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The Guardian: "FirstGroup trumps Virgin as frontrunner for west coast rail franchise"



"FirstGroup has lodged the highest bid for the west coast rail franchise, making it the frontrunner to take over the prestigious London-to-Glasgow route.

"The bus, rail and coach group is believed to have pushed incumbent Virgin Rail into second place on price with an offer that is 15 to 20% higher than the nearest contender."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/29/firstgroup-trumps-virgin-rail-frontrunner
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(Sorry if there is an old thread this could have gone into.)
 

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This strikes me as the wrong way to run a railway. When you want companies to come in and run a service, you don't make them pay money for the privilege of running the services you want them to.
 

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How do they know who offered the most? I thought they kept the bids secret and the best was chosen without knowing which company it was?
 

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I'd just welcome any operator that gives a better, intercity-standard service to Milton Keynes. More destinations, especially Liverpool and Glasgow, would be the main thing. But cutting all those catering staff suggests First don't plan to keep it as such an intercity-standard service.
 

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Letting off the happiness
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So sounds like higher fares and worse service, the ways franchises are arranged is ridiculous (as shown by Nat Express' East Coast debacle), they shouldn't go to the highest bidder or have fixed price contracts (that mean nothing if they can't squeeze as much profitability out as they bid), they should be incentivised a different way, with perhaps a percentage going to govt rather than a fixed premium.
 

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*THEIYR'RE
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cle said:
I hope not. Virgin work hard at this, have created an experience which does add value, and deserve to keep it.
I've been a regular user of the Manchester Piccadilly - London Euston since 1998 (a year after they took over) and it has become a rather good journey, quicker and more reliable, while the price I pay (including the tube through London and train out the other side) has gone up about £10. I suppose if Worst do screw it up it'll increase support for HS2... :lol:
 

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Not Cwite There
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I've been a regular user of the Manchester Piccadilly - London Euston since 1998 (a year after they took over) and it has become a rather good journey, quicker and more reliable, while the price I pay (including the tube through London and train out the other side) has gone up about £10. I suppose if Worst do screw it up it'll increase support for HS2... :lol:
Only for Worst to then win the HS2 franchise. :|
 

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It is odd to think of a private franchise taking over HS2 after all that public money, though I guess that is no different to HS1 and Eurostar...
The Eurostar of the present, Eurostar International Limited, of which Britain holds a 40% share alongside SNCF and SNCB, is profitable, and able to invest in rolling stock which it will own, not lease.

Perhaps the company that will run trains on HS2, and for that matter the WCML, could be owned by the state that it might furnish us with its profits, and maybe even borrow to invest from the Treasury at lower cost than from banks? :nuts:
 

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re the livery, maybe the government could decree, like they have in Scotland that the trains stay the same colour, just the badges change. The Government should accept that trying to make money out of railways is a bit of a dead loss and instead select on the offer to passengers rather than in the hope they will one day pay the exchequer. Break even with fixed subsidy on loss making but socially useful services.
 

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Sciurius Regalis
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re the livery, maybe the government could decree, like they have in Scotland that the trains stay the same colour, just the badges change.
I've seen so many livery changes it's not funny. Seriously, every few years they get tarted up again with no real benefit as far as I can see. The last standard scheme recently got swallowed up into Scotrail when SPT lost their train set privileges...
 

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I've seen so many livery changes it's not funny. Seriously, every few years they get tarted up again with no real benefit as far as I can see. The last standard scheme recently got swallowed up into Scotrail when SPT lost their train set privileges...
I wish they'd just adopt the model used by London buses, i.e. you have no idea who provides the service, and nor do you care. The only reference to the operator is usually a small logo shown somewhere.

Bring back a consistent Intercity-style livery for the premier intercity services, a distinct livery for each region's suburban services, and finally another for their metro ones.

Don't really care what the liveries are, but at least they won't be constantly changing after that!
 

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*THEIYR'RE
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But sometimes a rebrand is the only reason many trains get any attention LOL.

Seriously though, I like the idea of a consistant national livery, I like the way Eurostar and Virgin use white/silver with black around the windows.
 

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Some questions regarding the ECML:
If Virgin lose their WCML franchise are they moreorless guarenteed the ECML?
Why can't the government just keep running the ECML?
Will the nationalised EastCoast company bid for the franchise?
Would EastCoast be allowed to bid?
 
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