Virgin Trains East Coast franchise to end 24 June 2018 and is temporarily re-nationalised

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by FManc, 29 Nov 2017.

  1. Joe Paxton

    Joe Paxton Established Member

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    Post #1075 (page 36):

    I imagine many others thought similar.

    I wonder if the decision to take the ICEC franchise back has been chosen because of the opportunity to incorporate the remaining GN services to King's Cross into the new operators, so making a future franchise a more attractive proposition financially.
     
  2. Emblematic

    Emblematic Member

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    Interesting, the franchise agreement says (albeint in many paragraphs of legalese) that the outgoing franchise either removes or covers their branding and marks, or can pay the incoming franchisee to do it on their behalf (with the SoS arbitrating if they cannot agree on costs.) Entirely possible that something else has been negotiated in this case, but I don't think what you state in any way commits OLR to protect the elements of Virgin branding. More likely it's to cover things like replacingany Virgin brand upholstery already fitted to IETs and the like.
     
  3. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    Really the Government needs to understand it's not 1996 anymore and times have changed in an East Coast Main Line market.

    Since the West Coast Upgrade has happened the East Coast operator has almost completely lost the London to Glasgow market and the Edinburgh market is taking a hit. They as now no longer the "main operator" from London to Sunderland, Hartlepool, Hull and Bradford while Doncaster, York, Northallerton, Edinburgh, Retford, Grantham and Wakefield have competition from open access operators that didn't exist before. Something on the East Coast Main Line has to change.
     
  4. Andyh82

    Andyh82 Member

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    If you ever read any discussion on nationalisation, such as the one on the BBC website now, many think they are getting lower fares with nationalisation.

    Along with every train being 10 carriages long, running every 5 mins, and running bang on time all the time.

    I expect it will be like Northern. Put a red sticker over the Virgin logo everywhere, and there it’s unbranded. Or a white sticker if the logo is on a white background.

    If the franchise was ending normally, I doubt they would have painted everything plan white, or stripped every vinyl off to reveal East Coast silver, so I don’t see why that would be the case now.
     
  5. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    Specifically it states...

    I assume the franchise agreement is written with the intention that the franchise is completed in full. I'm wondering in this case whether it's a case of we are taking the franchise away on xxx date, forget about everything else and just concentrate on running and maintaining a satisfactory service until that date, we'll deal with everything else.
     
  6. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    He's an advisor not running the operation! I'd be surprised if it's that much a drain on his time.
     
  7. Emblematic

    Emblematic Member

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    Could well be, and the assumptions would likely be that by original franchise end:
    • HSTs and 91/Mk4 sets withdrawn, any remaining repainted to plain-under-vinyl (cf current repaints of pendolino rakes)
    • IETs are plain-under-vinyl, unlikely to need a repaint and straightforward to debrand
    • Interiors due a refresh
    So rather than these things having a reasonable service life, all the branded stuff is stripped in new or nearly-new condition. Wasteful, at best. I still can't see any red HSTs being repainted again before retirement, I don't think Virgin 'own' that colour for rail use.
     
  8. diffident

    diffident Member

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    I take on board that he's not going to be doing a 40-hr working week at LNER; I'm simply pointing out a political hypocrisy in that he has a full time job running the West Midlands already, and this sort of situation has bitten quite a few high-profile politicians in the past.

    If he wanted to chance his arm in the private sector, then stick with it and keep out of politics!
     
  9. NorthernSpirit

    NorthernSpirit Established Member

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    Not forgetting the bogs which each feature a Virgin balloon! Might need Stanley for this.

    Bit of white paint over the Virgin logo will do in the short term, the main thing is to get rid of the Virgin branding and replace it with a generic LNER brand which I'm guessing will be similar to that of East Coast's.
     
  10. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    With regard to ticket prices, one of the first things that regular users noticed about Virgin Trains East Coast was the significant reduction in the availability of the lowest-priced tiers of Advance tickets.

    I suppose that it's a possibility, at least, that we may see greater numbers of lower-priced tickets being made available once again, though not lower fares per se.

