View Full Version : Fuel price increase protests planned

11th May 2004, 11:23
Looks like the recent increases in fuel prices in the UK has awoken those protestors from a few years back again:


What's the general consesus on this issue?

I'm annoyed by the increase this time round as I now spend 3 hours a day driving to and from work, so this price increase will definately hurt the wallet. Anything that gets the price down will be welcomed in my book, but I'm not sure whether blockades will have any effect? Opinions and views...?

11th May 2004, 11:28
Trouble is they really need to demonstrate to OPEC this time, not the oil companies!

11th May 2004, 11:39
The price increases are bad, especially when the companies providing petrol are making millions of profit daily.

However, protests will not be of benefit given the chaos it caused last time thanks to the "can't live without my car" sheep blocking up the petrol stations.

Biggles Flies Undone
11th May 2004, 11:42
It might be a good start if that useless politician in #11 abandoned the petrol tax increase due to come into force in September. Chances are he won't because he's convinced he can do what he wants with the economy and we'll believe him.

Motorists are hardy creatures and can understand price hikes that are linked to fluctuating oil prices, even if they don't like it. What really raises their hackles is the offhand way that this government continually uses them as a cash cow to raise money for one-armed lesbian focus groups in Hackney. :mad:

11th May 2004, 12:03
I agree BFU. It is doubly annoying if you've ever visited the Middle East and bought petrol there. I was recently with a colleague in Qatar and he filled up (approx. 40 litres I think) for the sum total of £3.85. :mad:

Notso Fantastic
11th May 2004, 12:08
At least petrol tax is paid by everyone (with a car). If this expenditure crazy Government doesn't raise this money from the motorist, where else will it come from? The taxpayer in the form of Income Tax, VAT, whatever. As far as I am concerned, petrol tax, though swingeing and at obscene levels, is at least a way of sharing the pain so it is not just the middle class PAYE tax payer only who covers the cost!
What needs looking at is Brown's incredible profligacy and the stupid expenses we all bear to fund their political affiliations.

11th May 2004, 12:12
The other thing about petrol tax is if you drive, you've got to pay it, unlike road tax where too many people get away with ignoring it.

11th May 2004, 12:15
I'm a motorist, and I support high fuel prices, and the Congestion Charge.

There are too many cars on the road, especially here in London. If you were able to fill up for £4 the roads would seize up completely. Agreed they have to be accompanied by an effective public transport strategy, which we don't currently have.

The politician in number 11, imo, has done a good job on the economy.

Not sure how many public funded one-armed lesbian focus groups in Hackney there are, I'd suggest that the military occupation of Iraq is a slightly heavier burden on our tax bill :hmm:

11th May 2004, 12:18
Agreed they have to be accompanied by an effective public transport strategy, which we don't currently have.

And there is the problem. I'd use my car much less if public transport was much better. Particularly on long distances, where anything other than by car is cripplingly expensive the moment there is more than one of you.

Wee Weasley Welshman
11th May 2004, 12:27
I support direct action in the case of petrol prices.

Petrol should be cheaper and the deficit recovered from a tax on water.

We all consume water. But some of us do not consume petrol. Some people work from home, or do not work and merely have to walk to the shops.

This results in a situation whereby a high earning IT worker with a home office pays little fuel duty. Whereas a low earning farm worker commuting to work pays a lot of fuel duty.

If all fuel duty was spent on transport infrastruture (ie the roads) then this would be fair enough. But as the vast majority of fuel tax goes is used for non-transport spending it is inequitous.

I also think it healthy that Whitehall is given a kick up the backside now and again. Bring on the blockades.



Biggles Flies Undone
11th May 2004, 12:28
The politician in number 11, imo, has done a good job on the economy.

Does that include countless stealth taxes, massive increase in public spending etc etc etc?

11th May 2004, 12:31
Petrol should be cheaper and the deficit recovered from a tax on water.

A tax on water? Are you serious? Are you suggesting OAPs living on the state pension who never step outside their house subsidise the motorist by paying a tax on their water supply?! It would be a brave politician, one who didn't care about losing the next election, that would introduce such a tax.

Correct, we all consume water, which is why it should remain untaxed (it's not taxed anywhere in the world as far as I know). Petrol is a luxury, not a necessity. Not to mention that burning it is hugely damaging to the environment. If you really want to redress the balance and hit the high earning IT guy, then increase the top rate of income tax to 50p for earnings over £80K.

Re: Brown - he has kept inflation under control without increasing income tax. As regards stealth taxes, it was the previous Tory government that started the trend.

11th May 2004, 12:37
Went to London Saturday, by train. Not a trip to be undertaken lightly. Cost me £6.35 return (using my trusty senior PPRuNer pass). Took an hour and a half to get there; timetable said 45 minutes. Took two hours to get back (ditto). Various excuses given for delay.

Still a good deal, and probably only a few minutes longer than if I'd driven.

Went again on Sunday, with the missus. Trains on time, no delay to Liv St, but no Circle or District Line trains. Driving would've been cheaper (for just two of us).

The service isn't bad but it's expensive if there's more than one of you.

There was a family on the train coming back from a weekend in London. Mum, Dad and three kiddiwinks. They were compaining that their journey (just over 30 miles each way) had cost more in train fares than the hotel they'd stayed at in London on Saturday night.

I can fly to the other end of the UK (by cheapo airline) cheaper than I can do the same journey by train. Ditto if there are two of us and I drive.

Summat's wrong (I think).

11th May 2004, 12:42
As was discussed recently, will it make any difference? Will all and sundry involved in the process of getting the stuff to the pumps and thier cut sit there and think "Woah! Dudes out there protesting about the price! I'm going to reduce my cut."

IHMO, I don't think so.

Send Clowns
11th May 2004, 14:09
Try telling people living in a small village that fuel is a luxury, Wedge. Is it a luxury to be able to buy groceries? Get to the bank? Go to the post office? Go to the dentist or the optician? Go to a church service every Sunday for those so inclined?

At least, as WWW says, water has the benefit of equality, tax should affect everyone that the relevant income affects, so all have a stake in control of the income. That is democracy. Those short-sighted, over-educated, navel-gazing fools in the government and civil service who come up with the idea of charging motorists £25 billion per annum and only putting £5 billion into the whole transport budget live in London. You don't even need to own a car in London, I always found mine a liability when I was there.

11th May 2004, 14:20
There is one sure fire way to reduce fuel costs in the UK and that's for the government to reduce the 80% or so it takes in tax from the price of petrol.


fixed the grammar!

11th May 2004, 14:42
The word "luxury" depends very much on circumstances. Sure, I could get public transport to work, but it would take 3 hours each way instead of 45 minutes, and a ticket for one day costs as much as a week's petrol!

I could, of course, get a job closer to home, but it wouldn't be in the relatively decent paying industry I currently work in, so I would be getting paid less, therefore paying less tax, so in that case both the government and I would lose out!

I would love to catch a train to work instead of slogging round the M25 each day, but the government have no plans to improve railways in my area so I have no choice but to pay the increased fuel price:(

11th May 2004, 15:14
A tax on water?

What a novel and thoroughly idiotic proposal.

I'll assume www is on another of his troll-ing exercises to try and kick up a bit of excitment, but then my good friend clown appears to think this is a good idea. :hmm:

As for the villages that no longer have corner shops, sub post offices or regular public transport, I think we can look further back than just this government for the loss of those services. There are certain bus and rail services that cannot be run as a business, but de-regulation of the bus industry and financial restrictions of BR and subsequent privatisation of the railways put paid to the social value of public transport, profit is king and market forces decide which places get good transport links. Call me cynical but that to me is nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with Big Business deciding who gets the best slice of pie.

