Goodbye National Excuse

Railways, trams, buses, etc.
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cnosni
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Postby cnosni » Mon 09 Nov, 2009 5:48 pm

Well this Saturday,at 23:59 (pending a delay!!) sees the ECML being returned to the government by National Excus... sorry express.Given some of the opinions expressed on this old thread regarding what happened to GNERhttp://www.secretleeds.co.uk/forum/Messages.as ... ight=1then does this mean that yet another operator,who bid a massive amount (more than GNER over a shorter term),were either not helped out by the government or were they victims an economic downturn and also,as in the case with GNER and Seaco,had a parent company in (if slightly less) financial difficulty.and would the bid have still been realistic without the government downturn,ie would passengers numbers and thus revenue increased 10% year on year?Also,should they be allowed to maintain their other franchises as they have now actually defaulted on this franchise,hence the DOR have moved in a month earlier than the priginally agreed date of December 12th.Did National Express improve the service?or did they run it like a low budget airline/bus operation?And what now is the future,will the ECML franchise be split (as it would now seem apparent) with some of the Scottish services going to the cross country franchise?Should it stay in the governments hands (which it wont) and should the the franchise terms be dictated by realistic targets rather than (in the case of teh lastv two) being financial pie in the sky?
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Chrism
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Postby Chrism » Mon 09 Nov, 2009 6:16 pm

Is this National Express coaches?
Sit thissen dahn an' tell us abaht it.
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cnosni
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Postby cnosni » Mon 09 Nov, 2009 6:24 pm

Chrism wrote: Is this National Express coaches? "Well this Saturday,at 23:59 (pending a delay!!) sees the ECML being returned to the government by National Excus... sorry express." -quote cnosniECML= East Coast Mainline,sorry for not being a bit more precise Chris
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Trojan
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Postby Trojan » Mon 09 Nov, 2009 6:34 pm

cnosni wrote: Chrism wrote: Is this National Express coaches? "Well this Saturday,at 23:59 (pending a delay!!) sees the ECML being returned to the government by National Excus... sorry express." -quote cnosniECML= East Coast Mainline,sorry for not being a bit more precise Chris Well let's hope things work out. As far as GNER goes I had some bad experiences which are well chronicled on here. My one experience with National Express was incident free. I used to travel to London in the BR days fairly regularly and never had a problem, perhaps those happy days will return again.We went to York the other week with Northern Rail - return two of us for a tenner. Train was fairly full and on time. The last time we went the train we came back on a Virgin train and it was a nighmare - (only three coaches) it was going to Birmingham and it was absolutely packed. There were people lying in the coach ends. When we got off at Leeds there appeared to be thousands (an exaggeration perhaps) more trying to get on. I certainly didn't envy them.    
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Postby Phill_dvsn » Mon 09 Nov, 2009 7:27 pm

cnosni wrote: Chrism wrote: Is this National Express coaches? "Well this Saturday,at 23:59 (pending a delay!!) sees the ECML being returned to the government by National Excus... sorry express." -quote cnosniECML= East Coast Mainline,sorry for not being a bit more precise Chris National Express for coaches, Virgin for planes, Lets go back to B.R for trains eh?Besides which i don't half miss the B.R blue and arrow logo Chris     
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Postby raveydavey » Mon 09 Nov, 2009 9:07 pm

Certainly National Express had a far worse reputation than GNER did before them, but as an infrequent traveller on that line I couldn't really say.It strikes me as odd that Worst are now receiving a massive subsidy for the GWML as they had it written into their franchise that a good % of any shortfall would be made up by the government (ie, us taxpayers). No wonder they manage to turn in such huge profits every year is it?The best answer all round would be to re-nationalise the railways, which could be done at no cost simply be not issuing new franchises when the existing ones expire and spending all that money providing a decent service, rather than boosting the balance sheets of a handful of private companies.
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Postby Cardiarms » Mon 09 Nov, 2009 9:18 pm

I used National Express once and they were appalling. A very expensive business ticket, first class to London first thing in the morning. Over £300. On the return they wouldn't honour the meal voucher at the buffet because it was for the dining car and there wasn't a designated dining car on that service. Not even a cup of tea. I complained and it was explained that this was due the way their accounts department worked.
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Postby dogduke » Mon 09 Nov, 2009 10:01 pm

