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Author Topic: Who is running the railway this morning?  (Read 858 times)
grahame
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« on: September 21, 2020, 06:10:34 am »

GWR's emergency measures extended to next Spring, and I believe that TfL is still being run by the London Mayor under strong government direction, but who is running trains on "SWR", "Cross Country", "Transport for Wales" and "Chiltern"?

Edit to Add .... the Department for Transport with emergency measures in the short term, looked after by the TOCs who are getting management fees. Moving to a new system along the lines proposed in the Williams Review and to come out via a white paper in the medium and longer term - see following posts.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 10:36:50 am by grahame » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2020, 08:10:14 am »

GWR's emergency measures extended to next Spring, and I believe that TfL is still being run by the London Mayor under strong government direction, but who is running trains on "SWR", "Cross Country", "Transport for Wales" and "Chiltern"?

From the Department for Transport

Management overview:

Quote
Rail franchising reaches the terminus as a new railway takes shape 

New system will end franchising model and deliver a simpler, effective model through high performance targets and simplified journeys.

* new ?recovery? contracts deliver government commitment to end the complicated franchising model and deliver a simpler, effective model to reform Britain?s railways

* agreements focused on high performance targets and simplifying journeys are first steps to a network that puts passengers back in control

Detail from press release

Quote
Ministers today ended rail franchising after 24 years as the first step in bringing Britain?s fragmented network back together.

The new system will create a simpler, more effective structure and will take shape over the coming months. The first stage, today, is moving operators onto transitional contracts to prepare the ground for the new railway.

From this morning, franchising is replaced with more demanding Emergency Recovery Management Agreements (ERMAs). These address the continuing impact of the pandemic on the railway and delivers on a government commitment to replace the current franchising system.

These management agreements have tougher performance targets and lower management fees. The new contracts allow us to make an early start on key reforms, including requiring operators to co-ordinate better with each other and driving down the railways? excessive capital costs.

Management fees will now be a maximum of 1.5% of the cost base of the franchise before the pandemic began. The ERMAs are a transitional stage to the new system, the biggest change to the railways in a quarter of a century.

Under current public health guidance, the intention is also for operators to run an almost full service to ensure there is space to help passengers travel safely.

ERMAs pave the way for wider rail industry reform that prioritises the passenger. In 2018 Keith Williams, the chairman of Royal Mail, was asked to review the railways after a chaotic timetable change and the failure of some franchises.

Today?s announcement, which has his full support, is the prelude to a white paper which will respond to his recommendations. The white paper will be published when the course of the pandemic becomes clearer.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said:

The model of privatisation adopted 25 years ago has seen significant rises in passenger numbers, but this pandemic has proven that it is no longer working.

Our new deal for rail demands more for passengers. It will simplify people?s journeys, ending the uncertainty and confusion about whether you are using the right ticket or the right train company. 

It will keep the best elements of the private sector, including competition and investment, that have helped to drive growth, but deliver strategic direction, leadership and accountability.

Passengers will have reliable, safe services on a network totally built around them. It is time to get Britain back on track.

Until passenger numbers return, significant taxpayer support will still be needed, including under the transitional contracts announced today. But the reforms will enable substantial medium and longer-term savings for taxpayers.  

Keith Williams, chair of the Williams Review, said:

These new agreements represent the end of the complicated franchising system, demand more from the expertise and skills of the private sector, and ensure passengers return to a more punctual and co-ordinated railway.

I am ensuring the recommendations I propose are fit for a post-COVID world, but these contracts kickstart a process of reform that will ensure our railways are entirely focused on the passenger, with a simpler, more effective system that works in their best interest.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2020, 08:32:36 am »

BBC - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54232015

Quote
The government has agreed new emergency deals with train companies.
Under the arrangement, taxpayers will continue to cover any losses on the railways, caused by low passenger numbers, for another 18 months.
Throughout that period ministers hope to carry out broader reforms to Britain's railways.
They will consider adopting a concessions-based system in the longer term, whereby train companies are paid a fixed fee to run services.
It marks the end of rail franchises, which have been in place since the 1990s.

Reactions coming in ...
https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/yorkshire/news/2062471-is-this-the-end-of-the-line-for-rail-franchises

Quote
Matthew Gregory, chief executive of First Group which is the parent company of TransPennine Express said: ?The Government has extended its funding of the rail industry whilst demand for services remains heavily affected by coronavirus, and we are pleased that the vital nature of rail services to communities and local economies is being recognised.

?These agreements reinforce our balance sheet position and provide a potential path for our rail business to move onto a new contractual footing over time, with a more appropriate balance of risk and reward for all parties. We have long advocated for a more sustainable long-term approach to the railway, with passengers at its centre, and we look forward to working constructively with the DfT to make this a reality.?

https://www.go-ahead.com/media/press-releases/new-gtr-contract-run-september-2021

Quote
David Brown, Go-Ahead CEO, commented:

?This contract reaffirms the Government?s recognition of the important role rail plays in driving economic growth and in connecting communities.  Independent passenger surveys have found that people who have recently travelled on our services found them to be clean, safe and reliable.  We look forward to welcoming more passengers back onto our trains.?

