“Scotlands best ever railway”

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

  1. DuncanS

    DuncanS Member

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    It was "starting" from Stirling this evening - which isn't much help if you are anywhere before there looking to reach Alloa.
     
  2. pt_mad

    pt_mad Established Member

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    To be fair though the TV advert is really good. The one where the lady from the gate line narates. Comes across as honest and non patronising.
     
  3. Stopper

    Stopper Member

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    And I believe even that was cancelled.
     
  4. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    Well, today's escapade was another attempt to use the 1253 Inverness-Edinburgh (see last week's effort in #52 above). This time it got to Kingussie 36 late and was only cancelled at Perth at 49 late, so that's a bonus over the complete obliteration of last Wednesday I suppose. They were providing a wide variety of stories for why the thing was crocked, including staff shortages at one point. I still don't know, but suffice to say I reached Edinburgh an hour late after cramming onto the 1600 from Perth, again. Other than accident or weather related disruption, the past week has seen the worst performance on the Highland Main Line in my experience in nearly ten years. Maybe I've just been unlucky in the trains I've selected.

    As the current Scotrail operator Abellio's probably now on a downward spiral of bad PR, financial losses and cost cutting, and terrible staff morale. I think we can all agree on that, but note that I don't include 'late HSTs' on that list.

    So I still don't agree that the operator's day to day performance should convince us that Scotland's best ever railway is beyond close reach. I think that it's now beyond the reach of the current franchisee, the staffing chaos we have at the moment is close to the unbelievable.

    Ach, maybe it'll all be fine next week...
     
  5. DuncanS

    DuncanS Member

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    1734 and 1805 from Edinburgh to Stirling (alloa and Dunblane) both showing as cancelled for this evening, have fun if trying to get home in rush hour, it may be a tad cramped on the 1727.
     
  6. Stopper

    Stopper Member

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    Several E-G services already cancelled today and a few of the Dunblanes have been stopped short or cancelled too. Absolutely disastrous.
     
  7. Highlandspring

    Highlandspring Established Member

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    ‘Absolutely disastrous’ would be if Castlecary Viaduct collapsed onto the motorway taking two trains with it, while a couple of school buses were passing underneath then a tanker carrying LPG drove at at full pelt into the wreckage and exploded. A few cancellations, by comparison, are merely ‘inconvenient’.
     
  8. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Established Member

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    Nice to see that the official “ScotRail doesn’t love Dunblane and Linlithgow is hard done by” thread has now mastered hyperbole.

    The situation is extremely poor but “absolutely disastrous” is laughable to say the least.

    I can’t wait till the first time the wires come down or there is a power supply issue somewhere between Newbridge and Polmont Junction to see how that is described if this is “Absolutely disastrous”.
     
  9. cf111

    cf111 Established Member

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    There is no trolley on my Thurso-Inverness train this afternoon #AbsolutelyDisastrous
     
  10. Macwomble

    Macwomble Member

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    4 hours without "a brew"....not good.
     
  11. Journeyman

    Journeyman Established Member

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    Don't British people die if they go that long without one?
     
  12. cf111

    cf111 Established Member

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    It is fairly grim. I had taken provisions in case of this but no thermos. I quite like the tea ScotRail use too.
     
  13. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    I think that's only English people ;)
     
  14. Stopper

    Stopper Member

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    Repeated and continued cancellations, short-formings and short-stopping among ScotRail’s busiest route is disastrous as far as I’m concerned. We’re supposed to believe that the new timetable next week is going to run without major problems?

    Nice to see that the ScotRail Defence Force are out flapping to defend ScotRail as if they are family. The situation right now, for whatever reason, is totally unacceptable. This follows around a decade of sub-par service too. The railway is allowed to be criticised, some people seem to fail to grasp that. I’m one of the people that have praised the Class 385 and ScotRail’s ability to quickly sort short-term problems, but they are allowed to be criticised on certain things when necessary.
     
