[BBC News] "Trains outside London are 'cast-offs' MPs say"

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CC 72100

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It's quite clear that you are a Pacer fan, so how about we send you ours, and we'll have the 16x's you are set to inherit.
We've got our own thanks. As I've said, other people have pacers too. And also as it stands, the only whiff of modernity coming to the south west will be IEP stoppers as far as Exeter. Latest plans show the 16x (which are not palaces, I assure you) going to Bristol area which then cascades the 15x fleet to us.

However, we can hope that the franchise occupier will look after the trains. That seems to be the main problem in the North - the actual trains themselves are the same as other areas, just not refurbished/ looked after as well. That's a fault with the franchise, not necessarily the rolling stock distribution.

Other people have pacers/ cast-offs/ not shiny brand new / BR era trains too. Get over it.
 
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starrymarkb

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(Can you imagine having a loco and two coaches on a sevice today? Only in America is that considered sane).
I suspect the American operators would love units, but the regulators there place such onerous requirements on MUs that it's often cheaper to use a locomotive.
 

cjmillsnun

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It's quite clear that you are a Pacer fan, so how about we send you ours, and we'll have the 16x's you are set to inherit.

Also, your comments about Northerners being unable to use a toilet correctly is not only insulting, but also infactual.
It's also quite clear that a lot of his comments were tongue in cheek :roll: (a bit like mine on another thread that you took offence to). And believe me, anyone who has been on the last 455 out of waterloo knows that there people south of Watford Gap who can't hold their bladder between Waterloo and Wimbledon.
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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How about eliminating the pointless middle men (ROSCOs) who simply cream money off the railway while serving little useful purpose, and establish a government holding company for rolling stock.
Government takes leasing money, uses the % that the ROSCOs would have taken as profit for a 'rolling stock fund' and like magic, suddenly there's more money available for new stock across the board.
The government doesn't want to own trains, any more than it owns buses, ferries or planes.
The Rosco middlemen are in practice banks which relieve the government of the capital cost of owning trains.
Many of the planes you might fly on are owned by "pointless middlemen" on the same basis.
They take the risk of the long-term reliability of their assets, and the cost of maintenance and life-cycle servicing.
At £1m-£2m per coach, that's a lot of cash the government and TOCs don't have to find up front.
 

starrymarkb

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The government doesn't want to own trains, any more than it owns buses, ferries or planes.
The Rosco middlemen are in practice banks which relieve the government of the capital cost of owning trains.
Many of the planes you might fly on are owned by "pointless middlemen" on the same basis.
They take the risk of the long-term reliability of their assets, and the cost of maintenance and life-cycle servicing.
At £1m-£2m per coach, that's a lot of cash the government and TOCs don't have to find up front.
Indeed most aircraft are leased, smaller airlines tend to lease, while bigger ones use a mixture of leased and owned (for example the BA 773's are all leased from IIRC GE where as the 772s are mostly owned)
 

aformeruser

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And also as it stands, the only whiff of modernity coming to the south west will be IEP stoppers as far as Exeter.
...
Other people have pacers
So there's a very small Pacer fleet in the South West, with the largest place usually served by them being Exeter - the same size as Bolton, Huddersfield or Middlesbrough. If you want to take about other areas having Pacers Cardiff would be a better area to talk about, with there being 30 Pacers used on the Valley Lines and the size being similar to Newcastle.

While I accept the rolling stock in the South West isn't great I do think people down there think they are worse off then they actually are.

You only have 8 heavily refurbished Pacers.

People in your area complain about the ex-LM 150s not having 2+2 seating, armrests and tables. Up here no 150s have any of those features, except if you count the small area of 2+2 seating on the ex-FNW 150s to allow wheelchair users to get to and from the toilet.

People in your area complain about the 153s being life expired. Up here there's still some 155s (almost as many as 143s you have in the South West) and no-one ever seems to complain about them because they are pleased to get a 155 opposed to a 142, 144 or a 150.
 

CC 72100

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To answer a few of those points - yes, I could have chose Cardiff as well as a good example, and they also get used on Cardiff - Gloucester - Cheltenham services, which are reasonable sized places.

