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Virgin Trains Lose West Coast Main line

 
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mark occomore



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:57 am    Post subject: Virgin Trains Lose West Coast Main line Reply with quote

Quote:
Virgin Rail has lost its bid to continue running the West Coast Mainline and will be replaced by the UK's largest rail operator, FirstGroup



http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19264614


Richard Branson said in a statement " It's highly unlikely Virgin will bid for anymore rail franchises - as we've seen companies like GNER go bankrupt." The bidding cost Virgin 14 Million. Sad to see the Pendolino trains go unless First group buy them?
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RockitRon



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that all the trains are leased, so the Pendolinos will go to the new franchisee, if they want them.

There is a real fear that First Group has overpaid, the possible consequences of which have already been seen at GNER and National Express.

The much-vaunted improvement in service and frequencies will depend upon whether there is capacity available, from Network Rail. Since most of the lines run through Birmingham New Street or the Trent Valley (Rugby, Lichfield and Stafford), which are already heavily congested six days a week, I wonder how that will be achieved.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:18 am    Post subject: Re: Virgin Trains Lose West Coast Main line Reply with quote

mark occomore wrote:
Sad to see the Pendolino trains go unless First group buy them?


They're leased, as are many trains.
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R2Icon



Joined: 10 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I'd like to see this being reported as "First Group have won the West Coast Mainline rail franchise". Competition is a good thing.
It's not bad news for us that Branson's lot underbid.
The trains will still run, and they'll get a fresh paint-job.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

R2Icon wrote:
The trains will still run, and they'll get a fresh paint-job.


It's more than that, though. If they've overbid (as some are speculating) then they'll inevitably look for ways to cut the quality of service - and that's not acceptable. As Richard Branson (whose company has delivered a high level of service in my opinion) said earlier: "Does the DoT never learn?" in the wake of the east Coast line fiasco where National Express and that other company (I've forgotten which) overbid and found that they couldn't sustain their contractual obligation.
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RockitRon



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ColinB wrote:
R2Icon wrote:
The trains will still run, and they'll get a fresh paint-job.


It's more than that, though. If they've overbid (as some are speculating) then they'll inevitably look for ways to cut the quality of service - and that's not acceptable. As Richard Branson (whose company has delivered a high level of service in my opinion) said earlier: "Does the DoT never learn?" in the wake of the east Coast line fiasco where National Express and that other company (I've forgotten which) overbid and found that they couldn't sustain their contractual obligation.


The East Coast Main Line franchisee was originally GNER, a subsidiary of Sea Containers, which filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in May 2007. The DoT relieved it of the franchise and sold it to National Express. Two years later, when NEX realised they'd overpaid and tried to renegotiate the deal, the DoT again took the licence back (and those of the other National Express lines in East Anglia and Essex) and they are now run as publicly-owned concerns (ie, nationalised).

I don't suppose anyone is taking odds on the same thing happening to this west coast main line deal.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RockitRon wrote:
I don't suppose anyone is taking odds on the same thing happening to this west coast main line deal.


I bet Richard Branson is! Smile
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The belief in the NW is that it's a bad move and it's feared that many jobs will be lost as a result.

I don't use the trains much and I hope we don't lose the direct Man-Lon trains that stop at our local station a couple of times a day with the change.

H
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oldraver



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Early days, I know, but I think time will prove Dicky Branston is right.
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'First have promised to give the Government 5.5 Billion. That money will come from the passengers. It's not about just painting trains, it's about investing and delivering. The Government put up guarantees and bonds, but it's a new franchise and will have clauses written in. It's the first step for renationalise the railways.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mark occomore wrote:
'First have promised to give the Government 5.5 Billion. That money will come from the passengers.


Given that First Group is a business, I think we could all work that one out Mark. After all, where has Virgin Trains' revenue come from? For that matter, where does my business revenue come from? My customers!

mark occomore wrote:
It's not about just painting trains, it's about investing and delivering. The Government put up guarantees and bonds, but it's a new franchise and will have clauses written in. It's the first step for renationalise the railways.


All franchise contracts have clauses written in, don't they?
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Government weren't prepared to guarantee bonds for Virgin, as there was a short fall in bidding... Virgin weren't prepared to put themselves into that position which could lead them to financial ruin. I can't see Virgin bidding for more rail franchises - Neither can I see First group seeing out the 15 year franchise!! Hope the customer care continues where it was left off.. From December 2012, RIP Virgin Rail.
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="ColinB"]
mark occomore wrote:
'

mark occomore wrote:
It's not about just painting trains, it's about investing and delivering. The Government put up guarantees and bonds, but it's a new franchise and will have clauses written in. It's the first step for renationalise the railways.


All franchise contracts have clauses written in, don't they?


They do, but the Government need to keep there greedy hands off.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mark occomore wrote:
ColinB wrote:


mark occomore wrote:
It's not about just painting trains, it's about investing and delivering. The Government put up guarantees and bonds, but it's a new franchise and will have clauses written in. It's the first step for renationalise the railways.


All franchise contracts have clauses written in, don't they?


They do, but the Government need to keep there greedy hands off.


