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Old 7th June 2012, 21:57   #46
Zoe
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Originally Posted by Gwenllian2001 View Post
Whatever the motorways were built for there is undeniably spare capacity lying idle at many times during the day. Because of the way freight traffic has developed around the motorways much of it would be unlikely to return to rail. The one glaring anomaly is that, in recent years, the overnight train has virtually disappeared leaving all that infrastructure that could be used to move goods when the passengers are safely tucked up in bed.
Just as the capacity is not fully used all the time doesn't mean it isn't needed though. There are quite a few trains that sit around doing nothing off peak on some routes.
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In any case, none of this answers the question as to why investment in the railways is treated differently to investment in roads.
I don't see how not nationalizing the railways would have helped with this though. People would still most likely have preferred the car and so the demand for rail travel would have still been lower regardless of if the railways were in the public or private sector. If the railways were run on a fully commercial basis then it's very unlikely a service would continue to run if there is little demand for it.
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:03   #47
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The rolling stock provision between Scarborough and York has deteriorated in every conceivable way.

I am not talking about taking away "special services" here, but the regular year-round services. In the 1970s these were a 4-car DMUs bolstered to even 6 or 8 car trains at busier times.

How they can think a 3-car unit is fit for purpose for every single service at any time with a "one size fits all" approach completely escapes me.

On top of that the first generation DMUs were so much better fitted out internally than modern rolling stock (the same can be said of lots of other stock too). If the class 185 units were fitted out based on the interior style, materials, comfort and aesthetics of an ex-works class 101, I honestly believe that passengers would consider it a hugely improved travelling experience.

Carriage interiors were built with craftsmanship; craftsmanship I say!
Hmm, let me think about this one.

The "Inter City" DMUs e.g. 123/124 were limited to 70mph, compared to the 90mph of 158s or 100mph for a 185 - so easily quicker than the 1st gen stuff resulting in shorter journey times.

An ex works class 101 had low height bus style seats in standard class usually 3+2. With the exception of the units specced by London Overground, none of the units introduced in the last 10 years have had low backed seating in standard. A good proportion have 2+2 seating - the exception tends to be units which will be used on London bound stopping services.

Air conditioning? Forget it on the 1st gen stuff.

Ride quality? Well I reckon the current crop of units introduced over the last 10 years which I've ridden on (Desiros, Electrostars, Voyagers, Meridians, Pendos) all ride far more smoothly and comfortably than what went before them.

So, you can keep your rose tinted specs on about the merits of the 1st gen DMUs - I'd far rather do a journey on one of the new builds any day.
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:07   #48
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In France and Switzerland, there may be other countries but i have not travelled on their networks, they run proper trains, loco hauled and 14-16 carriages. Look at what has replaced them in this country. 2-6 car multiple units, perhaps the trains would be less crowded if we did go back to loco hauled trains, but the bean counters would be wailing that assets are being underused, to the detriment of shareholders and the bonuses paid to those who do,IMHO, the least public service to the travelling public
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:11   #49
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Originally Posted by silverfoxcc View Post
In France and Switzerland, there may be other countries but i have not travelled on their networks, they run proper trains, loco hauled and 14-16 carriages. Look at what has replaced them in this country. 2-6 car multiple units, perhaps the trains would be less crowded if we did go back to loco hauled trains, but the bean counters would be wailing that assets are being underused, to the detriment of shareholders and the bonuses paid to those who do,IMHO, the least public service to the travelling public
The MUs though have allowed frequencies to be significantly increased.
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:30   #50
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Originally Posted by Robbies View Post
Reading through peoples comments in this thread makes me feel that there is more lines that should be re - opened or routes/lines put in place so that you do not have to trek across London to go North or South of the country.

As much as there is more routes that have opened or re -opened since Privatisation, I think there is a more routes which have been stopped either due to paths not being there anymore such as mentioned in my original e-mail that opened this thread or down to the lack of pasengers taking the trains on some routes. So to say that there has been improvement since the 1970's is one thing but it has been at cost to the routes which now no longer exist which is a shame.

