ZaphodHarkonnen
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Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:55 pm

Ticket price war as Virgin targets Edinburgh to London rail route

Quote:
Virgin Trains East Coast (Vtec) said it will increase rail’s share of the 3 million annual passengers between Edinburgh and London from one third to at least half within seven years.

The bold claim is certain to trigger a fightback from airlines, especially now that low-fares leader Ryanair has resumed flights between the cities, competing with British Airways, EasyJet and Flybe.

Air overtook rail between Edinburgh and London in the 1980s and became dominant with the growth of low-cost airlines in the 1990s,


So, do we think it's plausible they can pull it off?

If they can reliably get the travel time down to 4 hours that would seem to put rail just at the outer edge of equalling air travel. Especially as it goes city centre to city centre and avoids all the security checks and getting there an hour before your flight.

Or are Virgin Trains East Coast just making a lot of noise? As without switching to in cab signalling they're still restricted to a maximum speed of 200kph on the lines.

What reasonable options are available for the airlines to respond to this attempt?

[Edited 2016-04-03 13:57:00]
 
by738
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:03 pm

Yip a lot of noise if you ask me. unless it was sub 3 hrs (which is virtually impossible currently) it will not impact significantly. Glasgow to London is in a similar situation and LHR/LCY pax by air have actually gone up. The stated 4 hr trip is ambitious on a regular basis with delays and overcrowding.
New trains nice, but its infrastructure thats needed.
 
LondonCity
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:29 pm

Quoting ZaphodHarkonnen (Thread starter):
So, do we think it's plausible they can pull it off?

Just a lot of PR hype. The ECML has played second fiddle to air travel ever since the 1970s/1980s and the days of the BEA Shuttle.

Timings of 4 hours by rail were already achieved during the 1990s. Trains today actually take longer because the track is more crowded and they make more stops en route.

The current trains were designed to run at 140 mph but that speed has never been realised because the signalling needs to be improved.

Current rail services will not outcarry air. That's because the ECML is already very busy at the southern end of the route (between York and London) and that limits the number of trains that can be operated and their maximum speed.

But it's not only about speed. It's also about convenience. London is spread out. Not every traveller is arriving at or departing the city centre.

Many travellers are heading to the outer suburbs. Unlike the Edinburgh-London trains, airlines arrive and depart from airports in the North, South, East and West of London.
 
YXXMIKE
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:31 pm

I travel weekly between GLA - LON and I only fly now! The trains themselves are reliable enough but it's all of the problems which happen on the lines themselves which just kill the route and have lead to some seriously massive delays (Euston - Glasgow in 7hrs anyone...).

If I fly LCY - GLA/EDI I can do that trip in 3.5hrs office to home (or pub!) without really pushing it through security. I am a seasoned traveler and I'm well prepared for security and I know what fits into an overhead bin and what doesn't and as such I make flying work for me (or as much as one person can). I do get the appeal to being able to work and not having to deal with security but for me I'll take the reliability of getting home at the end of a busy week in time for a late dinner.
 
shuttle9juliet
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:38 am

As a commuter, LHR-EDI for the last 20 something years i have tried most ways of getting back and forth.
Based at Heathrow, for obvious reasons, flying is the quickest, but I have taken the train when they have had deals on in the past, GNER, East Coast, which was pretty good ( 1st class £50 return once)
I still think flying is cheapest ( trains can be pricey too, unless booked way in advance)
So my take is, working in the city ( EDI -LCY )
Weekend break with the missus, Train ( only if you can get a good deal)
Commuter to LHR or LGW then plane....staff travel or a hotline...

The only other thing about train vs plane is you never know who you are going to be seated next too!
At least on the plane it's only going to be for 55 minutes ....
 
