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SOPS
1st Jan 2014, 16:17
I have just read that as of today, a Basingstone to London season ticket is 4076 pounds. Holy mother of God, that is $7567 Australian dollars a year. What are they serving, champagne and caviar on every service? From my house in Perth, Western Australia , to the central city station, takes about 35 minutes and costs $2.50 return. I'm amazed that people can still travel by rail at those rates, in Australia I would have to earn about $17000 dollars before tax to have the $ 7500 available to buy a ticket.

(I assume that as I am newly arrived East European, I can get some sort of free train pass?)

Scott C
1st Jan 2014, 16:23
As an example; From my local station (Tamworth) to London Euston in rush hour, a ticket can cost well over £100.

I'm going to London in 2 weeks for an awards ceremony and have booked my tickets for an off-peak train... £12 return.

There are cheap tickets around, but if you want them, forget travelling in rush hour!

AtomKraft
1st Jan 2014, 16:24
I did a 1:30 train journey in India a few weeks ago.


Cost me 20 Rupees (20p) for about 20 stops.


And I got to lean out the doors for nothing!

vulcanised
1st Jan 2014, 16:27
I got to lean out the doors for nothing


Probably let you travel on the roof if you asked.

Daysleeper
1st Jan 2014, 16:34
Where is Basingstone?

If you mean Basingstoke, well the reason it is so expensive is... it gets you out of Basingstoke (for the day at least). :}

SOPS
1st Jan 2014, 16:37
Ok sorry, auto spell correct strikes again...but you get my point,

Krystal n chips
1st Jan 2014, 16:45
" (I assume that as I am newly arrived East European, I can get some sort of free train pass?)"

You were doing quite well with valid points, until you mentioned the above.

Have a look at this site and strangely enough, you won't find any special passes for East Europeans in the list.

National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/)

You can get cheap fares in the rush hour, BUT, only by booking 12 weeks in advance and making a few sacrifices in your travel plans. The cost savings however, are worth the effort.

You do though, have to know your way around the UK and plan accordingly as the above site is notorious for presenting the most expensive routing which can be circumvented with a bit of planning as I say.

I agree entirely that Season Ticket holders, and anybody who has to book on the day of travel, do indeed get well and truly screwed over for costs.

One of the "delights" and "benefits" of privatisation.

Capetonian
1st Jan 2014, 16:52
I travel a lot by train in the UK and find that by planning in advance I can get very reasonable fares. It's not rocket science to realise that the TOCs want to make a profit and maximise return on investments.

Consequent to that, it's not rocket science to understand that, in exactly the same way as the airlines maximise yields with pricing by demand, so do the TOCs.

A single from Farnham to Manchester :
leaving today, is £88 in second class, £247 in first.
tomorrow £43, or £69,
next week £22, or £46.

Trains in the UK come in for a lot of criticism, often deserved, but overall they are pretty good and in particular, reasonable complaints are generally resolved in a fair and satisfactory manner. That's my view anyway, others may have different views. I should also add that I strenuously avoid travelling at peak times, not because of the cost but because of the crowded trains.

SOPS
1st Jan 2014, 17:15
Ok Kyrstal, your point is taken,

UniFoxOs
1st Jan 2014, 17:20
The people who use those 4 grand tickets do not pay for them, they are civil serpents and other guvmint employees who have them provided.

SOPS
1st Jan 2014, 17:23
Transperth Fares Effective 1 July 2013


STANDARD
CONCESSION
Cash
SmartRider - cost per journey
Cash
SmartRider - cost per journey

15% discount
25% discount

15% discount
25% discount
2 Sections
$2.00
$1.70
$1.50
$0.80
$0.68
$0.60
1 Zone
$2.80
$2.38
$2.10
$1.10
$0.94
$0.83
2 Zones
$4.20
$3.57
$3.15
$1.70
$1.45
$1.28
3 Zones
$5.10
$4.34
$3.83
$2.00
$1.70
$1.50
4 Zones
$6.10
$5.19
$4.58
$2.40
$2.04
$1.80
5 Zones
$7.50
$6.38
$5.63
$3.00
$2.55
$2.25
6 Zones
$8.50
$7.23
$6.38
$3.40
$2.89
$2.55
7 Zones
$9.90
$8.42
$7.43
$4.00
$3.40
$3.00
8 Zones
$10.70
$9.10
$8.03
$4.30
$3.66
$3.23
9 Zones
$11.60
$9.86
$8.70
$4.60
$3.91
$3.45
DayRider
$11.60

$4.60
$3.45
$3.45
FamilyRider
$11.60



Student



50 cents - no discount
All fares GST inclusive. Fares calculated are rounded to the nearest whole cent based on normal rounding convention

SOPS
1st Jan 2014, 17:25
Sorry that's not a good post but you get the drift

RedhillPhil
1st Jan 2014, 17:34
The privatised railways soon cottoned on to how airlines charge.
Would you like to travel to Rome to-morrow from LHR by B.A.?
One way on the 14.15 will cost you £564, or on the 18.13 £228.
Do the same journey (booking now) on the 2nd February and it'll be £74 on both flights.
The same principal applies to rail. A walk-on single fare from Redhill to Penzance is £63. My son books six weeks in advance for £36 return.


Rail season ticket prices do seem high because you're paying for a year's worth of unlimited unrestricted travel in one go.

racedo
1st Jan 2014, 18:26
The people who use those 4 grand tickets do not pay for them, they are civil serpents and other guvmint employees who have them provided.

Eh no..............

ruddman
1st Jan 2014, 18:57
Because its below them to take a train. They'd get a nice Rolls with a driver and 5 star hotel for the day trip.

mixture
1st Jan 2014, 19:24
Because its below them to take a train. They'd get a nice Rolls with a driver and 5 star hotel for the day trip.

BBC don't seem to use trains either, a few weeks ago in London I saw a certain female presenter having the door to a full-sized dark black shiny Audi being opened for her by a BBC chauffeur.

"all this is possible thanks to the unique way the BBC is funded..." as their slogan goes. :cool:

Flight_Idle
1st Jan 2014, 19:35
I still 'Don't get' how flogging cheap tickets in advance makes companies money & it seems unethical somehow to charge people different rates for the same service.


It seems to me rather like 'Booking' a meat pie from Tescos two weeks in advance & getting it at a fifth of the price of a walk in customer.


Apart from airlines, rail companies, & hotels etc, I really can't think of any others who relish twisting a walk in customers nuts, with demands for such outrageous premium payments.


I must admit that I've been in the position of having my tickets paid for me by a company & 'Twisted nuts' were far from my mind then, but I still think it's unethical.




I suppose the bean counters have it down to a fine art though, they probably have a 'Twisting nuts' program on their computers & somehow find that flogging ultra cheap 'Advance booking' tickets, somehow gives them an advantage.



I think it's called a 'Verdical paradox' & just doesn't make any sense to normal people.

radarman
1st Jan 2014, 19:45
SOPS,

You have to be careful when comparing fares in different parts of the world because each country/state/city will have different levels of subsidy. Unless you take this into account in your calculations, all comparisons will be hopelessly distorted.

G-CPTN
1st Jan 2014, 19:48
Depending on 'occupancy', there is a logic that last-minute customers should pay less (to attract full occupancy) - which, I believe, some hotels practice.

Of course once the service is 'fully sold' (or nearly so) then prices could command a premium.

Offering a (substantial) discount for early customers ensures a core revenue that might help to pay the overheads.

What if restaurants operated the same system? Pay early in advance - pay less . . .

cavortingcheetah
1st Jan 2014, 19:51
A consolation might be that the reason British rail fares are the highest is that travel on that country's roads is the ghastliest.

acmech1954
1st Jan 2014, 19:57
The wife travels from Kings Lynn to Swindon roughly every 6 to 8 weeks to visit the daughters and grandchildren for a weekend. She books a return ticket to travel out on the Friday and returns on the Monday, 4 or 5 weeks before her travel date. Depending on availability the fare varies, but is normally about £35 since the latest price increases, and includes the underground for both journeys, and takes about 2 hours each way. Cheaper than by car!!

Capetonian
1st Jan 2014, 20:14
Depending on 'occupancy', there is a logic that last-minute customers should pay less (to attract full occupancy) There is a flaw in that logic, which is that offering 'standby' type fares would tend to change the pattern of booking as many people would wait until the last minute to book in the hope of getting a cheaper fare. This makes demand forecasting difficult and presents logistical problems.

Typically last minute fares are higher so that they can attract the premium 'must-travel' type of passenger rather than the price-sensitive market.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
1st Jan 2014, 20:16
As I discovered once when I had to visit my dying father in hospital - caring business model they've got there!

DC10RealMan
1st Jan 2014, 20:25
I remember a few years ago, a couple of colleagues and I had to travel from Hampshire to Darlington and return and upon researching the train fare it turned out to be cheaper to hire a private aircraft and fly there instead.

It was a 90 minute flight as against the 5 hour train trip which included crossing London on the tube which I decided to decline.

Deepest Norfolk
1st Jan 2014, 20:49
It's because every operator of anything in Britain is allowed to rip people off mercilessly. It's why I refuse to get out of my car and use public transport.

DN

radeng
1st Jan 2014, 21:53
Remember that booking through National Rail Enquiries website (if it works, and when it doesn't, they are as much use as teats on a bull!) is more expensive that going direct to the railway company - last time I did it in November, by about 10%.

ChrisVJ
1st Jan 2014, 22:12
The traditional model was to sell tickets at your maximum price early and fill the seats with discount sales in the last few days. What the LOCO airlines realised was that this wasn't a very sensible model. The people who were flexible about dates and tight on cost, eg pensioners, those non working for various reasons etc had no incentive to book early and those who had to book late and were inflexible were not being gouged for what they could afford.
Hence the upside down fare structure (with the added advantage of low advertised minimum fares. (We travelled London to Rome for 17 GBP one year and Paris to London (OK Stansted) for 11 GBP INC tax!)

Some of the big resort hotels and chains now work on a sophisticated system of demand response. When we book hotels on line Mrs VJ usually finds the prices vary day to day and sometimes even hour to hour.

The hotels (especially places like Las Vegas) have a schedule for expected bookings for any particular date, As bookings take up the places on the schedule the price is raised, if the bookings are slow the prices are lowered. By looking at prices every couple of hours or so for a couple of days Mrs VJ has found prices as low as half those quoted earlier.

So far Airfares have remained stubbornly high here, especially domestically, and no one seems to be using the Ryanair model of low cost, out of town airports. I don't exactly envy you living in EU but you do have some advantages.

TWT
1st Jan 2014, 22:17
And it helps to clear your computer cache between visits to the same website,otherwise they know what you've been quoted before and will increase the price.

radeng
1st Jan 2014, 22:23
In 1850, a 'walk up' first from Kings Cross to Edinburgh was around 10 guineas - £10.10.. That would be 1/5th of a housemaid's yearly wage, or probably about £4000 today......Even a 'Parliamentary ticket' at 1 penny a mile (2.4 miles for 1p) would be around a 1/25 of a year wage or 2 week's wages, and meant travel at 12 mph in unheated carriages and multiple changes.

Just as air fare is cheaper now than it used to be - and the facilities offered are worse.

Tankertrashnav
1st Jan 2014, 22:54
Mrs TTN and I had a £25 voucher from First Great Western as a result of a complaint about a previous trip. We decided on a day trip from Truro to Plymouth (around 60 miles) and found that two first class day return tickets would cost us £27.30, using our senior railcards. Thus the trip cost us £2.30, for which we could lounge in first, away from the peasantry back in steerage!

Added to that free coffees, a free copy of the Times and a complimentary glass of wine at our seats (very acceptable) on the return trip, and we reckon we had a pretty good deal.

Still, I acknowledge its not always like that!

Capot
1st Jan 2014, 23:01
Going back a litle in the thread, someone said

Trains in the UK come in for a lot of criticism, often deserved, but overall they are pretty good and in particular, reasonable complaints are generally resolved in a fair and satisfactory manner.
Never been on First Great Western, then; a company that redefined the word 'great'.

Still running the 125 rolling stock that was being used in the days of British Rail, on the SW Peninsula route at least, and prone to frequent failures to run on time, or even at all, and/or to provide the service promised at an exhorbitant price. Overcrowded and unpleasant journeys are guaranteed, with the occasional insincere apology for not having loaded the catering and/or the catering staff, lateness because the crew got up late, etc etc.

Getting any form of compensation, or even just an effective response to a complaint is a challenge that most passengers find impossible to overcome; "customer service" is an area of endeavour that FGW finds it better not to bother with.

Tankertrashnav
1st Jan 2014, 23:14
Capot - see above - my complaint about a dirty, overcrowded FGW train (which nevertheless ran on time) was met with a polite written apology and a £25 voucher which was around 40% of our fares.

IC125 stock may be old but I find it roomier and more comfortable than some more modern coaches - notably Virgin's "Voyager " stock which I find cramped.

meadowrun
2nd Jan 2014, 00:20
Perhaps better when it was just Great Western. At Didcot there is a transfer shed where two different gauges of rail met and freight had to be hand bombed from one set of trucks to another in order to continue on their journeys. A thankless job.

Found GW to be ok for travel except once out of Carmarthon with reserved seats (as my Mum in her 80's was with me) - found the carriages totally jammed to the aisles and reserved seat signs handily removed and discarded by those who got there first. Happily one kind soul gave up his seat for my Mum. I stood.

Airey Belvoir
2nd Jan 2014, 05:36
SOPs you had better hope that Buswell isn't reading this otherwise your name will be mud in WA. Don't give him any excuse to raise fares. It's just fortunate that the State Government views rail travel a bit further down the list than cess-pit emptying.

Capetonian
2nd Jan 2014, 07:24
Capot: A few years ago I travelled on FGW quite a lot, in and out of Bristol and Shitdon, and they were pretty poor compared to the other TOCs. I had several awful journeys on grossly overcrowded trains. In the last couple of years I've only used them on a couple of short routes, such Gatwick to Guildford.

Most of my travelling in the last few years has been between Surrey and Chester/Liverpool, using South West Trains and Virgin, also a lot on Scotrail, and East Coast, a few journeys on Grand Central, Cross Country, and London Midland. Overall, not too bad.

Blacksheep
2nd Jan 2014, 07:34
I saw a certain female presenter having the door to a full-sized dark black shiny Audi being opened for her by a BBC chauffeur.
It goes with the six-figure salary paid to BBC presenters. They have to pay that much to get 'talking heads' with the right presentational skills. :rolleyes:

UniFoxOs
2nd Jan 2014, 08:18
Anybody understand the concept of a cheaper ticket for a period including a weekend?

For a while I commuted weekly Manchester to Dublin, out Monday mornings and back Friday evenings, all flights at peak times, so no logical reason for them to be cheaper. But by booking a return from Manchester out one Monday and back the Friday 11 days later, and a return from Dublin out on the intervening Friday and back the Monday after, I was able to get two weeks worth of peak-period flights (pre-LOCO) at a considerable discount.

Never understood this.

Capetonian
2nd Jan 2014, 08:23
There is plenty in this morning's newspapers on this topic.

Warning over rail 'profit' as commuters face fare hike - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10546160/Warning-over-rail-profit-as-commuters-face-fare-hike.html)

Government to pay rail firms to convert first class carriages to economy to ease overcrowding - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10546524/Government-to-pay-rail-firms-to-convert-first-class-carriages-to-economy-to-ease-overcrowding.html)

It worries me that the word 'profit' seems to be a dirty word which the press pick up and turn into a campaign without looking further. That 'profit' might be an operating surplus which should be returned to the infrastructure for often badly needed improvements.

It worries me more that travelling first class is seen as an uneccessary luxury, when it's not. If people choose to pay more so as not to rub shoulders with the great unwashed, and to have a little more space around them, that's a choice that they pay for and that should be allowed to continue. If the operators are not filling the first class seats, then what is required is not the removal of those seats, but more effective marketing and pricing of them and better allocation on services where they will be filled. I appreciate that logistically this presents some problems, for example whereas the 0730 from Brockenhurst to London may show a strong demand for first class, the same coach set reversed out of Waterloo to run the 0900 service back may not show the same demand, and the demand on first won't increase until the afternoon outbound commuter peak.

The solutions to that are either better pricing strategies or more flexible seating policies. It is significant that, as mentioned by Capot, the services mentioned in this context are FGW, known for their overcrowding. Removing first class should not be seen as a solution.

Capetonian
2nd Jan 2014, 08:43
UniFoxOs The answer to your question lies in demand. Typically a businessman does not want to spend the weekend away, and will travel out and back the same week, and will thus be targeted to pay the higher fares that don't have a 'minimum stay' which typically before the LCCs arrived, was the 'Sunday rule' meaning that return travel could not commence before 0001 on the Sunday after outbound travel. The way round that was to do exactly what you did, and buy 'back to back' tickets, which at one time was technically a breach of the airlines' rules but would never have stood up in a court case.

You were able to take advantage of this because you did a regular commute, but a businessman doing it on an infrequent or one off basis could not have done so. It was more complex in the past due to 'cross border' ticketing regulations.

Yield management for the airlines is selling the right seat to the right passenger at the right time and at the right price - which of course for the operator means the maximum price. This is why there will always be a conflict of interest and seemingly idiotic fare rules.

Where you have multiple purchasers bidding for the same limited commodity, it will make sense to sell it to the highest bidder. That is commercial reality, even if others choose to call it 'greed' or 'price-gouging' or 'profiteering'.

Lon More
2nd Jan 2014, 08:54
Probably the businessman is paying nothing. Traveling at company expense (with a discount if his company uses the service a lot) and the company can offset the cost against tax.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
2nd Jan 2014, 13:23
Just had a skim through this thread and there seems to a lot of mis-information and misunderstanding about UK rail travel.

Number one, the gov wants pax to pay for the service, rather than the taxpayer to pay, so it's more expensive here than in other countries where the taxpayer picks up a bigger slice of the costs. Simple economics.

Booking in advance - someone said it's like booking a pie in advance at Tesco and getting it cheaper. It's not. Tesco have as many pies available as customers who want to buy them. Train seats (like airline seats and hotel rooms) are a finite resource - the more that are booked, the fewer are left to book, so the law of supply and demand applies. As the available number of seats (or hotel rooms) diminishes, the price goes up. Simple economics.

The UK rail system is actually very good, if not cheap. That's why there are 3 times more pax using it than prior to privatisation. That means it's sometimes overcrowded, a victim of its own success. If Virgin can fill peak time London trains at several hundred pounds per ticket, why would they want to charge less? Simple economics.

Before privatisation my Wilmslow to Euston journey took getting on for 4 hours, with a couple of trains a day doing the direct journey. The staff were surly (even in 1st) and worst of all, the service was dreadfully unreliable with trains usually late or cancelled or breaking down. I usually flew on the Shuttle to Heathrow and took the HEX into London, so poor was the BR service.

Now it takes 2 hours. one train an hour (3 if I change at Stockport). Absloutely reliable. Friendly customer-oriented staff. And the trains are clean despite sometimes only having a 10 minute turn-around at Manchester or Euston (cleaning is done while the train is running). No-one flys to Heathrow any more unless they are connecting with a flight there or want to be in Hounslow rather than central London. Hence the MAN - LON shuttle is a shadow of what it used to be. Everyone's on the Pendolinos!

OK, you might say, we have new Pendolino trains, and the West Coast Line infrastructure has been much improved since privatisation (re-signalling, new track, 4-tracks down the Trent Valley instead of two, rebuilt stations). Some one mentioned FGW and the IC125s. OK, they've been in service since the 70s and 80s, but they have been refurbished and most importantly re-engined with modern power units which are far more reliable. And of course along with many other main lines, the West of England line is about to be electrified with brand new electric trains.

Commuters! They get a hell of a deal! £4k PA sounds a lot, but if they had to use peak time daily tickets instead it would cost many, many times that. Even daily off peak travel is many times the cost of an annual any time ticket. As pax, the rest of us travellers subsidise them!

We could have a cheaper railway, and I'd vote for that. But how many other tax payers would (it'd cost them more, even if they never set foot on a train). We could have a re-nationalised railway, but anyone with a memory of train travel in music-hall-joke BR days wouldn't want that!

So really, with a system that works well despite being at about max capacity a lot of the time, and is safer than the railways have ever been, I think we have a pretty good system in UK!

All it lacks is capacity as its popularity means it's full and can't expand to meet demand. Hence we need HS2 NOW not in 20 years time! The rest of Europe (and most of the developed world) has had HS rail for decades already!

Krystal n chips
2nd Jan 2014, 15:31
An interesting read :

Rail fare price increases condemned by passengers | Money | theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/jan/02/rail-fare-price-increases-condemned-passengers)


Number one, the gov wants pax to pay for the service, rather than the taxpayer to pay, so it's more expensive here than in other countries where the taxpayer picks up a bigger slice of the costs. Simple economics.


I hate to shatter your naïve illusions, but, pax are also tax payers...in the main that is and I would suggest you look at the subsidies paid by the Gov't to the T.O.C.'s.....and the source of these subsidies is ??


Booking in advance - someone said it's like booking a pie in advance at Tesco and getting it cheaper. It's not. Tesco have as many pies available as customers who want to buy them. Train seats (like airline seats and hotel rooms) are a finite resource - the more that are booked, the fewer are left to book, so the law of supply and demand applies.[/I] As the available number of seats (or hotel rooms) diminishes, the price goes up. Simple economics.


Really ?......most products in shops have a finite supply...although no doubt the Wilmslow branch of Tesco can conjure pies out of thin air....however, one little point is why should a finite resource increase in price when it will be replaced the next day?

The UK rail system is actually very good, if not cheap. That's why there are 3 times more pax using it than prior to privatisation. That means it's sometimes overcrowded, a victim of its own success. If Virgin can fill peak time London trains at several hundred pounds per ticket, why would they want to charge less? Simple economics.

The term public service is probably an anathema to you, however, if you have actually used any of the commuter trains to / from Manchester at peak times, you would understand why people get increasingly annoyed with the price rises.

" Before privatisation my Wilmslow to Euston journey took getting on for 4 hours, with a couple of trains a day doing the direct journey. The staff were surly (even in 1st) and worst of all, the service was dreadfully unreliable with trains usually late or cancelled or breaking down.

Hmmm ?.....how strange because I also used the Picc-Euston route many, many times in that era and never experienced a broken down train once...late (ish) a few times yes, but even then nothing exceptional.


Now it takes 2 hours. one train an hour (3 if I change at Stockport). Absloutely reliable. Friendly customer-oriented staff. And the trains are clean despite sometimes only having a 10 minute turn-around at Manchester or Euston (cleaning is done while the train is running).

Erm, you have always had that option, although why anybody would wish to go backwards to Stockport, rather than forwards to Crewe ( and more options ) is a mystery of course.

OK, you might say, we have new Pendolino trains, and the West Coast Line infrastructure has been much improved since privatisation (re-signalling, new track, 4-tracks down the Trent Valley instead of two, rebuilt stations).

Remind me again of when privatisation took place.....and how recently the WCML upgrade took place



" And of course along with many other main lines, the West of England line is about to be electrified with brand new electric trains."

Is it now ?......I suggest you have a further look at the proposed electrification routes.....nowhere near as extensive as you imply.

Commuters! They get a hell of a deal! £4k PA sounds a lot, but if they had to use peak time daily tickets instead it would cost many, many times that. Even daily off peak travel is many times the cost of an annual any time ticket. As pax, the rest of us travellers subsidise them!

The Adam Smith Institute clearly missed out by not recruiting you it would seem !.....what a load of rubbish.... to put it mildly.And £4k is a lot of money to many people, even more so when most of us have had no, or minimal pay rises due to the "age of ( highly selective ) austerity".

We could have a cheaper railway, and I'd vote for that. But how many other tax payers would (it'd cost them more, even if they never set foot on a train). We could have a re-nationalised railway, but anyone with a memory of train travel in music-hall-joke BR days wouldn't want that!

I think most people would actually want a cheaper rail network....strange though this may seem to you. And I for one, would be very happy to see a return to the much maligned, by some that is, B.R. as a nationalised asset.

[that works well despite being at about max capacity a lot of the time, and is safer than the railways have ever been, I think we have a pretty good system in UK!"

That sounds just like a piece of dogma from Tory Central Office....if you don't mind me saying so....which you probably do.

All it lacks is capacity as its popularity means it's full and can't expand to meet demand. Hence we need HS2 NOW not in 20 years time!

And you have seen the proposed route through Cheshire I take it ?.....and if so, you should be aware that the populace are highly unlikely to accept it without significant resistance.....if it ever gets built, which, hopefully, it won't.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
2nd Jan 2014, 16:02
From that Guardian piece:

"This latest fare rise comes after 10 years of inflation-busting fare increases, meaning that our trains are easily the most expensive in Europe."

That's gov policy innit. Make the pax pay more and the taxpayer pay less. There's no free lunch, the service has to be paid for, it's just a question of who picks up how much of the bill.

In UK the gov has progressively pushed more of the bill onto the user year by year, hence the inflation-busting fare rises in earlier years (though this year they're in line with inflation). In the rest of Europe, the taxpayer picks up a bigger slice of the bill.

Would we want it that way in UK?

Capetonian
2nd Jan 2014, 16:11
I don't read that lefty rag, the Guardian, but it seems to me that there is a fallacy, as always, with the lefties' arguments.

Train fares in the UK seem expensive because the passengers pay a greater portion of the fare. Rail fares in France are often quoted as 'cheap', and compared mile for mile, some are cheaper than UK, but they are subsidised by very high taxation and thus paid for up front. The same applies to the 'cheap' medical fees in France.

It seems to me fair that those who use the railways most should pay most, and unfair that someone who doesn't use them should be forced to subsidise them.

