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Kris

First Group wins the West Coast.

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1 hour ago, lmsforever said:

Agree about Branson he ran a good project trains always clean good staff  he seems to be backing out of many of his project now so people wnt be able to moan about him.

I could say quite a lot about Branson and his style of 'management' but suffice to say his airline staff were some of the worst paid in the business and he wasn't entirely clever at choosing 'top people' (one of whom in the company where I worked nearly ended up charged with fraud).  A lot of Branson is about the 'brand buzz' which he has been absolutely brilliant at creating and then selling on (usually for a fat franchise fee paid into non UK accounts) and he is fond of threatening legal action if things don't go his way.

 

I await with considerable interest reports of the legal action regarding being blocked from various franchise bids and I would love to know the pension fund figures for West Coast because they might tell us, one way or the other, just how good he really is at treating his staff.    Fancy parties (offset against tax and part charged back into the company) aren't necessarily the sign of caring management but more about razzamatazz headline publicity.

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4 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

I could say quite a lot about Branson and his style of 'management' but suffice to say his airline staff were some of the worst paid in the business and he wasn't entirely clever at choosing 'top people' (one of whom in the company where I worked nearly ended up charged with fraud).  A lot of Branson is about the 'brand buzz' which he has been absolutely brilliant at creating and then selling on (usually for a fat franchise fee paid into non UK accounts) and he is fond of threatening legal action if things don't go his way.

 

I await with considerable interest reports of the legal action regarding being blocked from various franchise bids and I would love to know the pension fund figures for West Coast because they might tell us, one way or the other, just how good he really is at treating his staff.    Fancy parties (offset against tax and part charged back into the company) aren't necessarily the sign of caring management but more about razzamatazz headline publicity.

 

To be fair though on the only previous occasion Branson/Stagecoach took legal action over a franchise decision the DfT caved in before it got to court and admitted they hadn't conducted the franchise tender adjudication properly.

Edited by DY444
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On ‎07‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 22:59, APOLLO said:

Paying passengers demand and deserve trains to run, management should ensure sufficient assets and trained personnel are available to provide said service.


Perhaps they should learn not to demand and most certainly don't deserve trains to run...
Rail travel isn't a right, it's a privilege.

 

Branson wasn't involved with the running of the TOC.  He was there when any marketing needed him but he's more interested in space travel now.  But he's realised what he needs to do to make money.  Take a failing company, show the Virgin brand on it and sell it on at a later date.  I think perhaps the Airline and Records are the only two "originals" he actively works with now - all others are just the Virgin brand.
 

And no - Virgin Trains staff can't "call him up" and ask him to sort problems :P

 

I'm not sorry to see Virgin go to be honest.  Underneath, still just a TOC.  But I would commend them on their friendliness (for example, all Peno trains had meals in FC, EMT - only selected trains, GWR yes to meals but pay extra).  But then perhaps a lot of that was inherited from British Rail (West Coast)?
 

It'll be interesting to see how many people still call Cross Country, Virgin Trains.

Edited by Sir TophamHatt

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1 hour ago, Sir TophamHatt said:

It'll be interesting to see how many people still call Cross Country, Virgin Trains.

My brother and his wife both refer to "the virgin train", when talking about XC. I suspect they're two of many.

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2 hours ago, Sir TophamHatt said:

 I think perhaps the Airline and Records are the only two "originals" he actively works with now - all others are just the Virgin brand.

 

Virgin Records might have started his empire but AFAIK he has little or nothing to do with it since EMI bought the company.

Of course EMI itself is been now broken up between Universal and Warner.

Virgin's brand went to Universal, the Classical roster along with EMI's classical roster went to Warner.

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6 hours ago, Sir TophamHatt said:


Perhaps they should learn not to demand and most certainly don't deserve trains to run...
Rail travel isn't a right, it's a privilege.

 

It's a brave person who would say that face to face to a commuter who has paid several thousands of pounds up front for the "privilege" !!

 

Brit15

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17 hours ago, APOLLO said:

 

It's a brave person who would say that face to face to a commuter who has paid several thousands of pounds up front for the "privilege" !!

 

Brit15


I've said similar to people before.
 

When someone is mouthing off to me about how much they've paid, I've told them exactly how much per journey it is.  Much cheaper than many other tickets.  You pay up front and get it cheaper - that's the deal, like many other deals (line rental is a good example).

