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ZeBedie
29th Oct 2013, 18:32
I like trains, especially steam, but the HS2 debate has got me wondering:

We have inherited our railways from the Victorians, who built them when there was no alternative available. Now, we have a choice of railway or motorway so is there actually any need for railways?

Taxation on road vehicles and fuel exceeds the cost of maintaining the road network. Our first new toll motorway was built with private money, as an investment.
Railways, on the other hand, need ongoing massive government support. There can be no doubt that road is cheaper than rail.

Were told that railways are green, but do the calculations take into account the pollution generated by the massive maintenance effort required to keep a railway safe? We're told that domestic flights are bad, but look at the infrastructure required, compared to HS2.

Maybe we should use the routes of the railways to build more motorways?

N707ZS
29th Oct 2013, 19:00
What would we do with all of the freight ZeBedie? Millions of tonnes go by uk railways.

west lakes
29th Oct 2013, 19:15
28 HGV loads here that can travel faster than it can on the roads
66424 Departs Barnwood Jct with the Daventry to Wentloog Tesco train - YouTube

or, about 2400T of oil when full

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e_JPKS6ENE

dat581
29th Oct 2013, 19:41
How are you going to get the massive commuter load in and out of London every day without them?

MG23
29th Oct 2013, 19:48
How are you going to get the massive commuter load in and out of London every day without them?

Let's see: maybe, if the government didn't take money from people who don't work in London to subsidize train travel for those who do, companies might end up moving out of London and spreading the wealth around a bit more?

Just a thought.

OFSO
29th Oct 2013, 20:42
There is only one thing wrong with British high-speed railways.

The French aren't planning, building, and running 'em.


(But - please - not the stations - the new three-story multi-carpark and shopping arcade TGV station ar Perpignan has no, repeat, no toilets, none whatsoever. The only place to pee is to wait for a TGV to pull in, hop on board and try to pee before it departs.)

dat581
29th Oct 2013, 20:46
Of coarse!! People in London don't pay tax! Only the rest if the country do!:rolleyes:

G-CPTN
29th Oct 2013, 21:12
IIRC, Milton Keynes was conceived to establish an alternative city where Londoners could move to and avoid paying top dollar for premises.

The towns of Bletchley, Wolverton and Stony Stratford and villages of Bradwell, Wavendon, Leadenhall, Shenley Church End, Crownhill, Wymbush, Loughton, Middleton, Netherfield, Oldbrook, Eaglestone, Fishermead, Stantonbury, Knowlhill, Walton Hall (and, of course, Milton Keynes) were amalgamated with a lattice of perpendicular roads.

Blues&twos
29th Oct 2013, 21:38
What about all the people who can't/don't drive? I had a serious eye injury a couple of years ago, I live in a rural location with no bus service. By good fortune I am only a 45 minu walk from a mainline station from which I was able to travel to work and my hospital appointmentsuntil my vision recovered. I'd have been buggered without the train, although it wasn't a cheap alternative to driving....

jimtherev
29th Oct 2013, 23:03
I like trains, especially steam, but the HS2 debate has got me wondering:

We have inherited our railways from the Victorians, who built them when there was no alternative available. Now, we have a choice of railway or motorway so is there actually any need for railways?

Ok, I'll bite.
Derby - London 128 miles. @0.45 per mile (Gov allowance for exes claim) this makes 115 per round trip.
Train return booked in advance 40 - 45.
If they can run trains in the middle of the day and offer this rate, I'll take the train every time. No-brainer!

Tankertrashnav
29th Oct 2013, 23:14
That turning railways into motorways argument was discredited years ago.

Go and look at your average twin track railway, and then go and have a look at an average 3 - lane motorway. Compare the widths. Maybe you could get away with buying up all the land on either side of the railway (and demolishing all the houses) to build your motorway, but what about when the railway inconveniently dives into a tunnel (or even a cutting)? The idea's a non-starter.

ShyTorque
29th Oct 2013, 23:33
Why can they not concentrate on running more trains on the existing track?

Our public services are in tatters, almost unfit for purpose. Why not spend the multi-billions on those instead?

dwshimoda
29th Oct 2013, 23:33
agreed... if you can book in advance.

Cheapest single tomorrow is 63.00 for a fixed ticket, 90 if you want an open one.

The trains CAN be amazing value if you book well in advance, but if not they are at best even with a car.

Now, add a couple of friends to the trip, and the train becomes prohibitively expensive, yet is designed to be a method of mass transport...

dwshimoda
29th Oct 2013, 23:37
To add to ShyTorque's comment:

Why is a Pendolino 5 carriages of First Class with barely a person in it, and 6 classes of Standard Class stuffed to the gunwales and with standing room only?

Loose rivets
30th Oct 2013, 00:16
I think trains for people should be banned.

I don't like the idea of being sold a ticket and then finding there's no seat.

I hate when it won't wait for me when I'm a mere 2 minutes late.

I don't like the idea of traveling at 100mph with no seat-belts, and SLF wandering about as thought they've never heard of Isac Newton.

I don't like traveling in a vehicle with wheels so close together it resembles a fat donkey with its bootlaces tied together.

I don't like being sneezed at in the morning.

I don't like being sneezed at in the afternoon, and I will not tolerate being sneezed at after teatime. Furthermore, when I tell people on a train not to do it, they sneeze at me with malice aforethought. I especially don't like that.

Gertrude the Wombat
30th Oct 2013, 00:20
Go and look at your average twin track railway, and then go and have a look at an average 3 - lane motorway. Compare the widths. Maybe you could get away with buying up all the land on either side of the railway (and demolishing all the houses) to build your motorway, but what about when the railway inconveniently dives into a tunnel (or even a cutting)? The idea's a non-starter.
But you can turn it into a misguided busway - The Busway - Home (http://www.thebusway.info/) - it wasn't wide enough to turn into a road.

Noah Zark.
30th Oct 2013, 00:24
Watched an excellent prog t'other night about Continental railway journeys, with Micheal Portillo as the talking head (as an aside, it's quite an informative and pleasant show) going by train to Gibralta.
I didn't realise that Spain has a similar railway system to the rest of Europe, i.e. ICE & TGV., and has had it for over twenty years.
The U.K. looks such a shambles by comparison.

P.S.
If anyone saw it, almost at the very end of the prog, he was in Algeciras, Southern Spain, and went into a hotel called Riena Cristina. Quite by chance, the Mem Sahib, self, and two friends sayed there for a holiday, long before the container port became established and ruined the atmos.
It was (and still looks) beautiful!

Krystal n chips
30th Oct 2013, 04:40
" We have inherited our railways from the Victorians, who built them when there was no alternative available. Now, we have a choice of railway or motorway so is there actually any need for railways?

Well done for the history lesson.....alas, you missed out some rather salient points as to later in the history of the rail network, but, no matter given the less than subtle sub-content and context of your post overall.

As an aside, maybe 1000 freight trains a day would suggest a need to you ?.

" Taxation on road vehicles and fuel exceeds the cost of maintaining the road network. Our first new toll motorway was built with private money, as an investment.

This would explain the excellent condition of the road surfaces on many of the UK roads then, the roadworks presumably being a job creation scheme and the innumerable pot holes being figments on my, and every other motorists imagination. Indeed, with so much revenue being generated to more than cover the costs, possibly the excess could be used in other areas of the economy, say the N.H.S for example.

The M6 Toll, a testimony to the siren call of privatisation and such an outstanding success story, the volume of traffic and returns on the investment seem to have an ever so slight disparity....in case you were unaware, which, lets face it, you are.

" Railways, on the other hand, need ongoing massive government support. There can be no doubt that road is cheaper than rail[/I].

The term you are looking for here is tax payer subsidy.

[I] Were told that railways are green, but do the calculations take into account the pollution generated by the massive maintenance effort required to keep a railway safe? We're told that domestic flights are bad, but look at the infrastructure required, compared to HS2.

Lets see. How about we simply apply the principles of Lean, or whatever the current vogue term is, and reduce the maintenance to the bare minimum. Obviously, there may be a few unfortunate injuries or fatalities due to accidents, but, overall, the cost savings would clearly negate the loss of life so we needn't get too concerned thereafter.

"Maybe we should use the routes of the railways to build more motorways

Are you by any chance a close relative of a now deceased politician by the name of Marples at all ?.....or a Mail columnist ?...your comment reminds me of a local non-entity councillor who, in his quest for fame and self-agradizement in the local rag, has proposed that a former track of about 30 miles be reinstated, electrified and all for a mere 230m !....what a bargain !. ...he's a Tory of course.

The fact that parts of said line are now expensive housing estates....nothing wrong with a spot of compulsory purchase here however, as I am sure you would be the first to agree, bridle and cycle ways, seems to have escaped said councillors notice let alone the inevitable increase in the construction budget.

Metro man
30th Oct 2013, 04:50
Imagine the congestion if everyone and everything that currently goes by train is forced onto the road network. Think of the expense necessary to increase the capacity of roads and extra maintenance required.

MG23
30th Oct 2013, 05:27
Imagine the congestion if everyone and everything that currently goes by train is forced onto the road network.

If there's congestion, it's because the British government has vastly underspent on roads over the last few decades.

