Discussion:
What went wrong with the new Thameslink timetable
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Recliner
2018-06-22 09:24:01 UTC
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A sorry tale with many deserving of blame, and no heroes:

<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>

One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
b***@cylonHQ.com
2018-06-22 10:01:05 UTC
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On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Recliner
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
Recliner
2018-06-22 10:24:21 UTC
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Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Recliner
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
You mean like BR, with steadily declining patronage, line closures, poor
standards of customer service on old trains and lower safety standards?
Theo
2018-06-22 11:46:44 UTC
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Post by Recliner
You mean like BR, with steadily declining patronage, line closures, poor
standards of customer service on old trains and lower safety standards?
That's something of a tired refrain, when here one of the issues is lack of
a 'controlling mind' and issues falling between the cracks (of GTR, NR, SE,
GBRf, DfT, SoS)

I'm sure BR wouldn't have been perfect in this instance, but in BR days
there were many fewer cracks to fall down. Once the Treasury had signed the
cheque, BR could just get on with it (at least 1980s BR, maybe less so
1950s).

That the only person who could stop things was the Secretary of
State, who seems not the sharpest tool in the box, does rather suggest that
the controlling mind needs to be elsewhere.

Theo
b***@cylonHQ.com
2018-06-22 14:30:13 UTC
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On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 10:24:21 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Recliner
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
Post by Recliner
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
You mean like BR, with steadily declining patronage, line closures, poor
standards of customer service on old trains and lower safety standards?
Lower safety standards? Yes, hardly surprising given privatisaion happened 20
years ago when standards were lower anyway. You think the TOCs would have
raised them on their own? Pull the other one.

As for the rest of it, that was all down to the governments of the day not
wishing to invest plus the economic situation. Well the government is
certainly having to invest now! Keeping it off the treasury books doesn't
stop some taxpayers money going straight into shareholder dividends for these
companies.
Recliner
2018-06-22 15:59:53 UTC
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Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 10:24:21 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Recliner
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
Post by Recliner
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
You mean like BR, with steadily declining patronage, line closures, poor
standards of customer service on old trains and lower safety standards?
Lower safety standards? Yes, hardly surprising given privatisaion happened 20
years ago when standards were lower anyway. You think the TOCs would have
raised them on their own? Pull the other one.
Probably not, but the structure of the privatised industry forces higher
standards than if it was one monolithic company. A modern day BR would
probably only be about as safe as DB, Renfe or SNCF. Our privatised railway
is much better.
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
As for the rest of it, that was all down to the governments of the day not
wishing to invest plus the economic situation. Well the government is
certainly having to invest now! Keeping it off the treasury books doesn't
stop some taxpayers money going straight into shareholder dividends for these
companies.
You mean like Abellio, FirstGroup, Serco, Stagecoach and Virgin?
Theo
2018-06-22 16:56:35 UTC
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Post by Recliner
Probably not, but the structure of the privatised industry forces higher
standards than if it was one monolithic company. A modern day BR would
probably only be about as safe as DB, Renfe or SNCF. Our privatised railway
is much better.
How? I don't see TOCs focusing on safety because it hurts the bottom line
if you kill customers.

The structure of the privatised industry was actually pretty good at killing
people - in the Railtrack era. Then the Government (who had recently
changed colour) realised that deregulated privatisation was perhaps not such
a great plan and the pendulum swung the other way. There has been a lot of
investment in safety and a degree of risk aversion. Some might say that's
counterproductive (eg the inability to reopen lines due the cost escalation
of replacing level crossings with bridges), but it has had the desired
effect.

But it seems this focus on safety is precisely because the privatised
industry killed enough people that the government had to step in.

Theo
Arthur Figgis
2018-06-22 18:17:47 UTC
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Post by Theo
Post by Recliner
Probably not, but the structure of the privatised industry forces higher
standards than if it was one monolithic company. A modern day BR would
probably only be about as safe as DB, Renfe or SNCF. Our privatised railway
is much better.
How? I don't see TOCs focusing on safety because it hurts the bottom line
if you kill customers.
I've seen it argued that privatisation created a perception that it was
Someone Else's Money being spent, so if politicians wanted gold-plated
safety they could convince themselves that the private sector was paying
for this, while the private sector could think "if that's really what
they want, we will just price it in to what we charge them".

