Car vs Train - Missing Trains Already

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CheesyChips

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For the past 10 years or so my work has meant spending quite a lot of time on the railways which (unsurprisingly for a forum member here) has been delightful.

I passed my driving test yesterday and now find that I have the opportunity to drive to clients premises but this gives me a mini-dilemma. Being on the train meant I could often do work which I obviously can't do when driving.

With this in mind, I'm thinking that I'll still use the train for longer distance journeys as I can often book Advance tickets that keep the cost down and then use the car for tinkering around the local area, West Mids and Bham. Does this reasoning make sense?

Has anybody else found this kind of transition strange?

I've never gone a full week without being on train, and I'm certainly going to miss it!
 
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Just because you have a car does not mean it does not make sense to use other modes for some journeys. A lot of people seem not to realise that :)
Exactly that. Admittedly I'm someone who, quite honestly, prefers trains and will use them whenever possible, even if the cost is higher.

Not worrying about driving, keeping my eyes on the road and just generally having the convenience of buying a ticket, hopping on a train and getting there is worth it to me. Of course, you may well think differently.
 

Polarbear

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I have a car and drive quite a bit, but can & do use rail (and bus) options quite often too.

For me, the convenience of not having to fork out for expensive car parking in urban areas is one reason. Although using a car is often seen as being cheaper than using public transport, many people forget to factor things like car parking & tolls into the costs.

My commute to work is one example. I live in Chester & work in Liverpool. Driving all the way is quickest, but also the most expensive as I would have tunnel tolls & parking at a minimum of £4.00 per day in central Liverpool to factor in. For me, much better to drive up the Wirral & jump a train from say Birkenhead North at £3.35 return, which is less than the tunnel tolls, let alone the parking!
 

glbotu

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I had a car.

I sold it as I drove it 5 times in one year and it was costing me a princely sum to do so. Now I just get the train and bus everywhere, it's so much less stressful.
 

Shimbleshanks

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A few years ago, I used to work fairly regularly for a publisher in Tunbridge Wells, about 20 miles from my home in Purley, south London. The work often involved a lot of proof-reading and similar work so on days when I had this to do, I'd get the train, even though it took 90 minutes door to door as opposed to about 35-45 minutes by car, reasoning that I'd rather arrive at home an hour or so later but with all my work done rather than with an hour and half's work still to do. On the relatively rare occasions that I didn't have any work to do, I went by car.

On the whole it worked out reasonably well. What spoiled the train for me was the times when the service totally fell apart, usually because of breakdowns, in which case the 90 minutes could turn into 2 1/2 or 3 hours. This happened around once a month on average. This perhaps explained why so few people took the train.
 

al78

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I don't have a car (yet) and use train and bicycle to get around. Last Wednesday I needed to get up to Salford to assist my father for a few days after an ear operation, and due to the strike I couldn't get a ticket being told I wouldn't make it, so had to hire a car for a few days (which, even including the cost of fuel, was slightly cheaper than the rail ticket would have cost). This reminded me of why I prefer to use the train for long journeys, it took me nearly six hours to do the 240 mile journey, which is significantly longer than the rail journey including cycling too and from the stations at each end. I will have a new car in a couple of weeks but don't intend to use it every time just because it is there, it will be used when it is by far the most practical of the possible transport modes.
 

neilmc

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I live near Shap, which would be a handy railhead for the Eden Valley. Unfortunately BR closed the station long ago, so I have to contemplate a 10-12 mile journey by car BEFORE I board the train, and the same on the way back, which means expensive parking/taxi/wife pick-up. So it's much easier to co-ordinate our family timetable and use the car exclusively unless I am faced with a really long tiring journey alone; I've used the train just three times in seven months.

Also, even with a senior railcard the cost of the train is only marginally less than driving, and once there are two of us in the car the train's a financial loser even if it ran door-to-door. This really shouldn't be the case in a modern nation which professes to care at all about global warming, traffic chaos, etc but sadly in the UK it is.
 

James_D

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I live in Sunderland and my previous job was working in Newcastle city centre so using the Metro was ideal, given there are stops 5-10 mins walk from both my and my girlfriends houses. I now however work in Durham, just outside the city centre, so public transport isnt really coveniant for me. I'd have to take a packed bus and then walk which would take around an hour, or use the car which takes about 35-40 minutes depending on the day.

