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Journey by Journey => Cross Country services => Topic started by: Lee on September 20, 2018, 02:24:27 am



Title: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: Lee on September 20, 2018, 02:24:27 am
From the DfT: (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-root-and-branch-review-of-rail)

Quote from: DfT
The department has reviewed all ongoing franchise competitions and other live rail projects in the context of the rail review. Due to the unique geographic nature of the Cross Country franchise, which runs from Aberdeen to Penzance and cuts across multiple parts of the railway, awarding this franchise in 2019 could impact on the review’s conclusions.

It has therefore been decided that this competition will not proceed. Services will continue to be operated by the existing franchisee with options beyond this to be considered in due course. The department will consider the responses to the Cross Country public consultation in the development of future options for the franchise.

All other ongoing franchise competitions and other live rail projects are continuing as planned.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: ChrisB on September 20, 2018, 08:56:55 am
Simply because XC/Arriva were the only entrant....no one else expressed an interest.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: Timmer on September 20, 2018, 09:13:09 am
Simply because XC/Arriva were the only entrant....no one else expressed an interest.
Exactly!

Another franchise desperate for a long term strategy that's been kicked into the long grass yet again.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: grahame on September 20, 2018, 09:23:37 am
Simply because XC/Arriva were the only entrant....no one else expressed an interest.
Exactly!

Another franchise desperate for a long term strategy that's been kicked into the long grass yet again.

So much work and effort has been put into looking forward at whet the Cross Country network of services needs for the next decade.

However fit for purpose the current setup was when it was put into place, it is now very clearly creaking around some of the seams (if not most of them) and it needs an update to the setup - and perhaps to the definition of process - and not just "carry on as you are" into the undefined and perhaps distant future.

I do hope that all the work and analysis on what's needed for the future is heeded, implemented as appropriate and not just parked for "sometime/perhaps/aspiration" as the current service creaks onward untuned for the future.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: Zoë on September 20, 2018, 09:45:07 am
However fit for purpose the current setup was when it was put into place, it is now very clearly creaking around some of the seams (if not most of them) and it needs an update to the setup - and perhaps to the definition of process - and not just "carry on as you are" into the undefined and perhaps distant future.

I do hope that all the work and analysis on what's needed for the future is heeded, implemented as appropriate and not just parked for "sometime/perhaps/aspiration" as the current service creaks onward untuned for the future.
In the future HS2 will take a significant amount of intercity travel away from the XC core.  I just hope it does not get decided to leave XC as is until then.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: eightonedee on September 21, 2018, 08:20:42 pm
Quote
Topic Summary
Posted on: Yesterday at 09:45:07 am Posted by: Zoë
Insert Quote
Quote from: grahame on Yesterday at 09:23:37 am
However fit for purpose the current setup was when it was put into place, it is now very clearly creaking around some of the seams (if not most of them) and it needs an update to the setup - and perhaps to the definition of process - and not just "carry on as you are" into the undefined and perhaps distant future.

I do hope that all the work and analysis on what's needed for the future is heeded, implemented as appropriate and not just parked for "sometime/perhaps/aspiration" as the current service creaks onward untuned for the future.
In the future HS2 will take a significant amount of intercity travel away from the XC core.  I just hope it does not get decided to leave XC as is until then.

I am not so sure. HS2 does not affect the considerable XC traffic on the Bournemouth/Southampton/Basingstoke/Reading/Oxford/Birmingham axis, nor the Plymouth/Exeter/Bristol/Cheltenham/Birmingham one either. It will not serve the Trent Valley, nor Derby or Sheffield.

If it does kill off the viability of XC routes north of Birmingham there will still be demand on the two southern "legs". In such circumstances these might make a logical addition to the GW franchise - there might even be some mid-life 5 coach IETs ready to be cascaded to replace the Voyagers...


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: broadgage on September 26, 2018, 01:46:41 pm
A cynic like me would suggest that the POSSIBILITY that HS2 MIGHT take some traffic away from the cross country network is an excellent reason to do nothing.
No need to improve capacity on cross country if there is any chance that HS2 might at some far future date possibly relieve a little of the present overcrowding.