Andy33
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:44 am

One thing the Virgin Group has always been good at is PR and spin.
Now despite the Virgin East Coast name, the ownership of the company currently holding the East Coast franchise is actually 90% Stagecoach Group and only 10% Virgin Group.
The new trains that are coming were ordered before Stagecoach/Virgin were awarded the franchise, and they are leased with a guarantee to the leasing company from the UK government.
As other posters have said, they are needed for capacity enhancement and to replace life-expired equipment and offer almost nothing in the way of speed enhancement, nor will they be able to run at above 125mph until there are major infrastructure changes, and these aren't even in the outline plans for the duration of the franchise award.
The London-Edinburgh trains aren't non stop, and they don't have an enormous percentage of their passengers travelling end to end, there's a significant number of people getting off at intermediate stations to be replaced by new people getting on. It would be possible to reduce the end to end journey time by cutting down the number of stops, but whether this would increase the revenue sufficiently to compensate for the loss of the part-route travellers is most unlikely and would in any case breach the conditions that Virgin East coast signed up to as part of the franchise award process.
So look for a few accelerated trains with less stops, to get the headline time a bit lower, and the rest as before.
Impact on air services - not that big.
 
SelseyBill
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:05 am

Quoting Andy33 (Reply 5):
One thing the Virgin Group has always been good at is PR and spin.
Now despite the Virgin East Coast name, the ownership of the company currently holding the East Coast franchise is actually 90% Stagecoach Group and only 10% Virgin Group.
The new trains that are coming were ordered before Stagecoach/Virgin were awarded the franchise, and they are leased with a guarantee to the leasing company from the UK government.
As other posters have said, they are needed for capacity enhancement and to replace life-expired equipment and offer almost nothing in the way of speed enhancement, nor will they be able to run at above 125mph until there are major infrastructure changes, and these aren't even in the outline plans for the duration of the franchise award.
The London-Edinburgh trains aren't non stop, and they don't have an enormous percentage of their passengers travelling end to end, there's a significant number of people getting off at intermediate stations to be replaced by new people getting on. It would be possible to reduce the end to end journey time by cutting down the number of stops, but whether this would increase the revenue sufficiently to compensate for the loss of the part-route travellers is most unlikely and would in any case breach the conditions that Virgin East coast signed up to as part of the franchise award process.
So look for a few accelerated trains with less stops, to get the headline time a bit lower, and the rest as before.
Impact on air services - not that big.

Agree 'Andy33'.

For decades Branson has been belly-aching about competition, how unfair BA was in dominating LHR etc etc; but now he has control of practically the entire London-Scotland rail market. Now watch peak London-Scotland rail fares sky rocket like they did on London-Manchester.

Branson should have never been awarded the 'East Coast' rail franchise, but should have been given permission to run Euston-West Coast-Edinburgh to add competition to the sector.

In terms of stopping patterns on the East Coast, studies on this were done some time ago, in looking at the feasibility of running non-stop Kings Cross to Edinburgh. Kings Cross to Edinburgh fares are subject to all the competitive forces of that particular market, but the railways quickly established that you attracted more gross revenue by carrying 'local' Edin-Newcastle/ Newcastle-York/ Doncaster-Peterborough/ P'boro-kings Cross local fares.

In point of fact some Peterborough-Kings Cross fares are higher than some Edinburgh-Kings Cross fares !
 
AirbusA6
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:02 am

The times from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow will only start coming down as HS2 comes on stream, and even then after Phase 2 it will still end a long way short of Scotland.

In a way the direct comparison passenger numbers between London and EDI/GLA are slightly misleading, as the train also serves the destinations between London and Scotland (Edinburgh/Glasgow and London to Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham etc) where air travel is virtually irrelevant. A passenger might go from London to Newcastle, then be replaced by someone else going from Newcastle to Edinburgh.
it's the bus to stansted (now renamed National Express a6 to ruin my username)
 
steve6666
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:07 am

I think the airlines will be sitting there laughing, at least until HS2 is built.
There's too many capacity constraints on the East and West Coast main lines for this to be credible. We're constantly being told the West Coast is full - as that is the justification for HS2 - and iirc there's a tunnel just outside London on the East Coast where all the local stoppers have to share track with expresses.
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LondonCity
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:13 pm

Quoting Andy33 (Reply 5):
One thing the Virgin Group has always been good at is PR and spin.
Now despite the Virgin East Coast name, the ownership of the company currently holding the East Coast franchise is actually 90% Stagecoach Group and only 10% Virgin Group.

