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rockershovel

Railway franchises in the coming year

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10 hours ago, royaloak said:

I have written where the problems lie but you simply ignore it and trot out your usual anti staff, kick them into line rhetoric so there isnt any point putting it again.

 

Of course you have, and we all know the problems. We want answers. Rail travel up here is getting to be a joke, an expensive one at that. More cancellations at Wigan today on the Liverpool service. There were never this many (very few actually) cancellations when the line was electrified several years ago.

 

As I asked, what are YOUR  answers, as a qualified and experienced button pusher at the front. 

 

Brit15

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... depends how you define those answers. 

 

Regarding the “degree in burger flipping”, what has actually happened is that for reasons we need not discuss here, there is a very substantial over-supply of “degree graduates” combined with serious shortages in post-graduate qualifications, and vocational qualifications in areas in demand. 

 

The employment market has consequently redefined the guidelines by which the top 15% or so, those most in demand, are identified and selected. 

 

What is new, is the permanent mass over-supply of candidates of all descriptions, combined with exponential increases in data processing capacity, so that “having a degree” simply becomes a criterion, or threshold by which large numbers of candidates (few of which are useful, in any case) are rapidly, and arbitrarily selected or rejected. 

 

It’s nothing new. In the days of paper advertising, applications submitted in brown envelopes, or under second class stamps were proverbially binned, unread. I worked on the Jubilee Line Extension for a while, pretty much “the only game in town” in civil engineering, at the time. At one point I helped clear a small office which was, quite literally, stuffed with black bin bags containing thousands and thousands of unread applications and CVs (this had actually been the subject of a cartoon in Construction News; virtually the entire British civil engineering sector had applied, at least once) . We just burned them in a skip in the yard. 

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23 hours ago, 159220 said:

 CAF shall never receive further orders for UK rolling stock, it's been effetely black listed. There is a saying, you get what you pay for! It is widely known, CAF has not made a penny from their UK contracts. (some stock, shall very unlikely see use much beyond the next franchise period as it is built so poorly). 

 

Genuinely interested in the CAF issues, the only experience I knowingly have is with the 333 units which I have found to be good.

 

Where have the problems been?

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47 minutes ago, APOLLO said:

In the Guardian

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/02/northern-rail-to-be-stripped-of-franchise-says-grant-shapps

 

Hope it's good news - but the shortage of drivers for the new trains will remain at present. A move forward in my mind though. Time will tell.

 

Brit15

But it will still have the same trains, the same drivers, guards, station staff as now - so it will make no immediate material difference except another lot of senior managers will need to be recruited by whoever runs it next be it the DFT or some other body.

 

Then will come the inevitable argument that where we end up in 12 months will be no different that where the current franchise would have been when it sorted out the new trains and the drivers.

 

If it was one bad apple when it came to the franchises I would agree replacing the incumbent may be the right answer, but when many companies are having problems then you begin to ask the question, are they all that bad or have we been led here by a failed privatisation system that over time has drained the industry and left us in a short-termism nightmare of governmental making (all colours).

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30 minutes ago, woodenhead said:

But it will still have the same trains, the same drivers, guards, station staff as now - so it will make no immediate material difference except another lot of senior managers will need to be recruited by whoever runs it next be it the DFT or some other body.

 

 

 

And likewise the same infrastructure to run on.

 

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1 hour ago, Aire Head said:

 

Genuinely interested in the CAF issues, the only experience I knowingly have is with the 333 units which I have found to be good.

 

Where have the problems been?

 

I agree re the 333s, and as far as I know the CAF DMUs in Northern Ireland have also been successful.  I've ridden on them a few times and they seem comfortable, and further tranche(s?) were ordered so I imagine NIR were happy with them.

 

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25 minutes ago, woodenhead said:

But it will still have the same trains, the same drivers, guards, station staff as now - so it will make no immediate material difference except another lot of senior managers will need to be recruited by whoever runs it next be it the DFT or some other body.

 

Then will come the inevitable argument that where we end up in 12 months will be no different that where the current franchise would have been when it sorted out the new trains and the drivers.

