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GWR to lease ‘tri-mode’ class 769 multiple units from Porterbrook


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31 minutes ago, Christopher125 said:

 

As far as I'm aware 319s remain banned from Oxted Tunnel, so I think that's one rumour easily debunked.

 

Ever heard of a thing called gauge enhancement?

 

Put it this way, if GTR went and ordered this stock then NR have a legal obligation to facilitate their use.

 

It should be noted that the brand new Stadler stock built for GA had severe restrictions placed on it initially when traversing Ipswich tunnel as it was out of gauge for the route - yet NR has had to alter the infrastructure to make it fit!

 

Given the 319s were built for the heavily gauge restricted 'Widened lines' through snow hill, I doubt it would be impossible to find a way of making them fit through Oxted tunnel.

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10 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

Ever heard of a thing called gauge enhancement?

 

Put it this way, if GTR went and ordered this stock then NR have a legal obligation to facilitate their use.

 

It should be noted that the brand new Stadler stock built for GA had severe restrictions placed on it initially when traversing Ipswich tunnel as it was out of gauge for the route - yet NR has had to alter the infrastructure to make it fit!

 

Given the 319s were built for the heavily gauge restricted 'Widened lines' through snow hill, I doubt it would be impossible to find a way of making them fit through Oxted tunnel.

 

Iirc the Mk3 derived emu ban in Oxted tunnel is due to the S shaped curve in the middle causing such units to be foul of the other line at that point.  If I have indeed recalled that correctly then you'd either have to flatten out the curve (likely to be very expensive and disruptive), or, single the line through the tunnel or arrange the signalling so that only train at a time was allowed in there (reduces line capacity). 

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16 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

Ever heard of a thing called gauge enhancement?

 

Put it this way, if GTR went and ordered this stock then NR have a legal obligation to facilitate their use.

 

It should be noted that the brand new Stadler stock built for GA had severe restrictions placed on it initially when traversing Ipswich tunnel as it was out of gauge for the route - yet NR has had to alter the infrastructure to make it fit!

 

Given the 319s were built for the heavily gauge restricted 'Widened lines' through snow hill, I doubt it would be impossible to find a way of making them fit through Oxted tunnel.

I think you'll find it's the other way round Phil in that the operator is obliged to use rolling stock which the route is able to take and to which the infrastructure owner had agreed - certainly used to say that in Access Contracts.

 

The Ipswich problem I suspect is rather different in that NR agreed to accept the trains so were then obliged to make the route infrastructure capable of allowing them to operate  (or DfT accepted a bid without consulting NR and dumped NR in the smelly stuff in the way they have on the South Western).

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On 21/04/2018 at 13:00, Ncarter2 said:

It’s not as simple as people may think.

As a manager who sends 50 odd staff out to work next to live 3rd rail every day I have to satisfy myself and my team that things are safe. There are lots of constraints to consider, more than I think most would think of. 3rd rail is obsolete, there are no plans to continue installing, it’s dangerous and a nightmare for planning and maintenance.

You’d be very surprised as to how many track workers per year get injured, be it a flash up or worse, contact. It’s a separate set of competencies to keep up on also. We on P-Way regularly need to be in close proximity, be it broken fish plates, bolts, geometry faults etc. We have the conductor rail shields but they are not 100% fool proof.

There are always lessons learnt, but still incidents happen.

 

Consider it this way,

 

Members of the public, we would like to put a 750v live and exposed electrical conductor on the pavement. If you touch it, it’s likly you will be killed but be careful and all will be ok.

The pavement is an area you need to use as it’s part of your day to day life.

 

This is what it is for us on the railway, not only that we have other safety critical tasks to do.

 

What is here will be around for a long time as it is cost prohibitive to replace but I for one am thankful that ORR and NR have decided 3rd expansion and Infilling is done.

 

Consider it this way - the pavement is available to the general public, who have no training in its use.

 

The third-rail railway environment is strictly off-limits to the general public, and only accessible by staff who have been trained in safe operating practices.

 

Hardly a valid comparison !

 

Regards,

John Isherwood.

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3 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

I think you'll find it's the other way round Phil in that the operator is obliged to use rolling stock which the route is able to take and to which the infrastructure owner had agreed - certainly used to say that in Access Contracts.