With HS2 unlikely to carry passengers until 2036* that means another 18 years of inadequate cross country capacity

*my estimate from simply adding 10 years to the official date of 2026.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: nickswift99 on September 27, 2018, 12:01:43 pm
Why only 10 years? Thameslink 2000 was 18 years late and still hasn't been fully delivered.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: broadgage on September 27, 2018, 02:03:45 pm
I was feeling optimistic.
My crystal ball forecasts a delay of at least 10 years, rather than a delay limited to 10 years.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: grahame on October 27, 2018, 05:00:55 am
Simply because XC/Arriva were the only entrant....no one else expressed an interest.
Exactly!

Another franchise desperate for a long term strategy that's been kicked into the long grass yet again.

So much work and effort has been put into looking forward at whet the Cross Country network of services needs for the next decade.

However fit for purpose the current setup was when it was put into place, it is now very clearly creaking around some of the seams (if not most of them) and it needs an update to the setup - and perhaps to the definition of process - and not just "carry on as you are" into the undefined and perhaps distant future.

I do hope that all the work and analysis on what's needed for the future is heeded, implemented as appropriate and not just parked for "sometime/perhaps/aspiration" as the current service creaks onward untuned for the future.

Sometimes reliable sources have suggested to me that the direct award to Arriva will run for as long as five years and that neither the government (direct award) nor the German government (Arriva parent) will be keen on buying new rolling stock.  "The best you can hope for ... and it may be worth making a song and dance to try and get them ... is around a dozen extra refurbished HSTs".

Creaking at the seams on capacity at times, would another 12 HSTs (84 passenger carriages) relieve the pressure?  How do readers feel about riding HSTs from Taunton to Bristol and from Cheltenham Spa to Sheffield for the next decade?


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: Timmer on October 27, 2018, 07:38:07 am
Sometimes reliable sources have suggested to me that the direct award to Arriva will run for as long as five years and that neither the government (direct award) nor the German government (Arriva parent) will be keen on buying new rolling stock.  "The best you can hope for ... and it may be worth making a song and dance to try and get them ... is around a dozen extra refurbished HSTs".

Creaking at the seams on capacity at times, would another 12 HSTs (84 passenger carriages) relieve the pressure?  How do readers feel about riding HSTs from Taunton to Bristol and from Cheltenham Spa to Sheffield for the next decade?
Yes please. I might start using XC again when heading North rather than go via London.

I really don’t see any HSTs heading for the scrap heap for a good while yet. Not while there are capacity issues that they could solve until a long term solution is found. In other words until the government sort of themselves out on what to do going forward with rail franchises etc.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: ChrisB on October 27, 2018, 09:19:33 am
Just the cost of converting the doors & toilets to sort out...


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: Charlie (in Gloucester) on October 27, 2018, 09:56:31 am
Just the cost of converting the doors & toilets to sort out...

Well as we know arriva spend so much in their franchises. ATW has creaking rolling stock with bad disable access and information for all those years.

CrossCountry has been untouched since Viegin, not even an interior refurb on the voyagers.

Short term I would love HSTs to run around the XC network but long term I think they will go for some 802s when necessary.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: IndustryInsider on October 27, 2018, 10:30:35 am
Short term I would love HSTs to run around the XC network but long term I think they will go for some 802s when necessary.

I also don't mind Voyagers formed trains running around the network, as long as many of them are 8, 9 or 10 car ones, which as we know they currently aren't.  If a HST conversion of a dozen or so extra trains means a dozen or so daily voyager diagrams can become formed of two units then that would at least be a start.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: martyjon on October 27, 2018, 11:09:50 am
Short term I would love HSTs to run around the XC network but long term I think they will go for some 802s when necessary.
I also don't mind Voyagers formed trains running around the network, as long as many of them are 8, 9 or 10 car ones, which as we know they currently aren't.  If a HST conversion of a dozen or so extra trains means a dozen or so daily voyager diagrams can become formed of two units then that would at least be a start.

The 222 Meridians are Voyagers in another guise, current Voyages could quite possibly be re-formed into 8, 9 or 10 cars with re-configuring the trains software but that would leave the ROSCO owning them with a surfeit of driving cars which I suppose could be paired up to produce a (tongue in cheek) 2-car 153, ideal for the Looe branch in winter and 2 x 2-car 153's on the St Ives branch in summer.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: Charlie (in Gloucester) on October 27, 2018, 12:24:34 pm
Is anyone bidding for the GWR franchise though? I see ya being with First for a long time..


