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Come late summer 2021. Could the government/dft be embarrassed and admit we have no trains ?

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warwickshire

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What is interesting is if more passengers come back than expected. Governments/dfts crystal ball has predicted it wrong. Even the commuters that are bored and Fed up, return to office early than expected. Even if it is to get away from home bordem to enjoy that juicy piece off office gossip. Or a change.
However trains then become a lot busier than predicted, leading to overcrowding etc on some services. Peak and off peak. However as we know various units 317, 321 no sooner than store straight for scrap. And the 365 coming soon. Into store.
Basically could we see especially at September a situation, which could occur ie overcrowding and no trains available ie which, very quickly scrapped,and the government and dft admitting mistakes and apologising, no trains available due to hastily being sent for scrap. And people have returned quicker than expected onto the rail system.
 
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seagull

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I'm going to say "no".

For a start trains would have to become EVEN BUSIER than they were before the Covid situation, which is exceptionally unlikely - and even if they did, in the pre-Covid timetables much of the crowding wasn't so much caused by lack of trains but lack of capacity to run either extra or longer trains.

But also new trains have been and are being built to replace those put in storage or scrapped.

In addition, if a serious issue existed anywhere which could be solved by extra trains, it could be solved at short-term by use of railtour/private vehicles at a push, or by moving trains from areas of the country that do not require them so much.

In short, I cannot see a "not enough trains" scenario happening.

(Even if I would love to see the railway network back to normal so quickly)
 

Snow1964

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I think there could be local problems

Its quite clear there is large pent up demand for holidays / visiting relatives / short breaks etc.

So whilst some commuter services may not be as busy, could easily be some very busy trains to holiday hotspots : West Country, West Wales, East Anglia, Sussex coast etc


There could easily be people doing a day or two work in office who intend to commute from these country or holiday areas which means some normally sleepy local train at 6am gets deluged with commuters heading 2-3 hours to office in a city. (Imagine something like few hundred people staying in North Devon all wanting to day commute midweek to offices in Birmingham area)

Overall, I don’t think there will be lack of trains, but there may be some Operators who don’t have enough trains, and others that have rolling stock, but the wrong sort.

Using same example, what happens if those few hundred turn up at Barnstable or Tiverton Parkway early on a Wednesday in September/October. Where are the extra trains coming from, borrowing some underused EMU is not going to work.

So answer is yes, especially where there is no slack in system to lengthen or run relief trains. It’s not 1950s where a single train winter Atlantic Coast Express can become 8 full length trains for few days a year.
 
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Horizon22

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Trains aren't going to be "hastily sent for scrap". There's many levels before that including temporary train cancellations / short formations, permanent train cancellations / shorter formations, trains then sent for storage and if all of that has failed, eventually they would be scrapped. Nobody is completly sure what demand will be yet, but all train companies are theoretically ready to go back to 100% of the Dec '19 timetable (and updated equivalent), should the need arise (unlikely).
 
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Bikeman78

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Nobody is completly sure what demand will be yet, but all train companies are theoretically ready to go back to 100% of the Dec '19 timetable (and updated equivalent), should the need arise (unlikely).
There are exceptions. There is no way that the Cardiff Valley Lines could go back to the December 2019 timetable unless single Pacers start running again.

I'm not convinced that Greater Anglia could run the full service on the GEML; too many 321s gone for scrap and most (all?) of the 360s have gone.
 

bramling

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Trains aren't going to be "hastily sent for scrap". There's many levels before that including temporary train cancellations / short formations, permanent train cancellations / shorter formations, trains then sent for storage and if all of that has failed, eventually they would be scrapped. Nobody is completly sure what demand will be yet, but all train companies are theoretically ready to go back to 100% of the Dec '19 timetable (and updated equivalent), should the need arise (unlikely).

The latter has got to be more in theory than practice, especially if TOCs like GTR are dumping some of their stock. But the bigger issue in some places is going to be crew shortages, especially in the places where they have managed to do less training than others.
 

Horizon22

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The latter has got to be more in theory than practice, especially if TOCs like GTR are dumping some of their stock. But the bigger issue in some places is going to be crew shortages, especially in the places where they have managed to do less training than others.

Driver training (or lack thereof recently) is definitely going to be the main issue.
 

Watershed

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I'm not convinced that Greater Anglia could run the full service on the GEML; too many 321s gone for scrap and most (all?) of the 360s have gone.
It's probably possible - but only with a lot of single units running about.
 

Gloster

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Regarding the thread title. The government might be embarrassed, but neither it or the DfT are ever going to admit that they are wrong.
 

HamworthyGoods

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What is interesting is if more passengers come back than expected. Governments/dfts crystal ball has predicted it wrong. Even the commuters that are bored and Fed up, return to office early than expected. Even if it is to get away from home bordem to enjoy that juicy piece off office gossip. Or a change.
However trains then become a lot busier than predicted, leading to overcrowding etc on some services. Peak and off peak. However as we know various units 317, 321 no sooner than store straight for scrap. And the 365 coming soon. Into store.
Basically could we see especially at September a situation, which could occur ie overcrowding and no trains available ie which, very quickly scrapped,and the government and dft admitting mistakes and apologising, no trains available due to hastily being sent for scrap. And people have returned quicker than expected onto the rail system.

