Cars and Coach v Plane and Train

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Butts

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I have been travelling between England and Scotland for over thirty years and have used Car,Coach,Plane and Train plus Motorbike.

My contention would be that the level of comfort has gone up in the Car and Coach but gone down on the Plane and Train.

Cars are far more reliable and comfortable than they were , try doing the trip in a Triumph Dolomite with the head gasket blowing every 10 miles.

Coaches are a lot better than the old boneshakers with even bedded accomodation available on the Stagecoach Service.

By Air it used to be called BA Super Shuttle and it lived up to it's name with full service even on a short journey. You also had British Caledonian and Air UK as well. No security or nonsense,airports were just that not shopping centres. Today it's a different story.

By Rail they had proper Trains like the ones East Coast still operate (I think) and not those Virgin Hornby Toytrains. BR was BR and used to run a good service by and large. McEwans Export and a BLT and B&H in the buffet car.

So has the democratisation and expansion of Air and Rail Services resulted in plummeting standards :idea:

ps Motorbike have not done that one for 30 years so can't comment :oops:
 
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notadriver

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I think with rising traffic levels, journeys by car are longer and in London at least, drivers are very aggressive. Whilst coaches are arguably more comfortable than before, they are still likely to encounter ever increasing traffic jams and there is always the chance you'll get a crap driver who is hard on the brakes and looks at you like you're something he's stepped in.
 

starrymarkb

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you'll get a crap driver who is hard on the brakes and looks at you like you're something he's stepped in.

A bit like Ryanair then (I know they aren't on the London/Scotlands anymore.)

BA still do the full service domestic...
Our professional and highly trained crew will be pleased to offer you complimentary food and drink, perfectly suited to the time of day and length of your flight.

On our early morning flights you can enjoy a hot breakfast with coffee and tea. Complimentary snacks and drinks are served throughout the rest of the day.

On Domestic flights to and from London Heathrow, we offer a complimentary drinks service mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

Of course if you Easyjet or Flybe then don't expect BA service (though Flybe are very expensive these days)
 

WestCoast

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A bit like Ryanair then (I know they aren't on the London/Scotlands anymore.)

Not Scotand but I remember when Ryanair had a twice daily service from Blackpool to Stansted, previous to and during the WCML upgrade. It did pretty well actually. The flight + StanEx/Coach combo was often cheaper than a rail ticket in those days. I know a Ryanair pilot actually, fine bloke and 738s give a pretty "firm" ride at the best of times. Many of the complaints about them are from people who have never stepped foot on one of their planes and just get annoyed by the tripe released from their PR machine anyway.

With cars, you've also got rising traffic levels (downright gridlock at times) and disgusting service stations to look forward to. Megabus's Plaxtons are far from luxurious as well - give me a Pendo anyday (did I just say that?!?). Coach travel also seems to take years compared to rail or planes.

What about the sleeper? You omitted that.
 
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Schnellzug

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I tend to agree. Trains are much less pleasant to ride in, in every respect except perhaps reliability. Coaches are, i'd contend, just as comfortable as most modern forms of Train, in ride quality on Motorways certainly, and there's scarcely less leg room compared with many kinds of rolling Stock. Cars, too, are enormously more reliable, comfortable and, from the point of view of the driver at any rate, Safer, although this does not seem to reduce the number of actual accidents noticeably.
Air travel used to be glamorous; admittedly, this may be going back to the days of BOAC, if not Imperial Airways; the "Jet Set" and the "Mile High Club"* and so on; but on the other hand, it's much, much safer now.
* Which I believe was an early form of frequent Flyer program :roll:
 

Butts

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I tend to agree. Trains are much less pleasant to ride in, in every respect except perhaps reliability. Coaches are, i'd contend, just as comfortable as most modern forms of Train, in ride quality on Motorways certainly, and there's scarcely less leg room compared with many kinds of rolling Stock. Cars, too, are enormously more reliable, comfortable and, from the point of view of the driver at any rate, Safer, although this does not seem to reduce the number of actual accidents noticeably.
Air travel used to be glamorous; admittedly, this may be going back to the days of BOAC, if not Imperial Airways; the "Jet Set" and the "Mile High Club"* and so on; but on the other hand, it's much, much safer now.
* Which I believe was an early form of frequent Flyer program :roll:

I have used sleeper services in response to an earlier post - there was a far larger choice thirty years ago. Also some of the trains had the "compartment style" carriages with the big bench type seats which were very comfortable.

