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Journey by Journey => Cross Country services => Topic started by: grahame on December 14, 2019, 03:03:56 pm



Title: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: grahame on December 14, 2019, 03:03:56 pm
Twitter, 20th November

Quote
First HST goes to Wales for scrapping tomorrow. Stock is NL65.

And meanwhile ... 4 car voyagers on Arrive Cross Country are bursting at the seams and need to be doubled up on alternate trains, with the train being used to double up being replaces by an HST.

I understand that there is no money budgeted for any new trains for Cross Country until 2024/5

It remains a scandal to make railmen despair that services which are grossly overcrowded on a daily basis are not being strengthened by trains which are available and have good life in them ... but are being sent for scrap.


Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: broadgage on December 14, 2019, 04:42:01 pm
For years the mantra has been "there is no spare rolling stock" And now that spare stock IS available there is a rush to scrap it so that we may return to the traditional "there is no spare rolling stock"

My crystal ball has previously forecast that HSTs would be withdrawn and scrapped before pacers. HSTs are perhaps considered too good for todays railway and there MUST GO. Pacers are nasty enough to keep for as long as possible.

I also forecast that HSTs would become "non compliant" as soon as the new DMUs arrived. Exactly what has happened, GWR now have their new suburban DMUs, and HSTs become non compliant in a few weeks.


Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: Zoe on December 14, 2019, 04:55:07 pm
For years the mantra has been "there is no spare rolling stock" And now that spare stock IS available there is a rush to scrap it so that we may return to the traditional "there is no spare rolling stock"
The issue is also the cost of running HSTs compared to Voyagers. I believe this is why XC no longer make full use of the HSTs they do have (I remember back in 2009 there were 4 diagrams on Mondays to Fridays but now there are only 2/3).  The conversion to power operated doors has of course taken one HST at a time out of service recently but XC reduced the Monday-Friday diagrams quite a few years before that started.


Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: SandTEngineer on December 14, 2019, 04:59:10 pm
I think there might also be a looming skills/knowledge crisis as lots of maintenance engineers brought up with the HSTs retire early or take redundancy.  Laira has certainly lost a few over the past year.


Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: broadgage on December 14, 2019, 05:00:18 pm
Providing enough capacity will always cost money.
I have no doubt that an HST costs more to run than a 4 car voyager, but the HST provides more capacity and should perhaps be compared not to a single 4 car voyager but to a PAIR of 4 car voyagers.



Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: ellendune on December 14, 2019, 05:21:04 pm
Providing enough capacity will always cost money.
I have no doubt that an HST costs more to run than a 4 car voyager, but the HST provides more capacity and should perhaps be compared not to a single 4 car voyager but to a PAIR of 4 car voyagers.

There are other things that the ROSCO will need to consider as well.

To keep an HST in service requires modifications to be made to meet the post 2020 requirements (accessible and retention toilets and power doors spring to mind). These trains are now up to 40 years old and many have been sprayed with sea water regularly in their normal daily rounds. They were. IIRC. the first monocoque bodied trains so corrosion of the shell is much more of an issue than for train with a separate chassis. I also note that during previous refurbishments a number of carriages were found to be more seriously corroded than had been thought which delayed the refurbishment while additional work was done. 

I have no inside knowledge of the particular units being sent for scrap, but if I was planning to refurbish some HST's to keep them in service I would do a thorough corrosion survey before start and factor that cost into the refurbishment. These are only ever going to be in service - I would guess - for another 10 years maximum, and they will always be more expensive to maintain than a modern unit, so anything that substantially adds to the refurbishment cost or shortens their remaining life, will be uneconomic to refurbish. I could quite see that in this instance they would be sent for scrap. 



Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: grahame on December 14, 2019, 06:30:47 pm
For years the mantra has been "there is no spare rolling stock" And now that spare stock IS available there is a rush to scrap it so that we may return to the traditional "there is no spare rolling stock"

Providing enough capacity will always cost money.

I have no doubt that an HST costs more to run than a 4 car voyager, but the HST provides more capacity and should perhaps be compared not to a single 4 car voyager but to a PAIR of 4 car voyagers.