This combined with the public and media concern/hysteria to reduce cost
constraints which might otherwise have been faced by "something must be
done, and this is something" approaches to safety.
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
Recliner
2018-06-22 19:49:33 UTC
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Post by Theo
Post by Recliner
Probably not, but the structure of the privatised industry forces higher
standards than if it was one monolithic company. A modern day BR would
probably only be about as safe as DB, Renfe or SNCF. Our privatised railway
is much better.
How? I don't see TOCs focusing on safety because it hurts the bottom line
if you kill customers.
The structure of the privatised industry was actually pretty good at killing
people - in the Railtrack era. Then the Government (who had recently
changed colour) realised that deregulated privatisation was perhaps not such
a great plan and the pendulum swung the other way. There has been a lot of
investment in safety and a degree of risk aversion. Some might say that's
counterproductive (eg the inability to reopen lines due the cost escalation
of replacing level crossings with bridges), but it has had the desired
effect.
But it seems this focus on safety is precisely because the privatised
industry killed enough people that the government had to step in.
Yes, so you agree with me.
Robin
2018-06-22 10:58:46 UTC
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Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Recliner
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
Odd then that competition for operating rail services has been spreading
across the EU.
--
Robin
reply-to address is (intended to be) valid
b***@cylonHQ.com
2018-06-22 14:32:03 UTC
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On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 11:58:46 +0100
Post by Recliner
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
Post by Recliner
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
Odd then that competition for operating rail services has been spreading
across the EU.
Nothing odd about it , its an EU requirement for open access to private
operators. Directive 91/440 you'll find.
Robin
2018-06-22 14:48:31 UTC
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Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 11:58:46 +0100
Post by Recliner
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
Post by Recliner
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
Odd then that competition for operating rail services has been spreading
across the EU.
Nothing odd about it , its an EU requirement for open access to private
operators. Directive 91/440 you'll find.
Indeed. But that's not what I found odd.

What I did find odd was your view that it is self-evident railways are
"better run as a single not for profit organisation" when yet just about
every EU State[1] no longer does so.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Railway_Package

[2]
https://www.lvm.fi/en/-/factsheet-74-2017-opening-passenger-rail-transport-to-competition-in-other-countries-949736

"With the exception of Finland, Ireland and Luxembourg, all other Member
States of the European Union have already more than one operator
providing passenger rail transport services."

https://www.citymetric.com/transport/continent-s-approach-rail-liberalisation-holds-lessons-britain-3727

"But please let us not labour anymore under romanticised ideas of
‘nationalised’ European rail based on experience from the odd long
weekend away. The debate over the future of Britain’s railways deserves
a better level of understanding – and there is much to learn from the
European experience. "
--
Robin
reply-to address is (intended to be) valid
Arthur Figgis
2018-06-22 18:07:44 UTC
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Post by Robin
What I did find odd was your view that it is self-evident railways
are "better run as a single not for profit organisation" when yet
just about every EU State[1] no longer does so.
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Railway_Package
[2]
https://www.lvm.fi/en/-/factsheet-74-2017-opening-passenger-rail-transport-to-competition-in-other-countries-949736
"With the exception of Finland, Ireland and Luxembourg,
and Malta and Cyprus...
Post by Robin
all other Member
States of the European Union have already more than one operator
providing passenger rail transport services."
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
BevanPrice
2018-06-22 15:13:51 UTC
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Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 11:58:46 +0100
Post by Recliner
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
Post by Recliner
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
Odd then that competition for operating rail services has been spreading
across the EU.
Nothing odd about it , its an EU requirement for open access to private
operators. Directive 91/440 you'll find.
Yes - just one example of EU and its commissioners meddling in things
that ought to be none of its concern - examples which probably persuaded
some people to vote "Exit".
Recliner
2018-06-22 16:04:12 UTC
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Post by BevanPrice
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 11:58:46 +0100
Post by Recliner
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
Post by Recliner
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
Odd then that competition for operating rail services has been spreading
across the EU.
Nothing odd about it , its an EU requirement for open access to private
operators. Directive 91/440 you'll find.
Yes - just one example of EU and its commissioners meddling in things
that ought to be none of its concern - examples which probably persuaded
some people to vote "Exit".
Why? It didn't have any effect in the UK. If anything, the EU is pushing
other countries to at least partially adopt our policies.
bob
2018-06-22 23:21:34 UTC
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Post by BevanPrice
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 11:58:46 +0100
Post by Recliner
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
Post by Recliner
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
Odd then that competition for operating rail services has been spreading
across the EU.
Nothing odd about it , its an EU requirement for open access to private
operators. Directive 91/440 you'll find.
Yes - just one example of EU and its commissioners meddling in things
that ought to be none of its concern - examples which probably persuaded
some people to vote "Exit".
But the EU commissioners are nothing but the appointees of elected
governments. Was this a question of the “EU” setting a requirement or
national governments wanting to do a thing that they were worried would be
unpopular, so laundering the legislation through the EU?

