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Author Topic: Chiltern charm offensive  (Read 9933 times)
Andy W
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« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2008, 06:40:19 am »

"There is multiple choice, it's called cars, coaches, planes..."

There are some interesting responses from time to time but this takes the biscuit.

When was the last time the choice on the Cotswold line was a plane?

Multiple TOCs (Train Operating Company) run from Oxford to Reading without issue - there is no reason why a line should have a single TOC. If airports were run like railways you'd have one runway per airline.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2008, 11:33:16 am »

"There is multiple choice, it's called cars, coaches, planes..."

There are some interesting responses from time to time but this takes the biscuit.

When was the last time the choice on the Cotswold line was a plane?

Multiple TOCs (Train Operating Company) run from Oxford to Reading without issue - there is no reason why a line should have a single TOC. If airports were run like railways you'd have one runway per airline.

I'm sure Will was making a general comment when he was saying that air is one of the transport choices you have, and not being specific about the Cotswold Line.

A choice of TOC's does exist on certain routes - Oxford to Reading is one - but to say Cross County and FGW (First Great Western) are actively competing for passengers on this flow is nonsense. Between the two operators they provide roughly four express trains an hour which are spaced quite sensibly to give a roughly 15-minute frequency which means they complement each other, not compete with.

How would having more than one TOC on the Cotswold Line benefit it? The maximum frequency of service is realistically every hour - with a slightly enhanced peak service being offered which really stretches the line to breaking point and will continue to do so even after the redoubling because of issues further down the line.
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To view my GWML (Great Western Main Line) 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/
eightf48544
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« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2008, 11:59:33 am »

Multiple TOCs (Train Operating Company) run from Oxford to Reading without issue - there is no reason why a line should have a single TOC. If airports were run like railways you'd have one runway per airline.

I would dispute the conntention that the multiple TOCs run between Oxford and Reading without issue.  There was contention even in BR (British Rail(ways)) days between Inter City, Cross Country, NSE (Network South East), Freightliner, Aggregates, Oil etc. freight  sectors. But at least they were basically worked by BR and the signalmen were also BR and their was a Fat Controller (General Manager) in Paddington to bang heads together when things got out of hand.

As one of the staion supervisors at Slough said to me soon after privatisation that there was now no way  he could  bag a loco from Langley oil terminal to push a failed train out of the way as he could in BR days. He couldn't even issue a special stop order without express permission from Thames control at Reading.

I would suggest that it's even worse now because of the late penalty system that, as we've seen from many posts on this board, sensible train regulation has gone by the board. No TOC is going say you can hold my stopper for 5 minutes and let buggins late running fast in front. No the stopper will run on time whilst the fast gets later. Also the signalmen are Networkrail now just signal the trains as they turn up they are no longer allowed to make regulating decisions without consulting all the controls involved. Which takes too long. An aphoracal story suggests that on Sunday at a large junction staion a train from one operator running on time but with a booked stop of 15 minutes was allowed to occupy the platform whilst another late running booked in front of the train ocuppying the station was held outside waiting for the platform to clear.

Having observed and reported on train regulation  in several boxes on the Southern, I know in that real time  just how quickly regulating decisions have to made if you are not to delay a whole sequences of trains.

That's why rail on rail competiton is not the same as many airlines using the same runway. If planes are late off the terminal other planes can have taken off in front off them and they can take their turn. Although they might technically delay a following flight, if you look at airport depature boards you often see several flights  with the same depature time, which of course is impossible. Once airbourne they are usually free to fly to their destination without much disruption, as they are not flying in the same part of the sky as the plane in front. Whereas, trains have to follow on the same line so if the train in friont stops at a station the following train has to stop behind it.

Also air timetiables are subject to even more padding than train times.

