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“Scotlands best ever railway”

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Mingulay, 21 Nov 2018.

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  1. Stopper

    Stopper Member

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    Most 8-car 365 and 7-car 385s (and 380s for that matter) are still full and standing in the peaks. I personally hope the extra carriage helps but I think the capacity increases have been quite short sighted. It’s one of many reasons I want the Almond Chord, to potentially allow for 6tph in the future.
     
  2. Deltic1961

    Deltic1961 Member

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    Stopping trains before the end destination is a real PITA.

    I have given up on Scotrail now and just use the Stagecoach bus from Dyce to Aberdeen. It takes longer but at least it always turns up. The train I used to get was the 18:45 Inverurie to Waverley but it only ever runs about 50% of the time due to delays earlier in the day. It seems like they just want any excuse to cancel it coming past Aberdeen.

    No other business would get away with being so unreliable. Scotrail and Network Rail between them couldn't run a bath. The Scottish Government don't seem interested in making things better either. Michael Matheson is completely silent.

    As someone said earlier in the thread people are beginning to lose confidence in the railway. I know a lot of people in Dyce that just won't go near it any more so the £170 million investment in the line won't realise it's full potential because the improvements scheduled for the end of 2019 will just be too late.
     
  3. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    My only doubt with the accuracy of the 'Scotland's best ever railway' slogan is: Sure, things are obviously massively better now than they were in - say 1997 or 1971 or any other year around that time. But is the railway better today than it was in - say - 1925 or 1930, or in the years just prior to Beeching? Sure, technology, comfort, safety, and working conditions etc. are going to be a lot better now, but that's arguably just the standard of the times. But in terms of numbers of trains, and places that had access to the railway, I wonder if it is ambiguously better now? I don't know the answer to that, and it's a bit of a pedantic point in some ways, since 'best' is very subjective anyway. But still, an interesting question I think.
     
  4. Stopper

    Stopper Member

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    It all depends on where and when you travel. I am from Linlithgow and use the train to commute (3 times a week to Edinburgh, 2 times a week to Stirling) and for leisure (to Inverness to see family at least once a month).

    My commute to Stirling has increased in journey time by 50% due to loss of the direct service, which is being moaned about all over Twitter, being ignored on most occasions by ScotRail. My commute to Edinburgh is slightly quicker but I still can’t get a seat as the capacity on trains wasn’t increased enough. To travel to Inverness, I now require 2 changes or to double back via Haymarket, increasing my journey time. My local station Linlithgow has had capacity increases but trains towards Edinburgh are still full and standing daily with 7-car 385s and 8-car 365s, aswell as Larbert/Stirling links being lost and no badly needed increase in frequency towards Edinburgh. This means I have no choice but to go the car come the timetable change, so for me the railway most certainly isn’t the best ever.

    However, the new timetable change looks to be doing wonders for the Stirling, Camelon, Falkirk, Cumbernauld, Edinburgh Park etc commuters so they may agree with ScotRail that this is the best railway we’ve ever had.

    There’s always winners and losers in every timetable, however I don’t believe the best has been done to accomodate every station possible. The jist of it is though, that your opinion on this being the best railway ever is dependent on where you travel to and from.
     
  5. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    Erm, how? The all day direct trains between Linlithgow and Stirling are still running? The resulting capacity increase has not yet happened? What are you referring to here?
     
  6. InOban

    InOban Established Member

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    He should have written will increase, as there won't be direct trains between Linlithgow, Polmont and Stirling from December 9, except after 19.30.
     
  7. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    But they said that "I can't get a seat" despite the changes. How can they know that if the capacity increase they are speaking of is still two weeks away?
     
  8. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Established Member

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    So in another thread you are saying that on your current commute you can get a seat on the existing Dunblane-Edinburgh services but in this thread you are saying you choose to board the full and standing Glasgow-Edinburgh services and are complaining about it when by your own admission there is a suitable alternative available.
     
  9. Stopper

    Stopper Member

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    The shuttles are ideally what I, and most people would like to use. It’s just an irritant that the promised capacity isn’t really there.

    The Dunblane services are very unreliable as I’m sure a certain member of this forum has told you enough about. They also stop at Edinburgh Park which drives a lot of people to the more conveniently timed shuttles.

    Regardless, that’s not the main point. The point is that your opinion on whether this is Scotland’s “best ever railway” will depend on where you travel to and from, and when you travel. That’s a completely fair comment.
     