 

The Ipswich problem I suspect is rather different in that NR agreed to accept the trains so were then obliged to make the route infrastructure capable of allowing them to operate  (or DfT accepted a bid without consulting NR and dumped NR in the smelly stuff in the way they have on the South Western).

 

Given NR is firmly under the cosh of Whitehall - do you really think NR is going to be allowed to get in the way of what ministers / bureaucrats (and their mates running the TOCs) say must happen?

 

A decade or two ago things may well have been different.

 

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11 minutes ago, phil-b259 said:

 

Given NR is firmly under the cosh of Whitehall - do you really think NR is going to be allowed to get in the way of what ministers / bureaucrats (and their mates running the TOCs) say must happen?

 

A decade or two ago things may well have been different.

 

Depends if they've learnt from the SWR power supply debacle or not.

 

There are no alternative facts when it comes to the laws of physics, hopefully politicians can understand that, at least...

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3 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

The Ipswich problem I suspect is rather different in that NR agreed to accept the trains so were then obliged to make the route infrastructure capable of allowing them to operate  (or DfT accepted a bid without consulting NR and dumped NR in the smelly stuff in the way they have on the South Western).

 

I seem to recall that the reason Albino won the GA franchise is their tie up with Saddler was financially much better for the DfT than rival bids (which featured stock from other manufacturers and which would have fitted with no infrastructure modifications). NR had pretty much zero involvement in the process because the DfT 'assumed' that all the new stock would fit perfectly.

 

It is said that the reason it was so much better was because GA went and effectively abandoned any real involvement in the rolling stock procurement , plus Stadler deliberately came in with a very cheap quote so as to break into the UK market.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Zomboid said:

Depends if they've learnt from the SWR power supply debacle or not.

 

There are no alternative facts when it comes to the laws of physics, hopefully politicians can understand that, at least...

 

 

I wouldn't want to have a bet on politicians having any understanding of the law of physics, or any other law, come to that.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Zomboid said:

Depends if they've learnt from the SWR power supply debacle or not.

 

There are no alternative facts when it comes to the laws of physics, hopefully politicians can understand that, at least...

Judging by some past examples I have strong suspicion that Ohm;s law is not within  the purview of many politicianss, or if it is they seem to have a very peculiar view of the way it applies.

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21 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

I seem to recall that the reason Albino won the GA franchise is their tie up with Saddler was financially much better for the DfT than rival bids (which featured stock from other manufacturers and which would have fitted with no infrastructure modifications). NR had pretty much zero involvement in the process because the DfT 'assumed' that all the new stock would fit perfectly.

 

It is said that the reason it was so much better was because GA went and effectively abandoned any real involvement in the rolling stock procurement , plus Stadler deliberately came in with a very cheap quote so as to break into the UK market.

 

 

I believe they won because they offered completely brand new trains across the whole franchise and the financials were based on constant growth in passengers and revenue for the entire franchise period that would lead to big payouts for the DfT. It as awarded just as passenger numbers and revenues started to plateau.......They set out what was described as an "ambitious" bid, based on growth in the region as described here, but perhaps failed to recognise changing work patterns leading to less commuting ( https://www.railmagazine.com/news/rail-features/from-the-archives-eastern-promise

 

"Abellio says that in Greater Anglia’s case, the funding formula has fallen out of sync with commuting patterns causing the financial hole to open up." https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/dutch-taxpayers-subsidise-greater-anglia-1-5740230

 

 

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13 minutes ago, ruggedpeak said:

I believe they won because they offered completely brand new trains across the whole franchise and the financials were based on constant growth in passengers and revenue for the entire franchise period that would lead to big payouts for the DfT. It as awarded just as passenger numbers and revenues started to plateau.......They set out what was described as an "ambitious" bid, based on growth in the region as described here, but perhaps failed to recognise changing work patterns leading to less commuting ( https://www.railmagazine.com/news/rail-features/from-the-archives-eastern-promise

 

"Abellio says that in Greater Anglia’s case, the funding formula has fallen out of sync with commuting patterns causing the financial hole to open up." https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/dutch-taxpayers-subsidise-greater-anglia-1-5740230

 

 

 

I'm sensing a pattern to many franchises...