Very true. And it's easy to forget that Virgin/Stagecoach must boost passenger traffic significantly on the East Coast line. Why ? Because they must make huge franchise payments to the UK govt. Over the coming years it must pay £3.3 billion (not million) so it will also have to raise fares as well as carry many more passengers.

Quoting SelseyBill (Reply 6):
For decades Branson has been belly-aching about competition, how unfair BA was in dominating LHR etc etc; but now he has control of practically the entire London-Scotland rail market. Now watch peak London-Scotland rail fares sky rocket like they did on London-Manchester.

They'll definitely be hiked once the new trains are in service. Ticket prices this year (especially for Advance fares) have already increased since Virgin/Stagecoast took over.

Quoting steve6666 (Reply 8):
and iirc there's a tunnel just outside London on the East Coast where all the local stoppers have to share track with expresses.

I think you mean Welwyn viaduct. Yes that is a capacity constraint.
 
SelseyBill
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:17 pm

Quoting steve6666 (Reply 8):
I think the airlines will be sitting there laughing, at least until HS2 is built.
There's too many capacity constraints on the East and West Coast main lines for this to be credible. We're constantly being told the West Coast is full - as that is the justification for HS2 - and iirc there's a tunnel just outside London on the East Coast where all the local stoppers have to share track with expresses.

.....you are correct in suggesting that rail slots are hard to find on the southern approaches to London stations, but this alone does not prohibit 'Virgin Eastcoast' from increasing seat volumes on London-Edinburgh. All they have to do is extend London to Newcastle trains north to Edinburgh, which they have indeed recently announced.
 
steve6666
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:40 pm

Quoting SelseyBill (Reply 10):
All they have to do is extend London to Newcastle trains north to Edinburgh, which they have indeed recently announced.

Fair point. How many of them currently terminate at Newcastle? Most of the Newcastle - KGX trains I found seem to have originated somewhere in Scotland rather than from Newcastle. I'd have thought actually lengthening the trains would have been the approach - I'm assuming a train that currently terminates at Newcastle is going to be significantly slower than one from Scotland.
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lhrnue
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:05 pm

To make trains competitive you need:
1) High speed lines
2) Reliable and modern trains (Wifi, etc.) ... relatively simple compared to 1)

The reluctance in the UK to invest in High Speed lines is beyond believe. 40 years behind the French, 30 years behind the Germans, 20 years behind the Italians and Spanish.

Meanwhile BA is deploying 767 between LHR and EDI and is laughing all the way to the bank.

Hang on, there is one thing even more ridiculous than the lack of HS trains ...the lack of additional runways for Heathrow AND Gatwick.
 
SelseyBill
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:35 pm

Quoting steve6666 (Reply 11):
How many of them currently terminate at Newcastle? Most of the Newcastle - KGX trains I found seem to have originated somewhere in Scotland rather than from Newcastle. I'd have thought actually lengthening the trains would have been the approach - I'm assuming a train that currently terminates at Newcastle is going to be significantly slower than one from Scotland

I'm not going to count them all, but it seems a majority of Newcastle services (every 30 minutes) will extend to (at least) Edinburgh. See this article.....

http://buyingbusinesstravel.com/news...es-services-edinburgh-london-route

Its also significant that the main morning peak from Edinburgh is slightly later than Newcastle/York/Doncaster/Peterborough peaks, so adding extra capacity to Edinburgh is just a question of filling existing capacity, not adding more. The evening peak is a lot less concentrated than the morning, so its much more 'manageable'.