    Last edited: 27 Nov 2018
  10. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    What do you mean? Which peak services are not booked with 7*23m or 8*20m trains? That seems to me to be what was promised, at this point in time?
     
  11. Stopper

    Stopper Member

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    All of the shuttles usually are, some are short formed of late. However, this isn’t really enough as they are still full and standing between Linlithgow and Edinburgh. It’s not a dig or a complaint by any means as I am switching to the car come the 10th of Dec anyway. It’s just a fair observation.
     
  12. kilonewton

    kilonewton Member

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    My observations are that there is some standing on the shuttles at Linlithgow, but the further toward the rear, the more likely you are to find a seat.
    Have you contacted Fiona Hyslop and asked why the government she is a key member of cut back EGIP? She’ll be in the Low Port Centre on Monday Afternoon.
     
  13. Stopper

    Stopper Member

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    Unfortunately my attempts to deal with local MPs, ScotRail and Transport Scotland etc have been a failure to the point I’ve given up, nor do I care anymore. It has driven me to the car come the Dec timetable change as without the Almond Chord, my station will not get the service it needs and deserves.
     
  14. GusB

    GusB Established Member

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    I'm sure there will be a few other Linlithgow commuters breathing a huge sigh of relief.
     
  15. mcmad

    mcmad Member

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    Mass cancellations on both Fife Circle and Dunblane/Alloa - Glasgow services today, supposedly shortage of train crew. Crew diverted to training? If so a poor show cancelling so many peak services.
     
  16. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    You know that quote about Don't Let The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Good?

    This thread seems to be full of people moaning that the big increases in capacity across the Central Belt aren't as huge as they could be, therefore we can't call this Scotland's Best Ever Railway because it's not as perfect as the one in our heads?

    Seriously - if the post-December timetable isn't the "best ever" then what is? Any region can complain that it's trains could be still longer but... if this new timetable isn't the best ever for Scotland then what was? Some '90s nostalgia for the days of a half hourly service via Falkirk High and only hourly to places like Dunfermline?

    Can't people appreciate improvements, without grumbling that they aren't absolutely perfect?

    So it's a good thing that half of the Linlithgow - Edinburgh trains will no longer have Dunblane/ Stirling passengers on them - the new Cumbernauld service should be emptier (if suggestions on here bear any reality), therefore there'll be significantly more space for Linlithgow passengers heading into Edinburgh, no?
     
  17. cf111

    cf111 Established Member

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    It was the same story yesterday when I had a look at JourneyCheck. My first thought was there might be an overtime ban but perhaps a lot of training makes more sense. My 170 on the 1447 Inverness-Glasgow has no first class or seat reservations which is causing a lot of muttering... Not from me on my £16.80 standard class advance I hasten to add!
     
  18. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    This is ScotRail's intention. They call it a 'virtual' capacity increase.

    Of course, if the Linlithgow and Polmont passengers won't use them, if they've got 6 car EMUs running on the route via Cumbernauld they could even try creating a 'via Cumbernauld' Glasgow <> Edinburgh fare as a short term promotion, just as they did with via Airdrie, to reduce some of the pressure and encourage new travellers with lower fares.
     
  19. FelixtheCat

    FelixtheCat Established Member

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    True for the Central Belt, not true for North Highland, Highland Main and Inverness to Aberdeen lines. Journey times and connections are worse than before.
     
  20. kylemore

    kylemore Member

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    No a properly organised and financed railway should carry spare resources to ease disruption.
     
  21. Highlandspring

    Highlandspring Established Member

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    Righto. It’s easy to sort everything out from an armchair, isn’t it!
     
  22. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    The 1253 Inverness-Edinburgh was a goner north of Perth today due to 'staff shortages', putting me to some inconvenience, mainly a 65 mile drive to Perth in torrential rain. Worse things have happened, I had resources to fall back on, but I can't remember the last time an HML train was cancelled for that reason. They'd better not be thinking of making a habit of it.

    Aside from that, I'm not terribly sympathetic towards the sentiment behind this thread. It seems to be a vehicle for a particular agenda around the electric timetable on the Edinburgh-Dunblane corridor. Yes electrification's late, yes the 385s are late, yes the HSTs are late, yes maybe Dunblane and Linlithgow haven't come out of it so well (I don't know that and I can't be bothered checking) but manifestly there are, or about to be, far more seats on a wider variety of electrified routes on better trains than we've seen in Scotland in my lifetime.