I am always amazed at the hypocracy of some people here, over 2 million people turn out to oppose a war and that is not representative of public opinion but a few hundred sheep farmers and truck drivers park on the motorway inconveniencing hundreds of thousands of people and thats ok. Somehow that is "democracy in action" (a quote from you SC when the fuel protests were in fullswing). :confused:

11th May 2004, 15:26
Yeah - much better to sit on our backsides and whinge about it than take direct action, isn't it?

That'll solve the problem :*

Good grief!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
11th May 2004, 16:14
Yeah, yeah. Reduce fuel tax to zero, then waht'd we have? A big deficit in government income that has to made up elsewhere, and even more cars on the already crowded roads.

I run 3 cars (not all for me, but I pay all the costs), a motorcycle, and part of an aeroplane, so I buy a lot of fuel, and I'm not wealthy. However, I think fuel taxes should go up, not down, and the extra spent on running a public transport system that works and that is affordable to the user. As Keef's experience shows, cars are cheap to run compared to public transport. That's wrong, and is no way to encourage folk out of their cars and onto trains. Or country busses that currently don't exist because it's uneconomic for anyone to operate a service.

Fuel protesters are a selfish, blinkered bunch, bleating and looking after no.1. Just where would they rather the Government took the tax? 'Cause it's sure got to come from somewhere.

No one will convince me that fuel is overpriced when so many gas guzzling 4X4s are used for city transport in UK.


11th May 2004, 16:17
You've put your finger on the nub of the problem, SSD (incidentally, which bit of the plane do you own?!). The posh word for it is "hypothecation" and it means keeping transport taxes to spend on transport improvements. It happens with the London Congestion Charge - it conspicuously does not happen with fuel taxes.

Send Clowns
11th May 2004, 16:28
BFSS - where did you get the quote? Quoting people without explaining the context is one of the nastiest forms of dishonest debate. You also (I think - your grammar makes it unclear what you are claiming) have misrepresented public opinion on the Iraq conflict and the fuel protests. Opinion polls (far from perfect but much more accurate than protests) suggested that most people agreed with the fuel protestors but most people did not agree with the anti-war protestors. Therefore the hypocrisy is yours, you are just trying to hide it with bluster.

Wee Weasley Welshman
11th May 2004, 16:34
Mmm, quite. Hence I would move general taxation from Petrol and onto something more universally used that doesn't discriminate against those that have to travel for work or other reasons. Water being an example.

If you put the tax on petrol up any further you are in serioud jeopardy of creating a black market for the stuff and its alternatives. Are you aware of just how much red diesel is being illegally used on the roads? Its increasing rapidly and detection and prosecution costs are huge.

People moving around on their motorcylces and car in their cars are not feckless idiots moving about for no good reason. Personal mobility is our greatest achievement and greatest freedom. It is clearly one for which millions are prepared to pay a massive price.

A price which is quite elastic. If I've already spent £10,000 on a car, £1,000 to tax and insure it plus £500 to maintain it - am I really deterred by the fuel cost increasing by another £500 a year? No - thats pretty marginal.

So endlessly increasing the duty is not going to achieve much for reducing car use. Congestion is. Driving in certain places at certain times in the UK is horrendous. BAd enough that people naturally avoid it and make decisions in order to do so. In effect congestion is self regulating - it gets bad, very bad and then no worse.

A lot could be done to improve the roads - intelligent light signalling alone could save billions of wasted man hours for the sake of some fairly low tech investment. Cars have become so much more efficient and cleaner that they are pumping out less and using less fuel than only a decade ago - despite increased use. And this trend is increasing.

If the government needs more tax then levy it fairly - the further use of car fuel duty is inequitable and will not achieve the aims of the anticar-use lobby.

Place a tax on electricity or water or some other commodity that the individual cannot get from somewhere else. Elsewise we will have organised crime moving into 'dodgy' fuel and the average working man paying more to go to work than its worth to him. Plus there is a cost in the form of a loss in personal liberty.



11th May 2004, 17:22
Cars have become so much more efficient and cleaner that they are pumping out less and using less fuel than only a decade ago - despite increased use

My E reg Audi 80 did 45 mpg and my M reg Audi A4 does nearer 30 mpg, which is not atypical, so cars are using more fuel these days not less. This is due mostly to catalystic converters brought in by government legislation.

Trying to get people to stop using their cars will not work if there is no reasonable alternative. There are plenty of people who would use public transport if available.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who think "other people" shouldn't use their cars as much but don't consider their own usage to be an issue, and will continue to use their cars whenever they get the chance.

Lance Murdoch
11th May 2004, 17:34
It is indeed a difficult question. I was not in the UK when the September 2000 protests happened. A few points/ observations of my own:-

1- As another poster pointed out, if fuel is too expensive how come there are so many 4X4's and gas guzzlers out there? It seems to me that those that whinge the most about fuel prices are those that drive a much bigger vehicle than they need to. Who on Earth needs a 4X4 except for farmers and some tradesmen?

2- Why is electricity use not taxed more? especially for domestic useage, the amount of electricity wasted in domestic areas is ridiculous.

3- The hauliers simply pass the cost of fuel onto their customers. If they cant its because there are too many hauliers who are pricing each other out of the market. If, as they point out, road haulage is vital to the countries economy then they cant all go out of business can they?

4- I didnt notice any truck driver/ farmer bending over backwards to help me when I lost my job five years ago. What makes them so special?

5- Oil is a finite resource, we need to conserve it. Aircraft are one of the few machines where there currently is no alternative to fossil fuels (yet). No oil - no aviation industry:(

moving on

6- Very little of the fuel tax is spent on public transport and developing alternative energy supplies which makes this tax look very hypocritical.

7- The fact that a couple of thousand people can cause so much disruption is pathetic. This was partly due to the government being caught unawares and being completely spineless.

8- The chances of the same thing happening again are low, the protesters have lost the element of surprise. The government knows that if it loses control of the situation they will lose the next election. Consequently one imagines the police will be a bit more heavy handed this time.

9- Anyone who supports this kind of direct action should remember that it sets a very dangerous precedent. We do not want every group with half a grievance to start blockading oil refineries and/or taking direct action.

Wee Weasley Welshman
11th May 2004, 18:00
I think it is remarkable that just a couple of hundred protesters did bring the country to a halt. These were the ordinary working man. There was no violence, no destruction of property, no marching with banners. Just the average working man saying enough is enough and doing something about it.

I imagine that shook Whitehall to its very foundations. Much more so than any march through London ever has done.

The fuel protest could come back but I think not so readily this year. The farmers are generally less militant this time around as farm prices are doing very nicely at the moment and the wolf is far from the door. Similarly the owner operator hauliers are in big demand with a shortage of labour.

But you never know - give it a long hot summer and tempers may get frayed. I do hope so.



11th May 2004, 18:04

Some very well made points there if I may say.

I was against the 2000 fuel protests and would be against any further direct action, but maybe we should take a lead from the farmers and lorry drivers by blockading their farms and haulage firms before they can get their transport out onto the M25 to cause all the misery and chaos they did last time? That said, I'm not sure my car would act as a terribly good barrier to some of those big beasts they drive....hmmm...might need to give this one some more thought.

Dr Jekyll
11th May 2004, 18:40
Can someone please explain why getting people out of cars and onto public transport, against their will, is automatically regarded as a good thing?

11th May 2004, 20:01

I can speak with some knowledge on the taxation of electricity as I work in that industry.