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11 minutes ago, ruggedpeak said:

I think it was a case of "look squirrel" or in this case "look shiny new trains..."

 

Well presumably the "shiny new trains" will be there even if Abellio hand in the keys and bail out. So from a East Anglian passengers point of view its a win, win.

 

The problem seems to be DFT. If bidders don't promise the earth and high premium payments they don't stand a chance of winning however unrealistic and detached from passenger numbers those projections maybe.

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50 minutes ago, royaloak said:

You mean the 'tell the DaFT what they want to hear so we win and then go cap in hand when the finances fail to stack up' approach.

 

Which is not the bidders fault!

 

When you issue a contract it is the responsibility of the commissioning entity to make sure they make sure they have drawn up the terms correctly - not rely on the wining bidder to simply take what comes if the terms are incorrect!

 

Its been clear for some time now that 'traditional' 5 day commuting patterns are falling by the wayside as the while economic dynamic shifts. The rise of the 'gig economy, zero hours contracts, people having multiple jobs, flexible working policies are all having an effect. The fact the idiots in Whitehall have not kept themselves abreast of theses developments (despite colleagues in other Whitehall buildings actively encouraging such things) is, regrettably, not a surprise....

 

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5 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

Which is not the bidders fault!

 

I somewhat disagree.

 

Yes, DfT clearly has issues with the ability to properly run the franchise process and the system will remain a mess until that gets sorted out.

 

But as the saying goes, it takes 2 to tango.

 

The bidders should know that the DfT conditions are on the (very/extremely) optimistic side and factor that into their bid.  If they don't, then they must also share the blame when things go wrong.

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6 minutes ago, mdvle said:

 

The bidders should know that the DfT conditions are on the (very/extremely) optimistic side and factor that into their bid.  If they don't, then they must also share the blame when things go wrong.

 

In which case they won't win the bidding process!

 

It is said that Stagecoach lost the SWT franchise precisely because they put in a realistic (but deliverable) bid - but the DfT didn't want to listen!

 

Its not exactly hard to see that things are changing as regards workforce dynamics and that a contract which heavily relies on commuting should take the fact that revenues may change into account when it is drawn up.

 

As the commissioning agent its up to the DfT to ensure the bidding process is robust enough that over ambitious bids get rejected. However that results in less money / more subsidy for HM Treasury.....

 

If you commission a house extension on the assumption that you will be earning megabucks but then end up being injured and off work for a prolonged period why should the builder be forced to accept being paid less for the same work?  Its not their fault you hurt yourself and no longer have the monies to pay them is it?

 

Just because we are talking about railways doesn't change the fundamental principle that it is the commissioning agent who needs to ensure they get the contract terms right from the beginning. If the DfT wants to contract out the provision of railway passenger services rather than run it themselves, then the onus lies fair and square on the DfT to get it right (just as the Onus was on the Home Office to make sure the probation service contracts it let when the service was part privatiser were fit for purpose.

 

Don't blame the monkey - blame the organ grinder as the saying goes, privatising / contracting out Government services does NOT magically change the principles of contract law.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, phil-b259 said:

 

It is said that Stagecoach lost the SWT franchise precisely because they put in a realistic (but deliverable) bid - but the DfT didn't want to listen!

I understand First won it because they offered DOO as a costed option, something Brian Souter was firmly against.

 

Any mention of DOO and the DaFT salivate uncontrollably and start jumping up and down in anticipation.

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20 minutes ago, The Great Bear said:

On the subject of DOO presumably that would be another potential plus for GTR in getting rid of the 171s?

 

Unless the Uckfield branch stations are all fitted with DOO cameras/screens/mirrors (unlikely) or CCTV monitors and associated DOO in cab equipment is retrofitted in the 769's (even more unlikely!) then they will still need a traditional guard dispatch.

 

Even in DOO operation, they would need to have a rostered On Board Supervisor which is basically the same as a Guard without the safety critical dispatch duties.

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2 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

In which case they won't win the bidding process!

 

It is said that Stagecoach lost the SWT franchise precisely because they put in a realistic (but deliverable) bid - but the DfT didn't want to listen!