Krystal n chips
2nd Jan 2014, 16:30
"
It seems to me fair that those who use the railways most should pay most"

Indeed, however, do remind us again....you have, after all posted your contender for the Booker Prize, twice.....that was the letter you sent to Cross-Country in case you have forgotten...in which I seem to recall you saying that "as an aside, I enquired about an upgrade"....this being prior to boarding and thus your wish to travel First Class, without actually paying the full First class fare came to nothing.

Ho hum !

cockney steve
2nd Jan 2014, 16:51
@SSD... all taxpayers are already subsidising the railways....just that users are paying twice...likewise local train/tram/bus services are subsidised hugely from rates/council tax or whatever name you give it.
Arguably, the regular user is subsidising the infrequent user like myself...having spent ~£1.50 a year , over the last20-odd years,on fares....but how much have my council taxes contributed to other users over that period?

Like any "public service" beaurocracy, the old BR system was self-serving, grossly inefficient, but most of all unaccountable to the general public

A minister with a bit of power and a bit of backbone could have sorted the issue...we didn't need to hand the keys to the till to the likes of Branson, Souter and Gloag to get the message through "perform efficiently or you're out"

3-times more pax using it now.....yea, Congestion charge...sky high road fuel tax...shitty, potholed roads....even the M6 has had perpetual "roadworks" at Birmingham for ~5 years and Istillrefuse to be coerced onto the Toll -bypass.huge parking charges and restrictions...unrealistic speed-limits set Decades ago, whilst ABS, tyre , suspension and brake technology have leapt ahead, I am given to understand that the average present mid-range saloon can outperform a 60's GP car in those areas and it's a damned sight safer in a shunt.

A recent journey Oldham to Farnborough ( Bus to manchester, then rail) took ~1 1/2 hours longer than driving the return(including the usual rush-hour M60 snarlup around Stockport) Fuel cost for 1 person, with 3 spare seats, was around £30...fare in the main journey, which was ~70% occupancy....Just short of £50, booked in advance.

Some 40 years ago, my sister, BIL and 2 kids used to visit by taxi.....Far from the reckless frittering I accused them of, it was quicker, cheaper, door to door, no waiting in the cold/rain for a late/no-show service and timed to their convenience.
Public transport is, by it's nature, slow (stop-start for pax on-off) and inefficient.

I suspect the operators mentioned above, made their vast profits from matching their vehicles to the demand.....instead of sending a 40-seater on a journey that never had more than 10 pax, they sent a minibus and pocketed the wedge that was left over, being subsidised at the 40-seater's costs.

probably the current rail subsidies are based on the old BR overmanning and inefficient ways. Don't know and don't care.

If I were a commuter, I'd make it my business to get together with others in the locale and charter a minibus or car-share....despite the artificial pricing-out of private transport i alluded to, I'm damned sure it would be a lot cheaper!

Re- "standby"....go into a major supermarket (usually late evening) and the purged, short-date stock is on sale at knockdown prices...obviously, 10p for a loaf is better than binning it. A hard-core of mainly Asian, Oriental and Eastern Europeanshoppers will congregate and wait for the "final reductions....most Brits are too" proud" to do this....where "Standby" was concerned,- if you were desperate to fly and all seats were sold, you still wouldn't get a seat....as far as i remember, standby's were only allocated after the gate had closed to regular travellers....thus, because of the uncertainty of "fly or wait " these were "want" as opposed to "need" travellers.
It was well-known that certain scheduled flights were grossly overprovided and you would always get a seat ......management fault again, not matching size of aircraft to demand.*
* OK I know that's a bit simplistic, but if regular pax were well aware when there was gross over-capacity.......

Late 60's I was bumped on a heathrow to Glasgow flight...given First Class on the next flight....Was later told that, had I insisted on the scheduled ticket being honoured, they'd have had to lay on another plane for me and any others bumped of the first one.

If Tesco sell all the stocked pies, (under estimate demand)...the shelves are bare until the next delivery, be it 1/2 hour or 48 hours

If they overstock, they usually keep shtum until short-date indicates a need to price-dump,often below cost, to mitigate some of the loss on that portion of their purchase.....very similar situation to a half-empty Airliner due to leave in 20 minutes! Don't know if their computer-system and transport is efficient enough to identify and match surplus-holders with those needing stock...we did just that in the tobacco Trade, some 45 years ago....never had stale stock, always made "best terms" on orders. :8

I'd venture to suggest the "crowded"trains are peak-time and the problem's exacerbated by lack of carriages and lack of frequency....Southend to London had 2 mainline stations, with, IIRC, 20-minute frequency during rush-hour...then virtually empty 1/2-hourly during the quiet times....a 10-minute or even a 5-minute service should be feasible, as has been provided for years by London Underground...(so don't say it can't be done :} )

Of course....longer trains would need longer platforms, I'm told these now have to be built to accommodate the miniscule number of wheelchair users who would otherwise be disadvantaged... (same positive discrimination also applies to all new shop and office buildings we ALL pay for this minority, overall it would be cheaper to pay a personal care-assistant and public taxi for this group....but, hey ho, 'it doesn't cost gummint to issue the diktat, looks politically good and the private sector picks up the tab....and it creates a few civil service "jobs" in compliance, etc.

Capetonian
2nd Jan 2014, 17:25
Thank you K and C for reminding me, again, why you are on my ignore list, but I took a peek, against my better judgment, at your comment which I'd correctly guessed was aimed at me and as usual in your attempts to belittle others (you can't resist a poke at me, can you?) you make yourself look foolish, not for the first time.

Since you seem to have little better to do than to track and contradict anything I write (I feel rather as if I have a stalker, and it's not flattering), please remind me where I indicated that I expected an upgrade without paying for it. Otherwise, you may wish to take lessons in English, since comprehension does not seem to be one of your stronger points.

Don't judge others by your own behaviour and your little fits of envy. You are so dull and predictable and you never seem to learn.

I'm sure you'll be able to prove me wrong!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
2nd Jan 2014, 17:26
I hate to shatter your naïve illusions, but, pax are also tax payers...in the main that is and I would suggest you look at the subsidies paid by the Gov't to the T.O.C.'s.....and the source of these subsidies is ??

Oh dear. It seems K&C want's to take this the usual JB confrontational route. Where did I ever say pax weren't taxpayers? But just as every horse is a four legged animal but every four legged animal isn't a horse, so far from all taxpayers are rail pax. Why do I have to point that out?


....if you have actually used any of the commuter trains to / from Manchester at peak times, you would understand why people get increasingly annoyed with the price rises.

In what way does that gainsay anything I posted? I said it's an overcrowded railway at times, and explained why. Do try to keep up.

Remind me again of when privatisation took place.....and how recently the WCML upgrade took place

Look them up. The point is the upgrades (there have been a few, some to raise line speed to 125mph and some, like Trent Valley 4-tracking, to increase capacity and allow 6 Pendelinos and hour between Lon and MAN) was after privatisation following pressure from Virgin West Coast, and would not have happened under BR as Treasury would simply have said "no", as they always did to BR. Why wouldn't they? Who would pressure them not to?


" And of course along with many other main lines, the West of England line is about to be electrified with brand new electric trains."

Is it now ?......I suggest you have a further look at the proposed electrification routes.....nowhere near as extensive as you imply.

The line will be electrified right through from London to South Wales - the busy bit. Then there's the Midland Main line London to Sheffield, Manchester to Liverpool and many NW lines, Trans Pennine across to the East Coast Line, and more. Pretty extensive I'd say.

BR would probably have closed most of those as they tried to do with the Settle - Carlisle, now a vital rail artery.

..what a load of rubbish.... to put it mildly.And £4k is a lot of money to many people, even more so when most of us have had no, or minimal pay rises due to the "age of ( highly selective ) austerity".

Rubbish? From you, yes! Take a look at post #52. And again, in what way does that gainsay what I posted? £4K PA is a fraction of the cost of daily tickets for the same journey, which is the point (the only point on commuters) that I made. Therefore they get a very good deal.

I for one, would be very happy to see a return to the much maligned, by some that is, B.R. as a nationalised asset.

I prefer a modern, efficient, go-ahead customer oriented railway led by people who will beat the Treasury up if they threaten the rail businesses by starving the network of rightful investment, to a declining and shrinking network ever starved of Treasury investment with no-one to bat for it. But each to their own.


And you have seen the proposed route through Cheshire I take it ?.....and if so, you should be aware that the populace are highly unlikely to accept it without significant resistance.....if it ever gets built, which, hopefully, it won't.

So if no HS2, what?*

We need more rail capacity so something gas to done!

The route through Cheshire is very sensible. It follows the present corridors of the west coast main line, but mostly the M6, and the M56 so will not impose itself on virgin countryside. Against the scar across the county that are the motorways, with their never-ending all-pervading roar, you won't even know HS2 is there! Nimbys will always moan, as they did when HS1 was mooted. To listen to them you'd think it was going to bankrupt the country, bring devastation to Kent, and be a white elephant. In fact it came in under time and budget, is not noticeable next to the motorway it follows, and provides a superb high speed link to Europe from the brilliantly-refurbished St Pancras.

*Please don't suggest longer trains. We've done that - 11 coaches now which is a long as the (just extended) stations can take. And the geography of our 1800s railway doesn't allow for any more station lengthening. We've fiddle-faddled about with existing lines and got improvements, but at high cost in financial and disruption terms. And no doubt as HS2 is a ridiculous 20 years away, we'll be doing more of that and trains will get ever more crowded.

Time for some 20th century rail - even if it'll be well into the 21st before we get it!

west lakes
2nd Jan 2014, 18:19
So doing some sums.
days per year 365
less 2 days every weekend 104
264
less 8 bank holidays 8
256
less 5 working weeks holiday 25
231 working days per year.

Cost of ticket from post #1 £4075/231 = £17.64 per working day!

Now it is 55 miles by road from Basingstoke to London, so 110 miles per day.
An average cost/mile of a diesel costing between, say, £16000 and £20000 doing over 30,000 per year is 36 p/mile
So 110 x 231 x .36 = £9147.60

But as often said, it's amazing what statistics can or cannot show!!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
2nd Jan 2014, 18:31
So doing some sums.
days per year 365
less 2 days every weekend 104
264
less 8 bank holidays 8
256
less 5 working weeks holiday 25
231 working days per year.

Cost of ticket from post #1 £4075/231 = £17.64 per working day!

Now it is 55 miles by road from Basingstoke to London, so 110 miles per day.
An average cost/mile of a diesel costing between, say, £16000 and £20000 doing over 30,000 per year is 36 p/mile
So 110 x 231 x .36 = £9147.60

But as often said, it's amazing what statistics can or cannot show!!

Indeed. But don't forget running costs of a car is more than just fuel. And don't forget parking charges in London!

Or if you buy a day return Basingstoke to London, it'd cost you £38.40 per day! So the commuter annual ticket, even if you only divide it by 231, at £17.64 really is an amazing bargain! And that doesn't take into account that you can use that ticket as many times as you like any day of the week - to go into town to see a show, for instance. All within the cost of the annual ticket!

So as I said in the other post, commuters actually get a very good deal indeed! If they paid the going rate, fares could be reduced for the rest of us!

G-CPTN
2nd Jan 2014, 18:38
My son is not an everyday traveller by train, but he can buy a 'strip' of tickets:-
Carnet train tickets ? Save time and money | First Capital Connect (http://www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk/tickets-and-fares/peak-tickets/carnet/)

cavortingcheetah
2nd Jan 2014, 18:56
Yeah - but you can't smoke pot in trains.

Rail Engineer
2nd Jan 2014, 19:35
Ye Gods, doesn't take long for the tired old "inefficient BR" mongers to get into a froth does it ?


A few facts that most people ignore because it doesn't fit the rant, or are ignorant about.


1 : BR operated its services from the mid-70s on the basis of subsidy from HMG. The level of the subsidy was controlled by the Treasury and was used as a political economic "tool" to demonstrate Government fiscal policy. In most years therefore the subsidy never covered the true (increased) costs of operating the Railway.


2 : Pay on the Railway was poor compared to private industry and those with the relevant Political muscle. If Railwaymen struck for more money they were penalising the taxpayer and the passenger, yet the Miners were good old boys, etc, etc. a bit like the NHS, etc. The point here is that we could not recruit and so we had to work 6 and 7 days a week to keep the service going. Many is the time that I have sat down at the end of the week without enough Signalmen to keep a route operational, yet we had to manage it. Similarly we had train crews who regularly worked 12 and sometimes more hours per day on an extended basis to keep trains moving.


3 : Continuous Welded Rail track which brings with it enormous benefits in terms of reduced maintenance and reliability was classed by the Treasury as "investment" and thus had to come from the limited investment pot. The additional installation cost mile per mile for CWR was negligible and would have been quickly recovered, but this did not count. This is the sort of craziness that can only be exercised by a Treasury Civil Servant.


4 : In the 10-15 years towards Privatisation we had to learn to get more for less and thus when the Private operators stepped in they found none of the inefficiencies that they had bragged about, indeed quite the reverse. Remember the South West Trains no Driver farce when they decided we had too many Drivers ?


Branson strolled up waxing lyrical about inefficient BR Managers, sacked most and then watched his trainset fall apart, realising after a couple of years that he couldn't run a train service like an airline and then paying top dollar to recruit retired Railwaymen to come back and sort out his mess.


5 : In the 1990s BR was regularly quoted as being the most efficient given the investment levels, InterCity was making a profit (unlike now - and remember that the only Privatised Operator who did make money and pay into the Treasury was cynically taken out of the Industry by Bliar/Brown because GNERs face did not fit).


6 : For all the pooh put about by the ignorant, any former BR Manager or Engineer can command 4-figure day rates on any Railway in the World, and these Railways are happy to pay the price as BR experience is still valued so highly throughout the world.


7 : The public have what the public wanted I am afraid, and now don't like it. It was Branson who started airline-style charging as he is able to keep 100% of those fares whereas he has to share full-fare and reduced-fare "normal" tickets with HMG Treasury. Any shortfall is made up by HMG and any excess paid back to HMG. That is why no TOC makes money.


8 : Last time I checked, the Virgin services were still subject to the highest rate per mile despite the vast profits made by Virgin all as a result of the neat little arrangements implemented by Labour in the late 1990s.


9 : With regards to Privatisation, it was always the case that NO Government could afford the costs of modernisation that were needed despite increasing investment under the Thatcher Governments. The public purse is finite, as we will all discover next year, and BR was always going to be the loser when it came to a choice between the NHS and Railways.


Like the Curate's egg Privatisation has been good in places, however a vast retrograde step was taken when again for cynical Political purposes and gain Labour deliberately bankrupt Railtrack. That model whilst needing some tinkering with was far, far better than what we have now. Again a case of the Taxpayer getting what they wanted and now not liking it.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
2nd Jan 2014, 19:56
I wouldn't argue with almost all that Rail Engineers says. There were some excellent managers in BR, people like Chris Green of Network South East and Inter City, who later ran Virgin West Coast.

And I agree that pivatisation wasn't the idealistic Tory move that some paint it (illustrated by Maggie not doing it and Major doing it reluctantly). It was a move of desperation.... What else could they have done?

The railways were shagged by WW1 and never really recovered before WW2 shagged them even more. The gov couldn't afford compensation to the rail companies so they nationalised them. They then became a political football, starved of investment by both colours of government. The lack of money from the Treasury meant low wages, sweating of old assets instead of investing in new, and massive overtime as Rail Engineer says, as there weren't enough staff.

Rail managers did what they could while the Treasury increasingly screwed rail out of money - at one point the Min of Transport was led by a motorway contractor (Marples - the guy who recruited Beeching)! Guess where the investment went - not to rail! Lines were closed, junctions taken out to save money, signalling simplified, lines singled. It was only a matter of time before rail vanished altogether in UK!

By the 1990s the gov realised it was backed into a corner. Rail needed massive investment as the chickens of years of neglect were coming home to roost, and as the economy grew it became obvious we did need a good rail system so it had to be fixed. Accidents like Clapham revealed overworked maintenance staff who never got a w/e off for weeks at a time. Something had to be done.

The gov realised that massive public investment into Rail (the real solution) would be political suicide.... so they privatised it instead. That way the money the railways needed was spent, but not in the form of Treasury writing a big cheque and following up with realistic annual investment.

We now have a far better railway - new trains, re-opened lines and junctions, infrastructure being increased rather than closed down, faster journey times, much more reliability, and safer as well. But it's come at a cost. As it must. You yet nowt for ought!

mickjoebill
2nd Jan 2014, 21:36
The price of season commuter pass between Melbourne and destinations 45 minutes journey away on regional rail is $8.80 per day or A$2860 for 325 days.

It is capped at 325 days so you can use it for 365days and covers all public transport in Melbourne.

A single day fare is $22.40.
At many stations there is plenty of free car parking.



Mickjoebill

radeng
2nd Jan 2014, 22:58
Shaggy Sheep and Rail Engineer seem, to me, to have hit the matter spot on.

In BR days, flexibility was there - on more than one occasion, an appeal to station staff saw a 'special stop notice' issued to get me to my destination - one case to catch the last flight of the night. Another one saw me taken to Foreman's office for a cup of tea!

HSTs are better riding now than 20 years ago.....and my last trip saw the 'train manager' go out of his way to ensure that some late running on the last train of the night caused by Network (Notwork?) Rail led to connections being held - that was on FGW. Shades of real BR service as it was in the 70's!

BR in later days suffered from too many managers who weren't real 'railway men', but what we have now is certainly not that much of an improvement.

Can you imagine these days having an announcement at Kings Cross:

"British Railways apologise for the very late arrival from Doncaster: this was caused by management incompetence".

That was Gerald Fiennes, Regional Manager - and the regular announcer refused to make the announcement, so Fiennes did it himself!


Not that he got everything right.....

meadowrun
2nd Jan 2014, 23:41
Don't care, was better with steam and a nice cup of tea.

http://www.bulleidsociety.org/News/Pictures/2012/12_34059_Hoathly_Tunnel_Snow.jpg

Capot
2nd Jan 2014, 23:45
There was a goon on TV (commercial manager of Chiltern, perhaps, I'm not sure) who carefully explained that a season ticket holder would/could travel 17,000 miles for his money. He did not bore us with the detail that the holder's chance of actually having a seat is, let's say, 80/120, which seems to be the observable ratio.

His point was that running a car for the same mileage would cost, oh, an awful lot more, perhaps twice as much. So the ticket holder's travel was thus a good bargain.

What the ******** did not seem to realise was;

(a) The marginal cost of running the car for that mileage, ie not counting its costs of ownership, are about the same as the season ticket (or much less if you use a diesel Focus, say), and it's the marginal cost which is important in the comparison he sought to make.

(b) The car is more comfortable and you get a seat.

(c) The car can take 4 or 5 people, even though they are often not all used.

(d) A rail ride is only the middle portion of a journey that has three portions, and the other two are sometimes not cheap. It's the total journey cost that counts. (The same applies to a car, in a way; there may be parking costs at the destination.)

Edit; Pprune put those stars in. I called him (a) Richard Head.

ATNotts
3rd Jan 2014, 08:18
The principal reason why the annual rail fare increase story gets so much prominence in the media is because it largely effects London, and those that work there - and surprise surprise, that's where most of the national press and broadcast journalists ply their trade.

If you make a simple calculation between a season ticket cost, and the real cost of running a car (which HMG calculate as being £ 0.45 per mile for the first 10k miles, and £ 0.25 per mile thereafter) you realise just what good value a season ticket actually is.

The problem is that in the UK we think nothing of commuting 40+ miles each way each day to work, which in such a crowded island really makes no sense at all. And when you compare the (average) reliability of railway punctuality against with congestion on our motorways I would suggest that rail, with all it's alleged shortcomings comes out reasonably well.

Capot
3rd Jan 2014, 10:13
You have to remember that when Civil Servants (and/or AA, RAC etc) "calculate" the costs of using a car, they have a very strong vested interest in getting as high a number as they can plausibly get away with.

A diesel Focus Estate burns a litre every 11.67 miles, mixed urban/A/M. At least mine does, and I don't hang about too much, as my collection of points and speed awareness courses will testify. It costs £180 per year to insure fully comp. Tax is £30, and a generous allowance on maintenance and tyres, for 20K miles per year, would be £400. My 2004 Mondeo 2L diesel was almost exactly the same, apart from the tax (£180 or so?).

Allowing for depreciation of £1400 per year (I buy 3-year old cars with less than 30K miles, and sell at 100K), the total cost of ownership and running the car are £4,358 per year with 20K miles, or 21.79p per mile, E&OE.

If anyone indulges in a more expensive car, that's their right, but there is no reason why a Government (taxpayers) or a private sector employer should pay for that indulgence.

If you take out the standing costs of ownership from the mileage cost, as you would if the use is only casual, or at the user's choice, the marginal cost per mile (fuel, maintenance) of making that trip is just 8.25p per mile. That's what my company budgets for, and we usually beat it.

However the tradition of grossly excessive mileage charges is entrenched in the UK, and few dare to challenge it. But if you work for me, you do not get a "company car", and you will be reimbursed the true cost of your car use, or rather the cost that would be achieved with an economical vehicle. Which seems perfectly fair to me.

I've mentioned that approach to a number of Civil Servants, but they almost had heart attacks at the prospect of not making large profits on their mileage claims.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
3rd Jan 2014, 11:30
Thread drift here onto mileage allowances, but HMRC has rules about what you can claim. I'm retired now, but when I was working my company paid less than HMRC approved mileage, so I could, on my tax return, claim the difference between what my company paid and what HMRC said was allowable.

Likewise if my company had been generous and paid more than HMRC rates, I'd have been liable for tax on the difference.

ShyTorque
3rd Jan 2014, 13:08
A consolation might be that the reason British rail fares are the highest is that travel on that country's roads is the ghastliest.

Consolation is: It all helps keep me in a job..... :cool:

Rail Engineer
3rd Jan 2014, 14:19
.... If you take out the standing costs of ownership from the mileage cost, as you would if the use is only casual, or at the user's choice, the marginal cost per mile (fuel, maintenance) of making that trip is just 8.25p per mile. That's what my company budgets for, and we usually beat it.

However the tradition of grossly excessive mileage charges is entrenched in the UK, and few dare to challenge it. But if you work for me, you do not get a "company car", and you will be reimbursed the true cost of your car use, or rather the cost that would be achieved with an economical vehicle. Which seems perfectly fair to me.

I've mentioned that approach to a number of Civil Servants, but they almost had heart attacks at the prospect of not making large profits on their mileage claims.Your figures are fine to a degree, albeit they relate to your particular circumstances and your insurance premium does seem to be very good however you do not include an allowance for the cost of finance, which the official figures do.


Your assumption is that your car is available to be used for work, but why should this be an employment assumption ?


Your vehicle would last longer / have a lower mileage figure and therefore be worth more if you did not incur work use. The work payment figure should therefore allow for this element, surely ?

G-CPTN
3rd Jan 2014, 14:31
Insurance cover for work use could well involve extra payment.

Capot
3rd Jan 2014, 15:10
an allowance for the cost of finance, which the official figures do.
Yup, and do they then get away with adding in a "depreciation" cost, while the finance cost is based on the purchase cost throughout the life of the vehicle?

It would not surprise me; clever little blighters, your civil servants, when it comes to feathering their nests.

Sorry about the drift; let's all get back to FGW for the sordid reality of rail travel in some of the UK today.

cockney steve
3rd Jan 2014, 15:19
Whilst I accept the arguments about"true running costs" (Daughter was running an old diesel Fiesta, totally reliable, used to make about£3K a year out of it....eventually sold for £300 when she bought a posh Audi )

Advantages of running a car....there whenyou want it....door to door, choose your own route, stops, speed...comfortable cheap.

drawbacks....parking, maintenance, tax/insurance/mot speed checks and a mass of potential traffic regulation infringements....no control over the competence or legality of those who you share the highway with.

RAIL dedicated "road", highly unlikely to meet oncoming traffic, even in the worst visibility, unlikely to get "rear-ended"(as previous)
can do other things than "drive" during the journey..

Drawbacks....no choice of travelling companions, have to fit in with "their" schedule, have to make your own connections at each end.

Sharing a communal vehicle "should" be cheaper....It's not
dedicated"road" "should" be faster...mostly not.

I'm struggling here.... if the capital required , doesn't make a decent return, it's not a commercially viable investment.....Therefore, it's a "social service" as such, it has no place in the speculative commercial world. However many barriers, tarriffs and restrictions ,Guvernment puts on Private Transport ownership, people overwhelmingly vote for "car" , It is, indeed this artificial "hobbling" of free-choice which forces the Commuter onto the Public Transport network.

It's pretty self-evident that , for commuting, rail does not add up....the hugely expensive assets are fully utilised for around 4-6 hours a day, most then trundle around with a very low utilisation(say~30% seats sold)

meaning a massive loss on every passenger-mile, or a ludicrous fare that makes a taxi or minicab a cheaper option.

Why anyone would pay full fare , Scotland to London, when they could fly quicker, cheaper and more comfortably, is beyond me........


Oh, No, Wait, You have the ridiculous airport check-in and "security " charade to negotiate first, thus adding enough handicap to that mode to keep the numbers down..

Rail was great in it's "golden age" when most people didn't have any motorised transport.. Rail and Charabancs moved the masses at an affordable, value for money price.....today, they don't..

Just remember...the commuter-fares are from TAXED income the weasel-word operators know damned well that season-ticket commuters are too busy earning a roof, food and fares, to be swanning around on the network all day....if the rail network were that good, efficient, fast and cheap, sompany cars wouldn't exist.