In the domestic market it would be political suicide to allow taxation on elec. You would see pictures of OAPs dying from the cold. So no party or company is going to sanction it.

As to business use of elec and gas. These are heavily taxed both at source and at point of use through the CCL and the ROC. These can add 20-30% to any given bill.



11th May 2004, 20:07
Dr Jekyll
'Tis obvious isn't it. There are more shareholders in the transport industry than there are owning your car. Therefore, the more people that pay prices that are astronomical compared to going anywhere by car, the bigger the pay-out. It certainly has nothing to do with making your journey cheaper.
I would be very surprised if the cases of people using Tesco's cheapest cooking oil in their cars, and telling Customs and Excise to "go forth and multiply" for the duty, does not increase dramaticaly. I for one would give it a whirl if I owned a diesel.
Better for the environment too apparently:- http://www.veggiepower.org.uk/selecting.html

11th May 2004, 20:10
"I agree BFU. It is doubly annoying if you've ever visited the Middle East and bought petrol there. I was recently with a colleague in Qatar and he filled up (approx. 40 litres I think) for the sum total of £3.85."

I presume that the rest of the Qatari political economic and social system would be equally attractive to you.

It is nonsensical to play pick'n'mix with political and economic systems.

It's all about balance, innit?

11th May 2004, 20:24
Dr Jekyll

I work for a Public Transport provider and I can tell you that modern buses pump out considerably less pollutants than the corresponding number of private cars. Given correct priority measures, getting them out of congestion, considerably lowers the emissions further.

Congestion is not getting any better. Cars sitting in traffic cause pollution. People are getting less fit through many reasons including over-use of the private car. Levels of children developing Asthma is rapidly incresing. Are you seeing a connection??

Dr Jekyll
11th May 2004, 20:42
According to the governments own TRL report, an average bus produces the same level of pollutants as 128 cars. This was some years ago and no doubt buses have got cleaner since then, but so have cars.

The dept of health investigated urban pollution and concluded "restrictions on the use of private cars based on health grounds have been shown not to be justified". Most pollution doesn't come from cars anyway, or even transport, but from industry and even in urban areas is at too low a level to cause health problems.

In London at least, traffic levels have actually dropped recently, even before the congestion charge was introduced. The increase in congestion you refer to is precisely due to the bus lanes and other 'priority measures' introduced to obstruct the private motorist.

I'd be fascinated to know what kind of connection you are postulating between the falling level of pollution, and the increasing level of asthma.

11th May 2004, 21:12
Lets not use London as an example. Congestion was so bad in London, coupled with the average cost of parking a car for any length of time, lead to people switching to other means of transport before the introduction of congestion charging.

Car pollution causes local pollution. Kerbside levels of pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter are extreamly high on many roads throughout the UK. People live along roads, people walk along roads so I think its fair to say that pollution from private vehicles can be linked to respiratory problems.

100+ vehicles is untrue! Modern buses run at Euro III Emissions standards. For many pollutants as little as 2 cars produce the same amount of pollutants as a single bus. The biggest problem is Nitrogen dioxide which ranges from 8 private cars up to 16-20, this is dependant on speeds. There is a rapid reduction in emissions between a bus caught in congestion and a bus moving at 30 mph, which is one of the many benefits of bus priority measures. It may also be mentioned that the more passengers buses carry, the more revenue is produced, the more new buses are bought. Also, Quality Bus Partnerships are required by law to be introduced by local authourites, these are being designed to ensure new buses are running, with improved emissions levels.

Another reason for switching to bus, traffic is forcast to increase by up to 20% in the next 10 years in many places (A new deal for transport, 2000). These increases are unsustainable and cannot be accommodated on many existing roads, so who should pay for more roads and higher capacity?? The general public?? Road users?? Yes i agree road users, so lets tax them more, oh no another road block, "don't tax us, its not fair".... So what do we do??

11th May 2004, 21:18
May I add this to the discussion?

I speak as a professional railwayman of many years standing.
The point was made earlier about train punctuality.

Punctuality is very poor for a number of simple reasons including the following:-

Rolling stock failures – many Companies are now bringing new trains with computer based on-train management systems. These are unreliable and can shut down a train (and the railway behind it for hours). Years ago when we had a failure we just pushed the failed train to the nearest station, disembarked everyone and put them on the following service. Health & Safety legislation now prevents this in some cases, in others it is the non-compatibility of rolling stock between Operators.

Infrastructure Failures – Track, signalling and in some cases Overhead Line is worn out generally. Railtrack took a maintenance holiday in the late 90s. Only a fool would do so. To use the analogy a stitch in time. Many new signalling systems are (once again) computer based and a simple problem shuts down miles of route unnecessarily.

Station Dwell times – In the days of slam door stock station dwell times were about 15 to 30 seconds. The latest stock has power operated doors. European Legislation requires that they are fitted with audible warning before closing. This can increase station dwell times to over 60 seconds. Slam door stock is no longer permitted by law.

Looking now at cost.

Take a train service over any route.

The infrastructure is owned by Network Rail. It is maintained by a Maintenance Contractor who is required to make a profit. It is renewed by a different (Infrastructure Renewals) Contractor, who must also make a profit.

Design of the altered or renewed Infrastructure needs to be undertaken by one or more engineering Consultancies who also need to make a profit.

Maintenance equipment has to be hired in because of the way that Railtrack and Network Rail operate their commercial systems. Thus everything that can be hired is...to reduce the Overhead cost. The fact that in the long term it is cheaper to own this equipment matters not one jot. Network Rail accountants and commercial people are happy to pay between £2 and £5 PER WEEK for a shovel, over and over.

All these equipment hire companies need to make a profit...and they certainly do.

Because it is not sensible (again because of the way that Railtrack and Network Rail operate their commercial systems) to keep track staff on the payroll, labour agencies abound. They charge very high rates for in some case cr*p staff and are making seriously high profits.

The Train Operating Company (TOC) operate the train. They require to make a profit.

The rolling stock is owned by a Rolling Stock Company (Rosco). They bought the stock or took loans out for new stock. They have to pay interest charges at commercial rates, they also need to make a profit.

The rolling stock is maintained by a train engineering service company (Tesco). They need to make a profit.

Now lets look at safety.

There is a paranoia in the public mind over safety when comparing road to rail. We kill over 3,500 people a year on our roads.

Statistically you are safer in a 125mph train than in your own living room ! your kitchen is even more dangerous.

We are however bound by incredibly complex and increasing safety requirements. They bring no benefit in real statistical terms but are for the arse covering of the Government, and others.

The costs of any work on the Railway are thus driven to incredible heights when compared to the roads.

Nobody in Health and Safety EVER compares railway construction work to civil engineering works, which are inherently more dangerous although we work in a highly dangerous Industry. I am safer on a railway line than on a building site! Everyone however is keen to add more and more legislation onto the Railway. Nobody ever bothers with other Industries.

Statutory Railway Regulation

There is the Strategic Rail Authority – What do they do of use ? other than act as a catalyst for transferring public money into the pocket of certain TOC. Check out the background of certain people.

The Rail Regulator has fostered an adversarial atmosphere in the Industry with his policies and actions (well he is a barrister isn’t he !). He is to go soon, to the very great relief of many professional railwaymen.

As a result train operations are now carried out with one eye on the service and the other on the commercial/legal elements.

Truly the Railway in now run by an army of accountants backed up by expensive legal teams.

Meanwhile those of us still left, despair, hope for redundancy, and in the meantime try to make an unworkable system work.

By the way in effect we still have a nationalised railway of sorts…you are all paying massive subsidies to the TOCs.

