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Author Topic: Problems with the Night Riviera sleeper - December 2014 onwards  (Read 207566 times)
IndustryInsider
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« Reply #765 on: August 02, 2020, 05:11:54 pm »

The fact that the Night Riviera requires a Government subsidy to operate would perhaps call its popularity into question.

What level of subsidy does it currently receive?
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« Reply #766 on: August 02, 2020, 06:19:46 pm »

I doubt the DfT or the Government would want a rerun of the Save our Sleeper campaign.

Sleeper Trains have become very popular in Britain over the past 15 years and even in Europe there is increasing use of sleepers after an initial decline.

Covid will be over someday.

Would have thought GWR would have taken 6 class 43 HST power cars converted the ETS to 850volt for use on the Sleeper service.

The fact that the Night Riviera requires a Government subsidy to operate would perhaps call its popularity into question.

Popular does not always mean profitable.
The sleeper is popular as in regularly well used.
The sleeper is also popular in the more subjective sense that users like it.

It is not however profitable. Many parts of the railway system require subsidy, including the night Riviera.
A sleeper train conveys far fewer passengers per vehicle, or per ton of gross train weight, than a day train.
It requires dedicated rolling stock.
Providing, changing, and laundering of bedding are extra costs.

West country MPs use it. Drunken MPs can stagger aboard Hard working MPs suffering from a stressful week in London can sleep it of and awake sober refreshed for more hard work meeting their constituents.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #767 on: August 02, 2020, 06:40:36 pm »

The fact that the Night Riviera requires a Government subsidy to operate would perhaps call its popularity into question.

What level of subsidy does it currently receive?

That won't be a separable figure, will it? It's in the SLC, so has to be run, and the contract doesn't need to set a separate sum of money for it. Whatever revenue gain or loss you ascribe to it (as an accountant) will be an internal matter for GWR. (I'm assuming "current" doesn't mean "in the current emergency".)
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« Reply #768 on: August 02, 2020, 06:56:58 pm »

The fact that the Night Riviera requires a Government subsidy to operate would perhaps call its popularity into question.

What level of subsidy does it currently receive?

That won't be a separable figure, will it?

That's kind of why I asked the question, to find out the source of TG's post.  The most recent mention of a subsidy I can see dates back to 2010, so way too long ago to be considered accurate.
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« Reply #769 on: August 03, 2020, 02:06:22 pm »

There is quite a bit of politics around the Night Riviera. FGW tried to get it scrapped a few years ago and there was huge outcry in Cornwall, with a sucessful petition and government backed off. The improved service was strongly supported by Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership put money into getting the upgrades to the service.
Its an important service for people in Cornwall, and even though it doesn't make money there would be a mighty row  again if there was any attempt to scrap it.
.
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« Reply #770 on: August 03, 2020, 05:10:54 pm »

There is also an additional, almost hidden, operational cost with the sleeper. 

It restricts the amount of time Network Rail has to access the line between Exeter and Penzance for maintenance.  Some sections can use single line working depending on the type of work needed but it means in some cases extra nights are needed rather than completing a job in one possession.   

Clearly in the past when there were newspaper, postal and more freights running it wasn't a cost directly attributable to the sleeper.
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Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #771 on: August 12, 2020, 07:19:04 am »

Quote
21:45 Penzance to London Paddington due 05:03 will be terminated at Reading.
It will no longer call at London Paddington.
It will be delayed at Chippenham and is expected to be 168 minutes late.
This is due to a fault on this train.

Has just arrived Reading
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« Reply #772 on: August 13, 2020, 12:12:43 pm »

There is also an additional, almost hidden, operational cost with the sleeper. 

It restricts the amount of time Network Rail has to access the line between Exeter and Penzance for maintenance.  Some sections can use single line working depending on the type of work needed but it means in some cases extra nights are needed rather than completing a job in one possession.   

Clearly in the past when there were newspaper, postal and more freights running it wasn't a cost directly attributable to the sleeper.

