Why has Northern performance improved so much since Christmas?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Staffordian, 3 Jan 2020.

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  1. Raul_Duke

    Raul_Duke Member

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    Exactly this, to use an analogy it’s much like broadband.

    Twenty years ago it was fine for dialup. But as speed has increased the local infrastructure (I live in the North) has failed to cope with the increase in demand.

    The government tells me that they’ve invested blah blah blah million pounds in bringing fibre to the village.

    I pay Sky a princely sum each month for the privilege, and then it does the last few meters from the exchange to my house on some antiquated 1920’s copper wiring* which negates any of the above speed increases.

    Labour promised I could have it cheaper when it was nationalised despite all the people who knew about such things in great detail saying this was unlikely.

    *It might not be 1920’s, this being Railforums I am in NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that there WILL be a telephone cable spotter on here.
     
  2. ChrisHogan

    ChrisHogan Member

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    I said more trains (i.e. to cover the existing diagrams and reduce cancellations and short-forming, and to have some standby capability when things go wrong such as suicides) not more services.
     
  3. northernchris

    northernchris Member

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    However, more trains being used to strengthen existing services could lead to better performance as station dwell times could be improved
     
  4. gazzaa2

    gazzaa2 Member

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    Because overcrowding is such a big issue
     
  5. SteveM70

    SteveM70 Member

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    What we’ve also done is:

    (a) have an operating plan which is realistic and reasonably robust, rather than something largely aspirational which only works with perfect external circumstances

    (b) have additional drivers over and above the “theoretical minimum” to cope with sickness/training requirements

    (c) have a fleet that can cater with peak demand (ours are seasonal rather than within the day)

    (d) faced into staff on historic weekends as voluntary overtime contracts and now have over 95% on 4 or 5 over 7 contracts

    All of these are things that are perfectly possible on the railways.
     
  6. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    ...except that I think we have been told that the DfT specified the traincrew complements. I also recognise the problem of Northern losing trained drivers to other parasitic TOCs, but that is in their hands - to some extent anyway.
     
  7. HH

    HH Established Member

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    DfT do not specify; what they do is 'contractualise' promises made in the bid.
     
  8. HH

    HH Established Member

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    You (and others) are using the word Trains in a non-industry way. More Units would strengthen existing services.

    They might improve performance if dwell times were a major issue, but it's not always so simple, as the infrastructure has to be able to cope - and that includes stabling locations; also might need more staff to move empty stock.
     
  9. hooverboy

    hooverboy Member

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    I don't think 90% is unreasonable.
    There should be some sort of bonus to achieve that target.
     
  10. hooverboy

    hooverboy Member

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    it's not particularly on the railways either.

    yes you have signalling issues..aka air traffic control.
    there will already be some padding vis a vis summer and winter timetables....are you running on dry rail or snow/leaf mulch?

    it does not compare to the extent itr does with airllines.
    a head/tail wind of +/- 100mph means 20% variation in arrival times.

    drag and air resistance on a train is much less of a factor.
     
  11. Staffordian

    Staffordian Member

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    Thank you to everyone who has responded to my original OP - some interesting insights on leave arrangements, passenger delays, etc.

    Looking through the posts, it seems that there are four principal reasons for the improvement - which fall into two groups :
    a) 'Seasonal' improvements which will continue to apply for the coming weeks and beyond:
    2) Improved weather conditions after the end of the leaf fall season and the floods, etc. of November/December
    4) Fewer leave days due to start of new leave year​
    b) Improvements applicable during the past week only but likely to 'return to normal' from 06/01/20
    5) Fewer training days - as not scheduled between Christmas and New Year
    6) Fewer passengers at peak times and hence fewer passenger-related delays
    It will be interesting to see what happens during the next few days - if there is a 'relapse' it may prove the old adage that 'the railways would work fine if it weren't for the passengers' :)

    Quite a few posters have also commented that this happens on nearly all TOC's , in particular
    This turns out to be very true, and also applies to TPE and WMT/LNW, which have also been beset by problems at the end of the year - in TPE's case even worse than Northern. Looking at the PPM figures for November, December and Jan (up to 1700 on 05/01) shows the following:
    National : Nov 80.6%, Dec 81.6%, Jan 01-05 89.5%
    WMT/LNW : Nov 68%, Dec 71.2%, Jan 01-05 89.0%
    Northern : Nov 65.0%, Dec 69.1%, Jan 01-05 85.4%
    TPE : Nov 62.2%, Dec 56.5%, Jan 01-05 83.4%

    All three of these 'problem' operators have seen performance improve by almost exactly the same amount since November (20% or 21%), which must prove something !

