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QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 14 Oct 2006, 13:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think the grand central railroad deal has hit GNER's financial predictioons pretty hard.
It was such a blatent fiddle i really dont know how they got away with it

GNER was already aware that Grand Central (GCT) (and any other company) could launch their own services throughout this franchise period, so their excuse is pretty lame
They already lose some of their income to Hull Trains and Virgin Trains, and TransPennine and Northern to a lesser degree

As for Sea Containers, its the holding company which has suffered financial problems and not GNER
If Sea Containers does indeed go bankrupt (very unlikely given the US market), then GNER will continue under its Ltd Company status in the UK
However, the UK creditors may get wary and pull their debts in, and that is when problems could begin
On the plus side, GNER has just started on various fleet investments, and I am quite sure if there was a financial problem these would have been postponed or renegotiated, but neither has happened

As for GCT, their launch plans for December look pretty doubtful
This hinges on getting a sub-lease for three HSTs from December 2006 to May 2007
Porterbrook will then by supplying three fully refurbed HSTs, and GCT will use these until their new 140mph DMUs are delivered
GCT have just submitted plans for 5 new routes (well one is amendment of a previous application, but its pretty much the same!)
I would expect that once these applications have progressed for May 2007, then an order will be placed for these DMUs, as they will then know how many they will need
 

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Grand Central is proposing 140mph DMUs, take a look at their Press Releases and you will see that is what they are ordering!

http://www.grandcentralrail.co.uk/news.html?id=news034
"Initially 125 mph HSTs will be used to start the service - with discussions currently on-going for the replacement new build 140 mph trains which it is expected will replace the HSTs and enter service in 2009/2010"

Several key people are now with GCT and they (the Directors) confirmed this commitment at the beginning of the year
 

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The design is for HST2, which will (under the current proposal) be a 140mph DMU
This will probably be the same as the Class 390 and restricted to 135mph in normal service

Ironically, the ECML maximum line speed has fallen behind that of the WCML, the last time was about 40 years ago and saw the ECML upgraded
Very unlikely this time though!
 

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The DfT are in already prepared in the event that the current East Coast Main Line franchisee falls into financial problems
Rather than end up in the same situation as happened with Connex then being handed over (back) to the SRA, there are arrangements in hand with Virgin Trains

Should this be required, then Virgin Trains will operate the franchise "at cost" for a period of about 6 to 9 months
The GNER logos would be removed from the trains (costs met by the DfT), but no replacement logos would be applied
The franchise would then be made up for offer again, taking about 9 months
 
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