 

Stagecoach lost the SWT franchise not because they put in a realistic bid, but because First decided winning the bid was more important than putting in a realistic bid / didn't do their homework properly.

 

If a franchise bidder is stupid enough to put in a bid that could end up losing money, at the end of the day said franchise bidder has to take the blame as well.

 

That is a fundamental part of any franchise bidding process - the bidder needs to do their own research and number crunching to decide what a realistic bid is.  If they fail to do that, then they have to shoulder some of the blame.

 

Until the day comes when either nobody bids, or the bids are all realistic, there is no pressure for the DfT to change anything.

 

3 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

If you commission a house extension on the assumption that you will be earning megabucks but then end up being injured and off work for a prolonged period why should the builder be forced to accept being paid less for the same work?  Its not their fault you hurt yourself and no longer have the monies to pay them is it?

 

On the other hand, if the builder who accepted the work was aware that the homeowner had a history of injuries and thus periods of no income, then said builder should have included that risk in their bid to do the work.

 

Enough franchises have failed or run into financial problems at this point, combined with the known issues of the franchise process, that anyone bidding for a franchise should be taking those into account when deciding what sort of bid to to submit.  If they don't, then again they need to shoulder part of the blame.

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11 hours ago, mdvle said:

 

Stagecoach lost the SWT franchise not because they put in a realistic bid, but because First decided winning the bid was more important than putting in a realistic bid / didn't do their homework properly.

 

If a franchise bidder is stupid enough to put in a bid that could end up losing money, at the end of the day said franchise bidder has to take the blame as well.

 

That is a fundamental part of any franchise bidding process - the bidder needs to do their own research and number crunching to decide what a realistic bid is.  If they fail to do that, then they have to shoulder some of the blame.

 

Until the day comes when either nobody bids, or the bids are all realistic, there is no pressure for the DfT to change anything.

 

 

On the other hand, if the builder who accepted the work was aware that the homeowner had a history of injuries and thus periods of no income, then said builder should have included that risk in their bid to do the work.

 

Enough franchises have failed or run into financial problems at this point, combined with the known issues of the franchise process, that anyone bidding for a franchise should be taking those into account when deciding what sort of bid to to submit.  If they don't, then again they need to shoulder part of the blame.

According to what I have learnt from various sources First put in a compliant bid - i.e. it was compliant with the spec that DfT issued.  If they hadn't done that then the bid would have been rejected.  Part of the problem when it came to operation, and the future, has a lot more to do with NR than it does with First.

 

NR were either not aware of, or on a different timescale from DfT in respect of the, changes to electrical power supply on which the DfT spec was based and which First bid to.  That is a state sector mess which First simply, but nastily, suffered from.    The second problem was NR's decision to relocate its Control Office from Waterloo to, I think, Basingstoke.  The consequence was that many experienced staff took redundancy rather than move or have a more awkward journey to work with the result that when the new timetable encountered the near inevitable teething problems there weren't experienced Control staff there to deal with them.  As far as the timetable itself is concerned that was subsequently independently assessed by an experienced ex BR senior operator and found to be perfectly workable.  The latest problem comes of course with the 442s - for very different reasons.

 

I'm not necessarily a fan of First Group although I find them to be no worse than many other franchisees and much better than some but in the case of the South Western contract let's not tar the monkey with the shortcomings of the organ grinder. 

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5 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

   The second problem was NR's decision to relocate its Control Office from Waterloo to, I think, Basingstoke.  The consequence was that many experienced staff took redundancy rather than move or have a more awkward journey to work with the result that when the new timetable encountered the near inevitable teething problems there weren't experienced Control staff there to deal with them.  

 

And that in itself is a microcosm of what NR did a few years previously when they closed the regional offices and moved everything to Milton Keynes - with limited success. Staff from Glasgow, York and Birmingham chose redundancy rather than commute to "that" place. 

 

The move from Friars Bridge Court to Basingstoke was very likely to invoke the same human reaction, and to an certain extent did. Not sure how many did or still do, but I know of one woman who was was travelling London - Basingstoke, doing four hours work, a break and travelling back to London within her 7 hour working day.  Who'd have thought it !!!   

 

Strikes me Network Rail have forgotten they actually employ human beings rather than payroll numbers.

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