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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From the BBC

National Express loses rail route

The government is to take the East Coast rail service, run by National Express, into public ownership.

The troubled rail franchise, which is expected to have lost £20m in the first half of the year, is suffering from slumping passenger numbers.

Ministers have refused the company's requests for its contract with the government to be renegotiated.

The Department for Transport said that all East Coast services would continue and that tickets would be honoured.

Existing operational staff will transfer to the new state company which will be set up to operate the route.

The government added it intended to put the franchise out for tender from late next year.

'No bail-out'

National Express won the franchise from GNER in 2007.

It agreed to pay the government £1.4bn to run the East Coast main line, which runs between Edinburgh and London, until 2015.

At the time, many rail analysts said it had paid too much for the franchise.

Now National Express has said it will walk away from the loss-making route after failing to alter the terms of its agreement - a step which prompted the government to intervene.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said: "The government is not prepared to renegotiate rail franchises, because I'm simply not prepared to bail out companies that are unable to meet their commitments.

"It is simply unacceptable to reap the benefits of contracts when times are good, only to walk away from them when times become more challenging."

In a statement, the government added that it believed it had also had grounds to end National Express's two other rail franchises - East Anglia and c2c.

But the company said it felt the government had "no grounds" to do this and would challenge any such attempt in court.

It added that it did not expect the any losses from the East Coast franchise could be recouped from National Express.

Debt pile

Richard Bowker, the chief executive of National Express, has confirmed he is to leave the firm, to become chief executive of Union Railway in the United Arab Emirates.

In a trading statement, National Express said that the "challenging economic environment" meant it was seeing fewer passengers on the East Coast Mainline and "significant" levels of people downgrading from first-class and full fares.

The firm is trying to reduce a debt pile of about £1.2bn. Earlier this week, rival transport company FirstGroup said a takeover approach made for National Express had been rejected.

Cuts have been made in dividend payouts to shareholders, while 750 jobs have also been lost.

Last month, the company started charging passengers for reserving a seat on its East Coast and East Anglia franchises.

'Not right'

Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker said that National Express should not be allowed to run any other train services.

"It doesn't seem to me right that the taxpayer should pick up the loss from one and leave the profits from the other two with National Express," he told the BBC.

He added that by leaving the East Coast line in public hands would provide a comparator which would be "useful in driving up standards across the whole industry."

The transport union, the RMT, welcomed the development and also called for the franchise to remain in government hands permanently.

"It should be a long-term solution to the chaos that privatisation has brought to the UK's most lucrative rail franchise," said RMT General Secretary Bob Crow.
 

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Keep it state owned, take the rest into state ownership when their franchises are up for renewal and start sorting out the black hole mess that is rail finances.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thats just what I was thinking. I was getting excited until I spotted the paragraph:

The government added it intended to put the franchise out for tender from late next year.
 

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Late next year is well after the next election - that is a long time to be in state ownership.

Hopefully during that time it can be shown that state ran railways can be a success.

Cannot see the Tories keeping it in state ownership mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It would be great to do away with all the corporate branding and see the return of the Inter-City liveried Class 91's and HST's operating on the ECML.



 

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Late next year is well after the next election - that is a long time to be in state ownership.

Hopefully during that time it can be shown that state ran railways can be a success.

Cannot see the Tories keeping it in state ownership mind.
Thats what I'm hoping for. I have no sympathy for the company as they made their bid but the Government has put money before passengers in simply accepting the highest offers.

Larven - I'd love to see that branding back, makes me feel really nostalgic and I'm gld that we still have the HST's for when I go home and not them plastic trains.
 

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didn't the government take back the south eastern franchise, turn it into the most successful one in the entire country, then sell it off for it to be fucked up again? the govt has tried and failed to turn the railways into an indirect form of taxation whereby the entire network makes profit for the treasury.
 

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didn't the government take back the south eastern franchise, turn it into the most successful one in the entire country, then sell it off for it to be fucked up again? the govt has tried and failed to turn the railways into an indirect form of taxation whereby the entire network makes profit for the treasury.
Yeah. Pretty sure it had one of the highest punctuality scores or customer satisfaction, can't find a reference.
 

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this rather nice comment sums up my own experiences nicely -

The reason that business travellers (like myself) stay away from the train now is that that National Express tried to run it like a crappy coach service.