Robin
Clive D.W. Feather
2018-06-23 08:58:17 UTC
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Post by bob
Post by BevanPrice
Yes - just one example of EU and its commissioners meddling in things
that ought to be none of its concern - examples which probably persuaded
some people to vote "Exit".
But the EU commissioners are nothing but the appointees of elected
governments. Was this a question of the “EU” setting a requirement or
national governments wanting to do a thing that they were worried would be
unpopular, so laundering the legislation through the EU?
That's a procedure common enough that we called it "Eurowashing" when I
was active in regulatory work.
--
Clive D.W. Feather
Jonathan Amery
2018-06-26 16:29:56 UTC
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Post by Robin
Odd then that competition for operating rail services has been spreading
across the EU.
With the result that trains in all EU countries are now run by the
national railway companies of many EU countries (but not ours, because
we don't have one).
--
Jonathan Amery. There's an ocean of darkness and I drown in the night
##### Till I come through the darkness to the ocean of light.
#######__o You can lock me in prison but the light will be free,
#######'/ 'And I walk in the glory of the light', said he.
Recliner
2018-06-26 20:24:09 UTC
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Post by Jonathan Amery
Post by Robin
Odd then that competition for operating rail services has been spreading
across the EU.
With the result that trains in all EU countries are now run by the
national railway companies of many EU countries (but not ours, because
we don't have one).
You'll see National Express branded trains in Germany.

Certes
2018-06-22 12:46:16 UTC
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Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Recliner
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
If London Reconnections is to be believed, the former franchisee stopped
hiring drivers when they discovered that they would be recruiting and
training them for the benefit of a rival company. That's certainly due
to privatisation. How well BR would have managed, we'll never know.
Anna Noyd-Dryver
2018-06-23 11:49:04 UTC
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Post by Certes
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
On Fri, 22 Jun 2018 09:24:01 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Recliner
<https://www.londonreconnections.com/2018/holy-grails-and-thameslink-fails-part
-2-the-plan-that-went-wrong/>
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
If London Reconnections is to be believed, the former franchisee stopped
hiring drivers when they discovered that they would be recruiting and
training them for the benefit of a rival company. That's certainly due
to privatisation.
DfT could have instructed them to keep recruiting. Continuing recruitment
and training has happened across other franchise changes...


Anna Noyd-Dryver
Michael R N Dolbear
2018-06-23 22:57:45 UTC
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Post by Certes
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
Post by Recliner
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
If London Reconnections is to be believed, the former franchisee stopped
hiring drivers when they discovered that they would be recruiting and
training them for the benefit of a rival company. That's certainly due
to privatisation.
.> DfT could have instructed them to keep recruiting. Continuing recruitment
and training has happened across other franchise changes...

Did the franchisee have to tell the DfT about recruitment and training in a
timely fashion or indeed at all?