Finally the only TOC which is steadily improving and working at reducing cost is the South Eastern Trains…and Oooooops that’s being run by the former British Rail !!!!!!!

I hope the above goes some little way to explaining the madness and complexity of what we now have….and why it costs so much to travel by train.

11th May 2004, 21:36
I agree with all your points!

But lets face it, rail is basically very very big buses running on very low congestion roads.

It is mis-managed in every aspect and someone should start to do something about it!

What i hate it when the rail shuts down part of the network for track improvements, there is a public out cry, and yet when something goes wrong, people blame them for not doing it!


Dr Jekyll
11th May 2004, 22:20

Modern buses my well cause little pollution, but not all buses are modern. Incidentally the average bus load is 9 passengers so the nitrogen dioxide figures you quote are actually an argument for using cars instead. Or would be, if the level of pollutants was high enough to cause any problems, which it isn't. The only pollutant which comes close to reaching the levels necessary to cause health problems are PM10'S. 75% of these come from industry, and most of the remainder from elderly diesel engines.

If the "projected" traffic increases can't be accommodated on the road network, they won't happen. People drive because it's convenient, if congestion increases to the point where alternatives are preferable, they will use them.


You say there is paranoia over safety when comparing road to rail, and mention the 3,500 people a year killed on the roads. But in terms of either passenger miles or freight miles, over 15 times as much travel takes place on the roads as on rail. So if rail and road were equally safe the yearly rail death toll would be around the 200 mark. The actual figure is over 300.

11th May 2004, 22:35
My point precisely.

Cost of a life on the road about £500,000 for safety improvements

Cost of a life on the railway for safety improvements £2m (if memory serves me right), but 'high profile' accidents about £10m

Our highest accident risks are now coming out from things such as vehicle incursions onto the railway (Great Heck), misuse of Level Crossings, and bridge strikes.

Protection of the railway from vehicle incursions is being borne primarily by the railway industry as apparantly its 'our' problem !

Replacement of over-rail bridges to take heavier lorries is again 'our' problem !

The true cost of the use of lorries can be seen on the new Birmingham Northern Relief Road. These people obviously charge the true costs of road maintenance, hence no real influx of lorries.

Look at Coach accidents. How many can you 'just' recall from the memory?

Many more people have died in coach crashes than on the Railway yet no hand-wringing by the Media, no senior managers brought to Public Inquiries, no questions in the house, no slanted and inaccurate media coverage, no one-sided TV documentaries.

The Railway figures are adjusted to make statistical comparison valid. You would need to talk to the Rail Safety & Standards Board to obtain the correct comparison.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
11th May 2004, 22:51
the yearly rail death toll would be around the 200 mark. The actual figure is over 300.

300? I think you are being more than a tad disengenuous! Your figures must include suicides and other non-passsenger deaths, if correct. In many years, there are no rail passenger deaths at all. here are some of the bad years:

10 May 2002: Potters Bar; 7 deaths.

28 February 2001: Great Heck; 10 deaths (this was actually a road accident that caused train passenger deaths!)

17 October 2000: Hatfield; 4 deaths

5 October 1999: Ladbroke Grove, Paddington; 31 deaths

Each of these accidents was major headline news for months - many still feature in the headlines. How many road 'accidents' merit more than a mention in the local paper, if that?

Compare even these bad years (never mind the the better years!) to 3 to 4 thousand a year dead on the roads, and hundereds of thousands injured.

There is just no comparison between rail and road passenger/driver fatalities and injury; hardly surprising if you even stop to think about it for more than a nanosecond. I just wish the Health & safety people would haul that on board and either get real, or start levelling some of their silly OTT standards at road transport as well as rail. That'd stop them - nothing would move on UK roads for years if they tried that!


11th May 2004, 23:06
I cannot reconcile your figures at all.

I attach a link to the latest Railway Safety report for the Year 2002/3.

Railway Safety Performance Report 2002/3 (http://www.rssb.co.uk/pdf/reports/Annual%20Safety%20Performance%20Report%202002-03.pdf)

11th May 2004, 23:15
Not all buses are modern! yes you are correct, i think i answered this point already! Operators lact the money to invest due to the low levels of passengers and the high overhead costs! the low number of passenger is due to th low cost of running a car!

The projected road traffic increases can be accommodated, just not in the time scale that most people wish to travel! Resulting in a longer peak period and increased pollution! Which you believe is not really a problem, except your incorrect! PM10 is very low on modern buses, so we can forget that arguement.

Oh and how can other more sustainable forms of transport (buses) become more attractive to the private car motorist if the bus is stuck in the same traffic jam as his/her car would be? Bus priority measures are not very popular, owing to the fact that most people use vehicles and public opinion of bus piority measures including reducing road capacity, removel of verges, narrowing of footpaths, removal of on street parking, to provide a bus lane for 6 bhp only carrying 10 passengers, is very low.

Its a circle, and in the end things will not change!

Dr Jekyll
12th May 2004, 00:35
I was replying to a claim that:

"There is a paranoia in the public mind over safety when comparing road to rail. We kill over 3,500 people a year on our roads."

The 3500 figure is for ALL road deaths, so naturally (if you think about it for more than a nanosecond(!)) the only way to make a comparison is to take the corresponding figure for railways, IE all rail deaths. Of course this includes suicides and non passenger deaths. Do you think the 3500 doesn't?

I have better thing to do at midnight than to argue with those who prefer personal abuse to fact checking so I haven't read all through Bletchleys document yet. But a glance at page 312 might be of interest. The document also admits that buses and coaches are safer than trains even in terms of passenger deaths.

Wee Weasley Welshman
12th May 2004, 09:12
These debates are always fascinating. But reality is that BUSES ARE RUBBISH.

I don't want to sit next to the general public - they are foul. I don't want to hang around dodgy half vandalised bus stops stinking of urine. For a bus jerkily driven that is either hot and stuffy or drafty and cold. Which takes an interminably long route to where I want to go - without a radio or my CD collection. I can't fart, pick my nose or swerve off the road for a snickers as I please. I'm unlikely to get mugged in my car, have to listen to the gutter mouth sqwaking of a gaggle of hooded teenagers - nor is my girlfriend going to be quietly terrified of being molested on her nightime journey.

It doesn't matter how cheap, how frequent or how clean you make them. It doesn't matter if they are quicker than driving and I don't give a stuff about the pollution aspect as:

a) I personally dump about 200 tons of kerosene into the atmosphere a month

b) Every Chinaman is currently hell bent on trading up from Rickshaw/Moped/Small car to Moped/Small Car/Mercedes S Class.

c) I happen to have noticed that the quality of air in Britains cities is now better than at any time since James Watt invented his moving kettle!

We should stop wasting infrastructure and money on supplying multiple forms of transport. Admit the car is unbeatable and focus everything on making it work as slickly as possible. Start by tearing up those infernal bus lanes then start work on the traffic signaling which is ludicruously simple (i.e. a simple blind timer device).

Then start tackling the rush hour. Encourage flexible working policys at places of work. My girlfriend does 9.45 - 6.00 in an office specifically to avoid the worst of the rush hour. Yet only 12% of the workforce is offered any kind of flexibility in working hours. This could make a HUGE impact for minimal cost. Then double the number of multistorey car parks - something like 20% of all cars in town centres are driving around looking for a parking space - bingo!

There are too many trendy left wing eco faddish unionised interests allowed to affect transport strategy in this country and they are having a seriously negative impact on both our productivity and our quality of life. Enough is enough.