I don't think people in the South West think that - it's not the impression that I get, and I certainly don't feel that way - it just makes a useful point of comparison when it comes to northern comparisons, with extra weight being that it is in the golden land of the south.

Once again I've never seen complaints that the 153s are life-expired - not ideal for lines with lots of stops and high volumes of transferring passengers, but they're perfectly adequate.

You've mentioned the internal condition of some of the northern units on a few occasions yet haven't quoted my bit of the post, where I accepted that the internal condition on some of the northern units aren't great, but that is to do with the TOC in that franchise area, not the overall stock distribution, or even the age of the stock itself.
 

starrymarkb

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Yep, given a proper refurbishment the Northern fleet would smarten up nicely.

SWT got a lot of stick in the local media when they announced that the 170s would be replaced by former TPX 159s, it dried up pretty quickly once the press were shown around the first 'rebuilt' unit. SWT's 455s look new inside because they've had a proper refurb with new panels and are kept clean.

FGW smartened up their sprinters quite nicely, but they are now in need of some TLC.
 

tbtc

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I understand the sentiment, but Carlisle-Barrow/Whitehaven is a bloody long way on a 153, nevermind a 142.
It is, but the way that people talk about "four hours from Preston to Carlisle on a Pacer", those from outside the area might think that this was

  • a regular thing
  • a journey that lots of people do
  • a journey with no alternatives

...whereas the reality is that Northern only run one service a day from Preston to Carlisle and the fairly regular Virgin/TPE services between the two places (generally three trains an hour) only take just over an hour - i.e. nobody in their right mind is going to use the Northern service between the two.

Carlisle to Barrow is still a fair way (2h30), agreed but this "go for the worst case scenario and then pretend that its a typical journey" frustrates me.

Similarly, I could say that "it's a disgrace that you could be on a Pacer for over an hour and a half between Retford and Doncaster" and hope that people from outside the area don't realise that there's a 125/180/225 once or twice an hour between the towns that takes under quarter of an hour (i.e. you'd be daft to sit on a Pacer all that way), but it's be equally disingenuous.

Let us say the population in the M62 corridor is 13 million then. An official figure and not an estimate
With huge great areas of empty countryside between them though - the Peak District/ Pennines/ Lake District/ North Yorkshire Moors and Dales are beautiful but mean the "thirteen million" are spread over a huge area that's less conductive to mass transportation.

It is a very valid point if you live on that line
No, it's nonsense.

There's generally three trains an hour via Penrith taking just over an hour (run by Voyagers, 185s and Pendolini - there's one train a day via Barrow taking around four hours (run by Sprinters or Pacers).

If you are taking a Pacer all the way from Preston to Carlisle then you are either a numpty or a railway enthusiast.

With the closure of the steelworks and rail mill at Workington and Marchon at Whitehaven, only passenger traffic can keep the line viable
Not at all - the DRS stuff to Sellafield will ensure that the line survives (regardless of passenger traffic) as long as there's nuclear waste to process - no question.

introducing a few limited stop "express" services possibly loco hauled from Carlisle to Manchester, Liverpool or even across the Pennines to Leeds, York, Hull or Sheffield
Ah, the old "lets run loco hauled railtours as regularly priced services" line of nostalgia... It's the 21st century - running loco hauled jaunts from Hull to the Cumbrian coast is never going to happen

If you want the Manchester commute to work area then you need to include places as far out as North Wales, Liverpool, Preston, Leeds, Sheffield and Stoke
That's (at least) a fifty mile radius round Manchester, which includes huge areas of empty countryside not so conducive to mass transportation.

A fifty mile radius round London would include Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Brighton, Medway towns etc, yet people on this thread only want to count a fairly restricted definition of "London".

it talks of London but it really means the South East. London's population is a mere 7/8m, but I like many many others commute from the Home Counties and adjoining Counties, so a realistic number of population to compare against is 19.9m (London plus South East counties, plus Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire).

Most of Southern/SWT/SE Trains customers live outside London. I would assume it is similar for FGW/Chiltern/LM/Thameslink/GA etc
Agreed.