Rail Engineer
3rd Jan 2014, 15:31
..... It's pretty self-evident that , for commuting, rail does not add up....the hugely expensive assets are fully utilised for around 4-6 hours a day, most then trundle around with a very low utilisation(say~30% seats sold) meaning a massive loss on every passenger-mile, or a ludicrous fare that makes a taxi or minicab a cheaper option.
......This is and actually never was true (albeit for the former Southern Region which is a different Railway altogether).


BR worked hard to encourage off peak travel with cheap day return tickets. Unfortunately airline pricing and the fact that the TOCs can keep all of the revenue associated with their own restricted cheap fares means that "ordinary" fares have had to rise to pay the operating costs.


In BR days rolling stock was run to the sidings and brought back into service in the evening. Now you may argue that is inefficient, which to a degree it is but at the end of the day "you pays the money and takes the choice" as the saying goes. If you want to have a public service then you need to cover the inefficiencies with taxpayer revenue, if you want a commercially viable railway then you simply cut and do not provide any form of "peak" service as these are quite simply a complete pain in the arse to operate. They are populated by season ticket holders who gain a major saving against ordinary fare payers, yet make the most fuss and cause the most problems.


There is no perfect answer, but given a choice, I would NEVER operate a commuter service, it really is not worth the trouble.

Capetonian
3rd Jan 2014, 15:46
This has become a discussion about personal preferences. Mine is that where it's convenient and practical I will always travel by train. Cost is not a concern, comfort and safety are. I feel safer on a train than on the roads generally, although the bits at either end of the train journey add to the risk and there are some pretty dodgy characters hanging around the stations in a lot of places.

A car is convenient looking at the end-to-end journey but as most of the journeys I do are around 300 miles and would often include very busy roads, typically the M25, I prefer the comfort of the train for the bulk of the journey, allowing me to sit and doze or read, rather than having to be constantly alert for traffic and WX.

Much as I dislike rubbing shoulders with the great unwashed, and having my own space in a car is a preference, the other advantages, specially when I can travel off peak and/or first class, the train will always win. Hands down in fact.

I decided a while ago it was more convenient for me to rent a car than to own one in the UK as I rarely fly in and out of the same airports or do the same journey, so the car would never be where I need it, renting is a better option and possibly more cost effective, although often I rent a car and it sits outside the house or hotel for several days without being used.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
3rd Jan 2014, 16:11
....if the rail network were that good, efficient, fast and cheap, sompany cars (sic) wouldn't exist.

Do they in any great number, these days? The company I used to work for stopped the company car scheme when Gordon Brown vastly increased the tax on them. For me, that was a good thing! Up till then if I didn't do 22,000 work miles per year in my company car I had to pay double the tax. So I had to regularly drive it to meetings in London when I'd much rather have gone by train, simply to ensure I had the requisite company mileage.

When the company scrapped the company car scheme, they replaced it with a monthly car allowance. I bought my 18 month old V6 Omega for work use from the leasing company for peanuts, and used the car allowance to buy myself a sports car for fun use!

Oh, and every time after that I went down south to a meeting (by train of course), as we sped past the M1 nose-to-tail crawling 'car park' at Watford Gap at 125mph in perfect seat-reclined comfort, I'd raise my (complimentary) G&T to Gordon Brown (not something you'd normally catch me doing!).

Rail Engineer
3rd Jan 2014, 16:23
The impact of Labour's car taxation was to bring DOWN the cost for low mileage users, at the expense of high mileage users who ended up paying considerably more. Yet another winner from the Labour team in taxing those who needed a car against those who enjoyed it as a perk.


The net result of this was to make the company car are far more beneficial item, in fact it is worth far more than the salary equivalent if you factor in the costs of finance and repairs.


If you look at a fuel card, then this is more than worth it if you do a high mileage to travel to/from work, in any case if you do lots of personal miles it is a fantastic benefit.


The real way to treat Company cars is to make those "perk" drivers actually pay for them. Right now they are subsidised by the ordinary taxpayer, which I believe is really not fair.


This is more so when you think about someone who has to use a Company car to undertake their job, again it is people in that sector who finance the "perk" drivers.


Nothing that Labour did in its time was to the benefit of public services.


The last time I checked a Company car was a definite bonus if you do more than 26,000 miles per annum, up to that point car allowance and mileage is better - unless you work for Capot's Company, and it is definitely worth far more than its calculated salary equivalent.

Sunnyjohn
3rd Jan 2014, 16:26
It does seem expensive at over £4000 a year to travel from Basingstoke to London and back every day but, with respect, that is what many people choose, note I said choose, to do. I understand that people work in London because the work is there and the wages are good. I understand that people prefer to live in the country. But it is a choice. If you really don't like the expensive train fares, don't commute. On a related topic, comparing UK railways to Australian Railways is disingenuous - the geography, history and structure are totally different. Even comparing Uk railways to other European countries is not quite right because the history and geography of the Uk and the way its railways developed is quite different to european countries joined to to others by the land mass. And on a third topic, I'm sorry that the poster had a bad deal with railway toilets; I speak as I find, being a regular train user, and my experience is that (at the start of the journey anyway) they are clean and tidy. UK trains now have one of the most intensive services in Europe and, as a matter of historical interest, also once had the longest daily passenger train service in the world, from Penzance to Aberdeen, now, alas, curtailed to Dundee I believe.

west lakes
3rd Jan 2014, 16:35
Ah so company cars are a perk to drive to work and back, never knew that!!

Try lugging 100kg of gear around in the middle of the night to places where there is (or never has been) a rail service to get the electricity supply fixed.
OK could have a van but that doesn't look quite as good when attending meetings with architects or developers!

Sorry for the Fred Drift

Shaggy Sheep Driver
3rd Jan 2014, 16:40
Not only is the £4K commuter ticket their choice, it's subsidised by others (see post #52).

Working in IT I long ago realised I could earn a lot more if I moved to the SE to work. But not only did quality of life mitigate against that, I didn't want to give a chunk of my salary to BR every year commuting in from some godforsaken hole like Basingstoke. :)

My choice. Their choice. Commuters get a good deal - they should stop bluddy whinging!

Rail Engineer
3rd Jan 2014, 16:45
It does seem expensive at over £4000 a year to travel from Basingstoke to London and back every day but, with respect, that is what many people choose, note I said choose, to do. I understand that people work in London because the work is there and the wages are good. I understand that people prefer to live in the country. But it is a choice. If you really don't like the expensive train fares, don't commute. .With respect, if we take the average number of journeys per year of 212 (which allows for weekends and holidays) that works out at £18.87 per day, not bad I would say ?


Again one of the problems with commuters is that they can only see the up-front cost rather than do the maths. Yes £4000 makes great newspaper headlines but not when compared to the normal return fare of £38.40. It could cost £20 to park in London !




And on a third topic, I'm sorry that the poster had a bad deal with railway toilets; I speak as I find, being a regular train user, and my experience is that (at the start of the journey anyway) they are clean and tidy. It is the users who make toilets filthy, yes that is the passengers - who then complain !


Very few people who complain about toilets in trains do so about the toilets in their local pub on a Friday or Saturday night. Even the toilets in the offices where I work start to look unpleasant after lunchtime.



...comparing UK railways to Australian Railways is disingenuous - the geography, history and structure are totally different. Even comparing Uk railways to other European countries is not quite right because the history and geography of the Uk and the way its railways developed is quite different to european countries joined to to others by the land mass. ....Quite right. Many people quote French Railways but apart from the HS routes trains can be sparse and as low as a couple a day, with extended station stops which allow for any delay recovery. Even Holland which has a very good inter-connecting series of routes has extended station dwell times to ensure punctuality. We could do the same in the UK but then punters don't want to stop in stations (other than their own) for more than a matter of seconds.

Rail Engineer
3rd Jan 2014, 16:48
Ah so company cars are a perk to drive to work and back, never knew that!!

Try lugging 100kg of gear around in the middle of the night to places where there is (or never has been) a rail service to get the electricity supply fixed.
OK could have a van but that doesn't look quite as good when attending meetings with architects or developers!

Sorry for the Fred DriftNot sure if that is aimed at me but if you read my words that is not my point, quite the reverse. People who NEED to use a car (i.e. you) are penalised by paying for the "perk" use by others who take a car as part of a salary package because it is cheaper to both parties than the appropriate salary. And of course subsidised by those who do not get such a luxury.

west lakes
3rd Jan 2014, 16:53
It was not aimed at any poster in particular, I just felt that there needed some clarity abut the concept of company cars.
The "perk" is that I have use of it outside working hours for which I am taxed!

Rail Engineer
3rd Jan 2014, 17:04
It was not aimed at any poster in particular, I just felt that there needed some clarity abut the concept of company cars.
The "perk" is that I have use of it outside working hours for which I am taxed!Yes but my contention is that the basis of taxation of that perk is inherently unfair in that no recognition is made of those who HAVE to have a car as opposed to those for which a car is total perk and as such a means of minimising tax/NI contributions.


As such it encourages the supply of a car as part of a salary package, thus artificially making public transport more expensive. For example if those who did get "perk" cars did not have one then they would either have to buy their own or use public transport. Either way it would be more expensive for them, whereas you have no option, even if you do not use the car the IR treat it as available to you.

cockney steve
3rd Jan 2014, 17:21
I hate to keep labouring the point, so let's try another way....I,m pretty damned certain, that were Public transport efficient and cost-effective, the crowds would still use the service of their own volition.

How do minibus and taxi-shuttles to-from airports and rail-stations make a profit?... they're self-funded and taxed to the eyeballs with few, if any, concessions.Basingstoke to london, twice a day, 4 people...16K a year fares???? It's a bloody TRAIN! -not the space-shuttle!:}

Take any london -commute, get 3 fellow-travellers andthen ask a local cab-company the fare , if you paid up front for a year's commute...I,m certain that it would be highly competitive with the Rail-service.(get 8 and you could buy your own minibus, pay a driver and still do it cheaper

SO, how are railways cost-effective?



as we sped past the M1 nose-to-tail crawling 'car park' at Watford Gap at 125mph in perfect seat-reclined comfort,

So, you agree that the road-transport infrastructure has , effectively, been hobbled (look it up! ) and Nobbled , by successive governments since the Red Flag act, in order to try to force the average Joe to continue to use P..T (public Transport.)

I understand that people work in London because the work is there and the wages are good. I understand that people prefer to live in the country. But it is a choice.

NO! It's only a choice if you are considering moving to the commuter-conurbations.......Like Mr Westlakes....I chose a mobile service-engineer's job, then eventually a Rep's job....both of which involved driving around the country...one with tools/components, the other with 15 large suitcases of samples....both employers had cars returned with 30K a year on the clock....do you seriously think I wanted to drive their car at weekends? (I played with a vintage Lanchester for that:) we also had the EX's VW beetle for any serious journeying.

To many people this isn't an option,- they're not "hands-on" customer-facing or cold-calling types and their skillset lies in London they've no choice HINT...Why did the shipyard workers march from Jarrow to London???? Same bloody principle....go where the work is, or starve!

I did not want to work in London, that's why I'm settled in the sticks. had I not been mobile and adaptable i could have stayed a shop-manager in a provincial S.E.town. a lot of people have roots in their home area, If they want their social infrastructure to remain in place, they HAVE to commute...they're captive traffic and the rail companies are aware of this and will squeeze till the pips squeak.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
3rd Jan 2014, 17:53
Lot of 'labouring' there Steve, but no particular 'point' came across that I could see. And I did read it 3 times. Maybe it's just me? What is it you're saying?

Rail Engineer
3rd Jan 2014, 18:06
...I did not want to work in London, that's why I'm settled in the sticks. had I not been mobile and adaptable i could have stayed a shop-manager in a provincial S.E.town. a lot of people have roots in their home area, If they want their social infrastructure to remain in place, they HAVE to commute...they're captive traffic and the rail companies are aware of this and will squeeze till the pips squeak.That is not factually or totally correct.


Firstly the provision of commuter services is a real pain in the arse given the infrastructure requirements, the rolling stock implications and the level of unproductive train crew resources. This makes peak services far more expensive to operate that the remainder of the day.
Now add to that the fact that commuters benefit from a goodly discount against the daily fare and you have the perfect storm in economic terms, and not one that is sustainable long term.
There are four answers.
1 : Do not operate peak services.
2 : Operate peak services and raise the fare levels to cover the operational costs
3 : Provide public support from taxation revenue
4 : Do not offer season ticket discounts at all


You take your pick


Now look at these from a TOC point of view.


1 : Is a perfect solution as it minimises avoidance costs and inefficiencies
2 : This is partly the scenario in the UK alongside 3
3 : This is partly the scenario in the UK alongside 2
4 : A good solution as it levels out income


Whilst I am not necessarily a fan of the TOCs as a professional I do have to say that they are in a no-win situation. Whatever they do in any of the four scenarios above will bring criticism.


The UK has never satisfactorily decided the following question ; Are Railways to be provided as a social service or are they to operate as financially successful entities, similar to the airlines, bus companies, etc. ?


The answer to that is muddied by the fact that Commuters also vote, but they then also want the best of all solutions. They want to pay bugger all for their journey, they want a seat on every train, they want a train at any time THEY want it. If you fail to satisfy anyone of these "needs" then by definition you are either incompetent or a villain charging horrendously high fares on a captive market.


Politically NO-ONE in the UK is prepared to bite the bullet and either take the railways back into public ownership or sail the ship and put them into the private sector full stop. There is no adequate half-way house as I have tried to say over several posts.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
3rd Jan 2014, 18:28
Politically NO-ONE in the UK is prepared to bite the bullet and either take the railways back into public ownership or sail the ship and put them into the private sector full stop. There is no adequate half-way house as I have tried to say over several posts.

Neither of those would work:

Public ownership: We tried that. It's great in theory, but falls down in that whenever the state is short of money (and the state is always short of money) the Treasury will fail to supply the investment required to run a decent railway system. This is why BR, despite its best efforts, was in a downward spiral of line closures, infrastructure reductions, and clapped-out-asset sweating. Which is what brought about privatisation!

Fully private: Much of the 'pay back' of a decent railway system isn't seen in the fare box. It's seen in less directly attributable ways (shifting commuters in large quantities to enable businesses to work for instance). If the rail system was shut down, the bottom line of UK plc would be severely hit. The resulting lack of mobility would cripple the economy (the roads can't cope now, never mind if there was no Rail. They'd simply gridlock and nothing would move, pax or freight).

So anyone running a railway 'in isolation' for profit would not consider those wider implications. That's why there has to be an element of 'social infrastructure' to Rail.

The compromise we have now is not perfect but it ensures 2 things to address the above:

1) The TOCS will beat up the Treasury and DfT if the requisite investment to maintain a good service isn't forthcoming (Virgin did this to get the WCML up to standard, for instance).

2) The essential 'public service' element is maintained and ensured by the public money that goes into the system. This ensures lot of things, like preventing 'Rail Engineer' from doing the economically sensible thing (from the rail operator's point of view) and ceasing to run commuter trains.

Rail Engineer
3rd Jan 2014, 19:13
SSD
With respect, if you look at what we have now in the shape of Network Rail, only a mad-man would accept that this is anywhere near fit for purpose. My own experience is that it is a totally dysfunctional organisation that is totally incapable of managing and maintaining the existing infrastructure as any of the many RAIB accident investigation reports will attest to.

Its approach to the micro-management of its infrastructure renewals and modernisation is both inefficient and contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the CDM Regulations let alone other elements of HASAW Law.

With regards to your other points, I doubt anything would be shut down, however the public in the shape of Cockney Steve for example are not happy with the present situation, and at some point they are going to have to make a decision because despite the ongoing improvements, the Railway ultimately cannot continue to deliver what it does now within this model.

Gertrude the Wombat
3rd Jan 2014, 19:49
a captive market
It's not a "captive market", though, is it, it's a lifestyle choice, like any other. If you like spending years of your life sitting on trains you choose where to work and where to live accordingly: if you don't, then you don't.

One could make up all sorts of other arguments. For example, "it's not fair that my kids can't afford houses in the village they were brought up in, it's all the fault of the subsidised train fares, without them this place wouldn't be overrun with London commuters".

Shaggy Sheep Driver
3rd Jan 2014, 20:11
RE

I said the present system isn't perfect. But the other two (totally private, or totally public) are inoperable for the reasons I stated.

What would you suggest?

My view is that it would have to maintain a public funding element, but be run by people outside the public domain (so not under gov control, but with some sort of 'regulator') who can stand up to those who control public purse strings. The present system, for all its imperfections, does both those.

ZOOKER
3rd Jan 2014, 20:16
What about 'tax incentives' to persuade people to live closer to their workplace?
It would require a lot of thought, but would reduce CO2 emissions.
Might save The world.

Gertrude the Wombat
3rd Jan 2014, 20:38
What about 'tax incentives' to persuade people to live closer to their workplace?
We have a number of these. They include

- ever increasing tax on fuel
- ever increasing rail fares
- public subsidy for broadband (to encourage working at home)
- tax breaks for cyclists

but I'm sure there are others.

As well as these tax incentives there are planning policies. These vary from place to place but round here are definitely aimed in that direction, as a deliberate reversal of last century's policies which put all the jobs in one place and all the houses in another.

radeng
3rd Jan 2014, 20:39
Why can't we have longer trains? They DID exist - famous photos of a Duchess on Shap on the Mid Day Scot with 15 coaches exist. I suspect the answer is because bean counters figured they could do better by shortening platforms at terminals to get more shops in.

Plus the Beeching legacy of removing " unprofitable" minor lines that were useful for using for freight.

So now, EITHER subsidise commuters or see them faced with fare prices so high they cannot afford to work, while they cannot afford to live near their work.....Much better as a start will be to put a cap on senior managers pay and perks and a cap on dividends. That's all been done before now...

Plus I do wonder how much it would really cost to send the odd train around with a crew picking up all the odd lengths of scrap rail you see mile after mile along the railway that could bring in £100/ton. With rail at 120lbs/yard, you don't need that much.....

Although the bean counters would come up with any answer you wished if you asked them.....

Capetonian
3rd Jan 2014, 20:46
Plus the Beeching legacy of removing " unprofitable" minor lines that were useful for using for freight.You mentioned Beeching. It wasn't just freight that was impacted by his closures policy. The backbone network suffered greatly too since it no longer had traffic feeding in and out of it from local stations, this removing a big incentive for people to travel by rail. Also, many of the branch lines he closed were incredibly scenic and could have been developed as stand-alone attractions.
However, he was a politician, who knew nothing about transport logistics ...... ideal really.

radeng
3rd Jan 2014, 21:04
Beeching probably had too narrow a remit. The politicians had (as now, it seems) little grasp of the realities of the economy, while in the 1950's, encouraging road transport and the building of roads and car factories showed a growth in GNP. Tax on commercial goods vehicles didn't follow in a way to keep up with the cost of roads.....after all, why should it when the contributions to political parties cost less? PLUS the fact that both WW1 and WW2 raped the railways in way that the governments in both cases should have been ashamed off - it was absolutely criminal. At the same time, in WW2, the government subsidised the road transport people......

But the civil servants of the time cannot escape censure, and with the benefit of hindsight, one can only wonder what they were offered to support the ministers and road industries' ideas....

ZOOKER
3rd Jan 2014, 21:17
radeng,
many of the railway stations near Mt. Belzoni have very long platforms dating from the inter and post-war commuter boom, yet the 'trains' are usually 3-car units.
For some reason the lyrics from Paul Butterfield's performance at The Band's 'Last Waltz' concert keep springing to mind……"Train I ride….Sixteen coaches long".

radeng
3rd Jan 2014, 21:26
But Zooker,

It doesn't appear that you had the dim sh*t politicians and twerps with 'management degrees' and f*ck all knowledge put into run your railways!

You have to rely on the British for such stupidity!

cockney steve
3rd Jan 2014, 21:28
For example if those who did get "perk" cars did not have one then they would either have to buy their own or use public transport.
It really means the company can afford to employ the talent and ability they need....they aren't a charity,, they only offer a car because it's a cost-effective way of showing the employee's standing within,and value to, the company....do you seriously believe that a higher-earner (someone important enough to be offered a company car) would choose to rely on public transport? NO,SIR!

I finished my last employment some 35 years ago, drove the company car and samples back to Essex got a lift to the station and train/bus/taxi back to Lancashire...... I had the two cars at home and had bought my own small garage and filling-station (remember them?;)

I didn't use public transport again until I was between businesses ,around 15 years later and needed to ferry a vehicle for someone. the vast majority of people who drive, do so because it is far more convenient than public transport....one of my sons has run a second car for nearly two years now....it is cheaper than buses (his wife commutes in their other car, a journey for which there is NO viable public transport)

A son living in London, close to Paddington Station, has a 5-minute walk to work....he relies totally on public transport and, of course, it's an excellent choice....but the extortionate rent meant he had to make sure he was in close proximity to his employment london rent plus a large commute fare would have ruled the job out as non-viable.

the disproportionate level of road tax, fuel tax, parking fees etc, mitigate against car ownership there,if he had room, he would undoubtedly use a pedal-cycle by choice.

Sunnyjohn
3rd Jan 2014, 21:45
Although it doesn't solve the problem, or answer any of Cockney Steve's comments, it is worth remembering that historically it was the railway companies themselves that developed the commuter scenario by buying up land cheaply outside central London, building houses on it and then running trains to and from. Regrettably, the mess that the London commuter services are now in is due to the total success of this historic precedent.

Rail Engineer
3rd Jan 2014, 21:46
Be fair guys, and understand the situation at the time ?

The UK was relatively fresh out of WW2, financially we were in hock to the USA for "War Loans" (and were until the 1990s), we had a population that had the next generation of true "leaders" decimated, and we had a heavy industry that was in hock to the Unions, whilst at the same time being in competition with the emerging Industries of Japan and Europe, Germany, in particular where vast amounts were being spent to help it recover from the destruction wrought by 6 years of bombing.

As a number of people have already stated, the Railway Companies were on the brink of bankruptcy due to war damage and the refusal of the new Labour Government to make appropriate financial reparation for the damage and use of the system during the War.

We thus had a system on its knees, in desperate need of investment to repair its rolling stock and infrastructure, and then Nationalised for Political purposes.

We then saw increasing competition from road transport, which was free to charge what it wanted and was not hampered like the Railways of being a Statutory "Common Carrier". What that meant was that the Railway HAD to convey ANY freight/parcel traffic that was offered at a set rate which did not reflect the true cost of moving it, so we have a road industry free to cheery pick what it wants and a Railway left to pick up the traffic that no-one else wants. Hardly a recipe for success.

Whilst mistakes WERE undoubtedly made, they were made within the remit that the Government set which was that traffic was due to fall off (to road transport) and that operating costs had to be cut. That could always only mean one thing.

Interestingly enough a couple of years back I was handed a similar scenario with a handful of Engineers, this time the case of a Country which had similar problems to the UK. Our solution was pretty much similar to Beeching, because in order to save the core we HAD to retrench.

Unfortunately until the 80s, many Transport Acts were passed which were detrimental to BR as a whole, and investment was never maintained long enough to see genuine benefit. For example, the Electrification to Scotland stopped at Crewe, and there were few new centralised power signalboxes constructed off the mainline. Indeed until the 1980s there were practically no real investment schemes at all.

My personal perception, and in some cases experience, is that Joe Public only wants the railway there when it suits him (i.e. when the snow is on the ground or severe weather is affecting the roads) and other than that is not interested. The taxpayer WANTS the luxury of a train service "just in case" but is reluctant to pay for it. Unlike most of Europe, the UK particularly is wedded to the car and many of our journeys are short and do not naturally fall along the route of the Railway.

By way of example look at the M25. Until this was completed there was absolutely no way that someone in Essex would travel to the western side of London on a daily basis, yet now we have a constant stream of people moving all around the M25, to the extent that we are now finally building Crossrail which will link the east to the west side of London.

Again if we take commuting, the average commuter wants to live in "rural" England but enjoy the salary levels that go with a London based job. Hence the rise of the "super-commuter". Back in the 1970s a long distance commuter would be travelling from the extremities such as Clacton/Peterborough/Bedford/Rugby/Oxford/Didcot/Basingstoke/Three Bridges.

Nowadays with electrification we see people travelling from Norwich/Newark and well into the West Midlands and beyond. I even worked with people who travelled in from the Forest of Dean each day, something that would have been unheard of 30 years ago. In part that has been due to life-style aspirations and burgeoning salaries which made such long journeys a possibility.

The downside for everyone is that the figures of people doing this now seriously impact on the capacity of the long-distance train service which was never designed for such trends. Birmingham to London being a perfect example of a route which until recent years was not really within a daily commute, yet every train in the morning peak is full and sometimes there is standing room only from Birmingham New St to Euston.

That said I notice a slow trend in people deciding that long distance commuting is too stressful and either moving to jobs locally or moving back closer to London and balancing the cost of the mortgage against the costs and time of rail travel.

Long-distance commuting is not good for health, for family life or for communities and I figure with slow but emerging changes will start to fall out of favour, especially with the long hours that we see in business these days.

Private jet
3rd Jan 2014, 21:52
Rail fares in the UK are what they are for 2 reasons;
1. The higher the fares the less subsidy that is provided from central government.
2. The network is overcrowded and running at capacity, so people need to be "priced off". Remember this is the UK, and in the UK those that can afford it get what they want, the rest have to make do.
Its simple stuff really.

cockney steve
3rd Jan 2014, 21:53
lot of interesting replies in, while I was typing the above......so, we're in agreement...the figures don't stack up....

the solution, as Rail Eng. suggested, price the commuter -service at it's TRUE cost....that will drive people away, London will become gridlocked(again) and firms will be forced by lack of employees, to decentralise....sometinng which assorted governments have paid lip-service to , for the last 40 years or more.