  15. Highlandspring

    Highlandspring Established Member

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    It’s your choice of hyperbolic adjectives I object to.
     
  16. Stopper

    Stopper Member

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    ‘Absolutely disastrous’ may be over the top, which is understandable given my frustration of sub-par rail service for around a decade. However, the current situation far exceeds ‘inconvenient’.
     
  17. HankyuDentetsu

    HankyuDentetsu Member

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    Absolutely agreed Stopper. I'm amazed at the nonchalance on display by some of the borderline ScotRail apologists here; anyone who commutes on the Dunblane/Alloa-Edinburgh route wouldn't enjoy the daily misery of cancellations they facing being classed as an "inconvenience".

    Not to mention, of course, that this latest episode is merely adding insult to injury for commuters who have for years spent thousands of pounds per annum to endure a laughably poor, unreliable service. This is more like the straw that broke the camel's back than anything else, although this current mess is of particularly fine vintage - ScotRail really have outdone themselves this time.

    So while maybe not "disastrous", I'd call this latest, self-inflicted bout of complete incompetence "absolutely farcical", having endured more cancellations on my commutes to and from work in the last few weeks than I've had hot dinners.
     
  18. Mingulay

    Mingulay Member

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    You use whatever language you like. Given Scotrail freely confessed in a public forum in Dunblane and Bridge of Allen they have really screwed up it seems somewhat futile for others to jump to thier defence. And you are perfectly entitled to express yourself in those terms after all the years of poor service inconvenience and misleading spin from Scotrail.
     
  19. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    By all means criticise, but if you want to throw around the kind of emotive language seen on such threads then there's got to be more meat on the bones than the current problems have.

    Firstly, the "Scotland's best ever railway" obviously doesn't refer to right now - it's a slogan to describe the new timetable (e.g. double the frequency from Falkirk Grahamston to Edinburgh, significantly more seats on most journeys in the Edinburgh/ Glasgow/ Stirling axis, lots of new trains, lots of new electrification).

    To bring all that about requires a certain degree of short term disruption - lines temporarily closed etc. No TOC runs with a huge surplus of staff, so when you need to go on a course for a few days to learn how to use new EMUs then of course that's going to disrupt things.

    Some of the problems are ScotRail's - no TOC seems to want to grasp the nettle of Sunday overtime, so I don't want to particularly scapegoat them for this - all TOCs seem to rely on a certain amount of staff goodwill to run services on the Sabbath - but some are outwith their control. Part of the problems are caused by delays in getting the HSTs (Wabtec) and the 385s (Hitatchi/ Unions), which ScotRail have been caught in the middle of.

    But, seriously, look at this from elsewhere in the UK... I'd suggest that all the electrification/ new trains/ frequency increases/ longer services outweigh some of the problems on such threads (the retimed Dunblane - Edinburgh service leaves at 06:58 rather than a couple of minutes after seven? a handful of services were capped a couple of stops from the terminus so they could be on time for the return journey? the Twitter feed is toeing the party line when providing information and doesn't say anything particularly critical of the TOC? the doubling of frequency on some lines which allows existing services to be speeded up means some minor direct links are cut to facilitate faster services to bigger places?).

    I'm not saying that all of those things are great, but... try commuting in the rest of the UK and tell me that Scotland is hard done by.

    Or compare the new timetable to any one from the 1980s or 1990s and tell me that this won't be Scotland's best railway.

    Your idea of "sub par service" may mean a service that doesn't match your perfect expectations but things have been continually getting better in Scotland since privatisation - people commuting to cities like Manchester would laugh at the kind of things seen as "absolutely disastrous" north of the border!
     
  20. Mingulay

    Mingulay Member

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    Your general point is a fair one it was never going to painless and there are winners and losers. But what was apparent to those at the meeting was this dilution of service and the loss of the one train at 7.30 that gets the commuters into work at a sensible time was planned a long time ago. But in the interim we were repeated told put up with the works and come the new timetable it will be transformed. The reality is it’s worse. So it was mis sold and knowingly so. That never goes down well when your feel conned. The reaction is perfectly valid and I think accepted by Scotrail as justified.

