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Bye Bye Virgin Trains  
User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3526 posts, RR: 3
Posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2608 times:

It has been announced today that Virgin Trains have lost their West Coast Main Line rail franchise, SRB is not happy !!

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

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineimiakhtar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2588 times:

I'm indifferent to the franchise operators. Bar Chiltern Railways, I think they all do a piss poor job. Nationalise the whole bloody thing!

User currently online817Dreamliiner From Montserrat, joined Jul 2008, 2169 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2551 times:

Hmmm, thats too bad, I liked their trains. Couldnt FirstGroup come up with a better name than First west coast Limited? Anyways, looks like ill be travelling with them in December.


Reality be Rent. Synapse, break! Vanishment, This World!
User currently offlineflipdewaf From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2006, 1561 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2486 times:
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Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 2):
Hmmm, thats too bad, I liked their trains.

they'll have the same ones still, maybe a few more but they will probably be painted purple eventually.

Fred


User currently online817Dreamliiner From Montserrat, joined Jul 2008, 2169 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2451 times:

Quoting flipdewaf (Reply 3):
they'll have the same ones still, maybe a few more but they will probably be painted purple eventually.

yeah I know that, was talking about the paint scheme.



Reality be Rent. Synapse, break! Vanishment, This World!
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26338 posts, RR: 76
Reply 5, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2360 times:

Quoting imiakhtar (Reply 1):
Nationalise the whole bloody thing!

Yep. Stupid to subsidize corporate profits, when that can be ploughed back into service.

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 2):

Hmmm, thats too bad, I liked their trains. Couldnt FirstGroup come up with a better name than First west coast Limited? Anyways, looks like ill be travelling with them in December.

I think FWC Ltd is the corporate name, but the name First registered is Horizon Trains. It seems they want to try and distance themselves from the FGW debacle. There is talk that Virgin and the government may still have a say in this, because the high bid is apparently paid for by idiotic service cuts.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineIH8BY From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 1141 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2348 times:

Based on prior experience, I'd say it's not a good thing. A similar thing happened when Virgin lost the XC franchise, and as someone who used to do quite a lot of long-distance travel I noticed that I had fewer good journeys and more bad ones after (Arriva) CrossCountry assumed the role. As regulated (off peak/anytime) fares went up, advance fares that offered a meaningful discount practically disappeared.

I do hope that the new trains First are bringing in to the Birmingham-Glasgow route aren't just the Class 180 'Adelante' units they've cascaded from one operation to another hoping they'll fit, because if so I shall reconsider my options on that route.

I also hope they aren't planning the same assault on customer service that they managed on the Great Western franchise. This is, after all, the company that so enraged commuters from Oxford that there was a fare strike - and then responded by employing a poet to sit in Oxford Station to calm commuters down...



Have you ever felt like you could float into the sky / like the laws of physics simply don't apply?
User currently offlineeurowings From UK - England, joined Sep 2011, 298 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2312 times:

From what has been proposed, it seems that very little of great significance will actually change, at least in the short-term.

Quoting IH8BY (Reply 6):
I do hope that the new trains First are bringing in to the Birmingham-Glasgow route aren't just the Class 180 'Adelante' units they've cascaded from one operation to another hoping they'll fit, because if so I shall reconsider my options on that route.

They tilt, so it won't be the trains you describe. Anyhow, the Adelantes are IMO nicer than (Virgin) Voyagers!


User currently offlineB747-4U3 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 989 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2244 times:

And so the mess of privatisation continues. Does the government never learn?

Just as happened before with the East Coast franchise, the government has gone for the highest bidder whose Mickey Mouse figures will never stack up. No doubt in a few years WorstGroup will go cap-in-hand to the government - and based on previous form the government will take no action against WorstGroup other than handing them generous subsidies.

On the Great Western franchise - which they walked from to escape paying the government £800 million - they have not only been allowed to continue on a renegotiated contract, but they have been allowed to re-bid for the franchise when it is renewed!

Its about time the government starts taking control of franchises as they come up for renewal.