I think that we need to use a consistent definition of "population" (so we're not just taking the metropolitan definition of one place against the entire "travel to work" definition of another) and I think that we need to look at the numbers travelling to those places - the populations of Manchester and Liverpool may be half a million each, but how many actually travel between the cities each day? There's less of a trend for commuting outside the boundaries of the city that you live in "up north" - it happens, of course, but not on the scale that it does around London.

It's quite clear that you are a Pacer fan
It's not entirely clear, but I'm guessing you're not?

your comments about Northerners being unable to use a toilet correctly is not only insulting, but also infactual.
Ignoring the fact that they were tongue in cheek comments, you seem perfectly happy to complain about how mucky folk are "up north" (not using bins, littering...), but the moment someone from "down south" makes a criticism, you get very defensive...
 

transmanche

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The government doesn't want to own trains, any more than it owns buses, ferries or planes.
Quite a few 'ferries' and planes in the Navy and Air Force... ;)

To be pedantic, the state (via the Scottish Government) owns the CalMac ferry fleet.

Many of the planes you might fly on are owned by "pointless middlemen" on the same basis.
Slightly different, as they have a worldwide market - they can lease their plane to any any airline, anywhere in the world. The ROSCOs market is more limited and subject to the whims of the DfT.
 

anti-pacer

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It is, but the way that people talk about "four hours from Preston to Carlisle on a Pacer", those from outside the area might think that this was

  • a regular thing
  • a journey that lots of people do
  • a journey with no alternatives

...whereas the reality is that Northern only run one service a day from Preston to Carlisle and the fairly regular Virgin/TPE services between the two places (generally three trains an hour) only take just over an hour - i.e. nobody in their right mind is going to use the Northern service between the two.

Carlisle to Barrow is still a fair way (2h30), agreed but this "go for the worst case scenario and then pretend that its a typical journey" frustrates me.

Similarly, I could say that "it's a disgrace that you could be on a Pacer for over an hour and a half between Retford and Doncaster" and hope that people from outside the area don't realise that there's a 125/180/225 once or twice an hour between the towns that takes under quarter of an hour (i.e. you'd be daft to sit on a Pacer all that way), but it's be equally disingenuous.



With huge great areas of empty countryside between them though - the Peak District/ Pennines/ Lake District/ North Yorkshire Moors and Dales are beautiful but mean the "thirteen million" are spread over a huge area that's less conductive to mass transportation.



No, it's nonsense.

There's generally three trains an hour via Penrith taking just over an hour (run by Voyagers, 185s and Pendolini - there's one train a day via Barrow taking around four hours (run by Sprinters or Pacers).

If you are taking a Pacer all the way from Preston to Carlisle then you are either a numpty or a railway enthusiast.



Not at all - the DRS stuff to Sellafield will ensure that the line survives (regardless of passenger traffic) as long as there's nuclear waste to process - no question.



Ah, the old "lets run loco hauled railtours as regularly priced services" line of nostalgia... It's the 21st century - running loco hauled jaunts from Hull to the Cumbrian coast is never going to happen



That's (at least) a fifty mile radius round Manchester, which includes huge areas of empty countryside not so conducive to mass transportation.

A fifty mile radius round London would include Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Brighton, Medway towns etc, yet people on this thread only want to count a fairly restricted definition of "London".



Agreed.

I think that we need to use a consistent definition of "population" (so we're not just taking the metropolitan definition of one place against the entire "travel to work" definition of another) and I think that we need to look at the numbers travelling to those places - the populations of Manchester and Liverpool may be half a million each, but how many actually travel between the cities each day? There's less of a trend for commuting outside the boundaries of the city that you live in "up north" - it happens, of course, but not on the scale that it does around London.



It's not entirely clear, but I'm guessing you're not?



Ignoring the fact that they were tongue in cheek comments, you seem perfectly happy to complain about how mucky folk are "up north" (not using bins, littering...), but the moment someone from "down south" makes a criticism, you get very defensive...
Are you a Southerner living in Sheffield by any chance?

You seem extremely quick to defend the South.
 

Rapidash

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So there's a very small Pacer fleet in the South West, with the largest place usually served by them being Exeter - the same size as Bolton, Huddersfield or Middlesbrough. If you want to take about other areas having Pacers Cardiff would be a better area to talk about, with there being 30 Pacers used on the Valley Lines and the size being similar to Newcastle.

