham-Euston route!
     
  12. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    More 390s (for future London - Chester electrification, plus existing Birmingham - Glasgow/Edinburgh services) are more important than lenghening 220s, as far as the rest of the railway is concerned, as that'd cascade Voyagers elsewhere...

    Apart from the short term Great Eastern/ East Anglia franchise, does anyone reckon we'll see any *new* franchises during the life of this Government? Everything keeps on getting postponed...
     
  13. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    There'll be 4 extra Pendolinos and no increase in service so they'll be no need to change Pendolino diagrams to Voyager diagrams.
     
  14. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    ...if I had a pound for every time I'd read about Virgin and the DfT being at loggerheads, and how Virgin had no hope of a new franchise...
     
  15. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Really Virgin was always prefered to introduce the new stock to service once the franchise was extended, giving the franchise to Directly Operated Railways was always a threat in case the financial negotiations didnt go well. In practise it would have been a nightmare.
     
  16. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    No, the train lengthening (and the four new trains were) always contracted to happen between April and Dec 2012.

    It just means it will still happen as timetabled, but under Virgin, not the new franchisee.
     
  17. burns20

    burns20 Member

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    Would it be too much to as k for later departures midweek and on Saturdays from Glasgow/Edinburgh-Carlisle/Preston
     
  18. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    Why only until the end of 2012? If they are good enough to have the franchise for another year why can't they have it for another 10 years? In my opinion they are the best TOC and deserve their extension.
     
  19. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Because this is a negotiated extension to the current franchise, following the decision to rejig some of the due dates to avoid them all coming along at once. A ten year extension without a competition would be illegal, I think.

    Virgin will get the same chance as any other bidders for the new franchise in Dec 2012 in due course.
     
  20. Eagle

    Eagle Established Member

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    And (am I right in saying?) the franchise bids are blind, so past performance won't even enter into it.
     
  21. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    It would be far too early to ask for any changes - they'll have to wait for the new franchise, because for most of 2012 a couple of Pendolinos at a time will be out of service being extended, and the additional new trains will not yet have arrived, so there'll be no additional capacity to allow any timetable alterations.

    Then as there is no real precedent for changes on the day a new franchise starts, I suggest May 2013, and more likely Dec 2013 will be the earliest dates any significant timetable changes will occur.

    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---

    That's definitely what the DfT have been saying for the last few years...
     
    Last edited: 27 Oct 2011
  22. cle

    cle Established Member

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    Can I ask why it was decided to have 9 and 11 car sets - rather than lengthening the whole lot to 10 cars?

    I understand Birmingham and Manchester services will stay as 9 car, being most frequent, and the 11 car trains will be to Glasgow and Liverpool?
     
  23. ajdunlop

    ajdunlop Member

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    I'm a bit confused will the new pendos displace any voyagers or add new services? If they are displacing voyagers what will happen these? XC could do with some more to double up some of their most busy or will Virgin double up Birm to Glasgow?
     
  24. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Because not all services need extra carriages. There's only about 1 service in each direction that needs extra capacity on Manchester services and Virgin can get round that problem by changing their peak restrictions.

    Also I'm not sure 10 carriages is enough on the busy Glasgow-London services unless the frequency is also enhanced.
     
  25. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Nothing will be displaced to other TOCs. That is why they are called 'additional' or 'extra' trains for the WC franchise, and not 'replacements'...

    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---

    The ratio of 11 to 9 car trains doesn't fit the routes exactly like that. It is highly possible all Liverpool services will be 11 car, but some routes will have to have a mixture of sizes. I don't think it has ever been announced what they have decided yet...
     
    Last edited: 27 Oct 2011
  26. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    I think there's still an open option on extending the rest of the fleet in the contract to build the extra carriages?
     
  27. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    If they didn't get the extension then it goes DOR, I doubt the Dft really wanted that and Virgin still have to go through the bidding process regardless.
     
  28. TrainFanSam

    TrainFanSam Member

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    I think the government should take control of the WCML like they did with the ECML and bring back the old Intercity franchise. The railway worked better under that guise and i will be honest.... The trains they used back then were a lot more attractive than the Pendolino's and Voyagers of today lol
     
  29. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Making it sound like they are doing everyone a big favour.

    However I reckon if they hadn't agreed to meet the existing timetable for the lengthening and new trains they'd have been on their way in April, with no likelihood whatsoever of being invited back in December.

    Don't forget that the only reason there is a separate legal entity called 'Virgin Rail Projects' to deal with the new stuff is down to their earlier refusal to take part wthout increased subsidy...
     
  30. Zoe

    Zoe Established Member

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    But journey times were slower and trains didn't run as frequently.
     
  31. TrainFanSam

    TrainFanSam Member

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    I know im just being nostalgic. I mean the trains on the WCML today are just.... Boring and it was Virgin that did that to the line. I mean when BR were in charge there was a whole mixture of loco's and rolling stock, and there was even a decent intercity line between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury, not a service run by a company that gets scared and folds when under pressure from other companies (most notably Virgin and Arriva).
     
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