Yes, but we, as taxpayers, still subsidise the railway system to the tune of something like 50%, so "the Government" is effectively "us" - is it not?
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WestCoast main line bidding process has been put on hold due to legal challenge. Government have not signed the railway contract who was due to go to First Group who were going to sign up for 13 years. Richard Branson reckons the Government have gone for the biggest amount of money, and not the right option.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19467510
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mark occomore wrote:
Government have not signed the railway contract who was due to go to First Group who were going to sign up for 13 years.


Er........... come again??? Confused
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ColinB wrote:
mark occomore wrote:
Government have not signed the railway contract who was due to go to First Group who were going to sign up for 13 years.


Er........... come again??? Confused


First Group, Department of Transport and The Government were going to sign the contract, but had to be put on hold with the legal challenge by Virgin.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mark occomore wrote:
First Group, Department of Transport and The Government were going to sign the contract, but had to be put on hold with the legal challenge by Virgin.


Yes I know all that. It's your sentence that remained a mystery!!!
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Competition to run the West Coast main line has been cancelled due to flaws in the way it's been calculated. Virgin will continue to run the line until such time the bidding process has been reopened. First Group were due to take over the line in December on a 13 year contract.
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FleetingEileenM



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's an unholy mess. I hadn't realised that the East Coast main line is run by a government-owned organisation and is turning in a nice profit to the tax-payers. If only there was the money to re-nationalise the railways.
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ruddlescat



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that the rail system should be taken back into public ownership Eileen - I'm generally against the Government running businesses but the rail system is something which requires coordination rather than fragmentation

If renationalisation is a step too far for the powers that be why don't they simply let Virgin run the whole rail system because in my experience their trains are comfortable and arrive on time - unlike some other services I could mention Rolling Eyes
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FleetingEileenM wrote:
It's an unholy mess. I hadn't realised that the East Coast main line is run by a government-owned organisation and is turning in a nice profit to the tax-payers. If only there was the money to re-nationalise the railways.


It's going to cost the taxpayer something like 40m as well!

I agree that Virgin trains are pretty good and maybe he could run the lot.

H
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When Virgin introduced their Pendolino service from Milton Keynes Central to Euston (the bit of the network I use most regularly) I remember thinking that railway companies were, for the first time, right to refer to me as a "customer" rather than as a mere "passenger" as per the British Rail of old. Richard Branson's company has raised the bar for rail travel in Britain and I'm glad that he is now vindicated in his smelling of the proverbial rat in the way the Transport Department made a complete and embarrassing balls-up of the bidding process. The phrase "organising a proverbial drinking session in a place where beer is brewed" (or something like it) comes to mind, as has been proven.

Lots of regular commuters who currently use Virgin have voiced their anger at the announcement that the contract was to be awarded to First Group; it made no sense whatever!

I'm not so sure about nationalising the rail system, however, even though my politics are left-leaning and definitely not on the right. Would we have a Virgin-standard service on the West Coast line if the service's operation were in the hands of a public body? I'm not sure it would, to be honest.

That said, the rail infrastructure - which is managed by publically-owned Network Rail (based here in MK) should remain under public control, in my view. Railtrack was, after all, one of Thatcher's disasters!
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ruddlescat



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrong Colin - Railtrack was NOT one of Thatcher's disasters

Maggie simply didn't do 'disasters' - well perhaps with the exception of the poll tax - Railtrack came about in the early nineties under John Major Smile
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruddlescat wrote:
Wrong Colin - Railtrack was NOT one of Thatcher's disasters


Railtrack WAS one of Thatcher's disasters in as much as the privatisation was yet another in a sequence of utility sell-offs that was planned years before and which was the product of Thatcher's determination to sell all publically-owned utilities to public entities whose shareholders would then profit from the billions of pounds of investment previously made by British taxpayers.

John Major was merely repeating the mantra and didn't really have much choice.
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ruddlescat



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really don't agree Colin

Maggie was intelligent enough to know where to draw the line when it came to such things as privatisation otherwise it would have happened during her watch just like British Telecom and British Gas - ask yourself why it didn't - answer because she knew it was fraught with likely problems Smile
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't argue with someone who was against Thatcher. Rail tack was founded in 1994.

The railways should be re-nationalised with business backing as well. East Coast is running quite well under the Government at present with the same management running it. This is the only way as the cost to keep bidding for these franchises are not going to be worth doing. First Group are given up the First Great Western 3 years early anyway, so I can't understand why they were allowed to bid for a 13 year contract. It's an absolute shambles, and Justine Greening who was in charge of Transport at the time will need to answer question to the ' Transport Select Committee'
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruddlescat wrote:
I really don't agree Colin

Maggie was intelligent enough to know where to draw the line when it came to such things as privatisation otherwise it would have happened during her watch just like British Telecom and British Gas - ask yourself why it didn't - answer because she knew it was fraught with likely problems Smile


I still maintain that she wrote originated the mantra that Major repeated - and woe betide him if he defied the Tory establishment.

mark occomore wrote:
I wouldn't argue with someone who was against Thatcher. Rail tack was founded in 1994.


Any chance of a translation please, Mark?
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Virgin secures extension to run the West Coast Main Line train services.
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mark occomore



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Virgin Trains have been awarded with an extension on their franchise for the next 2 years until the bidding process can start again. Justine Greening was moved from Transport before it was known that there were flaws in the previous bidding process. She and other ministers could be accountable for the mistakes- which could lead to millions of pounds having to be paid back.
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