To be fair, that’s probably the reason it doesn’t run on Saturday nights into Sunday mornings, when the great majority of overnight work seems to get done (including Weekend blockades)
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« Reply #773 on: August 17, 2020, 09:44:19 am »

The merit of the sleeper is the provision of a proper flat bed in a private room. In which one may change in privacy and sleep in proper bedding.

Any improvisations involving airline seats that sort of convert into not a proper flat bed, would be a significant downgrade. And experiences of both GWR and new rolling stock suggest a lot of extra things to go wrong. Seat wont fold into ersatz bed. Fake bed wont change back into a seat. Gets stuck part way. Privacy screen drops off or gets stuck. GWR forget to supply pillows and blankets. Bookings don't work, or get transferred to a different service. Hitachi sends wrong train.
Train cancelled from Plymouth as wont couple to the other portion.
I've had the pleasure of flat beds with several long haul operators, and they are a delight to travel on overnight. And yes, I have done a sleeper journey in recent years (from London to Edinburgh) as a comparison.

I'm guessing that you probably haven't availed yourself of such a service broadgage, in which case it must be difficult to judge their merits or otherwise. I could equally come up with a list of spurious faults that a sleeper service might have - shower cold, toilet not working, sink blocked, forgotten to supply pillows and blankets, etc, if I wanted to find ways to prove that a service was "downgraded".

If flat beds were able to be utilised on the railways and brought the cost down to something more economic for people then I think it would be an excellent way to try and increase modal shift for longer UK journeys. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case, but I don't think it is because of the quality of the product that could be delivered with flat beds.
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« Reply #774 on: August 17, 2020, 11:54:54 am »

Various convertible seat/bed arrangements may work just fine on airlines, but I have no faith in such arrangements working if GWR or Hitachi are involved.
After years of development and several years in service, Hitachi still cant get a pair of DMUs to couple and uncouple reliably and promptly.
GWR still cant reliably operate a very minimal trolley service.

Seats that convert into beds and back sound too complex.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #775 on: August 17, 2020, 12:18:02 pm »

Various convertible seat/bed arrangements may work just fine on airlines, but I have no faith in such arrangements working if GWR or Hitachi are involved.
After years of development and several years in service, Hitachi still cant get a pair of DMUs to couple and uncouple reliably and promptly.
GWR still cant reliably operate a very minimal trolley service.

Seats that convert into beds and back sound too complex.
Who operates, and how effectively, such a service is a different matter from the principle of whether flat beds are a downgrade or not. I think Serco's disastrous launch of their new conventional sleeper service, with no GWR or Hitachi in the picture to blame, proves that it's just as easy to screw up normal sleeper services.
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« Reply #776 on: August 17, 2020, 12:42:33 pm »

Any chance the discussions of a completely hypothetical nature about future Night Riviera stock and configurations could be split off of this thread?  A quite innocent initial remark has led to the usual posters following their usual narratives.
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« Reply #777 on: August 17, 2020, 01:29:31 pm »

 
A quite innocent initial remark has led to the usual posters following their usual narratives.
Apologies. My first posts for a couple of weeks and ticked off already. Think I'll go and hibernate again.
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grahame
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« Reply #778 on: August 17, 2020, 01:54:34 pm »

 
A quite innocent initial remark has led to the usual posters following their usual narratives.
Apologies. My first posts for a couple of weeks and ticked off already. Think I'll go and hibernate again.

Please don't hibernate ... more a request to split the topic based on posts of others.  I am deep into other stuff but will look at doing the split later.   And - I admit - I wondered about (and perhaps will) add comment to the split thread.
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« Reply #779 on: August 17, 2020, 03:12:04 pm »

 
A quite innocent initial remark has led to the usual posters following their usual narratives.
Apologies. My first posts for a couple of weeks and ticked off already. Think I'll go and hibernate again.

It wasn't aimed at you, Celestial.  Good idea though - I might consider hibernation myself.
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