The old coaches were a nightmare, as a child I used to go from Southampton to Glasgow (unaccompanied - imagine that today).

With regard to a car I can remember us three kids in the back of an Austin Cambridge before the M6 was completed and you had to drive through Carlisle.

With Air BA used to have its own shops in most big towns and cities - very swanky. Used to get the train to Woking or Reading and the Railair coach to Heathrow. Oh and that famous question on check in - smoking or non-smoking sir :p
 

notadriver

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The other thing to remember on the coach vs train debate is that by law you have to be strapped into your seat on a coach. There will be no form of on board catering either. The only person you can ask for travel information will be the driver who you're not meant to disturb whilst the vehicle is in motion whereas on a train there may be several on board staff in addition to the driver.
 

Schnellzug

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The other thing to remember on the coach vs train debate is that by law you have to be strapped into your seat on a coach. .

Which is of course, impossible to enforce.
I think for journies of more than say, three hours, I'd always choose the train, but coach can be more convenient and most probably cheaper (certainly tickets would be more flexible and easier to obtain than the cheapest rail Tickets) for journies shorter than that.
 

notadriver

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Yes coach often cheaper but you run a risk of the coach being full if you just turn up on the day as everyone must have a seat.
 

Zoe

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When it comes down to CO2 emissions though you can't beat the train. It is realized now that due to climate change there is going to have to be a modal shift away from road and air based transport and onto rail. The result is that more seats have to be provided on trains and so the enviroment may not be seen to have the same comfort as it did previously. There isn't really an alternative here.
 

Schnellzug

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When it comes down to CO2 emissions though you can't beat the train. It is realized now that due to climate change there is going to have to be a modal shift away from road and air based transport and onto rail. The result is that more seats have to be provided on trains and so the enviroment may not be seen to have the same comfort as it did previously. There isn't really an alternative here.

yes, there is; have 12 coaches instead of 4.

Anyway, the whole Co2 emissions question is a whole kettle of fish, including not a few red herrings, some would suggest.
 

WestCoast

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yes, there is; have 12 coaches instead of 4.

Anyway, the whole Co2 emissions question is a whole kettle of fish, including not a few red herrings, some would suggest.

Here's what Transport Direct throws up;

CO2 emissions for your journey of 500 miles

0 kg of CO2 per traveller

For comparision if you travelled 500 miles by:

Small Car only
25.8 kg with 4 occupant(s)
Large Car only
51.8 kg with 4 occupant(s)
Train only
43.0 kg
Coach only
24.1 kg
Plane only
137.9 kg

Obviously these figures are way too simplistic (too many variables like what type of car/train/coach/plane and how many passengers), but it's still interesting.
 

Butts

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Here's what Transport Direct throws up;



Obviously these figures are way too simplistic (too many variables like what type of car/train/coach/plane and how many passengers), but it's still interesting.

So from those figures Coach comes out the winner as most cars won't have 4 people in ?
 

Zoe

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Small Car only
25.8 kg with 4 occupant(s)
I doubt you get many Ford Fiestas on 500 mile journeys with four occupants. For one thing it wouldn't be very comfortable and a group of four would be more likely to use a larger car.
 

Schnellzug

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Who is going to pay for that? People complain about high fares now.
we have to put up with cramped 4 coach trains without proper buffets or room for luggage in order to Save the Planet? It's only because bureaucrats appointed by the Government then in power insisted on dictating everything that they insisted that 4 coach trains with seats all facing the same way were good enough. It seems as if London is able to get whatever it (or its current Mayor) wants, with money never being an object; would it not be feasible to bend the rules of economics in similar ways for the rest of the Country? I'm sure it could, if people had enough imagination.
 

WestCoast

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I doubt you get many Ford Fiestas on 500 mile journeys with four occupants. For one thing it wouldn't be very comfortable and a group of four would be more likely to use a larger car.