Their 'wiki' page nicely summarizes service patterns.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Trains_East_Coast

I suspect BA will continue to bolster their London-Edinburgh service

Finally, there is one additional significant factor in Virgin extending more of their services to Edinburgh; most of their major maintenance is carried out in Edinburgh; they pay rent, parking and service charges to 'Northern Rail' to use their depot in Newcastle, so its cheaper for them to overnight their trains in Edinburgh.
 
YXXMIKE
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:48 pm

Quoting lhrnue (Reply 12):
To make trains competitive you need:
1) High speed lines
2) Reliable and modern trains (Wifi, etc.) ... relatively simple compared to 1)

The reluctance in the UK to invest in High Speed lines is beyond believe. 40 years behind the French, 30 years behind the Germans, 20 years behind the Italians and Spanish.

Meanwhile BA is deploying 767 between LHR and EDI and is laughing all the way to the bank.

Hang on, there is one thing even more ridiculous than the lack of HS trains ...the lack of additional runways for Heathrow AND Gatwick.

Pretty much bang on - summaries what kind of damage poor government policy on transport can do after so many decades of what was basically poor policy or populist decision making. Whether you like this current government or not (or the one Scotland for that matter) they are both trying to rectify a very difficult situation after decades of neglect. However...it'll take the UK decades worth of investment in it's rail and aviation infrastructure to really just catch up to the rest of Western Europe.

I guess in a strange way it's SRB who get's the last laugh...he get's himself both major rail franchises and the hard work ultimately ends up in the hands of Stagecoach! Brilliant really...
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:59 am

Cheers for the comments folks. I would errr on the side of needing in cab signalling in place before the airlines would truly have to worry. Once that's in place the easy increases in speed that follow on from it will probably start to eat into the airline percentages.

What would people say is the station to station time that would really start to make life difficult for the airlines? 3 hours? 2? 3 and a half?

From what people have said here getting it down to the 3 hour mark sounds like where life will get hard for the carriers.
 
r2rho
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:00 am

he experience from other rail vs air markets around the world is clear: the key factor is time. Next, reliability. In the current state of the infrastructure, this is not given in a sufficient way to be competitive vs air, no matter how much PR virgin makes.

3hrs is the magic number where rail will overtake air. On MAD-BCN, HSR at 2h45 has around 60% market share. Thanks to post 9-11 security paranoia, 4hrs (if achieved consistently and reliably!) can now see a high market share of rail too, but air remains dominant. The 50-50 tipping point is likely around 3.5hrs.
 
ozglobal
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:47 am

My take is that the UK is perfectly adapted for HSR and would have it as does France and Germany if it had not been for the Thatcher doctrine back in the early '80s being applied like ketchup to every activity, including those most unsuited to it: public infrastructure. A strategic stimulus in public infrastructure, especially mainline HSLs would change the game. Until that happens, the trains can only make incremental improvements around the edges. HSLs with in cab signaling and LGV specs and you'd have a REAL alternative on EDI-LON, Glasgow-London, and most cities on those routes. HS1 shows the physics still works the same on that side of the channel  .

[Edited 2016-04-05 02:47:45]

[Edited 2016-04-05 02:48:34]
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
AirbusA6
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:27 am

You don't have to go abroad to see the affect trains, LHR congestion and air duties have had on domestic flying, within England how many people fly from London to the regions now? London to Manchester flights are now basically for connecting passengers
it's the bus to stansted (now renamed National Express a6 to ruin my username)
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:46 am

Aptly, this precise topic and route came up in a seminar I attended this morning.

Some stats for EDI-LON in Q1 2016, based on mobile device data from O2:

Market Share:

61.3% - Air
24.9% - Rail
13.8% - Road

Air Split:

45.4% - LCY
31.8% - LHR
22.8% - Other LON

Rail Split:

69% - ECML
31% - WCML


I think the largest cannibalisation of marketshare here will come from the WCML, followed by LCC air into the other LON airports.