So by and large Rail on Rail competition is extremely hard to achieve, although as Hull and Wrexham Shrewsbury have shown they can provide a better services than the major TOCs on their routes. However, to make the railways work to their very best overall there has to be a Fat Controller in overall charge and thinner controllers in charge of specific smaller parts of the system,  who have absolute control over everything that goes on  between the boundary fences on their length of line. Oh dear I've seem to reinvented BR or at least GWR (Great Western Railway) for our lines.
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Andy W
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2008, 06:24:50 pm »

"A choice of TOC (Train Operating Company)'s does exist on certain routes - Oxford to Reading is one - but to say Cross County and FGW (First Great Western) are actively competing for passengers on this flow is nonsense"

There was no mention of them competing, but they could if they wanted to.

"How would having more than one TOC on the Cotswold Line benefit it?"

If alternate trains were run by different TOCs to could generate competition in pricing, quality of service, quality of rolling stock etc. The lousy timetabling in the afternoon may also be addressed. Multiple TOCs would not fix the infrastructure but the customer could get a better deal.

"So by and large Rail on Rail competition is extremely hard to achieve, although as Hull and Wrexham Shrewsbury have shown they can provide a better services than the major TOCs"

There can be real advantages from competition.

8F I actually believe the way forward is back to BR (British Rail(ways)) but if we're stuck with privatisation then we need some ways of ensuring the TOCs deliver. Competition is one of the best without forcing people off the railways, which is the alternative Will accurately outlines.
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willc
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« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2008, 07:37:49 pm »

I hope it didn't appear I was advocating forcing people off trains at any point, merely pointed out there are alternatives, depending on where you are in the country and the journey you are making. For most journeys from the communities on the Cotswold Line, it's the train or the car, as buses only run parallel to parts of the line and National Express needs a change of coaches at Birmingham to get between Worcester and London. As discussed elsewhere, there are parts of the FGW (First Great Western) area where air is a real rival to the train.

How on earth would alternate trains run by different firms be competition? If you want to get to work in Oxford for 8am, or London for 9am, you catch the trains that fit in with those requirements, not wait for the next one run by cheap advance fares railway that gets there half-an-hour too late for you.

FGW does go in for a little competition on the South Wales main line, offering fares only valid on its own trains between the handful of stations it serves, which undercut the all-operator tickets priced by Arriva, but given that the stations and ticket offices are all managed by Arriva and most people just want to be able to get on the first train that turns up that's going to their destination so will probably opt for a common-user ticket, you've got to wonder how many FGW tickets are actually being sold. And this line is obviously a different kettle of fish from the Cotswold Line, with a lot more trains running on a route with far greater capacity.

CrossCountry have no desire whatever to encourage more local traffic on their already very busy services between Reading, Oxford and Banbury, indeed, if they could get the pesky local passengers off their ridiculously small and crowded long-distance trains, they probably would, but they get a very healthy slice of the revenue from local ticket sales, so tolerate them.

In the case of both Hull Trains and Wrexham & Shropshire, they are providing services that none of the major franchised operators has shown any interest in and W&S (Wrexham and Shropshire (Open Access Operator)) are actually restricted by anti-competition rules, protecting Virgin, over stops at Wolverhampton and Banbury.

There was nothing stopping GNER (Great North Eastern Railways) operating more services to Humberside, they just didn't want to do it, and Virgin could have chosen to carry on serving Telford and Shrewsbury, as they did in the early days of their operations after reinstating the old BR (British Rail(ways)) through trains. Even with extra SuperVoyagers available from the start of the new timetable, they have opted to use all these to Chester and North Wales - including, notoriously, one London train a day from and back to Wrexham, an idea they seem to dreamed up only after W&S started operating. Is that the kind of competition you have in mind Andy?

And this lone spoiler service isn't needed to keep W&S on their toes, because they already know full well that they have to be at the top of their game to take on Virgin for custom from Shropshire in particular, given the WCML (West Coast Main Line)'s speed advantage, even with a change at Birmingham or Wolverhampton. Their fares are already more than competitive with Virgin and customer service is second to none, from my own experience.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2008, 11:50:35 am »

There was no mention of them competing, but they could if they wanted to.