Patrick Verwer, GTR CEO, said:

?We welcome today?s announcement and the stability this new agreement brings for our colleagues, who continue to focus on providing a safe and reliable service as we welcome back more customers. Going forward, we will continue to work with our partners and stakeholders across the industry to help reconnect communities, improve our performance and ensure high levels of customer satisfaction.?

https://www.tssa.org.uk/en/whats-new/news/index.cfm/the-privateers-always-win-says-tssa-of-new-rail-measures

Quote
The privateers always win, says TSSA of new rail measures
21 September 2020

The government has today announced an extension of support for the rail industry in a move which rail union TSSA has said shows that "heads or tails, the privateers always win."

 The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) expired on 20 September and have been replaced with Emergency Recovery Management Agreements (ERMAs) which will continue to see government pick up the tab for the running of our railways.

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: ?Sadly, it looks like the government is once again kicking into the long grass what to do with our railways and instead of grasping the nettle is opting for transitional measures which prop up the status quo. The system was broken well before Coronavirus arrived, but the pandemic has completely exposed its many weaknesses.

?Heads or tails the privateers always win. There have been payments to private rail company shareholders of ?100 million since the Emergency Measures Agreements came in, even though passenger numbers have plummeted. Frankly, it?s a national scandal that our money ? taxpayers? hard-earned cash ? has been stuffed into the mouths of greedy rail shareholders at a time of a national health emergency.

?The Tory government must stop dithering about the future of our railways. Only public ownership will cure its many ills.?
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2020, 08:36:22 am »

And a summary from Reuters

Quote
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain extended emergency pandemic funding to keep its rail network moving, providing private train companies with less lucrative temporary contracts ahead of a shake-up of the way the system operates.

The government did not go as far as a full nationalisation - as had been speculated by some media outlets - but said it wanted to run trains based on a new model once the impact of COVID-19 becomes clear.

Britain said it would now pay the companies management fees of a maximum of 1.5% of the cost base of the contract pre-pandemic, lower than the around 2% fee included in the initial emergency contracts issued at the outbreak of the pandemic.

UK train companies Go-Ahead GOG.L and FirstGroup FGP.L said they had signed new contracts with the government on Monday for a year and 6-18 months respectively.

Passenger numbers dropped by as much as 90% at the height of the pandemic as public transport was reserved for key workers. While numbers have risen in recent weeks, there are fears they could fall again as the virus accelerates.

Britain said that the pre-pandemic franchising system for the rail network, which was heavily criticised and failed for a number of operators, would not be brought back.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2020, 08:54:19 am »

Further reaction from within that BBC article quoted above:

Quote
Train companies have welcomed the plans to replace Britain's often-criticised system of rail franchising.

Paul Plummer, the boss of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train firms, called for a simpler-to-use fare system. He said: "These transitional contracts should be a stepping-stone to a better railway."

But rail expert Sir Michael Holden, who used to run South West Trains, said: The big issue is, what is that something else to look like?" He told the BBC's Today programme that the current emergency measures were "the worst possible arrangement to run the railways". "We've got the dead hand of the government on the helm... controlling all of the detailed decisions of the railway." "And yet, they're still paying for public sector operators to run the railway for them."

We come back to an extended period of emergency operation, and still a lack of clarity as to what happens beyond that. At least we have a clarification that we're not headed back for franchises - love of hate them, this is one variable being taken out of the equation, though we're not sure what other variables are in there.

Noting Paul Plummer calling for a simpler-to-use fare system.   I cannot fault that desire, but I would prioritise asking about when and where trains will run (timetables), the level of fares and support, how investment will be carried forward, and how these plans will be developed.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2020, 10:10:55 am »

I've always said if we have to have privatised railways then the concession model is probably the least worst option. I still, on balance, prefer renationalisation though.

http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=16061.msg209162#msg209162

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eightf48544
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2020, 10:36:00 am »

It's interesting to note that concessions first started in London.

TFL certainly keep MTR up to scratch running the Elizabeth line stoppers through Taplow.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2020, 11:44:27 am »

First Group Statement - via CityUK

Quote
FirstGroup release statement about further rail agreements with UK Government

21 September 2020/Categories: CILT, Industry News, Active Travel & Travel Planning, Rail, Transport Planning

FirstGroup is pleased to announce that the Department for Transport (DfT) has extended the emergency funding arrangements for the UK rail industry for the next six to 18 months.
 
New Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs) came into force yesterday for our South Western Railway (SWR), TransPennine Express (TPE), and West Coast Partnership (WCP, comprising HS2 shadow operator and Avanti West Coast) operations.
 