The issue is also the cost of running HSTs compared to Voyagers. I believe this is why XC do no longer make full use of the HSTs they do have (I remember back in 2009 there were 4 diagrams on Mondays to Fridays but now there are only 2/3).  The conversion to power operated doors has of course taken one HST at a time out of service recently but XC reduced the Monday-Friday diagrams quite a few years before that started.

I think there might also be a looming skills/knowledge crisis as lots of maintenance engineers brought up with the HSTs retire early or take redundancy.  Laira has certainly lost a few over the past year.

A 4 car voyager has 190 seats. An HST has 542 (varies on configuration - that is a Cross Country figure).  So, yes, the comparison is to a pair, and stepping up to a train with twice the capacity is a massive step.  Let's say 300 travel on a Voyager at 07:53 from Taunton to Bristol each day at the moment.  Not uncommon. Nasty crowded train. Trolley can't get through.  Change to an HST and it's much more comfortable - but it also costs the operator (say) 1.5 times the running cost.   Will the passenger numbers increase to 450?  And how about the train between Leeds (12:00) and Newcastle (13:30) - will numbers on that grow 50% too, especially when it's competing with new TransPennine Expresses which have just had a huge investment?   Even the numbers do grow 1.5, are they "profitable" anyway - or are you just multiplying the number that HMG pays DB by that 1.5?

I've talked pure finance there ... but what about the wider economic effect, climate issues, etc.?   I doubt they really come into the sums?   What about government popularity and promises?    Well - the important things there seem to be travel within and across the marginal areas we say swing this week just gone, and journey time, frequency and comfort to London.   Northern Powerhouse has a strong rail voice ... does Western Gateway?   What does the mayor of Bristol say and do about public transport?   What about the mayor of Manchester?

I suspect the skills shortage for engineers is spurious.   With a decent size fleet (and there's nearly a dozen castles which I suspect are not hugely different trains  ;D ) there's enough quantity to have a decent bank of engineers, with more trained if more are needed.   We are a long way from the heritage line nightmare of a fleet of 12 locomotives needing 12 different spare sets and 12 sets of specialists.

With a production line already running to convert trains, yes, more to convert but those skills learned, and it's probably not unreasonable to have something of an attrition rate to get rid of "worst cases".  I am not saying "don't scrap even one" - just I have the uneasy feeling of short term franchise and treasury single term balance sheets taking almost exclusive priority over quality of travel, sustainability, wider area economy, long term direction and costs, etc ... and so much more so in the case of Cross Country that's a franchise its owners want rid of, and doesn't serve the seat of government nor is it the major operator in marginal areas.

A further thought. Looks like I may be in Coatbridge again from 13th January.   Flight up on 12th - £23.99.   Train up £94 (or £189 for a faster journey with changes).  Headline prices - factor in railcard, cost of getting to and parking at the airports, journey times, comfort, etc and the balance perhaps changes - but perhaps with extra HST capacity the railways could start to regain and fill that extra space with good, long distance business.   Should be greener than flying, especially when taking to / from airports into account.   And travel time is no longer wasted time with the ability to work, sleep, relax ... that's if you're not jammed against a bulkhead or next to a fellow passenger who's first class size but jammed into a standard class seat.



Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: bignosemac on December 16, 2019, 01:34:25 pm
Is it not the case that the best examples of Class 43s and Mk3s have already found new homes? Be that with GWR for their Castle sets, Scotrail for their Inter7City sets, and with EMR for their stopgap fleet replacing their current non-EA compliant HSTs.

Even if there are decent examples left that could go to CrossCountry they'd still have to wait some time for them to be converted. Maybe a year or more. Why not wait until 2022 when Avanti West Coast's Class 221 Super Voyagers and EMR's Class 222 Meridians become available? Better that surely than an expensive conversion of 40 year old trains.


Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: eightf48544 on December 16, 2019, 03:23:39 pm
I think there might also be a looming skills/knowledge crisis as lots of maintenance engineers brought up with the HSTs retire early or take redundancy.  Laira has certainly lost a few over the past year.