When I last looked at the numbers, a few years ago, they were collecting about five times as much in motoring taxes as they spent on roads. Roads produce a massive profit, while railways still require subsidies to operate and probably always will.

OFSO
30th Oct 2013, 05:53
The Spanish train operator RENFE is on strike this week over plans to split it from state ownership and turn it into four private companies.

After seeing what happened in the UK, how could Madrid be so stupid ?

Noah, the Spanish had a superb high speed train far more than twenty years ago - the Talgo.

radeng
30th Oct 2013, 07:50
In the late 1960's the line from Swindon to Kemble was turned into single track. From Kemble onwards to Gloucester, it's double track. So over that 15 miles or so, you can get 4 trains an hour. Bear in mind that when the Severn Tunnel is closed for maintenance, the is the alternative route - the original line to Wales, which led to the jibe that GWR stood for 'Great Way Round'.

So in August, the line was shut for 3 weeks while they converted back to double track, at a reputed cost of around 45 million. Except they haven't got double track all the way, so the newly laid track (where it exists) is unused and the signalling hasn't yet been changed. There will, apparently, be another closure over Easter next year for them to ostensibly finish.

Hardly good planning. Then they will eventually have to close the line again to electrify it - otherwise, there's no service to Wales when the tunnel is closed. The bright ideas of Beeching, Marples and crew, combined with the BR management of the late 60's and early 70's has left us a legacy of railway problems.

I am still not convinced about the economic case for HS2, either.

Lon More
30th Oct 2013, 08:12
I wonder how much the postcode has to do with reluctance to move offices out of London? I know with the housing market it can make a significant difference.

The Tory plan to cap ticket prices in the SE will have to be paid for by the rest of he country and now it's coming to light that HS2 is going to be a money pit, leaching millions away from the areas not connected to it.
Instead of frittering away the money made when the railways were sold off it would have been much better spent on investment in the infra-structure. Had the loading gauge been increased to continental standards there would have been a considerable increase in capacity, 57% according to Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilevel_rail_car) on commuter routes. That would have solved many of the SE's continuing problems in one go. think double decker bus v. single decker)
Also, the 600/750v third rail system in the SE is totally unfit for purpose and should be converted to 25kV AC overhead as son as possible greatly improving freight service from, say, Southampton towards the rest of the country (heavier trains, higher speeds therefore much greater capacity)


I see Network SE is introducing a special service for Loose Rivets and his ilk :O

http://www.itraveluk.co.uk/photos/data/851/medium/royal-train-arriving.jpg

That must be family of mine at the back Grey pubes run in it

Tankertrashnav
30th Oct 2013, 10:15
Lots of references to how much better value for money roads are, with various figures being bandied about.

One figure always ignored by the roads lobby is the cost to the country caused by road accidents. In 2012, in the UK there were 1,754 deaths on the roads and 23,079 serious injuries (requiring hospital treatment). The equivalent figures for fare paying passengers on the railways were 4 deaths (yes 4, all at stations, none actually travelling on trains) and 252 serious injuries. You can add on 297 additional fatalities from non-passengers, most of which were suicides or Darwin award candidates who lost the race across level crossings, etc. I have no idea how much those 23,079 casualties cost to treat in the NHS but I'm guessing the figure is not insignificant.

In spite of Loose Rivets' "fat donkey" description of a railway carriage, he is statistically far safer when he is speeding along at 125mph in one, even surrounded by unrestrained SLF (good point about seat belts), than when he is doing 50mph in his tin box sharingly the road with apparently homicidal maniacs!

tony draper
30th Oct 2013, 10:17
One would think we could be a bit more daring as we were int olden days,why a boring old railway? why not a suspended monorail or a maglev or something different,after all we invented the feckin things, I'm sure the Japanese or Chinese could retool to build the necessary rolling stock for us.
Another thing if it is so important for the North,why not start building it from the North?start in the North and head South ,no chance any taxpayers monies to be hoovered up before it runs out and the scheme abandoned has to go to the pinstriped spivs in bloody London and the South.
:suspect:

OFSO
30th Oct 2013, 10:51
the cost to the country caused by road accidents.

When I lived in Germany I read a report by ADAC on the profit to the country caused by road accidents. The doctors and nurses, ambulance and helicopter evac crews that earned their living: the producers of replacement panels and other parts for cars, the mechanics who fit them. Of course also sometimes complete new cars. And the makers of armco barriers and the crews who replace damaged sections and repair roads. Even the police: how many fewer would be needed without accidents.

I have forgotten the figure in good old Deutschmarks per average accident that each added to the economy, but it was in the mid-hundreds.

Don't all shout but there is more than one way of looking at things.

ZeBedie
30th Oct 2013, 11:03
How many people, assuming increased use of coaches could a three lane motorway move per hour? How many tonnes of freight? How would that compare with a four track mainline?

What if you were to tarmac over the WCML and make the new motorway only available to coaches and HGV's? Professional drivers = fewer accidents?

Just asking :)

goudie
30th Oct 2013, 11:35
One way of easing road congestion would be to offer an incentive ie less road tax, for road hauliers, to only use the roads between 9pm and 5am.
I'm sure many do already but the fewer HGV's, mixing with commuter traffic, the better for congestion and road safety.
Ensuring companies complied with the restriction wouldn't be too much of a problem with appropriate windscreen ident. and cameras.

Lon More
30th Oct 2013, 11:49
less road tax, for road hauliers, to only use the roads between 9pm and 5am
I've lost count of the number of times 've been stuck in traffic on the M25/M1 during those times. Plenty of HGVs and white van men on the road thn

Noah Zark.
30th Oct 2013, 14:59
Ofso,
Noah, the Spanish had a superb high speed train far more than twenty years ago - the Talgo. That makes our situation even worse!


Lon,

I've seen that scene with H.R.H. Queen Vic. I presume it is the one at Ballater, and, assuming it was anywhere true to life, I was surprised how small her Maj was!

Sallyann1234
30th Oct 2013, 15:09
Yes, railways are still needed for two important types of traffic:

1. Mass movement of commuters at peak times, around major cities.

2. Movement of bulk freight.

Neither of these is going to be improved by constructing HS2. In fact they will be degraded by the shift of investment away from them.

Politicians who cannot see these basic facts are either particularly stupid, or under the thumb of the construction industry.

1DC
30th Oct 2013, 15:32
Apparently the East coast line is already full up, Locally a new service from Lincoln to KingsX was turned down recently because of lack of capacity on the main line.
When the main line from Hull/Grimsby to Doncaster was closed for about 8 months because of a landslip from a coal mine all passenger train services were suspended and the alternative routes were prioritised for freight.
Bring back the coaster and let them carry containers around the coast, probably reduce long haul road freight by half or more.

Davidsoffice
30th Oct 2013, 16:35
North of the river, all the mainlines are working to capacity, particularly at their southern ends. All trains, particularly at peak periods are full to standing.
There is no doubt more capacity is needed and a reduction in travel time for the long distance trains is also needed.
I see no reason why high speed lines to Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow should not be built and think the benefit to those cities would be great.

It would be of even greater benefit if businesses were moved to those cities from London but that is not going to happen.
We have to accept that for the forseeable, London is the hub of this country and most work centred there and therefore people will need to get into and out of the city quickly.

Privatisation of the railways, in my opinion, hasn't really seen the benefits as full competition hasn't been allowed. Largely this is down to lack of capacity. If no HS2 then lets double the number of lines into London and the number of stations......

Capetonian
30th Oct 2013, 16:49
Yesterday I left Birmingham New Street just before 1800 on a London Midland train to Euston. It stopped near Northampton just before 1900, no announcement was made on board, it then left, now heading the opposite direction and the automated announcement said : "Welcome on board this LM service to Birmingham New Street". A couple of other passengers had heard the platform announcement which said it was returning due to a failed unit down the line and passengers for London would have to change at Rugby.

At Rugby they herded us onto a train that was packed, headed for London, stopping at every lamp-post, despite their apparently being a later service that would have arrived earlier. Got stuck at Northampton again for half an hour and arrived Euston at 2200. 4 hours Birmingham to London.

On that basis, maybe HS2 is not such a bad idea, if only to get away from Birmingham faster.

Was talking to an employee, apparently the tracks are saturated to capacity and the least problem has an effect through the network. A bit like the roads.
Largely this is down to lack of capacity. If no HS2 then lets double the number of lines into London and the number of stations......
The country is overcrowded. At least the bits where people work and live are.

Under BR, buck-passing could not happen. Now, each entity is able to blame others, for example the LM employee said that the faster lines are 'almost exclusively' reserved for Beardy's trains and everyone else is left sucking hind tit.

TBirdFrank
30th Oct 2013, 17:05
I may have said this on here before - but it is still true.

When the railways were a unified industry in the last year before they were broken up by that apology for a human being Major they delivered a bill for 1.1bn to the taxpayer for the railway service then in operation.

Those of us who were there then remember those days as the best since the war. Decent food, improving rolling stock, modernisation proceeding right around the country.

Then came the day of the snouts in the trough

Now on the Modern Dynamic Thrusting Railway it has cost the taxpayer up to 6.1bn per annum for a poorer service, a more disconnected service, a service that closes down earlier and which charges the earth.