    If only the benefits could be sprinkled a bit more widespread and not just the headlines of the E G route.

    I also accept the point you make. Things are worse in many parts of England. But far higher levels of population so not a wholly valid comparison. But yes we are luckier than some for sure. Thank our lucky stars for that.

    I like your suggestion tho . Replace Scotland’s best ever railway slogan for “ it’s nae as bad as England “ I think we can all rally round that flag in the spirit of all in it together.
     
  21. Stopper

    Stopper Member

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    Ah, we’re back to the old “it’s better than it was in the 80s line”. Completely ignoring that demand and usage is much higher these days. That’s before you get to the much used “it’s better than some places in England” line.

    As I said earlier in the thread, this may be, and probably is Scotland’s best ever railway. However, it is nowhere near good enough.

    I’ve had to suffer for years with cancellations, short-formings, skip-stopping, delays and being packed onto trains like sardines. I am reliably told that my local station (Linlithgow) has more passengers commuting to Edinburgh than anywhere else in Scotland (other than from Glasgow). Yet it’s deemed acceptable by ScotRail and their defence squad on this forum that Linlithgow-Edinburgh is served by 2tph of packed out 7/8-car trains, and 2tph 3-car 385s from Cumbernauld. There is absolutely no way to defend that.

    But it’s okay to leave Linlithgow with a sub-par Edinburgh service and an effective halving of it’s Westbound services (which has been described as odd by the ScotRail staff at the station) and it’s okay to inconvenience Dunblane and BofA passengers at peak time.

    I will never understand anyone who think it’s their duty to jump to ScotRail’s defence no matter what.
     
  22. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Established Member

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    The only thing I have defended ScotRail for is what they are trying to implement with the new timetable but its notable that every time you look like you aren't going to win a debate on here you trot that line out.

    Thread after thread has lead to debates on how many trains stop and Linlithgow and how it is hard done by. It has four trains east and four trains west an hour that is not a poor service by any means. The trains are not rammed all day long and by your own admission on this very forum there is space on some services but you choose to board the fully loaded ones.

    The westbound services have not been halved, all that is happening is they are going a different route and to a different terminus. There are still four trains an hour between Edinburgh and Linlithgow which as the figures show is where the capacity is needed.

    With twaddle like that its no wonder some people choose to defend ScotRail.
     
  23. mcmad

    mcmad Member

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    The "best ever" line doesn't apply to the new timetable as there is only a small section of the country benefiting from it. Fife has no changes despite also enduring daily cancellations.

    To call the last couple of weeks inconvenient is widly missing the point. The current situation means anyone travelling from Fife or Central Scotland into either Edinburgh or Glasgow doesn't know if there will actually be as service that day or not until that morning. It's not a couple of services cancelled daily its 50+ with another 30 or so 'service alterations' which is Scotrail code for a train only running part of the route with Inverness and Alloa being particularly hard hit with these.

    Basically people have no idea if they will be able to get to or from work until that day, how well would that go down with your employer?
     
  24. scotraildriver

    scotraildriver Member

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    The only way you can effectively increase the Linlithgow service Eastbound would be via the Almond Chord. There is no more capacity east of Newbridge. But you'll need to ask the Scottish government about that........
     
  25. Starmill

    Starmill Veteran Member

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    Try travelling in Greater Manchester, where a full service has been offered on just 5 days out of 7 for the past 4 months, the working timetable is broadly worse than it was at the start of this year and there will be no improvements this December. Reliability has fallen through the floor, capacity increases promised since before the start of the current franchise haven't been made available, part of the service enhancement plans have been written off with the blessing of Transport for the North and a botched timetable change on a large scale was caused by the late arrival of new rolling stock and 2 1/2 years of electrification delay. Unlike in the Central Belt, driver training is yet to begin on new rolling stock - and testing of the delayed electrified lines hasn't started.

