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Author Topic: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"  (Read 2080 times)
broadgage
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« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2019, 10:20:03 am »

I've read the correspondence with Mark Hopwood on the replacement of buffets with trolleys on the longer distance inter city services with interest.Is this the same Mark Hopwood who,when interviewed in Modern Railways in April 2009 in his capacity as MD of First Great Western admitted that trolleys did not work on long distance services and outlined plans to create a new fleet of Trailer Standard Buffets for its HST fleet to ensure every set had a buffet? He was quoted as saying" I dont think anyone is suggesting that if you're going to be making a journey for several hours we want to withdraw the ability for you to buy food and drink on the train...and yes, the original franchise proposition has changed in that we're not going for the trolley service in Standard Class now"
His current attitude to buffets also contrasts strongly with that of the East Coast where it has been reported that Virgin East Coast fought successfully to secure the inclusion of buffets.I'm afraid my interpretation of the situation is that GWR no longer have an appetite for running the   business beyond the current franchise period,have no longer a vision for delivering a quality service and were accordingly  prepared to be rolled over by the DfT

Welcome.
Also is this the same Mark Hopwood who has previously said that DMUs with underfloor engines were not wanted or suitable for inter city journeys ?
So we now have DMUs with underfloor engines AND no buffet. Progress I know but still regrettable.
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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 #16 on: August 10, 2019, 11:33:59 am »

I've read the correspondence with Mark Hopwood on the replacement of buffets with trolleys on the longer distance inter city services with interest.Is this the same Mark Hopwood who,when interviewed in Modern Railways in April 2009 in his capacity as MD of First Great Western admitted that trolleys did not work on long distance services and outlined plans to create a new fleet of Trailer Standard Buffets for its HST fleet to ensure every set had a buffet? He was quoted as saying" I dont think anyone is suggesting that if you're going to be making a journey for several hours we want to withdraw the ability for you to buy food and drink on the train...and yes, the original franchise proposition has changed in that we're not going for the trolley service in Standard Class now"
His current attitude to buffets also contrasts strongly with that of the East Coast where it has been reported that Virgin East Coast fought successfully to secure the inclusion of buffets.I'm afraid my interpretation of the situation is that GWR no longer have an appetite for running the   business beyond the current franchise period,have no longer a vision for delivering a quality service and were accordingly  prepared to be rolled over by the DfT

Welcome.
Also is this the same Mark Hopwood who has previously said that DMUs with underfloor engines were not wanted or suitable for inter city journeys ?
So we now have DMUs with underfloor engines AND no buffet. Progress I know but still regrettable.
I think Mr Hopwood also wrote in a Modern Railways article that GWR (or it may have still been First Great Western back then) did not want to fall into the "class 180 trap" of having trains too short for the job (I've not checked the quote so may be remembering incorrectly), and yet we still ended up with far too many 5-car sets in my view. The 5+5=10-car formations really only have the capacity of a 9-car set and the 9-car set has far more potential to be a good train (shame about how hard the seats are and the lack of hot food for standard class passengers though).
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Don't DOO it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
MarkHopwood
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« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2019, 06:34:01 pm »

Good grief! What rubbish!

The point I made about the 2+7 HSTs back in 2009 or whenever was they had no catering capability at all pretty much. IETs have kitchens and full capability to support a trolley. So please donít go scraping the barrel of previous quotes in a desperate bid to prove I said something that suits you. Fundamentally, we are selling more items from the trolley today than from the HST buffets this time last year.

As far as underfloor DMUs are concerned. The IET is an electric train with diesel capability and the fact they spend varying proportions of time on diesel but quite significant time on electric changes the goalposts. The other thing is that the sound of an MTU engine under a 800/802 is a world away from the sound, vibration and smell of a Cummins QSK19 under a 180/22x.

That said Iíd prefer to see more electrification!

Goodness knows what I said in 1989 that will get dragged onto this site to make some point shortly ... !
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 11:02:13 am by MarkHopwood » Logged
Western Pathfinder
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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2019, 09:26:52 pm »

The Mark of a good manager is to be proactive,and in doing so be willing and able to adapt to changing situations 1989 is a hell of a long time passed and the Railway along with many other forms of business,whether transport or not ,do not now even vaguely resemble what was the case in the late eighties,so no comment from then is worth considering.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2019, 11:59:42 am »

...the sound of an MTU engine under a 800/802 is a world away from the sound, vibration and smell of a Cummins QSK19 under a 180/22x.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of travelling from Bristol to Bridgwater and back on short-formed ex-HST sets - and it really was a pleasure! I was trying to put my finger on why this experience was so much better than the previous DMU's - and then I read MarkHopwood's post, and it was obvious.

It is odd how we've almost tuned out the hideousness of vibrating internal combustion engines; we live with their soul-destroying awfulness and hardly even notice. The motors in the IETs are without doubt a lot better than their wheezy grumbling predecessors, but I can't help noticing how my spirits lift somewhere east of Chippenham when they shut down... is it just me?
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broadgage
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« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2019, 12:38:57 pm »

Good grief! What rubbish!

The point I made about the 2+7 HSTs back in 2009 or whenever was they had no catering capability at all pretty much. IETs have kitchens and full capability to support a trolley. So please donít go scraping the barrel of previous quotes in a desperate bid to prove I said something that suits you. Fundamentally, we are selling more items from the trolley today than from the HST buffets this time last year.

As far as underfloor DMUs are concerned. The IET is an electric train with diesel capability and the fact they spend varying proportions of time on diesel but quite significant time on electric changes the goalposts. The other thing is that the sound of an MTU engine under a 800/802 is a world away from the sound, vibration and smell of a Cummins QSK19 under a 180/22x.

That said Iíd prefer to see more electrification!