So, imagine in another 40 years time (i'll be long-dead) London is a fairly sparsely populated city with a goodly mix of commerce and former office-blocks, now flats....many suburban towns have grown and sprouted large office-blocks ,housing the former london -based businesses....the rail-network copes much more easily with a very small commuter -rush,so it's rolling-stock levels have been dramatically reduced...surplus lines are abandoned....we learned from Beeching, the perils of axing, selling and then having no possibility of building a replacement......
In this brave new world, will it be cheaper and preferable to travel by rail??.....I doubt it.

Rail Engineer
3rd Jan 2014, 21:56
It really means the company can afford to employ the talent and ability they need....they aren't a charity,, they only offer a car because it's a cost-effective way of showing the employee's standing within,and value to, the company....do you seriously believe that a higher-earner (someone important enough to be offered a company car) would choose to rely on public transport? NO,SIR!.....Oh come, come, any accountant will tell you that it is cheaper to offer a car and in some cases a petrol card as a perk rather than pay the true value of that in salary, why do you think companies do that ?

Do the maths yourself...Average car £21k, value after 3 years say £6k. Three year loan 10% assuming a bank loan =say £23k less £6 = 17/3 = £5600 per year just to keep the car itself. What does that equate to in equivalent top line salary ?

I can rent a Company Car for £300 a month as an employer and set that against Corporation tax, hence my point about "perk" cars

Shaggy Sheep Driver
3rd Jan 2014, 23:48
Interesting post from RE, who I think lets Beeching off lightly. He was recruited by Marples (of Marples Ridgeway, motorway contractors) to kill the railways, and largely tried to do that by taking a simplistic view of the network, and proposing closure of anything that was not directly profitable.

Beeching was no simpleton. He was a senior manager from ICI whom you'd expect to have known better than to act like a trained monkey and simply do what Marples wanted. He must have known that you can't treat branches of a network as if they were not part of, a contributing part of, that network.

His other great failing, perhaps his biggest, is that he proposed a solution that was totally inflexible. It lacked vision, and assumed that the forward view from the early 1960s (no more rail - everything on road) would be the way it would happen. He made no provision for 'what if it doesn't turn out that way'. As most of us know, looking into the future and predicting it as a certainty, is a mugs game. It often 'doesn't turn out that way'. In this case, it definitely didn't turn out that way.

If there was any doubt that a line might one day become useful, its trackbed should not have been sold off. Many were, for peanuts, many that would indeed be obvious candidates today for re-opening.

So was Beeching blinkered and short sighted? Or did he just take Marples' shilling and do his bidding? Either way, history will not be kind to him.

Rail Engineer
4th Jan 2014, 00:55
Shall we look at a few facts as opposed to rhetoric ?

1 : Beeching correctly said that a station has a high cost and is not unduly changed by having 1000 passengers a week or 6000. Breakeven point was calculated to be 10,000 passengers a week on a given line where there was no freight to help generate revenue. Each mile of branchline cost £1750 a year to maintain in 1962 the report says.

2 : He identified that stopping services were often slower than buses that served the same locations but were many times more expensive because of the high fixed costs. Many of these rail services did not cover their operating costs like wages and fuel, never mind about the capital expenditure on the train and track.

3 : In 1960, the steel industry had gone into recession reducing the need for heavy freight services while railway staff wages increased by 9% accompanied with a shorter working week.

4 : A one week traffic survey was carried out in April 1961 and showed that 50% of the route mileage produced just 1% of receipts.

5 : The Beeching Report identified that competition by road and air had hit the railways badly and that they could not compete in their current state.

6 : The report showed that some 2000 carriages were retained for holiday traffic and only used 10 times a year.

7 : It stated that a given route had to carry 6000 passengers a week to break even plus some freight service revenue yet many branch lines carried less than 1000 a week.

8 : Without freight, a line needed 10,000 passengers a week to break even on average.

9 : 3,368 out of a total of 7,000 stations generated only 4% of all freight and parcels receipts

10 : Freight wagons stood idle for 10 out of every 12 days on average.

11 : 1961 wagon-load traffic lost an estimated £57m on receipts of £105m.

12 : The Beeching Report was largely implemented by the subsequent Labour administrations which received funds from unions associated with road industry associations.

13 : R.H.N (Dick) Hardy: Beeching - Champion of the Railway (1989) ISBN 0-7110-1855-3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/0711018553) and Gerard Fiennes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Fiennes): I Tried to Run a Railway (1967) ISBN 0-7110-0447-1 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/0711004471). Both of whom are regarded as first rate Railwaymen subsequent to Beeching were broadly sympathetic to Beeching's basic analysis and the proposed solution.

14 : Beeching laid the foundation for block and container trains, for brand new marshalling yards, for modern signalling schemes, and paved the way for the electrification of the WCML. He was also very positive about the Channel Tunnel.


I am no apologist for Beeching, who in some cases did display a degree in naievite, however the situation has to be reviewed in the light of the then economic situation, rather than with the benefit of hindsight some 50 years on.

For someone so allegedly held to be wrong by Labour, it seems rather strange that they were the ones who implemented the most vicious of all cuts, and had they not lost power in 1973, would have embarked on a series of cuts just as brutal as anything Beeching had in mind.

TBirdFrank
4th Jan 2014, 02:09
Twenty years ago I found myself in the position of being able to choose - Did I stay with the rump of the railway that would remain public sector and be charged with - as it was put to me by my boss "selling British Rail into oblivion" or did I join the new thrusting public sector operation known as Railtrack.

Before the event I had made my feelings known - I was happy to be part of a coherent industry, but the disaggregated public travesty being visited on us by a party that even now has the temerity to describe itself as the party of business, prudent economic management and decent values held no attraction for me.

It was so obviously a vehicle for lawyers charters and endless dancing on pin heads, with the concomitant cost that arise on managing hundreds of businesses where there had previously been only one, imperfect as it was - but by the late eighties after the reigns of the two Bob Reids and then John Welsby was as good as you were going to get anywhere, that I chose to stay with the residuary body.

What I saw after the 1st April 1994 sickened me to my stomach. Railtrack turned out to be a body dedicated to the ruin of the network by destroying the tiers of experienced managers brought up through the industry by replacing them with imported managers from various industries following that old dictat that a manager can manage no matter what the industry - what complete tosh!

The contract signed by Railtrack with Virgin for the upgrade of the West Coast Mainline was merely one of their failings - but it was udoubtedly the one where the hubris of these people knew no bounds and so - in 2001 it all came to an end when Railtrack went under. Hatfield, and the infamous Potters Bar derailment, which the former Tory minister, Norris, by now a gravy train slobbering director of Jarvis tried to pass off as sabotage” and many other examples of utter unprofessionalism all combined to bring down this always unfit for purpose edifice.

Railtrack was replaced by the Labour government with Network Rail, another figleaf trying to cover a nonsense – which has only recently been moved aside by the Office of National Statistics, by declaring it a public sector company – not a private sector one which Bliar and Brown and Cameron have tried for over a decade to push past the public as a private sector company.

The nonsenses still happened though, and not one of them could have happened with a proper vertically integrated business – but in this out of control web of contracts where everyone’s arse was covered and no-one is to blame, the disaster rolled on, with examples like the truly sabotaged Shap permanent way trolley with its deliberately blocked off brakes, the Docker viaduct failure to properly inspect track components, the Picow killed at Old Trafford as he worked without lookout protection – against all the rules, and the subsidy to the web of companies operating this nonsense all the while roase and rose to a maximum of £6.1Bn! That’s almost six times that the dreadful, incompetent, BR charged the taxpayer for its last year of operation.

And as for the charge that BR never invested – well – if you boarded your train at Wilmslow you were boarding a MkIII which could reach London in around two hours twenty. In York, as today, it would be a MkIV on the newly electrified ECML. To the west and it would be an HST – just like today.

So don’t tell me that BR did not upgrade and improve – of course they were Treasury nobbled – but so is today’s railway – except when Cameron and Gideon see votes in it!

And don’t get me started on HS2! Since 1994 we, the taxpayers of the UK have poured more than 100Bn in subsidies which a unified industry did not claim, straight through the industry and into the waiting hands of Branson and Gloag, Lockhead and Souter.

If that £100Bn had been deployed across the industry we might have had stretched and 21st Century HST, trains above one or two cars long outside the south east, reconstructed strategic links like the old Midland and GC lines connecting our major cities, or the Waverley Route, allas destroyed by Beeching and creating true national connectivity, or little tweaks here and there – like the missing half mile across Bradford that would create an alternative ECML from Ripon to Grantham via Sheffield and so many more. We might even have had a UK rail engineering body providing them too – and not the Chinese and Indians!

With upgrades and resignalling current traction can do London to Edinburgh in three and a half hours and Manchester in slightly over one and a half – so - Do we need HS2 – No!

Do we need a railway industry separated into a hundred dislocated and uncommunicative parts – No!

My friend who is now a correspondent with Rail Engineer and I have differing views on this – but I have to remind him – his best contract was effectively a vertically integrated one between Airdrie and Bathgate where the Scottish government, Network Rail and Scotrail all got together and returned a a line of route to public use, and the same is now happening between Edinburgh and Galashiels, a route he and I both rode on the 5th January 1969 – approximately one third of the Waverley Route coming back.

He is now writing of the Russian rail industry – now heading for Vienna – that’s strategic thinking! Looking out for and investing for tomorrow – if only we were!

Tankertrashnav
4th Jan 2014, 08:33
What I saw after the 1st April 1994 sickened me to my stomach. Railtrack turned out to be a body dedicated to the ruin of the network by destroying the tiers of experienced managers brought up through the industry by replacing them with imported managers from various industries following that old dictat that a manager can manage no matter what the industry - what complete tosh!




I remember at the time seeing an item aboiut a young woman who was taken on to manage a section of the railway somewhere in Yorkshire.

In the item she revealed that not only had she no previous experience of working on the railways, but that up to then she had never actually travelled on a train!

Capetonian
4th Jan 2014, 08:40
Didn't the UK once have a Minister of Transport who had never driven a car? (Barbara Castle?). One would think that people appointed to such positions would have some knowledge of the subject.

Mind you I once had a so-called Spanish teacher who had never been to a Spanish speaking country, spoke execrable Spanish which she had learned as a baby from her grandparents who were Spanish exiles, and thought that the tilde (wavy line on top of an 'ñ') was 'not used in modern Spanish'. Thus she did not understand the difference between a 'cono 'and a 'coño', or an 'ano' and an 'año'. I won't spell it out here but the differences are fairly significant.

meadowrun
4th Jan 2014, 08:42
old dictat that a manager can manage no matter what the industry

As demonstrated by the number of accountants trying to run airlines.

Sunnyjohn
4th Jan 2014, 08:45
Lots of good history and putting the record straight from Rail Engineer and TBirdFrank - thank you both. It's worth remembering, firstly, that Beeching only implemented the changes, he didn't invent them. And secondly, his implementation of the modernisation of rail freight is still essentially and successfully in use today.

Rail Engineer
4th Jan 2014, 09:18
TBirdFrank
Hear, Hear !

An excellent post written far more eloquently than I could have.

I would make one point only, and that is regarding Railtrack.

After a poor start, and that itself was due to John (always the bridesmaid never the bride) Welsby who demonstrated his well known dislike of Operations people by setting up the culture that went out and actively sought people without experience. Indeed that thinking still pervades Network Rail where any real experience in the Industry is viewed as suspect, and the rates of pay are sufficient to be substantially low enough only to attract those who cannot gain similar posts within the Contracting fraternity.

To my mind the one great benefit of the Railtrack years, was that the IMCs/IRCs were allowed to get on with the job, and freed from some of the reigns of economics, they were free to develop innovative solutions within the commercial environment.

For example the NMT is the latest development of the pioneering work of Andy Savage at GTRM who saw early on the benefits of track inspection from a railway vehicle and went on to develop that.

Jarvis spent millions£ on introducing new high output plant such as the TRT, MOBC, the Mole, etc and put their whole OTM fleet through a major refurbishment. They also developed the centralised Track Renewals Operations Control and Maintenance Control concept at York, an excellent centre which knew the location of every member of track staff and led the field in terms of ensuring the safety of the staff working on the track. This led the way for the current Projects Infrastructure control centre at Milton Keynes, yet the safety critical control elements at York were closed down the week Network Rail took over and have never been re-started simply because it costs too much, and we have seen the results in ever increasing rules non-compliances, and injuries/deaths caused by production over safety pressures.

Amey developed the hydraulic sleeper and bought in new plant, and Balfour Beatty developed concepts such as the NTC train.

Jointly the IMCs/TRCs spent vast sums on co-operatively research and especially on safety - such research was suspended within days of Network Rail taking over.

Whilst not perfect, as Hatfield demonstrated, Railtrack was a far better model than Network Rail is and achieved far more for much less cost.

You will recall the big banner headlines about Network Rail only using employed labour and improving performance ? The truth is that savings are only obtained by the deferral of renewals, maintenance has declined and is well under the standards achieved under the previous IMC, innovation is much lower, and worst of all the use of temporary labour has rocketed under Network Rail, where much of the maintenance is now carried out by labourers from employment agencies who vie with one another to provide the cheapest rates.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
4th Jan 2014, 09:46
And don’t get me started on HS2! Since 1994 we, the taxpayers of the UK have poured more than 100Bn in subsidies which a unified industry did not claim, straight through the industry and into the waiting hands of Branson and Gloag, Lockhead and Souter.

If that £100Bn had been deployed across the industry we might have had stretched and 21st Century HST, trains above one or two cars long outside the south east, reconstructed strategic links like the old Midland and GC lines connecting our major cities, or the Waverley Route, allas destroyed by Beeching and creating true national connectivity, or little tweaks here and there – like the missing half mile across Bradford that would create an alternative ECML from Ripon to Grantham via Sheffield and so many more. We might even have had a UK rail engineering body providing them too – and not the Chinese and Indians!

With upgrades and resignalling current traction can do London to Edinburgh in three and a half hours and Manchester in slightly over one and a half – so - Do we need HS2 – No!

Very eloquent indeed, but far too idealistic. It's true that if the money that has gone into the railways post privatisation had been spent by a publically owned railway instead of through a plethora of private companies we'd have got much better value for money, and in an ideal world that would have happened.

But we don't live in an ideal world.

There is no way ever in a trillion years that any UK government would have put that level of investment into a public railway. If they were going to that, they'd had since 1948 to put that money where their mouths were, and in fact what did happen was financial starvation for rail.

That is why privatisation took place - smoke and mirrors to hide the amount of public money that had to poured into rail to make up for the decades of under investment. Politically, it could not have been done any other way. And if rail went back into public ownership today, we'd be right back into the old Treasury saying "no" scenario, and rail would be in that death spiral to oblivion again. Your ideal of a properly funded publicly-owned railway will never happen in UK, unfortunately. Political short-termism would ensure the required levels of investment were not forthcoming - the Treasury would breath a big sigh of relief and tighten-up the purse strings again just as they did between 1948 and 1993. As a prime example, look at the APT - brilliant technology hobbled by lack of proper investment and the gov pulling the plug instead of backing it.

Oh, and we need HS2 not to cut a few minutes off journey times, but to increase rail capacity. The faster long distance journeys (which really make sense once the line is extended to Scotland) will be a bonus. Do you not think it strange that every other developed country in the world has high speed rail? Mainland Europe has had it for decades and continues to expand, China has realised it is the way to go. Only the car and air loving USA has largely given it a swerve, but with their vast distances air makes more sense anyway.

The multi-modal rail system of UK is amazingly good considering the traffic it has to carry. But it's time to supplement it with dedicated HS rail. Not to do so is like having a UK road system with no motorways! In fact, since our network is Victorian, it's even worse than that!

Gertrude the Wombat
4th Jan 2014, 10:07
And if rail went back into public ownership today, we'd be right back into the old Treasury saying "no" scenario, and rail would be in that death spiral to oblivion again. Your ideal of a properly funded publicly-owned railway will never happen in UK, unfortunately.
Also, there seems to be a fairly strongly held view amongst transport civil servants that spending public money on railways is a subsidy for the rich (on account of rich people ride trains, poor people ride buses), and there are more cost effective ways to subsidise public transport.

Of course subsidising the rich at the expense of the poor fits well with a Tory led government, but you couldn't rely on the government always being Tory led.

OFSO
4th Jan 2014, 10:14
I once had a so-called Spanish teacher

My Godson told me yesterday his English language teacher is always having to look up English words in a Castlilliano/English dictionary in class.

Rail Engineer
4th Jan 2014, 10:49
Of course subsidising the rich at the expense of the poor fits well with a Tory led government, but you couldn't rely on the government always being Tory led.I really do get tired of this totally inaccurate, Leftist propaganda which inevitably crops up on a topic such as this.


You must have been out of the UK between 1997 and 2010 then because that was when the gap between rich and poor substantially widened, helped along by the sale of honours and citizenship to Labour benefactors.


Those years were an opportunity to fine tune the Railways given the number of Franchises that came up for renewal however all we saw was the refusal to let the former BR managers run South East Trains, and the only TOC which paid money TO the taxpayer was slaughtered on the alter of Political cynicism simply because the owners did not see eye to eye with Bliar or Brown.


Others who did and paid vast sums of money to the Labour Party were rewarded with Franchises which could never lose money but over the ensuing years have cost the taxpayer billions of £s whilst those very Labour supporters have become enriched.

Gertrude the Wombat
4th Jan 2014, 11:30
I really do get tired of this totally inaccurate, Leftist propaganda which inevitably crops up on a topic such as this.
I did think the civil servants were being somewhat surprisingly lefty, yes. But I rather have a feeling that the series of meetings was under Chatham House rule, so I can't give names.

pudoc
4th Jan 2014, 11:36
I blame Bob Crow.

Krystal n chips
4th Jan 2014, 12:51
" [/B]]Cost is not a concern, comfort and safety are."

And yet....there was, I recall, some umbrage taken when asked to pay some £200+ for....a First Class ticket....

Much as I dislike rubbing shoulders with the great unwashed, and having my own space in a car is a preference, the other advantages, specially when I can travel off peak and/or first class, the train will always win. Hands down in fact.


Indeed, almost the very same sentiments were offered by another of the same ilk, a Mr Winterton, former M.P.....however, as with others at the pinnacle of their profession and luminaries in their own right, some even digress towards travelogues for example, it's easy to understand how the trivial details of travel can become confusing, hence, as we are on the subject of fares, here are some examples for the future from, by a happy coincidence, Cross-Country.

Astute readers will note that upgrades are not available when you buy a ticket at the desk for second class as, strangely, you could always have purchased a First Class ticket at the time. And indeed, for those travellers for whom cost is not a concern, a little bit of planning would have ensured non of the subsequent faux angst.

Otherwise, another excellent railway thread with a couple of notable exceptions that is.

Krystal n chips
4th Jan 2014, 12:53
" [/B]]Cost is not a concern, comfort and safety are."

And yet....there was, I recall, some umbrage taken when asked to pay some £200+ for....a First Class ticket....

Much as I dislike rubbing shoulders with the great unwashed, and having my own space in a car is a preference, the other advantages, specially when I can travel off peak and/or first class, the train will always win. Hands down in fact.


Indeed, almost the very same sentiments were offered by another of the same ilk, a Mr Winterton, former M.P.....however, as with others at the pinnacle of their profession and luminaries in their own right, some even digress towards travelogues for example, it's easy to understand how the trivial details of travel can become confusing, hence, as we are on the subject of fares, here are some examples for the future from, by a happy coincidence, Cross-Country.

Weekend upgrades | CrossCountry (http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/tickets-timetables/upgrades-discounts/weekend-upgrades)

First Class | CrossCountry (http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/customer-service/first-class)

Astute readers will note that upgrades are not available when you buy a ticket at the desk for second class as, strangely, you could always have purchased a First Class ticket at the time. And indeed, for those travellers for whom cost is not a concern, a little bit of planning would have ensured non of the subsequent faux angst.

Otherwise, another excellent railway thread with a couple of notable exceptions that is.

Denti
4th Jan 2014, 12:56
Just as a reference, a ticket for the whole german railway net costs 4090€ a year in second class and 6890€ for first. Doesn't include seat reservations, those cost extra and are required for some special trains ("sprinter", long distance non-stop, like berlin-frankfurt).

As sunnyjohn said, one cannot compare the UK railway business with the continental one, they are quite different.

Sunnyjohn
4th Jan 2014, 14:27
Do you not think it strange that every other developed country in the world has high speed rail? Mainland Europe has had it for decades and continues to expand, I think I hinted at this in my previous post but just to reiterate, Great Britain is an island, albeit a long one, and the use of High Speed trains produces very little gain over short to medium distances. All the countries you mentioned are large, joined to other countries and are on large land masses. It is perfectly true that a high speed rail link from Penzance to Aberdeen (it used to take twelve hours - see my previous post) would reduce the journey time by a reasonable amount but for any distances less than these there is little gain. It should also be remembered that in many other European countries, Spain being one, with large tracts of land, the planning laws are basic at the most and it is easy to build high speed lines. When the high speed line was built from Madrid to Valencia (opened last year) the land was simply acquired and the railway was built. There are no public consultations as in the UK, and the owners of the land on which is was built are still awaiting their compensation.
Oh, and we need HS2 not to cut a few minutes off journey times, but to increase rail capacity No, we don't. We need to spend that enormous amount of money on upgrading our existing lines; for example, doubling the tunnel capacity of the lines into and out of Birmingham New Street, the busiest cross country station in the UK. The sole purpose of HS2 is to line the fat cat contractors' pockets. I have lived, breathed and loved railways all my life and I enjoy travelling on high speed trains as much as on the little preserved steam railways but I hope I live to see the day when HS2 will be ditched forever.

ZH875
4th Jan 2014, 14:30
.....As sunnyjohn said, one cannot compare the UK railway business with the continental one, they are quite different.


Mainly due to the UK ones being built before 1946, and the Continental ones having their routes prepared by the RAF and US 8th AF.

Sunnyjohn
4th Jan 2014, 14:32
Continental ones having their routes prepared by the RAF and US 8th AF. In Spain!!?

wings folded
4th Jan 2014, 14:38
What was wrong, is wrong and would be wrong in having such a fundamental need as rail transport owned and run by the state?

How does SBB/CFF get on? SNCF? DBB?

Rail Engineer
4th Jan 2014, 15:02
...... No, we don't. We need to spend that enormous amount of money on upgrading our existing lines; for example, doubling the tunnel capacity of the lines into and out of Birmingham New Street, the busiest cross country station in the UK. The sole purpose of HS2 is to line the fat cat contractors' pockets.That is complete nonsense, and you should know this.

On the HS2 topic late last year I went into some detail as to the REAL problems inherent in trying to upgrade a running railway. As a hint do remember the debacle at Rugby ? Ultimately down to the fact that you simply CANNOT rebuild an existing Railway and keep the trains running.

HS2 was always a Labour pipe-dream, taken forward for the sole cynical Political purpose of making life difficult for the incoming Government in 2010.

It is a bit like electrification of the GW down to Swansea, a total waste of money but again a land-mine laid for the Conservatives, giving Labour a Political feast whichever way things went.

Electrification only has benefits if it substantially increases speeds or train service volume. The GW offers none of these and nothing that a new generation of HSTs with efficient diesel engines could not have supplied. As it is building yet another "island" of electrified railway, without any policy for connecting up the remaining bits is sheer madness. We would have spent the GW electrification money far better if we had electrified the NE/SW corridor down to Bristol as that is where the real volume of travel is.

HS2 works as long as it links to the Continent and if it takes passenger traffic off the WCML. A better starting point may have been to take the freight off the WCML and channelled it down the extended former GC route, especially bearing in mind the fact that container trains are either heading for Southampton or Felixstowe, and those to the latter can go across country without the need for working up the WCML.

What we really needed was a proper review of the system to identify the best option overall but once again cynical Political machinations have resulted in a solution no-one actually wants. - unless you are a sheep farmer in Wales or you want to end up in Old Oak Common.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
4th Jan 2014, 15:22
RE, rail electrification always makes sense. Electric trains are faster, not just in ultimate speed but especially in acceleration. Much of the timing improvements on WCML come not from the Pendolino's extra 15mph, but from its far superior acceleration over the old class 87-hauled (and propelled!) Mk3 stock (I know 87s are electric, but they were old tech, underpowered, and with limited adhesion for the train weight).

Electric trains do not have to carry their fuel with them. Diesel trains need to carry a power station - a socking great diesel engine or two, a big heavy alternator or two, cooler groups, and hundreds of gallons of diesel oil as well as the elctronics and the traction motors. Electric trains need a transformer, some electronics, and the traction motors.

Electric trains are very efficient as well, as they use regenerative braking (using the motors as generators to slow the train putting power back into the line for other trains to use). This turns surplus energy into usable power instead of dissipating it as heat wearing out friction brakes, as diesel trains do.

Electric trains are a much more pleasant pax experience. Compare the magic-carpet like smooth quiet ride of a Pendolino to the vibrating noisy (from the underfloor diesels engines) smelly experience on a Voyager.

Electric trains really come into their own if you use nuclear power to generate the electricity, as the French do. It's low carbon and plentiful, and anyway something other than windmills has to replace the coal fired stations and the first generation nuclear ones we are now closing.

In the NW we are looking forward to modern, clean, comfortable, quiet electric trains replacing aging diesel Pacers between Liverpool and Manchester, and even replacing modern DMUs on the Trans Pennine services to Scotland and across the Pennines. Hopefully those modern DMUs will be cascaded to non-electrified but busy lines like the Mid Cheshire and the aging Pacers we currently suffer will be scrapped, as they should have been decades ago.

