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Kris

First Group wins the West Coast.

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Something I find odd about this.

 

Didn't Wrexham & Shropshire railway plug the gap, so to speak of a direct rail service from London to Wrexham? With Hindsight could Wrexham & Shropshire railway made a success? I'm not sure how much is true from the Wikipedia page.  

 

''On 28 January 2011 operations ceased after a review concluded there was no prospect of the business ever being profitable. The low passenger numbers and lack of profitability were blamed on the Great Recession'' 

 

I'd be interested to know why the DFT and First Group see a direct service from London to Shrewsbury, Gobowen and Llandudno.  Now fast forward 8 years and there will be higher passenger numbers and will be profitable?  

 

 

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Will this mean a return to the mini pendo first proposed last time, to eliminate the use of voyagers under the wires?

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, 17A said:

Something I find odd about this.

 

Didn't Wrexham & Shropshire railway plug the gap, so to speak of a direct rail service from London to Wrexham? With Hindsight could Wrexham & Shropshire railway made a success? I'm not sure how much is true from the Wikipedia page.  

 

''On 28 January 2011 operations ceased after a review concluded there was no prospect of the business ever being profitable. The low passenger numbers and lack of profitability were blamed on the Great Recession'' 

 

I'd be interested to know why the DFT and First Group see a direct service from London to Shrewsbury, Gobowen and Llandudno.  Now fast forward 8 years and there will be higher passenger numbers and will be profitable?  

 

 

 

the way i see it is the problem with WSMR was Virgin!

 

they stipulated/Bulleid where they could call so it couldn’t pick up at wolves or new st so had to go round the houses through birmingham calling at tame bridge on a really slow route, once they were “gotten rid of” virgin then decided to run trains to both wrexham and shrewsbury conveniently calling at wolves and new st with a quicker routing

 

(my own personal opinion)

 

 

Edited by big jim
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9 minutes ago, cheesysmith said:

Will this mean a return to the mini pendo first proposed last time, to eliminate the use of voyagers under the wires?

I expect it will be another 800 variant with tilt 

 

But with Trenitalia involved who knows maybe a Pendolino derivative.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, big jim said:

 

they stipulated/Bulleid where they could call so it couldn’t pick up at wolves or new st so had to go round the houses through birmingham calling at tame bridge on a really slow route, once they were “gotten rid of” virgin then decided to run trains to both wrexham and shrewsbury conveniently calling at wolves and new st with a quicker routing

 

Not often that Bulleid and Bulleid get's auto corrected this way round :jester:

Edited by woodenhead
and it happened to me too, and it wont let me correct it either!!!!
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5 minutes ago, big jim said:

 

the way i see it is the problem with WSMR was Virgin!

 

they stipulated/Bulleid where they could call so it couldn’t pick up at wolves or new st so had to go round the houses through birmingham calling at tame bridge on a really slow route, once they were “gotten rid of” virgin then decided to run trains to both wrexham and shrewsbury conveniently calling at wolves and new st with a quicker routing

 

 

 

(thats my own personal opinion, 

 

 

Wasn't part of the reason for not allowing WSMR at Wolves or Brum because DAFT didn't want revenue-abstraction from these stations?

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never let facts get in the way of a good rant aginst virgin!

 

(joking apart im quite sad virgin are finishing, they have transformed the west coast since they have been running it, the smell of voyager and pendolino toilets aside!)

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14 minutes ago, woodenhead said:

I expect it will be another 800 variant with tilt 

 

But with Trenitalia involved who knows maybe a Pendolino derivative.

 

Didn’t Mussolini revitalise Italian railways ?

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Just now, Ian Hargrave said:

 

Didn’t Mussolini revitalise Italian railways ?

Probably not as much as he'd have us think; he did seem to think s**t brown (sorry 'Isabella brown') was an attractive colour for trains

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Probably Musso made them run on time but knowing what sort of regime it was you would not dare to be late !

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10 minutes ago, lmsforever said:

Probably Musso made them run on time but knowing what sort of regime it was you would not dare to be late !

 

bit like arriva then?

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Zomboid said:

First have not been a roaring success on SWR, though from what I can tell GWR isn't too bad.

 

Are the bi-modes replacements for the voyagers, or in addition to? 13 would seem on the face of it to be enough to run the North Wales service, and the 10 EMUs would, if they're full length, probably eliminate diesels from fully electrified routes.

 

Hitachi can, I believe, do tilting trains. I think they've done some in Japan, so a tilting 800 isn't beyond the realms of possibility.

