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Railhub Archive
2015-08-07 ORR-002
Office of Rail and Road


Application for access to the West Coast Main Line (WCML)

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Alliance Rail Holdings
Arriva Group
Blackpool North
Kirkham & Wesham
Lichfield Trent Valley
London Euston
Milton Keynes Central
Queens Park

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Office of Rail and Road

Application for access to the West Coast Main Line (WCML)

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7 August 2015
source Office of Rail and Road
type Letter

John Larkinson
Director, Economic Regulation
Telephone 020 7282 2193

7 August 2015

Ian Yeowart
Managing Director
Alliance Rail Holdings Limited
88 The Mount
YO24 1AR

Rachel Gilliland
Head of Commercial Freight
Network Rail Infrastructure Limited
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9AG

Dear Mr Yeowart and Ms Gilliland

Application for access to the West Coast Main Line (WCML)

1. We have carefully considered your application for approval of a track access
contract between Network Rail Infrastructure Limited (Network Rail) and Great North Western Railway Company Limited (GNWR). This was submitted to us under section 18 of the Railways Act 1993 (the Act) in May 2015. ORR has decided to approve the application.

This letter explains the reasons for our decision.

2. We will now work up the detailed access contract that we will direct Network Rail to enter into. This will be in line with the draft contract submitted with the application. However, we will include additional requirements relating to the investments GNWR will make (that justify the 10-year contract duration), calling pattern requirements and rolling stock commitments, including the time by which the rolling stock must be secured and the services introduced. We will discuss the drafting of these terms with you.

3. The application is for firm rights for 6 Monday to Saturday (5 on a Sunday) off-peak
return services between Queen’s Park in London and Blackpool North with contingent
rights between Queen’s Park and London Euston. Although it is GNWR’s intention to run
into and out of Euston, and it believes this will be achievable in practice, Network Rail is
not prepared to sell new firm rights now due to uncertainty around capacity available at the
station during HS2 works.

4. The calling pattern includes firm rights to call at Crewe, Preston and Poulton-le-Fylde
with contingent rights to call at Milton Keynes, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield Trent Valley and Kirkham & Wesham. The different rights reflect the conclusions of earlier work by Network Rail; GNWR intends to call at each of these stations.

5. The application is for rights starting during the December 2017 timetable year for
10 years. Since submitting the application GNWR has told us that, realistically, it is likely
their services would not be able to start until early 2018 due to the length of time it will take
to procure and ready the rolling stock. GNWR proposes to use 4 new six-car Pendolinos,
built for GNWR. Each Pendolino will hold around 330 passengers, and GNWR will offer
both standard and first-class seating with a range of tickets.

6. The proposal will increase direct services between London and Blackpool from the
current 1 to 6 or 7 each way per day and will create new direct services between London
and Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham & Wesham. There will be an increase in direct travel
options from some other stations and some journey times will be improved including
London to Tamworth and Lichfield Trent Valley.

7. In December 2014 we rejected a previous application from GNWR to access the
WCML. Our reasons included uncertainty around capacity constraints (especially at the
South end of the WCML and in Euston during HS2 works), performance impacts and the
interaction with the Northern Hub enhancements. We also considered the absolute impact
on the funds available to the Secretary of State.

8. This application is for half the number of services in the previous application and it
focuses on providing a regular off-peak service between Blackpool and London only.
The services now proposed broadly replicate the Blackpool rights sought in GNWR’s last
application but with the addition of calls at Kirkham & Wesham (which does not currently
have a direct London service) and the removal of calls at Warrington that would likely be
very abstractive of revenue from current operators.

9. Overall, we are satisfied this application deals with those earlier concerns.

[[for continuation please see the full pdf version in related documents]]

Railhub Archive ::: 2015-08-07 ORR-002


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