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ECML shambles

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ECML shambles

Postby Train Spotter » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:19 am

It seems virgin Trains East Coast as been given permission to end it's contract with the government within the next few months & not 2020 as failing Graling transport secretary said last November. . The failing Graling told the commons last night that two options was on the table (1) ECML would be brought back in house or (2) Failing Graling would try to find somebody else to run it on a short term contract until 2020... Yet another ECML mess by the private sector who don't want to run this line..
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Re: ECML shambles

Postby Chris Meredith » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:15 am

To be fair the failings have got more to do with Network Rail & the DfT. The Virgin/Stagecoach bid was based on infrastructure upgrades set out in the invitation to to tender, these have not happened, so with no upgrades fewer trains, result less income to pass onto the DfT as premium payments. I believe that Stagecoach have already made a very large payment and have now decided that is enough, NR can be blamed for not doing the work & DfT for not giving them the money. The WCML is also operated by Virgin & Stagecoach, this has been a success and the franchise has now been extended. I don't think all the problems should be laid at the door of the private sector.
A thought, if the railways had not been privatised would BR have been able to afford all the new rolling stock that has come into service, what would the WCML be like without Penderlinos?
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Re: ECML shambles

Postby Train Spotter » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:20 pm

Chris Meredith wrote:To be fair the failings have got more to do with Network Rail & the DfT. The Virgin/Stagecoach bid was based on infrastructure upgrades set out in the invitation to to tender, these have not happened, so with no upgrades fewer trains, result less income to pass onto the DfT as premium payments. I believe that Stagecoach have already made a very large payment and have now decided that is enough, NR can be blamed for not doing the work & DfT for not giving them the money. The WCML is also operated by Virgin & Stagecoach, this has been a success and the franchise has now been extended. I don't think all the problems should be laid at the door of the private sector.
A thought, if the railways had not been privatised would BR have been able to afford all the new rolling stock that has come into service, what would the WCML be like without Penderlinos?


I'm sorry i'v'e got to disagree with you... Over the last 15 years each autumn the ECML as been closed most weekends for anything upto 4 weekends when services have been diverted via Newcastle Carlise & west coast main line to Scotland..... over the last 10 years or so there have been other engineering works either all day on saturday or Sunday or all weekend whoie host of engineering works for anything up to six weeks as taken place... services have been diverted between Doncaster to Leeds, Doncaster York, York to Newcastle, Doncaster Peterborough via joint line or Newark to Peterborough via Lincoln & joint line, last autumn there was 6 weekend of joint line diversions from late October to early December, Peterborough KX via Cambridge..... Most Sundays or some Saturdays there's been reduced services between Peterborough & Kings Cross with services been diverted..... There's also been weekday engineering works at the start or the end of the day when the first or last trains have been buses or diverted... If you want confirmation of what iv'e wrote then go to features on the RCTS website & look at ECML diversions done by member Peter Hall & most of the observations have been observed by me aka( Train Spotter)..... What you want find on there are the diversions on the ECML that was just operated by Inter City 125 trains which iv'e got tucked away in boxes in my bedroom..... So trying to blame network rail or DFT for the failure of VTEC as iv'e said iv'e got to disagree with you.....
If BR had been given as much money that the private sector had been given since privatisation BR would have renewed from the far north of Scotland to far south west & all points in between & probably renewed all the rolling stock as well......
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Re: ECML shambles

Postby Chris Meredith » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:35 pm

Whilst I don't disagree with your observations were most of these blockades for necessary renewals rather than upgrades to give improvements? The one major upgrade that springs to mind on the ECML is the flyover to the Cambridge line at Hitchin. In most parts of the system work takes place at weekends to replace worn out infrastructure on a like for like basis, today announced by NR & the TOCs as improvement works. In my day we called this engineering works!
I would refer you to Lord Berkeley's column in the February Railway Mag.
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Re: ECML shambles

Postby MisterC » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:49 am

One of the main benefits of privatisation is supposed to be transfer of risk from the taxpayer to the private sector. When Stagecoach/Virgin signed the ECML franchise contract they took on all risks except those specifically excluded in the contract. That includes the risk of Network Rail not delivering, the risk of DfT policy changes, and the economic risks, including impact of brexit on economic activity.

The main changes in Network Rail plans are as a result of the Hendy review. If Stagecoach/Virgin took the view that the Hendy Review "moved the goalposts" then they should have raised it then, not now. Network Rail not performing is therefore a red herring. I suspect that this is actually Stagecoach/Virgin all of a sudden realising that the Thameslink invasion of the GN is going to wreck punctuality and blow their service apart, a risk they had not foreseen or underestimated, and one that they can do very little about. But when Stagecoach/Virgin signed the contract they took on the risks that they had not foreseen or underestimated too, that's what risk transfer means.

Anyone who is a taxpayer should be outraged at what is happening. We all have our different views on priorities for government spending but very few of us would put bailing out billionaires who have made business mistakes near the top.
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Re: ECML shambles

Postby Chris Meredith » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:53 am

They paid for a Rolls Royce & got a Ford, Virgin/Stagecoach should have made a more thorough examination in the showroom before signing up to the deal, however I also suspect that NR & DfT sales people were devious, both parties have questions to answer.
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