Dale Haslam's train blog: It will be grim down south without more trains...

Dale Haslam

Dale Haslam

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

I STARTED my commute last week by reading that TransPennine Express (TPX) had been taking some inspiration from The Bolton News — though not at all in a good way.

The firm, which runs dozens of trains through Bolton each day, was obviously impressed that my colleague, Elaine O’Flynn, has taken our readers’ fight to improve local trains all the way to London.

So impressed, in fact, that TPX has decided to do some business of its own in the South — by moving trains from the north to Oxfordshire.

Yes, you read correctly. This is not a joke — though some say the decision is.

From April, 2015, at least nine trains currently used on the Manchester to Hull line will be moved down South because, apparently, additional trains are needed down there.

Rail union RMT called the move “outrageous and scandalous”.

General secretary Bob Crow said: “This move is nothing short of a scandal and ignores the fact that FTX is already the most overcrowded train service in the UK.

“(This) will lead to absolute chaos and dangerous overcrowding. The North loses again.”

The chairwoman of the government’s transport committee, Louise Ellman MP, agreed, while FTX and the government, it seems, have sidestepped the issue, blaming a company that leases the trains to FTX for the switch.

It is all well and good blaming someone else, but why was FTX not prepared?

Could it not have come up with a contingency plan?

I am extremely proud of the people of Bolton for showing how they feel about “cattle truck” trains, by signing our petition which Elaine took to Downing Street.

So to see FTX doing something that flies in the face of the campaign is very disappointing indeed.

Comments (2)

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12:33pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Lee3695 says...

TPE lease rolling stock, not own it. It appears they have not extended that lease, to cover the period of their extended franchise, which is further complicated by the governments faffing around wanting to incorporate the Northern and TRE franchises together and for a 20-year period. They can not do so until the Northern franchise comes to an end slightly later than TPE's as I understand things. Therefore, there is now a period where these trains are 'up for grabs', and as a result have been grabbed by Deutche Bahn for their Chiltern trains franchise. Although this is another blow up north and a triumpph darn sarf, would anyone up here complain if TPE had done the same thing to Chiltern? The root cause of the rolling stock shortage and over crowding, is a sustained and serious inability to forecast future demand by the DfT. Couple that with bungled rolling stock construction contracts for Thameslink and cancelation of the procurement of further trains for northern franchises.
TPE lease rolling stock, not own it. It appears they have not extended that lease, to cover the period of their extended franchise, which is further complicated by the governments faffing around wanting to incorporate the Northern and TRE franchises together and for a 20-year period. They can not do so until the Northern franchise comes to an end slightly later than TPE's as I understand things. Therefore, there is now a period where these trains are 'up for grabs', and as a result have been grabbed by Deutche Bahn for their Chiltern trains franchise. Although this is another blow up north and a triumpph darn sarf, would anyone up here complain if TPE had done the same thing to Chiltern? The root cause of the rolling stock shortage and over crowding, is a sustained and serious inability to forecast future demand by the DfT. Couple that with bungled rolling stock construction contracts for Thameslink and cancelation of the procurement of further trains for northern franchises. Lee3695
  • Score: 0

6:31pm Mon 10 Mar 14

BWFC71 says...

Lee3695 wrote:
TPE lease rolling stock, not own it. It appears they have not extended that lease, to cover the period of their extended franchise, which is further complicated by the governments faffing around wanting to incorporate the Northern and TRE franchises together and for a 20-year period. They can not do so until the Northern franchise comes to an end slightly later than TPE's as I understand things. Therefore, there is now a period where these trains are 'up for grabs', and as a result have been grabbed by Deutche Bahn for their Chiltern trains franchise. Although this is another blow up north and a triumpph darn sarf, would anyone up here complain if TPE had done the same thing to Chiltern? The root cause of the rolling stock shortage and over crowding, is a sustained and serious inability to forecast future demand by the DfT. Couple that with bungled rolling stock construction contracts for Thameslink and cancelation of the procurement of further trains for northern franchises.
The other problem is that BOTH rail franchises actually end this year with TPE coming t an end first, as you say. But the complication is that the franchises been extended to April 2016 but nothing has been signed by the train operating companies (First and Northern) and as such come the end of the current contracts (i.e. before the extension kicks in which is literally weeks away) it could be that both franchises are then operated by ORR (Office of the Rail Regulator) - just like North East Trains currently are!!! As it is the lease on the TPE trains actually expire in 2015 and as TPE have not signed the extension that means that there was no competition for the trains and as such Chiltern won the contract from the leasing company to use the trains!!!
[quote][p][bold]Lee3695[/bold] wrote: TPE lease rolling stock, not own it. It appears they have not extended that lease, to cover the period of their extended franchise, which is further complicated by the governments faffing around wanting to incorporate the Northern and TRE franchises together and for a 20-year period. They can not do so until the Northern franchise comes to an end slightly later than TPE's as I understand things. Therefore, there is now a period where these trains are 'up for grabs', and as a result have been grabbed by Deutche Bahn for their Chiltern trains franchise. Although this is another blow up north and a triumpph darn sarf, would anyone up here complain if TPE had done the same thing to Chiltern? The root cause of the rolling stock shortage and over crowding, is a sustained and serious inability to forecast future demand by the DfT. Couple that with bungled rolling stock construction contracts for Thameslink and cancelation of the procurement of further trains for northern franchises.[/p][/quote]The other problem is that BOTH rail franchises actually end this year with TPE coming t an end first, as you say. But the complication is that the franchises been extended to April 2016 but nothing has been signed by the train operating companies (First and Northern) and as such come the end of the current contracts (i.e. before the extension kicks in which is literally weeks away) it could be that both franchises are then operated by ORR (Office of the Rail Regulator) - just like North East Trains currently are!!! As it is the lease on the TPE trains actually expire in 2015 and as TPE have not signed the extension that means that there was no competition for the trains and as such Chiltern won the contract from the leasing company to use the trains!!! BWFC71
  • Score: 0

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