Has that money gone into the industry - Don't be daft! It has fallen straight through it into the waiting pockets of Branson, Gloag, Souter and (b)Lockhead

Twenty years at 5bn wasted - we've thrown away 100bn of your money and my money on a Tory party whim when it could have delivered a truly world class railway.

The UK is not big enough to need HS2. It does need better internal communications - re-open the Midland and GC and you have three routes from Manchester to London. That's the kind of strategic approach to use investment smartly and join the country back together, not a 220mph monster that only stops every 100 miles!

Super VC-10
30th Oct 2013, 17:08
Don't knock steam trains. On Monday 28 October, when Network Rail couldn't even be bothered to try to run a service, both the Bluebell Railway and Kent and East Sussex Railway ran all their scheduled services. No delays, no cancellations. :ok:

MadsDad
30th Oct 2013, 17:10
Mr. Frank, sir.

:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

TBirdFrank
30th Oct 2013, 17:23
Mads - say hello to Six Squid for me!

MadsDad
30th Oct 2013, 17:31
Should see his bro about 7, I'll pass on the regards.

As to the earlier you didn't say anything I could disagree with in the slightest. As you pointed out the country is so small and the main competition in the fastest stakes (the airlines) have hobbled themselves with checkin/wait times considerably longer than any flight times (plus time to get to/from airports).

Also the earlier article posted earlier about resurrecting the GC tracks seemed to make a great deal of sense in the cost/benefit analysis, compared to HS2.

G-CPTN
30th Oct 2013, 17:41
HS2: now Labour look at an alternative scheme - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/andrew-gilligan/10406562/HS2-now-Labour-look-at-an-alternative-scheme.html)

radeng
30th Oct 2013, 17:50
Not only the GC - built to the Continental loading gauge. There was a fine alternative freight line south from Crewe to Birmingham - Nantwich, Audlem, Market Drayton, Wolverhampton, Birmingham. Thanks to Beeching, Marples and Castle and BR management, we lost that. Another one was Didcot - Winchester, a lot of which was double tracked in WW2. That suffered because of parochialism - Southern Region didn't want any of their trains running on ex GW tracks. Same did tend to apply to the Southern's 'withered arm' once the GW got it, and to the GC, partially there because the management were still very much LMS men.

TBFrank,

The Midland main line is still open, although the alternative route through Melton Mowbray and Oakham that was once used to avoid Leicester has gone.

Truly, cases of :

"The evil that men do lives after them:
The good is oft interred within their bones."

Krystal n chips
30th Oct 2013, 18:08
" At Rugby they herded us onto a train that was packed, headed for London, stopping at every lamp-post, despite their apparently being a later service that would have arrived earlier. Got stuck at Northampton again for half an hour and arrived Euston at 2200. 4 hours Birmingham to London

Oh dear, another heartfelt tale of woe it seems. You really don't have much luck when travelling on the network do you?.

And, whilst the circumstances do elicit an element of sympathy, and I hate to sound churlish here, being a mere traveller and not at the pinnacle of the travel profession, but, as you departed from New Street, then you had the option of Bearded Rail ( or should that be offshore island resident rail) or, a few mins walk to Moore Street...which gets my vote every time, and thence Chiltern Railways, again who get my vote, or travel as you did, on the very cheapest option, London Midland who, I seem to recall, to actually advertise the frequency of their stops en-route to Euston.

Can we assume another entry for the Booker Prize, based on the one you sent to Cross-Country, will be sent to LM therefore ?

Finally, if you could post your future travel diary, by rail, I would be very grateful as, whilst I am sure you would be delighted to share a carriage with me, alas, you do appear to have an unfortunate jinx when travelling and.....

However, you did say you were once confused with a porter and, well, the lyrics seem rather apt......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-RpyLmIn3k

Lon More
30th Oct 2013, 18:26
Noh Zark wrote I've seen that scene with H.R.H. Queen Vic
I think it was at Windsor.

Capetonian
30th Oct 2013, 18:35
(http://www.pprune.org/members/72668-krystal-n-chips)Krystal n chips (http://www.pprune.org/members/72668-krystal-n-chips) This message is hidden because Krystal n chips is on your ignore list (http://www.pprune.org/profile.php?do=ignorelist).

I can only begin to imagine what you must have written in your usual inimitable and unfathomable 'style'. No doubt offering me advice from your vast and unrivalled experience of global travel, denigrating me (any childish little nicknames or have you run out of ideas now?) for choosing that means of transport when you have no idea why I was on that route or chose that train.
I shall look forward to reading it tomorrow on the morning update. You may end up owing me a new keyboard if I choke on my morning tea, but I'll pass on your kind offer of a replacement anyway.

papajuliet
30th Oct 2013, 18:50
What always strikes me about Michael Portillo's Railway Journies is that there's hardly anyone on the trains.

Dr Jekyll
30th Oct 2013, 19:05
One figure always ignored by the roads lobby is the cost to the country caused by road accidents. In 2012, in the UK there were 1,754 deaths on the roads and 23,079 serious injuries (requiring hospital treatment). The equivalent figures for fare paying passengers on the railways were 4 deaths (yes 4, all at stations, none actually travelling on trains) and 252 serious injuries. You can add on 297 additional fatalities from non-passengers, most of which were suicides or Darwin award candidates who lost the race across level crossings, etc. I have no idea how much those 23,079 casualties cost to treat in the NHS but I'm guessing the figure is not insignificant.


The number of passenger and freight miles on the railway is about 1/10th of that on roads, so 1754 deaths on roads against 301 on the railways is not that bad.

Lon More
30th Oct 2013, 19:17
Out of interest, Capetonian; if Krystal is on your ignore list how can you presume he was making an attack on you?

OFSO
30th Oct 2013, 20:05
What always strikes me about Michael Portillo's Railway Journies is that there's hardly anyone on the trains.

When he's in a carriage, it's the word "hardly" which surprises me.

Capetonian
30th Oct 2013, 20:06
Based on past performance, it would be out of character for him not to be doing so. He's a simple soul and very predictable. Of course I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

tony draper
30th Oct 2013, 20:10
Become quite fond of Portillo what with his Railway progs and his having to deal with that revolting Abbot creature on the Politics prog.
:rolleyes:

flying lid
30th Oct 2013, 20:11
Railways ? Is there any need ?

What a stupid question.

Look at my home town - Wigan (bit north of Watford). We still have 2 stations,

Wallgate, (trains to Manchester every 20 mins, some continue to MAN airport), also to Southport Bolton & Kirby.

North Western for hourly trains to London and Glasgow, also hourly Birmingham-Glasgow / Edinburgh service, and 1/2 hourly service to Liverpool & Blackpool. All trains busy (some packed early a.m.). Freight trains on the main line are fast & heavy, and run all day and night. Some so long they have 2 electric locos up front, pass my house at 70+, sometimes you can feel slight vibrations !!(line is 100m away).

The Liverpool- Wigan line is being electrified at the moment, along with Liverpool - Manchester, Manchester - Preston and others.

Have a look at this website to show you how busy our railways are. Shows both freight & passenger - Pick your local station.

Realtime Trains | Departures from Wigan North Western (http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/search/advanced/WGN?stp=WVS&show=all&order=wtt)

Try sticking that lot on the adjacent overloaded M6 motorway !!

And try to get Wigan to Lancaster in 29 minutes on the M6 !!!!!!!

Shut our railways and you shut the nation - DEAD.

Lid

Noah Zark.
30th Oct 2013, 21:01
Lon,

Sorry, this is the scene I was referring to, third picture down on the left-hand side.
N.Z.

Old Royal Station Feature Page on Undiscovered Scotland (http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/ballater/oldroyalstation/)

Flash2001
30th Oct 2013, 21:32
Took Amtrak last year from Buffalo NY to Davis CA and back. Fair service, limited menu and a backed up waste disposal system that rendered the long leg of the eastbound trip unpleasant. Everybody pleasant though. Still, I was told that the USG could take its subsidy and buy everyone on that train a first class air ticket return and have money left over. I don't know that this is true but I suspect so.

After an excellent landing etc...

Lon More
30th Oct 2013, 21:35
Noah thanks.

It does look very similar to the Tussauds' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windsor_%26_Eton_Central_railway_station) exhibit at Windsor. I wonder if bits went Up North when it closed?

Noah Zark.
30th Oct 2013, 22:07
Lon,
That seems a very reasonable assumption. After all, the old biddy used to get about a bit in her day! :ok:

RedhillPhil
30th Oct 2013, 22:53
How many people, assuming increased use of coaches could a three lane motorway move per hour? How many tonnes of freight? How would that compare with a four track mainline?

What if you were to tarmac over the WCML and make the new motorway only available to coaches and HGV's? Professional drivers = fewer accidents?

Just asking :)

These "Professional Drivers". Would they be the ones that drive lorries that:
Regularly jack-knife all over the road.
Fall asleep at the wheel at smash into the rear of other vehicles - sometimes on the hard shoulder.
Drive poorly maintained and overloaded lorries - I read a report some years ago which stated just how high a percentage of vehicles that this applies to.