As for 'islands of electrification' I think the plans as laid out largely obviate that. But until the entire network is electrified there will always be elements of it. With MML, GW, WCML, ECML, and others such as Norwich, Leeds, Sheffield, Chat Moss, and TPE among many others wired, we won't be doing badly. Southern 3rd rail converted to OLE next?

Much though I'd like to see ever more electrification, one must consider that there's no point in electrifying unless you're also going to replace all those diesel trains with new electric ones. So once all the old life-expired (and then some!) Pacers have gone to the gas axe, we'll have a mix of not-too-old DMUs, modern DMUs and modern EMUs. I can't see any more EMUs being built until the not-too-old DMUs, and later the modern DMUs, are life-expired. So there'll be a mix of wired and non-wired railway for a long time yet.

HS2 must link to HS1 and therefore the continent. Anything else would be a nonsense and I'm confident that sense will prevail and there'll be such a link by the time HS2 is built.

I do agree with you, however, when you say upgrading existing busy lines is both inefficient and highly disruptive to the working railway. We saw that on WCML at Rugby, as you say. Very expensive, very disruptive, and poor ROI.

Rail Engineer
4th Jan 2014, 16:17
RE, rail electrification always makes sense. Electric trains are faster, not just in ultimate speed but especially in acceleration. Much of the timing improvements on WCML come not from the Pendolino's extra 15mph, but from its far superior acceleration over the old class 87-hauled (and propelled!) Mk3 stock..Acceleration is only a major factor when the train service is starting and stopping frequently, in cases where a train is running for extended periods this is not a major factor.

Electric trains do not have to carry their fuel with them. Diesel trains need to carry a power station - a socking great diesel engine or two, a big heavy alternator or two, cooler groups, and hundreds of gallons of diesel oil as well as the elctronics and the traction motors. Electric trains need a transformer, some electronics, and the traction motors.However electric trains need a considerable and costly infrastructure to support them.

Electric trains are very efficient as well, as they use regenerative braking (using the motors as generators to slow the train putting power back into the line for other trains to use). This turns surplus energy into usable power instead of dissipating it as heat wearing out friction brakes, as diesel trains do..Not true. Diesel locomotives provide traction through traction motors and regenerative braking is available to them also. Note there are also issues with supplying power back into the OHL system which need to be addressed.

Electric trains are a much more pleasant pax experience. Compare the magic-carpet like smooth quiet ride of a Pendolino to the vibrating noisy (from the underfloor diesels engines) smelly experience on a Voyager..You are speaking of the passenger environment which is unrelated to the form of tractive power. You surely do not equate the interior of a Pendolino with that of Mk3 or even a Mk4 in terms of space and passenger acceptance ?

It is also unfair to compare a Voyager, which is a cheap and nasty solution.

Electric trains really come into their own if you use nuclear power to generate the electricity, as the French do. It's low carbon and plentiful, and anyway something other than windmills has to replace the coal fired stations and the first generation nuclear ones we are now closing.The UK is entering a period where the demand for electricity will outstrip the capacity to supply. This was known about in 1997 but totally ignored by Labour, who immediately prior to leaving power produced a whole rake of electrification schemes which guess what ? Require electricity from power stations they refused to establish because they wanted to pass that onto someone else. The UK is now dependent upon imported electricity and will be for some time. The new-build of nuclear power stations will be financially advantageous only to the French and certainly not to the consumer and indeed the taxpayer who will be footing the bill.

In the NW we are looking forward to modern, clean, comfortable, quiet electric trains replacing aging diesel Pacers between Liverpool and Manchester, and even replacing modern DMUs on the Trans Pennine services to Scotland and across the Pennines. Hopefully those modern DMUs will be cascaded to non-electrified but busy lines like the Mid Cheshire and the aging Pacers we currently suffer will be scrapped, as they should have been decades ago..This is a perfect example of what electrification projects should be based against, not as a Political football to gain voters or garnish Political support from other Parties.

As for 'islands of electrification' I think the plans as laid out largely obviate that. But until the entire network is electrified there will always be elements of it. .Which is my point, There are better returns to be had by connecting up NE/SW than pushing two trains an hour into somewhere few want to go to.

HS2 must link to HS1 and therefore the continent. Anything else would be a nonsense and I'm confident that sense will prevail and there'll be such a link by the time HS2 is built.At this stage I see no connection between HS2 and HS1, and in effect all HS2 will do is to take direct Birmingham to London passengers. It will not ease the WCML which will still need to operate a similar train service as now. What is needed is a solution that frees up capacity on the WCML, this is not it.

The issue is the operation of freight along the WCML and with container traffic to be routed via Nuneaton from Felixstowe and the already existing Southampton containers services via Oxford again HS2 has not opened up the Coventry Corridor.

Surely a better solution would be to operate Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill via High Wycombe and Euston to Wolverhampton via the WCML and the Grand Junction lines. By quadrupling the track between Stechford and Coventry (for which much of the land was bought by the LMS Railway 80 odd years ago and now sits alongside) this would relieve Birmingham New St to a degree.

Unfortunately your tunnel idea, which WAS possible when the Bull Ring was in the startup phase was rejected by Labour, and is now a substantially more expensive option probably to the point where you could never justify it.

wings folded
4th Jan 2014, 16:40
To step outside the politics for a moment.

I travel frequently from Norwich to london and back.

From Norwich , the train is pulled by the traction unit (loco), but on the return it is shoved from the rear.

The ride as perceived in the carriage is quite differrent.

I long for the days when there was a system of putting the loco at the head of the train to pull it, not to have it shove it from the back

Shaggy Sheep Driver
4th Jan 2014, 16:42
Not true. Diesel locomotives provide traction through traction motors and regenerative braking is available to them also. Note there are also issues with supplying power back into the OHL system which need to be addressed.

But diesel trains can't make the power available to other trains like electric ones can, buy feeding it into the o'head line. They just dissipate it as heat in banks of resistors! I'm not aware of any problems supplying power back into the OLE with the modern technology of today's electric trains (phase matching etc is no longer a problem).

I too am a fan of the Mk3 - probably the most comfortable pax vehicle ever on our railways. Better than the Mk4 IMO except that their aircon was notoriously unreliable in summer! But they are speed limited and LHS will always suffer power-to-weight and adhesion limitations which will limit acceleration compared to an EMU like Pendelino with most of its wheels powered. Especially on a hilly route such as WCML where a shower of rain could reduce significantly the speed of an 87 up Shap or Beattock as it slipped under load.

The Birmingham tunnel idea wasn't from me - it was someone else. As far as I'm concerned Brum has not been a significant point on the UK rail network since Thomas Brassey opened the Trent Valley line in 1847 enabling north - south traffic to bypass it! ;)

It's tempting to take the view, and many do "let's not build HS2, lets do XYZ to the railway with the money instead". Unfortunately that's not an option. Gov might spend the money (time will tell), but only on a major project such as HS2 (or Crossrail and others). Not building HS2 doesn't mean the money becomes available for spending elsewhere on the railway. Having said that, I see no real alternative to HS2 (not just to Brum which won't itself do enough - but at least to Lancashire so it can relieve the busiest part of WCML).

Capetonian
4th Jan 2014, 16:56
I have to say that I feel that pushing a train from the back is intrinsically unsafe, something I learnt as a child with model railways, as they seemed to derail more often. Whether the same principle applies on a real railway is something that RE will no doubt comment on.
The French used to do it, maybe still do, on the old trains that ran along the coast in the south and had a locomotive pulling or pushing. The newer ones are EMUs and fully reversible.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
4th Jan 2014, 17:04
Many heritage railways don't allow propelling (pushing from the back) with pax on board. If you join a North York Moors Railway train at Whitby the train draws in and pax alight. Then the doors are locked while the loco propels the empty train out of the station to a run-around loop, runs around to the other end of the train, then propels it back into the station again pushing from the front this time. The doors are unlocked and pax can board for the return journey, with the loco pulling from the front in the conventional manner.

Why can't they allow the Whitby pax to alight or board or remain aboard, then propel to the loop, run around, and set off up the valley to Grosmont with the loco leading?

Seems a bit odd when express trains on ECML and formerly on WCML were propelled at high speed for hundreds of miles for 50% of the time! Maybe RE can enlighten?

RedhillPhil
4th Jan 2014, 17:34
SSD,
It's rather tricky driving a steam locomotive from the rear of six or seven coaches. Yes, I know that there used to be auto -trains as the GWR termed push-pull but that was one coach with the driver controlling the little puffer with a crude arrangements of rods. Virtually all modern - and not so modern - E.M.U. trains have coaches that are propelled due to the power coach being located within the train.
To touch on the G.W. electrification for a moment and it's supposedly quicker journey times I suspect that they won't be much different to what they were when B.R. introduced the H.S.T.s in 1977 as the timetable is so padded now. When I was at Paddington in 1979 -81 an HST was allowed 22" (there was the twenty minute club until the speed limiters were put on the HSTs) to Reading non-stop and 48" to Swindon non-stop. Since then the line has been re-signalled and Westbourne Park station removed and the associated curve eased. Currently the best time to Reading is 25" and Swindon 55". So much for progress.


Wings folded.
I too long for when the Norwich line trains were hauled both ways but the bean counters didst raise their collective eyes at the cost of a *person employed to couple/uncouple the loco at each end and the extra locomotive(s) that was required.
* This on the G.E. was the 47's secondman but he's no longer required as the stock isn't steam heated.

Krystal n chips
4th Jan 2014, 17:40
No, Birmingham is not really of any significance on the rail network...... as this map shows......

Regional Map (http://www.railaroundbirmingham.co.uk/regional_map.php)

Of course, the map could be wrong......

wings folded
4th Jan 2014, 18:16
Wings folded.
I too long for when the Norwich line trains were hauled both ways but the bean counters didst raise their collective eyes at the cost of a *person employed to couple/uncouple the loco at each end and the extra locomotive(s) that was required.


No extra loco required. Uncouple/couple, yes required, then run the loco by the points proximate the buffers, along the parrallel track to beyond the departing train platform, then reverse, connect, brake systems, heat systems; takes abot 10 minutes at most. Less than the cleaners take to (sort of ) tidy up the carriages.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
4th Jan 2014, 18:17
It's rather tricky driving a steam locomotive from the rear of six or seven coaches.

Oh yes, I know! (I'm volunteer steam loco footplate crew on one heritage line, and signalman on another). NYMR have a guy in the leading coach in radio contact with the loco crew for the short propel from Whitby station to the run-round loop, and back from the loop to the station after the run-round of the loco.


.

Private jet
4th Jan 2014, 21:16
I refer you to my post earlier in this thread, anything else is semantics and i feel sorry for those who feel they need to argue a point with no consequence in order to get something out of life.

RedhillPhil
4th Jan 2014, 23:33
No extra loco required. Uncouple/couple, yes required, then run the loco by the points proximate the buffers, along the parrallel track to beyond the departing train platform, then reverse, connect, brake systems, heat systems; takes abot 10 minutes at most. Less than the cleaners take to (sort of ) tidy up the carriages.



But with a station as intensively worked as Liverpool Street was in the 47+9/10 Mk2s hey-day it couldn't be done. No problem at sleepy little King's Lynn or the terminating bay platform 2 at Cambridge though.
Caused massive grumbles at Kings Cross once (the trainspotters were delighted) when a class 37 had to be substituted at the last minute on the 15.30 Cambridge to Kings Cross. Only Cambridge drivers knew 37s so the loco had to be shunt-released out of platform 9 right at the start of the peak.

RedhillPhil
4th Jan 2014, 23:34
Oh yes, I know! (I'm volunteer steam loco footplate crew on one heritage line, and signalman on another). NYMR have a guy in the leading coach in radio contact with the loco crew for the short propel from Whitby station to the run-round loop, and back from the loop to the station after the run-round of the loco.


.
Are the points out of the loop fitted with facing point locks and signalled?

uffington sb
5th Jan 2014, 00:29
Capetonian.

The Class 91's operated by East Coast on the ECML have the loco on the country end and a DVT (Driving Van Trailer) on the London end.
So they are pushed to London and pulled to Scotland.

Tankertrashnav
5th Jan 2014, 09:26
It's tempting to take the view, and many do "let's not build HS2, lets do XYZ to the railway with the money instead". Unfortunately that's not an option. Gov might spend the money (time will tell), but only on a major project such as HS2 (or Crossrail and others). Not building HS2 doesn't mean the money becomes available for spending elsewhere on the railway. Having said that, I see no real alternative to HS2 (not just to Brum which won't itself do enough - but at least to Lancashire so it can relieve the busiest part of WCML). (my italics, TTN)

You make that assertion as though that government policy decision is in fact the only choice available. The fact is, if the political will was there, the decision could certainly be taken to invest the vast sums that HS2 will involve in other parts of the network.

What depresses me is the assumption that this country consists of an inverted triangle with London at the apex and the base running across the country up North somewhere, and nothing outside As someone living down in the far South West where we have no electrification and severe speed restrictions over large parts of the rail system we are enduring journey times that have improved little since the 1930s. Don't tell me that allocating the cash to bring us and other parts of the network up to the standards already enjoyed on the ECML and WCML isn't a possibility.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
5th Jan 2014, 09:58
Are the points out of the loop fitted with facing point locks and signalled?

I don't know for sure as I don't work on that railway, but the track in question is Network Rail line (Middlesborough to Whitby) which supports a passenger service, so I'd be very surprised they are not.

Tankertrashnav - yes, of course anything is a possibility. But one has to look at how politics works. The far SW is probably not seen by gov as an economically vibrant part of UK so is further down the list for infrastructure investment. Not saying that's right, just that that's how I think gov sees it.

I've not been down to Cornwall by train but I'm told that once over the Tamar even the HSTs stop at every little station on the way to Penzance!

Gertrude the Wombat
5th Jan 2014, 11:15
once over the Tamar
... the trains go to only a few places, so much of the population is an hour (or considerably more during the season) from the nearest station. So if you need a car for the last hour or two anyway, why not take it the whole way? (I have just driven back to England from Cornwall. It never occurred to me to go by train.)

Rail Engineer
5th Jan 2014, 11:32
I have to say that I feel that pushing a train from the back is intrinsically unsafe, something I learnt as a child with model railways, as they seemed to derail more often. Whether the same principle applies on a real railway is something that RE will no doubt comment on.
The French used to do it, maybe still do, on the old trains that ran along the coast in the south and had a locomotive pulling or pushing. The newer ones are EMUs and fully reversible.
Many heritage railways don't allow propelling (pushing from the back) with pax on board. If you join a North York Moors Railway train at Whitby the train draws in and pax alight. Then the doors are locked while the loco propels the empty train out of the station to a run-around loop, runs around to the other end of the train, then propels it back into the station again pushing from the front this time. The doors are unlocked and pax can board for the return journey, with the loco pulling from the front in the conventional manner.

Why can't they allow the Whitby pax to alight or board or remain aboard, then propel to the loop, run around, and set off up the valley to Grosmont with the loco leading?

Seems a bit odd when express trains on ECML and formerly on WCML were propelled at high speed for hundreds of miles for 50% of the time! Maybe RE can enlighten?In answer to your questions.

Firstly operation with the locomotive in rear. This is known as “Push-Pull” working, which describes on the label exactly what is in the tin !.

Prior to an accident at Polmont in 1984, there was no intended restriction on push-pull working as previous to then it had been operated by the use of a locomotive at each end. Upgrades to the operation between Edinburgh and Glasgow had resulted in the conversion of a standard MK2 carriage so that it was equipped with a driving cab and guards van area at one end, with the other being used for passengers. The modified vehicles being coded DBSO (Driving Brake Second Open).

The outcome of the Polmont accident was more serious than would otherwise have been the case as the weight of the leading vehicle (the DBSO) was insufficient to overcome the cow which it had struck and became derailed. The weight of the train behind (which included a 117 tonne locomotive pushing) was sufficient to cause the DBSO to be forced up into the cutting slope and rotate through 180 degrees, facing back into the direction it had come from.

Many passengers were ejected through the windows as this happened.
To overcome this happening again, leading vehicles/traction units are now equipped with deflectors which are intended to prevent the unit climbing onto an obstacle however this is not possible in all circumstances. ORR Requirements now specify that passengers may not be conveyed in the leading vehicle of any push-pull operated train operating at 100mph and above. This is why you now have DVT (Driving Van Trailers) on remaining push-pull workings.

Multiple Unit working is regarded differently as there is not a heavy locomotive at the rear.

With regards to vehicles conveying passengers being propelled (i.e. pushed from the rear) over points, this has always been permitted for low speed shunting movements as long as any points involved are locked into position and cannot be moved during the time the movement is taking place.

In order to ensure that the movement can be stopped there must be a means of constant communication and/or a means of applying the brake from the leading end.

Many operators find it easier to undertake such movements without passengers for a variety of reasons most of which will relate to the practicality of the above requirements.

I hope this answers suitably the questions raised ?

Rail Engineer
5th Jan 2014, 11:36
But with a station as intensively worked as Liverpool Street was in the 47+9/10 Mk2s hey-day it couldn't be done. No problem at sleepy little King's Lynn or the terminating bay platform 2 at Cambridge though.
Caused massive grumbles at Kings Cross once (the trainspotters were delighted) when a class 37 had to be substituted at the last minute on the 15.30 Cambridge to Kings Cross. Only Cambridge drivers knew 37s so the loco had to be shunt-released out of platform 9 right at the start of the peak.They still operate substantial numbers of locomotive hauled passenger trains in Romania.


Instead of SRL at Bucharest, the incoming train propels out to the carriage sidings, where the train loco runs round and propels back into the station.


Watched it the other week, with memories of the old BOR 1&2 at Euston !

Capetonian
5th Jan 2014, 12:12
So how come most of Europe and a lot of the rest of the world do it better/cheaper?, I don't buy the excuses I don't think they do. for example, many people talk about how wonderful the trains are in France, but they are referring to the TGVs that operate on longer routes and are superior in many ways. They have usually not been exposed to the dirty, smelly, overcrowded rattling wrecks that run on many suburban lines around Paris, and the slow stopping services that operate on cross country routes.
With the possible exceptions of Switzerland, Austria, and Holland I would say that most of the European domestic rail networks are not up to the standard of the UK. Some, Italy in particular, are dire (with the exception of the Freccia Rossa/Blanca services on trunk routes), but very cheap.
It's been many years since I've travelled by train in Albania, I imagine that might be pretty grim, even worse than Italy, but in my fairly extensive experience of European rail travel, I think my observations are sound.

Rail Engineer
5th Jan 2014, 12:34
So how come most of Europe and a lot of the rest of the world do it better/cheaper?, I don't buy the excusesQuite simple.

Try these for starters.

1 : The rest of Europe see the Railway as a socially necessary service and subsidise it accordingly

2 : The population of Europe is I believe substantially less than that of the UK per sq. m

3 : Regulatory and safety standards in Europe are not so proscriptive as in the UK. For example if you open the door and fall out of a train in France its considered YOUR fault. In the UK you have the media and the relatives wringing hands and demanding locks and all sorts of other safety devices, and then demanding lots of £lolly compensation. In Europe they would probably be prosecuted for wasting Court time.

4 : There are no Statutory requirements for the fencing of the Railways in Europe

5 : They operate fewer trains at lower speeds and have higher station dwell times off the main lines

6 : There is no in-bred culture of fare evasion to the degree there is in the UK

7 : There appears to be less vandalism and trespass incidents culminating in deliberate damage to railway equipment in Europe

8 : Europe does not have Network Rail, nor the ORR nor thank God a transport Civil Service who see their role as being that of increasing or complicating Legislation.

9 : The interval between the tracks allows for the use of high output plant to undertake track maintenance and renewals work with the adjoining line open

10 : Trains can regularly be diverted during the working week (even International trains) to allow sections to be shut down for renewal/maintenance.

vulcanised
5th Jan 2014, 12:42
I will be interested to see RE's observations on a situation at Southend.

Stobart have made a good job of rejuvenating the airport and building a rail station (on the Liverpool St. line). There are now many more commercial flights operating, but it is said there could be more if only RailTrack put on an early morning service.

They claim this is not possible because of overnight engineering works. Every day? Into infinity? I suspect another reason.

Rail Engineer
5th Jan 2014, 13:52
I will be interested to see RE's observations on a situation at Southend.

Stobart have made a good job of rejuvenating the airport and building a rail station (on the Liverpool St. line). There are now many more commercial flights operating, but it is said there could be more if only RailTrack put on an early morning service.

They claim this is not possible because of overnight engineering works. Every day? Into infinity? I suspect another reason.Hello Chap,

I can only comment broadly as its been a few years since I last worked down that part of the world.

The line there is a two-track railway and has the following constraints.

1 : It is not signalled for trains to run in either direction as timetabled movements

2 : There is insufficient interval between the two tracks to allow any work to be undertaken safely.

If we use the replacement of a section of rail as an example of a maintenance activity, we will need about 30 minutes at each end to block the line and switch off the traction current with a similar period at the end. The work itself will take about 3 hours, with a margin for any difficulties that may arise. We would need to allow say 30 minutes at each end to on-track the rail plant and move it to site and again a corresponding period at the end to move it off.

We have thus a requirement for about five hours, say 00:01 to 05:00.

I would suggest that the last train would therefore need to be clear from around 23:30 and the first not due to approach until 05:30.

Having now checked the timetable I see the first train from Fenchurch St is 05:09 funnily enough. The last one passes the Airport station at 01:47 so the time available for maintenance is somewhat reduced against my own estimate
Does that help to explain ?

By the way Railtrack is now Network Rail who do not operate trains. NR controls the track. C2C is the train operating company who serve Southend Airport.

I am sure they probably do want to run an earlier service but if they do that effectively removes any maintenance period and places infrastructure reliability at risk.

ELondonPax
5th Jan 2014, 14:35
@Rail Engineer. You've made some good points about different standards in the UK.
But I don't buy your defence of why earlier / later trains can't operate from Southend Airport station. I strongly suspect inertia at NetworkRail - refusing to look at inovative ways of scheduling maintenance.
I'd also point out that the trains on this line are operated by GreaterAnglia (not c2c as you said) from Liverpool Street (not Fenchurch St as you said).

vulcanised
5th Jan 2014, 14:57
Thanks for that RE.

I still don't understand why it appears to be a continuous maintenace requirement. Is the track infrastructure that poor?

The Fenchurch St line does indeed also run into Southend, but on the other side of town.

OFSO
5th Jan 2014, 15:03
Very interesting RE: a few comments about Spain:

Try these for starters.

1 : The rest of Europe see the Railway as a socially necessary service and subsidise it accordingly

True

2 : The population of Europe is I believe substantially less than that of the UK per sq. m

3 : Regulatory and safety standards in Europe are not so proscriptive as in the UK. For example if you open the door and fall out of a train in France its considered YOUR fault. In the UK you have the media and the relatives wringing hands and demanding locks and all sorts of other safety devices, and then demanding lots of £lolly compensation. In Europe they would probably be prosecuted for wasting Court time.

True. Any Guardia Civil on the train would probably take a pot shot at you.

4 : There are no Statutory requirements for the fencing of the Railways in Europe

Not true as far as the high speed train tracks are concerned, true - woefully so - about all other tracks


5 : They operate fewer trains at lower speeds and have higher station dwell times off the main lines

6 : There is no in-bred culture of fare evasion to the degree there is in the UK

Not true, but the armed patrols on trains backing up the inspectors discourage fare evasion.

7 : There appears to be less vandalism and trespass incidents culminating in deliberate damage to railway equipment in Europe

Not true as far as the theft of cables is concerned, and not true as far as grafiti is concerned.

8 : Europe does not have Network Rail, nor the ORR nor thank God a transport Civil Service who see their role as being that of increasing or complicating Legislation.

9 : The interval between the tracks allows for the use of high output plant to undertake track maintenance and renewals work with the adjoining line open

10 : Trains can regularly be diverted during the working week (even International trains) to allow sections to be shut down for renewal/maintenance.

True.

Rail Engineer
5th Jan 2014, 15:04
@Rail Engineer. You've made some good points about different standards in the UK.
But I don't buy your defence of why earlier / later trains can't operate from Southend Airport station. I strongly suspect inertia at NetworkRail - refusing to look at inovative ways of scheduling maintenance.OK well in that case you tell me how to schedule ?

Your objective is a perfect performing railway, with minimal line blockage time.


Train service is 20 minutes throughout the day (05:00 to 00:01) and thereafter every 30 minutes, leaving a 15 minute gap on both lines.

Assume a route mileage of 50, and a track mileage of 100

You have to inspect at least every second day the whole of the track (100 miles), which cannot easily be done under traffic for safety reasons.

Track Inspections times are 40 minutes to the mile on each line in the day, at night you can increase that to 60 minutes.

Point inspection and testing will take about 30 minutes (15 minutes per end but this blocks both lines with a total blockage on all lines. Assume 50 points ends.

You need to undertake 2 miles of OHL inspection per week

The train service is roughly 20 mins, the biggest gap is 20 minutes and the smallest around 18 mins.

Over to you.

Sunnyjohn
5th Jan 2014, 15:53
Gov might spend the money (time will tell), but only on a major project such as HS2 (or Crossrail and others). and HS2 will attract EU money as part of its drive to connect all EU countries to high speed rail.

Having lived in this part of Spain for six years and travelled extensively by train I can say the the rail network at least in this part of Spain (Valencia) is fast, frequent, cheap, roomy and clean - especially the toilets! High speed services run hourly to Madrid with a journey time of 90 minutes and a return price of about £60 - roughly comparable to the equivalent air fare. Local services are good; frequent and from about 6 a.m. to midnight. The local services to the south of the region in fact run all night with a 2 hour gap between 2 and 4 a.m. Nationally, of course, Spanish Railways are losing money and have just been split into two, using the UK model of one company for infrastructure (Adif) and one for the rail services (Renfe). Both are shortly to be put up for sale, although I believe that Renfe is to be split nominally into two - High Speed services and all the rest. It was intended, as part of the original constitution after Franco's death, to devolve responsibility for local transport to the autonomous communities but since the crisis that has been put on hold.

