Bongodog1964
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Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:29 am

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
 
imiakhtar
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:50 am

I'm indifferent to the franchise operators. Bar Chiltern Railways, I think they all do a piss poor job. Nationalise the whole bloody thing!
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817Dreamliiner
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:46 am

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.
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flipdewaf
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:02 pm

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.

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817Dreamliiner
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:07 pm

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.
Please let me know... If you know this is the end of the world, Let me know... If you know the truth...
 
N1120A
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:40 pm

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.
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IH8BY
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:56 pm

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...
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eurowings
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:48 pm

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!
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B747-4U3
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:31 pm

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.
 
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DanTaylor2006
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:03 pm

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!'
 
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nighthawk
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:25 am

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.
 
rutankrd
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:21 pm

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.
 
ozglobal
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:28 pm

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.
 
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DanTaylor2006
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:45 pm

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.
 
GDB
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:25 pm

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.
 
mirrodie
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:22 am

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...
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bueb0g
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:45 am

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...
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Dano1977
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:20 am

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?
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gkirk
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:13 am

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  
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B747-4U3
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RE: Bye Bye Virgin Trains

Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:42 am

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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