Just asking:)

RedhillPhil
30th Oct 2013, 23:04
Yes, railways are still needed for two important types of traffic:

1. Mass movement of commuters at peak times, around major cities.

2. Movement of bulk freight.

Neither of these is going to be improved by constructing HS2. In fact they will be degraded by the shift of investment away from them.

Politicians who cannot see these basic facts are either particularly stupid, or under the thumb of the construction industry.

1 Long distance travellers on trains using tracks specifically for them. Free up the "normal" lines for more of said commuter's trains.

2 As above. Modern freight trains tend to be timed at either 60 or 75 and well able to mix it with "ordinary" passenger trains.

MG23
30th Oct 2013, 23:14
One figure always ignored by the roads lobby is the cost to the country caused by road accidents.

One figure always ignored by the 'take money from motorists and shovel it to the railway companies' lobby is the cost to the country caused by road accidents.

By far the best and most reliable way to reduce road accidents is to improve the roads. But when only about 20% of road taxes collected are spent on the roads, there's little money available to do that.

Tankertrashnav
31st Oct 2013, 09:26
I agree that improving roads would help to reduce accidents, but that still leaves the human factor, which try as you may, will defeat all attempts to make roads safe.What is needed is a radical improvement to remove the human factor as far as possible.

Roads should be fully automated, with journeys centrally controlled. Maybe cars/lorries could be joined together so that you only needed one alert driver at the front - the others could read, work, chat - whatever. Then to get over the constant problems of potholes, you could replace tarmac with something more durable, like steel - much less rolling resistance too. You could get rid of inefficient polluting petrol/diesel engines and replace them with electric power (only the car/lorry at the front would actually need an engine)

I like this idea - I think I'm going to put it forward for development - wonder if Branson would be interested?

Dr Jekyll
31st Oct 2013, 10:11
Roads should be fully automated, with journeys centrally controlled. Maybe cars/lorries could be joined together so that you only needed one alert driver at the front - the others could read, work, chat - whatever. Then to get over the constant problems of potholes, you could replace tarmac with something more durable, like steel - much less rolling resistance too. You could get rid of inefficient polluting petrol/diesel engines and replace them with electric power (only the car/lorry at the front would actually need an engine)

If you could find a way of disconnecting the cars and lorries at the terminus so that they could travel to varied destinations under their own power, fine.

OFSO
31st Oct 2013, 11:09
Tanker - brilliant idea - only thing missing is a catchy name.....maybe, lets see, you could call it a TRAIN.

Cacophonix
31st Oct 2013, 11:20
Railways - Is there any point?

Don't railways or at least railway lines always have points...?

Hat, coat, ticket to Timbuktu

Caco

handsfree
31st Oct 2013, 15:07
Wallgate, (trains to Manchester every 20 mins, some continue to MAN airport), also to Southport Bolton & Kirby. And Mr Flying Lid if you take the Kirby train in the opposite direction you'll find it terminates in Stalybridge - right beside the Buffet Bar.
Do railways have a point ? I rest my case with the above. :)
4.10 return.

G-CPTN
31st Oct 2013, 16:35
Roadrailer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roadrailer).

flying lid
31st Oct 2013, 17:22
Nice one handsfree. When (if) I get my free bus pass next year (includes Greater Manchester trains also) I may just give it a try !!

Lots of "interesting" ideas floated. I dislike the current government but at least they have made a start on serious railway investment here in NW England. Not talk either - It is happening locally, quite quickly to.

Railways ARE the future - no doubt.

Lid

Krystal n chips
31st Oct 2013, 18:02
Ah, yes, the "age of austerity"......

BBC News - HS2: Cameron hails 'vital programme' as MPs approve funding (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24753394)

I can't think of many famous elephants to name the locomotives after.....although they could be named after various financial scandals and other grandiose projects which failed, but which lined the balance sheet and dividend payments to a very select few.

And for what ?......an alleged 20 mins reduction in travel time between Birmingham and London...not forgetting, the mystic qualities that they can, seemingly, forecast high end passenger demand for such a service how many years in the future ??.....

I wonder if they will have special compartments, not simply Platinum First, Gold First, Silver First.....but also the Osborne Free Loading Class.....with a token row of four seats, located in the most inhospitable part of the train to carry the equally token peasants.

RedhillPhil
31st Oct 2013, 21:20
Ah, yes, the "age of austerity"......

BBC News - HS2: Cameron hails 'vital programme' as MPs approve funding (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24753394)

I can't think of many famous elephants to name the locomotives after.....although they could be named after various financial scandals and other grandiose projects which failed, but which lined the balance sheet and dividend payments to a very select few.

And for what ?......an alleged 20 mins reduction in travel time between Birmingham and London...not forgetting, the mystic qualities that they can, seemingly, forecast high end passenger demand for such a service how many years in the future ??.....

I wonder if they will have special compartments, not simply Platinum First, Gold First, Silver First.....but also the Osborne Free Loading Class.....with a token row of four seats, located in the most inhospitable part of the train to carry the equally token peasants.

The HS2 proposal was sold very badly by those who proposed it. It was sold on speed and that's not the chief selling point. The selling point is capacity.
The A1 post war was simply not fit for purpose as road traffic took off and lorries got bigger. Did "they" improve the road? No, not really, that came much later. "They" built a whole new road called the M1. Did "they" build it as just another two lane highway. Of course not, the opportunity was taken to build it to allow for much more capacity and as a second thought to enable high speed (fast as you like originally) movement. Originally it only went as far as what is now J21 but was eventually completed to Leeds as planned. The same principle applied to the English bit of the M4 relieving the A4 and the M40 relieving the A40. To some extent the A38 was relieved by the Worcester/Gloucester bit of the M5.
HS2 is not about saving x minutes to Birmingham. It's about capacity and being the first part of a new line to the north. All you hear from the naysayers and nimbys is their obsession with Birmingham. There's no point in building a new line without making it a high speed line much as new roads are built as dual (at least) carriageways. The old G.C. line is no good as even that high speed (for the time) line is curvy and despite what people say it wasn't built to the continental loading gauge as that didn't exist when the line was built. It was however built - like the GWR and LSWR - to a more generous loading gauge than what is standard now.
Sorry to rave on but there's so much mis-information about this.......

radeng
31st Oct 2013, 22:16
Redhill Phil

It was if you believe Hamilton Ellis' 'British Railway History' - and he's generally correct. Possibly some of the tunnels into Marylebone shared with the Met. Yes, unified Continental gauge didn't exist, but the GC was the same as the Nord, the Est and even the PLM.

It certainly handled trains up to 80 mph despite the swerves through island platforms, although Aylesbury was admittedly a major speed restriction - and an accident (23 December 1904).

Does a 'high speed' line of necessity have more capacity? Longer stopping distance if deceleration forces are to be limited, so fewer stations. What about longer trains at current speeds of 90mph - back to 12, 13 or even 16 coaches?

jimtherev
31st Oct 2013, 23:31
Redhill Phil

Does a 'high speed' line of necessity have more capacity?
It does if you can manage the traffic properly. BR capitalised on this with the coming of the 125mph high speed train. Instead of scattering them all over the timetable, the planners sent 'flights' of them out of the termini one after another - 4 or 5 at a time with a few minutes separating them. Then there was a pause when the stopping trains, freight trains and so on had their turn. Then at the top of the next hour they did it all over again.

With a brand new line, all the trains are capable of the same speed, so you're on a winner straight away... until someone with an ear in high places* says 'Can you stop the 16:15 at Stalybridge' - or somesuch and the idiots do it...
The high speed sales point is just to encourage us punters to use it: 'my train's better than your train...'

*anatomically impossible, I know, but you probably get what I mean
Nothing against Stalybridge, as such, by the way...

Cacophonix
1st Nov 2013, 00:08
You have to love the Brits...

Mate where I come from we have Mick the Steel and West Ham Jim...

Ian Dury - Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick [Official Video] - YouTube

Caco

Krystal n chips
1st Nov 2013, 06:05
Redhill Phil,

Interesting response, and I know you are a rail industry professional so you have a vested interest as well as being able to produce a cohesive argument in support of your views.

My view however, is that, whilst capacity has a certain validity, given the HS2 market orientation, this is null and void. With the exception of maybe one, or two peak hour trains, the First Class compartments on the WCML are invariably almost empty throughout the day.

I have in fact, travelled from Crewe to Glasgow on a Super Voyager on which, after Preston, I was the only occupant of the carriage.

If the current capacity therefore already exists, and is not being utilised by the target market, why should this change on what will be, according to the various promotions, a line almost entirely dedicated to premium rate passengers.

The argument that the line will facilitate easier access to the European network from anywhere North of London, is again a red herring in that the Kings Cross / St Pancras is hardly a million miles from Euston / Marleybone .

HS2 is a grandiose project which attracts politicians who see this as another way to bolster their ego's.....that's all parties by the way, and to be a legacy to these egos once they have departed this earth....preferably sooner rather than later in most cases and suitable entombed in and under the various structures that may comprise the line.

Which would be a fitting and apt legacy.

Back to the serious bit.

I still maintain that, if this amount of revenue is available, that it be invested across the network as a whole, so that those areas and towns / cities which are not within a very narrow area adjacent to the proposed lines, will benefit per se

hoofie
1st Nov 2013, 07:11
These "Professional Drivers". Would they be the ones that drive lorries that:
Regularly jack-knife all over the road.
Fall asleep at the wheel at smash into the rear of other vehicles - sometimes on the hard shoulder.

