What will happen to the London Midland Franchise at the next change?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by wellwhatitis, 29 Apr 2015.

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  1. wellwhatitis

    wellwhatitis Member

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    Apologies if this has been discussed in detail elsewhere and feel free to redirect me if so.

    I am interested in the views (hopefully informed ones) on what will happen to this franchise in the next round as there is a stupendous amount of speculation going in all sorts of directions within the ranks and as is usually the case within depots most of it is completely uninformed guesswork.

    So the traincrew depots of LM are Crewe, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Birmingham New St, Birmingham Snow Hill, Worcester, Leamington Spa, Coventry, Northampton, Bletchley, Watford. What do people think will happen to them please?
     
    Last edited: 29 Apr 2015
  2. nuneatonmark

    nuneatonmark Member

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    Quite likely that the West Midlands bits would go to a West Midlands franchise leaving the rest to be added to a new West Coast franchise which would be a big shame as at least now there is some choice between a lot of stations on the West Coast i.e. Virgin vs LM which is my view helps keep fares lower. Also, Crossrail may well pinch some services south of Tring.
     
  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    There are two ways to read the proposals. My reading is that the non-West-Midlands rump of LM would become a new "West Coast Connect" franchise, not be part of the main one. That said, having fGW as one thing seems to work better than the days of Thames Trains and fGW separately.
     
  4. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    It will be annoying if the long distance and short distance are split, as currently you can buy cheap advance/day return tickets to stations inside the west midlands from afar.

    I agree about it being disastrous if it's merged in with WCML. "Competition" on the railways was always a sham as far as the benefit to the passenger goes, but this would be a real kick in the teeth.
     
  5. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Nothing much other than new uniforms all round.

    When was the last time we heard of a TOC re-organisation resulting in widespread depot closures?
     
  6. Simon11

    Simon11 Member Jobs & Careers Assistant

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    FGW will be doing so as a result of IEP
     
  7. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

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    History shows that it will be merged in with the WCML franchise- that's what happened on the Brighton Main Line, in East Anglia and on the GWML. And with HS2 in the pipeline it'll make even more sense, with the current WCML expresses degraded to a regional service anyway.

    I think the West Midlands would get a better deal from a more local franchise. It's clear that London Midland don't give a stuff about the West Midlands passengers on their cheap PTE tickets. The service in the West Midlands is bad and getting worse; JourneyCheck is full of trains that are short-formed or cancelled due to London Midland's staggering ineptitude.

    On the Euston commuter line, I don't think it would make the blindest bit of difference to the experience.

    My only wish is that GoVia don't get anywhere near it.
     
  8. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    I understood FGW rolling stock depots would be changing, but that doesn't automatically result in train crew depots also changing. People have regularly posted here that train crew rarely operate from the same depots as the trains.
     
  9. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    As it stands at the moment, the West Coast franchise (VT) is due for renewal in April 2017.
    The West Midlands one (LM) is due in June 2017 after a 14-month Direct Award still to be confirmed.
    You'd expect the specifications for both to be issued around this time next year, possibly simultaneously like Northern/TPE, and they would include any decisions on remapping.
    The plan to devolve the Centro area to local control as a separate franchise has been aired but like Rail North is not yet set in concrete.

    The outgoing DfT, following the Brown report, was not keen on fewer/larger franchises so it is not likely they would propose merging LM main line services with West Coast.
    But who knows what the result of the election with be.
    The devolution agenda will remain whoever is in power, so the LM split will probably happen whoever gets in.
    If Labour get in, if they are serious about franchise reform these two are in the next tranche so may be among the first to be "reformed".
    Before that, they would have to decide what to do with Northern, TPE and East Anglia, which are due for letting in 2016 (bids in progress).
    If they interrupt the bid process now in train there will be complete chaos for a while until the dust settles, and everything will slip.
     
  10. PowerLee

    PowerLee Member

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    Would be nice if Govia where banned from bidding for it.
     
  11. moggie

    moggie Member

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    Once again it looks like Govia couldn't give a toss about collecting fares. No checks whatsoever on a recent return trip to / from New St (off peak / peak). There's a small fortune to be made by whoever takes the next one on, that is if they can be bothered.
     
  12. 40129

    40129 Member

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    Out of interest, where were you travelling to New Street from and on what type and length of train?
     
  13. A0wen

    A0wen Established Member

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    But the ECML and MML aren't being 'merged' into single franchises instead keeping their separate InterCity and commuter franchises.

    The obvious change to the LM franchise would be to switch the 'Snow Hill' lines to Chiltern.

    That, combined with electrification of the Chase line would allow LM to become an all electric franchise operating on the London - West Mids and West Mids - North West corridors.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Depends on where you were travelling to / from but certainly once you get past Northampton pretty much all the stations have barriers.

    When I've travelled on the Trent Valley service, it's been common for ticket inspectors to be on from Crewe - Northampton but the service to proceed without after Northampton.
     