National Express bit off more than they could chew with theECML franchise,I have heard of payments for the franchise which were totally unachievable(£1m per day ?)Onlyused the route 4 times since NEG took over,the main difference toGNER was the move to 'closed'stations(ticket seen prior to boarding)and less on train staff checking/issuing tickets and open stations.At the end of the day the train franchisee dictates what goes on board each service,the rest,signalling failures,emergencies and other operators problems are of of their control. Privatisation cost millions of taxpayersvmoney which if spent on the infrastructure and rolling stock would have resulted in a far betterrailway for the future
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cnosni
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Postby cnosni » Tue 10 Nov, 2009 2:05 pm

dogduke wrote: National Express bit off more than they could chew with theECML franchise,I have heard of payments for the franchise which were totally unachievable(£1m per day ?)Onlyused the route 4 times since NEG took over,the main difference toGNER was the move to 'closed'stations(ticket seen prior to boarding)and less on train staff checking/issuing tickets and open stations.At the end of the day the train franchisee dictates what goes on board each service,the rest,signalling failures,emergencies and other operators problems are of of their control. Privatisation cost millions of taxpayersvmoney which if spent on the infrastructure and rolling stock would have resulted in a far betterrailway for the future Well,as an employee of GNER and then National Express i can certainly attest to the shift in focus.They didnt exactly do much to bring the GNER staff onside,for instance we were all told welcome to National Express,whereas we all felt it was the other way round,snobbish i know,but we felt that it was actually THEIR privelage to take on the prime UK rail route.We,as employees,had been given the heads up by trade unions who had dealt with National Express in other franchises.We were told to be ready for confrontation and pig headedness.GNER never had a strike,thats because we had an agreement called the Partnership.This was where major changes were always discussed between management and unions,to try and avoid any major banana skins.Unfortunately NXEC came in with the attitutude that we would do as we were told,irrespective of what we thought or whether it would work.Proposed changes to practices used by NX on Midland Mainline were to be introduced on ECML,it was pointed out that those practices were what lost them the Midland Mainline franchise.That wasnt the only change,the whole ethos of GNER's mangement was that they wore name badges on train,told the crew when they were travelling and had to be available to get stuck in when things went wrong.This they did,and i saw Chris Garnett washing up on a train on a few occasions.NXEC were ,it seemed to us,very underhand.They would get onboard and say nothing,not making themselves available to the hard working crew (whom they were about to cull)and would make behind back complaints to the catering mangaeIt seemed that there was mistrust and confronation from the beginning.As for passengers well i know it has not been as pleasant as it could be.Firstly they have been told a big porky,namely that trains were more punctual,whats called the PPM.This is the percentage of trains that arrive on time at their destination.Well this PPM DID improve on paper,but in reality it didnt.Firstly,they added an average of four minutes recovery time onto the end of a vast number of the services (a practice that happened with Midland Mainline,when Stagecoach took over that franchise they were abel to chop off an average of 7 minutes from the arrival time into St Pancras)This extra 4 minutes greatly improved the PPM,but it doesnt stop their.GNER's PPM was 3 minutes,this was part of the franchise agreement.It meant that if a service was more than 3 minutes late then at final point of arrival then thats when they would be penalised by Network Rail,and their PPM percentage would be affected.NXEC;s PPM was/is 10 minutes.So if its 9 minutes and 59 seconds late then it doesnt count on the percentage advertised to Joe Public.So in comparison to GNER,they really didnt improve punctuality.Also the focus on customer service completely shifted.GNER werent perfect,but they did genuinely aspire to provide the very best service.NXEC came in with a spiv attitude,in that they thought GNER were losers,passenegers werrent really bothered for customer service.All they wanted was cheap tickets to get from a to b.That,is true to an extent.But when people are paying top dollar for a first class or even a standard open then they should at least expect the service that goes with that.The voucher incident mentioned earlier wouldnt have been a problem under GNER as firstly there would have been a restaurant (which NXEC have almost completely irradicated) and secondly the member of staff would have been given a certain degree of flexibility any way,so they would have done something for you.Frankly im glad to see them go,the arrogant attitude of Bowker (who slagged off Garnet basically calling him a "Loser") and NX in general,combined with an attitude of "pack em in" with the passengers and also the slipshod maintenance of the fleet (there was a spate of HST's going around with barakes isolate on coaches because there were cracks in the brake disc's).This poor attitude to maintenance is now biting them in the [edited for content] as the DFT have told NX to return the trains in the maintained condition that they recieved them.Well NX had an attitude of "doing it later" and now this will cost them financially.You cannot have this attitude to maintenance to any rolling stock,let alone hish speed rolling stock.Unfortunately i cannot sy taht anyone else will be better,staff at Neville Hill (who were previously under NX) say that Stagecoach are worse.Many of the NXEC middle management are remaining,at least a number of these have now "gine native" and can seen that GNER's set up needing a bit of tinkering,and not whole sale change in a drive for more profits.
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railnut
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Postby railnut » Wed 11 Nov, 2009 11:30 am

Does this mean that the proposed ticket barriers at York, similar to the ones at Leeds, which are causing such an uproar, will now be dropped?These are proposed by NXEC, whereas the ones at Leeds were on the behest of Northern it has to be said.





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