Shaggy Sheep Driver
12th May 2004, 09:47
The 3500 figure is for ALL road deaths, so naturally (if you think about it for more than a nanosecond(!)) the only way to make a comparison is to take the corresponding figure for railways, IE all rail deaths. Of course this includes suicides and non passenger deaths. Do you think the 3500 doesn't?

Unfortunatly, jumping out in front of a train is a common form of suicide. It doesn't make the railways any less safe for the users, but it bumps up the figures of 'absolute' rail deaths. Fortunatly, we also have the death figures that matter - the deaths of innocent passengers caused by railway accidents, and they are very low indeed. Hardly any at all, compared to road deaths, and in some years, litterally none at all.

Are you saying that almost all the annual deaths on the roads are suicides, as they are on the railways? if you are claiming like-for-like, that's what you are implying. I don't know the proportion of suicide to accident death on roads, but experience of using the roads and seeing a lot of carnage suggests the suicide element is probably so low as to be almost non existant compared to the 'accident' deaths.

To try to claim that rail is as dangerous to travel on as road means you will have to try to claim that black is white.


Dr Jekyll
12th May 2004, 18:25
I am not saying that rails are as dangerous to travel on as roads, I didn't say anything that could possibly be interpreted as that.

What I was talking about was total rail deaths as opposed to total road deaths. If you think that is an invalid comparison then point that out to Bletchley, he was the one who quoted the 3500 total road deaths figure, so he or she obviously felt it was relevant.

Neither did I say that most road deaths are suicides, the fact is that nobody knows how many of the 3500 deaths are suicides, but that doesn't stop the anti car lobby quoting the figure when it suits them.

Your statement about the relative numbers of suicides on rail as opposed to road is simply begging the question.

(I only personally knew one person who was killed on a railway, and he was with a group of friends taking a shortcut across the line, so suicide seems unlikely. Nobody I know has ever been killed on the road. )

You can't just say "I know railways are safer because most of the deaths are suicides, I know most of the deaths are suicides because railways are obviously safer, they must be safer because most of the deaths are suicides etc etc etc."

12th May 2004, 21:56

The figure of 3500 road deaths applies to those killed in road accidents.

I must now apologise as the exact figure for 2002 is 3431.

Source : - http://www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk/statistics.htm

In the same period there were 52 public fatalities on the UK National railway network.

Unfortunately the only comparison figures I have to hand are those for 2001.

In that year the figures per billion miles travelled for each mode were:-
Road 8.2
Rail 0.2

Source : - http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200203/cmhansrd/vo021120/text/21120w16.htm


OK that's fine except for the fact that oil is starting to run out, pollution and exhaust fumes are major issues to many of the world population, and there is a limit to how much you can continue to spend on covering the UK in tarmac.

I may be wrong but your comments seem to suggest that you hardly, if ever use public transport....If I am wrong then I apologise.

However your comments do not apply solely to travel. They apply to ANY location where groups of people congregate

My girlfriend does 9.45 - 6.00 in an office specifically to avoid the worst of the rush hour. Yet only 12% of the workforce is offered any kind of flexibility in working hours. This could make a HUGE impact for minimal cost. Then double the number of multistorey car parks - something like 20% of all cars in town centres are driving around looking for a parking space - bingo!

Good for her but haven't you just seriously shot yourself in the foot with this comment?

There are too many trendy left wing eco faddish unionised interests allowed to affect transport strategy in this country and they are having a seriously negative impact on both our productivity and our quality of life.

Starts to demonstrate a lack of knowledge as to the current political situation in respect of transport issues I suspect

Dr Jekyll
12th May 2004, 22:33

If you really believe there were only 52 "public" fatalities on the railways in 2002, I suggest you check the appendix of the report you yourself posted.

12th May 2004, 22:40
First off let’s get some facts straight. We are not running out of oil. We have run out of the easy to find oil, that’s true, but there are still huge reserves of oil left in the world. There are huge oil fields in Alaska, Siberia, China and in many offshore sites that have yet to be drilled. I know this about China for a fact, my company found them.

We are rapidly running out of refinery capacity. There has not been a new major refinery built in the United States in the last 30 years. It’s the old NIMBY problem (Not In My Back Yard).

Government regulations are all but crippling the oil and gas industry in the United States. It cost my company over $20,000,000.00 USD (yes that is 20 million) to drill a deep natural gas well, over 25% of that cost is to comply with ever increasing strict government environmental regulations.

Taxation, especially in Europe and increasingly in the US, has raised prices more than any other factor. If one would take inflation into account we are still paying considerably less for a gallon of gasoline now than in the 1980s. (Yeah, I know, it’s hard to accept that fact when you fill the tank up and look at the cost.)

The most important thing to now is prohibiting oil (crude oil that can be refined for gasoline, diesel or jet fuel) from being used for anything but transportation. Too many electrical power plants, factories and private homes are being powered and heated by oil. There are many alternate fuel sources available, natural gas being the best.

However in closing I have to say one more thing. I do not have any sympathy for anyone who buys bottled designer water and drinks it when they complain about the price of gasoline.

12th May 2004, 22:42
ACCIDENTAL DEATHS dear chap, suicides and staff fatalities excluded.

Please refer to page 198, Clause 8.2

I have not quoted suicides or staff deaths for roads as we are talking about Public fatalities.

Con Pilot

Unesco disagree with you.

Link (http://www.unesco.org/imc/mmap/pdf/prod-lindgren-oil-e.pdf)

So does the Washington Post

Link (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21535-2004May12.html)

This US Government website think there is a problem as well

Link (http://geopubs.wr.usgs.gov/open-file/of00-320/of00-320.pdf)

12th May 2004, 23:20

You have advanced some strong arguments in favour of public transport and in particular rail. You do not need the contention that 'the world is running out of oil' to support them. Con-pilot is right - there is no reason to suppose that oil is becoming scarce. The UNESCO and US Govt websites (an open access forum, I note) both quote the same dodgy forecasts.

12th May 2004, 23:44
Thank you for the compliment.

I purely stated what is a common suggestion. These websites appear to back this up.

A brief search has produced mixed results with a split between those saying there will be an oil shortage with those saying that there won't be.

I don't know enough about the oil situation and haven't the time to research this to enter that particular debate.

I will accept your premise that there is sufficient oil.

By the way what is the issue with an open access forum?

Wee Weasley Welshman
13th May 2004, 10:43
Trains only go to certain places and not many of them. I have already explained why BUSES ARE RUBISH.

Unless you live in London you need a car even if you do try to use public transport wherever possible. This being the case we should maximise the use of this machine and not try to build others in the form of buses and mini-buses and trams and all the other pallava that people with beards on planning committees dream up.

Build a load more multi storey car parks, build more town bypasses, introduce computer controlled sensor equipped road signaling, encourage flexible working hours, introduce congestion charging in the largest cities, continue to drive car makers to make ever greener cars, spend some proper money on driving training, introduce random drugs testing for drivers and remove all taxes on the purchase and use of moped/scooters.

And tear up all those ridiculous bus lanes and raise all speed limits by 20mph as long as not near a school.



Send Clowns
13th May 2004, 13:34
Bletchley - why exclude staff? Don't they count? You would perhaps agree with the people who want £1 billion to be spent putting in a "safety" system for which the expectation worker fatalities in installing the system is greater than the expectation number of lives saved.

13th May 2004, 13:44
Wee Weasley Welshman, there are a large number of people who do manage without a car. I would rather not see the whole placed tarmacced just because you do not with to come into contact with the public.

13th May 2004, 14:19

We need to look at getting people to take fewer journeys, I feel.