    Finally, the same pattern also applies to 'high-performing' TOC's such as Chiltern and C2C - see below.
    Chiltern : Nov 91.5%, Dec 91.2%, Jan 01-05 96.3%
    C2C: Nov 92.3%, Dec 93.3%, Jan 01-05 98.9%

     
  12. hooverboy

    hooverboy Member

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    well it proves it's not the training.
    I would hesitate to say environmental factors either, as the weather in january is far more inclement.October to january might be believable for leaf mulch, but december to january with a near 10% improvement is not.
     
  13. Jamesrob637

    Jamesrob637 Member

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    On and off topic, Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme have today witnessed their best Sunday service in ages! Hourly each way except for I believe just one cancellation each way, and supplemented by rail replacement buses to and from Wilmslow! Pray for such good service every Sunday from now on!
     
  14. class 9

    class 9 Member

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    I work for XC on the NE-SW corridor, the majority of the delays I encounter daily is due late running local services,that we end up following,which is classed as congestion, on the roads you often have various options of different routes to get to your destination, the comparison isn’t really valid.
     
  15. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    Good news at last! It looks as though the improvement is being maintained: today's cancellations [at Piccadilly] seem to be just a couple of very early Hazel Grove starters and a Blackpool-Airport circuit (plus a XC train to Brum/Paignton) and a Liverpool - airport and back. Lots of trains a few minutes late, but very different from before Christmas.
    p.s. Victoria seems to be similar too!
    Even if the timetable has been weeded they are managing to run what has been planned for today.
     
  16. RAPC

    RAPC Member

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    Glad the rest of the network is holding up by the sounds of it. Nice delay of over an hour this morning for my commute due to the delayed and then cancelled Blackpool - Manchester Airport service, but fingers crossed the evening holds up.
     
  17. Llama

    Llama Established Member

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    When block annual leave starts up again there will be 10% fewer drivers at every depot available. Don't be misled that this level of performance is sustainable. There's also a colossal amount of training that must be done which has been scaled back recently and will have to start up again.
     
  18. Staffordian

    Staffordian Member

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    Thanks - very interesting. Is there any particular reason for there being such a backlog of training ?
    For example, would you say it is down to new stock (i.e.195 & 331) or new recruits - or just routine training to maintain route knowledge, etc, postponed because priority given to the first two ?
     
  19. SteveM70

    SteveM70 Member

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    First day back at work

    0702 LTL - MCV shortformed and 8 late

    1704 MCV - LTL cancelled
    1737 MCV - LTL shortformed, physically unable to get on
    1756 MCV - LTL currently on time

    Not the best of starts to the new year
     
  20. Mogster

    Mogster Member

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    Similar experience. 2 short forms made up of 2 car 150s on the Southport - Alderley Edge services.

    It seems the 142s have been replaced by... nothing.
     
  21. RAPC

    RAPC Member

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    Spoke too soon. Back to a normal 60 mins+ delay on the commute home with the 17:37 and 18:37 services from Deansgate cancelled. Hazel Grove to Blackpool services still suffering.

    Net result is another two free return Delay Repay tickets from a from a delay repay ticket. It will be at least mid-March before I need to buy a ticket after my free tickets from my November monthly have been happily funding my daily commute since then.
     
  22. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Depot derailment at Springs Branch this morning, led to cancelled Alderley Edge/Southport services.
     
  23. Horizon22

    Horizon22 Member

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    PPM figures between 24th - first working Monday of January are normally nonsense. By which I mean not very representative of the rest of the year. Reduced services, reduced numbers so trains not delayed by extended dwells, capacity not being maxed out etc.

    Let's see how it goes for the next 2 weeks.
     
  24. Raul_Duke

    Raul_Duke Member

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    If we crashed 1% as much as lorries do then there would be some serious issues.
     
  25. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    In light of SWT's monumental annual loss, does anyone know when Northern's annual accounts are published? They made a small profit in recent years but report in media suggests it is now a loss making franchise due to a combination of poor performance following May 2018 timetable and reduction in subsidy.
     
  26. SteveM70

    SteveM70 Member

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    Their financial year is to the end of March so the accounts should have been filed by now but haven’t. Make of that what you will.

    In previous years they’ve been filed end of November, mid October, then early January.
     
  27. Nicholas Lewis

    Nicholas Lewis Member

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    There allowed up to 9 months to file from there year end as its private company at the operating level. If the parent company is public like First it has to report within six months so you can some insight beforehand on the overall business depending on how much info they wish to divulge
     
  28. thejuggler

    thejuggler Member

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    So far for me on early morning services. Tuesday late, Wednesday late, today latest so far. Daytime and evening services OK.

    No Pacers seen on my trips at all.
     
  29. Staffordian

    Staffordian Member

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    Thanks - what journey are you making ?
     
  30. thejuggler

    thejuggler Member

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    Journeys are varied, mainly around West Yorkshire.

    I actually forgot that yesterday the service I planned to take was cancelled and the one I went for was late!
     
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