Tankertrashnav
5th Jan 2014, 16:04
(I have just driven back to England from Cornwall. It never occurred to me to go by train.)

From Penzance to Exeter to service is pitifully slow, with frequent (unnecessary) stops as previously mentioned and unavoidable speed restrictions mainly to do with the numerous viaducts. On the other hand I would never consider taking a car into central London (what are you going to do with it when you get there?) so I have come to the conclusion that the only way is drive to Exeter and train for the rest of the journey to Paddington


6 : There is no in-bred culture of fare evasion to the degree there is in the UK


You havent travelled on the Paris metro, I take it? Some world-class vaulting of barriers can be seen any day!

TBirdFrank
5th Jan 2014, 16:13
Irrespective of idealism etc the plain fact is that since privatisation the UK government of whatever colour has handed £100Bn of your money above what was provenly capable of doing the job until 1994 straight into the waiting hands of Big Business.

A unified and properly controlled business cost less and would cost less now if the contractors currently milking the system were told "Do it at 1994 +RPI or get out"

To give an example of how the network could be improved, as is, I suggest beefing up of the network to provide - say

London to Manchester and Liverpool via :-

A "GC" like link connecting the east midlands cities, Sheffield and the North West

The Midland route

The LNW route

The GW route via Chester

provides a choice of four routes, with better national service choices, while injecting real resilience into network performance, and thereby allowing upgrades, re-instatement of loops etc, etc.

Repeat nationwide, and that would be a real improvement, especially, as has been mentioned - to the south west.

As for HS2 - in Manchester we are to be subjected to a thing called the northern hub - Network Rail wants to put in a curve west of the city to overcome what it sees as problems between Piccadilly and Deansgate.

I suggested four new platforms alongside and to the north of the Piccadilly train shed, a curve around the east of the city which would involve almost no CPO, merely two bridges and one section of new embankment, thus connecting Rochdale and the Calder valley to Piccadilly, giving two routes to Huddersfield, connecting the Etihad and Velodrome to the Network and linking Victoria to Piccadilly. Reopen Mayfield station which lies derelict alongside Piccadilly and connect it to the MSJA at London Road, and you would thereby have a 23 platform Piccadilly with connections to all parts, thus maintaining the one station main line connectivity created in the 1980s

This fully remoes cross throat traffic and traffic from the Piccadilly to Deansgate section, which Network Rail's suggestion merely reverses, bringing it in at Deansgate and sending it to Piccadilly

I haven't yet has the courtesy of a response!

Then I saw the HS2 alignment and understood why.

HS2 is scheduled to occupy that suggested four platform site - a dead end set of buffer stops, meaning that if HS2 is ever to strike north from Piccadilly you are going to have to start demolishing the city centre!

HS2 - if it comes should be on Mayfield with its capacity for through running - but this is the sort of muddled thinking that passes for planning nowadays!

I am thankful for my time in the business, but I can still run rings round the current incumbents!

Last Perfect Day
5th Jan 2014, 16:16
Crikey TBirdFrank.

Whilst I share your ire at privatisation shortcomings I am surprised, as a railwayman, that you feel strongly against the Northern Hub proposals. Why?

Krystal n chips
5th Jan 2014, 17:40
" suggested four new platforms alongside and to the north of the Piccadilly train shed, a curve around the east of the city which would involve almost no CPO, merely two bridges and one section of new embankment, thus connecting Rochdale and the Calder valley to Piccadilly, giving two routes to Huddersfield, connecting the Etihad and Velodrome to the Network and linking Victoria to Piccadilly. Reopen Mayfield station which lies derelict alongside Piccadilly and connect it to the MSJA at London Road, and you would thereby have a 23 platform Piccadilly with connections to all parts, thus maintaining the one station main line connectivity created in the 1980s

TBF......that's a very interesting proposition and possibly you could answer a couple of questions please.

First however, I assume the link you are speaking of can still be seen, in part with demolished / old bridges as you leave Picc on the left hand side ?....not the most accurate description I know, but they are before the sheds you mention. Was there not a link here to Exchange many years ago ?

Now, Mayfield....why was this site ever allowed to deteriorate from when it was a passenger station...."Pines Express " comes to mind, and then I believe, freight. It always seemed illogical not to renovate this site.

RE....a technical question please. Can you explain your reference to signalling problems / issues on the twin track line at Southend as I would have thought these would have been in place.

The more you ask, the more you learn, hence the query please

Gertrude the Wombat
5th Jan 2014, 17:41
On the other hand I would never consider taking a car into central London (what are you going to do with it when you get there?)
Bizarrely I did just that, the day after driving home from Cornwall. The purpose was to deliver a student's belongings, so the car was mostly parked, legally, on a yellow line whilst being unloaded.

Rail Engineer
5th Jan 2014, 17:47
..... A unified and properly controlled business cost less and would cost less now if the contractors currently milking the system were told "Do it at 1994 +RPI or get out"Sorry old chap but now you are being led by idealism.

When I was last involved in work on Network Rail, the track renewals Contracts required a 5% year on year reduction over the life of the contract (5 years) with no regard for increasing costs. In effect the delivery of track renewals to be 35% cheaper in Year 5. When was the last time that you saw a reduction in prices of that degree ?

Unfortunately where you are being misled is by others who sing this song of Contractors ripping off the system. It really is nothing like that at all.

The reason that track renewals and infrastructure upgrades have become so expensive is nothing to do with Contractors, who have to tender competitively and these days anything above 5% profit is good. Compare this to the 15 to 20% easily achieved in Civil engineering and you can see why Amec, and now Balfour Beatty are walking away from Rail.

The REAL cause of the massive increase in costs can be directly traced back to the Network Rail Projects organisation which changes it name as frequently as the seasons.

This organisation man-marks every member of the Contractor's management and supervisory team with poorly qualified people who aimlessly wander around the construction sites nit-picking irrelevant detail. Inevitably and increasingly these people are hired in through Agencies. In the case of major project such as Crossrail, you have a further replicated tier within Bechtel, and to be honest the least said there the best.

I was reliably told by one Contractor that there were more Network Rail and Bechtel staff on one site than there were workers !

It is these completely unnecessary tiers which cost so much and deliver, well NOTHING to the process.

Then there is increasing interference from Operations who insist in becoming more and more involved in the minutiae of engineering site operations.

Now into this mix add the every increasing reduction in working time, some caused by paranoia of over-running which means in the case of Crossrail the track has to be ready to hand back three to five hours before the actual agreed time. On a 30 hour blockage this equates to a 20% LOSS of working time, with all the inefficiencies this brings with it.

Oh and by the way each year the TOCs want to run for longer periods to deliver this ridiculous 24/7 concept, so in other words hammer the track harder yet give the engineers even less time to maintain it. Sheer madness driven simply to sate the egos of the "must have" brigade and convey a whole series of ne'er do wells who damage the trains (urinating and passes solids on the seats being a regular, along with puke spread liberally as they progress along the carriage) and in most cases manage to travel for free because staff are too scared to intervene or take these individuals on in the absence of a Police presence.

Would you believe there are now whole teams of people in the Contractors organisation who go to meetings five (yes FIVE) days a week to discuss in every increasing detail, the weekend's work.

Then because this planning is done in isolation, the Maintainer whose forward planning scale is measured in hours will typically turn up on the Friday morning and announce that by the way a rail repair will be taking place right where the Contractors are expecting to work and this must take priority, or alternatively because he has no idea of his infrastructure state, he has "found" an OTM and wants to go along tamping the track at certain points where the track "looks" bad again probably disrupting well planned work.

Your points are generally well made but please do recognise that the current Railway is no longer ANY reflection of what we worked on before. The criticism on Contractors is simply a smoke-screen to hide the massive screwball planning and access system we now have in this Country.

Thankfully I don't work in the UK now.

Rail Engineer
5th Jan 2014, 18:05
....... RE....a technical question please. Can you explain your reference to signalling problems / issues on the twin track line at Southend as I would have thought these would have been in place.

The more you ask, the more you learn, hence the query pleaseYes of course.

All points and other items of equipment need to be inspected on a regular basis to ensure that they are working within tolerance and that there are no obvious or potential defects.

The signalling system needs to know that each point end is set and locked for trains and this is displayed in the signalling centre. When the points are OK they will be shown as "detected".

A set of points will be detected in one of the two possible positions, either Normal (along the through route), or Reverse (set towards the diversionary route).

In the case of points there is a requirement to test these to prove that the point blades are closely fitting against the rail and that there is no damage to them that might cause risk. In effect the signalling engineers are inspecting points to ensure that a situation like that which occurred at Potters Bar does not arise.

There are a small number of tests which need to be undertaken to prove that they will not show detected when they are not closely fitting.

When you take the points out of detection the signalling system will do exactly what it is designed to do and will replace signals to red because it does not know what is going on. This will affect every line to which the points lead, so on a two-track railway typically the points will have an end in each line.

Thus when you take detection away from the Up line (to London) you will automatically cause the signals on the Down line (from London) to go to red so as to prevent a train approaching. All the signalling system knows is that the point end is no longer set towards London and as far as it is concerned a train could irregularly cross to the Down line and collide with a down train.

The impact of this is to require that both lines are stopped whilst each end is tested. If you can get a 30 minute max block between a train on each line then fine, but that is almost certainly never going to happen with a 20 minute service thus meaning that testing has to be carried out over an extended period, making the testing inefficient as well as risky when being undertaken under traffic.

This is especially the case in complex station areas where there may be multiple tracks over which trains can approach.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
5th Jan 2014, 18:33
As for HS2 - in Manchester we are to be subjected to a thing called the northern hub - Network Rail wants to put in a curve west of the city to overcome what it sees as problems between Piccadilly and Deansgate.

I don't know how the Ordsall Chord will work. There is an intention to have more platforms at Picc and Ox Rd, but the old MSJR railway connecting them, and on to Deansgate, is to remain 2-track because of the horrendous cost of quadrupling it through the city centre. That must be one of the busiest stretches of railway in UK and even at off peak there are often delays for paths into the stations. In peak times, travel along there is painfully slow with stops at every signal. None of this is helped by massively long container trains running to and from Trafford Park, and blocking all 3 stations simultaniously, and they often run at peak times as well! Time to re-open the loop line south of the City that was built for exactly that purpose?

And of course the Chord itself will spell the end of the steam railway (with its replia Stephenson 'Planet') at MoSI - the former Manchester terminus of the worlds first passenger railway, and the oldest in the world.


Then I saw the HS2 alignment and understood why.

HS2 is scheduled to occupy that suggested four platform site - a dead end set of buffer stops, meaning that if HS2 is ever to strike north from Piccadilly you are going to have to start demolishing the city centre!


HS2 is planned to strike north, but not from from Manchester. The junction is in Cheshire, with a branch following the M56 into Manchester and the main route continuing north eventually to Scotland.

Fare evasion: This is a major problem on many lines. The Mid Cheshire Line (Stockport to Chester via Altrincham, Knutsford, Northwich, Delamere, and Mouldsworth) is very busy, serving as it does several sizable towns and many schools and colleges. Most trains are packed 2-coach pacers (at peak times pax who can't board get left behind). The guard has to dispatch the train from the back, so the locals know 'the free seats are at the front' as the guard, if he can get down the train at all, is unlikely to reach them before the next station. many of the smaller stations are unmanned so no ticket checks, and ticket machines or gates would vandalised and gates vaulted.

Manning the stations or carrying extra revenue staff would not be cost effective, so what's the answer?

TBirdFrank
5th Jan 2014, 19:40
RE - I'm merely wearing my Paxman hat and referring back to the bull that accompanied privatisation and the yarp about competition reducing costs - not the micro managing by half of the UK government that now occurs, the multiple profit taking from what is, in reality, one job etc etc.

As we now have an admitted public sector railway and at least one public sector TOC - well - you know where I am leading.........


SSD

The curve I am referring to is the Blind Lane curve - the derelict formation that curves away on your left just before Ardwick as you leave Piccadilly.

On privatisation when all other disused lines were left with the taxpayer as liabilities cluttering up the share sale, this alignment stayed Railtrack - but they and their successors can't see it's potential.

One bridge over Blind Lane, some mounding where the Ancoats branch ran through, and a bridge over Ashton Old Road and voila - you are connected to the Ashburys to Phillips Park curve and a potential station at the stadia.

Beyond there there is a triangular junction with the Miles Platting to Ashton line, and then at Miles Platting, Brewery Curve, thus creating the diversionary Standedge route, connections to Rochdale, Todmorden, Burnley, Halifax and Bradford.

Taking the alignment down Miles Platting bank you arrive at Victoria - the "anus mundi" of Manchester - but the utility of Victoria could be vastly improved with platforms where East Junction once stood, and where Exchange station used to be - Victoria could have teens of platforms again if there was a will.

The Deansgate to Piccadilly congestion will not be improved one jot by the Ordsall Curve - but Network Rail have set their hearts on it . Its going to public enquiry now - so I intend to do my bit.

As for severing the connection to Liverpool Road - what civilised country would do that to the first passenger station in the world after some 185 years???

I went to the public consultation which was a travesty - a set of computerised tick box questions designed to give approval to one or other of two versions of the same scheme.

I objected to being dragooned in this way, so the young lady in charge was wheeled in to disarm me. When I asked her for sight of her authority to sever the right to connection in perpetuity that we put into the conveyance for Liverpool Road in 1980 she realised she was up against it and agreed to take a statement instead.

As for Mayfield - as the substructure still exists its still capable of re-use. The roof sheeting was apparently asbestos and once it started to deteriorate had to come down. The cost of using that and the cost of creating two new platforms on a new bridge should be put in the public domain to indicate the stupidity afoot.

As for metrolink and CC2 - well don't get me started!!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
5th Jan 2014, 19:53
Yes, I know of that line.

Northern Hub is to prevent Airport - Transpennine trains which have to reverse at Piccadilly from crossing the entire station throat and thus being a conflicting move for everything in and out of the station. Use of that 'Blind lane' curve would not help with that - to reach it from the Airport line one still has to cross the throat and reverse in the station.

The real answer is a Picc - avoiding flying junction Airport line, over the approach, to the Leeds line; expensive!

The loop I was referring to is the east-west one immediately south of the city, now a cycleway, which was originally built to keep freight trains out of the city centre. Not an OC alternative, but it would ease congestion on MSJR.

Severing the link into MoSI is undesirable, but the worst thing about the OC is it will truncate the internal MoSI railway to the extent of making it unviable. No more replica 1830 steam trains through the real 1830 station!

TBirdFrank
5th Jan 2014, 21:28
SSD - The Fallowfield Curve is lost to Metrolink from Withington to Trafford Bar

The use of the "Platform A-D" scenario would allow NE/NW trains to navigate Piccadilly with minimal conflict.

Trains destined for the airport could be worked as far as Longsight before gaining the Styal Loop, not directly on the station approaches.

A Slade Lane flyover was once predicated and land bought - but sold off later. It could still be done at a fraction of the cost of the OC

There's no such thing as a free lunch - but I honestly believe my auggestion beats the Northern Hub into a cocked hat for all sorts of reasons.

Now - can we please have Bendyleanos with Mk III seats and will anyone let me near a Vomiter with a gas axe?

Lancelot37
5th Jan 2014, 21:56
Last time I was on a train was 1990 and I didn't pay the fare, it was paid by an organisation that I was involved with, but I was horrified by the cost from north east England to London even then.

RedhillPhil
5th Jan 2014, 22:18
So how come most of Europe and a lot of the rest of the world do it better/cheaper?, I don't buy the excuses


Despite received wisdom and the national press, in many many cases they don't and they aren't. It's a pity that our railways were never privatised which would have made them so much faster, better, cheaper....ah, I just remembered, Major's government did.

Rail Engineer
5th Jan 2014, 23:33
The following link is for a series on the London Underground, but it seems to cover a number of questions raised here. The situation is broadly similar in regards to the track work scenario.

The Tube - Weekend (Series 1 Episode 1) (BBC Series 2012) - YouTube

Krystal n chips
6th Jan 2014, 03:58
TBF,

Thanks for the reply about Mayfield.

This site offers some nostalgic photographs, however, included in the shots is a map, albeit a rather old map, of the network which, I assume, supports your proposition.

Mayfield the ghost station of Manchester - Derelict Places (http://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/showthread.php?t=11506)

As for Metrolink, I was never a fan as the original conversion removed two perfectly functional rail lines. The issue over the years was always getting from Picc to Victoria, which was never easy by road and that was all that was needed to be remedied really.

I see the latest expansion involves digging up St.Peter's Sq and Cross St...thus grinding central Manchester to halt for how long and for what reason.

RE Thanks for the explanation. I can understand the process relating it to aircraft systems and the same principles.

Finally, some interesting figures here concerning the original topic :

BBC News - Train fares 'eat into savings' from moving from London (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25593532)

Unfortunately, the species known as parasitic estate agents have an input and thus there has to be a less than hidden agenda whenever this occupation gets involved.

Denti
6th Jan 2014, 05:11
1 : The rest of Europe see the Railway as a socially necessary service and subsidise it accordingly


Might be true for some countries, not true in germany. Although still government owned the biggest railway company (Deutsche Bahn) is a normal company and has to pay at least 500 million € dividends to the government per year. In fact it made billions of € in profits a year for the last few years.

2 : The population of Europe is I believe substantially less than that of the UK per sq. m

True, and the landmass in many countries is bigger requiring more travelling to get from one point to another.

3 : Regulatory and safety standards in Europe are not so proscriptive as in the UK. For example if you open the door and fall out of a train in France its considered YOUR fault. In the UK you have the media and the relatives wringing hands and demanding locks and all sorts of other safety devices, and then demanding lots of £lolly compensation. In Europe they would probably be prosecuted for wasting Court time.

I believe most safety standard are regulated under the european curse nowadays, but yes, the UK way (well, US way) of dealing with things is spreading in europe as well, i believe it is not much different in germany compared to the UK.

4 : There are no Statutory requirements for the fencing of the Railways in Europe

True i guess, at least for the secondary routes.

5 : They operate fewer trains at lower speeds and have higher station dwell times off the main lines

Dunno, but could be, probably because most of the non-main lines are pretty much kaput.

6 : There is no in-bred culture of fare evasion to the degree there is in the UK

Don't believe that is really a factor. Fare evasion is a big issue over here as well.

7 : There appears to be less vandalism and trespass incidents culminating in deliberate damage to railway equipment in Europe

Again, don't think there is a big difference there. Although there seems to be a big darwin award candidate pool in that population over here, they frequently get electrocuted and burned to a crisp.

8 : Europe does not have Network Rail, nor the ORR nor thank God a transport Civil Service who see their role as being that of increasing or complicating Legislation.

No, we have the Eisenbahn Bundesamt which fulfills that role.

9 : The interval between the tracks allows for the use of high output plant to undertake track maintenance and renewals work with the adjoining line open

What track maintenance? Probably once every 5 years when they have to shut it down because it's broken anyway. Or when a flash flood wiped out the bridges like last year for every line west out of berlin.

10 : Trains can regularly be diverted during the working week (even International trains) to allow sections to be shut down for renewal/maintenance.

Certainly not true for the main lines in many parts of germany. Well, they can, but travel times will increase a lot and therefore the schedule can't be kept. Like going from Berlin to Frankfurt via Hamburg because the west main line was broken for half a year. Around two additional hours travelling time. Usually going by train is faster than going by car, not so if they have to use alternate routes.

Capetonian
6th Jan 2014, 08:24
The comment about fare evasion reminds me of an incident I experienced with one of the army of jobsworths who infest so many organisations in the UK. I was travelling from Edinburgh on a 1st. class travel warrant issued to me by the client from whom I was working. I chose to sit in second class with a colleague, who had a second class ticket. Along comes Mr. J. Obsworth and tells me my warrant is first class, I said I know but was fine in second. He then tells me in his officious way that 'You are travelling in a class of travel for which your authority is not valid and thus committing an offence'. The train was almost empty, so it's not as if I was putting a passenger out of a seat, and we were in unreserved seats.

I told him that whilst technically he was possibly correct, I hardly thought I'd end up in the Old Bailey for this 'offence' and I asked his permission to remain in second class, which he refused. How unreasonable is that?

I said I would remain in second class regardless. He then said I would be 'met by police' on leaving the train at KX. I told him that I would be very happy with that and hoped they would charge him with wasting police time. Needless to say nothing happened other than me getting filthy looks every time he passed.

Why don't they concentrate on real fare-dodgers?

meadowrun
6th Jan 2014, 08:33
Why don't they concentrate on real fare-dodgers?

Because they are much more likely to spit in their faces or slug them.

Got that problem here as well, but with no real train service other than light rail system it's on the buses mainly.
Once, in order to protect a female bus driver who had given a dodger a ride over the bridge only, who then charged up to her swearing with fist cocked when told to get off on the other side, had to restrain him and boot him through the door. Pure instinct on my part - kind of surprised myself.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
6th Jan 2014, 13:42
I traveled into Manchester Piccadilly twice today. Both times we were held for several minutes outside the station. Once a TPE service had passed opposite direction we were able to proceed into the station.

Obviously setting up the conflicting crossing movement across all the approach tracks isn't trivial and holds everything up until the movement is complete and the routes into and out of the station can re-opened. So something has to be done to obviate this move. The OC is the proposed solution, but as I've already said that will bring its own congestion problems. A fly-over seems the only solution that will work. If it was for a road, it'd have been built decades ago!

Here's something RE might be able to throw some light on; when our 323 EMU arrived at Wilmslow we couldn't board for at least 3 minutes (seemed a lot longer!), until the guard had activated the doors. Obviously he'd been occupied selling a ticket, then had to make his way to the back of train where (I think) is the only point from where he can operate the doors.

All the time we were waiting (and presumably the guard was rushing through his ticket sale) the driver was sitting in his cab doing eff all. Why can't the driver release the doors, even if the regs state that only the guard can despatch the train?

TBirdFrank
6th Jan 2014, 16:08
I have seen a picture today from a Manchester to Euston journey - I can't vouch for it - but the sender is a good friend.

He states that the lights on a Bendyleano set weren't working, so the passengers were being issued with glow sticks! :\

I'm only the messenger - don't shoot!

SSD - OMO can only be institued once agreed with the unions - but a guard or TTI thereafter???

I agree - waiting outside on a cold wet windy platform while tickets are sold is one of the "improvements" that modern multitasking has brought with it.

Didn't happen in the old days!

Also - You need to read up on the poor guard on Merseyrail now doing a five stretch because the jury didn't understand how door closing on a 508 set has to be done, or the consequences of letting a sixteen year old out on the town after two bottles of vodka and a happy pills. It wasn't the parents' fault - oh no - of course not.

When the RAIB report came out it all but exonerated the guard all on its own, but it was inadmissable as evidence - but there has been no appeal - would you bell out a late night train anytime soon after that travesty?

Rail Engineer
6th Jan 2014, 16:38
Here's something RE might be able to throw some light on; when our 323 EMU arrived at Wilmslow we couldn't board for at least 3 minutes (seemed a lot longer!), until the guard had activated the doors. Obviously he'd been occupied selling a ticket, then had to make his way to the back of train where (I think) is the only point from where he can operate the doors.

All the time we were waiting (and presumably the guard was rushing through his ticket sale) the driver was sitting in his cab doing eff all. Why can't the driver release the doors, even if the regs state that only the guard can despatch the train?From what I know of these units, there can only be one door operating control panel in operation at a time, so IF the Driver tried to intervene then the door control CB would trip-out.


In the case where something serious has happened it is the case that the doors are kept locked waiting the attendance of the Police, although this was not THAT type of situation, but you will see the undesirability of others taking over control of the door controls without dialogue with the Guard.

cockney steve
6th Jan 2014, 22:56
1 : The rest of Europe see the Railway as a socially necessary service and subsidise it accordingly

So, you're trying to kid us that we don't subsidise the railway?

the true target of debate, therefore, is ....why the hell are off-peak fares set so high? or, as I think you call them, "Standard" fares

Were Public Transport fares competitive with private (my own car) I would consider using it (I'm already paying towards it, via subsidies)

were the fare low-enough to offset the inconvenience and time-loss of using the car, I almost certainly would use it in preference to the car.
Meanwhile, it's such a poor option, I haven't even bothered to apply for a bus/rail/travel...or whatever it is,- pass
A sad indictment on the system!

Krystal n chips
7th Jan 2014, 04:14
" were the fare low-enough to offset the inconvenience and time-loss of using the car, I almost certainly would use it in preference to the car.
Meanwhile, it's such a poor option, I haven't even bothered to apply for a bus/rail/travel...or whatever it is,- pass"

Sorry CS, but you are actually doing yourself a disservice here.

A rail card can, and does, save you an awful lot of money and can, in certain circumstances, be justified for even one journey a year alone.

All you have to do is plan therefore and think about your journey. Whatever you do, do not take the National Rail Enquiries site at face value however as the routes suggested are, strangely enough, not always the cheapest.

Even if you travel on the day and off peak, albeit with bearded rail this is between 11.59 and 12.01, you can still save money.

You may have to make a few small sacrifices in your own travel arrangements, but, overall, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Last Perfect Day
7th Jan 2014, 08:56
CockneySteve.


You subsidise many things that you don't necessarily directly benefit from already. (NHS, DWP, MoD, Flood Defences, Education etc). Why pick on rail?