The retirement of trains is generally a red herring - far more traincrew have retired generally than trains have been retired.

With traincrew training having been disrupted for nearly a year now we are far more likely to run out of sufficient for crew well before we run out of trains.

There are exceptions. There is no way that the Cardiff Valley Lines could go back to the December 2019 timetable unless single Pacers start running again.

I'm not convinced that Greater Anglia could run the full service on the GEML; too many 321s gone for scrap and most (all?) of the 360s have gone.

In both cases the level of train service for May 2021 have been built about the number of traincrew available not the number of trains, it is that which precludes a full service as the level of training needed simply has been unable to take place. You could have kept the 142s or 321s but that wouldn’t have given you anyone to drive the things.

Think how many crew would usually retire over a year and how many new trainees are needed simply to keep the number of frontline drivers in particular stable, well in the past year the number of drivers leaving/retiring the job will have remained steady the number of replacement staff passed out to replace won’t be much above zero.
 
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telstarbox

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I think in your example, the people on the Costa del Devon may well have a midweek workday but they'd surely work remotely from the cottage?
 

Bikeman78

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The retirement of trains is generally a red herring - far more traincrew have retired generally than trains have been retired.

With traincrew training having been disrupted for nearly a year now we are far more likely to run out of sufficient for crew well before we run out of trains.



In both cases the level of train service for May 2021 have been built about the number of traincrew available not the number of trains, it is that which precludes a full service as the level of training needed simply has been unable to take place. You could have kept the 142s or 321s but that wouldn’t have given you anyone to drive the things.
Fair enough but it would allow more four car trains on the valleys. As regards the GEML, I think the full timetable was running in autumn 2020, apart from fewer trains to Norwich. Even the rush hour 317 turn was running.
 

david1212

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I'm going to say "no".

For a start trains would have to become EVEN BUSIER than they were before the Covid situation, which is exceptionally unlikely - and even if they did, in the pre-Covid timetables much of the crowding wasn't so much caused by lack of trains but lack of capacity to run either extra or longer trains.

But also new trains have been and are being built to replace those put in storage or scrapped.

In addition, if a serious issue existed anywhere which could be solved by extra trains, it could be solved at short-term by use of railtour/private vehicles at a push, or by moving trains from areas of the country that do not require them so much.

In short, I cannot see a "not enough trains" scenario happening.

(Even if I would love to see the railway network back to normal so quickly)

Using same example, what happens if those few hundred turn up at Barnstable or Tiverton Parkway early on a Wednesday in September/October. Where are the extra trains coming from, borrowing some underused EMU is not going to work.

So answer is yes, especially where there is no slack in system to lengthen or run relief trains. It’s not 1950s where a single train winter Atlantic Coast Express can become 8 full length trains for few days a year.

Back 50+ years ago with standard loco hauled coaches, steam then type 2 & 3 locos that could be paired up and first generation DMU's even if few extra paths predominantly commuter stock that was not required outside of peak commuter times could relatively easily be used to extend services from a couple of coaches to 10.

Since privatisation there have been so many different fixed length train types that are effectively trapped on one line or a small group of lines due to staff knowledge and maybe physical size too. While Joe & Joanne Public may well understand that an electric unit can not run self powered on non-electrified routes to them illogical not to put a loco on the front or shuffle them to a different route, perhaps to release diesel units even if a split-service at the boundary of electrification.

Another issue is not allowing trains to stop at stations where not all coaches are at the platform. Once announcements and common sense were enough.
 

HamworthyGoods

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Fair enough but it would allow more four car trains on the valleys. As regards the GEML, I think the full timetable was running in autumn 2020, apart from fewer trains to Norwich. Even the rush hour 317 turn was running.

Yes but Autumn 2020 was near on half a year ago and in that meantime the crew situation will have just got worse, a steady trickle of people out the door but nobody emerging from training school to replace....
 

Yew

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If only there were a fleet of trains with widespread clearance that was sitting around waiting to be scrapped...
 

bramling

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Fair enough but it would allow more four car trains on the valleys. As regards the GEML, I think the full timetable was running in autumn 2020, apart from fewer trains to Norwich. Even the rush hour 317 turn was running.

Full timetable but with how many ad-hoc cancellations?

GTR’s timetable over the late summer and autumn on GN wasn’t massively far off the whole lot, except the Moorgate services, however they did have a few cancellations. To be fair they still did pretty well considering the challenges -operationally GTR do seem to have turned things round since 2018.
 

Hadders

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Full timetable but with how many ad-hoc cancellations?

GTR’s timetable over the late summer and autumn on GN wasn’t massively far off the whole lot, except the Moorgate services, however they did have a few cancellations. To be fair they still did pretty well considering the challenges -operationally GTR do seem to have turned things round since 2018.
I agree that GTR have improved significantly since the shambleslink days of 2018. Probably means the DfT will now look to break it up.
 