The ERMAs replace the Emergency Measures Agreements, which were put in place by the DfT in March to provide continuity for rail passengers and the industry during the coronavirus pandemic, and are similar in operation. During the term of the ERMAs, the DfT will continue to waive the revenue, cost and contingent capital risk of the train operating companies (TOCs) and will pay them a fixed management fee. There is also the potential for an additional performance-based fee, based on measures including punctuality, passenger satisfaction and financial performance. The overall fee potential is a maximum of 1.5% of the cost base of each franchise prior to the pandemic. The fixed fee and overall fee potential for each TOC is lower under the new ERMAs compared with the Emergency Measures Agreements, and more heavily weighted to performance delivery. The ERMAs make no material changes to the ring-fenced cash or working capital mechanisms in place for these operations.
 
The new ERMA for WCP, which commenced operations in December 2019 and was performing well prior to the pandemic, is in place to the end of March 2022. The new SWR and TPE ERMAs are in place to the end of March 2021, with the potential in the case of TPE to be in place until September 2021 in certain circumstances. In addition, all three include options to extend their duration by a further half year at the DfT?s discretion. As announced earlier this month, the Emergency Measures Agreement for Great Western Railway (GWR) has already been extended to at least 26 June 2021.
 
The DfT has also stated it intends to begin discussions with the TOCs to transition to new, directly-awarded contracts for the longer term, which would come into effect at the end of the ERMAs.
 
To this end, each of the ERMAs requires that by mid-December 2020 the TOC agrees with the DfT whether, and if so, how much parent company support or other payments are required to terminate the pre-existing franchise agreements. If any such termination sums are agreed, they would fall due at the end of the ERMA term, at which point the pre-existing franchise contract would also terminate by agreement. However if the termination sum for a TOC cannot be agreed by mid-December then the DfT has the right to terminate that ERMA early, with the TOC reverting to substantially all of the pre-existing franchise terms, from mid-January 2021. Assuming the termination sums are agreed, the DfT intends to negotiate a new direct award contract under which the TOC will deliver passenger rail services following the end of the ERMA.
 
Commenting on today?s announcement, FirstGroup Chief Executive Matthew Gregory said:
?The Government has extended its funding of the rail industry whilst demand for services remains heavily affected by coronavirus, and we are pleased that the vital nature of rail services to communities and local economies is being recognised.
 
?Passengers can be confident that public transport is safe and across our rail networks we have increased service levels to provide more capacity as schools restart and many more workplaces and other facilities reopen. We are now operating around 90% of the rail services we were prior to the pandemic. We will continue to bring all our expertise to bear alongside Government and industry partners to deliver the next phase of recovery of the rail network.
 
?Together with the earlier GWR extension, these agreements reinforce our balance sheet position and provide a potential path for our rail business to move onto a new contractual footing over time, with a more appropriate balance of risk and reward for all parties. We have long advocated for a more sustainable long-term approach to the railway, with passengers at its centre, and we look forward to working constructively with the DfT to make this a reality.?
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ellendune
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2020, 11:41:21 pm »


Quote
However if the termination sum for a TOC cannot be agreed by mid-December then the DfT has the right to terminate that ERMA early, with the TOC reverting to substantially all of the pre-existing franchise terms, from mid-January 2021.

Looks like agree or else.  Presumably. the franchise terms would bankrupt the franchisee pretty quickly in the current climate. 
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2020, 12:37:39 am »

Yup, the DfT holds all the cards.  The only thing it can't risk doing is p**s off the current operators so much they all say "Sod it!" and walk away.
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2020, 08:15:15 am »

Who is running the country this morning..?
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2020, 09:58:16 am »

Who is running the country this morning..?

A very interesting but none-rail question.   

Can I suggest that our "And Also" board would be an appropriate place for further discussions between regular members on this topic if you wish.  I am not encouraging a new thread there - indeed I have reservations about too much dilution away from travel / transport / associated topics (and at least one member has expressed concern about dilution to me in person) - but do give it a go if you feel you must.

There are, also, other places online where this question could be discussed with a much wider, more varied and more active audience. My Facebook feed (for example) includes a very wide range of suggestion as to who is doing and controlling what, base on which parameters.
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« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2020, 03:31:35 pm »

BBC - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54232015

Quote
The government has agreed new emergency deals with train companies.
Under the arrangement, taxpayers will continue to cover any losses on the railways, caused by low passenger numbers, for another 18 months.

First Group Statement -

Quote
FirstGroup release statement about further rail agreements with UK Government


The new ERMA for WCP, which commenced operations in December 2019 and was performing well prior to the pandemic, is in place to the end of March 2022. The new SWR and TPE ERMAs are in place to the end of March 2021, with the potential in the case of TPE to be in place until September 2021 in certain circumstances. In addition, all three include options to extend their duration by a further half year at the DfTs discretion.

I'm not sure the BBC consulted their diaries before writing this quoted piece. 18 months appears to have differing lengths  Huh
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2020, 11:37:48 pm »

Just a side note - Crosscountry's EMA was 4 weeks / 1 Railway period longer than the others, to line up with the expiry of the current franchise.  One assumes an ERMA will be agreed, but I've not seen this confirmed anywhere yet.
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