Goodness knows what I said in 1989 that will get dragged onto this site to make some point shortly ... !

Whilst the world has indeed changed in the intervening years, I am not convinced that if DMUs with underfloor engines were considered unsuitable for long distance routes 10 or 20 years ago, that they have now become suitable.
I am well aware that the IETs can also use electric power, but they ARE equipped with underfloor engines, and ARE propelled thereby for the great majority of a journey to Plymouth or beyond.

Likewise on train length, If 5 car Adelantes were considered inadequate years ago, I am not convinced that 5 car IETs are now suitable.


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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 #21 on: August 14, 2019, 12:45:05 pm »

Good point regarding the 2+7 HST's when they were trolley only.  You had practically no storage for supplies at all IIRC, just a modified toilet at the end of Coach A.  Certainly no fridges or anything like that - the potential for which I showed a couple of weeks ago with my image upload on this thread: http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=21918
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To view my GWML Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
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« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2019, 05:48:40 pm »


Whilst the world has indeed changed in the intervening years, I am not convinced that if DMUs with underfloor engines were considered unsuitable for long distance routes 10 or 20 years ago, that they have now become suitable.
I am well aware that the IETs can also use electric power, but they ARE equipped with underfloor engines, and ARE propelled thereby for the great majority of a journey to Plymouth or beyond.

Likewise on train length, If 5 car Adelantes were considered inadequate years ago, I am not convinced that 5 car IETs are now suitable.

Remember the original plan was to have a lot of electric only units, with bi-mode for those services which extended beyond Swansea, Bristol, or on the Cotswold Lines.  That made sense at the time, and it's only because Network Fail completely cocked up the electrification for reasons that are outside this discussion that we have ended up with an all bi-mode stock.

I've been pleasantly surprised at the engine noise actually, but then I was expecting something similar to a Voyager, so my expectations were very low.  I don't think Joe (or Josephine) Public cares one jot about the engine noise in an IET if I'm honest.The toilets don't smell like Voyagers either, and you don't get an imprint of the seat in front embedded in your knees after anything but a short journey. There's just no comparison in the two types of train.

I do agree with you that there are too many 5 coach sets, but come back to the point (as per buffets) that I think you've made the point so many times that I'm not sure why you feel the need to say it again (and again, and again....) 
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MarkHopwood
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« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2019, 03:54:57 am »

Ultimately this is about the passenger. Most passengers have no philosophical position on underfloor Diesel engines - they want a quiet, comfortable journey. Iíve travelled with many people who have struggled on an IET to know if the engines are running or not. Itís a completely different world to older DMUs.

In addition, if you have any form of locomotive or power unit you loose huge numbers of seats. Paddington station would require massive track layout changes and extended platforms to accommodate more than a ten car set. If we had a power car each end of, say, eight carriages we would loose about 140 standard class seats.
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ellendune
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« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2019, 07:45:23 am »

Ultimately this is about the passenger. Most passengers have no philosophical position on underfloor Diesel engines - they want a quiet, comfortable journey. Iíve travelled with many people who have struggled on an IET to know if the engines are running or not. Itís a completely different world to older DMUs.

In addition, if you have any form of locomotive or power unit you loose huge numbers of seats. Paddington station would require massive track layout changes and extended platforms to accommodate more than a ten car set. If we had a power car each end of, say, eight carriages we would loose about 140 standard class seats.


I am one who has traveled in IETs and have struggled to know if the engine's are on or not.  I agree with Mark on this.  The only problem I have with the IETs is the seats are a bit hard. They are OK on the short Swindon - Paddington Journey, but if I was going to Penzance I would need to take a cushion!  I do hope they are better on the ECML Azumas.   
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2019, 09:42:39 am »

Quote from: ellendune
I do hope they are better on the ECML Azumas.   

I found them even harder, but I have been told that's just my imagination, as they are exactly the same as on the GWR sets.
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ellendune
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« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2019, 12:19:27 pm »

Quote from: ellendune
I do hope they are better on the ECML Azumas.   

I found them even harder, but I have been told that's just my imagination, as they are exactly the same as on the GWR sets.

Or because the distances are further?
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2019, 02:49:47 pm »

Quote from: ellendune
Quote from: ellendune
I do hope they are better on the ECML Azumas.   

I found them even harder, but I have been told that's just my imagination, as they are exactly the same as on the GWR sets.

Or because the distances are further?

That wasn't the case when I used them on my recent 14 day all line rover - just to and from Kings Cross, Newark and Leeds.
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broadgage
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« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2019, 03:21:15 pm »

As I have previously stated, I would forgive or at least forget the underfloor engines of an IET if the trains were otherwise of proper intercity specification.
The present offering feels like a local train.

I accept that we can not live in the past and understand that a certain amount of downgrading is unavoidable when new trains are introduced. IETs however contain so many backward steps.

No buffet, arguably just about acceptable if the trolley was provided reliably, frequently, and in both portions of the train, even on Sundays.
Fewer tables, and yes I know this is better than the downgraded high density HSTs, but I can remember when HSTs had 16 tables per coach. and when mark 2 coaches had almost all seats at tables.
Shorter trains. Single 5 car units are still appearing all too often in place of a 9 car or a pair of 5 car units. Whilst this might get better in time, we have had a couple of years of routine short formations.
Hard seats, simply nasty.
Unreliable reservations
Unreliable toilets.
And underfloor engines, which together with the above makes the whole thing feel like a regional DMU and not an inter-city train.

I apologise for again posting about buffets, and will avoid frequently posting about this.
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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.
IndustryInsider
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« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2019, 06:00:00 pm »

I apologise for again posting about buffets, and will avoid frequently posting about this.

We can but hope.
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To view my GWML Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
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