My ideal form of transport, the train, is an absolute non-starter unfortunately as i'm sure most of you will realise! So for me it purely comes down to time.

It saved me alot of money getting the metro but the downside was that it was rammed every morning and prone to frequent delays. If there was a direct train or Metro from Sunderland to Durham i would seriously consider using it and walking the rest of the way. But the door to door advantage of the car, with it's privacy and comforts, will always be the main draw for most people, even if they do have to sit in god awful traffic every day.
 

thenorthern

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I got my first car in the past six months, I have found the transition change strange as well.

One of the things that I took for granted with the train that I didn't realise though was how quick the train got into Manchester City Center compared to the roads. I must admit though recently I had to drive into Manchester a lot because of train times that didn't match and I remember the last day that I had to do it feeling excited about being able to take the train again and play football manager along the way and not wait in traffic jams.
 

Essexman

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Just because you have a car it doesn't mean you have to use this instead of the train. I have a car through my company but use it for about one long work journey a year, however I do about twenty by train - all over the country including the sleeper to Scotland & occasionally Cornwall.

I enjoy train travel but it also gives me the opportunity to work (and eat) on the move. Sometimes I hire cars at the other end but where possible I use local trains, buses or taxis.

I also use the train rather than flying or driving to western Europe.
 

Crossover

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I commute by car - a rail commute is not achieveable where I currently work (nearest Metrolink stop is around a mile away, but I live in Yorkshire and there are no trains that would get me even to Rochdale in time, let alone the nearby tram stop)

However, when I occasionally travel for work, I prefer the train. This has involved a couple of trips to events/courses in Leeds/Manchester and also a visit to a company we acquired in Cheltenham - 2.5 hours each way on the train where I got quite a bit of work done rather than sitting in traffic thinking about all the stuff that needed doing!
 

RichmondCommu

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Living in South West London and working near London Bridge means that I would never do anything other than commute by train to work. Other than that trips to Manchester for my job and trips up to Derby to watch Derby County are made by train because it's quicker. The same goes for monthly visits to my wife's parents in Preston where we only take small bags with us.

However, if my wife and I are going away for the weekend then we will always take the car simply because its much easier just to throw everything in the back of the car. Not only that but we can then use the car to travel around without having to be constrained by bus timetables etc. And of course we can listen to The Jam / Oasis / Blur / Nirvana etc without upsetting everyone else.

My eldest son is a German national living in Frankfurt. I would never even think to travel by train to visit him, it would simply take too long and not only that but it's much cheaper to fly.

If I'm honest for those journeys where I choose to travel by car (and I have the option to travel by train) I don't miss the train but then I'm fortunate enough to have a modern car with all the mod cons etc.
 
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Lincoln

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I would love to commute more by train as its a pleasure not dealing with traffic and being able to use the time to read whatever is on my Kindle at the time.

Unfortunately quite a lot of my shifts start before the first train arrives at where I need to be, plus for those which I can use would entail about an hours waiting around in order to arrive on time.

Furthermore for the shifts where I could commute by train, it then largely depends upon whether the car park at the station is full or not (20 spaces). If theres no parking then I am forced to continue driving.

From observation I see quite a few others doing the circular car park tour as well, before leaving and driving on. So I guess theres probably quite a demand for the train simply being suppressed by the lack of facilities.

What compounds the issue is the excellent town bus service, which doesn't go anywhere near the train station!
 

Blamethrower

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I hate commuting by train, as soon as something goes wrong you are helpless.
In a car you can do something about it, especially if there are lots of options.

Going into London you have no option but to train it. I work(ed) in dunstable, not easy by train and bus from where I live.

I like going on journeys on trains, but most of the time I'll take a car as I like driving. I have a very comfortable seat with my own temperature plus I can listen to music without headphones on.

It just depends which is quicker depending on the circumstances.
 

Antman

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I hate commuting by train, as soon as something goes wrong you are helpless.
In a car you can do something about it, especially if there are lots of options.

Exactly that, if I have a time critical journey to make I'll normally go by car because as you say there are other options. On a train when something goes wrong it is totally out of your control.