Lets use my place of work as an example. There are over 1500 people in the building. We have a car park for 500 cars and it is invariably full to capacity by 9am and this forces people working here to clog the surrounding residential streets (which were designed in the 19th century). My place of work is an office block. It has no customer facing operation or production operation on site. So what we have are 1500 people who could feasibly do their job from home.

I am sure that this situation is repeated hundreds of not thousands of times around the UK.

We live in a society where you take a phone call or send e-mail from almost anywhere. The Internet is accessible in the North Pole, the South Pole and most points in between. So why do I have to travel 12 miles a day to sit at a desk in a large brick box with windows talking to people the length and breadth of the UK who are also sat at a desk in a brick box with windows?

So here is an idea incentivise companies to move office workers as much as possible into their homes.

So what do you and others think?



Wee Weasley Welshman
13th May 2004, 15:03
BHR - I agree, for a change ;) and I not BT have today announced that they both intend to slash broad band prices and have it rolled out to 97% of the population by Mid 2005.

Surely - surely - there a lots of office based jobs that could be done totally at home, partially out of hours or partly at home via broadband?

The win for the company being reduced office overhead - the win for the employee being less commute coverhead.

Seems more credible to me than spending billions of tram systems hardly anyone uses - park and rides that are only useful on Saturdays, bus lanes the slow down the rest of the traffic and 'traffic calming' that does nothing of the sort and knackers ambulances/fire engines/police cars.



13th May 2004, 16:57
Hi Bletchley, I stand by my statement.

If one remembers back to the late 1960s through the mid 70’s these same so called experts were totally convinced that the world was running out of natural gas. The government experts were so worried about this assumption that very strict laws were passed to limit the use of natural gas. This law was so restrictive that the gaslight that people had in the front of their homes had to be turned off and/or replaced with electrical lights. By law no electrical power plant could use natural gas for fuel. New factories over a certain square footage were prohibited from using natural gas for heating, etc.

Now was there a shortage? Well it depended on where one lived. If you lived in an oil and gas producing state there was no shortage, hell we had gas running out of our ears and dirt cheap to boot. However, if one lived on the east coast, coincidently where Washington DC is, there was a definite shortage of natural gas. Now why was this?

The answer in a nutshell was over government regulation. At that time the price of natural gas sold ‘inter-state’ was cost controlled. The price allowed by the law was too low for the natural gas producers to make any profit, in fact inter-state gas was sold at a loss. So guess what, the natural gas producers in the oil and gas states stopped selling gas inter-state. The government told the natural gas companies that they ‘had’ to sell gas inter-state. This so infuriated the Governor of Louisiana that he threatened to use the National Guard to shut down the pipelines running out of Louisiana. (He actually threatened to blow up the pipelines.)

So the next conclusion the government experts jumped to was that the world was running out of natural gas. They had to be right; they couldn’t get natural gas in Washington DC right? So we had to be running out of natural gas. The government experts, who had never produced a gallon of oil or a single cubic foot of natural gas, asked the major “Oil” companies if the world was running out of natural gas. Well surprise, surprise the major “Oil” companies came back and said, “Yup, we sure are, buy more oil!”

Now, are we going through an ‘artificial’ period of oil shortage? It is hard to say. OPEC controls the price of crude oil. They control the price by adjusting the oil flowage from their respective countries. Trust me, OPEC is not restricting the flow of oil because of a fear of running out. No it is profit motivation only.

I live in one of the top producing oil and gas states in the United States. We are discovering new fields nearly every day. Some are in new areas and many are in old thought to be played out areas. The key is that the resources are deeper and because we have to drill deeper the cost is much higher.

As I stated previously in this thread it costs my company $20,000,000.00 to drill one deep natural gas well. We drill to excess of 20,000 feet; the last well we brought on line was drilled to 24,350 feet, this well is producing 10,000,000 cubic feet a day. For the pilot types the next time you are at FL240 look straight down and you can get an idea how deep that is to drill a well.

Anyway, I have gone on long enough. I stand by my statement.

Thank you.

13th May 2004, 18:26
I excluded staff because the comparison is for PUBLIC fatalities, therefore the correct comparator is road users versus rail passengers.

A proper look at my post would have elicited that information.

As to staff deaths well surprise for you I do actually care...I knew two people who were killed on the track. I have been out to many fatalities on the track....and removed the remains

The memory never leaves you

As to the actual increase in track worker fatalities installing safety systems, well as I said in my original post there is a paranoia over public safety. The media have no apparent interest that more staff are likely to be killed than public lives saved, as presumably staff don't count when you are selling newspapers.

The sad fact is that it is now totally impossible for a balanced approach to be taken because of the inability of most of the media to understand the issue (or indeed want to).

To this you need to add the often unbalanced, inaccurate, and sometimes downright wrong reports that are placed by journalists who don't want to let the truth spoil a good story.

This situation is exacerbated by various people who immediately jump onto any bandwagon that starts rolling following an accident.

Add to that the army of legal people who are quite happy to second guess the decisions of people sometimes made at the sharp end, whilst in the comfort of an office, fully rested presumably, not cold, tired, or hungry, or under pressure because of the legalistic environment that this self same group has imposed upon all railway operations nowadays.

Isn't it interesting as well that Great Heck (which was caused by a road vehicle) killed 10, whilst Potters Bar was 7 and Hatfield was 4.

We hear practically nothing about Great Heck...no clamouring for the folks who designed and built the motorway for their failures, for the highway authorities who stopped a safety barrier short of a over-rail bridge, etc, etc.

The cynic in me wonders why...maybe it was because there were more 'railway' people killed than public ?, there were no media types to vent their spleen?, it was caused by a road user ?.

Yes I accept that the tw*t was punished, and quite rightly to but the only remedial action was felt to be the responsibility of the railway industry. Extrapolated out this suggests that if they build a motorway or trunk road past your house, that it is for you to pay for the protective measures to prevent a road vehicle running into your house !!

con pilot

My original post was based upon information that I had read. Having made further more searching inquiries I accept that you are in fact correct and that I was wrong in that aspect.

I must admit to being surprised at the amount of oil that is actually available, albeit more difficult to get at and more expensive to produce.

Send Clowns
13th May 2004, 18:41
I realise you had remained at public fatalities, but why? You fail to justify that this is the "correct" figure to use. Every track worker is also a member of the public, so if considering the statistical safety of the system they muct also be included. Otherwise for an equivalent comparison (i.e. to look at individual risk, a measure of how safe those using the transport would be) you would have to remove pedestrians, road workers and traffic police from the road-death figures. I do agree that the danger of rail travel is exagerated greatly by the press, but in order to make a realistic case for this you must justify the figures used.

13th May 2004, 19:37
Going back to the subject of protests due to the increase in petrol costs. While the price of a gallon of crude has increased from $25 to $40, the actual value of the $ has decreased by approximately 30% (my estimate). So can anyone please tell me the cost of a barrel of crude in Euro/GBP over the last couple of years.



13th May 2004, 19:54
I would have to agree with con pilot that we won't be running out of oil any time soon. Here in Alberta we probably have close to the same amount of oil that Saudi Arabia has. The problem is that it is either very deep beneath the foothills and mountains, or tied up in the oil sands. It is easy to get at some of the oil sand seams as they are literally on the surface, but all of them plunge to a few kilometres or more underground sooner or later. Imagine a bottle of syrup mixed with sand in your fridge, and you will have an idea of how viscous the oil sands are and why it is so hard and expensive to pump out of the ground. The stuff is virtually a solid at normal temperatures. There are several projects underway to find cheap and practical methods to get it out, but all are still experimental. These reserves are far closer to the North American markets than anything from the Middle East is.

