Virgin West Coast Open Access Application

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Bletchleyite

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I see the joke now.
Ho. Ho.
It's a dig at the fact that the franchising process doesn't provide for renewal, and therefore favours changes of ownership nearly all the time as the incumbent (who has a very good idea of what constitutes a sensible bid) is inevitably outbid by another company that doesn't know that quite as well. So you'd have a reality check every 7 years (or whatever) rather than a wholesale swapround.

If I was allowed to change one thing about franchising, it would be to add a presumption that the incumbent stays in place (with changes based on changes to costs) unless a counterbid provides something significantly better and can clearly evidence its viability. (As an example, the LNR longer-distance services would fail such evidence as it was clear they weren't going to work before they even started).

That said, the new Virgin bid was not the incumbent, it was a Stagecoach led bid in the same kind of manner as the failed East Coast franchise. The only potential continuation of Virgin Rail Group is this open access operation.
 

pt_mad

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It says in the VT press release (linked from post #128) that the “service” will be the most advanced, not the trains as such. The PR there is all about the booking system, with a seat for everyone, as proposed by them recently.
How will they exclude people from using route any permitted anytime returns on their services though? Also will booking offices and systems block the sale of a ticket for that service if someone shows up half hour before for it, but all reservations are taken?
 

swt_passenger

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How will they exclude people from using route any permitted anytime returns on their services though? Also will booking offices and systems block the sale of a ticket for that service if someone shows up half hour before for it, but all reservations are taken?
No idea to both points, although important. I was really only commenting about the lack of any evidence for new trains.
If they want to operate entirely outside the normal ticketing system, then there’s a bit of a future problem with the term “any permitted”. I’ve always thought normal tickets need both an operator and a route described separately, even if this only needs “Any” in both places...
 

Bletchleyite

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How will they exclude people from using route any permitted anytime returns on their services though?
The "white R" i.e. "reservations compulsory". Presently the only UK domestic trains that have that (that I know of) are the Caledonian seated coaches, but it can be applied to other trains and has been in the past.

Also will booking offices and systems block the sale of a ticket for that service if someone shows up half hour before for it, but all reservations are taken?
They will be unable to obtain a reservation, so due to the above travel will not be possible.
 

pt_mad

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The "white R" i.e. "reservations compulsory". Presently the only UK domestic trains that have that (that I know of) are the Caledonian seated coaches, but it can be applied to other trains and has been in the past.



They will be unable to obtain a reservation, so due to the above travel will not be possible.
The problem being that the ticket traditionally sold as and valid on any operator (i.e. the premium ticket so to speak) will presumably not be valid on those services if the seats are already fully booked. How someone prevents them from boarding at the station however I have no idea. Especially with the calls proposed in the Trent Valley. The train pulls away and crew start realising there's people standing?
 

Bletchleyite

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The problem being that the ticket traditionally sold as and valid on any operator (i.e. the premium ticket so to speak) will presumably not be valid on those services if the seats are already fully booked. How someone prevents them from boarding at the station however I have no idea. Especially with the calls proposed in the Trent Valley.
I doubt many will board at those stations. I would expect boarding controls at Lime St and Euston turning people away without reservations (or possibly something like a "last minute" desk to issue them if any are spare), plus a telling off and associated embarrassment for anyone who ignores it from other stations.

Furthermore I'd expect they will not mark reservations (no need if everyone has one) and there will be no unreserved area, so if you don't reserve enjoy your game of musical chairs.
 

swt_passenger

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The ex Virgin Trains Voyagers are the intended stock for the er... Virgin Trains open access hourly Liverpool service, there’s a track access application appeared:
https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pd...s-limited-daft-track-access-contract-form.pdf
If that’s allowed, (it is either that or Avanti getting the 2nd Liverpool paths), it knocks a few speculative proposals on the head, how many units would they need?https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/42048/virgin-trains-limited-daft-track-access-contract-form.pdf
 

greatvoyager

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The ex Virgin Trains Voyagers are the intended stock for the er... Virgin Trains open access hourly Liverpool service, there’s a track access application appeared:
https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pd...s-limited-daft-track-access-contract-form.pdf
If that’s allowed, (it is either that or Avanti getting the 2nd Liverpool paths), it knocks a few speculative proposals on the head, how many units would they need?https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/42048/virgin-trains-limited-daft-track-access-contract-form.pdf
Interesting... I would've thought that some electric trains would've been used.
 
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The ex Virgin Trains Voyagers are the intended stock for the er... Virgin Trains open access hourly Liverpool service, there’s a track access application appeared:
https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pd...s-limited-daft-track-access-contract-form.pdf
If that’s allowed, (it is either that or Avanti getting the 2nd Liverpool paths), it knocks a few speculative proposals on the head, how many units would they need?
So much for the Class 91s...

This'll be great for the environment, running one of the most polluting DMUs on a line that's entirely electricified.
 

swt_passenger

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True, I can only think of First's East Coast Trains as open access with new stock.
Big firm with deep pockets, I guess. But pretty much required if intending to use similar stock to fit the allocated paths. “New Virgin Trains” won’t even have an operating licence or safety case as it’s gone to Avanti with the staff; and I don’t think “Virgin” actually put money in...
 

greatvoyager

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Big firm with deep pockets, I guess. But pretty much required if intending to use similar stock to fit the allocated paths. “New Virgin Trains” won’t even have an operating licence or safety case as it’s gone to Avanti with the staff; and I don’t think “Virgin” actually put money in...
Good point. I was expecting Virgin to use 801s, but I suppose they are limited in funding. Surprising when you consider the success of Virgin away from trains.
 

MK Tom

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I assumed this was dead when the successful Avanti bid included a second hourly Liverpool service. Is that still dependent on them getting the paths?
 

greatvoyager

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My only theory as to why Voyagers have been chosen is that they're the only train available that can tilt. Perhaps they want to keep journey times competitive?
Maybe, but as they are being replaced with non tilting stock, it's probably not a priority. Some avanti Liverpool services are going to use AT300s.
 

coppercapped

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Indeed, they did their damndest to avoid them for over 20 years. Now they want plug them, how convenient.
The places Virgin could serve were tightly controlled in the franchise agreement. They couldn't have been served unless the DfT approved - and changed the subsidy/premium arrangements.

Such limitations are well known.
 

gka472l

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What's even more interesting about this is the person whose signature is in that document....
 
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Bletchleyite

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The ex Virgin Trains Voyagers are the intended stock for the er... Virgin Trains open access hourly Liverpool service, there’s a track access application appeared:
https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pd...s-limited-daft-track-access-contract-form.pdf
If that’s allowed, (it is either that or Avanti getting the 2nd Liverpool paths), it knocks a few speculative proposals on the head, how many units would they need?
Crikey. That's me put off then, unless they tart them up so the whole thing is like Coach D.

I actually think this should be rejected on environmental grounds, with them forced to procure some EMUs.
 

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