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Author Topic: Drop in passenger numbers - March 2020  (Read 1175 times)
grahame
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« on: April 09, 2020, 03:10:52 am »

Traffic level at Network Rail stations down by 94%

From the Cobra briefing:



Good (I think).

All my bets/guesses for passenger counts for the years 2019/20 and 2020/21 are off.  But numbers of lives are more important than numbers of passengers at the moment.
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2020, 11:03:45 am »

Many people I saw milling around Paddington the other day, and when I say many I mean around a couple of dozen at any one time on the whole station, were heading too and from the Sainsbury's in The Lawn.
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2020, 11:07:46 am »

Its all a bit perverse, for years its all been about passenger number growth and meeting that growth, currently its about driving passenger numbers down  Huh
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2020, 01:18:28 am »

My mum who I occasionally bore stupid when talking about this and that had a good point. Are we* still paying for the hire of these trains despite no one travelling? Also If nobody is travelling by train do we need so many running? She lives quite close to the north Cotswold line and can see the trains. I was able to explain that key workers still need to travel etc. so trains still need to run. I don't know if we're still paying Hitachi et al for the hire of all the Class 800s. She said she would have added a clause to the agreement to cover this sort of thing. Specifically so the taxpayer isn't stuck with trains running around empty just because we're paying for them.

*We being the taxpayer.

So does anyone know if the Government can get a reduction through GWR simply running 5 car sets only?
« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 01:33:36 am by 1st fan » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2020, 07:02:27 am »

My mum who I occasionally bore stupid when talking about this and that had a good point. Are we* still paying for the hire of these trains despite no one travelling? Also If nobody is travelling by train do we need so many running? She lives quite close to the north Cotswold line and can see the trains. I was able to explain that key workers still need to travel etc. so trains still need to run. I don't know if we're still paying Hitachi et al for the hire of all the Class 800s. She said she would have added a clause to the agreement to cover this sort of thing. Specifically so the taxpayer isn't stuck with trains running around empty just because we're paying for them.

*We being the taxpayer.

So does anyone know if the Government can get a reduction through GWR simply running 5 car sets only?

You raise some interesting thoughts that have probably struck others too.  I don't know, but let me make some slightly informed guesses ...

I would suspect that the IETs are not designed to sit unused in sidings for "months on end" and that each of the units needs to be run in service from time to time. If that suspicion is right, then switching all the 9 car sets off for some months would lead to a significant recommissioning issue when they are needed again; like to many things, when, if, and how fast are very unclear indeed at the moment.

It would be a very rare contract indeed on the IETs to have included a specific "what if there is a pandemic" clause; there may be "force majeure" clauses in there, mind.  Consider other long shots - "Earth is hit by meteor", "UK caught up in World War III which started when the USA seized Greenland from Denmark", "Climate change is pushed beyond the point of no return and large parts of the UK are permanently under water. Central London is abandoned and we have refugee camps for the displaced all across Wessex"; each so unlikely we can almost joke, but statistically possible. 

Then you have the corollary - do you actually want to drop the risk of these items onto the rolling stock company?   Will you be left with any rolling stock companies / expertise were you to drop them into it, and if you did, would they want to work with you?  I'm noting the desire of HMG to include the BR pension liability in new franchises last year, and virtually all the bidders walking away as an example of what could happen with RoSCOs.

Frequency in the time of lockdown is an interesting one.  You cannot simply say "90% less passengers so 90% less trains", not even allowing for 3 x the space for each passenger (so 70% of the space needed) can you say "cut 2 trains out of 3".  You would make the service unusable for those important key people who must be able to get around. You also need to consider that a train observed at one point in its daily pattern of operation (diagram) to be pretty underused may well be busy at other points and with the best will in the world, analysis and adjustments to fit new flows, you will still have underused elements - always have, probably always will.  Happy to talk stats on that but I would be writing all day!
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2020, 09:35:36 am »

It would be a very rare contract indeed on the IETs to have included a specific "what if there is a pandemic" clause; there may be "force majeure" clauses in there, mind.  Consider other long shots - "Earth is hit by meteor", "UK caught up in World War III which started when the USA seized Greenland from Denmark", "Climate change is pushed beyond the point of no return and large parts of the UK are permanently under water. Central London is abandoned and we have refugee camps for the displaced all across Wessex"; each so unlikely we can almost joke, but statistically possible. 

