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Author Topic: Arriva to lose Northern Franchise  (Read 2145 times)
bignosemac
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2020, 07:52:26 pm »

I don't think this will be the last franchise failure this year. Who will be next? Place your bets...

South Western Railway?
Transpennine Express?
ScotRail?

The slow, painful death of the current franchising model...
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grahame
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« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2020, 01:52:40 am »

Press release from Railfuture

Quote
Northern re-nationalisation: "Nothing will change"

Grant Shapps is widely expected to announce the re-nationalisation of the Northern franchise. Commenting on this, Railfuture director Ian Brown said:

“So Northern have finally taken  the rap for the failure of the north’s rail network to adapt to a world where rail should play its part in the form of an efficient growing network.  An operator of last resort (i.e. the government) is to be brought in to manage the operation.

We should all hang our heads in abject, cringeable shame.

The RMT Executive Committee is happy seeing this as part of their campaign to nationalise the rail network . This model alone will fail just as Northern did.

The DfT must take its share of the blame too, being responsible for the decisions (or lack of them) that have caused the problems. Taking back the franchise will do nothing for users unless the operator and Network Rail work together to find an operational solution that is reliable in the short term, and which increases capacity in the long term.

The baying masses have their trophy like a fox being torn apart. The problem is that this doesn’t achieve anything. All the issues on the Northern network remain.  Nothing will change.

The fundamental problem of lack of infrastructure in the North must be tackled. We need to double the capacity of the North’s railway and attend to pinch points to make it reliable. An understanding of the laws of physics were pioneered in the North, silly to forget them.

There needs to be a strong client in the North and a period of sustained investment in infrastructure and service development, better optimising the needs of regional and currently, subordinated, urban travellers. Choices need to be made and the operational practices need to be improved to provide a 7 day reliable railway.  Passengers should be the focus, not disdained and regularly left in the cold.

The degree of naivety to think that all comes right with the fox hunt is at such a level where even the rail industry is embarrassed. But political populism is not about finding solutions, it is about allocating blame and gaining a honeymoon period even if you were already married to (and largely the cause of) the problem in the first place. The DfT cannot wash its hands of Northern franchise performance issues largely of its own making, nor hide behind an operational review of Network Rail to conclude that the North needs investment in more rail capacity.”



Notes to editors:

Ian Brown CBE FCILT is Railfuture's Policy Director and speaks on behalf of the Railfuture Board

Railfuture’s own in depth analysis of the issue can be found on https://railfuture.org.uk/article1849-Northern-franchise

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk

Follow Railfuture on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Railfuture

For further information and comment please contact:

Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
[I have details if Coffee Shop forum members need them]

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Railfuture Ltd is a (not for profit) Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England and Wales No. 05011634.
Registered Office: Edinburgh House, 1-5 Bellevue Road, Clevedon, North Somerset, BS21 7NP (for legal correspondence only)
All other correspondence to 24 Chedworth Place, Tattingstone, Suffolk IP9 2ND
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grahame
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« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2020, 05:10:28 am »

From Sky News

Quote
Time is up. Northern is expected to be stripped of its rail franchise today and for commuters it can't happen quickly enough - rail travel in the north of England should come with a health warning.

It's not unique to the north but the combination of poor management, chronic under investment and an all round miserable passenger experience has become a running joke among Northern's users.

Quote
And most symbolically of all....they still run some services with Pacer trains that offer a glimpse back to how most commuters' grandparents would have travelled.

They are old buses converted into trains and just don't cut it when we live in an era of artificial intelligence and driverless cars.

Silly question ... the pacers may have used bus designs but were any of them actually converted from "old buses"? - or is Sky embellishing the facts for press effect?
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RichardB
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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2020, 07:35:23 am »

From Sky News

Quote
Time is up. Northern is expected to be stripped of its rail franchise today and for commuters it can't happen quickly enough - rail travel in the north of England should come with a health warning.

It's not unique to the north but the combination of poor management, chronic under investment and an all round miserable passenger experience has become a running joke among Northern's users.

Quote
And most symbolically of all....they still run some services with Pacer trains that offer a glimpse back to how most commuters' grandparents would have travelled.

They are old buses converted into trains and just don't cut it when we live in an era of artificial intelligence and driverless cars.

Silly question ... the pacers may have used bus designs but were any of them actually converted from "old buses"? - or is Sky embellishing the facts for press effect?

Well, none were converted from old buses, that's for sure.  Pity it has come to this for Northern.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2020, 01:32:43 pm »

BBC News - Troubled rail firm Northern brought under government control
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-51298820
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grahame
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« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2020, 02:29:31 pm »

BBC News - Troubled rail firm Northern brought under government control
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-51298820


and https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-decision-on-northern-rail - official DfT site ...