Dan  
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sandyb123
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:23 pm

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 19):
Some stats for EDI-LON in Q1 2016, based on mobile device data from O2:

Interesting stats and of course so simple to pull from where people's phones hit 'the grid'.

VTEC has formed an industry group to try and get in-cab signalling live on the ECML, the new Azuma trains have it out the box so it's really an infrastructure thing that Network Rail will have to invest in. And as mentioned above the mixed traffic issues at certain points along the route will have to be considered.

I understand why 140mph trains aren't possible on the current line-side signalling operation but this has been a goal for 20+ years... the Intercity 225 trains were spec'ed to travel at least 140mph / 225kph) and still ply the line at 125mph line speed. Most of the track between LON and NCL can easily handle the 15mph increase. North of NCL is another matter as it becomes something of a rural line with some parts as slow as 50mph.

Personally I like the train, it's much more relaxed and comfortable and of course complimentary food and drink (inc alcoholic) makes it more pleasant. But if you are going from A to B in the shortest time, air still wins 90% of the time.

Sandyb123
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Dano1977
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:40 pm

Quoting SelseyBill (Reply 6):
In point of fact some Peterborough-Kings Cross fares are higher than some Edinburgh-Kings Cross fares !

That's correct.

Last year - Peterborough - Kings Cross first class return £190 ("Cheap fare" no lounge access at Kings X £5 supplement)

Peterborough - Edinburgh first class return £56
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rutankrd
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:41 pm

Quoting SelseyBill (Reply 6):
Branson should have never been awarded the 'East Coast' rail franchise, but should have been given permission to run Euston-West Coast-Edinburgh
Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 18):
You don't have to go abroad to see the affect trains, LHR congestion and air duties have had on domestic flying, within England how many people fly from London to the regions now? London to Manchester flights are now basically for connecting passengers

Still almost 800,000 journeys per year and point to point airfares of £315.00 one way - They actually need to sell these to make the service work , because being a feeder is a disaster.

The Virgin WC Manchester- Euston is hardly a bargain either at £237 one way !

BTW The two Virgin train franchise remain competitors

Selsey Bill Virgin West coast do offer London Euston- Edinburgh fares and direct trains every two hour - They are pretty slow routing via the West Midlands curve!

Virgin East coast counter with a single train from Glasgow to Kings Cross each way and 45 minute connections via Queen Street- Waverley.

The make up of both franchises differ West Coast is primarily Virgin Group 51% and Stagecoach 49%
Virgin East Coach in 90% Stagecoach and just 10% Virgin Group.

The new Class 800 trains are to be owned and paid for by the DFT !

The UK commercial rail arrangements are a con in so many ways.
 
ahmetdouas
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:22 pm

Quoting lhrnue (Reply 12):



I was living in Egham, near Heathrow, in 2007 and I remember recieving a public inquiry opinion letter about whether I wanted Heathrow to expand. Well its almost 10 years later and still nothing concrete to even start building, let alone how long they will take to build the expansion.

Meanwhile, Turkey is managing to build A COMPLETELY BRAND NEW AIRPORT in 4 years!
 
AirbusA6
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:36 pm

Quoting ahmetdouas (Reply 23):

I was living in Egham, near Heathrow, in 2007 and I remember recieving a public inquiry opinion letter about whether I wanted Heathrow to expand. Well its almost 10 years later and still nothing concrete to even start building, let alone how long they will take to build the expansion.

Meanwhile, Turkey is managing to build A COMPLETELY BRAND NEW AIRPORT in 4 years!

To be fair I'm not sure I'd like to live somewhere where governments can bulldoze beautiful forests without any form of accountability
it's the bus to stansted (now renamed National Express a6 to ruin my username)
 
LondonCity
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:23 pm

Quoting sandyb123 (Reply 20):
Personally I like the train, it's much more relaxed and comfortable and of course complimentary food and drink (inc alcoholic) makes it more pleasant.

But note that the free food/drinks only served in first class. Also the proper menu is available only Monday-Friday. It's cut back at weekends and there are no free drinks at that time.