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: grahame on October 27, 2018, 12:31:19 pm
Is anyone bidding for the GWR franchise though? I see ya being with First for a long time..

There is a direct award from 2019 to 2020, probably another direct award from 2020 to 2022 and it's more likely that not that will extend to 2024, on the basis of "let the people who are there handle things through the rest of the modernisation program rather than looking at bidding for and handing over in the middle".

For bids to run services from 2022 to 2024, it's really too early to know who might bid; for sure a number of organisations may have one eye on the area, but I'm sure none of them will go much further than than in the next six months.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: mjones on October 27, 2018, 01:01:50 pm
Short term I would love HSTs to run around the XC network but long term I think they will go for some 802s when necessary.
I also don't mind Voyagers formed trains running around the network, as long as many of them are 8, 9 or 10 car ones, which as we know they currently aren't.  If a HST conversion of a dozen or so extra trains means a dozen or so daily voyager diagrams can become formed of two units then that would at least be a start.

The 222 Meridians are Voyagers in another guise, current Voyages could quite possibly be re-formed into 8, 9 or 10 cars with re-configuring the trains software but that would leave the ROSCO owning them with a surfeit of driving cars which I suppose could be paired up to produce a (tongue in cheek) 2-car 153, ideal for the Looe branch in winter and 2 x 2-car 153's on the St Ives branch in summer.

Could pairs of driving cars have the cabs removed and replaced with a corridor?


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: martyjon on October 27, 2018, 01:40:12 pm
Could pairs of driving cars have the cabs removed and replaced with a corridor?

Ahh, that would mean spending megabucks and oooos gonna pay !!!!


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: eightonedee on October 27, 2018, 02:33:07 pm
Surely what is needed is a better match between capacity and demand?

My experience as a user of the Brimingham/Oxford/Reading/Southampton arm of their network for trips to Birmingham and the North does not seem as bad as the experiences of what I assume are forum members from the south west. XC also runs to Stanstead using (I think) either 170 or 172 diesel units. On the journeys I take, the main "problem" is that trains get crowded at peak times around Birmingham, when understandably Birmingham commuters to surrounding towns on the network use XC trains as part of the capacity available to them in rush hour. I expect that this is partly because some on our side of the network don't realise that XC exists, and assume you have to go north via London, or if they know about XC they decide (once you get to the point where it is quicker to go via London) that they would rather have the speed of crossing London than the convenience of being able to stay on one train.

Presumably on the south west leg, the further west you get (beyond Swindon?) most passengers assume you go north via Birmingham, so most go via XC. My (very) limited experience of XC in the south west is that on the Penzance/Plymouth/Exeter/Bristol axis, the trains are part and parcel of the general Inter City service, so their trains seem as heavily used as GW trains.

Leasing some of the redundant HSTs clearly could help with capacity issues, but I worry about the age of the stock. Will we see "happy 50th birthday HST" specials running while they are still in daily service in eight years' time?  Is it cost effective to upgrade them for five years service? Presumably leasing costs reflect the fact that the original capital cost has long since been defrayed, so does this mean it is? If they are not going to be capable of giving reliable service in their old age then they are not the answer, but if they can boost capacity in the short term, and enable XC to redeploy the remainder of their fleet to increase capacity and even encourage more to use their services, I think most would live with them (as, after all, inter city travelers in Scotland and the south west will have to as well).


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: CyclingSid on October 28, 2018, 09:43:18 am
There is a certain lack of flexibility, not limited to XC. It would help if XC spoke to Southampton Ports, when there is a cruise ship leaving the trains tend to be like cattle trucks from Reading to Southampton. Can't be a surprise, port berths are probably booked 6 to  12 months in advance, so an extra set tacked on for those days would be helpful.

Also a nit pick, a couple of years ago going to Oxford in  heatwave the XC was like a furnace. I asked the TM if the air con could be adjusted, No Sir that can only be done at Derby. Was I being wound up, or lack of staff training (not in winding people up).