I'm currently having a nightmare journey on the railway trying to get back from Ashford, the line to Tonbridge was closed due to a fatality. Obviously it's sad that somebody has lost their life and I'm sure SET have done their level best in the circumstances and I won't be claiming delay repay but if I had the car with me I'd have so many other options available to me.
 

yorksrob

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I'm currently having a nightmare journey on the railway trying to get back from Ashford, the line to Tonbridge was closed due to a fatality. Obviously it's sad that somebody has lost their life and I'm sure SET have done their level best in the circumstances and I won't be claiming delay repay but if I had the car with me I'd have so many other options available to me.

I'm sure if there was a fatality on the road, the presence of options would depend on whereabouts in the tailback you were at the time. Similarly, had you been pre-Ashford now, you would still have the option of Victoria via Maidstone East.
 

Antman

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I'm sure if there was a fatality on the road, the presence of options would depend on whereabouts in the tailback you were at the time. Similarly, had you been pre-Ashford now, you would still have the option of Victoria via Maidstone East.

Indeed but I was going to Redhill and a rail replacement bus to Tonbridge would have taken forever. Ended up on the Victoria train to Bromley South then Tramlink from Beckenham Junction to East Croydon.
 

Mintona

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I loved living in London and not using my car from one month to the next. But now I live in the sticks, my nearest station is around 5 miles away and the trains don't get me to work early enough or home late enough most of the time. Quite like cruising with a podcast in the car these days too. That said, on the days when I can get the train, I do, just to avoid Bristol traffic.
 

Phil.

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Here's a comparison.
I live in Penzance. Last week I wanted to go to Truro.
I can take the train or I can drive.
1. Take the train.
Leave the bungalow and walk the 1 mile to Penzance railway station - 15-18". Buy return ticket £6.70. Catch train to Truro - journey time 40". Arrive Truro walk down to city centre - 10".
Total journey time door to Truro city centre about 70".
2. Drive.
Leave the bungalow, get into VW Golf and drive to Truro parking in Lemon Quay car park for two hours £2.50. Time taken 40". Fuel/wear and tear on car £5.00.
No brainer really.

I'll be travelling to London next week then on to Wimbledon. That'll be the train. Only a fool drives around in London.
 

Master29

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Here's a comparison.
I live in Penzance. Last week I wanted to go to Truro.
I can take the train or I can drive.
1. Take the train.
Leave the bungalow and walk the 1 mile to Penzance railway station - 15-18". Buy return ticket £6.70. Catch train to Truro - journey time 40". Arrive Truro walk down to city centre - 10".
Total journey time door to Truro city centre about 70".
2. Drive.
Leave the bungalow, get into VW Golf and drive to Truro parking in Lemon Quay car park for two hours £2.50. Time taken 40". Fuel/wear and tear on car £5.00.
No brainer really.

I'll be travelling to London next week then on to Wimbledon. That'll be the train. Only a fool drives around in London.

If you can get from Truro to Penzance on just a fiver you must have a car powered by miracle juice.
 
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Blamethrower

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I'm sure if there was a fatality on the road, the presence of options would depend on whereabouts in the tailback you were at the time. Similarly, had you been pre-Ashford now, you would still have the option of Victoria via Maidstone East.

Correct. Cars aren't foolproof, your train options depend on where you live and you might get stuck in a car at a place you can't get out of.

Yet with Google traffic/maps, you can avoid all the snarl ups before you get to them. For commuting I have about 20 options I can take for a journey of about 30 ish miles. Being a map geek helps too as I try to know as many roads as possible in my head, Google tells me which ones to avoid

Edit: Google still isn't 100% real-time though so there's still a margin for error
 
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al78

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I'm sure if there was a fatality on the road, the presence of options would depend on whereabouts in the tailback you were at the time. Similarly, had you been pre-Ashford now, you would still have the option of Victoria via Maidstone East.

That happened to me once, I got stuck in stationary traffic on the M6 somewhere near Keele and was stuck there for two hours. There had been an accident and the motorway had to be closed in both directions to allow the air ambulance to land and take the victims to hospital. It was very strange being able to get out of my car and walk along the carriageway of a motorway with no traffic noise to hear.

There are limits as to what you can do when stuck in traffic, and it depends on how well you know the local roads or whether you have sat-nav as to how easily you can find a diversion. Even this can fail if the local roads are snarled up because everyone else is trying to divert as well, you are stuck in the jam in between junctions so cannot leave the motorway, or there aren't any feasible parallel routes (e.g. some parts of the M11).
 

AndrewP

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I travel a lot of miles in a year for business purposes - last year was over 100k miles both in the UK and abroad.