You forgot 2 - prostitute-murdering and throwing bottles of "Tuckers Tizer" out of the cab. Plus here in Oz we have 'off their faces on drugs'

Captain Dart
1st Nov 2013, 07:24
My problem with modern trains is that they are too quiet; no rhythmic clickety clack of the wheels over the expansion joints, not much 'white noise'.

All you seem to hear on trains now is matey at the other end of the carriage yapping on his :mad: mobile. It is mainly for that reason I drive the same journey now.

RedhillPhil
1st Nov 2013, 16:11
Redhill Phil

It was if you believe Hamilton Ellis' 'British Railway History' - and he's generally correct. Possibly some of the tunnels into Marylebone shared with the Met. Yes, unified Continental gauge didn't exist, but the GC was the same as the Nord, the Est and even the PLM.

This is true as the owners of the G.C. planned to run trains via a proposed tunnel to Paris from Manchester/Sheffield. It was built to the more generous (actually everyone's railway sur le continent is more generous) loading gauge that the French built to.

It certainly handled trains up to 80 mph despite the swerves through island platforms, although Aylesbury was admittedly a major speed restriction - and an accident (23 December 1904).

Yep, high speed for the era but a bit tricky for 150+

Does a 'high speed' line of necessity have more capacity? Longer stopping distance if deceleration forces are to be limited, so fewer stations. What about longer trains at current speeds of 90mph - back to 12, 13 or even 16 coaches?

The problem with longer trains at 90 is two-fold. Firstly you have to extend your station platforms to accept such lengths which is not always possible and secondly 90 is not really vitesse commercial as our continental cousins would have it. The fact is, speed sells as B.A. found out in the golden years of Concorde. When B.R. launched to Inter-City 125 service in 1976/7 which took ninety minutes to reach Bristol from Paddington the rail ridership went through the roof.

RedhillPhil
1st Nov 2013, 16:14
Redhill Phil,

Interesting response, and I know you are a rail industry professional so you have a vested interest as well as being able to produce a cohesive argument in support of your views.

Thankyou but just one small thing. I am now retired. "They" don't want old time-served rail operators like wot I woz anymore.

My view however, is that, whilst capacity has a certain validity, given the HS2 market orientation, this is null and void. With the exception of maybe one, or two peak hour trains, the First Class compartments on the WCML are invariably almost empty throughout the day.

I have in fact, travelled from Crewe to Glasgow on a Super Voyager on which, after Preston, I was the only occupant of the carriage.

If the current capacity therefore already exists, and is not being utilised by the target market, why should this change on what will be, according to the various promotions, a line almost entirely dedicated to premium rate passengers.

The argument that the line will facilitate easier access to the European network from anywhere North of London, is again a red herring in that the Kings Cross / St Pancras is hardly a million miles from Euston / Marleybone .

HS2 is a grandiose project which attracts politicians who see this as another way to bolster their ego's.....that's all parties by the way, and to be a legacy to these egos once they have departed this earth....preferably sooner rather than later in most cases and suitable entombed in and under the various structures that may comprise the line.

Which would be a fitting and apt legacy.

Back to the serious bit.

I still maintain that, if this amount of revenue is available, that it be invested across the network as a whole, so that those areas and towns / cities which are not within a very narrow area adjacent to the proposed lines, will benefit per se
............................................................ ........................................

radeng
1st Nov 2013, 20:16
Phil

>The problem with longer trains at 90 is two-fold<

The Cornish Riviera would load up to 16 coaches, as would the Channel Islands Boat Express. The WCML had 14 and 15 coach trains in steam days...even in the later days of BR steam, ECML trains were often 12 BR Mk 1 coaches. 'Modernisation' saw shortening of platforms at terminals - presumably to get in the shops etc, following airports.

Shouldn't be that hard to get back to the train lengths of 50 years ago..

RedhillPhil
1st Nov 2013, 21:09
The thing is ...the standard coach length for pre-nationalisation tended to be in the 57 - 60 foot length (although the GWR had their "Dreadnought" stock at 70'). B.R. standard coaches were 63 - 65 foot. Most all passenger main-line stock nowadays is in the 71 - 75 foot range. In those 12 - 15 coach days station stops were often lengthy affairs as the train was drawn forward to allow passengers in the rear off. Very often the coaches were labelled by destination so that for instance the 15 coach summer "Royal Scot" from Euston to Glasgow would have the first four coaches labelled for Glasgow only so the train would run past intermediate station stops by four coach lengths.

Building a 300kph line to UIC loading gauge and operating double deck trains over it would give you enormous capacity. As it would be the second such line in this country we could call it High Speed two.

crewmeal
1st Nov 2013, 21:29
What would have happened if there weren't the Beeching cuts back in the 60's? My take is a lot more freight would be travelling by rail along with certain rail routes being utilised as modern tramways.

It's nice to see that there are charter train companies set up to bring back what travelling was like in a by gone era. Next year should see "The Brighton Belle" being relaunched to operate on the main line again.

Bringing Back The Brighton Belle (http://www.brightonbelle.com/)

Rail Engineer
1st Nov 2013, 21:32
KnC

The reason why First class is empty and standard class is full has much to do with the Contracts that were negotiated when the rail franchises came up for renewal in the 2000s.

Now I wonder which Political Party was in power then ? and I wonder why such "good" deals were done for the various Labour supporting and funding rail companies ?

Then I look at how various privileges and political preferment were banded about, peerages and the like for party donations and I have my answer.

Oh by the way I have just remembered who was in power. It was a Labour Government, the so called bastion and protector of the working man. :rolleyes:

Lon More
1st Nov 2013, 21:52
The reason why First class is empty and standard class is full
Reds under the bed again?
First tends to be fuller at the beginning and end of the working day. Much easier and cheaper to plan for that than change the composition around. And it's all about profit.

Rail Engineer
1st Nov 2013, 22:27
Profit is such a dirty word to you isn't it?

Such a shame that your Pension provider can only pay your pension on the basis of the profits it makes from its investments.

If you did a little research you would find that it is the money made in First Class that helps to subsidise the standard class.

The question you should be asking is why a TOC can fill its train with low fares from which only it benefits, whilst the tax payer then subsidises the losses the TOC makes by having reduced full fare ticket sales.

Most of the vehicles on Virgin for example are used to generate direct profit for Virgin. These do not count towards the operational costs, which are paid by the taxpayer thus making Virgin on the latest figures the higher subsidised TOC per mile.

Contrast this with the fact that under BR InterCity West Coast actually made money in its final years. Now it costs the taxpayer.

radeng
1st Nov 2013, 22:53
I will accept that changes were needed in BR. What I cannot and will not accept is that the Tory break up of BR was for the good of the country, the public, the passenger or the country at large.

And to somewhat with only an amateur interest in railways and their history, that was, to say the least, bloody obvious! Not politicians and civil servants, of course, who get blinded by the concept that their ideas are always right.

Well demonstrated by the European Commission and Parliament.

Tankertrashnav
1st Nov 2013, 23:54
At the risk of boring everyone with a point I've made before, but I get heartily sick of HST being discussed as a North - South matter.

It's not, it's a North - London matter. This is hardly surprising, as the 10 odd million people in the Greater London area think that they are "the South", whilst those oop North think that the South is that bunch of ponces who live round London. The rest of the country might as well not exist!

I live in the South, in fact there are only a few thousand people in mainland Britain who live further South than me, but I will never get any closer than around 280 miles from an HST. Down here in the far South West we'd give our eye teeth for journey times to the capital remotely akin to those already enjoyed by travellers on both the WCML and ECML. As you speed, say, from Carlisle to London (300 miles) in around three hours, spare a thought for someone on the amusingly named Great Western Main Line taking over 5 hours for the slightly shorter journey from Penzance to Paddington.

The fact is that vast tracts of the country, not just the South West, but Wales, East Anglia, the South Coast etc will not benefit one jot from HST. No wonder we'd prefer the money be spent dragging our part of the system into the 20th, never mind 21st century!

Krystal n chips
2nd Nov 2013, 08:00
Rail Eng.

I wondered when you would make your inimitable contribution.

I also note there has been no further comment from the OP, possibly because the medical world having now read some of his suggestions, have duly increased the medication as a result.

I think however, that, when you start involving politics, you need to be rather more circumspect as the travelling public are not entirely daft, despite this impression at times, and a significant majority are aware of the TOC's operating methods, the financial support given by the tax payer and the profits generated for various shareholders as a result.

Equally, and whilst neither party can claim any credit for the current profiteering debacle on what should have remained BR, even the Tories have admitted it was a privatisation too far, albeit tacitly, then lets not forget the history of lack of investment and also which party privatised the network....shall we ?

However, the questions I have for you are these please.

You are a rail industry professional and, despite the many abhorrent traits you have displayed, are a professional person within your industry.

I am always willing to listen to professional opinions therefore, irrespective of the sector or occupation and personality of those offering such, as they invariably have credence.