Not so rare, I think, and where force majeure is not explcitly defined then epidemics might be held to qualify. But the MARA and TARA do define it, as:
Quote
Force Majeure Event means the occurrence after the date of signature of this Agreement of any of the following:

  (a) war, armed conflict or civil war (whether declared or undeclared);
  (b) riot or civil unrest or commotion;
  (c) any act of terrorism or a specific threat of terrorism;
  (d) nuclear accident, chemical or biological contamination or ionising radiation;
  (e) lightning, earthquake or storm;
  (f) explosions, fire or flooding;
  (g) the TSP being unable to procure a supply of Fuel in circumstances where there is a general and widespread shortage in supply; or
  (h) Industrial Action, including that relating to a Trade Dispute other than TSP Industrial Action,

if and only to the extent that such event is not caused by the Affected Party;

The only one of those that might count is "biological contamination", and that's moot. But I suspect the government's powers to intervene lie elsewhere.
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2020, 12:56:49 pm »

Thank you both for your answers I've explained them. She's just concerned these trains are costing us money and running around empty. Hopefully the bods at the DfT have got this covered by something like the clause Stuving found. She's never travelled on one of these trains only on HST or a Turbos.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2020, 01:02:25 pm by 1st fan » Logged
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2020, 05:57:10 pm »

My mum who I occasionally bore stupid when talking about this and that had a good point. Are we* still paying for the hire of these trains despite no one travelling? Also If nobody is travelling by train do we need so many running? She lives quite close to the north Cotswold line and can see the trains. I was able to explain that key workers still need to travel etc. so trains still need to run. I don't know if we're still paying Hitachi et al for the hire of all the Class 800s. She said she would have added a clause to the agreement to cover this sort of thing. Specifically so the taxpayer isn't stuck with trains running around empty just because we're paying for them.

*We being the taxpayer.

So does anyone know if the Government can get a reduction through GWR simply running 5 car sets only?

You raise some interesting thoughts that have probably struck others too.  I don't know, but let me make some slightly informed guesses ...

I would suspect that the IETs are not designed to sit unused in sidings for "months on end" and that each of the units needs to be run in service from time to time. If that suspicion is right, then switching all the 9 car sets off for some months would lead to a significant recommissioning issue when they are needed again; like to many things, when, if, and how fast are very unclear indeed at the moment.

It would be a very rare contract indeed on the IETs to have included a specific "what if there is a pandemic" clause; there may be "force majeure" clauses in there, mind.  Consider other long shots - "Earth is hit by meteor", "UK caught up in World War III which started when the USA seized Greenland from Denmark", "Climate change is pushed beyond the point of no return and large parts of the UK are permanently under water. Central London is abandoned and we have refugee camps for the displaced all across Wessex"; each so unlikely we can almost joke, but statistically possible. 

Then you have the corollary - do you actually want to drop the risk of these items onto the rolling stock company?   Will you be left with any rolling stock companies / expertise were you to drop them into it, and if you did, would they want to work with you?  I'm noting the desire of HMG to include the BR pension liability in new franchises last year, and virtually all the bidders walking away as an example of what could happen with RoSCOs.

Frequency in the time of lockdown is an interesting one.  You cannot simply say "90% less passengers so 90% less trains", not even allowing for 3 x the space for each passenger (so 70% of the space needed) can you say "cut 2 trains out of 3".  You would make the service unusable for those important key people who must be able to get around. You also need to consider that a train observed at one point in its daily pattern of operation (diagram) to be pretty underused may well be busy at other points and with the best will in the world, analysis and adjustments to fit new flows, you will still have underused elements - always have, probably always will.  Happy to talk stats on that but I would be writing all day!

You would hope (staff absence notwithstanding, I'm unclear as to whether Hitachi mechanics are considered "essential workers") that this downtime is being used constructively to undertake routine maintenance and to check all is running smoothly in order to ensure that when we reach "the other side", regular services can resume without loads of mechanical issues.

As to any liability, nearly all Business Interruption insurance has included a SARS/Pandemic exclusion since 2003 so I doubt GWR/Government whoever would have any recourse in this matter.
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2020, 06:21:56 pm »

You would hope (staff absence notwithstanding, I'm unclear as to whether Hitachi mechanics are considered "essential workers") that this downtime is being used constructively to undertake routine maintenance and to check all is running smoothly in order to ensure that when we reach "the other side", regular services can resume without loads of mechanical issues.

Yes, that is the plan for Hitachi depots (and at other maintenance locations no doubt).  Maintenance staff, for safety inspections primarily, are 'key workers'.  However what gets done is dependent on availability of staff and the ability to undertake the work with social distancing measures in place.  A fair few IETs are still out and about every day which should help prevent too many cobwebs.
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2020, 07:05:59 am »

HMG have made the continued operation of Public Transport essential to support key workers to get to and from work, to that extent HMG are funding the operations.
On the question of furloughing staff, certainly there is currently no intention as far as I am aware to do this for any NR staff, it would just shift the wage bill from one public purse to another.  I suspect ToC n FoC are in a similar position.  The only people possibly at risk are contract / casual workers
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