    None of this is to say that the problems in the Central Belt are acceptable - they're not. But there is a degree of confidence that there is a way forward from them. As many have pointed out, the problems at Northern are much more intractable.

    Fares are also increasing at a much slower rate. The CDR between Edinburgh and Glasgow is only going up 2%. My local CDR and SDR fares are going up by 4.9%.
     
    Last edited: 4 Dec 2018
  26. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    So, apart from all of the electrification and the new trains and the longer services and the faster journey times and the refurbished stations with additional platforms etc etc, the fact that two stations in Scotland has one of its peak time services altered seems to be more important for you.

    Okay the 07:23 Edinburgh service is replaced by an 07:29 Glasgow service (with twelve minute connection at Stirling onto the Alloa - Edinburgh service). I appreciate that this omelette of timetable changes affects some people negatively.

    The 07:08 from Dunblane to Edinburgh will run ten minutes earlier and therefore be ignored by some posters (since they can cherry pick their timescales to show fewer services departing Dunblane between 07:00 and 08:00, since 06:58 is clearly significantly before seven).

    But, in the grand scheme of things, that's pretty insignificant - Dunblane passengers will be unhappy but seem to lose all perspective.

    If only they were sprinkling benefits outside the main Edinburgh - Glasgow route... like electrifying to Stirling/ Dunblane... introducing brand new EMUs to those lines (worth remembering that lots of newly electrified routes have to put up with cascaded stock - e.g. the North Berwick line was partly paid for by accepting 1950s 305s)... faster services from Dunblane/ Stirling to Edinburgh... introducing a half hourly service for the 50,000 people in Cumbernauld to Edinburgh... doubling the frequency from Grahamston into Edinburgh... significant increase in local services around Aberdeen (Inverurie, Montrose)... longer trains being converted for use on the Edinburgh/ Glasgow - Inverness/ Aberdeen services... that kind of thing? Sounds like Scotland's Best Ever Railway to me.

    Yes - and supply is significantly higher these days too. I grew up with a half hourly Edinburgh - Glasgow service (plus an hourly stopper via Shotts that took an hour and a half).

    Now we are going to have four fast services via Falkirk High, two via Falkirk Grahamston, four via Bathgate, two via Shotts (with the "fast" Shotts service taking just around an hour) plus a roughly hourly service via Motherwell (XC every two hours plus ScotRail's North Berwick - Carstairs - Ayr service).

    Still not impressed?

    So you're on a thread titled "Scotland's Best Ever Railway" and accepting that this will indeed be Scotland's Best Ever Railway and still unhappy...

    If Linlithgow has so many services per hour into Edinburgh then surely giving it a nice empty ex-Cumbernauld service into Waverley is better than crammed with Stirlingshire passengers? (I say "empty", since the ScotRail threads have seen people dismissing the idea of Cumbernauld being a busy route).

    You're complaining about "packed out 7/8 coach trains", when the 170s never got above six coaches and the 158s generally never got about four coaches - now you're complaining that the service is "only" going up to eight coaches?

    So, longer trains, emptier trains (due to them not already being busy with Dunblane/ Stirling passengers)... is that not A Good Thing?

    That's it - I'm no fan of the SNP, my former local stations in Scotland aren't getting any real benefit from the new timetables (since Fife seems to be left off the improvements elsewhere), I could easily criticise aspects of the new timetable but... the arguments against it by others are so OTT that I feel compelled to defend them.

    Agreed - some posters need to look outside the Dunblane Bubble - I think most of the rest of the UK would be happy with ScotRail's "problems"
     
  27. EMU303

    EMU303 Member

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    I think tbtc nailed it
     
  28. kilonewton

    kilonewton Member

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  29. chuff chuff

    chuff chuff Member

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    I would find it hard to believe that scotrail didn't clear all these cancellations with TS before proceeding.
     

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