 

If it was one bad apple when it came to the franchises I would agree replacing the incumbent may be the right answer, but when many companies are having problems then you begin to ask the question, are they all that bad or have we been led here by a failed privatisation system that over time has drained the industry and left us in a short-termism nightmare of governmental making (all colours).

I think a substantial part of the problem has been that bids have been accepted for franchises in a manner which suggests they have not be properly analysed in respect to what the franchise is expected to deliver and whether or not the infrastructure exists to allow it to be delivered.   Infrastructure issues have plagued Northern along with DfT short notice changes to the scope of the franchise plus obviously the DfT accepting a bid which has turned out to have some unrealistic expectations (which might well have been unrealistic on the part of the DfT).

 

Going back a while to all the problems with Southern/Thameslink I remember one recommendation appearing that DfT needed to understand how Driver numbers worked.  Now of course in reality that would be taking micro-management to ludicrous levels but then they have already done some other ludicrous things on Wilkinson's watch which  have played a part in delivering some of the present shortcomings.  DfT don't really need to understand much detail about staff numbers but what they do need to do, and appear to be incapable of doing, is to ask the right questions or look for the right reassurances when it comes to bids.  For example if they insist the new franchisee has to introduce new trains they should also expect to see a proper explanation of how they will do that without cancelling existing trains during the training and introductory period.  equally they should expect to see a cascade programme based on common sense instead of perceptions of somebody unfamiliar with the problems of introducing new trains and traction.  so they have no need to count Drivers - unless there are to be national conditions of employment for the grade - but they do need to be assured that an aspiring franchisee has counted them and explained the numbers in support of the costs in their bid.

 

There is an interesting analogy here with the old saying of 'pay peanuts and you get monkeys' but when it comes to franchises it's worded - 'go for the  (unexplained) cheapest and you will get carp' (or 'go for the one on IC franchises who offers the biggest payment and you'll see them hand back the keys' ).

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1 hour ago, Aire Head said:

 

Genuinely interested in the CAF issues, the only experience I knowingly have is with the 333 units which I have found to be good.

 

Where have the problems been?

 

7 minutes ago, 31A said:

 

I agree re the 333s, and as far as I know the CAF DMUs in Northern Ireland have also been successful.  I've ridden on them a few times and they seem comfortable, and further tranche(s?) were ordered so I imagine NIR were happy with them.

 

 

Probably worth adding that class 333s were a joint build between CAF and Siemens.  I can’t recall the split between the two companies as to which was responsible for what, but the units were assembled in Spain.  

 

Also worth adding that 333009 is currently long term stopped with what has been reported as ‘serious structural issues’.  It’s currently at the former Railway Technical Centre at Derby. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, woodenhead said:

But it will still have the same trains, the same drivers, guards, station staff as now - so it will make no immediate material difference except another lot of senior managers will need to be recruited by whoever runs it next be it the DFT or some other body.

 

Then will come the inevitable argument that where we end up in 12 months will be no different that where the current franchise would have been when it sorted out the new trains and the drivers.

 

If it was one bad apple when it came to the franchises I would agree replacing the incumbent may be the right answer, but when many companies are having problems then you begin to ask the question, are they all that bad or have we been led here by a failed privatisation system that over time has drained the industry and left us in a short-termism nightmare of governmental making (all colours).

 

This sort of thing is largely inevitable under any system in which political careerists depend upon other political careerists for their livelihood. I’m not, by and large, a great admirer of the French, but they do seem to have their Transport Minister under control and we might usefully take note...

 

My best guess is that in the short term, we will see a partial remedy, for the worst of the deficiencies in the existing rail franchising system, at excessive cost. Longer term, I rather expect a drift towards increased central strategic control, as franchises fall due for renewal or are abandoned by the holders, as the arithmetic of cost versus penalties changes with time. 

 

Meanwhile, in Whitehall and Westminster, some of the “usual suspects” will be promoted to the point where they can’t do too much more damage, to be replaced with people who have no more idea of the job, than their predecessors.... it’s “a helluva way to run a railroad”, but so it goes. 