If so and for example "GTR didn't have enough" should have been obvious in
say February.
--
Mike D
Recliner
2018-06-23 23:08:39 UTC
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Post by Anna Noyd-Dryver
Post by Certes
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
Post by Recliner
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
If London Reconnections is to be believed, the former franchisee stopped
hiring drivers when they discovered that they would be recruiting and
training them for the benefit of a rival company. That's certainly due
to privatisation.
DfT could have instructed them to keep recruiting. Continuing recruitment
and training has happened across other franchise changes...
Did the franchisee have to tell the DfT about recruitment and training in a
timely fashion or indeed at all?
If so and for example "GTR didn't have enough" should have been obvious in
say February.
It really is worth reading the report I linked at the beginning of the
thread. For example, your question is answered:

Quote:

We have highlighted the issue of too few drivers before. This was most
notably a problem in July 2016 when Southern (part of the new GTR
franchise) were forced to introduced a revised timetable due to lack of
drivers. The primary cause of the issue was that DfT had not intervened to
stop GTR’s predecessors for the previous Thameslink franchise, First
Capital Connect, from cancelling their driving recruitment programme the
moment they knew they would not get the Thameslink franchise. Once they
took over, GTR found that that they were considerably short of the total
number of drivers they expected to have to cover the various different
train companies in their charge (Thameslink, Great Northern, Gatwick
Express and Southern).

It took a lot of hard work and a massive recruitment programme by GTR to
overcome this problem but now GTR insists that shortage of drivers as such
is not an issue and they are currently actually over establishment –
incidentally, Northern Rail say the same thing. Whether the establishment
level is the correct realistic number of drivers a franchise requires is
another matter – possibly not, in this case, as we shall see.
Roland Perry
2018-06-24 06:27:58 UTC
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In message
<1196596466.551487817.092984.recliner.ng-***@news.eternal-sept
ember.org>, at 23:08:39 on Sat, 23 Jun 2018, Recliner
Post by Recliner
Post by Anna Noyd-Dryver
Post by Certes
Post by b***@cylonHQ.com
Post by Recliner
One thing I hadn't appreciated was how much of the plan depended on GBRf
drivers, because GTR didn't have enough.
The real mystery is why the government persists with rail privitisation when
its just one disaster after another. You'd think eventually reality would
creep in to their collective conciousness but it would been not. I'm a long
way from being a socialist but this is one of the areas privitisation just
has not worked and it would be better run as a single not for profit
organisation.
If London Reconnections is to be believed, the former franchisee stopped
hiring drivers when they discovered that they would be recruiting and
training them for the benefit of a rival company. That's certainly due
to privatisation.
DfT could have instructed them to keep recruiting. Continuing recruitment
and training has happened across other franchise changes...
Did the franchisee have to tell the DfT about recruitment and training in a
timely fashion or indeed at all?
If so and for example "GTR didn't have enough" should have been obvious in
say February.
It really is worth reading the report I linked at the beginning of the
We have highlighted the issue of too few drivers before. This was most
notably a problem in July 2016 when Southern (part of the new GTR
franchise) were forced to introduced a revised timetable due to lack of
drivers. The primary cause of the issue was that DfT had not intervened to
stop GTR’s predecessors for the previous Thameslink franchise, First
Capital Connect, from cancelling their driving recruitment programme the
moment they knew they would not get the Thameslink franchise. Once they
took over, GTR found that that they were considerably short of the total
number of drivers they expected to have to cover the various different
train companies in their charge (Thameslink, Great Northern, Gatwick
Express and Southern).
It took a lot of hard work and a massive recruitment programme by GTR to
overcome this problem but now GTR insists that shortage of drivers as such
is not an issue and they are currently actually over establishment –
That covers recruitment; but not *training*, which is where GTR have so
massively failed.
Post by Recliner
incidentally, Northern Rail say the same thing. Whether the establishment
level is the correct realistic number of drivers a franchise requires is
another matter – possibly not, in this case, as we shall see.
--
Roland Perry
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