    Whether that happens or not, I don't think that I buy the suggestion that there'll definitely be a cost in terms of lost goodwill or loyalty with the change from Virgin Trains East Coast to LNER; in fact I think that there could be a not insignificant 'bounce'.

    I know that I am not alone in having steered my travel away from Virgin Trains East Coast wherever possible, by combining Transpennine Express and Grand Central, or CrossCountry and Hull Trains, just to avoid the endless Virgin prattle and the less than harmonious atmosphere that bright red and black interiors seems to engender, along with the carriagefuls of uncomfortable passengers suffering from variously being freezing cold, over hot, under fed, over watered and/or begging for catheterisation.

    Get rid of that, and we may see ridership increase without doing anything to the fares.
     
  11. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    I think it's much better than generic, much better than what we saw with East Coast anyway.

    LNER.jpg
     
  12. Megafuss

    Megafuss Member

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    From a selfish point of view, I am looking forward to VTEC flooding the trains with £10 AP tickets towards the closing days to maximise return
     
  13. w0033944

    w0033944 Member

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    Two thoughts on this:

    Firstly, if there was no interest in referencing the past, why go for a well-known brand from the history of that route? Surely branding consulatants could think of something new and modern had that been the intention.

    Secondly, there seems, both in general and specifically here on RailUK an ideology nowadays to sneer at anyone who dares suggest that some things aren't as good now as they used to be. As someone whose life as a disabled person would have been difficult and frustrating in the inter-war years I'm certainly not suggestig for a moment that Britain was uniformly wonderful back then; even the railways were more dangerous, slower and more polluting than they are today, but, despite all that, the standards of passenger comfort, amenities and service were impressive given the technology of the period and demonstrate that, despite financial pressures (which the LNER suffered more severely than the other Grouping companies) the management and its employees were proud of their railway and worked hard to make the passenger experience as pleasant as possible. There's not much "supposed" in the description of the railways before WWII as being in a halcyon era, and referencing history and taking inspiration from it while being thoroughly modern in how that inspiration is used is a laudable concept. Why limit ourselves to only the most modern ideas and artefacts as though everything from more than a decade or so ago is automatically inferior or undesirable?
     
  14. 43096

    43096 Established Member

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    Power cars are part paint/part vinyl and are repainted as part of the normal exam cycle at Craigentinny, so most will have been done during the franchise. The initial rebranding used more vinyl, I think.

    As for the coaches, the Mark 4 fleet is in the East Coast grey or silver under the vinyl livery, while the HST fleet is mostly in NXEC silver/white, with the exception of EC64 (East Coast grey) and NL65 (EMT).
     
  15. 36270k

    36270k Member

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    Ideal livery would be white with apple green window band.
     
  16. cf111

    cf111 Established Member

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    The GwR livery evokes a past era while still looking modern, on the other hand the ScotRail livery is quite modern and striking and it is also very nice; I suppose it depends on how it's done.

    I don't like the VTEC livery but again I did quite like EC grey which many found drab.
     
  17. Andyh82

    Andyh82 Member

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    I’m guessing the spec of the Azumas have already been decided and ordered, red seat covers etc, so that’ll be why they are going with red.

    Red isn’t an issue, at least it’s bright and not plain white or grey like you’d otherwise expect.
     
  18. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    Anyone else just got the email from VTEC? Particularly this bit...

    o_O
     
  19. WillPS

    WillPS Established Member

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    As I understand it all TOC booking engines are effectively either the Trainline based ancient one, or the slightly less ancient Capita-owned one (RedSpottedHanky et al). I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the existing engine rebranded and given a new font, possibly removing Nectar points. I'm pretty sure it's the same platform that East Coast used, and NX before, and GNER before that

    It looks like this LNER operation has been doing its thing in the background for a couple of months, I'm sure prep for that is well underway.

    Same with the website. It could very well be the existing website with a different logo up top and new copy. I'm pretty sure that's what East Coast did - they even used the same TV adverts that NX used (revoiced).