 

Edited by rockershovel
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3 minutes ago, 4630 said:

 

 

Probably worth adding that class 333s were a joint build between CAF and Siemens.  I can’t recall the split between the two companies as to which was responsible for what, but the units were assembled in Spain.  

 

Also worth adding that 333009 is currently long term stopped with what has been reported as ‘serious structural issues’.  It’s currently at the former Railway Technical Centre at Derby. 

 

I wasn't aware regarding 009 which is interesting.

 

Generally speaking I've always found them comfortable (well if you can get a seat) if a little cramped which is to be expect in a unit designed to shuffle as many people as possible over a short distance. They also seem to be reliable.

 

They are also quite popular amongst the people I know who regularly commute mainly because they are vastly nicer than everything else that's running regular services in the Aire and Wharfe Valley.

 

Most of the plaques inside say CAF IIRC.

 

 

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Has ScotRail been mentioned?


 

Quote

 

The company that runs Scotland's rail services has reported losses of £10m over a 15-month period. Abellio ScotRail lost £7.9m before tax on turnover of nearly £990m between 1 January 2018 and 31 March 2019. Earlier this month, it was stripped of the contract to run rail services by the Scottish government amid criticism of performance levels.

 

..

 

Running ScotRail doesn't seem very easy or very profitable, if these accounts are anything to go by. Abellio ScotRail has - yet again - been unable to make a profit or pay back the multi-million pound loan it got from its parent company. Even shareholders go empty-handed. That could present a problem for the future. If Abellio - an arm of the Dutch state railway - can't run ScotRail to the standards expected by the Scottish government, who can? Since Abellio took charge, they've made a huge investment in electric trains, and increased the number of seats for passengers by 23%.

 

But that wasn't enough.

 

They lost the contract - officially, at least - because the Scottish government didn't accept their plans for the future. The fresh subsidy sought by Abellio was deemed too much.

Scottish ministers now have two years to find a company to run the railway better than Abellio managed - and more cheaply than Abellio promised.

 

Anyone bidding will wonder how they can do that, and still make a profit.

 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-50891974

31 December 2019

 

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I find that rather discouraging. I’ve had experience of Dutch railways and they seem to know their business. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, APOLLO said:

As I asked, what are YOUR  answers, as a qualified and experienced button pusher at the front

 

Brit15

And sarcastic posts like that trying to get a rise out of my is why I wont bother responding to any more of your posts, tara chuck!

Edited by royaloak
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1 hour ago, The Stationmaster said:

I think a substantial part of the problem has been that bids have been accepted for franchises in a manner which suggests they have not be properly analysed in respect to what the franchise is expected to deliver and whether or not the infrastructure exists to allow it to be delivered.   Infrastructure issues have plagued Northern along with DfT short notice changes to the scope of the franchise plus obviously the DfT accepting a bid which has turned out to have some unrealistic expectations (which might well have been unrealistic on the part of the DfT).

 

Going back a while to all the problems with Southern/Thameslink I remember one recommendation appearing that DfT needed to understand how Driver numbers worked.  Now of course in reality that would be taking micro-management to ludicrous levels but then they have already done some other ludicrous things on Wilkinson's watch which  have played a part in delivering some of the present shortcomings.  DfT don't really need to understand much detail about staff numbers but what they do need to do, and appear to be incapable of doing, is to ask the right questions or look for the right reassurances when it comes to bids.  For example if they insist the new franchisee has to introduce new trains they should also expect to see a proper explanation of how they will do that without cancelling existing trains during the training and introductory period.  equally they should expect to see a cascade programme based on common sense instead of perceptions of somebody unfamiliar with the problems of introducing new trains and traction.  so they have no need to count Drivers - unless there are to be national conditions of employment for the grade - but they do need to be assured that an aspiring franchisee has counted them and explained the numbers in support of the costs in their bid.

 

There is an interesting analogy here with the old saying of 'pay peanuts and you get monkeys' but when it comes to franchises it's worded - 'go for the  (unexplained) cheapest and you will get carp' (or 'go for the one on IC franchises who offers the biggest payment and you'll see them hand back the keys' ).