Why not go the whole hog and insist on government that returns exactly the same amount of tax paid to the individual directly - also known as no government at all - worth a thread of its own that economic philosophy. I think they used to be called anarchists before that word took on a different meaning.


You do indirectly benefit from rail. Your road journey is made easier by those who chose to travel by train (Just think about the difference school holidays make to driving).


London without rail would be an economic wasteland so you may not even have a job.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
7th Jan 2014, 09:27
Steve - if you're old enough, a bus pass is free. Works on any non-bookable bus journey in England. That one's really a no-brainer and surprisingly useful!

A Senior Rail Card is 20-odd quid (better deal if you buy a 3-year one). This can be recouped easily in one journey! A couple of years a go a group of us oldies went to Bletchley Park from Wilmslow on a peak time train (to max time at the museum).

Standard walk-up return fare would have been about £330! We travelled for about £58 return using our old git cards (1/3 off the fare PLUS on Virgin you travel at peak times at off-peak rates with the card).

Worth a look!

Also, booking in advance reveals some amazing deals on train fares if you are prepared to travel on a particular train on a particular day. Old gits who don't need to be as flexible in their travel arrangements as working folk can often do this.

Capetonian
7th Jan 2014, 09:41
Being an old git (grumpy one too!) I can vouch for the above. I saved more than the price of my Senior Railcard on one journey between Surrey and Chester. I can now get a 1st. return more or less any time any day for about £70.

Must admit I was a bit embarrassed buying it particularly as in the same transaction I bought my son his 16-25 railcard which gives the same discount.
For some reason the 16-25 requires a photo and the Senior doesn't. Odd.

radeng
7th Jan 2014, 10:09
I would get a railcard if I saw myself actually travelling anywhere by train now.....

uffington sb
7th Jan 2014, 12:41
Thanks for the tip SSD & Capes.
I didn't realise I would be eligible for a card in a few months time. :ok:

Cpt_Pugwash
7th Jan 2014, 17:04
I thought that too, Uffs, when I turned 60. Unfortunately, they seem to have changed the rules, and the age limit is now 63, at least it is here in Wiltshire.:mad:

Capetonian
7th Jan 2014, 17:20
You must be referring to bus passes, Cpt. as it's very clear that the Senior Railcard eligibility starts at 60

Eligibility - Senior Railcard (http://www.senior-railcard.co.uk/eligibility-benefits/eligibility/)
You're eligible to buy a Senior Railcard if you are 60 years old or over.
You can buy your Senior Railcard up to two weeks before your 60th birthday when you buy online, but it will only be valid from your birth date. You cannot purchase in advance of your 60th birthday at a station.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
7th Jan 2014, 17:59
I think bus pass eligibility is rising with state pension eligibility but 5 years earlier. I got mine at 60, but Mrs SSD had to wait 'till 62 for hers.

The Senior Railcard isn't a 'state benefit' as such, but a marketing scheme by the railways to sell train tickets to pensioners, a bit like the 'Club 55' promotions that some rail companies run from time to time.

k3k3
7th Jan 2014, 21:02
I've not yet qualified for an old fogie bus pass, although it is looming. Even so it is possible to get some really good discounts by booking in advance online. In November swmbo and myself traveled by train from London Victoria to Chichester for just £5 each plus a £1.50 booking fee.

Tankertrashnav
7th Jan 2014, 21:59
I had a young person's railcard at uni, which I entered at the age of 42. As I did a 4 year degree course and then a PGCE, I was able to keep renewing it and managed to keep it till I was 48.

The year I started there was a woman of 60 at Exeter who was just beginning a music degree. She found she was entitled to apply for either a young person's railcard or a senior railcard (but not both). Naturally she chose the former!

Had a senior railcard (cost £30) since I turned 60 and have never yet failed to save more than the outlay - often one one journey. Can't remember when I last used my (free) bus pass, as bus services are so dreadful in West Cornwall, but I carry it just in case.

treadigraph
7th Jan 2014, 22:09
I've got a Network Railcard which offers much the same benefits as the Senior Railcard and covers most of the train journeys I do.


Network Railcard - Railcard (http://www.railcard.co.uk/network/)

RedhillPhil
7th Jan 2014, 22:10
From what I know of these units, there can only be one door operating control panel in operation at a time, so IF the Driver tried to intervene then the door control CB would trip-out.


In the case where something serious has happened it is the case that the doors are kept locked waiting the attendance of the Police, although this was not THAT type of situation, but you will see the undesirability of others taking over control of the door controls without dialogue with the Guard.


This is indeed correct. Some trains have the Driver releasing the doors and the Guard closing them such as the diesel units that scuttle between Reading and Gatwick and the electric units that work on the Southern main lines and South-Eastern main lines. I believe that the Virgin trains out of Euston also have the Driver releasing and the Guard closing. Eurostar also practices this operation.

jimtherev
7th Jan 2014, 22:14
I got my honorary doctorate from the Oxford Omnibus Company. When I got my student bus pass, I was pleased (and somewhat surprised) to find I was Doctor Jim. "Oh" says the young lady "If I get illegible applications from mature students I always calls em doctor"


Sorry, back to the thread. (almost) Having spent an hour freezing me whatsits off this morning measuring lineside boxes on our preserved railway, I reckon that the trackworkers deserve every penny they get. Such admiration for the lengthsmen in BR days who worked a 48 hour week for a pittance.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
8th Jan 2014, 09:42
Some trains have the Driver releasing the doors and the Guard closing them such as the diesel units that scuttle between Reading and Gatwick and the electric units that work on the Southern main lines and South-Eastern main lines. I believe that the Virgin trains out of Euston also have the Driver releasing and the Guard closing. Eurostar also practices this operation.

So it can be done. The 323 stock should be modified to allow such operation - the present situation is clearly ludicrous!

jim - that's why my volunteering is done on a nice warm footplate or in a cosy signal box! (But prepping the engine on a cold morning, especially a wet and cold morning, can be a pain!).

cockney steve
8th Jan 2014, 12:03
OK, I accept that a minority on this board , percieve Rail and bus passes as a beneficial thing....I'm still firmly in the same camp as Radeng.....
Ihave difficulty visualising myself using public transport at a time when these cards are valid...on the occasions in the last 30-odd years,when I had that need, it was for business purposes and would have been chargeable at normal price, anyway.

Still nobody challenging the proposition..."We pay to subsidise this service anyway, so why are not all "off-peak" fares dramatically reduced,so it's areal option to go via PT and put up with the waiting /erratic service/slow progress/ inconvenient stops."

Surely, as the supermarkets discovered , lower theprice, increase volume sufficiently to claw back the forgone revenue and a bit more besides.

I remember a Chancellor continually hitting booze and tobacco in his budget.....he finally squeezed too hard and revenue was lower after the price-hike.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
8th Jan 2014, 14:04
OK, I accept that a minority on this board , percieve Rail and bus passes as a beneficial thing....I'm still firmly in the same camp as Radeng.....
Ihave difficulty visualising myself using public transport at a time when these cards are valid...

How can they not be beneficial? One's free and gives free travel, the others a few quid and saves 1/3 on all rail fares (and sometimes off peak fares in peak times, still 1/3 off). They are always valid (bus pass not before 09:30).

Still nobody challenging the proposition..."We pay to subsidise this service anyway, so why are not all "off-peak" fares dramatically reduced,so it's areal option to go via PT and put up with the waiting /erratic service/slow progress/ inconvenient stops."Surely, as the supermarkets discovered , lower theprice, increase volume sufficiently to claw back the forgone revenue and a bit more besides.

Not sure why you put in those negatives (they don't feature in my rail travel experience and I'm a very frequent train user). Rail travel beats the stress of the M6 / M1 car parks any day! Off peak fares are considerably cheaper than on-peak, so I'm not sure of your point there, either.

Last Perfect Day
8th Jan 2014, 14:10
CockneySteve


You ask a fair question.


Tell us what your daily commute is / or frequent journey to visit friends and family.


We can flesh a debate around a real journey.


[If you are a trader with tools in the van that kind of knackers any debate :) ]

Capetonian
8th Jan 2014, 14:13
lower the price, increase volume sufficiently to claw back the forgone revenue and a bit more besides.
It's not that simple. We are talking about a commodity (train seats) which has finite limits.

The network is very busy and at some times of days on many routes there are no more slots available. Rolling stock is also limited. Longer trains are not suitable for the platforms on some routes, and as we know trains are horribly crowded. Double decker trains such as commonly used in Europe are not suitable for the UK network due to the smaller loading gauge, so larger trains would foul tunnels, bridges, platforms, etc

Krystal n chips
8th Jan 2014, 17:52
"] Double decker trains such as commonly used in Europe [/B]are not suitable for the UK network due to the smaller loading gauge, so larger trains would foul tunnels, bridges, platforms, etc

After a wonderful, and remarkably factual start....yes, Europe does have double decker trains and indeed, they let plebs like oneself travel on them....on the upper deck as well ! ( no cattle or open coal trucks being available at the time ) but then, alas, and as always, a degeneration occurred.....sadly, the word foul would be a rather classical example of litotes...demolished ( infrastructure and carriages) however......

This may have something to do with the original construction era, the Victorians were rather remiss in not forecasting the expansion of the railways for the 21st century after all, or, it could just be the case that, enraptured by the delights of the UK countryside and the elegance of travelling First Class, you failed to notice said infrastructure is, basically, too small in the first place.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
8th Jan 2014, 18:40
I'm just amazed at how good the UK rail system is, considering the routes and structures were designed and built largely in the 1800s. I'm sure the Victorians are rotating in their graves by our subsequent sitting on our hands in our lack of investment in something more suitable for the 20th, and then the 21st centuries.

Unbelievable that we run trains weighing many hundreds of tons at speeds well over 100mph over that ancient infrastructure, with its bridges, viaducts, tunnels, and numerous curves designed for featherweight trains going not much faster than a galloping horse!

And still in UK (not elsewhere, where they are a tad more realistic regarding rail) we get a wringing of hands and a wailing from the HS2 naysayers!

Anyone got a red flag? :rolleyes:

TBirdFrank
9th Jan 2014, 00:40
So - SSD - will the newly restored but intensely local 76084 and the very welcome returnee to the main line, 61264 be tempting you out then?

Railwayman
9th Jan 2014, 00:45
Hi All,

Joining in at TBirdFrank's invitation who does mention that I don't always agree with him.

Wow so much about railways in this forum and where to start in response.

Clearly rail travel doesn't make sense for some journeys but the fact is that many trains across the country are full and London could not function without is tube and rail network.

Also nothing in life is ever black and white. This applies to rail privatisation as much as anything else. Yes rail costs too much but consider:


2014's railways carry twice as many passengers that when they were privatised 20 years ago. Therefore any sensible cost comparison should not consider absolute costs
Britain's railways have a superb safety record, in fact the safest in Europe (excluding Channel Tunnel) - see page 5 of http://www.era.europa.eu/Document-Register/Documents/SPR%202013%20Final%20for%20web.pdf I can remember some pretty horrific things in the days of BR.
If something isn't working it may be due to the way the DfT control it (e.g. the Virgin franchise episode). As TBirdFrank suggests rail privatisation works a bit better up here in Scotland

As far as HS2 is concerned the arguments are:


The increase in rail travel over past 20 years shows no sign of slowing down
A huge amount of extra capacity is needed
As Rail Engineer says adding extra capacity to existing lines is prohibitively expensive
Building new lines is the only solution
Building a high speed line only 10% more expensive than a conventional line
HS2 is designed to connect the largest centres of population see https://twitter.com/Amazing_Maps/status/414561616735502336/photo/1
Please read Andrew McNaughton's article with an open mind The Rail Engineer | The capacity benefits of HS2 (http://www.therailengineer.com/2014/01/03/the-capacity-benefits-of-hs2/)

Almost every developed country except UK has seen and experienced the benefits of high speed rail, apart from anything else it supports their rail industry. It was sad for me to visit Russia and see that the Russia's are seeking support from France, Germany and Italy to built their high speed line. Unfortunately we, who invented railways, are just not players any more.

One final HS2 thought. The time from the world's first true high speed rail network (Japan) to UK getting its first internal high speed line will be longer than from the Wright brothers first flight to Apollo landing on the moon.


As far as the Northern Hub is concerned TBirdFrank should read this. The Rail Engineer | Manchester united (http://www.therailengineer.com/2011/06/29/manchester-united/)
There may be other solutions but they probably involve huge costs of rail flyovers on the Piccadilly approaches. Please give those who have developed these schemes some credit and understand the logic behind what is being proposed before getting excited about it.

As an example of uninformed critism was the HS2 comment "who wants to go to Old Oak Common". The reality is that once CrossRail is built 40% of those on HS2 trains will get to their destinations in London quicker by getting off at OOC instead of Euston.

I was going to say something about the cost of the Basingstoke Season ticket but see that this point has already been pretty well covered. I'd just say that if used 48 weeks a year this costs 18p a mile compared with 45p a mile for normal peak return and the 46p a mile that the AA estimate to be full costs of a mid range car doing 25,000 miles a year. Someone suggested that the comparison should be marginal running costs only (24p a mile) - maybe fair comment for the odd journey but not for the 23,000 miles a year travelled on this annual season. Finally this gets you to London in under an hour, probably half the time a peak period car journey would take,

Cant promise to write so much next time!

er340790
9th Jan 2014, 00:57
Just today paid 39 quid for a (First Class) single between Gatwick Airport and Stoke-on-Trent. Std fare was 33 quid, so a no-brainer.

That doesn't seem bad............ except I now see that I am limited to the booked train time ONLY.

Have they never heard that aeroplanes can be delayed????????????????????

:ugh: :ugh: :ugh:

Gordy
9th Jan 2014, 02:05
Lots of travelers on here so maybe I can ask a question:

Me & Mrs G are coming to the UK in March for 2 weeks. Planning 5 days in London then headed to Lincolnshire to visit family for a few days then back to London and off to Cyprus before returning to the US.

I have use of a vehicle in Lincolnshire, so what is the best way to get there.....Lincoln or Grantham works?

Secondly, is there a tube pass or something for our 5 days in London? (I bought a day pass last year).

And feel free to give us ideas for London....so far we have booked a show, (Book of Mormon), and were thinking a day at the "Tower" and possibly visit the dungeons and Science Museum... (I realize it is subjective...).

Thanx

Krystal n chips
9th Jan 2014, 02:50
Gordy,

Have a look at this site.

National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/)

As for your destination, it's entirely dependent as to your final destination in terms of distance from either Lincoln or Grantham departing from London Kings Cross.

Be aware the site can be a bit of a nightmare at times, it's not the most user friendly and also, check the arrival time of the East Coast service and departure time of the connecting service if you decide on Lincoln. It's always prudent to factor in the distinct possibility of a delay, same for the return of course, and thus to avoid this book a later train rather than the first suggested connection.

The best option would, if they would be happy to do so that is, is to ask the family to book your train tickets for you.....and now would be a very good time to get the best deals within the 12 weeks prior to travelling criteria.

Get them to book directly with the train operating company, or companies if you decide on Lincoln as you will have to make a change en-route, and then they simply post the tickets to you well in advance.

Yes, there are constraints as to the fact you have to travel on the pre-selected / booked train.....this condition of travel seemingly being a revelation akin to discovering the world is actually round it appears, albeit clearly stated in the T's and C's....always worth, ahem, reading, but as always, you have to make a few small sacrifices to get the best deal.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
9th Jan 2014, 10:22
So - SSD - will the newly restored but intensely local 76084 and the very welcome returnee to the main line, 61264 be tempting you out then?

76084 is quite nice, but I prefer the Standard 4MT tank - fabulous engine! My 3rd favorite behind the 9F and the magnificent Stanier Coronation Pacific. The 2 standards can trace their lineage back to Sir William as well (so all 3 have GWR genes).

As for the B1 - pah! Anything with a 'bog roll' boiler just looks naff. Never was a fan of anything east of Horwich (Crewe, really!). :)

Railwayman - nice post, thanks. I think the only answer for Northern Hub is a flyover south of Picc, but I'll read your link to see what that says.

EDIT: Read the 'Hub' piece. makes an excellent point for the Ordsall Chord, but no mention of re-routing it to avoid grade one listed MoSI. Also, doesn't say how the increased platforming at Picc and O Road would be supported without widening the MSJ line Picc - O Rd - Deansgate.


.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
9th Jan 2014, 10:30
Just today paid 39 quid for a (First Class) single between Gatwick Airport and Stoke-on-Trent. Std fare was 33 quid, so a no-brainer.

That doesn't seem bad............ except I now see that I am limited to the booked train time ONLY.

Have they never heard that aeroplanes can be delayed????????????????????


A bit like being only able to take your booked flight only?

Come on, get real, you can't expect the flexibility of a full fare ticket for the bargain price of the one you bought! How would they ever sell any full fare tickets if that was the case?

Tankertrashnav
9th Jan 2014, 11:57
As for the B1 - pah! Anything with a 'bog roll' boiler just looks naff. Never was a fan of anything east of Horwich (Crewe, really!). http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/smile.gif

Hmm - I suppose Derby is east of Crewe ;)

http://www.engrailhistory.info/imfile/r13880.jpg

Still, I agree, the Royal Scots certainly looked much better after the rebuild.

Oh I forgot, some of these were built in Crewe!

http://www.lms-patriot.org.uk/system/files/styles/full_width/private/images/home2.jpg?itok=XSP0Ou5h

Shaggy Sheep Driver
9th Jan 2014, 12:46
I'm no fan of Fowler. Stanier came up from Swindon and brought the technology of Collett (who developed Churchward's ideas) with him. The GWR had built the superb 'Kings' in the 1920s.... and then stopped. Stanier carried it on - at Crewe!

He sorted some of Fowlers stuff but most importantly he built his own superb locos, culminating in the magnificent Coronation class. A 'Super King', perhaps?

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b132/GZK6NK/DSC01707res.jpg (http://s18.photobucket.com/user/GZK6NK/media/DSC01707res.jpg.html)

And of course the ubiquitous Black Five and the 8F freight locos.

It's no coincidence that almost all the BR standard classes from Riddles in the 1950s have their roots in Stanier designs. There's a teeny bit of Bulleid in there too, but nowt from Doncaster, land of the bog roll boiler. :)

The SSK
9th Jan 2014, 13:14
cockney steve: Ihave difficulty visualising myself using public transport at a time when these cards are valid

Brave words. From the time my glaucoma was diagnosed to the time I was 'advised' to stop driving (on account of my insurance probably being invalid) was less than a year.

Make sure you have your eye pressures tested regularly

cockney steve
9th Jan 2014, 13:49
@lpd... As I'm retired (67 in less than 3 months time:eek:)
I don't have a regular commute.

People I see regularly, are off bus or train routes.....my adoptive Grandchildren live ~10 miles away....to visit them, would entail....walk down to the village (a steep 1/4 mile) hang around in the cold/wet (we're noted for cotton-spinning in days of yore, for a reason! )

Get the stop-start bus to Oldham...change and hang about on a draughty "metrolink"halt....climb on the Tram and trundle to Failsworth....dismount and walk another 1/4-mile through some less than salubrious surroundings, to get to the house........or, for less than £2 in petrol, Ican save an hour to do something more convivial, keep warm and dry, take tools/gifts/goods with me, have 3/4 spare seats for the kids, take the dogs (jack Russell and shitbrain...errr-shitzu...) be free to drop -in the handy Morrissons/ Tesco's/Aldi all directly on the route.... and I'm unlikely to be accosted by some oik requesting Idonate my mobile phone to feed his drug-habit....YES happened to the kids' stepmum between aforesaid supermarkets and her house....child in puschair in sharp contact with his shins,realigned his wish-list!...oh, and I get to load/unload right outside the door, on a whim, when it suits me, not when the stagecoach schedule says so.

you're all trying valiantly, but , the only reason P.T is any where [B]near[B] financially competitive with cars, is because the average car has only 20% or 25 % occupancy....2-or more people can be chauffeured in a taxi at less than PT fares.....why. O why, , is a train, with 100 or more occupants, so astronomically expensive to run?

Scrap the railways,(or leave them to bulk-freight, where they "should" be cost-effective and efficient) supply free taxis on the proviso they MUST be shared

the heyday of the Canal and Railways was a similar era...they are anachronisms in the 21 st. Century. to paraphrase... "over priced, over-rated and over here" :p

Shaggy Sheep Driver
9th Jan 2014, 13:58
the heyday of the Canal and Railways was a similar era...they are anachronisms in the 21 st. Century.

Steve, wake up and look around the world.... the views you express are very 1960s. :)

Cars and motoring are in decline (young people don't see cars as aspirational, which gives me great hope for the future).

And Rail, especially high speed rail, is sexy! It's the new flying!:ok:

cockney steve
9th Jan 2014, 14:02
@ the SSK...My father was blinded in the first world war...so I grew up with him like that.
Mother recently died, in her 80's..good health and active but sudden illness saw her off in 10 days.....so, although I wear very strong "milk-bottle-bottom" glasses, I'll take my chances...If it comes to it, a skateboard and a white stick and train the Jack-Russell to tow me....powerful little buggers, Jr's :} could also get me one of those motorised invalid carts and tweak the traction motors/batteries/electronics a bit. If I have to rely on P.T sometime in the future, so be it.....have you wondered why those with learning difficulties and disabilities, get an allowance instead of unlimited PT passes?

They get minibuses with tail lifts...taxis with mandatory loading-ramps...and the schoolkids get a standard private hire-car or taxi to take them to school......hint....it's a lot cheaper per passenger-mile , than PT.

cockney steve
9th Jan 2014, 16:06
@SSD...I'm happy with the low-cost, low-pollution personalised "60's" concept of convenience, carrying capacity and economy.

There's no hope for you, if you find HST's "sexy"..you obviously haven't met the same sort of women that I have :}

Never saw a car as "aspirational" (though I did run a Rolls as a hobby for a few years)...It's a time and cost -effective necessity, AFAIK....If I want to see primitive 19th. century mass-transport, I can save all the hours I gain by Motoring and use them to visit Howarth (used to go to Dinting, when the kids were small, and had to explain that poor people who couldn't afford a car, like us, had to use these things to get about, and pay scandalous fares.....so that kept them poor and using the railways....yea, Dinting, picturesque spot, now a trading estate.

still don't get ,how a vehicle moving over 100 pax on the surface, costs more to operate than an aircraft (which makes anunsubsidised) profit ! where does all the money vanish..apart from creating multimillionaires, Souter, Gloag, Branson et al. at Taxpayer's expense.

RedhillPhil
9th Jan 2014, 16:11
Just today paid 39 quid for a (First Class) single between Gatwick Airport and Stoke-on-Trent. Std fare was 33 quid, so a no-brainer.

That doesn't seem bad............ except I now see that I am limited to the booked train time ONLY.

Have they never heard that aeroplanes can be delayed????????????????????

:ugh: :ugh: :ugh:



Roll up at Stansted at 15.10 with an O'Leary airlines ticket for the 15.00 when your inbound train has been delayed by an hour after someone at Brimsdown in a car didn't understand that flashing red lights on a level crossing means stop.
Works both ways on cheap(er) tickets.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
9th Jan 2014, 16:38
Steve, HSTs are ancient and aren't high speed rail by today's standards. 125mph just doesn't cut it. Though it's still a heck of a lot faster than by car - even ignoring the car parks that most of our motorways are today.

TBirdFrank
9th Jan 2014, 17:01
Hi there Mr S - Good to have you on board - don't miss out on TRABB its where all the best people hang out, when we aren't having a beer at the Buffet Bar or a curry at the Desi Lounge - its all very convivial here!

The Ordsall Curve was rejected by those of a strategic view thirty years ago - but when there are consultancy fees to be earned............

That solution simply moves the cross throat congestion to the Piccadilly - Deansgate alignment, dilutes the value of Piccadilly, and offers nothing strategic or in reserve for the investment involved. It, of itself, requires a quarter mile of new viaduct so - why not use that cost at Slade Lane, recreate the Blind Lane Curve, which could not concevably cost more than £1m to recreate as an alignemnt, and link Picc and Vic to the Stadia, link the Calder Valley and Burnley, to Piccadilly, create a relief route to Tameside and Standedge, and retain all long distance connections at Piccadilly as was the eighties aspiration, not split them apart again.

Sorry - but its three out of ten for this sort of thinking Network Rail!

My solution is cheaper, more strategically useful, more passenger friendly - no wonder it didn't get a look in!

As for passenger friendly we took the Metrolink from Ashton to Queens Road and back last week. It took an hour and a half! We got off aching and uncomfortable as the seats are about 5mm of hard foam over a fibreglass mould, and - like Cockney Steve - I don't regard a mode of transport on which I can't take my Jack Russell as in any way acceptable - be it paddle steamers or pretend trams! I did note while checking my friends ticket cost that Ashton Moss to Ashton and Ashton Moss to Piccadilly returns came out at more than a day rider - who works these things out?

Now if you want transport through Mossley - now you are talking ...

http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk231/45596/2013072600246233Mossley2Img_2392_zps96a2aec5.jpg

And this is what I call a tram!

http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk231/45596/20130827017600atFerrysunsetImg_2754_zpsab45983d.jpg

And neither shot is six months old yet!

And you can make all the comments you like - but there is no cheerier sound than an LNER whistle echoing through the glens - none at all!

Tankertrashnav
9th Jan 2014, 17:25
SSD and TBF - thanks for the pictures of the "semis". 46233 seems to be in a very odd shade of green, but hey ho.

Brought up in Carlisle they were a daily sight on their way North or South. I can remember waiting for a train to London one day c 1963 when its arrival was announced thus:

"The train now approaching Carlisle Station is the 11.30 to London Euston only, "The Caledonian". The train is being pulled today by locomotive number 46245, City of London"

Those were the days!