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: IndustryInsider on October 28, 2018, 10:07:37 am
Also a nit pick, a couple of years ago going to Oxford in  heatwave the XC was like a furnace. I asked the TM if the air con could be adjusted, No Sir that can only be done at Derby. Was I being wound up, or lack of staff training (not in winding people up).

Depends on why it was a furnace I suppose.  A faulty thermostat or other serious fault would need to be done at Central Rivers, a more minor fault such as a tripped MCB could probably be resolved by the TM.  Voyager air-con, whilst not perfect, is fairly reliable in my experience.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: grahame on October 28, 2018, 10:11:18 am
There is a certain lack of flexibility, not limited to XC. It would help if XC spoke to Southampton Ports, when there is a cruise ship leaving the trains tend to be like cattle trucks from Reading to Southampton. Can't be a surprise, port berths are probably booked 6 to  12 months in advance, so an extra set tacked on for those days would be helpful.

Pretty much daily - here's an example I found looking back - a little quieter in the winter (as some ships are elsewhere and others on 28 day Carribean round trips)

Code:
Southampton 1-May-2018 Royal Princess Princess Cruises 05:00 - 17:00
Southampton 2-May-2018 Queen Victoria Cunard Line n/a
Southampton 2-May-2018 P&O Aurora P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 2-May-2018 Mein Schiff 3 TUI Cruises 07:00 - 20:00
Southampton 4-May-2018 Norwegian Jade NCL 08:00-17:00
Southampton 4-May-2018 P&O Arcadia P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 4-May-2018 P&O Ventura P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 5-May-2018 Queen Victoria Cunard Line n/a
Southampton 5-May-2018 ms Zuiderdam HAL 08:00 - 23:00
Southampton 5-May-2018 Sapphire Princess Princess Cruises 07:00-18:00
Southampton 6-May-2018 Braemar Fred. Olsenn n/a
Southampton 6-May-2018 P&O Azura P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 6-May-2018 Navigator Of The Seas Royal Caribbean 05:30
Southampton 7-May-2018 AIDAperla AIDA Cruises 09:30-21:30
Southampton 7-May-2018 Celebrity Silhouette Celebrity Cruises 06:00-16:00
Southampton 8-May-2018 MSC Meraviglia MSC Cruises 08:00 - 20:00
Southampton 8-May-2018 P&O Oriana P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 10-May-2018 Queen Elizabeth Cunard Line n/a
Southampton 10-May-2018 Queen Mary 2 Cunard Line n/a
Southampton 11-May-2018 P&O Arcadia P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 11-May-2018 P&O Britannia P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 11-May-2018 P&O Ventura P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 12-May-2018 Queen Victoria Cunard Line n/a
Southampton 12-May-2018 Sapphire Princess Princess Cruises 07:00-18:00
Southampton 13-May-2018 P&O Britannia P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 13-May-2018 Royal Princess Princess Cruises n/a
Southampton 13-May-2018 Navigator Of The Seas Royal Caribbean 16:30
Southampton 14-May-2018 AIDAperla AIDA Cruises 09:30-21:30
Southampton 14-May-2018 MSC Magnifica MSC Cruises 08:00 - 20:00
Southampton 14-May-2018 Mein Schiff 3 TUI Cruises 07:00 - 20:00
Southampton 15-May-2018 Independence Of The Seas Royal Caribbean 05:30-16:30
Southampton 16-May-2018 Braemar Fred. Olsenn n/a
Southampton 16-May-2018 Norwegian Jade NCL 08:00-17:00
Southampton 16-May-2018 P&O Aurora P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 17-May-2018 Independence Of The Seas Royal Caribbean 05:30-16:30
Southampton 18-May-2018 Marella Discovery Marella Cruises 06:00-19:00
Southampton 19-May-2018 Celebrity Silhouette Celebrity Cruises 06:00-16:00
Southampton 19-May-2018 P&O Aurora P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 19-May-2018 P&O Azura P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 20-May-2018 P&O Britannia P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 20-May-2018 Independence Of The Seas Royal Caribbean 05:30-16:30
Southampton 21-May-2018 AIDAperla AIDA Cruises 09:30-21:30
Southampton 23-May-2018 Oceania Marina Oceania Cruises 07:00-17:00
Southampton 23-May-2018 P&O Oriana P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 24-May-2018 Queen Elizabeth Cunard Line n/a
Southampton 24-May-2018 Queen Mary 2 Cunard Line n/a
Southampton 24-May-2018 Braemar Fred. Olsenn n/a
Southampton 24-May-2018 MSC Magnifica MSC Cruises 08:00 - 20:00
Southampton 25-May-2018 Queen Victoria Cunard Line n/a
Southampton 25-May-2018 Norwegian Jade NCL 08:00-17:00
Southampton 25-May-2018 P&O Ventura P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 25-May-2018 Royal Princess Princess Cruises n/a
Southampton 26-May-2018 Celebrity Silhouette Celebrity Cruises 06:00-16:00
Southampton 26-May-2018 P&O Azura P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 26-May-2018 Sapphire Princess Princess Cruises 07:00-18:00
Southampton 26-May-2018 Mein Schiff 3 TUI Cruises 07:00 - 20:00
Southampton 27-May-2018 P&O Britannia P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 27-May-2018 P&O Ventura P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 27-May-2018 Navigator Of The Seas Royal Caribbean 05:30
Southampton 28-May-2018 AIDAperla AIDA Cruises 09:30-21:30
Southampton 28-May-2018 P&O Arcadia P&O Cruises n/a
Southampton 28-May-2018 Independence Of The Seas Royal Caribbean 05:30-16:30
Southampton 29-May-2018 Braemar Fred. Olsenn n/a
Southampton 31-May-2018 Seven Seas Explorer Regent Seven Seas n/a