While I accept the rolling stock in the South West isn't great I do think people down there think they are worse off then they actually are.

You only have 8 heavily refurbished Pacers.

.
'Only 8' :lol: Yeah, its a small number in comparison, but they are intensively used. As for the recent refurb, they might have better seats, but the machine gubbins in them are wearing out pretty quickly. Feels like I've been booted off a malfunctioning 143 on a twice weekly basis recently.

The situation in the North is rubbish, we all know that, but to say that us mugs in Devon should be happy with our lot is, to be blunt, hypocrisy of the highest order.

Most people when looking at a big and a small problem would say 'Hmm, I wonder if sorting out the smaller issue first will solve the larger one?' The Northern metro situation is exactly that, surrounded by smaller issues all over the country. To expect instant solutions is somewhat deluded

PS: Largest population the Pacers serve is Torbay: Pop 133k+, compared to Exeter's 119k+ and the numbers are just going up and up.....
 

matacaster

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TBH I don't think that the attitude of some up north helps this argument - there's a lot of bitterness about Big Bad London



This is part of the problem with the "North is hard done by" line of argument.

Manchester/ Leeds/ Newcastle etc all have motorways (or "motorway equivalent" roads) and dual carriageways taking you into the city centre, they have dozens of NCPs/ multi storeys - they are fairly car friendly.

London is the other extreme - it has a congestion charge but few "fast" roads near the centre - so a lot more reliant upon public transport (hence more rail investment required to keep it going).

If most people were going to central Manchester/ Leeds/ Newcastle/ Liverpool/ Sheffield etc they'd consider driving. If they were going into central London, they'd probably need a train.



I know, it's infuriating. It's a bit like the "all London trains are modern and wonderful" argument, yet the minute there's talk of 319s coming north you get "these London cast-offs are rubbish, I'd heard they are held together with playdoh" kind of response.

One moment it's "Pacers don't just do short branch lines, they regularly work journeys like Manchester to Blackpool" but when you point out that 319s will be coming to that route then it becomes "Manchester to Blackpool only gets four coach 156s"...

(see also "319s won't be much of a capacity increase over a 323 because the 323's 3+2 seating means it has hundreds of seats" compared with "319s are unfit for Manchester because their unsuitable 3+2 seating won't be fully utilised")

Reality is that the CP5 electrification will see over a dozen departures per hour from Manchester converted to EMU operation - they're surely not all doubled up 156s! :lol:

Plus, looks like no DMUs will be leaving northern England (beyond eighteen coaches of 170s) - which means that the most deserving routes that aren't being electrified should see an increase in seating capacity too - something often forgotten on here!



You mean the "jam tomorrow" proposal from the departing Labour government, who were keen to promise anything to anyone in their final months?



It's rare that we get anything "new" on these kind of threads, yet alone anything amusing, but I have to admit that I laughed out loud at that one :lol:


London commuters SHOULD pay more for their trains than those in the rest of the country. London is very crowded and any new lines need extensive tunneling. In addition, London wages are much higher generally as are costs of housing. The reason people commute is simply

+ greater London wage
+ lower cost of housing farther away from London
- cost of train fare
- time spent travelling

So, in other words people do the commute because it is BENEFICIAL to them. It is unclear to me why the rest of the country should subsidise [in terms of crossrail, HS2 southern part being ridiculously expensive, all london station improvements costing many times any similar schemes in the north etc) commuters to London who gain by doing so. They should pay the full cost, especially as huge amounts of rolling stock is carrying air or sat in sidings except for evening and morning peaks. People in other parts of the country not commuting to London do not really get the higher wages etc.
 

Abpj17

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I'm reasonably certain some of the geography in the north is quite difficult too? (Peaks, Lakes etc.)

As others have noted, some of the franchises running through London pay profits (rather than receive subsidies) which then contributes to investment.

You do realise that the higher salaries in London go on higher cost of housing? (So what's left to pay extra for transport ;) )

My season ticket from Leagrave to London (without tube/bus) comes in at £3924 for around 35 miles each way.

I tried to find commutes of around 35 miles on the Northern network:

Southport to Wigan: £1964
Stockport to Sheffield: £3428
Bardon Mill to Newcastle: £2112

I believe it’s likely those commuting into London are already paying more….
 