But to shout at someone because a train is delayed / cancelled isn't on.  The time of "customer is right" and customer shouldn't be spoken to like crap is well over - it should have never begun.

At the end of the day, rail travel is a choice.  Many people don't see it as one, but nobody is forcing them to use the railway - so it's a choice.  You could choose to get another (closer) job.  Choose to get a taxi, travel by car, motor bike...  but most people see the railway as their only choice.  Some choices are more drastic than others, but it is still a choice - most decide taking the train is simply less hassle, even when it's very hassle full.

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40 minutes ago, Sir TophamHatt said:


The time of "customer is right" and customer shouldn't be spoken to like crap is well over - it should have never begun.

 

You would have lasted five minutes where I worked (British Gas customer facing) for nearly forty years !!

 

Brit15

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53 minutes ago, Sir TophamHatt said:


I've said similar to people before.
 

When someone is mouthing off to me about how much they've paid, I've told them exactly how much per journey it is.  Much cheaper than many other tickets.  You pay up front and get it cheaper - that's the deal, like many other deals (line rental is a good example).

But to shout at someone because a train is delayed / cancelled isn't on.  The time of "customer is right" and customer shouldn't be spoken to like crap is well over - it should have never begun.

At the end of the day, rail travel is a choice.  Many people don't see it as one, but nobody is forcing them to use the railway - so it's a choice.  You could choose to get another (closer) job.  Choose to get a taxi, travel by car, motor bike...  but most people see the railway as their only choice.  Some choices are more drastic than others, but it is still a choice - most decide taking the train is simply less hassle, even when it's very hassle full.

Hmm. so you commute every day into a city centre where car parking is frowned upon and what there is is expensive.

 

You head your local council's advice and take public transport, to save money you buy a season ticket but more often than not the train is late and you shouldn't have a right to complain?

 

Is that what you are saying?

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18 hours ago, APOLLO said:

 

It's a brave person who would say that face to face to a commuter who has paid several thousands of pounds up front for the "privilege" !!

 

Brit15

Done it several times and will no doubt do it several more times, best bit is the look on their face when I say I am upset at the verbal assault I have just received and dont feel safe to drive the train so it will be cancelled (said loud enough so a lot of the other passengers can hear it) so anybody else with an issue with that can discuss it with you, I then walk back towards the Managers Office to discuss the matter.

 

Oh and if they had done that to me twenty or thirty years ago they would have had a few Fs and Bs thrown in there for good measure!

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12 minutes ago, woodenhead said:

Hmm. so you commute every day into a city centre where car parking is frowned upon and what there is is expensive.

 

You head your local council's advice and take public transport, to save money you buy a season ticket but more often than not the train is late and you shouldn't have a right to complain?

 

Really, more often than not?

 

If the service is that unreliable maybe they should aim to get an earlier train!

Edited by royaloak

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4 minutes ago, royaloak said:

Really, more often than not?

 

If the service is that unreliable maybe they should aim to get an earlier train!

I work from home, I am thinking of the poor weary Northern commuters in my city.

 

When I use the train it is not time critical and I can accept small delays, though once I did have to completely change direction when Northern cancelled station calls for a Manchester bound train and I had to go to Warrington to pick up WCML services rather than Piccadilly.

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3 hours ago, woodenhead said:

Hmm. so you commute every day into a city centre where car parking is frowned upon and what there is is expensive.

 

You head your local council's advice and take public transport, to save money you buy a season ticket but more often than not the train is late and you shouldn't have a right to complain?

 

Is that what you are saying?

The interesting comparison is of course to ask how often a 'bus arrives late or doesn't show up at all, or indeed just how closely they can reliably time their car commute during the peak hours or when road works are taking place.

 

I remember many years ago a rather irate passenger complaining to me about the cost of his season ticket so I asked him what he thought of the day return fare to London?  He replied that he thought it was good value but it was a pity it couldn't be used in the morning peak so I then very gently pointed out to him that his season ticket - even when used only 5 days a week - not only offered him a lower fare than a day return but he could use it on any train.  And of course should he wish to travel to London at the weekend he was in effect paying absolutely nothing for his journey so it was an even better bargain than a day return ticket.  He said in reply that he'd never thought of it that way before.