Hence, what are your views on HS2, the positive and negatives of the project as currently proposed and, if you are against it, what alternatives do you suggest would be viable for the overall benefit, and development of the network, for both freight and those inconvenient passengers who wish to use it, like myself for example.

Lon More
2nd Nov 2013, 08:17
Maybe in 2017, TTN. when electrification's done.

Could be interesting in a storm if they did the Teignmouth branch

Lon More
2nd Nov 2013, 08:23
Such a shame that your Pension provider can only pay your pension on the basis of the profits it makes from its investments.
As usual, blowing smoke out your arse. You have no idea what my pension is. Suffice to say I pay the highest rate income tax here in the Netherlands on more than half of it. It's probably a lot more than you get paid :}

Tankertrashnav
2nd Nov 2013, 09:38
Lon More - I stand to be corrected, but as I understand it there are no current ( ! ) plans to electrify the Great Western route down to the South West. West to Bristol and Swansea, possibly? Oh, and I'm not surprised you talk about the "Teignmouth Branch" - Teignmouth is in fact on the main line, but with the speeds at which the trains trundle by you may be forgiven for thinking you are on a branch line. Only consolation is the fabulous coastal views, but after a while I'd trade the view for an hour or two knocked off my journey time.

Lon More
2nd Nov 2013, 10:40
TTN sorry, I'm not well acquainted with that part of the world. Wootton Basset (sp?) was the normal limit of my travels by rail

ZeBedie
2nd Nov 2013, 12:56
I opened this discussion because I thought it might be interesting, though I have still yet to learn the people moving capacity of a railway, as compared with a motorway.

I haven't really taken part in the discussion because of comments like

I also note there has been no further comment from the OP, possibly because the medical world having now read some of his suggestions, have duly increased the medication as a result.

which I find needlessly offensive. I don't believe the person who wrote that, hiding behind his computer screen, would say it to my face.

Krystal n chips
2nd Nov 2013, 13:15
" I haven't really taken part in the discussion because of comments like

" I also note there has been no further comment from the OP, possibly because the medical world having now read some of his suggestions, have duly increased the medication as a result."


" which I find needlessly offensive. I don't believe the person who wrote that, hiding behind his computer screen, would say it to my face.

As my comment was posted after 80 plus posts, then your reason for not contributing can be safely negated.

If you find dry humour "offensive", then possibly you have lived and worked in a rather sheltered environment.

I can assure you that, face to face with yourself, or anybody on here who does not take kindly to having their egos damaged, or their views contradicted with an alternative perspective, then I have would have no qualms about saying what I really think, sans R.O.E's, unlike on a website, and as I have done many times during my life.

This probably explains why I have never been too enamoured towards fools and idiots, the pretentious and arrogant, "managers " and con-merchants.

I can, however, be very diplomatic when required.

Alas, you views on rail transport, HS2 and alternatives do not qualify for the above statement.

ZeBedie
2nd Nov 2013, 13:42
I didn't put forward any views, just asked some questions. Please get your facts straight.

Blues&twos
2nd Nov 2013, 19:19
So far non-one's come up with a solution for those train passengers who don't or can't drive. Additional road capacity won't really be at all useful for those individuals, unless they live next door to a coach terminus....

MG23
2nd Nov 2013, 19:32
So far non-one's come up with a solution for those train passengers who don't or can't drive.

They could move somewhere where they don't need to drive, rather than expect everyone else to pay for a railway hardly anyone uses. I occasionally took the train to work from the village where I lived in the UK. Aside from taking four times as long as driving, there were rarely more than half a dozen people on it; on one occasion, if I remember correctly, the only other person on the train was the driver. How can that make any sense at all?

ZeBedie
2nd Nov 2013, 19:52
So far non-one's come up with a solution for those train passengers who don't or can't drive.

Bus? Coach? Taxi? Folding bike?

Blues&twos
2nd Nov 2013, 20:13
They could move somewhere where they don't need to drive, rather than expect everyone else to pay for a railway hardly anyone uses

Great Western mainline to Paddington doesn't really fit your description (nearest station to me). Not really practical to move house (along with entire family) either. Probably many people have moved to areas where they CAN use the train rather than drive.

I'm certainly not going to move to Slough so I don't have to drive to work.....:)

Bus? Coach? Taxi? Folding bike?

Or train? No other public transport at all within miles of me. Taxi would be massively and prohibitively expensive - even more than the railways... ! Bike is probably OK if you don't mind cycling down 60mph unlit country roads at night in the winter...but if, like me you were unable to drive for months because of an eye injury, what then? Bike not so sensible if you can't see very well.
The railway was my saviour!

MG23
2nd Nov 2013, 20:27
Great Western mainline to Paddington doesn't really fit your description (nearest station to me).

Then you're being silly. If the railway line is that busy, either it will continue to be profitable to run without subsidies, or someone is going to make money providing another alternative.

Blues&twos
2nd Nov 2013, 20:40
I think we're typing at cross-purposes here. The OP asked what the point of railways was....

The fact that the railway is busy and no other alternatives are provided presumably means that it does have a point.

Genuine question...why does that make me silly?

LGS6753
2nd Nov 2013, 21:57
A few observations:

1. When I see a railway line, there is generally no train passing at the time. When I see a motorway, it is usually busy. I draw the conclusion that railway lines are not well-utilised.

2. Railway vehicles are restricted by their rails, which make sharp turns dangerous or impossible, and gradients difficult. Overtaking is only possible in very rare and controlled circumstances.

3. Except for bulk cargoes, most freight goes from a wide variety of origins to innumerable destinations. Road haulage is far more efficient and quicker for all but the largest consignments.

4. Most rail travellers are not treavelling from station to station, but from home to work/holiday/event etc. This means that station-to-station times only form part of the overall journey time.

5. I prefer the company of Mrs LGS, and perhaps Radio 4 in my clean and comfortable climate-controlled car to sundry unknown, unkempt, sneezing, rude, noisy fellow passengers on a draughty train with uncomfortable seats.

For these reasons, I rarely use trains and will drive whenever possible. Just today, I have experienced both an overcrowded uncomfortable train and a motorway tail-back. I preferred the latter.

Capetonian
3rd Nov 2013, 09:53
When I see a railway line, there is generally no train passing at the time. When I see a motorway, it is usually busy. I draw the conclusion that railway lines are not well-utilised.
You then state that you are willing to add to the heavy traffic on the roads, but not to use the railways which you perceive as under-utilised.
Railway vehicles are restricted by their rails, which make sharp turns dangerous or impossible, and gradients difficult. Overtaking is only possible in very rare and controlled circumstances.
True, but a train is a far more efficient way of transporting several hundred people that the number of cars that would be required to transport the same number.
3. Except for bulk cargoes, most freight goes from a wide variety of origins to innumerable destinations. Road haulage is far more efficient and quicker for all but the largest consignments.
If the branch lines had not been destroyed, leaving only a barely adequate backbone network, this would not have come to be. Unfortunately, in this regard, you are partly correct.
5. I prefer the company of Mrs LGS, and perhaps Radio 4 in my clean and comfortable climate-controlled car to sundry unknown, unkempt, sneezing, rude, noisy fellow passengers on a draughty train with uncomfortable seats.
To some extent this may be true, although modern trains are rarely draughty. I would rather sit in a comfortable and safe train letting someone else do the driving than in a queue on a motorway surrounded by cars and lorries spewing out fumes. It is of course a matter of personal preference, mine is nearly always for the train.
I am perhaps more fortunate than many in that I have a choice, and can usually travel off peak and in what they call First Class.

LGS6753
3rd Nov 2013, 10:15
When I see a railway line, there is generally no train passing at the time. When I see a motorway, it is usually busy. I draw the conclusion that railway lines are not well-utilised.
You then state that you are willing to add to the heavy traffic on the roads, but not to use the railways which you perceive as under-utilised.

Yes, because I am rarely going to the place the train is going to!

Railway vehicles are restricted by their rails, which make sharp turns dangerous or impossible, and gradients difficult. Overtaking is only possible in very rare and controlled circumstances.
True, but a train is a far more efficient way of transporting several hundred people that the number of cars that would be required to transport the same number.

I agree, if those several hundred people are actually going to the same place. Otherwise, the car is more convenient, if less efficient. I would concede there is a vital role for trains in heavily-used commuter routes into large congested cities.

3. Except for bulk cargoes, most freight goes from a wide variety of origins to innumerable destinations. Road haulage is far more efficient and quicker for all but the largest consignments.
If the branch lines had not been destroyed, leaving only a barely adequate backbone network, this would not have come to be. Unfortunately, in this regard, you are partly correct.

But "we are where we are", and many branch lines were indeed closed around 50 years ago. Most are beyond re-opening due to subsequent developments.

5. I prefer the company of Mrs LGS, and perhaps Radio 4 in my clean and comfortable climate-controlled car to sundry unknown, unkempt, sneezing, rude, noisy fellow passengers on a draughty train with uncomfortable seats.
To some extent this may be true, although modern trains are rarely draughty. I would rather sit in a comfortable and safe train letting someone else do the driving than in a queue on a motorway surrounded by cars and lorries spewing out fumes. It is of course a matter of personal preference, mine is nearly always for the train.
I am perhaps more fortunate than many in that I have a choice, and can usually travel off peak and in what they call First Class.