HamworthyGoods

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If only there were a fleet of trains with widespread clearance that was sitting around waiting to be scrapped...

If only there were enough drivers sitting around to drive all the actual trains on the network let alone worrying about withdrawn trains.

You've missed the issue it’s not trains the National Network is short of, it’s competent traincrew especially drivers.
 

vikingdriver

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If only there were enough drivers sitting around to drive all the actual trains on the network let alone worrying about withdrawn trains.

You've missed the issue it’s not trains the National Network is short of, it’s competent traincrew especially drivers.

We regularly have 9 or 10 drivers in working their rest day and that's with the reduced service so I quite agree, it is going to be chaos if they want to run a full ish service (and a gold mine for those who enjoy their overtime).
 

LowLevel

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Where I work there has never been a period where we've had enough trains and I expect this summer to be no different with the current composition of the fleet.
 

Bikeman78

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Full timetable but with how many ad-hoc cancellations?

GTR’s timetable over the late summer and autumn on GN wasn’t massively far off the whole lot, except the Moorgate services, however they did have a few cancellations. To be fair they still did pretty well considering the challenges -operationally GTR do seem to have turned things round since 2018.
To be fair, it seemed to be running absolutely fine whenever I was in the area.
 

david1212

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If only there were enough drivers sitting around to drive all the actual trains on the network let alone worrying about withdrawn trains.

You've missed the issue it’s not trains the National Network is short of, it’s competent traincrew especially drivers.

We regularly have 9 or 10 drivers in working their rest day and that's with the reduced service so I quite agree, it is going to be chaos if they want to run a full ish service (and a gold mine for those who enjoy their overtime).

Predominantly what is the background to this -

a) Too few drivers employed and too few additional drivers recruited ?

or

b) Difficulty and delay with training over the last 12 months ?

Given the salaries and packages I'd be amazed if there was a lack of applicants.
When back in junior school if asked what job I want I would have said "Train driver". By O-levels and A-level choices while uncertain as to exactly what I was homing in on electrical / electronic engineering. Had I kept with train driver I now would be earning significantly more plus the package and no concerns about job security. I might even have already retired. Instead very debatable if retirement will be when I choose or when I am made redundant. My pensions are totally personal out of earnings and while not directly FTSE tracking it is a guide to their value.
 

DB

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So far as I am aware all the stock which has been scrapped had been planned to go off-lease anyway. Most of it has been EMUs, which are obviously limited and where they can go. Of diesel trains there have been a lot of HST trailers scrapped (many although not all of these are surplus as a result of HST sets now being shorter due to changed use), plus Pacers.

The majority of this stock was not PRM compliant, and much of it would have needed considerable overhaul and upgrade work, so in reality very little of it would have been available as short-term additional capacity in any case.
 

swt_passenger

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Predominantly what is the background to this -

a) Too few drivers employed and too few additional drivers recruited ?

or

b) Difficulty and delay with training over the last 12 months ?

Given the salaries and packages I'd be amazed if there was a lack of applicants.
When back in junior school if asked what job I want I would have said "Train driver". By O-levels and A-level choices while uncertain as to exactly what I was homing in on electrical / electronic engineering. Had I kept with train driver I now would be earning significantly more plus the package and no concerns about job security. I might even have already retired. Instead very debatable if retirement will be when I choose or when I am made redundant. My pensions are totally personal out of earnings and while not directly FTSE tracking it is a guide to their value.
Retirements and difficulty with training for 12 months now, as @HamworthyGoods explained in post #14?
 

Bald Rick

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Mostly training rather than retirements. The training backlog for some TOCs is massive.

And to answer the OP - there is no chance that trains will be overwhelmed come September, except in a very few local circumstances (that will be fewer in number than existed pre covid)
 

bramling

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Mostly training rather than retirements. The training backlog for some TOCs is massive.

And to answer the OP - there is no chance that trains will be overwhelmed come September, except in a very few local circumstances (that will be fewer in number than existed pre covid)

Surely retirements are an issue in places too? I know a fair few retirements which were brought forward last year, and whilst there have been some pushed back more latterly due to lockdown (“what’s the point retiring when I can do naff all?”), the talk of tax freezes in particular to the LTA has put this back on the agenda for many.

I don’t think there’s going to be any quick solutions to all this.
 

HSTEd

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The majority of this stock was not PRM compliant, and much of it would have needed considerable overhaul and upgrade work, so in reality very little of it would have been available as short-term additional capacity in any case.

As restrictions on use go this is not particularly challenging to overcome, given than the minister can sweep it aside with the literal stroke of a pen.
 

HamworthyGoods

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As restrictions on use go this is not particularly challenging to overcome, given than the minister can sweep it aside with the literal stroke of a pen.

You’re saying ministers can sweep aside necessary overhauls with a stroke of a pen?
I somehow don’t believe that - look at how slow the process was to retain ex LNER mk3s in traffic and this was just mechanical repairs.
 
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