First class travel can be reasonably priced provided you book an Advance fare and travel off-peak. But on a "walk-up" basis, first class is costly.
 
Ryanair01
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:04 pm

Quoting SelseyBill (Reply 6):
Kings Cross to Edinburgh fares are subject to all the competitive forces of that particular market

Not so, rail fares are regulated by the government.

Quoting SelseyBill (Reply 10):
.you are correct in suggesting that rail slots are hard to find on the southern approaches to London stations, but this alone does not prohibit 'Virgin Eastcoast'

Well it does actually, because there are not spare slots on the East Coast Mainline and even if they were, the timetable is set by the government. Spare slots (of which there are none) are handed out by Network Rail (who own the track), but overseen by the regulator who wishes to promote open access competition against Virgin.

When bidding for the franchise Stagecoach were able to outbid based upon the marketing power of Virgin's brand (I kid you not). The general view is that they massively over paid, which is why their share price is down. It is difficult for them to seriously compete with so many restrictions, especially against ultra nimble companies like Easyjet.
 
Andy33
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:31 am

Quoting Ryanair01 (Reply 26):
Not so, rail fares are regulated by the government.

Nearly right. some rail fares are regulated using a formula based on the inflation rate to restrict the maximum permissible increase. The majority of fares on a route are not regulated in any way at all and operators can do what they like. This is why on London-Birmingham for example there are three different operators and four different sets of fares.The fourth set is the original "any operator, any permitted route" one inherited from pre-privatisation days but subjected to 20 years of increases. Some fares in this set are regulated, some are not.
The best way to look at it in aviation terms is if walk-up fully-flexible Y fares were regulated and nothing else. The existence of these fares acts as an upper limit to increases in the economy fare, but they are so far above what most people actually pay or ever paid that there is enormous scope to jack up the average fare paid. while retaining a fare bucket containing a tiny number of seats at headline grabbing low prices.
 
hibtastic
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:29 am

First Group were also said to be interested in operating a "low-cost" rail service between Edinburgh and London Kings Cross specifically to target those currently travelling on low cost airlines. The service would call at Stevenage (in the vicinity of STN).

The service would be an open-access venture rather than a government rail franchise.

It appeared in an article last March.

http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/p...dinburgh-open-access-proposal.html

In addition to First's proposal, Arriva want to do the same with their GNER reincarnation.

http://www.alliancerail.co.uk/gner/
 
flipdewaf
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:48 am

When we compare costs are we comparing walk up fares on the rail to walk up fares on the Airlines and advanced bookings on the airlines to advanced fares on the the train?

Fred
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33lspotter
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:56 pm

It's pretty incredible that even as-is London to Edinburg is 4h, 20m when the drive takes 3+ hours more. In the USA, our so-called "high-speed train" Acela saves you about 10 minutes to New York and around 15 to D.C.!
 
LondonCity
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RE: Virigin Trains Aiming To Grow London-Edinburgh

Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:40 pm

Quoting Ryanair01 (Reply 26):
When bidding for the franchise Stagecoach were able to outbid based upon the marketing power of Virgin's brand (I kid you not). The general view is that they massively over paid, which is why their share price is down. It is difficult for them to seriously compete with so many restrictions, especially against ultra nimble companies like Easyjet.

The govt views the ECML as something special and it demands high franchise fee. Over the coming years Virgin must pay back several billion UK£ in franchise fees. These huge franchise fees defeated the two previous holders of the franchise (GNER and National Express) so Virgin has a tough task ahead.

Quoting 33lspotter (Reply 30):
It's pretty incredible that even as-is London to Edinburg is 4h, 20m when the drive takes 3+ hours more

Seven hours ? Consider the UK's crowded roads. Takes longer by road and especially if you travel during the daytime. There is no motorway running up all the way up the east coast to Edinburgh. If you want a motorway all the way you must take the crowded MI/M6 up the west coast and then cut across to Edinburgh.

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