Defending Arriva

A correspondent chides me angrily for my piece lamenting the transfer of part of Virgin XC’s franchise to Arriva (Virgin loses the Oxford route). My post was an amalgam of stories from various reputable news sources so I was rather puzzled to be challenged as to the facts.

Objection is taken to two assertions – that Arriva are refurbishing 30 year-old trains and that they operate only in Wales. Let us have a look at the sources:

Arriva’s own press release boasts of:

The reintroduction of HSTs to provide 550-seat trains on busy routes

HSTs were made between 1976 and 1982. The youngest of them is therefore 25 years old. My news sources referred to 30 year-old trains. I don’t think the thrust of my article is much undermined by the possibility that some of the HSTs may be as young as 25.

As to Wales, the only Arriva rail franchise holder at the moment is called Arriva Trains Wales. The National Rail site says that it operates “throughout Wales and the English borders”. Again, the fact that trains make occasional forays into England does not materially affect my assertion that Arriva operates only in Wales.

It is true that Arriva operate trains outside the UK – Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and shortly in Poland. My article, however, was about UK franchises and Arriva’s only UK franchise is in Wales.

So, thanks for the comment and do please keep writing in, preferably in temperate terms, if I do actually get a fact wrong. But don’t call me a liar because my story, like everyone else’s, omits peripheral details.

I am sure that Arriva will be no worse than Virgin on the Oxford route. With the price hikes they have promised, I should jolly well hope they will be no worse.



About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
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