First class cars had lower service, restaurant cars were withdrawn, uniforms were sloppy, even the logo on the train was just glued over the old livery.

GNER used to take losses of £10m a year on the restaurant car because they knew it attracted more business travelers. Spend money to make money.

NE served up shitty microwave meals.
the final straw was having national express staff shout abuse at me and other passengers after a train shown as being timetabled didn't arrive that you book tickets for and have a reservation with because they'd decided to dump it... and no alternative travel or compensation because it was all our fault we didn't spot a board notifying us in a station we didn't travel from thus leaving us stranded in newark.
 

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Government-owned SET were one of the *lowest*-rated franchises: they were an improvement on Connex, but that was it. GoVia (who've taken the southeastern franchise over) take less subsidy to run their service than SET did.

Similarly, water companies in England provide a cheaper and better service than those in Scotland or Northern Ireland (where it's still government-owned). But who needs facts when you can have leftie rants? :eek:hno:
 

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Government-owned SET were one of the *lowest*-rated franchises: they were an improvement on Connex, but that was it. GoVia (who've taken the southeastern franchise over) take less subsidy to run their service than SET did.

Similarly, water companies in England provide a cheaper and better service than those in Scotland or Northern Ireland (where it's still government-owned). But who needs facts when you can have leftie rants? :eek:hno:
That's exactly what I was thinking John
 

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Government-owned SET were one of the *lowest*-rated franchises: they were an improvement on Connex, but that was it. GoVia (who've taken the southeastern franchise over) take less subsidy to run their service than SET did.

Similarly, water companies in England provide a cheaper and better service than those in Scotland or Northern Ireland (where it's still government-owned). But who needs facts when you can have leftie rants? :eek:hno:
Impressive 'facts' there.

Who needs facts when you can make up your own opinion and present them as facts.
 

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Similarly, water companies in England provide a cheaper and better service than those in Scotland or Northern Ireland (where it's still government-owned). But who needs facts when you can have leftie rants?
really? you do know that in northern ireland the water rates there are just over half the english average, but who needs facts when you have leftie rants? a big WTF to that.

The average water and waste water bill for households across Scotland in 2009/10 is forecast to increase to be around £324. The average water bill in England and Wales is expected to increase by 4.1% to £342. As a result the average household charge in Scotland will be £18 lower than the average household bill in England and Wales.
think how cheap the thames water bills would be if they were still state owned so it didn't have to make £435 million profit for it's shareholders.
 

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@Republica, no, 'facts', 'things which are true', 'not opinions'. Net subsidy (after changes in track access charges) for GoVia (IKF) is far lower than net subsidy for SET.

@gothicform, you're right on Scotland: in the last couple of years the Scottish water authority has significantly improved its performance, after doing much worse than the privatised English water companies for the prior 15 years. It still does worse than the two biggest English companies, Thames and Seven Trent. If Thames were still in the public sector, it wouldn't be cheaper than it is now, because it'd be less efficient.

And you're grossly misleading on NI, the reason charges are low is because they're still being phased in - historically, it was funded by taxpayers not by water charges. Once charging is fully phased in, it'll be at slightly-higher-than-English levels of user cost. And much less efficient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
nationalise the lot, along with water and power too.
Completely agree. Whilst I'm generally in favour of re-nationalising the railways and energy, I think its an outrage that corporations should profit from the provision of that most essential element to life on earth i.e. water.
 

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john

And in the power sector its pretty much consensus that they are overcharging.

Its a wholly ridiculous situation. You cant be truly competitive in a natural monopoly such as power, water, or on the trains. The notion that public firms cannot be efficient is one that I just do not accept.

As for facts, I know what they are, but it seems you dont. I'm referring to your line about the water companies.
 

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Completely agree. Whilst I'm generally in favour of re-nationalising the railways and energy, I think its an outrage that corporations should profit from the provision of that most essential element to life on earth i.e. water.
^^
I agree. Water should never have been privatised as you shouldn't privatise anything for which the product cannot differ and companies cannot compete.

Telecoms have worked very well due to differing products and services. Fine.

But water is water is water. There's no reason to have competition - it just needs to come out the tap and be clean. And the railways are largely monopolies too.
 
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