  14. MK Tom

    MK Tom Established Member

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    Except Wolverton, Leighton Buzzard, Cheddington, Tring and Berkhampsted, and the ones at Bletchley are hardly ever in use when I'm there.

    The second part is true in my experience as well.

    Franchise wise, if the devolved WM franchises happens then what's left will be a bit like Silverlink County plus the Crewe and Liverpool lines. LM used to do great cheap fares from MKC to places like Redditch and Worcester, but that seems to have stopped now, and for some reason I could never get them for stations towards Shrewsbury. So no great loss there really. I do hope it stays separate from the intercity west coast franchise though. Competition has kept fares low on MKC-EUS and MKC-BHM for me.
     
  15. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Was this report after the franchise area for Thameslink and Greater Northern was agreed?
     
  16. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Yes. The Brown report had already allowed for the merger into TSGN, as a management contract, specifically to deal with the latter stages of the Thameslink programme up until 2018.

    It wasn't a 'one size fits all' report by any means.

    He does consider TSGN to be an exception, it's on page 35:

     
    Last edited: 30 Apr 2015
  17. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    The initial plan to form TSGN was published in Dec 2012, just after the West Coast fiasco but before the fallout was analysed.
    The Brown report came out a month later (Jan 2013), and that recommended more/smaller franchises to make bidding easier and get more bidders involved.
    The aim was also to reduce the industry impact when things went wrong with the process.
    It also recommended 1-2 renewals per year to avoid bunching, hence the direct awards to spread the renewals out on a predictable timetable.
    DfT had every opportunity to merge Northern and TPE, or transfer routes to other franchises (eg TPE Scotland routes to West Coast) but conspicuously avoided doing so.
     
  18. Hellfire

    Hellfire Member

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    If some, or all of LM was rolled into a new WCML franchise, do we think Virgin would still bid?

    There have been innumerable posts in the past suggesting VT are only interested in long distance express services and wouldn't want to put the Virgin brand on stoppers and commuter routes.

    Is there any precedent for a franchise running both long distance and commuter routes and using two different brands at the same time?
     
  19. Old Hill Bank

    Old Hill Bank Member

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    LM told us last week that the direct award will include a DfT option to extend for a further year to June 2018.
     
  20. andrewkeith5

    andrewkeith5 Member

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    I could see there being a situation where a Virgin/Stagecoach partnership could do this, using Virgin branding on the long distance services and Stagecoach (or more likely something like WestMidlandsTrains on the others)...to the average consumer they would be just as different as LM and Virgin, except they'd probably work a bit more efficiently.
     
  21. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Probably to get the local WM deal sorted out beforehand.
    That suggests they intend to decouple the LM renewal from the WC renewal.
     
  22. A0wen

    A0wen Established Member

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    I'm willing to bet though that the number of people travelling from one of those stations to another is minimal and LM know that. Whereas someone getting on at Wolverton to get off at MKC, Northampton or Euston will fall foul of the barriers.
     
  23. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Thanks for those. I wonder if they would consider unmerging them once the renewal work is completed and management contracts are no longer required.
     
  24. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    I personally would like the East and West Midlands lines joined again so that its just one like in the days of Central Trains.

    I have heard rumours of a "Birmingham Overground franchise" for the London Midland City train similar to the London Overground franchise but I can't see it happening.
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Bletchley's barriers probably act as a deterrent, as they are often closed but unsupervised, with the manual gate being left unlocked. Regulars know this, but many occasional users probably don't.
     
  26. Old Hill Bank

    Old Hill Bank Member

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    The local plan is on the attached website, to much to do "quotes"

    http://www.westmidlandsrail.com/
     
  27. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    The WMR update presentation on the above site doesn't refer to two new franchises.
    It describes two distinct business units within the wider LM franchise, formed a year into the new franchise.
    If this happens they will have the same operator.
     
  28. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    I don't think it has ever been explicitly ruled out, but the TSGN consultation didn't rule it in either. They only really explain that combining the two franchise areas is the best way of dealing with the staged way various routes are transferred between what would otherwise have been separate TOCs.

    Reading between the lines that could be interpreted as when the changes are all complete it might be remapped again. Of course there's also TfL's medium term aim to take over all the SN metro routes - so if that happened would the remainder of 'Southern', i.e. the non-Thameslink core routes ever justify a separate franchise again?

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

    It's quite important to be aware of the very latest updates isn't it, because anyone relying on memories of the October 14 version will recall that back then it did use the term 'create two new franchises focused on different markets'...
     
    Last edited: 1 May 2015
  29. JaJaWa

    JaJaWa Established Member

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    Southern and Gatwick Express? :lol:
     
  30. Old Hill Bank

    Old Hill Bank Member

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    It seems that some in this thread have come up with the idea that the LM and VT WCML would be shoved into one franchice. The only plan I have seen in the public domain is to split the current LM into West Midlands Local and West Coast South commuter. If anyone has any verifiable info on that please provide the detail, I'm interested.
     
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