Plus of course if you offer DOO as an option (especially when it wasnt in the original ITT) then it will be grabbed in both hands by the DaFT regardless of whether the rest of the figures stack up (SWR) That franchise has been in trouble from day one even without all the DOO strikes by people fighting to keep their jobs.

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2 hours ago, rockershovel said:

What is new, is the permanent mass over-supply of candidates of all descriptions, combined with exponential increases in data processing capacity, so that “having a degree” simply becomes a criterion, or threshold by which large numbers of candidates (few of which are useful, in any case) are rapidly, and arbitrarily selected or rejected. 

An over-supply of candidates doesnt mean any of them are any good or have any experience in the job they are applying for.

 

I am fed up with hearing the 'but I have a degree' from those who think having a degree (any degree) makes them more intelligent and more useful than someone who doesnt have a degree. Just look at that woman with a degree in female studies (whatever that is) complaining about the Mr Men book (singular) without even bothering to look at any of the others which would quickly  prove her assumption to be wrong!

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Just watched Mr Shapps  on BBC News discussing the Northern franchise and dropping big hints of scrapping Arriva  but no ideas it seems as to what could follow.What could follow a concesion or direct control by DAFT lets hope that what ever follows is good for passengers as the history of this troubled franchise has not been good.Just what should be done to this franchise any ideas?

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2 hours ago, APOLLO said:

In the Guardian

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/02/northern-rail-to-be-stripped-of-franchise-says-grant-shapps

 

Hope it's good news - but the shortage of drivers for the new trains will remain at present. A move forward in my mind though. Time will tell.

 

Brit15

 

Meet the new TOC, same as the old TOC, nothing to change but the politicians can now claim (to all their new voters who gave them their majority) that they have listened and rewarded them by taking action even if it actually accomplishes nothing.

 

The inherent problem, as previously stated but ignored, is that Northern is one of the franchises that does not make a profit and thus is entirely at the whim of what the DfT is willing to fund.

 

The driver problem will only be solved if/when DfT is willing to fund the salaries of the required additional staff.

 

(now I guess I should be less cynical, and perhaps the government will take this opportunity to actually increase funding so some of the long outstanding issues can actually be solved)

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4 hours ago, 62613 said:

Just seen Grant Schapps, or whatever his name is, on the TV. he says he's going to strip Northern of their franchise. What will he replace it with?

 

Knowing as I do, very well , a very hard pressed and frankly p7ssed off Northern staff member ( who understands  passengers frustrations all too well) , this seems very unfair, as it ignores the even greater elephant in the whole of the north's room,

I've given up count how many times TPE have nearly left me stranded in Leeds, 

K

 

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1 minute ago, andania 213 said:

 

Knowing as I do, very well , a very hard pressed and frankly p7ssed off Northern staff member ( who understands  passengers frustrations all too well) , this seems very unfair, as it ignores the even greater elephant in the whole of the north's room,

I've given up count how many times TPE have nearly left me stranded in Leeds, 

K

 

I think you will find the vast majority of staff are actually MORE peed off with the current situation than the passengers are, despite what some posters on here like to think.

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24 minutes ago, lmsforever said:

Just watched Mr Shapps  on BBC News discussing the Northern franchise and dropping big hints of scrapping Arriva  but no ideas it seems as to what could follow.What could follow a concesion or direct control by DAFT lets hope that what ever follows is good for passengers as the history of this troubled franchise has not been good.Just what should be done to this franchise any ideas?

Whatever follows next will be politician led in order to get good press - people think the answer is get rid of Arriva so the government delivers that and then crows on about how it has changed things for the better.

 

Yet it will be the same trains, same staff, same problems and probably the same recovery plan that Arriva is already working to.

 

If it was all Arriva's fault, why is it that other TOCs are being allowed to keep their non PRM compliant stock into 2020, are they all bad or perhaps it is the system that is bad, but it's much easier to blame the person at the end of the contract that the person who wrote the contract(s) in the first place because no government is going to blame themselves for the mess we are in right now.