3141

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In comparison, the 455s operated by Southern and SWT are as old as most of Northern's trains. But with the new seats, and new panelling, and new PIS, you wouldn't tell. Merseyrail's trains are actually older than Northern's but, again, with the new seats and new PIS you'd really have them at 10-15 years younger.

Properly looked after and properly refurbished trains look like new to most punters. When Arriva/Metro did the 144s properly everyone marvelled at the shiny new trains. .
Just to add to that - in the report by Which two or three years ago about the "best" TOCs, they quoted someone from their survey who had complimented Merseyrail on their "new" trains. Like the Merseyrail passenger the Which researchers had no idea that the trains were thirty years old and had simply been well refurbished.
 

Philip C

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My season ticket from Leagrave to London (without tube/bus) comes in at £3924 for around 35 miles each way.

I tried to find commutes of around 35 miles on the Northern network:

Southport to Wigan: £1964
Stockport to Sheffield: £3428
Bardon Mill to Newcastle: £2112

I believe it’s likely those commuting into London are already paying more….
I regret that you have not been overly successful in finding comparable journeys.

Whilst Stockport to Sheffield is 36.75mls and Bardon Mill to Newcastle is 33.75mls, the Southport to Wigan mileage is only 17.5. You might also like to take into account service frequency, journey times and rolling stock quality before reaching conclusions.
 

BestWestern

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It's quite clear that you are a Pacer fan, so how about we send you ours, and we'll have the 16x's you are set to inherit.

Also, your comments about Northerners being unable to use a toilet correctly is not only insulting, but also infactual.
I'm really hoping you're meeting my sarcastic angle with some of your own here, rather than actually receiving my comments as serious observations?! I shall endeavour to find a Wikipedia link for "Humour" just in case....

I've travelled on Northern stock myself and would agree with a previous suggestion that what would help a lot is a heavy refurb across the ex-BR classes. It would be perhaps a pleasant gesture if Whitehall could award some funding for such a project, seeing as just about every other TOC has tidied up their fleets of similar vintage. However, in the current hysterical climate I rather suspect such a move would probably be torn to pieces by the whingers and their mates at the local rags, and end up backfiring.
 

anti-pacer

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I'm really hoping you're meeting my sarcastic angle with some of your own here, rather than actually receiving my comments as serious observations?! I shall endeavour to find a Wikipedia link for "Humour" just in case....

I've travelled on Northern stock myself and would agree with a previous suggestion that what would help a lot is a heavy refurb across the ex-BR classes. It would be perhaps a pleasant gesture if Whitehall could award some funding for such a project, seeing as just about every other TOC has tidied up their fleets of similar vintage. However, in the current hysterical climate I rather suspect such a move would probably be torn to pieces by the whingers and their mates at the local rags, and end up backfiring.
I apologise for not taking your northern comments in the good natured manner they were intended, you cider drinking farmer boy you! :lol:

Anyway, I do agree with the refurb comment. I'm currently sat on board a 158, again with ripped upholstery (quite possibly the same as before) and with a good refurb, similar to the EMT 158's, they would look a lot better.

Pacers would look a lot better up here if they had high back seating similar to our 144's. Whilst I'm no big fan of 144's, I don't share the same hate of them as I do the 142's.

I lived in Liverpool when the Merseyrail stock was being refurbished and to be honest, I could see why people thought they were new trains. Their refurb was fantastic, and if Northern could achieve similar on their trains, there would be less moaning from us.
 
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Waddon

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Trains seem to last about 40 years, so, unless you can find enough funding and a manufacturer who can build enough trains to replace the whole network all at the same time (and then go without any new build work for 4 decades) there will always be one part of the country with considerably newer trains than the other.

20 years ago most of the trains on the southern network were 40+ years old, and literally falling apart (I saw a slam door fall off a train once).

In 10-15 years time, when the new crossrail and class 700 thameslink stock is beginning to look a bit shabby, I expect all the so-called 'castoff 319s' being given to the north will have been replaced with brand new shiny stock (bear in mind that the trains being built currently for thameslink and crossrail are specifically designed for those networks and probably unsuitable to be cascaded elsewhere, due to their fixed 10 and 12 car formations).