On that point doesn't Laira maintain the Scot rail HSTs involving long ECS runs?


Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: paul7575 on December 16, 2019, 03:30:30 pm
For years the mantra has been "there is no spare rolling stock" And now that spare stock IS available there is a rush to scrap it so that we may return to the traditional "there is no spare rolling stock"
The issue is also the cost of running HSTs compared to Voyagers. I believe this is why XC no longer make full use of the HSTs they do have (I remember back in 2009 there were 4 diagrams on Mondays to Fridays but now there are only 2/3).  The conversion to power operated doors has of course taken one HST at a time out of service recently but XC reduced the Monday-Friday diagrams quite a few years before that started.
I don't remember there ever being 4 diagrams every day.  There may have been "up to 4" diagrams but never 5.

The intention was however to introduce a 4 set service once the power door conversions were finished, along with various timetable changes that were consulted on around 2017, but that's been delayed.

Paul
 


Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: bignosemac on December 16, 2019, 03:31:53 pm
I think there might also be a looming skills/knowledge crisis as lots of maintenance engineers brought up with the HSTs retire early or take redundancy.  Laira has certainly lost a few over the past year.

On that point doesn't Laira maintain the Scot rail HSTs involving long ECS runs?

The ScotRail HSTs are maintained at Haymarket (HA) depot.


Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: paul7575 on December 16, 2019, 03:33:57 pm
Is it not the case that the best examples of Class 43s and Mk3s have already found new homes? Be that with GWR for their Castle sets, Scotrail for their Inter7City sets, and with EMR for their stopgap fleet replacing their current non-EA compliant HSTs.

Even if there are decent examples left that could go to CrossCountry they'd still have to wait some time for them to be converted. Maybe a year or more. Why not wait until 2022 when Avanti West Coast's Class 221 Super Voyagers and EMR's Class 222 Meridians become available? Better that surely than an expensive conversion of 40 year old trains.
I think you're very likely to have hit the nail on the head.   Suddenly there's going to be Voyagers and Meridians available in similar timescales to the convoluted power door conversions.   I bet with the benefit of hindsight theres's a few TOCs wishing they hadn't gone for 'updated' HSTs at all...

Paul


Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
Post by: Zoe on December 16, 2019, 04:58:35 pm
    I don't remember there ever being 4 diagrams every day.  There may have been "up to 4" diagrams but never 5.

    The intention was however to introduce a 4 set service once the power door conversions were finished, along with various timetable changes that were consulted on around 2017, but that's been delayed.
    There were never 5 in use every day but I do remember 4 at some point around 2009 but this only lasted about a year or so before the reduction to the current level.  I seem to remember the reason stated for the reduction was the cost of running the HSTs.

    I have just found a post on another forum from 2009 which quotes the diagrams which were listed on the 125 Group website:
    Quote
    17 May 2009 – 12 December 2009

    MONDAYS TO FRIDAYS

    XC801 1V44 0600 LDS-PLY, 1S51 1221 PLY-GLC, 5S51 22+40 GLC-EC.
    XC802 5V39 04+41 EC-DEE, 1V54 0632 DEE-PLY, 1E73 1721 PLY-LDS.
    XC803 5V46 05+14 NL-YRK, 1V46 0632 YRK-PLY, 1S55 1321 PLY-EDB.
    XC804 1V50 0608 EDB-PLY, 1E63 15:21 PLY-LDS.


    Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
    Post by: eightf48544 on December 17, 2019, 08:35:15 am
    I think there might also be a looming skills/knowledge crisis as lots of maintenance engineers brought up with the HSTs retire early or take redundancy.  Laira has certainly lost a few over the past year.

    On that point doesn't Laira maintain the Scot rail HSTs involving long ECS runs?

    The ScotRail HSTs are maintained at Haymarket (HA) depot.

    Apologies I got muddled I believe Laira did some work on the Scot Rail HSfs before they went into service.


    Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
    Post by: Timmer on December 17, 2019, 09:23:34 am
    Apologies I got muddled I believe Laira did some work on the Scot Rail HSfs before they went into service.
    I believe Laira now look after the XC HST fleet.


    Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
    Post by: simonw on December 17, 2019, 09:31:34 am
    Surely the Cross Country capacity issue does not cover the whole network, but certain corridors.

    From me perspective, virtually every Cross Country I have ever got on the Bristol to Birmingham route has been overcrowded, whether

    • turbostar
    • voyager
    • super voyager

    with crowding compounded with excess

    • luggage
    • prams
    • cycles
    • scooters

    The whole franchise needs looking at. The mix of commuter and long distance traveller is not well catered for.

    As a fix for our area, I would like to see GWR run regular Bristol - Birmingham and Bristol - Plymouth services to take pressure (compete) with Cross Country.


    Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
    Post by: chopper1944 on December 17, 2019, 11:28:45 am
    I agree with Simonw, with GWR trains using the Camp Hill line and a spur to Moor Street at Bordesley


    Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
    Post by: onthecushions on December 17, 2019, 12:49:48 pm

    It was the same in pre-Voyager, pre-HST days with loco hauled, 7 car Mk2 sets. Every coach into B'ham was full, including from the Oxford line.

    What about GWR/WC Bi-modes, open access to Manchester?

    OTC





    Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
    Post by: grahame on February 06, 2020, 10:23:59 am
    From Rail Magazine (https://www.railmagazine.com/news/fleet/future-of-hsts-to-be-decided-as-first-vehicles-sent-for-scrap)

    Quote
    Decisions on the future of stored High Speed Trains will be made in the near future, after the first seven Mk 3s were sent for scrap

    Quote
    A Porterbrook spokesman told RAIL that those moved west were a “trial scrapping” but confirmed that discussions needed to be made regarding the other vehicles stored at Long Marston and Laira. He said it was likely that some of those in better condition would be re-used, but that many would be scrapped.


    Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
    Post by: broadgage on February 06, 2020, 03:33:33 pm
    It does seem very shortsighted to scrap HSTs whilst capacity remains such a problem.
    HSTs are old and rapidly becoming non-standard, but SHORT TERM retention of a modest number would seem to be more sensible than rushing to scrap them.
    Cross country voyagers are still overcrowded.
    Short formed IETs are still a regular feature.

    It would in my view be reasonable to grant a derogation regarding disabled facilities.
    I would argue that an HST with seats to spare, is in practical terms a lot more accessible than a crush loaded half length DMU.
    I rather doubt that a wheelchair user could even board a crush loaded IET, let alone get to the universal toilet, or to the wheelchair space. Booking wont help as bookings are voided on short formed units.


    Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
    Post by: MVR S&T on February 06, 2020, 09:05:36 pm
    The same rules that allow 442s to run on SWR then...


    Title: Re: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers
    Post by: southwest on June 04, 2020, 06:25:33 pm
    It does seem very shortsighted to scrap HSTs whilst capacity remains such a problem.
    HSTs are old and rapidly becoming non-standard, but SHORT TERM retention of a modest number would seem to be more sensible than rushing to scrap them.
    Cross country voyagers are still overcrowded.
    Short formed IETs are still a regular feature.

    It would in my view be reasonable to grant a derogation regarding disabled facilities.
    I would argue that an HST with seats to spare, is in practical terms a lot more accessible than a crush loaded half length DMU.
    I rather doubt that a wheelchair user could even board a crush loaded IET, let alone get to the universal toilet, or to the wheelchair space. Booking wont help as bookings are voided on short formed units.

    It does seem crazy that ex LNER hst's which have exactly the same interior as XC are sitting idle. Although Coronavirus has had a massive impact, when things get back to normal these voyagers could be replaced. If EMR can get dispensation until 2022 why can't XC? The government seems intent on keeping the voyager fleet within XC rather than making Arriva buy IET's or something better.

    Although I suspect if the Voyagers do get freed up Grand Central will take them on to replace its 180s.



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