Krystal n chips
9th Jan 2014, 17:34
On the original topic, I would suggest a read of the current "Private Eye" and the Signal Failures column where the Picc-Eus route gets a less than flattering mention.

Railwayman
9th Jan 2014, 17:42
Know you like to think that Uncle Frank knows best but the benefits of the Northern Hub stack up as far as I'm concerned. It seems a great way of both easing pressure on the Pic to Oxford Rd line and avoiding crossing the Piccadilly throat.

I read your proposal in an earlier post and don't see how it would do either of these things. If I've missed something send me a diagram showing how it could.

The history of railways is one of delivering economic growth so I can believe that the extra 700 trains a day this will provide will deliver the stated £4 billion worth of benefits at a high payback ratio, essentially because this is a relatively small investment that frees up the entire northern rail network centered on Manchester.

The impact on the museum is a really unfortunate but once the need for a chord is accepted, looking at the layout, I don't see how this impact could be avoided.

Sometimes society has to make hard choices about what's for the greater good - if we hadn't done so there would be no railways or roads. It really is a shame but if there is no other choice it would be wrong to sacrifice around 25,000 jobs to maintain the museum connection.

Cheers

D

4mastacker
9th Jan 2014, 17:48
Never mind the price of tickets, the announcement by station staff at Grantham - "The train at platform 3 is the xx.xx to sunny Skeggy. The next train to arrive at platform 4 is the xx.xx for Naaaritch" - did bring a smile on a rather depressing day.

Railwayman
9th Jan 2014, 17:49
Thanks SSD,
See my latest post re the sad issue of the museum
Re the proposed new Piccadilly platforms, having more plaforms available will increase the number of trains between Oxford Road and Piccadilly and it reduces the impact of station stop times on throughput.

Gertrude the Wombat
9th Jan 2014, 20:39
Todays 14 - 30 year olds are obsessed with the things, they walk nowhere, they have cars before they leave the sixth Form, they spend so much of their income on them they cant afford to leave home till they are 40
Yours might.

Just one of our three children took up our offers to pay for half their driving lessons on turning 17. One asked for a French horn instead, the third for a plane ticket to NZ (where he is getting around quite happily, hundreds of km at a time, on a bicyle). And the one with the licence has vaguely toyed with the idea of acquiring an old banger, but came to the conclusion it was a daft idea.

G-CPTN
9th Jan 2014, 20:57
http://www.pprune.org/7616599-post8705.html

Capetonian
9th Jan 2014, 21:07
And the one with the licence has vaguely toyed with the idea of acquiring an old banger, but came to the conclusion it was a daft idea. This might be why.
My son (18) has recently got his licence and I wanted to buy a car for him, and for me to use sometimes when in UK although I mostly travel by rail. Just a 'banger' as his first car, something like a 10 year old Golf or Polo diesel (not TdI), or a 1.4 petrol, worth a few hundred pounds. Got insurance quotes with me as main driver and him as named additional, or vice versa. I have full NCB and am >60. Cheapest quote for TP F&T : £2200 per annum, up to £7000.
(I know the value of the car is irrelevant, just mentioned that in passing.)

RedhillPhil
9th Jan 2014, 21:58
Lots of travelers on here so maybe I can ask a question:

Me & Mrs G are coming to the UK in March for 2 weeks. Planning 5 days in London then headed to Lincolnshire to visit family for a few days then back to London and off to Cyprus before returning to the US.

I have use of a vehicle in Lincolnshire, so what is the best way to get there.....Lincoln or Grantham works?


Sample travel times for London (King's Cross) to Lincoln for weekdays. travel.
Dep 10.30 Arr 12.36 change at Newark.
Dep 11.30 Arr 13.30 change at Newark.


Sample time from London (King's Cross to Grantham for weekdays.
Dep 10.35 Arr 11.39
Dep 11.35 Arr 12.39.


Secondly, is there a tube pass or something for our 5 days in London? (I bought a day pass last year).


Buy and pre-load a Travelcard to give you unlimited travel on buses, tube and London Overground.

And feel free to give us ideas for London....so far we have booked a show, (Book of Mormon), and were thinking a day at the "Tower" and possibly visit the dungeons and Science Museum... (I realize it is subjective...).


National Maritime Museum is always a good visit. Covent Garden area is a bit "touristy" but nevertheless interesting. London Transport Museum whilst you're there. Take a number 15 bus ride from outside Charing Cross railway station and experience a ride on the last type of bus designed for and by London Transport. Go slightly further afield up to Hendon for the R.A.F. museum complex.

Thanx
..............

pvmw
10th Jan 2014, 09:44
.......sounds like they been brought up proper,

Ah, but one persons "brought up proper" might easily be interpreted by another as "brainwashed from birth". I agree with Lone Ranger, the majority of teenagers I know are obsessed with cars and are determined to get wheels as soon as they can.

The running costs are the killer for the young. I've been convinced for years that the "establishment" has a long term plan to wean the population off the motor car by making it almost impossible for the next generation to own one. They've given up on the current generation as they have realised that established attitudes can't be changed - those who have their own transport will never be convinced that public transport is an adequate replacement.

cockney steve
10th Jan 2014, 11:13
those who have their own transport will never be convinced that public transport is an adequate replacement.

Maybe, just maybe, that's because it isn't?

All the rail and bus afficionados here are keeping a deafening silence on the big issue.....why does a conveyance for 100-plus pax, with an occupancy(according to them)~70% or "crowded" cost more per head,tooperate, than a private car at 50% load.

THAT's why people run a car! It's CHEAPER as well as being more convenient.

Sure, a jaunt on a steam-train is a great experience on a pleasant summer day...but wading through stair-rods of sleet, only to stand in cold and draught, 'cos the heated waiting-room is inadequately small or long-since consigned to history,-well, that's a different ball-game.

If even a reasonable proportion of motor-derived revenue and tax were returned to road-maintenance and improvement, we would have a world-class system....instead we persist in subsidising every Pax-mile on public transport. perhaps we should bring back the Sedan-chair?- at least, that would soak up some of the unemployed/unemployable!

Gertrude the Wombat
10th Jan 2014, 11:51
why does a conveyance for 100-plus pax, with an occupancy(according to them)~70% or "crowded" cost more per head,tooperate, than a private car at 50% load
It's the usual gross/marginal costs and externalised costs argument. Eg, the full cost of a railway line is included in the train fare (give or take subsidy) whereas the full cost of the road is not included in what the motorist pays per mile of travel.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
10th Jan 2014, 11:59
All the rail and bus afficionados here are keeping a deafening silence on the big issue.....why does a conveyance for 100-plus pax, with an occupancy(according to them)~70% or "crowded" cost more per head,tooperate, than a private car at 50% load.

That's been discounted a few times already. Look back at cost per mile of rail and car earlier in this thread. What many car owners do is greatly underestimate the cost of running a car, taking only fuel into account. They don't factor in depreciation, loss of interest on the capital tied up in a car, servicing costs, insurance, repairs, tyres and other consumables, VED, and lots besides.

In any case, it isn't 'one or the other'. In this household we have 3 cars and 3 motorbikes, yet I am a very regular train traveller. Why would I drive into Manchester when the train gets me there in 20 minutes with no parking to worry about? And if I fancy a pint or two - no problem!

If I'm off at 07:00 to my heritage railway signal box for the day, I use the car or one the bikes as it's an easy and enjoyable road journey with no viable PT alternative.

If I'm off to London I can be there in 2 hours on the train in comfort and with almost absolute reliability. And I can read and have a meal and drink on the way if I want. Or I could risk the 4 -5 hour drive (with a high chance of a mega motorway hold up), get stressed out by mad women in BMWs and stupidly-driven white vans. And even assuming no traffic problems (unlikely) I have to spend the time staring at the back of the car in front, getting bored silly steering for several hours. Oh, and then I have to find and pay for parking! And driving is bluddy dangerous. Why would I want to do any of that when there's a far nicer, quicker, and safer alternative?

Cars are very useful, but they are no substitute for many journeys better done by train.

MG23
10th Jan 2014, 12:27
Eg, the full cost of a railway line is included in the train fare (give or take subsidy) whereas the full cost of the road is not included in what the motorist pays per mile of travel.

The last time I looked, road users in the UK paid about five times as much in motoring taxes (road tax, petrol tax, etc) as the government spent on roads. Yet driving is still cheaper than taking the train.

One of Britain's biggest problems is that it invented the train, so the Steamheads won't let the government build a rational transport system.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
10th Jan 2014, 12:38
It's not the steamheads preventing a rational modern transport system for UK, it's the short sighted, the petrolheads, and the nimbys living in the Chilterns and elsewhere.

The last time I looked, road users in the UK paid about five times as much in motoring taxes (road tax, petrol tax, etc) as the government spent on roads.

A common misconception. The HGV industry and to a lesser extent the bus industry each pay a fraction of their direct road costs. To build a motorway that serves HGVs rather than simply cars costs many many times more. And almost all the damage and wear to roads is caused by trucks. And of course it's an ongoing cost in other direct ways - every time the HGV weight limit goes up a shedload of bridges have to be re-built - we all pay for that, not the HGV industry!

Then we have the indirect cost of roads - policing, damage to buildings, the cost of the massive accident rate to the NHS and to the economy and to families, the environmental damage, and a whole lot more.

And there's even an impact on rail travel by roads - 'bridge bashes' by HGVs and buses are common, and effectively close the railway until an engineer has inspected the bridge and given the 'OK' (Rail, of course, has realistically high safety standards, unlike roads. That's why they are safe). Stupid motorists drive around the barriers at level crossings. And there are other instances such as when the M60 motorway was built around south Manchester the railway (which was still publically owned back then - wouldn't happen today) was single-lined to save the cost of the new bridges! Today, with a much busier railway, that single-lining is a real pain for train operators.

It's only that we have been in thrall to the motor car for decades that the road lobby have got away with all this. Not any more! (Except HGVs, which still enjoy a massive hidden subsidy).

cockney steve
11th Jan 2014, 14:15
No, Really, not a misconception.....I don't argue that there are some circumstances, where PT is more convenient than the deliberately handicapped private system, but they're in the minority.....if PT was so damned good, it would have the same financial loadings as the private sector and all the Private-Hire and cab companies would go bust overnight.....When i was a kid, there were not any private-hires, to my knowledge....IIRC, the Minicab/Private-hire business sprang up because of the artificial limits on Hackney-Carriage availability.

As to HGV subsidy.....what banana boat do you think I came in on?

I'd suggest that every 8 or less miles, the HGV pumps another 3 quid or so into the Exchequer.(fuel duty and vat on the duty as well!...Road tax is over £1,000 and can be over £1800
Put it another way, that's £50 a day, every single day of the year just to park on the highway



You cannot stick your head in the sand.....PT is not cost-effective for the end user...the only reason it thrives, is the alternative is hugely handicapped by legislation, charges and persecution, added to which,the wilful neglect of the road-system is an indictment of every post-war government.....red-flag mentality survives!

many motorists do , indeed, count the total cost of ownership.....it comes directly out of TAXED income....Unlike the railways , most private motorists are coerced /brainwashed into buying new/late models with a high depreciation.....so, how about we divide the total cost over all a vehicle's owners, during it's life?...the Company car , may well cost nearly a pound a mile, but by the time it's 12 years old, like my present one, it has depreciation barely into 2 figures per annum...the other costs, of course, don't drop a lot, fuel tax, road tax (yea, i know most of the Test fee goes to the garage....that's another quango that breaks even at the motorists' expense

Bridge-rebuilding?...bloody funny how the Victorian rail-engineers made sure their stuff was possessed of adequate strength -reserves to compensate for increased-loading and the inevitable corrosionand degradation of time....yet motorway bridges (think of the Spaghetti-junction fiasco that's been running at least 10 years!) are crumbling, poorly specified , marginal bodge-ups that seem to have a less than 50-year life-span.

Policing....a lot of it, unnecessary,heavy-handed and subjective

accident rate....a lot to do with poor training and test standards and an antiquated, decrepit road-system.
likewise NHS costs....motorists pay compulsory insurance, right? you could level the same accusation against Alcohol abuse (but revenue exceeds costs) and tobacco...ditto.

keep going, SSD, At least you're now acknowledging that PT is often not a viable option.....now you just need to remove the rose-tints and take a long hard look at the true cost of land, onfrastructure, manning maintenance and dapital equipment , not to mention the wages of workers and the huge trough full of greedy hangers-on, that is "rail transport"

vulcanised
11th Jan 2014, 14:33
the HGV pumps another 3 quid or so into the Exchequer


................until the operator, being VAT registered, reclaims it at the end of the Quarter.

Airey Belvoir
11th Jan 2014, 15:26
!...Road tax is over £1,000 and can be over £1800
Put it another way, that's £50 a day, every single day of the year just to park on the highway


Damn! Must get another calculator. My one reckons that £1800 divided by 365 is £4.93 a day.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
11th Jan 2014, 15:35
It's about as accurate as his arguments. :)

Whatever tiny amount it is, it pails into insignificance next to the sum taxpayers fork out to provide the HGV with that highway to park on... A massive hidden subsidy to road freight! THAT'S the point!

Sunnyjohn
11th Jan 2014, 15:46
Comparing costs of public versus private travel is a little disingenuous but it is worth bearing in mind the cost of the number of deaths on UK roads. Calculating the value of a human life is somewhat difficult but someone has to do it, not the least for insurance purposes, and you will find that the lowest average value of a human life on the government's statistical tables is just under a million pounds. When you take those sort of values into account, a comparison between public and private transport becomes meaningless. Incidentally if the figure for number of deaths on roads worldwide was, say, a figure for deaths by influenza, it would be called a pandemic and millions of pounds would be poured into reducing or preventing it.

Dr Jekyll
11th Jan 2014, 16:59
Remember many road deaths are public transport related. Also, in 2012, total road deaths including public transport were around 1,800. Total rail deaths about 300. Consider that about 10 times as much travel takes place by road as rail.

Capetonian
11th Jan 2014, 17:05
Total rail deaths about 300. Are you saying that 300 people in the UK were killed in rail accidents in 2012? Even if you include suicides there is no way that can be correct.

If you want to compare safety of different modes you need to show fatal events per passenger journey and per passenger mile travelled, since train/air journeys are usually longer than car, and the statistics will be slewed.

Edit ... in fact ... zero in 2012

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c9/Deaths_in_UK_railway_accidents_1995-2012.PNG

MG23
11th Jan 2014, 17:12
It's not the steamheads preventing a rational modern transport system for UK, it's the short sighted, the petrolheads, and the nimbys living in the Chilterns and elsewhere.

In any rational world, the government would rip up most of the railways for being an uneconomical mess, not spend tens of billions building new ones that are a bit faster than the old ones.

A common misconception. The HGV industry and to a lesser extent the bus industry each pay a fraction of their direct road costs.Last I looked, the government collected around 40,000,000,000 a year from road-related taxes and spent around 8,000,000,000 on roads. That was in the early 2000s before I left the UK, but I was back there a few weeks ago and from the state of the roads we drove on, I can't believe they're spending more.

And, despite the government's best efforts to push motorists off the roads, driving is still cheaper than the train, particularly if you have four people in the car.

Dr Jekyll
11th Jan 2014, 17:17
I am including suicides, but road death figures include suicides as well.


For 2012 there were 302 deaths on UK railways including 236 suicides.

UK rail suicides: a decade of data | News | theguardian.com (http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/sep/11/uk-rail-suicides-decade-data)

Capetonian
11th Jan 2014, 17:26
You are being very disingenuous there.

You are correct that there were 302 deaths on the rail system in 2012, according to your source. It then goes on to state :

The vast majority of all fatalities on the rail system are as a result of a suicide bid. Other categories that make up a small fraction of deaths include 'trespassers' (53 fatalities in 2012), "level crossings" (5) and "slips, trips and falls" (1).
So for 2012 we are looking at 238 suicides and suspected suicides. Of the remainder, 53 were trespassers (Darwin Award candidates perhaps and as such could be considered suicides), 5 level crossing deaths (ditto) , and 1 'slip'.

The numbers don't quite add up, but the important thing is that there was not one fatality attributable to a rail operating accident, collision, derailment, etc.

I thus declare your argument invalid!

Dr Jekyll
11th Jan 2014, 17:34
But road accidents due to suicides, drunks, Darwin award candidates etc are included in road death statistics. As are public transport road deaths.

I was responding to Sunnyjohn's argument that the cost of deaths makes private transport vastly more expensive than public. Apparently on the assumption that public transport results in no deaths.

My point was simply that significant deaths occur on public transport as well, so whether they are due to 'rail operating system failures' or not is irrelevant.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
11th Jan 2014, 18:52
Lets just knock this silly idea of rail deaths on the head NOW! The last passenger rail death in UK was at Grayrigg, in 2007. And that was an elderly lady with considerable health problems before the accident. A healthy person in her place would almost certainly not have died. But nonetheless, it was a bona fide pax death in an accident.

So the number of UK pax rail deaths in the last 7 years is.... ZERO!

On the roads... about 14,000! And millions whose lives are ruined through serious injury.

Anyone with at least half a braincell should not be surprised by this. Lots of adjacent fragile metal boxes steered and controlled by poorly trained amateurs (roads), or guided vehicles of very substantial construction under the control of a highly trained driver working in an automated signalling and control environment (rail).

Lets get real here!

You can fiddle faddle a few suicides, but the bottom line is if you travel by train, you're safe. If you're on the roads, you are partaking in a very risky activity, which carries a death and injury rate that would simply not be accepted in any other activity, transport or not. We have dual standards in safety... one extremely lax one for roads (to allow Joe Incompetant to drive his metal box about), and a much, much tougher one for everything else.


.

Sunnyjohn
11th Jan 2014, 18:56
Remember many road deaths are public transport related. Some - I would plead not so many. And very few are rail-related, which was my argument. It is true that some are HGV related, which is one reason why it is a good idea to get freight off the roads and onto rail - one reason why the EU is subsidising European-wide high-speed rail. It is worth looking at the full statistics for road deaths and injuries and have in mind the cost of returning the seriously injured back to full working health. (stats from Wiki)

Year..........Killed............Serious injury..........Slight injury...........Total injury
2012 ........1,752..................23,032................170,930 ................193,969

... together with the insurance costs - it does start to stack up.

Krystal n chips
16th Jan 2014, 05:58
Meanwhile, and in a not entirely unexpected development, yet again bearded rail shows why customers come second to service....

BBC News - Virgin Trains axes plans for Shrewsbury-London service (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-25750710)

Astute readers will notice the ever so slight contradiction between the opening and closing paragraphs.

And be aware of how bearded rail did their level best to negate competition and a company that did provide a very, very good service.

Comments and observations from the rail professionals on here as to the practical issues with the now cancelled proposed service welcomed as always.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
16th Jan 2014, 11:17
What are you on, K&C?

No contradiction whatever there. I suggest you read it more carefully.

I'll make a guess that the company you refer to as providing a 'very good service' was Wrexham & Shropshire? Yes, they were excellent (I used them a lot). But the service was simply not viable. Nothing to do with Virgin - DBS, the owners (German State Railways) got fed up with the losses, could only see the losses building, so pulled the plug.

Virgin are simply confirming that, having looked at it in detail, such a service is indeed not viable.

Of course there has been a perfectly good service between Shrewsbury and Euston for decades - changing at Birmingham New St.


.

Capetonian
26th Apr 2014, 06:07
Birmingham - Weybridge single ticket
Wednesday afternoon (1730 train)
Lowest fare (1st) £132.00 (includes Euston-Waterloo segment)

Birmingham - London Euston
Wednesday afternoon (same train)
Lowest fare (1st) £49.00
(much cheaper fare available on the LM service which takes about 45 minutes longer and stops at every hamlet on the way.)

London Waterloo - Weybridge
Wednesday evening
£12.90 (First class)

Saving by buying two separate tickets :
£70.00

From that saving deduct the price of getting from Euston to Waterloo. even a taxi would only be a fiver or so.

Tankertrashnav
26th Apr 2014, 08:46
For the model railway enthusiast (I am sure there must be one or two on here) how about the latest accessory for your layout?

Hornby rail replacement bus set - Funnies - Britmodeller.com (http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234959459-hornby-rail-replacement-bus-set/)

Brilliant!

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Apr 2014, 10:10
Brilliant indeed!

Right up there with 'Railway Magazine's' April issue piece on 'Heritage Motorways' ....."what, one driver and and one independent powered vehicle for each container? No wonder they didn't last as a viable transport system!". ;)

Rush2112
26th Apr 2014, 10:29
To get back on track (geddit?) in a former life I commuted from Ipswich to London for 3 years from 1992. When I finished the season ticket was about GBP3,000. This thread prompted me to look up today's cost and it is GBP6,000 so it has doubled in 19 years.

It doesn't sound so bad until you work out it needs to come out of earned income so that 6k is more like 10k gross. A reasonable amount of cash in any currency. And you have to live in Ipswich.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Apr 2014, 10:41
A standard class day return Ipswich to London is £76.70. So if you travel for, say, 248 working days a year that's £18,408 per year. So £6K for a season ticket valid 365 days per year is extremely good value!

lomapaseo
26th Apr 2014, 15:29
A standard class day return Ipswich to London is £76.70. So if you travel for, say, 248 working days a year that's £18,408 per year. So £6K for a season ticket valid 365 days per year is extremely good value!

Your math is OK but your presumption is questionable.

Why would anybody having to travel to London for 248 days ever want to travel the same route for another 117 days a year?

That's how I measure value

Shaggy Sheep Driver
26th Apr 2014, 15:51
Your math is OK but your presumption is questionable.

Why would anybody having to travel to London for 248 days ever want to travel the same route for another 117 days a year?

That's how I measure value

What's your point? Perhaps you'd rather compare the £6K to £27,995.50, the cost of 365 days travel? Or should we treble that to about £84K because in theory the traveller could make 3 return journeys a day for a year for £6K?

But that's not how I see it.

This is how I see it:

The value is in the deal the customer gets by buying an annual season ticket to get to and from work compared to buying one return ticket every day.

Instead of £18,408 the commuter only pays £6K

That's how I measure value!

Value for the commuter that is - not for the rail company or for casual travellers who subsidise this vast fare reduction. Maybe if the commuter paid something nearer the true cost of his ticket the cost of a day return ticket for the casual traveller could be reduced.

There ain't no free lunch here! Somebody meets the real costs of getting London's commuters to work and back and it isn't the season ticket holder!

vulcanised
26th Apr 2014, 16:34
That's how I measure value!


You could be deluding yourself with that yardstick, just in the way a lot of these 'Half Price' offers work.

A ludicrous retail price is often set, which no-one would pay, and then the half price looks good but is what the supplier wanted in the first place.

con-pilot
26th Apr 2014, 17:38
I am quite aware of inflation and the fact that some costs do rise for other reasons but....

A standard class day return Ipswich to London is £76.70.

When I was 12/13 years of age, I used to make trips on the train from Ipswich to London by myself on weekends. I paid for the ticket out of my pocket money and there is no way in hell that I could have afforded the equivalent of 76 pounds back then.

Gertrude the Wombat
26th Apr 2014, 18:26
Somebody meets the real costs of getting London's commuters to work
Well, one group who pay are Ipswich's non-London-commuters, who are having to pay extra housing costs because the house prices have been inflated by London commuters.

RedhillPhil
26th Apr 2014, 23:14
The government should privatise the railways. That'll make them more efficient and bring the fares down.


Oh, I just remembered that they did and it didn't.

Krystal n chips
27th Apr 2014, 06:10
Hmmm?.....the subject of rail fares.

Yesterday, one went on a day out, using scheduled services....Stafford-Picc-Leeds- Carlisle-Barrow-Preston-Crewe-Stafford.....

For overseas readers, and probably a few in the UK, this little trip took in two very scenic journeys, the Settle to Carlisle line and the Cumbrian coast.

The scenery aside, humanity, as always, provided the secondary entertainment value. The rail enthusiasts ( harmless ) who announced the obvious to the world, that we had arrived at Keighley, then a bonus...the front of the carriage was reserved and lo and behold, at Settle on got a touring party.....thus a rare occurrence, something free from Yorkshire...all the tourist waffle..... although it was entertaining.

Carlisle station has yet to enter the 21st century.

Carlisle to Maryport...one is now thoroughly well versed on Catholicism, contraception and abortion...thanks to a lady who explained this to her friend, and the rest of the carriage....Maryport to Whitehaven....a 40th birthday group of, well dressed, articulate ladies ( this combination may cause more than a little confusion for some on here ) who were entertaining as they started the celebrations....one was amused to receive a "Welcome to the Isle on Man" text as we passed Sellafield...and then came Preston and the ubiquitous pillock....middle aged, wearing an Ingurlund shirt, jeans with turn ups and swilling Grolsch, it worked it's way, or tried to, between anybody it thought would actually like to talk to it....it changed seats numerous times before I got off at Crewe...having understood "sod off sunshine" it seems during our short conversation.

Now, unlike the travel experts and expertise offered here,, one is but a peasant .....thus the cost of this trip, booked and planned a mere two weeks ago, was.....£40, well £42 if you count the car park at Stafford.

Which is not a bad deal really. Of course, as the experts all travel 1st class, the price would not enter into their expertise, the same expertise that, for example, blissfully ignores Chiltern Railways as a third option from London -B'ham.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
27th Apr 2014, 06:35
The government should privatise the railways. That'll make them more efficient and bring the fares down.


Oh, I just remembered that they did and it didn't.

They sort of did. They still micro-manage the railways and Network Rail is a state concern, so it's only a bit privatised. Current rolling stock shortages are a consequence of Gov interference, not of privatisation.