 

Voyagers are going albeit not straight away and they are getting an internal refresh in the interim.

 

The rumour mill seems to agree that the new trains will not have tilt.  Apparently TPE have been conducting, or are about to conduct, 125mph trials on bits of the WCML with Class 397s and some sections of the WCML are said to be under consideration for clearance of 125mph operation without tilt.

 

As to who will supply the new trains there seems to be three theories:

 

1.  That First are totally fed up with Hitachi as a result of their experience with IET on the GW and the order will go to CAF for 397s and a bi-mode version of the 397

2.  That First are totally fed up CAF as a result of their experiences with the new TPE stock and that the order will go to Hitachi.

3.  That First are totally fed up with both Hitachi and CAF and the order will go to somebody else.

 

Take your pick.  All will no doubt be revealed after the 10 day standstill period. 

Edited by DY444
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2 hours ago, cheesysmith said:

Will this mean a return to the mini pendo first proposed last time, to eliminate the use of voyagers under the wires?


Wouldn't a baby Pendoleano be called a "Pendobambino"?

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A "Bambolino"?

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First Group cannot be as far down the pan as the City sometimes thinks.  They are "load-shedding" in the bus division still and desperately trying to turn a profit on rubber tyres.  What their individual TOCs achieve also seems to be a bit unpredictable.  The DafT has run out of options for franchising.  They disqualify big players, they set the value so high no-one can afford to risk a punt and wonder why franchising is broken.  First is the only option and might be rubbing their hands with glee at finally getting the WCML that they thought they had in the bag a few years back.  Has Beardy finally had enough?  Or will we see more toys out of prams and another rearguard action?  The standstill period gives all parties time to think.

 

I would expect the Llandudno / Gobowen services they mention might be Chester services which then split there for respective destinations.  Initially as 2x5-car Voyager and when new rolling stock arrives then .... well .... what ever it turns out to be.  Walsall may indeed be a Birmingham service projected / back-started up the branch.

 

For my money First are somewhat lacklustre and always have been.  From the public face of their liveries (often drab and uninspiring) to the way they manage their existing franchised TOCs.  And bus companies come to that.  But until DOR or some equivalent is allowed to operate a vertically-integrated national railway network we seem to have Hobson's choice.

 

 

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2 hours ago, big jim said:

 

the way i see it is the problem with WSMR was Virgin!

 

they stipulated/Bulleid where they could call so it couldn’t pick up at wolves or new st so had to go round the houses through birmingham calling at tame bridge on a really slow route, once they were “gotten rid of” virgin then decided to run trains to both wrexham and shrewsbury conveniently calling at wolves and new st with a quicker routing

 

 

Virgin had a moderation of competition clause in their first franchise on the WC due to the level of expenditure & risk they took on with the PUG upgrades and very high frequency timetable. This moderation clause was accepted by DfT.

 

It meant that the OA competition were limited in terms of routes & station calls as you say. This, combined with the 2008 crash and subsequent recession, made WSMR unviable at that time. Virgin, through later franchises then reintroduced services over the route, partly in response to lobbying based on the success of WSMR.

 

I don't think we can say Virgin are evil for any of that and DfT were wholly complicit in the decisions and restrictions and in wanting the highest profit payments back from the franchise.

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 FirstGroup (70%)  +  Trenitalia (30%) 

 

 

The partnership agreement has been structured with two distinct phases.

Phase one. Until March 2026, First Trenitalia will operate existing ICWC services while providing ‘range of design, development and mobilisation services’ for HS2

Phase two. First Trenitalia will operate HS2 and the reshaped ICWC services ‘as an integrated operation’ under a management contract running from March 2026 until March 2031.

 

 

Plans are to introduce a second hourly service each way between London and Liverpool ‘subject to approval from the Office of Rail & Road’, ......and add new destinations including Llandudno, Gobowen and Walsall.

 

 

A new fleet of 13 electro-diesel and 10 electric trainsets will be introduced from 2022.

These would replace the Bombardier-built Class 221 Super Voyager tilting DEMUs used by Virgin Trains, which will get an intermediate ‘refresh’ by the end of 2020.

The new bimode units would be used on services between London and North Wales, while the electric sets would provide capacity for the additional services to Liverpool.

Eliminating diesel operation on the electrified sections of the route is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 61%.

 

 

First Trenitalia will invest £117m to refurbish the current fleet of 56 Alstom Class 390 Pendolino trainsets, providing ‘more comfortable’ standard class seats and additional luggage space, along with improved passenger information systems and enhanced toilets.