I often think, as the train hurtles into a city centre, inches from brick and concrete structures, at speeds that would be illegal on the road, that I have placed myself at the mercy of one of Mr Bob Crowe's band of brothers. That alone is enough to bring me out in a sweat!

Krystal n chips
3rd Nov 2013, 12:45
"I often think, as the train hurtles into a city centre, inches from brick and concrete structures, at speeds that would be illegal on the road, that I have placed myself at the mercy of one of Mr Bob Crowe's band of brothers. That alone is enough to bring me out in a sweat!

Clearly only in a transient manner it would seem.

Let me put it another way.

Driving, in the company of other road users, all with varying levels of ability, all of varying ages, all driving a variety of vehicles with variable maintenance standards, all with varying standards of health, some almost certainly under the influence of alcohol and drugs, all driving vehicles of varying weights, is, evidently, to your way of thinking so much safer than being conveyed in a train driven by a driver, of either gender, who is regulated and monitored along with being evaluated for competency as a fact of their working life and who has an equally vested interest in arriving safely.

Have you thought of staying at home, wrapped in cotton wool and being spoon fed three times a day at all ?

Rail Engineer
3rd Nov 2013, 12:49
As usual, blowing smoke out your arse. You have no idea what my pension is.
Suffice to say I pay the highest rate income tax here in the Netherlands on more than half of it. It's probably a lot more than you get paid http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/badteeth.gif Just love you Socialists ! So much for fellow man eh ? :):)

KnC
In answer to your question.

The days of multi-traffic railways are to a large degree finished. The growth of regional airlines and routes means that the principal competitor in many cases will be the airlines, and that of course means that speed is the priority.

The speed thus necessary precludes the operation of freight to any great extent, obviously that depends upon the frequency but I give you the various European dedicated high speed lines as an example.

The operational and engineering characteristics of high speed against heavy haul freight railways are quite varied for example HS lines are built with minimal curvature and steep gradients, whereas HH railways can tolerate far greater curvature but need much gentler gradients. We generally work on the basis that we do not have more than two gradient changes underneath a HH train, bearing in mind these can be 4.5 to 5 km in length.

Comment was passed about people not seeing trains on railways very often, well considering how fast even a conventional train passes, that does not surprise me. Driving past any railway line and commenting on its use from a short period observation is a somewhat silly statement. A typical container train may well convey the equivalent of 45 or even 60 lorries which were we to allow 30m seconds between each lorry would mean a constant stream of lorries for 30 minutes.

With regards to my personal view, HS railways are a driven by the EU and the UK is on what is known as the Trans European Network, so it is EU transport policy that a HS line will need to be built in the UK to link into the European network.

The choice of route is driven by Governmental advisors and Transport Consultants. Construction Contractors do not (contrary to ill informed opinion) become involved with any input until the optioneering has been done and construction costs have to be evaluated, albeit at a high level.

Birmingham as an initial destination makes good business sense, against contrary to the ill-informed and plainly ignorant comments made by others, as the Midlands has seen growth and opens the HS network to a larger area than London does. Not everything happens in London and I can take people to areas in London that are far worse than anything you will encounter in Birmingham. With regards to tree-lined main and side roads you will find it hard to find somewhere with so many.

Personally I think there would be the case for possibly using the former GC route however you only have to look at the issues to see that this is far from the simplistic position now adopted by Labour, who incidentally ruled this out when in power.

To do the job properly it would be necessary to quadruple the track to Birmingham in order to operate HS trains. The route under Chiltern Railways has improved and leapt forward, and with 100mph running and loco-hauled Mk3 rolling stock now competes very effectively with Virgin WC in terms of both speed and far and beyond on quality. Fare prices are also substantially lower than VWC, and there is practically little disruption on the GC as opposed to the WC.

Now quadrupling any railway has its problems, and the infrastructure in Birmingham is unsuitable to host a HS railway on the GC, which means that an alternative and thus a diversion from the existing would need to be found. Given that, plus the fact of St Johns tunnel at Marylebone, plus the inner London route itself would impose constraints, I can see the logic of a new-build route. Especially as it would not disrupt the current railway system.

As you can see the issue is far more complex than a few sound-bites and ill-informed opinion on here would attest to.

I hope I have covered everything to your satisfaction, I am overseas again and time is somewhat at a premium. Best regards RE

RedhillPhil
3rd Nov 2013, 13:09
Yes, because I am rarely going to the place the train is going to!



I agree, if those several hundred people are actually going to the same place. Otherwise, the car is more convenient, if less efficient. I would concede there is a vital role for trains in heavily-used commuter routes into large congested cities.



But "we are where we are", and many branch lines were indeed closed around 50 years ago. Most are beyond re-opening due to subsequent developments.



I often think, as the train hurtles into a city centre, inches from brick and concrete structures, at speeds that would be illegal on the road, that I have placed myself at the mercy of one of Mr Bob Crowe's band of brothers. That alone is enough to bring me out in a sweat!

1 A person's political persuasions is not a reflection of their abilities.

2 Railways are inherently safe and indeed, Britain's are statistically the
safest in Europe which makes them thousands of times safer than any
U.K. motorway. Any rail accident is news. Probably only the people
affected knew about the northern part of the M25 being closed twice
last week following lorry accidents.

3 Train drivers operate to the very highest safety standards. In the early
days of Eurostar pre 9/11 there was an exchange programme where
Virgin pilots spent a day with a Eurostar driver and vice versa. They
were always impressed and amazed at the safety systems and driving
standards. This is why training to be a train driver takes a minimum of six months.

4 If the same standards were applied to drivers of vehicles the roads
would be a lot emptier and safer. By all means criticise railways per se
but please don't cast doubts on a driver's ability to keep you safe just
because he/she has differing political views and belongs to a union
that's prepared to fight for their rights.

Krystal n chips
3rd Nov 2013, 13:09
Rail Eng.

Thank you for your detailed and informative response. :ok:

I may have some more questions therefore, based on your reply, once I have read the reply in more depth as there are a couple of points that intrigue me.

Rail Engineer
3rd Nov 2013, 13:17
KnC I shall be happy to attempt to answer them, otherwise I am sure wiser counsel than me on here will do so.

Rail Engineer
3rd Nov 2013, 13:25
LGS6753
Train driving skill is not to be under-estimated.

Trains still run on time even during thick fog, and how often is it that a driver over-runs a station in foggy weather ?

I think your concerns should be directed towards the White Van man operators who force completely unrealistic delivery schedules on their drivers, and the various salesmen whose managers similarly give targets which are unattainable except through the medium of driving like twats at high speed and forcing their way through their journey. Sunglasses-wearing, short haired/slaphead, 20/30something louts usually to be found in a Company BMW1/3, Audi, or VW equivalent springs to mind.

Tankertrashnav
3rd Nov 2013, 14:42
LGS6753 Your remarks about engine drivers, with reference to their union membership may have been a joke -if so it was a pretty weak one. If it wasn't a joke then frankly it was contemptible.

I have never been a member of a trade union (indeed I have spent most of my life either in the RAF or self-employed) so have no axe to grind, but I am absolutely convinced that engine drivers, union members or not, operate to the highest professional standards, certainly on a par with those to be found in the airlines. I wish I could say the same of most of the drivers I share the roads with!

Capetonian
3rd Nov 2013, 16:03
I took LGS6753 (http://www.pprune.org/members/72961-lgs6753)'s remark as flippant, since I feel infinitely safer on a train than on the road. If it was meant seriously it is, at best, ill-informed.

pax britanica
3rd Nov 2013, 16:24
A shame this descended intoa political wrangle perhaps that's one of the reasons the infrastructure in Uk is so hoplessly behind the rest of western Europe.
Just back from a week in France where there is a TGV line from Paris-Bordeaux, however it isn't actually 'V enough' for our much laughed at neighbours so they are building a new central section to allow faster travel. of course being in France the workers are all French not Poles, the bridges are all made in France as are the tracks as are the new trains as are the new signalling and telecom systems and all powered by made in France nuclear power.
In Britain of course if such a thing ever happened it would be some insane PPI effort using east European labour French infrastructure, German trains and Britain would get nothing out of it because the financing would come from China. However it would be the more business like of the projects and cost marginally less but with all the money going abroad.
And to add to the rail v road debate the French govt have been systematically removing all the old single lane segments of the N10 highway which runs close by the railway. Now they only have 5km left and a big sign announces that the Poitu Charente regional government will dual this by mid 2015.

All countries have their problems but we seem to be unique at not addressing those which impact ordinary peoples lives in favour of policies that favour wealthy foreign investors or the political classes/London establishment. After all we only have on High Speed train link in the Uk and it runs from Camden to er France-says it all really

Tankertrashnav
3rd Nov 2013, 21:59
Because of geography we already have parity with the French with regard to journey times.

Most of the major commercial centres in France can be reached from Paris in 3 hours or less.

Most of the major commercial centres in the UK can be reached from London in 3 hours or less.

Paris can be reached from London in under 3 hours.

London can be reached from Paris in under 3 hours.