User currently offlineDanTaylor2006 From UK - England, joined Feb 2006, 495 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2180 times:

I'm disappointed. I've always had good experiences with Virgin Trains and their staff, especially Station staff. I've only ever heard good things about VT as an employer too, so I hope they are treated just as well by First Group.

If First Group do as they promise, and make improvements to the current service, then great. If not, I'm not sure the travelling public will be too sympathetic toward them. There are a lot of people publicly praising VT at the moment, since the announcement was made.

Quoting IH8BY (Reply 6):
I do hope that the new trains First are bringing in to the Birmingham-Glasgow route aren't just the Class 180 'Adelante' units they've cascaded from one operation to another hoping they'll fit, because if so I shall reconsider my options on that route.

These trains are rumoured to be 'Baby Pendolinos,' so 6 car versions of their current rolling stock. Good news for those 5 Car Super Voyager services, which will gain an extra car, but not so good news if they intend on replacing the 10 Car Super Voyager services with 6 car 'Baby Pendolinos!'



Flown: A319-21, A346, A380, B733-4, B738, B744, B752, B762-4, B77W, CR2, CR9, DH4, E190-95, F70-100, MD-11, MD-88, MD-90
User currently offlinenighthawk From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2001, 5123 posts, RR: 34
Reply 10, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 2046 times:

Quoting IH8BY (Reply 6):
I do hope that the new trains First are bringing in to the Birmingham-Glasgow route aren't just the Class 180 'Adelante' units they've cascaded from one operation to another hoping they'll fit, because if so I shall reconsider my options on that route.

What options? You can either take First West Coast, or First Transpenine... either way you are stuck with First group, at least on the railways.

A pretty bad move imho, especially considering First Transpenine are the other operator on the route. First operate far too many franchises, it cannot be good for competition. Virgin have been offering a good product recently, and should have been allowed to continue in order to keep competition on the routes.



That'll teach you
User currently offlinerutankrd From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 2950 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1979 times:
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Quoting DanTaylor2006 (Reply 9):

Quoting IH8BY (Reply 6):
I do hope that the new trains First are bringing in to the Birmingham-Glasgow route aren't just the Class 180 'Adelante' units they've cascaded from one operation to another hoping they'll fit, because if so I shall reconsider my options on that route.

These trains are rumoured to be 'Baby Pendolinos,' so 6 car versions of their current rolling stock. Good news for those 5 Car Super Voyager services, which will gain an extra car, but not so good news if they intend on replacing the 10 Car Super Voyager services with 6 car 'Baby Pendolinos!'

The only thing I can say is positive about the future Birmingham- Glasgow/Edinburgh route is an environmental one.
Virgin should not have been using Diesels under the wires ever.


User currently offlineozglobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2711 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 1930 times:

Quoting imiakhtar (Reply 1):
I'm indifferent to the franchise operators. Bar Chiltern Railways, I think they all do a piss poor job. Nationalise the whole bloody thing!

Yep! Not everything may work well in France, but Trains certainly do! The secret, let the state take the long view and invest in the enabling infrastructure that noone else can afford to do with a short term view and privatize the services to run on that infrastructure once built. The underlying rail infrastructure may cost billions to build, but once it's there the state / society benefits to massive degree macroeconomically. Hence it's a good INFRASTRUCTURE case. Let private or hybrid owned operators run services and compete: a strong BUSINESSS case. Thatcher style wholesale privatization never understood the difference between an infrastructure case and a business case. This is behind the rail mess in the UK and why it also works so well in countries like France, Spain, Germany and Japan.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineDanTaylor2006 From UK - England, joined Feb 2006, 495 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 1884 times:

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 11):
Virgin should not have been using Diesels under the wires ever.

The same goes for CrossCountry really, which is why I am a strong proponent of the electrification of the Voyager units (and subsequent lengthening to 6/7 cars) for bi-mode use. Whether the Government will see the light and get Bombardier to do it is another matter.