I am of the opinion that groups are more likely to choose the car for long journeys as the car can become more cost effective against the train or plane in those circumstances.

Small Car only 51.5 kg of CO2 per passenger with 2 occupant(s)
Large Car only 103.6 kg of CO2 per passenger with 2 occupant(s)
 

Zoe

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It's only because bureaucrats appointed by the Government then in power insisted on dictating everything that they insisted that 4 coach trains with seats all facing the same way were good enough.
It was Virgin that had the idea of running half length trains at double the frequency and ordered the Voyagers. OPRAF didn't go around dictating as much as the SRA and now DfT do. At the time it may well have been a sound idea as I believe the 7 car loco hauled trains were often not that busy. It's clear that there has been an increase in demand in recent years but someone is going to have to pay for longer trains to be introduced now.
 
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LE Greys

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Personally, I'm none too keen on coaches, but then I get travel sick on them, so that makes a big difference. The problem with flying these days is airports, the aircraft themselves are fine. Apart from the security delays, it's impossible to get decent, cheap food. True, I have rather old-fashioned, prolitarian tastes (I like egg and chips) but I often think that catering is more concerned with feeding the masses. Take the new King's Cross. True, there's a Burger King, apub and a pasty shop, but there's also places called BH Mexican Kitchen, Caffe Nero (do they have no idea of Roman history?), Camden Food Co (which sounds promising but only does sandwiches, salads and organic soup - no sign of a jam sarnie though), Delice de France, Giraffe Stop, Leon (whatever that is), Pret a Manger, Starbucks, Upper Crust and something called Yalla Yalla. And my egg and chips comes from where? And where can I get a cuppa for £1 or less? Proper caffs seem to have died out at major stations - mind you airports and motorway services are just as bad.

I think part of the problem with train travel is that people are pinching pennies where it does not really matter. Over the lifetime of something like a Pendy, fitting it with seats that are at least as comfortable as a MkIII (maybe not a MkI, seat springs don't really fit with a modern vehicle) would cost slightly more to purchase, as would metal trim, something I really want to see. However, over the vehicle's life, it really doesn't make much difference except that the thicker, softer seat cushions cost slightly more to replace. Reducing the number of seats is far worse, since that costs more in lost revenue from the number of passengers who don't travel.

Basically, here's what I'd do for one of the biggest offenders, the WCML.
  • Replace all second class seats with first class equivalent, just a bit narrower and at ordinary seat pitch. Delete the recliner mechanisms.
  • Relpace the first class seats with something more like the MkIII "armchairs".
  • Cut out some space at the end of the first class driving vehicle and use it for increased luggage space. Put up some big notices at Euston with "LUGGAGE VAN AVAILABLE" on them right next to where it usually stops and issue plenty of labels.
  • Adjust the ventillation system to deal with the toilet problems
  • Do all this at the next major overhaul to avoid taking trains out of service
  • Consider bigger windows for the next lot of stock

The idea is to make the train more comfortable and reduce the ammount of heavy luggage inside (it's astonishing how few people know about the DVTs on the East Coast).
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
It was Virgin that had the idea of running half length trains at double the frequency and ordered the Voyagers. OPRAF didn't go around dictating as much as the SRA and now DfT do. At the time it may well have been a sound idea as I believe the 7 car loco hauled coaches were often not that busy.

Those only had seven coaches because of braking characteristics. BR originally wanted 1+4+DVT HSTs on those, but the government wouldn't fund it. They asked for Class 47+5, but the brakes were not good enough, so they added two more coaches. Still filled up at peak times though.
 
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Zoe

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I am of the opinion that groups are more likely to choose the car for long journeys as the car can become more cost effective against the train or plane in those circumstances.
Yes but they are more likely to choose a large car as it would be too uncomfortable in a Ford Fiesta. For a large car the CO2 emissions are higher.
 

ainsworth74

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Yes but they are more likely to choose a large car as it would be too uncomfortable in a Ford Fiesta. For a large car the CO2 emissions are higher.

That assumes that they, you know, have access to a large car...
 
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