Quote
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that, from 1 March 2020, the government will take over running services on the Northern network.

The government recognises that the rail network in the north has fallen far short of delivering the service passengers need and deserve.


Quote
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

This is a new beginning for Northern, but it is only a beginning.

Northern’s network is huge and complex and some of the things which are wrong are not going to be quick or easy to put right. But I am determined that Northern passengers see real and tangible improvements across the network as soon as possible.

The railways were invented in the north. Last year the Prime Minister promised that we would give the railway back to the places it was born, giving more power over services, fares, and stations to local leaders.

Today (29 January 2020) marks the first small step towards the north taking back control of its railways and its people taking back control of their travelling lives.

There will be no more leaving behind. This government is committed to levelling-up.
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rogerw
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« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2020, 02:33:51 pm »

I see they propose to bring in additional electric trains from elsewhere to increase capacity. 365s anyone?
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« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2020, 03:00:24 pm »

Silly question ... the pacers may have used bus designs but were any of them actually converted from "old buses"? - or is Sky embellishing the facts for press effect?

Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong...

I think the prototype LEV vehicles were closer to the originals, but roughly speaking they were Leyland bus body parts on an underframe with wagon heritage.

I imagine that it was one of those projects where someone compared the price of a Leyland National and a PEP-era unit and thought 'there must be a cheaper way to do this', but I suspect that by the time the things met mainline standards, not to mention into multiple units, they were probably less of a bargain and 150/2's wouldn't have been that much more expensive.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2020, 04:59:16 pm »

From the DfT website



Probably a fair summary!
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2020, 07:39:13 pm »

Very good piece by Stephen Bush in the New Statesman: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/devolution/2020/01/real-problem-northern-rail-government-not-train-companies . It's all worth reading, but this is the crux of it:

Quote
Private operators perform well when providing services for a strong and effective state-run body like Transport for London, or when they have established, effective management structures like Chiltern Railways, but in both cases, they also require the helping hand of investment from local or national government.

Contrary to the easy myth that the story here is of private companies failing to provide adequate services to the north of England, the real problem here is a failure to manage the terms of franchises well by the Department for Transport (take the troubled East Coast line, back in public hands again after a second successive train company found that it could not meet the punishing financial obligations imposed upon them by the government) and a long-running failure to invest in public transport by successive political parties.
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TonyK
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« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2020, 07:46:33 pm »

Very good piece by Stephen Bush in the New Statesman: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/devolution/2020/01/real-problem-northern-rail-government-not-train-companies . It's all worth reading, but this is the crux of it:

Quote
Private operators perform well when providing services for a strong and effective state-run body like Transport for London, or when they have established, effective management structures like Chiltern Railways, but in both cases, they also require the helping hand of investment from local or national government.

Contrary to the easy myth that the story here is of private companies failing to provide adequate services to the north of England, the real problem here is a failure to manage the terms of franchises well by the Department for Transport (take the troubled East Coast line, back in public hands again after a second successive train company found that it could not meet the punishing financial obligations imposed upon them by the government) and a long-running failure to invest in public transport by successive political parties.

Sums it up nicely.

Northern have been running the services with the rolling stock the government let them have for the fares the government told them to charge to a timetable drawn up by the government, and fighting the government's proxy war with the unions. Hardly an independent private sector model. Were Northern still running Pacers because they wanted to, because their customers wanted them to, or because that was all they could get? I am not having a go at the present government alone on this. Like nuclear power, GWR electrification, HS1 for that matter and any number of other vital projects, HMG dithered and made do with extensions to what was already there rather than making proper long term plans. The debate on what should replace the IETs at the end of their life should be starting in earnest in just a few years time, as the ideas of what sort of railway they will be running on begin to firm up. It won't happen though. They will have expensive emergency refurbs to keep them going for another 10 years.

It's a shame that passenger journeys will not be affected, though.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 07:52:36 pm by TonyK » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2020, 07:12:49 am »

Northern have been running the services with the rolling stock the government let them have for the fares the government told them to charge to a timetable drawn up by the government, and fighting the government's proxy war with the unions. Hardly an independent private sector model. Were Northern still running Pacers because they wanted to, because their customers wanted them to, or because that was all they could get? ...

And the government takes over just as the worst point in terms of passenger service is being passed - teething troubles on new trains being sorted and deliveries into operation in full flow, major electrification work completed (well - as far as they are now going), and the Williams review due to be published to show planning for the future.  I expect we'll see lots of positive news about how it moved positively forward after HMG took over, without too much reference to how Arriva did most of the work ahead of time to make such positive move happen.
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