So, we can start this whole discussion again, only it will be 'Why has London got all these old trains while the north is brand new'

So, it's swings and roundabouts, really.
 
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HSTEd

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Unfortunately the age differentials have been exacerbated by the privatisation and subsequent collapse of BREL.

The ~200 carriage a year trickle replacement plan would have been less likely to lead to this mess.
If the railway doesn't own the factory it has no reason to organise things to prevent stop-start procurement, after all if the factory goes bust it will just find another supplier. This has happened numerous times since dieselisation - including Hunslett and BRCW.
If it owns the factory it has to consider the problems caused by starting and shutting production lines all the time.
 
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aformeruser

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tbtc said:
That's (at least) a fifty mile radius round Manchester, which includes huge areas of empty countryside not so conducive to mass transportation.

A fifty mile radius round London would include Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Brighton, Medway towns etc, yet people on this thread only want to count a fairly restricted definition of "London".
When the South East & London population was being compared to the North of England population all the Southerners were quick to point out there's people commuting to London from a far afield as Norwich. However, they weren't so quick to point out people working in the north of England may not live in the north of England.

Don't forget that small villages don't have many (if any) employment opportunities so people living in those places have to commute. I imagine there's a significant number of people living in Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford etc. who work in the town/city they live in.
 

Bletchleyite

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Don't forget that small villages don't have many (if any) employment opportunities so people living in those places have to commute. I imagine there's a significant number of people living in Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford etc. who work in the town/city they live in.
I'd think so, though it is said more commute into MK than out of it, and a lot commute to London so that must be really high.

Neil
 

jon0844

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Trains seem to last about 40 years, so, unless you can find enough funding and a manufacturer who can build enough trains to replace the whole network all at the same time (and then go without any new build work for 4 decades) there will always be one part of the country with considerably newer trains than the other.

20 years ago most of the trains on the southern network were 40+ years old, and literally falling apart (I saw a slam door fall off a train once).

In 10-15 years time, when the new crossrail and class 700 thameslink stock is beginning to look a bit shabby, I expect all the so-called 'castoff 319s' being given to the north will have been replaced with brand new shiny stock (bear in mind that the trains being built currently for thameslink and crossrail are specifically designed for those networks and probably unsuitable to be cascaded elsewhere, due to their fixed 10 and 12 car formations).

So, we can start this whole discussion again, only it will be 'Why has London got all these old trains while the north is brand new'

So, it's swings and roundabouts, really.
Precisely. I can remember 317s being introduced and thinking 'wow'. Now very few people have nice things to say about them, but they're far from life expired. They're simply old trains that will one day be replaced, and then a new train introduced that's expected to last 30-40 years or so.

Those 700s will be nice and shiny for a while, but in 35 years time it will be interesting to see what people think.

Trains last longer than the average car, or how long someone keeps a mobile phone before wanting something newer and sexier.

Cascading will always exist where a train that is no longer suitable for a particular route might be suitable elsewhere instead of being scrapped. This 'recycling' is not a bad thing when you see how well a train can be refurbished if done properly. Just about everything inside and outside can be changed.
 

Mikey C

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The 465/6 Networkers are now over 20 years old (doesn't time fly!) and I'm sure they'll reach their 40th birthday easily!
 

aformeruser

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Give them another 5-10 years and then they will be ready to go north....;)
As the 456s are 2 car and the 455s are 4 car, it wouldn't be a bad idea to send 455s and 456s North in lieu of 319s as that would then allow 2, 4, 6 or 8 car formations opposed to 4 car or 8, with 8 not being possible due to infrastructure restraints.
 

Mikey C

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As the 456s are 2 car and the 455s are 4 car, it wouldn't be a bad idea to send 455s and 456s North in lieu of 319s as that would then allow 2, 4, 6 or 8 car formations opposed to 4 car or 8, with 8 not being possible due to infrastructure restraints.
The 455/56s and 465/66s are 3rd rail only, so they will no doubt see out their days in Sarf London (I'm not sure they'd fit in the Merseyrail tunnels, and Merseyrail only needs a fraction of the number of units London has)
 
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