The cruise companies work with bus / coach operators to offer transfers from people's home areas to their ship. Perhaps they could work with Cross Country and provide a transfer from the station to the ships and vice versa for specific trains that are strengthened on a daily basis.  Perhaps Cross Country could even offer a railcard-style incentive for cruise passengers to encourage those who don't use trains often to try them for the cruise ... to love the trains and use them more when they get back.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: eightonedee on October 28, 2018, 10:23:43 am
Here's a thought - a daily boat train from Southampton to the Midlands made up of upgraded HST stock, or perhaps just putting two Voyagers together to provide adequate seats.

As regards a/c problems, I have not encountered any so far (in contrast to the poor/ineffective system on Turbos), but if the normally reliable systems on SW's Siemens trains fail in summer they soon become like furnaces too. Presumably it's the lack of opening windows for emergency ventilation as on Turbos, which are often used! 


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: Lee on October 30, 2018, 10:52:41 am
From RAIL Magazine: (https://www.railmagazine.com/news/network/rolling-stock-options-to-be-considered-for-crosscountry-routes)

Quote from: RAIL Magazine
Reducing overcrowding will be a key priority for the CrossCountry franchise, according to Baroness Sugg, although she has offered no indication as to how this would be achieved.

She made the claim in a House of Lords Written Reply on October 22, having been asked by Lord Bradshaw (Liberal Democrat) what steps would be taken by Government to reduce overcrowding on the XC network now that bidding for the franchise has been cancelled (RAIL 861).

“Reducing overcrowding will be a key priority as we consider future options for the franchise,” said Sugg.

“The Department will consider rolling stock and train service options that will reduce overcrowding, but it is too early, at present, to say what the detail of that will be.”

It was confirmed in mid-October that the XC franchise currently operated by Arriva could be extended by five years (RAIL 864).

XC uses four-car and five-car Class 220/221s on long-distance services, as well as two-car and three-car Class 170s on inter-regional routes such as Cardiff-Nottingham and Birmingham New Street-Stansted Airport.

When Arriva took over the franchise in November 2007, it introduced five High Speed Trains to help tackle overcrowding on long-distance routes, although usually there are only three per day in traffic.


Title: Re: CrossCountry Franchise Competition "Will Not Proceed"
Post by: grahame on August 08, 2019, 07:31:28 pm
I am understanding that a direct award extension to Arriva for Cross Country trains from October to October next year is a "stand still" one - with no extra rolling stock and no extra stops apart from the planned ones on the Nottingham trains when Worcestershire Parkway opens.    Single source at present - confirmation welcome.   

Suggest it's a do-nothing decision made to wait the outcome of the Williams review. Seems sad with such dire overcrowding on some services when there are just over a dozen HSTs laid up not carrying any passengers.



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