Yes, there has been an increase in passenger numbers in the last 20 years but fares need to be cheaper than they are and the railway companies need to be providing more services in my view that either were there previously in BR days or that can be seen that there is a need for it now due to the growth in traffic.

My ideas would be to have services such as the following:

Brighton via Kensington Olympia & Birmingham New Street to Holyhead.
Brighton via Fareham/Southampton to Penzance
Eastbourne via Gatwick Airport/Guildford/Reading to Swansea
Eastbourne via Gatwick Airport/Guildford/Wokingham/Reading to Liverpool
Portsmouth via Fareham/Southampton/Salisbury/Bristol Temple Meads to Blackpool
Portsmouth via Havant/Guildford/Reading to Glasgow
I love this persistent argument that rail fares have got too expensive.....

Can I suggest you take a look at the following link

http://inflationmonkey.blogspot.co.u...1_archive.html

The figures here show that:

- Rail fares have run ahead of inflation since the early 1990s

BUT

- Rail fares increases have broadly tracked average salary levels which means average salary levels have increased ahead of inflation as well
- Bus and coach fares have increased at the roughly same rate as rail fares

The problem is to claim "rail fares are too expensive" you need to have something to bench-mark them against. Just picking numbers out of the air or citing subjective examples is meaningless.

The fact is that rail fares as a proportion of income has remained fairly static for over 20 years. Rail travel hasn't suddenly got very expensive, it's always been expensive.

As for the "services" you suggest - just how long do you think a journey from Portsmouth to Blackpool via Bristol would take? Even a National Express coach would beat that one.

And Brighton to Holyhead? Just how many people do you think would make such a journey? I reckon you wouldn't even fill a Class 153 even if you ran it once a day.

Frankly most people want a balance between cost and speed when making a journey and accept changing train is a possibility.

Places like Brighton and Eastbourne have excellent links to London with relatively easy cross London links to other major termini - there is a reason why the 'through' trains to the south coast were withdrawn - they weren't being particularly well patronised and as a result they were under-using valuable paths. And those paths are now far better used (i.e. to the benefit of more passengers) by providing another service into London.

You may not like it and you may doubt it, but generally the railway network is run with the aim of moving as many people as possible as efficiently as possible. This means that sometimes some people won't be able to make the exact journey they want - but that's quite right as far more people benefit from making the journey they need to.

And FWIW, that, I believe, has been one of the biggest changes for the better since privatisation.

With BR, passengers, customers, call us what you want, didn't matter. There was a guarantee of money - if passenger numbers declined resulting in reduced revenue then BR management simply expected government to make up the shortfall. Using the rail network in the 80s and early 90s was frequently a dismal experience and not one you'd choose to make - old rolling stock, surly staff, unreliable service, a 'who cares' attitude if your train was cancelled, I could go on.

There does seem to be a far better attitude towards passengers now - which I suspect is one of the reasons that passenger numbers are at record levels.
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:32   #51
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Originally Posted by A0wen View Post
There does seem to be a far better attitude towards passengers now - which I suspect is one of the reasons that passenger numbers are at record levels.
Or it could just be that the private car is in decline and people still need to travel so it's inevitable people will switch to rail.
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:40   #52
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Originally Posted by silverfoxcc View Post
In France and Switzerland, there may be other countries but i have not travelled on their networks, they run proper trains, loco hauled and 14-16 carriages. Look at what has replaced them in this country. 2-6 car multiple units, perhaps the trains would be less crowded if we did go back to loco hauled trains, but the bean counters would be wailing that assets are being underused, to the detriment of shareholders and the bonuses paid to those who do,IMHO, the least public service to the travelling public
And you might like to reflect on the fact the move to MUs, particularly on the Cross Country network was a BR invention - nothing to do with Privatisation.

All those Class 155 / 156 / 158 and 159s which replaced loco hauls were done by BR - the privatised companies have inherited what BR left them and the DfT specify what kind of trains are used on what services - so your clam that "the bean counters would be wailing that assets are being underused, to the detriment of shareholders and the bonuses paid to those who do,IMHO, the least public service to the travelling public" is at best misguided.