Now make the economic/business case for HS2

radeng
4th Nov 2013, 09:52
TTN

Upgrading existing rail network would be better value than HS2, government analysis finds - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10423790/Upgrading-existing-rail-network-would-be-better-value-than-HS2-government-analysis-finds.html)


'Nuff said?

cockney steve
4th Nov 2013, 10:08
The fact is, all the infrastructure is built around the mass-transit of commuters in a 2-hours window, morning and evening.

Rolling-stock and locomotives thus spend 20 out of 24 hours either idle or working an uneconomically small load. Granted, a few locos are utilised pulling freight, but as other posters have pointed out, there isn't one every five minutes trundling down the main lines.
I believe the likes of Messrs. Gloag and Souter realised all subsidies would continue under privatisation, but would be paid on the model of the time (BR, bloody great train with ~10 pax) substitute a light, small , more fuel-efficient train and pocket the difference....similarly with buses.

The fact that private motoring is still a viable means of commuting, says a lot about the gross inefficiency of public Transport. In many rural locations, it would be cheaper to provide free taxi service as opposed to a scheduled bus service. Henry Ford sounded the end of economical rail ,bus and Canal transport. My rates bill says I pay a substantial price for a local transport service that i don't use.....maybe, when I'm old and not fit to drive, I'll change my mind.........(NAAA..... I'll 24-volt a 12V spazz chariot and still enjoy door to door independence :} )


Many years ago, Sister, BiL and 2 kids used to visit by taxi..... this was a perpetually skint young family and I berated them for their extravagence.....I was shocked to the core to learn that it would cost more by bus, plus the hanging around and the incredibly slow journey. 4 souls, door to door, cheaper and half the time......OOOH! I'll have to think about that!.

G-CPTN
4th Nov 2013, 11:04
In 1955 we moved into a new-build house.

Our neighbour (a childless couple) didn't own a car. He worked for the BBC at a transmitter station some 5 miles away. He walked into the centre of town and was collected by a BBC bus which transported the workers to and from the transmitter (there was no public transport that served that location and few employees would own cars at that time).

When our neighbour wanted to visit family at the coast (some 30-40 miles away) they would travel by taxi (even though it would have been possible by public transport -albeit with several changes and some walking at either end).

As a young man I was, at first, amazed by their extravagance, but I soon realised that (maybe because of their infrequent use) they actually spent less on their transport than they would have had if they had had a car sitting most of the time in their garage (which was, instead, a workshop for his hobbies) and received a door-to-door service whenever they needed it (and at a time convenient to themselves).

papajuliet
4th Nov 2013, 16:36
Good point Cockney Steve - I saw two local trains today, one a two coach and one a three coach - both outside commuter time. Not a single passenger on either.

vulcanised
4th Nov 2013, 16:49
Stand at the end of my road and you will see two buses every 12 minutes, heading in opposite directions. Usually double-deckers and they run for about 18hrs per day.

You may see the odd passenger, even two, but they are frequently empty.

Who pays for all that waste?

Blues&twos
4th Nov 2013, 18:44
Ah, but a good proportion of the train/bus journeys I've been on recently have some "empty" bits, where you think "Great, whole bus/carriage to myself", and ten minutes later when they stop at their busy pick up points, they're packed out.
Appearances can be deceptive - people don't complain about overcrowded public transport for nothing.

radeng
4th Nov 2013, 19:32
yet go to the US and in northern Arizona, look at the traffic on the old AT&SF line. Monster freight after monster freight - 100+ freight cars, locos in the middle and both ends, the rear ones radio controlled and trains running block after block, Can't do it here because we got rid of the freight lines.....they can't run more Amtrak passenger trains because of line occupancy.

OFSO
4th Nov 2013, 19:52
Those masters of the fast train, the French, have a high-speed link of about 850kms from Paris to the Spanish border, from where it continues over hundreds of kms of new high-speed track to Valencia or to Madrid.

Only one gap in it: from Nmes to Perpignan, where it reverts to normal rail track.

This gap was supposed to have been closed starting in 2020 with construction of the final section. I've just heard that the French can't afford it: the project has been dropped from the budget.

Funny, that. Every TGV at every time of the day that I travel on up to Paris is fully booked, every seat sold.

Rail Engineer
4th Nov 2013, 20:08
Good point Cockney Steve - I saw two local trains today, one a two coach and one a three coach - both outside commuter time. Not a single passenger on either. So how do you know these were not empty trains running to/from a depot ?

Rail Engineer
4th Nov 2013, 20:14
Because of geography we already have parity with the French with regard to journey times.

Most of the major commercial centres in France can be
reached from Paris in 3 hours or less.

Most of the major commercial centres in the UK can be reached from London in 3 hours or less.

Paris can be reached from London in under 3 hours.

London can be reached from Paris in under 3 hours.

Now make the economic/business case for HS2 You already have done in your post.

Those times you quote can only happen using the TGV network. That is why it was built.

The dispersal of the population within France is such that they do not have the same passenger figures across the network nor the frequency of trains either. Some parts of France may only be served by a couple of trains a day. Other than one or two very specific areas of the UK, I think you will find that the minimum train service is broadly hourly across the UK network.

Tankertrashnav
4th Nov 2013, 22:58
I rather think my point was the the French needed the TGV system for reasons of geography to connect their major cities in the same sort of times as we can connect ours by virtue of the much smaller distances involved.

Unless you really think its worth 50bn to knock another 20 minutes off an already fairly quick London - Manchester journey time (2hours 10 minutes, on average)

Capetonian
5th Nov 2013, 07:24
There's a trainspotter inside every man - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/10421614/Theres-a-trainspotter-inside-every-man.html)

I love trains but this has never appealed. Clearly to many it does.

Krystal n chips
5th Nov 2013, 17:27
An interesting read....albeit lengthy, but worth the time given the topics under discussion on this thread.

Rail privatisation: legalised larceny | Aditya Chakrabortty | Comment is free | The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/04/rail-privatisation-train-operators-profit)

OFSO
5th Nov 2013, 18:00
Some parts of France may only be served by a couple of trains a day.

Not disputing the above, but when heading to or from Paris, gazing out of the window I note one TGV going in the opposite direction passing my train every fifteen minutes between Valence and Paris GdL. South of Valence of course the track splits to Lyon, Montpelier (and points south) or Marseilles, so that's where they are serving.

radeng
5th Nov 2013, 20:24
there is an argument that going anywhere from Paris has to be faster by any trains than going from CDG unless maybe, you only have hand luggage.

The SSK
6th Nov 2013, 11:05
My take is this:

Railways are incapable of generating enough revenue to cover their costs. EU countries spend more subsidising their railways than they do on the Common Agricultural Policy. Typical railway economics would make an airline like Alitalia look positively virtuous.

Railways are hugely labour-intensive. Running them and maintaining them keeps an awful lot of people employed. Ditto building new lines.

Railways are essential for keeping huge amounts of freight off the roads (although they could be much more successful at it). They are also essential for delivering huge volumes of commuter traffic into the big cities, albeit at uneconomic fare levels.

Ergo, governments reckon the subsidies that they shell out are worth it in external benefits. Indeed this must be the case, otherwise the taxpayers would have something to say about it.

So the priority is that the taxpayer should be getting the best possible value for money. Did privatisation achieve this? In theory, commercial organisations should run things more efficiently than government departments. In practice

Equally, theres nothing wrong with investing in new infrastructure if a robust case can be made for it. When most of the benefits are to a greater or lesser degree intangibles, thats not an easy thing to do. Populist arguments such as avoiding a third runway at Heathrow are complete red herrings but they do distort the due process.

Rail Engineer
6th Nov 2013, 21:24
Railways are incapable of generating enough revenue to cover their costs. Sorry chap but not correct.

Every Company I work for outside the UK generates massive amounts of profit.

A South American heavy haul line that I know generates 1m per train profit. All of the USA freight railroads are making serious money. Even in Eastern Europe as an example, the Kazakhstan National Railway made 1bn profit last year.

In the UK only GNER actually made money, but because they did not support "New" Labour and did not fund the Labour party, Bliar and Brown deliberately set the scene to cause them to fail in a cynical plot so as to take the Franchise off them and hand it over to someone more "acceptable", and the rest is history. A profitable route that has since collapsed and has needed Ms in taxpayer support.

Prior to 1994 InterCity was making money and Regional Railways were moving in that direction.

South Eastern Trains when taken back under BR control from a French dustbin Company dramatically improved performance, and reduced the subsidy levels, but the management team was deliberately prevented from bidding for the Franchise by the Labour Government.

What is sinking the ability to run a more efficient system in the UK is the way that the network is managed and operated. Network Rail has become a hugely bloated slug, it is an incompetent and inefficient organisation with an enormous project delivery unit that simply man-marks the Contractors organisations using in many cases people who have been released from these Contracting companies (because they were not up to the job) as supervisory representatives, which in itself runs contrary to H&S law.

Network Rail made headlines by saying that it was taking Contractors away from maintenance but today has far more labour agencies undertaking its maintenance and supplying maintenance staff than was ever the case under the previous Maintenance Contractor, whilst at the same time being criticised time after time in Inquiry after Inquiry for the same management failures. And of course all of this costs more whilst track quality is lower.

There is no other Railway in the World that operates in the way that Network Rail does, and no other Railway that has similar issues with infrastructure performance and quality.