It would be nice if the governments around here stopped taxing oil and gas so much. Currently they tax gasoline several times over and tax taxes already charged. I think people are quite right to be protesting these prices/taxes, but a good point was raised about where the governments would make up the lost revenue.

Everyone is talking about how oil is used for fuel in vehicles, for heating and powerplants, but there is very little said about plastics. Most of these come from oil and there seems to be a rather large demand for plastic toys and gadgets these days. If I am to believe my organic chem prof from university there are some people making wine using alcohol from hydrocarbons too...


Lance Murdoch
13th May 2004, 21:33
Plastics can be made from natural gas as can diesel fuel and Avtur. Indeed in Johannesburg they make Avtur (jet fuel) from coal.
As con pilot says there is alot of oil in the ground but its becoming harder to extract, harder meaning more expensive. This means there could be a global shortage of oil until the technology is available to extract the less accessible reserves. Therefore the days of really cheap oil have gone for probably about ten years. This will probably not hit the developed world that hard but it probably will slow growth in the developing world. This in itself could cause alot of problems.
No matter how much oil is in the ground it will run out one day. It would be wise to postpone that day for as long as possible.

13th May 2004, 22:11
I hate to appear rude or arrogant but...

1 The figure of 3431 comes from the UK National Statisics office.

2 Deaths of people AT WORK on the road are NOT included.

3 Neither are suicides included.

The source is Link (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/STATBASE/ssdataset.asp?vlnk=7250&More=Y)

Track workers are NOT members of the public. They work in areas where there is no public access. They are also at work, whereas that is not the case for a large majority of rail passengers.

I trust that this is suitable justification of the figures.

If you specifically want a detailed statistical analysis I can arrange for any form of data you could ever want via the Rail Safety & Standards Board.

I am not sure where you are trying to take this.

My original post was primarily aimed at explaining why rail travel is so much more expensive than road, and to air publicly the absolute paranoia and madness that pervades our risk averse society.

The whole fact that gets overlooked by practically everybody in the media is that rail travel is very price sensitive in comparison to cars.

The media scream about any PUBLIC death on the railway, except when it has been caused by a member of the public...or a road user. Questions are asked in 'the House' by either complete morons with a view on their personal rating, or by those with vested interestes or hidden agendas.

These questions usually get answered by another complete fool along the lines, and using such phrases as 'must never happen again...responsibility...culpability....management failures...systematic failures....prosecution...accountability..(not his or hers by the way)...etc, etc.

The local County Police manage to get involved these days...they completely lack of knowledge of anything to do with railways, this coupled with their usual 'let's nick somebody...anybody will do' attitude causes mayhem as well as risking the preservation of evidence.

Their interference can be lethal. A few tales if I may.

Luton 1975 - Two trains collided, Plod arrived on the scene and went to the signalbox. They interfered with the Signalman's attempts to prevent the approach of other trains, threats of arrest, etc.

Southall 1997 - Two trains collided. Plod sealed off the scene and prevented specialist railway staff from accessing the scene to gather critical perishable evidence. This has happened several times in my career.

They did the usual finger tip search..why? they don't know what they are looking for !

Their interference resulted in a vital piece of on-train equipment nearly being thrown into the recovered track ballast wagons !.

Hatfield - High Speed derailment - Plod arives seals the scene off, usualf finger tip search. Wont allow anybody from the railway industry on site. We are desperate to get on site to establish cause. They 'decide' it was a bomb (remember that?). After several days at last we are allowed onto site. Within minutes we have established that the cause was a catastrophic rail failure. We could have pointed this out immediately on the afternoon of the accident, but no Plod must get his three days of glory.

Meanwhile we have a major problem existing whilst they crawl around.

2002 Hitchin - A person jumps in front of a nothbound High Speed train. Splattered everywhere. Plod arrive on scene and ARREST the Driver, and breath test him. The test is positive so they arrest and immediately take him away to plod lair. They then find that the test equipment is faulty.

Within the last few weeks a train suffered a very slow speed collision with the buffer stops at a terminal station. The Driver was dragged away under arrest and breath tested by local plod who just happened to be passing. This was BEFORE the Driver was even able to alert the Signalman about the accident. Hence NOBODY knew what had happened.

Discussions about co-ordination usually get nowhere. Thank God that at Potters Bar the Railway Police took control. We were on site with them very quickly, established what was the cause and urgent inspections commenced within hours.

The media then leap onto the bandwagon, print (usually) a load of garbage that is totally inaccurate or misleading. This is fed to the public in soundbite sized chunks.

Safety 'professionals' with no experience in management at the sharp end let alone experience in railways are then paraded and dribble out their own perverse logic. All theory no practical

My learned idiots then become involved with their text book view of how life really is.

Some senior person (usually a non-entity) and certainly no-one with any experience in railways is appointed to hold a Public Inquiry. We spend months trying to get them to understand how the railway works and the complex interfaces that are now involved. Usually they miss the point, fixate on some minor issue. This is blown out of all proportion and suddenly ends up as a 'recomendation' that we then have to try to apply.

Nobody dare say look this was a 'cock-up' because someone failed or made a mistake, hence the problem. We have to have god knows how many 'Recommendations' to prove that someone is taking all this seriously.

These 'Recommendations' cost a lot of money. This puts ticket prices up. More people travel by road. Road deaths INCREASE.

The increase in raod deaths is greater than the deaths likely to be caused by a repeat of a similar accident.

We know that road deaths caused by people transferring from rail to road increased as a result of the work and cost of installing TPWS.

I believe that we are near to the point at which the number of deaths saved by TPWS has been exceeded by the number of deaths on the roads.

Money spent on TPWS would have been used to renew signalling systems which are in desperate need of renewal. If one of those seriously goes down...well...........

And all this because a few vocal idiots in the media, compounded by Politicians looking towards their popularity statistics, egged on by those emotionally involved in the debate have won the day.

May the additional people that they have killed, and will kill, RIP.

13th May 2004, 23:12
On the subject of how much oil there is, con-pilot's first post was closest to the mark. There are a lot of unexploited or new oilfields around the world. As well as the oildfields con-pilot mentions, there are also oilfields along the west coast of Africa and in Chad. There is a lot of money to be made from oil: this pprune thread (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?threadid=121883) shows the kind of hardball some people are prepared to play.

The cost of extracting the oil is still low. In Saudi Arabia, costs have been estimated at around 6 US cents per barrel. Texas oil is some of the most expensive to produce but only when oil prices fell below $14 a barrel did a few producers close. Now, at $40 a barrel, you can imagine the profits some are making. This explains the hardball in Africa and, dare I say it, Iraq.

OK, I haven't looked at exploration costs, but you get my drift.

So, no shortage and no significant cost increase.

Con-pilot's second post is interesting as well. He recalls the exaggeration in the 1970s of oil shortages. I've read the same stuff recently from people who should know better. Maybe there's a little misinformation going on to get the world to accept a $40 dollar oil price.

Bletchley's last post has been thoroughly documented by a number of sources, including the trade magazine Modern Railways. He might like to give us his views on the role of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The government appears to be considering replacing the HSE's role in rail safety with an expanded Office of Rail Regulation, based on the model of the CAA.
I'm sure there's a few knowledgible people on this forum who might want to make a few comments.

