What is an ORCATS raid?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by BanburyBlue, 17 Oct 2016.

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  1. BanburyBlue

    BanburyBlue Member

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    Hi,

    I've seen a few references on this forum to 'ORCATS raids'. So what is an ORCATS raid?

    I checked on Wikipedia which tells me that ORCATS is the railway wide computer system- but where does the raid come in?

    Thanks,
     
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  3. simonw

    simonw Member

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    It means introducing a train service designed to get a share of the revenues for traffic on a certain route, even if the passengers don't use the service but continue to use the existing operator. I'm sure others can put more meat on the bones.
     
  4. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    Yeah revenue is shared out in a complex formula of seats offered, speed of service etc on open tickets.

    Let's say I started up a London - Lincoln service calling at Huntingdon, Spalding and Sleaford.

    I would get a portion of revenue on all open London - Huntingdon tickets irrespective if no one used them. On ORCATs raid is when you do this deliberately. Most open access operations do it. Ironically east coast probably raid hull trains now.
     
    Last edited: 17 Oct 2016
  5. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There is a post here which gives a useful outline of how ORCATs works.
     
  6. HH

    HH Established Member

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    It probably needs a bit more explanation (Ninja'd!).

    ORCATS is the method of allocating that is used by LENNON, the RSP's (Rail Settlement Plan) revenue settlement system. ORCATS basically works off pre-agreed formulae loosely based on the PDFH (Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook). Generally it rewards faster, direct journeys with more revenue, but it also takes into account the time from the last service and the time to the next service.

    Knowing how it works you can target a profitable route by slipping trains between the existing ones; while some additional income will be generated, the majority will be abstracted from the existing services. If you're being particularly naughty you'll make this train stop only at the busiest stations, creaming extra revenue because your train is faster. A lot of the proposed Open Access trains have been thinly disguised ORCATS raids, using just this model.
     
    Last edited: 17 Oct 2016
  7. thedbdiboy

    thedbdiboy Member

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    Useful, but not entirely accurate. ORCATS is an allocation model (not a computer system) designed by British Rail long before the concept of Permitted Routes, and uses calculations of Generalised Journey Times (GJTs) for peak, off-peak and Season tickets to identify the likely use of different train services for a given journey. This does not mean that anyone that might carry the passenger gets an allocation. For example, a London Terminals - Birmingham Stations 'any permitted' ticket is valid from Paddington, but GWR don't get any money because (not unreasonably) ORCATS reckons you must either be a masochist or a gricer to go to Birmingham that way.
    ORCATS is the default allocation mechanism for non-TOC specific flows but can be challenged and replaced by an 'agreed' allocation if the operators are unhappy with the default.
     
  8. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I did say outline ;)

    If you'd like to post something a bit more accurate comprehensive but still useful to the layman I'll happily change my bookmarked ORCATs explanation to your post :p
     
  9. thedbdiboy

    thedbdiboy Member

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    Step 1 is fine

    Step 2 is to identify which set of factors to apply based on ticket type:
    a) Full fare
    b) Reduced Fare
    c) Season Ticket

    Step 3, based on factor applicable looks at:
    -What train services are available for the factor being used
    -Journey times of those trains, including interchange penalties if a change is required
    (it does not factor in capacity, service quality or particulars of a route)

    It is precisely because of these weaknesses that ORCATS raiding was a feature of the early privatisation years. Because neither train length or quality were involved, an operator that could squeeze a 2 car pacer diagram into another operator's HST service could game a disproportionate amount of revenue for the flow.

    Over the last 15 years the DfT's much tighter timetable specification coupled with lack of capacity and rolling stock has really stopped this practice.
     
  10. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    I go that way sometimes! XC are in the mix there too.
    Presumably LM and CH do get a measurable amount of the Any Permitted Birmingham-London revenue?
     
  11. LowLevel

    LowLevel Established Member

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    I often wonder if engineering works are taken into account - for example with GEML engineering work at present of a weekend EMT services are full and standing between Norwich and Ely for most of the day with Norwich to London Terminals any permitted tickets - it would seem a shame if they and GN don't get any extra revenue for this because for those of us involved it's a pain in the backside, especially when a huge number of cycles which would normally easily fit in a DVT turn up - on one recent journey I left over 10 behind at Norwich and Thetford combined, several of whom had also been refused from the previous train.
     
  12. Barn

    Barn Established Member

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    It's worth saying that when an open access operator applies to the ORR to introduce the service, one of the things they have to demonstrate is that they are meeting demand not properly met elsewhere and the effect of the service is not primarily to abstract existing revenue from elsewhere. But most open access operators will nonetheless abstract some revenue in order to make the service make sense practically and commercially. Grand Central will take some York - Kings Cross revenue, for example.
     
  13. thedbdiboy

    thedbdiboy Member

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    Yes, they would, although the flow record uses the actual station when a ticket is issued at a specific station within a station group (e.g. Euston or Marylebone). So a London Terminals - Birmingham Stations Anytime ticket bought at Euston will allocate to LM and VT but not CH; however if it was sold by TTL, all 3 would get a cut.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    After each timetable change there is an agreed date for the ORCATS run which forms the timetable used for the allocation factors for the relevant periods. Where extensive engineering works will distort the results, either an additional run will be carried out post-the work or manual Agreed Allocations will be input for the affected flows.
     
    Last edited: 18 Oct 2016
  14. Andrew1395

    Andrew1395 Member

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    ORCATS raiding predates privatisation. It was rife in passenger sectors, and not surprising as the original purpose of ORCATS was to align revenue to costs in BRs books and to justify investment decisions.
     
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