    If you don't like the timetable, ask for it to be changed, but you need evidence that it isn't working rather than complaining before it begins. I know one person who succeeded in this without too much difficulty...
     
  23. Deltic1961

    Deltic1961 Member

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    Well of course everyone will have different experiences and comments will be route specific.

    In my personal experience over the past 12 months probably four out of five trains I had planned to take from Dyce have either been severely delayed or cancelled altogether.

    I know a fair part of that is down to Network Rail issues but most customers just blame Scotrail because that's who they are paying their money to.
     
  24. Hackneyite

    Hackneyite Member

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    Polmont is to have 4tph to Glasgow (2 via Cumbernauld) and 4tph to Edinburgh? Luxury if true!
    When I think of my childhood in the 50s and 60s waiting for ages for a train to Glasgow with my parents, we would have been glad to have seen ' any ' train. From memory many went via Grahamston. True, they did not then go via Cumbernauld but that wouldn't have bothered us either!
    I'm up there by coincidence on 9 December for a week and intend travelling Polmont- Edinburgh/Glasgow and Polmont - Dunkeld, so I might have more thoughts later!
     
  25. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    I remember the Queen Street - Waverley services still running via Grahamston on a Sunday as late as the '90s - not sure when that ended - but another one of those things that would have been unthinkable to the people who think that the 2018 timetable isn't that great.

    That makes a lot of sense to me - use any spare capacity in the way that Stagecoach would with Megabus/ Magicbus - permitting people to have cheaper/inferior services to attract more passengers to the railway (a cheap fare on a 385 through Cumbernauld would still compete well with a journey on CityLink).

    How are things worse further north? I've seen suggestion of one service no longer connecting at Inverness (but am mindful that the final timetables weren't up at that time so this may not be the reality once the services actually run).

    Apart from that though... when were things better? 158s seem pretty decent for the Far North etc (what better stock could there realistically be?).

    HSTs are generally seen as a step forward for the other lines that you mention (since my understanding of this thread is that we are discussing the post-December 2018 timetable)? People are very quick on here to complain about the suitability of 170s on the Aberdeen/ Inverness services, so I'd have thought that the HSTs would be more attractive. And I'm old enough to remember the HML being a handful of services a day rather than the almost-hourly service that the new timetable will have.

    Plus the additional services around Aberdeen (hourly shuttles to Montrose/ Inverurie) - is that not another big improvement?

    Again - if this new timetable isn't the "best ever railway" (in Scotland) then when was?
     
  26. FelixtheCat

    FelixtheCat Established Member

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    4 connections per day are lost (Monday to Saturday) plus 1 on Sunday. See the attatched graphic. I do not see what Network Rail can do to change this given the short notice. An additional 1-3.5 hours on an already quite slow journey will put a lot of people off, particularly when the North Highland patronage has just started to improve because of massive reliability problems which have prevented the line from flourishing.

    Things are better now. The current timetable is better than the one that was published. Loosing 4 connections may not seem like a lot, but when there are 12 trains per day to Dingwall (13 on a Friday and Saturday) and 14 return workings, 4 out of 26/27 is significant.

    I am not criticising the rolling stock, I am criticising the timetable.

    I will quote this message in the December 2018 timetable change thread because my concerns are about the published timetables. I think that may have caused confusion.
     

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  27. kilonewton

    kilonewton Member

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    As per the Linlithgow/Polmont - Stirling/Dunblane brouhaha, what are the actual numbers of passengers transferring on the “lost” connections?
    I say this with absolutely no basis, but I’d hazard a guess that the majority of passengers on those services are starting/finishing their journeys in Inverness.
     
  28. FelixtheCat

    FelixtheCat Established Member

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    I don't have the actual numbers, but from experience with the 16:00 ex-Wick onto the 20:15 ex-Inverness, there's usually a good chunk going from one platform to the other.
    The second thing is that the lost connections are due to extended journey times. Everyone looses out. Nobody has gained anything from these changes.
     
  29. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Established Member

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    Yep I remember that as well. Falkirk High was closed on a Sunday and there was no direct service from Edinburgh to Dunblane IIRC with a shuttle running Dunblane to Grahamston.
     
  30. InOban

    InOban Established Member

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