And surely that sums it up! On a much more suitable flow for competition, between Oxford and Reading, neither TOC (Train Operating Company) is particularly interested in taking advantage of it. I have to side with Willc on this one Andy - there are SO many reasons why competition on a low capacity line like the Cotswold Line are a bad idea.

The FGW (First Great Western) offer Willc quotes on the South Wales is an interesting one. That's an area where FGW are in a position to offer reduce fares, there's a frequent service and their full length HST (High Speed Train) sets have plenty of spare seats to fill on off-peak between Swansea and Cardiff, so local journeys at a reduced rate achieves that aim nicely - even if the take up isn't that great. There are precious few other areas where that is the case though.
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To view my GWML (Great Western Main Line) 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/
IanL
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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2008, 02:59:50 pm »

And back to topic..Seen in Charlbury last night.....a flatbed truck carrying advertising hoarding promoting Chiltern railways service into London.
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Hafren
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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2008, 05:23:05 pm »

FGW (First Great Western) also offered FGW-only tickets in Devon - I believe the success of this was the reason for the South Wales 'offer'. The Welsh version didn't last long because ATW (Arriva Trains Wales (former TOC (Train Operating Company))) quickly reduced the all-TOC fares to undercut the FGW fares, so the FGW-only tickets ended up being the most expensive! Just checked on qjump, and the FGW-only fares seem to have gone.

I read somewhere that ATW's price reduction led to a 25% increase in passenger numbers. I forget how much the fares were reduced, but I'm not sure that a 25% increase in revenue would have been enough to cover the reduced fares. Had ATW not responded, of course, FGW would have made more money by increased demand and having 100% of the ORCATS (Operational Research Computerised Allocation of Tickets to Services) revenue, and ATW would have lost passengers -  and I don't think the powers that be would have been happy with the subsidised TOC (ATW) having its income poached by FGW.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2008, 10:12:46 am »


I read somewhere that ATW (Arriva Trains Wales (former TOC (Train Operating Company)))'s price reduction led to a 25% increase in passenger numbers. I forget how much the fares were reduced, but I'm not sure that a 25% increase in revenue would have been enough to cover the reduced fares. Had ATW not responded, of course, FGW (First Great Western) would have made more money by increased demand and having 100% of the ORCATS (Operational Research Computerised Allocation of Tickets to Services) revenue, and ATW would have lost passengers -  and I don't think the powers that be would have been happy with the subsidised TOC (ATW) having its income poached by FGW.

Congratulations Hafren you've just succinctly  summarised the absurdity  of the current mess. I was going to say system but I can can't make out any systematic features. Didn't someone post on Coffee Shop that there are thousands (4000?) exceptions in the fare manuals.

However, back to the topic as I understand it Chiltern have some very competitive fares even for walk on passengers. I would certainly drive to Beaconsfield for a day trip to Birmingham.
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super tm
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« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2008, 01:37:04 pm »

FGW (First Great Western) also offered FGW-only tickets in Devon - =


No they did not.  The TOC (Train Operating Company) which sets the fare is not allowed to set TOC only fares over the same route.  So FGW could not have set any FGW only fares in Devon. What they did do was reduce the price of off peak tickets in Devon and Cornwall so it was cheaper for everybody on XC as well.  However by reducing these fares they could put some other fares up by a higher amount but still keep the overall increase within the limits allowed.
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Chris2
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« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2008, 02:19:32 pm »

FGW (First Great Western) also offered FGW-only tickets in Devon - =


No they did not.  The TOC (Train Operating Company) which sets the fare is not allowed to set TOC only fares over the same route.  So FGW could not have set any FGW only fares in Devon. What they did do was reduce the price of off peak tickets in Devon and Cornwall so it was cheaper for everybody on XC as well.  However by reducing these fares they could put some other fares up by a higher amount but still keep the overall increase within the limits allowed.

Before the new franchise FGW sold tickets from Plymouth to Exeter St Davids for ^5 and it was a cheap day return, only valid on FGW services, as I used this offer. I believe at this time Wessex trains were responsible for setting fares in Devon.
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