Send Clowns
14th May 2004, 00:02

Why is the incidental death of a railway worker less important than the death of a pedestrian? Unless you include workers you are not comparing like with like. You are removing them because they have uncommon access, therefore your statistics relate to the risk to passengers, rather than the overall death rate caused by rail travel. You are not comparing this with like statistics on the road, though, as you are including people who are not road passengers, therefore your statistics do not relate directly to the risk to road travellers, but include some of the risk to those not travelling by road.

I am taking this no further than to point out that your statistical analysis is flawed. That is not uncommon, nearly all conclusions taken from statistics miss some important factor.

14th May 2004, 00:54
Exactly what part of PUBLIC fatality rate do you NOT understand ????

If you bothered to look at the link I posted you would have seen that pedestrian fatalities are included in road deaths but NOT ROAD WORKERS.

Rail fatalities include people who are not struck by trains but (for example) fall down steps or are on the railway (and that includes stations and other public areas) legitimately. For example a person shoppiong at Liverpool Street who falls down the stairs and dies is treated as a railway accident, as is someone walking from one side of the station to the other even though they are not intending to use the railway.

This whole issue started out because someone made a post with outrageous figures. You cannot compare total railway fatalities including staff unless you also establish total road fatalities and that would include road workers who are NOT in the 3431 figure quoted.

Any dispute as to statistical analysis needs to be diverted to the National Statisics Office.

Please do READ the links and statistcal basis of the figures first.

Your comments are totally inappropriate. I have had to deal with the results of staff fatalities thank you very much, so comments such as Why is the incidental death of a railway worker less important than the death of a pedestrian are not well received.

Wee Weasley Welshman
14th May 2004, 08:55
Army on petrol revolt standby....




Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th May 2004, 10:08

Your link leads to a registration page.

But if it points to an article that indicates this weasly government is actually going to stomp hard this time on these self-interested, selfish protesters who would 'cherry pick' the tax system, then that's excellent news:ok:

Bletchley: Thank you for your informative and insightful posts on this thread.


Send Clowns
14th May 2004, 10:53

What I don't understand is the relevace of public fatality rates. They have no statistical meaning as a comparrison. The road death toll otherwise contains a relatively high proportion of people uninvolved in road travel, due to the close proximity of pedestrians and cars. Therefore you are not comparing like figures. If you are going to use statistics, you must be extremely careful of what hypothesis you wish to test, and careful of the meaning of the statistics. Are you trying to test if it is safer for an individual to travel by rail, or whether the overall good is served better by rail, in terms of deaths?

14th May 2004, 12:20
as is someone walking from one side of the station to the other even though they are not intending to use the railway.

SC, is not Bletchleys comment just about as equivilant to your

The road death toll otherwise contains a relatively high proportion of people uninvolved in road travel,

14th May 2004, 15:24
Once again I must ask you to READ the information in the link in my earlier post.

Put simply.

If you travel on the public highway your chances of being killed are 8.2 per billion miles travelled. This means that 8 people will be killed for every 1 billion miles travelled by road.

If you travel by train your chances of being killed are 0.2 per billion miles travelled. This means that 1 person will be killed for every 5 billion miles travelled by road.

This is what is known as the public fatality rate. It allows a straight comparison to be made between different modes of transport.

Dr Jekyll introduced an unattributable statistic into the debate. The whole premise of this statistic was inaccurate. Throwing worker fatalities into the equation is all well and good provided that you also do the same for the road figures.

The published road figures DO NOT include fatalities to persons engaged at work on the highway infrastructure. Therefore it is a pointless exercise to include railway staff fatalities.

Staff fatalities do not in any way impact upon your safety as a rail passenger, a situation similar to the situation in that a fatality to a road worker will not impact your safety as a road user.

I have NOT included pedestrians in any of my figures so therefore this 'normalises' the figures and allows a straight comparison to be made.

you must be extremely careful of what hypothesis you wish to test, and careful of the meaning of the statistics

My figures are taken from the UK National Statistics office. You have a link to them. Questions as to the statistical validity of THEIR figures must be referred to them. I cannot answer for them as to the detailed composition of their figures.

Are you trying to test if it is safer for an individual to travel by rail, or whether the overall good is served better by rail, in terms of deaths?

The statistics again referred to above demonstrate that it is far safer to travel by rail than it is by road. It is 40 times more dangerous to be a road user (vehicle driver/pasenger) than to be on a train.

In actual fact because ALL deaths on railway property are classed as Public deaths, the figures are skewed against railways because in many cases the people concerned were not passengers nor were they intending to travel. They had been using the station for other reasons, e. g to meet someone, to go to a shop on a station, walking across the station to go from one side of town to the other.

The discussion has now moved on to debate whether the number of deaths on the road has increased owing to a transfer of travellers to road on the basis of the higher cost that safety now imposes on rail travellers.

We know that the installation of more and more safety systems and equipment increase rail operating costs and that the only way this money can be recovered is via the farebox.

I believe that we now have sufficient evidence to demonstrate that there has been a transfer away from rail of some passengers, who have elected to use road as it is a cheaper alternative to their proposed rail journey. In some cases this decision also includes an element of laziness in that people are intolerant of extensions to their rail journeys whilst lines are closed for the installation of safety equipment, or rolling stock is withdrawn with the resultant overcrowding issue.

I suggest that the number of people now killed as a result of this transfer from rail is higher than the number of lives saved through the installation of this equipment.

My overall point is that the present regime within which railways operate will always militate against the railway system as safety has become a media and Political issue rather than the exercise of appropriate sound judgement.

As with most railwaymen I would be glad for this IF the debate was on a proper footing and not driven by emotional, inaccurate or totally misleading hype, made worse by the interference of Politicians who in general do not (and mostly) cannot understand the issues. Their input is always made with an eye on the ratings and the national press, and is inevitably short term in its application.

Send Clowns
14th May 2004, 19:28
Yes, under-exposed, but the proportion in the road toll is much higher due to the greater number of people walking near roads. This makes the comparrison seriously skewed. I don't think that any of the statistics so far quoted or linked to can be compared.


If I can decipher your grammar correctly, you still seem to be of the opinion that the rate of death of people travelling by road is 8.2 per billion passenger miles, which is just not true. This is a figure for hte total road-death toll, which includes pedestrians (the statistics you quote specifically state this). I agree (and have said so before) that rail travel is safer than car travel for the traveller, but if you are going to argue that you must use equivalent statistics, the fact that the office for national statistics uses poor technique doesn't make this any more valid.

14th May 2004, 23:18
the fact that the office for national statistics uses poor technique doesn't make this any more valid

Thank you and good night.

I see no relevance in discussing this further for two reasons, firstly I am away to Europe for the next week, and secondly it is just a waste of time. As I said before if you have an issue with the statistics then call the National Statistics Office, don't keep arguing with me. I don't calculate them.

I would point out that unless you are a statistical mathematician you are liklely to find your self getting short shrift. Nobody else seems to have a problem and their figures are used by all Government Departments, as well as being quoted in Parliament.

Thanks, I try to be one of the good guys !

Check your PM

Billy The Squid
15th May 2004, 06:54
Now I consider myself to be an environmentalist. I recycle everything I can from newspapers to cardboard and plastics, I switch off lights I am not using and use as little water as I can.

Yet I drive my car around 70 miles a day at least...why?, because I live in the country and the bus company doesn't think it worth operating through my village at the times I am leaving for work. My nearest rail station is five miles away and even if I were to use that I would have to commute into London to come all the way out again (making my journey 3 times longer than it is now), because that's the way our innefficient nodal railway system works.

So I do object to paying so much tax for my fuel, and ever increasing road tax, when fewer than 25% of it is spent on the roads and even less on public transport.

Where does the rest go I wonder?........:* :* :*