When travelling I take the line of least resistance and what gets me there quickest and with least hassle. My weapon of choice is normally train (ideally first class) as you can decide whether or not to work , unlike driving, and time at terminals is not silly like it is when you are flying.

The cost differential between various modes is not that relevant as my travel costs are normally expensed but despite this I do sometimes get questioned on why I am getting later trains but I like to save my clients money by using fixed trains or low cost airlines where practical.

Driving in London is an interesting one as it is not always as bad as people think if you avoid peak hours and sometimes this can be really convenient (e.g. Canary Wharf) but most the time if I have to drive I tend to find a station on the edge of town and get tube or train in.
 

gimmea50anyday

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I live in Sunderland and my previous job was working in Newcastle city centre so using the Metro was ideal, given there are stops 5-10 mins walk from both my and my girlfriends houses. I now however work in Durham, just outside the city centre, so public transport isnt really coveniant for me. I'd have to take a packed bus and then walk which would take around an hour, or use the car which takes about 35-40 minutes depending on the day.

My ideal form of transport, the train, is an absolute non-starter unfortunately as i'm sure most of you will realise! So for me it purely comes down to time.

It saved me alot of money getting the metro but the downside was that it was rammed every morning and prone to frequent delays. If there was a direct train or Metro from Sunderland to Durham i would seriously consider using it and walking the rest of the way. But the door to door advantage of the car, with it's privacy and comforts, will always be the main draw for most people, even if they do have to sit in god awful traffic every day.

Go ahead had just invested in some brand spanker new buses for the prince Bishop route (service 20) thru belmont and gileshate connecting into the 21/x21 for fram or Durham uni or 50 for newton hall covers most of Durham. Only the meadowfield area buggers up an exclusive GoNE pass.

Saves getting papped by the moving speed camera on the A690....
 

Phil.

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If you can get from Truro to Penzance on just a fiver you must have a car powered by miracle juice.

Truro to Penzance via the A390 and A30 is 44 miles. Sainsburys in Pz are selling diesel at £1.05 per litre which equates to £4.67 per gallon. My Golf will easily manage 45 to the gallon. You do the maths.
 

DaveNewcastle

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I like having the choices:
I live in Newcastle, and have under 2 miles to travel to work, and I can drive, cycle or walk (public transport is only with a change in the City Centre). In the last week I've had work in London, Leeds and Manchester. Took the train to London and Leeds, and drove to Manchester (taking the scenic route via Barnard Castle going south and via Alston returning north).

I have a choice of three vehicles and two bikes, and I chose the most appropriate for the journey, the conditions and my inclination.
I'll be travelling to London next week then on to Wimbledon. That'll be the train. Only a fool drives around in London.
I may be a fool, but I've sometimes found it more agreeable to drive straight through the City or the Blackwall Tunnel than on the M25. But usually I put my bike on the train and get around the centre as swiftly as any taxi, bus or underground.
I do get soaked sometimes.
 
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DeeGee

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I'm lucky that I live 5 miles from work, and tend to either run or cycle to work. Both are quicker than taking the bus, though, so if I have more to carry than I can comfortably get in a rucksack, I drive.

I'm making a long journey next weekend, and for that, because I'm on my own, I'm taking the train. I can read, maybe watch a film and definitely drink a couple of beers, so although it takes longer and there isn't much of a financial advantage, it's more relaxed.

However, I'm also making the same journey midweek with my family, and the advantage of being able to put all my luggage in one place wins out and I shall drive.
 

Phil.

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I like having the choices:
I live in Newcastle, and have under 2 miles to travel to work, and I can drive, cycle or walk (public transport is only with a change in the City Centre). In the last week I've had work in London, Leeds and Manchester. Took the train to London and Leeds, and drove to Manchester (taking the scenic route via Barnard Castle going south and via Alston returning north).

I have a choice of three vehicles and two bikes, and I chose the most appropriate for the journey, the conditions and my inclination.I may be a fool, but I've sometimes found it more agreeable to drive straight through the City or the Blackwall Tunnel than on the M25. But usually I put my bike on the train and get around the centre as swiftly as any taxi, bus or underground.
I do get soaked sometimes.

Yep, that's me. Train to Padders then I'm away on my trusty Brompton. Unless it's hissing down in which case it's fold the Brompton and take the 'bus.
 
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