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28 minutes ago, The Stationmaster said:

......I remember many years ago a rather irate passenger complaining to me about the cost of his season ticket so I asked him what he thought of the day return fare to London?  He replied that he thought it was good value but it was a pity it couldn't be used in the morning peak so I then very gently pointed out to him that his season ticket - even when used only 5 days a week - not only offered him a lower fare than a day return but he could use it on any train.  And of course should he wish to travel to London at the weekend he was in effect paying absolutely nothing for his journey so it was an even better bargain than a day return ticket.  He said in reply that he'd never thought of it that way before.


It’s an excellent point that isn’t made out often enough Mike.

It irks me somewhat whenever there’s a news story bleating on about rail fares going up (yet again) and they always use the poor downtrodden season ticket holder complaining about how much their massively discounted season ticket costs.

The discount isn’t trivial either.  What is it, 35 to 40% off ?

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But it's still not an insignificant amount of money for someone to be paying on top of rent or mortgage, utilities etc.

 

Some people choose to live a long way from where they work and then commute in, it's nice for them to live some way out, but for other's it's where employment is and car travel is a big stress - I don't enjoy my one commute to the garage for it's annual service let alone doing it everyday.

 

When you're not in it day to day it's easy to look at all these people complaining and thinking it's just not like that, but for them that is the realism, day in day out of getting onto crowded trains to get to and from work.

 

My time of working from home all the time may be ending, am I looking forward to rejoining the other souls on the daily commute, car, bus, bike or train - definitely no.

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Has anyone travelled first on the new franchise is the food offering changed ie breakfast  and  when is dinner served on return journeys .I am making my usual return journey MK to Glasgow return  soon and last year dinner was not served until after Preston which was not good. 

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17 hours ago, Ron Ron Ron said:


It’s an excellent point that isn’t made out often enough Mike.

It irks me somewhat whenever there’s a news story bleating on about rail fares going up (yet again) and they always use the poor downtrodden season ticket holder complaining about how much their massively discounted season ticket costs.

The discount isn’t trivial either.  What is it, 35 to 40% off ?

I'm not sure of the current discount Ron but it definitely used to be quite substantial - probably in the region of the numbers you've mentioned.  Going back a long while I know there were some instances on the Western in the London Division where certain off-peak tickets were cheaper than singles (until it was realised what was happening!) although they were also cheaper than day returns.  So that would suggest that the level of season ticket discount back then would have been around 40% or a little more because Day Returns were a bit more expensive than single tickets - which in those days cost half the return fare.

 

When I did some checking up on season ticket rates from here last year I noticed that the progressive rate of discounting was different from the way it used to work - I.e. the equated daily fare from an annual season ticket used to be lower than the equated daily fare from a quarterly ticket and the same applied to a quarterly in relation to a monthly season.  The situation nowadays on GWR (and elsewhere I presume) seems to be that the quarterly is a simple multiplier of the monthly but the annual gives a substantial discount on the simple multiplier of the monthly - GWR states =12 weeks free travel.   I suspect that part of the reason for the change is that it considerably simplifies the calculation of the price of an 'odd days' ticket.  This used to be a pig of a job because if somebody wanted a season for 2 months and XX days you had to calculate the fare twice, firstly using the monthly rate and adding the odd days at a pro rata daily price then comparing it with the quarterly rate and then pricing and issuing the ticket at the lower cost of the two.

 

When I last worked in booking offices - which is a very long time ago - in this part of the world many regular commuters were very cute when it came to their season tickets and would time them go fit round holidays etc while avoiding the additional outlay for an annual ticket (a monthly back then to London was between £30 and £40 depending on destination, now it's over £400).  It was great if they put in their renewal request on the Friday but there was always one who would turn up on Monday morning to renew his ticket for a period of something like 2months and 20 days and that period was more or less on the margin of where the two calculations met so there was no choiv ce but too do the calculations - and watch the queue build up behind Mr Awkward.   Nowadays I suspect that handy little machine in the booking office just works out the simple addition for the booking clerk and there's no need to do a comparison with another rate.

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45 minutes ago, lmsforever said:

Has anyone travelled first on the new franchise is the food offering changed ie breakfast  and  when is dinner served on return journeys .I am making my usual return journey MK to Glasgow return  soon and last year dinner was not served until after Preston which was not good. 

 

I've not noticed any difference in the food offerings in First Class, and the paper Avanti West Coast timetable has colour coding which shows what food is served, and when and where.

 

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