    I'm interested in how they'll cover the Virgin brand on the inside though, especially if it's embroided in to the seats...
     
  20. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    A thoughtful and well considered post.

    In riposte, I would suggest that Great North Eastern Railway made more effective and creative use of the heritage of the route while incorporating it into a modern brand - "Route of the Flying Scotsman" and all that, cast metal crests on the HST and Pullman sets, but still completely eschewed the traditional image by adopting their striking flame red and navy blue identity. It just leaves me scratching my head when a historically significant name rears it's head, and the enthusiast crowd jumps on the bandwagon screaming "Ooh, paint it apple apple green! Paint it garter blue!", despite the fact that brand awareness, customer expectations, technological advances in design and, more importantly, the aesthetics of train design, have moved far beyond simply painting a few stripes around the boiler straps of a steam loco.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of nostalgia and a great follower of the LNER of old. And I'm often one of the first to decry the fleeting fashionability of many of today's excessively complex livery schemes that rely on vinyl application for their execution. The mid thirties were not a halcyon age for the railways: The LNER was run constantly on a shoestring, and beyond the few well publicised glamour trains, the daily experience of a regular traveller on LNER services was probably of slow, dirty and dated trains. That's not to denigrate the efforts of the staff at the time however, who undoubtedly did do their best to keep things moving, in the days when the railway frequently was a real family.
     
    Last edited: 17 May 2018
  21. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    That sounds sickly on the slab sided, narrow windowed IEP stock.
     
  22. John R

    John R Member

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    It won't work that way. Any money taken for tickets purchased for travel after the transfer date will pass to the new operator. Standard practice on a change of operator for obvious reasons.
     
  23. Clansman

    Clansman Established Member

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    I just think that including 'London' in the name takes away the significance from the East Coast, the North, and Scotland, whereas GNER at least bracketed it all under the one banner ('Great'). It's like calling 'GWR'; 'LWR', just doesn't sit right IMO.

    As I said though, much more important things to worry about. So long as the new set up runs smoothly that's all that matters :)
     
  24. Emblematic

    Emblematic Member

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    Just comparing the Virgin branding with the new LNER logos, the base red of both is very similar in hue, but (in HSV terns) the LNER has lower hue and value. In other words, if you have a tin of Virgin red, just add a little black and a little white and your'e there. Or just add a layer of dust or grime to the finish! I doubt it's entirely accidental, the new logo and old finishes will blend easily.
     
  25. theironroad

    theironroad Established Member

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    According to Wikipedia, the original LNER had 7700 locos, 20000 carriages, 20 harbours/docks, 23 hotels and 8 canals amongst other things to run.

    New LNER has a big name to live up to.....
     
  26. Megafuss

    Megafuss Member

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    I know. I meant a flash sale for travel before the end date...
     
  27. HowardGWR

    HowardGWR Established Member

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    Having skimmed through the flurry of postings today, I gather the main issue about this repeated franchising debacle is what colour the trains will be painted.
     
  28. w0033944

    w0033944 Member

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    Given that only Tourist stock on the LNER had any green in its livery, I'd suggest that Apple Green would be suitable for power cars, but passenger trailers/coaches would be more aptly liveried with some form of teak-effect vinyl, or, perhaps, two-tone grey in the manner of the Silver Jubilee. Though I like the two-tone blue of the Coronation service, it wouldn't work with Apple Green.
     
  29. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Perhaps Sir John Major will finally get his wish of recreating the big four !

    Twas ever thus ! There are always forgotten corners of the network (although I'm inclined to think that the 1930's were a bit of a Halcyon era for the Southern, with its spread of regular interval electric services).

    I quite like the idea of the LNER brand. The logo looks quite good, although I hope that at an appropriate time (when repaints are due), the gaudy red will give way to something more soothing.

    With regard to passengers, they just need to be consistently competitive.
     
  30. Clansman

    Clansman Established Member

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    I'd say that branding merits its own thread.
     

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