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9 minutes ago, woodenhead said:

Whatever follows next will be politician led in order to get good press - people think the answer is get rid of Arriva so the government delivers that and then crows on about how it has changed things for the better.

 

Yet it will be the same trains, same staff, same problems and probably the same recovery plan that Arriva is already working to.

 

If it was all Arriva's fault, why is it that other TOCs are being allowed to keep their non PRM compliant stock into 2020, are they all bad or perhaps it is the system that is bad, but it's much easier to blame the person at the end of the contract that the person who wrote the contract(s) in the first place because no government is going to blame themselves for the mess we are in right now.

 

Where I live, I receive BBC Look North for the North East & Cumbria (broadcast from Newcastle).  When Arriva ran the Tyne & Wear Metro the BBC seemed to have an absolute vendetta against them, despite a lot of the problems being ones that Arriva had inherited, and some of which could be solved by the new trains on order.  Lo and behold following campaigning fuelled (it seemed) by the media, Arriva were relieved of the contract, but from the TV traffic reports etc. it seems that the problems with the Metro remain, and the new trains haven't been delivered yet.  But there isn't the continuous outcry against the operators that there was before!

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1 hour ago, royaloak said:

Plus of course if you offer DOO as an option (especially when it wasnt in the original ITT) then it will be grabbed in both hands by the DaFT regardless of whether the rest of the figures stack up (SWR) That franchise has been in trouble from day one even without all the DOO strikes by people fighting to keep their jobs.

SWR is I think right at the summit of where DfT have got wrong just about everything they coould get wrong and the franchise has been lumbered as a result (and by independent things done by NR at the time the new franchise started).  It will be very interesting to see if the man First are putting in to 'solve' the problems will actually be able to do so if the DfT still try to influence events.  DOO on the South Western has been a very hot potato for over a quarter of a century and it won't be resolved by the use of a bludgeon - and it appears that First, if not the DfT realise that.

 

Apart from the current issue (down to DfT not checking when issuing the spec for franchise bids), and the Control Office issue (down to NR) various things appear to be right in what First has done and the service they have put in.  I don't use their trains all that much but every time I have (including during the current strike period) they have been running what their plan said they would be running within a few minutes of when they said it would be running and train interiors have been clean.  Like many TOCs I would be leaning on achieving far higher standards/frequency of on-train ticket examination but to be honest I haven't found them worse than anybody else in that respect.

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Posted (edited)

Sounds like Connex all over again.

 

I read some politician talking about 1000 extra rail vehicles by 2020...

 

Can anyone verify this ?

Sure there’s loads of new stock in 2020.. but equally there’s loads binned.

I think the net increase in rolling stock will be close to nil surely when you subtract 313/4/5/7142/3/4/91/90/mk2/3/4/HST from “extra 1000”.

 

what we need is longer trains, not just replacements.. a 2 car 175 from Manchester to Cardiff is not an improvement on a class 155 doing it in 1990..and remains a downgrade on a 33+5 Mk1’s, especially when numbers carried is higher than ever... the 5 mk1’s  offer much extra seating and a whole lot more usable space.

 

class 33 + SK + SO + CK + SK + BSK = 24F + 240S = 264 seats with 288ft passenger space (excl the bsk brake area + 33 itself).

class 155 = 160S = 152ft length (inc 2 cabs)

class 175 = 136S = 154ft length (inc 2 cabs)

 

Whilst there’s still time, they would be better swallowing some pride and allowing some non-PRM services on routes where PRM compliant services run, so that the 80% of the populace doesn’t have to suffer for the 20%.. who invariably wouldn’t benefit from a PRM compliant service if they are unable to board or use its toilet due to overcrowding.

Edited by adb968008

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100 new 2 coach trains=200 new coaches 

These replace 50 trains which are scrapped and 50 2 coach trains which are transferred to another franchise,so thats 100 'new' coaches for that franchise= 100 'new' coaches (total 300)

 

And so on and so on, thats how they arrive at these magical numbers.

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