Flown: A319-21, A346, A380, B733-4, B738, B744, B752, B762-4, B77W, CR2, CR9, DH4, E190-95, F70-100, MD-11, MD-88, MD-90
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13148 posts, RR: 78
Reply 14, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1847 times:

In 2000, after his second bid to run the National Lottery was turned down, (by two different governments of two different parties), Branson rounded on the government citing the folly of them preferring the established company (Camelot in this case) and the ultimately limiting, anti entrepreneurial environment this would create.

Now, it seems the same does not apply for his company, who have been operating this service for 15 years.
Now, it's better to keep the established company, not try someone new.

Whatever the pros and cons of First vs Virgin, the whole system of rail franchising, it's typically graceless and two faced of him.

The real issue should be, of course, that travel is the most expensive in Europe while the state subsidy is three times what is was under the fully integrated state run British Rail.
Small wonder that when Virgin started bidding for rail franchises, Branson commented (according to Tom Bowyer's biography that cuddly Richard tried to ban), that running a rail service would be a licence to print money.
Not much about fresh ideas, entrepreneurial drive and innovation there.


User currently offlinemirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7438 posts, RR: 62
Reply 15, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1761 times:
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How long was Virgin trains around? Considering their foothold in aviation, its interesting to hear about this. Never heard of it before.


A license to print money....very interesting and not much different on this side of the pond it seems with our passenger network...



Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
User currently offlinebueb0g From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2010, 639 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 1668 times:

Quoting mirrodie (Reply 15):

How long was Virgin trains around? Considering their foothold in aviation, its interesting to hear about this. Never heard of it before.


A license to print money....very interesting and not much different on this side of the pond it seems with our passenger network...

About 15 years. They had 2 franchises, lost the first (the CrossCountry franchise) in 2007 (maybe 08?) and have lost their second (west coast main line, WCML) just now, essentially meaning they're gone in an operational sense. Our stupid halfway house limbo between privatisation and nationalisation just doesn't work...



Roger roger, what's our vector, victor?
User currently offlineDano1977 From British Indian Ocean Territory, joined Jun 2008, 481 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1564 times:

In all fairness, Branson may be the face and media personality of virgin trains, but it was Stagecoach who were pulling all the strings.

I also read the bearded wonder was saying that firsts bid was unsustainable and could end it govt bailout... Didn't one of his franchises need govt assistance at some point?



Children should only be allowed on aircraft if 1. Muzzled and heavily sedated 2. Go as freight
User currently onlinegkirk From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2000, 24899 posts, RR: 56
Reply 18, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1524 times:

Quoting Dano1977 (Reply 17):
I also read the bearded wonder was saying that firsts bid was unsustainable and could end it govt bailout... Didn't one of his franchises need govt assistance at some point?

I don't believe so.

First gace up GWR because they couldnt afford it, and National Express gave up EC because they couldnt afford it.

I just hope First don't take the shops out of the Pendolinos - a nice way to stretch yer legs on a journey, 4 for a £10 on the beer isnt too bad a deal either  



When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
User currently offlineB747-4U3 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 989 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1337 times:

Quoting Dano1977 (Reply 17):
I also read the bearded wonder was saying that firsts bid was unsustainable and could end it govt bailout... Didn't one of his franchises need govt assistance at some point?

I believe both of his franchises received some form of support. If I remember correctly, instead of making large premium payments, Virgin West Coast received substantial compensation due to the West Coast Main Line upgrade fiasco.

Quoting gkirk (Reply 18):
First gace up GWR because they couldnt afford it, and National Express gave up EC because they couldnt afford it.

First Great Western had a break clause in their franchise agreement. 3 years before the end of the franchise they could walk. It just so happened that something like £800million of their £1.1billion premium payments to the government fell in those last 3 years, so it was no surprise at all that they walked. Due to the cost and time taken to re-franchise, First Great Western are still operating the franchise (despite walking) but on a re-negotitated contract (probably a management contract or a cost-plus agreement). No one can really blame First Group. It is their duty to maximise returns to shareholders and that it just what they are doing.

NXEC folded because they were falling short of their targets (upon which the premium payments were calculated) and it calculated that it was cheaper to walk than continue. GNER - who operated the franchise before NXEC - made exactly the same mistake.


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