More than £70m has been committed to providing free on train wi-fi and 5G capability.

 

 

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"Eliminating diesel operation on the electrified sections of the route is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 61%"

 

Great, the world is saved, can we have a couple of Coal Power stations back so the lights don't go out :jester:

 

Oh they just mean on the WCML

 

The 221s must be pretty polluting if they account for 61% of the pollution over all the 66s, 68s, 70s and classic diesel traction on the WCML.

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Chester/Wrexham services would be handy personally. I can now get to Chester from both Merseyrail and the Halton Curve via Frodsham. So joining up with more trains will be useful to get to places in Wales and the Midlands. I hope that Ruabon is a regular stop if it does happen making it easier getting to Llangollen.

 

 

Shame about Virgin though. Had an excellent journey the other day. On time, clean, comfortable, good staff, etc.

 

 

 

 

Jason

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Posted (edited)

Does anyone find it ironic that the refresh provides more comfortable seats and more luggage space, both criticisms leveled at the wonderful new DaFT specified IET?

 

Or have DaFT finally found a way to specify seat comfort and journey quality into their spreadsheets instead of just seat numbers?

Edited by cheesysmith
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1 hour ago, black and decker boy said:

I don't think we can say Virgin are evil......

 

the thing that really got my back up (and still winds me up even now) was the day after it was announced WSMR would be finishing (and a number of my friends were made redundant) posters went up in wrexham station from virgin stating....

 

"were going nowhere! Except london that is"

 

a proper kick in the teeth for those facing a trip to the dole office 

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The following is from Railway Gazette.....

 



 

Forecast Revenue Mechanism 

 

In a bid to avoid the financial problems which have affected several other franchises, DfT is to introduce a Forecast Revenue Mechanism, which will be supported by an annual review ‘to ensure partnership working is effective, collaborative and continually improving’. 

 

During the first phase, First Trenitalia will make premium payments with a net present value of £1·6bn.

First Trenitalia will directly fund £11m of residual value assets, and deductions from the premium will fund investment of £252m by the operator.

A further £453m for the new and refurbished trains will be funded by the rolling stock leasing companies. 

 

These investments, together with additional routes and other timetable changes, are expected to drive a compound annual growth rate in passenger-km of approximately 1·2%.

Passenger revenues, which were £1·2bn in 2018-19, are expected to increase at  "a mid-single digit CAGR", which FirstGroup points out is ‘lower than the historic growth rate for the franchise over the last 10 years’. 

 

 

Performance 

 

First Trenitalia will work closely with Network Rail through an alliance agreement to deliver the December 2022 timetable, including investment of £32m on ‘developing and delivering infrastructure capacity and capability improvements’.

The partners will also work more closely on timetable development, ‘exploring opportunities’ to improve services for intermediate towns such as Nuneaton. 

First Trenitalia has committed £20m to improve performance, and will work with NR to develop joint plans to reduce major and minor incidents, including contingency plans to improve service recovery.

There will also be investment in additional on-train and trackside infrastructure monitoring equipment. 

 

 

 

So, it appears the DafT have reigned back on expecting (i.e. demanding)  unaffordable high premiums to be paid by the TOC, based on unrealistic growth forecasts???

 

 

 

 

 

.

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3 hours ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

So, it appears the DafT have reigned back on expecting (i.e. demanding)  unaffordable high premiums to be paid by the TOC, based on unrealistic growth forecasts???.

 

Given the current amount of uncertainty (not just in the UK) I suspect DafT were forced by the reality that no bidders would have been willing to commit to high premiums.

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6 hours ago, DY444 said:

 

As to who will supply the new trains there seems to be three theories:

 

1.  That First are totally fed up with Hitachi as a result of their experience with IET on the GW and the order will go to CAF for 397s and a bi-mode version of the 397

2.  That First are totally fed up CAF as a result of their experiences with the new TPE stock and that the order will go to Hitachi.

3.  That First are totally fed up with both Hitachi and CAF and the order will go to somebody else.

 

Given the tight time frame (supposedly introduction in 2022) it might to a large extent come down to who can deliver, and Hitachi may have a head start given they already have bi-mode trains in service.  Even if it goes to CAF, they will (like Hitachi) have had another 2 years to work out the issues with the designs hopefully leading to an easier introduction for the new franchise.

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I imagine Stadler could do a 125mph FLIRT bi-mode too.

 

But politically, keeping Newton Aycliffe in work for a little longer might be a significant factor.

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