And as Zoe pointed out, the introduction of MUs generally led to increases in frequency and speed. The best example (which did happen after privatisation) was when Virgin introduced the Voyagers onto the bulk of the XC network - the theory of what they proposed - run a 4 car train every 30 mins rather than an 8 car every hour - was quite sensible. What the DfT didn't allow for (or support Virgin on) was the capacity growth - and there is evidence that Virgin wanted to make the Voyagers 5 car units - DfT declined. Once again, government interference inhibited a private company wanting to improve things.
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:44   #53
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Or it could just be that the private car is in decline and people still need to travel so it's inevitable people will switch to rail.
It's that and a matter of social trends, fads and fashion.

I've been using my local rail service in the West Midlands for work and leisure since the Mid 90's, but 15 years ago, if I'd took the train to Birmingham for shopping on a Saturday (which I regularly did), I'd try and avoid talking about it in the pub. The idea of using a train for leisure travel was unknown to a lot of people back then and many of my friends preferred to sit in traffic jams and pay a fortune for city centre parking. They probably saw trains as being either a relic of the past or something that was only for nerds or social outcasts, or maybe a mix of all 3.

But now, those same friends who 15 years ago wouldn't have been seen dead on a train, now use them without thinking about it.

So when I got to meet with friends in Birmingham, meet me at the bull at 12 has become meet me at Bloxwich North and we'll get the 10.30 to town.

Shows how things change.
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:45   #54
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Originally Posted by A0wen View Post
there is evidence that Virgin wanted to make the Voyagers 5 car units - DfT declined. Once again, government interference inhibited a private company wanting to improve things.
The SRA did block Virgin from extending the units to 5 cars in 2002/2003 but who would have financed it?
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:46   #55
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Or it could just be that the private car is in decline and people still need to travel so it's inevitable people will switch to rail.
The statistics don't support the claim private car usage is "in decline"

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/...nts2010-01.pdf

Look at Page 7 - the biggest drop was company cars on business mileage. And that could be accounted for by a number of factors. Interestingly company car use for commuting increased significantly. All other metrics seem to be fairly constant.
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:46   #56
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And you might like to reflect on the fact the move to MUs, particularly on the Cross Country network was a BR invention - nothing to do with Privatisation.
I'm not sure there was ever a BR plan for the intercity cross country network to go over to MU operation though.
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:50   #57
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The SRA did block Virgin from extending the units to 5 cars in 2002/2003 but who would have financed it?
Bransons back pocket probably.
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:51   #58
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The SRA did block Virgin from extending the units to 5 cars in 2002/2003 but who would have financed it?
Does it matter? The fact is the SRA obstructed a TOC who wanted to make improvements.

And given the monumental level of wasted public spending which a certain G Brown had embarked on by then, frankly 30 rail coaches would have been a drop in the ocean if it had hit the public purse.
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:54   #59
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Does it matter?
It does if Virgin wanted someone else to pay for it.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
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Originally Posted by A0wen View Post
The statistics don't support the claim private car usage is "in decline"

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/...nts2010-01.pdf

Look at Page 7 - the biggest drop was company cars on business mileage. And that could be accounted for by a number of factors. Interestingly company car use for commuting increased significantly. All other metrics seem to be fairly constant.
That may well be what the statistics say but I know of people like Batman was referring to above that ten years ago would go everywhere by car but now use public transport so there must be some modal shift away from the private care. I believe that smartphones and social networking sites have helped with this shift as you would be able to use them on public transport.

Last edited by Zoe; 7th June 2012 at 23:55. Reason: Double post prevention system
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Old 7th June 2012, 23:54   #60
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I'm not sure there was ever a BR plan for the intercity cross country network to go over to MU operation though.
Given the 47s were reaching life expiry, the Mk2s getting old and no more HSTs were due to be released (i.e. assuming GWML and MML not electrified) then frankly BR would have had to do something and I suspect an MU of some kind would have come about.

What I do doubt is BR would ever have embarked on something as radical as Operation Princess - which for its faults (and it's easy to find fault with hindsight) can generally be judged as successful.
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