ConHome: Close 30% of rail stations

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Metroland

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Tim Leunig is prone to writing some quite off-the wall stuff, he once suggested that the northern cities be abandoned and everyone should move to Cambridge, Oxford and London.

This article is no different.

Ending investment that offers marginal benefits to passengers. Electrification is a good example. It improves acceleration and braking times, making it well-suited to commuter networks. But unless you build a dedicated high speed line, or upgrade existing lines to WCML standards, it makes little difference to journey times for long distance routes.

That's not the point, it's cheaper in the long run, less dependent on oil, and cleaner. There are good reasons why high speed railways around the world rarely use diesel traction. An electric railway is generally a better one. For freight, you can haul massive loads at express passenger speeds which cause less congestion.

Taxpayers and passengers would get better value for money by keeping the 125s and their carriages going, and not proceeding with the new Hitachi SET trains. (The bi-mode version is, as Roger Ford and everyone else have pointed out, bonkers).

The high speed trains are getting on for 40 years old and have done millions of miles, the face of travel connecting our major cities should not have life expired trains. Buying diesel trains for another 40 years is folly for environmental and fuel security reasons.

Long distance projects are glamorous, but offer very poor value for money (see Leunig, in Paradoxes of Modernisation, and Eddington for more details). HS2 should not proceed. The regional benefits are miniscule – all HS2 will do is make Manchester as close to London as Birmingham currently is. Birmingham is not richer than Manchester. My LSE colleague Henry Overman is the expert.

This is all highly debatable. We could have made the same arguments against motorways 40 years ago, and the same arguments against the railways 150 years ago. The fact of the matter is rail travel is growing, car and domestic air travel is falling or static. How do we meet new demand?

(3) We should accept that where passenger flows are too low, lines should close. Cross subsidies within rail make little economic or social sense.

The same can be said for any network: Rail, air, postal, electricity, road, gas, internet, telephone. Some parts of all networks provide little value and are on the face of it not cost effective. But they provide and overall service to the populace at large. It's fine to say cars are better in rural areas, and in some cases they are. But you need to take into account the cost of running cars, ability to drive and access to jobs and services as well as effects on inbound tourism, especially in national parks, if rail services are withdrawn.

Lots of stations should close. The least heavily used 50% of stations account for less than 3.6% of traffic. The least heavily used 30% of stations account for less than 1% of passengers. (Source: ORR station use data) It is a preposterous waste of money to keep them open. We have more little used stations than before Beeching.

See above. The rail network is quite small, the road network is 24 times bigger. Yes, some stations have very few passengers and there might be a case for closing them, but the idea you would save large amounts of money doing this is folly. When rail passenger numbers are at their highest since the 1920s, we should be expanding the network, not shrinking it.

Create a third class on London commuter routes – standing room only. Taking seats out is much cheaper than lengthening trains and platforms. A £1 flat fare standing room only deal would make economic and political sense. Journey times are under 30 minutes, and many people are standing anyway.

The last time the railway companies were forced to carry commuters at bargain basement rates it was disastrous for railway finances. We only have to look at the trouble the Great Eastern and Great Northern railway got themselves into after huge housing estates sprawled out of London so the trains could carry people into the city. Commuting is not profitable due to large amounts of resources sitting idle off peak. A better suggestion to encourage business to stagger working hours through business rates and spread the load.


Overall there are actually far better ways to save money through increased productivity, technology and providing a service people actually want to use, rather than providing a skeleton service which few do.
 
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flymo

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Just crunching some more numbers, the 'lower 50%' of the stations in the list total about 3.5% of passengers and the 'lower 75%' :D equate to about 14.4% of passenger entries (again just using entries for quick calculation).

I guess as the top 25% have about 85% of the passenger entries, those further down are always likely to have a poor percentage.

I agree with other posters further up about statistics, you can make statistics show you anything with the right spin...:|
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Just for amusement here is a video of Coombe Junction Halt on the Looe line which has 25 pax pa , 42 according to our correspondent !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cJ1lHar6yE

Thank you for posting this video. It was quite interesting to see the various facilities that are provided at this station. The passenger count had dropped to 38 in the 2010-11 figures.
 

34Short

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Having read the article, it does bother me why these people chase a career in politics, only to complain when they never get elected considering they spurt the most bizarre nonsense...
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Having read the article, it does bother me why these people chase a career in politics, only to complain when they never get elected considering they spurt the most bizarre nonsense...

On the other side of the coin, there are some who do speak "the most bizarre nonsense" (as you so eloquently put it) even when they are elected. Past experience of hearing John Redwood speaking has convinced me of this.
 

Ferret

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On the other side of the coin, there are some who do speak "the most bizarre nonsense" (as you so eloquently put it) even when they are elected. Past experience of hearing John Redwood speaking has convinced me of this.

Too true - and it spreads to all parties too - Harriet Harman and Diane Abbot always entertain me with some of the bollards they spout off about. Their contributions must be truly cringeworthy for Ed Miliband!
 

ainsworth74

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Was it timed to connect with trains and was there a charge for it?

I'm unsure if there was a charge but it was timed to connect with the trains (seeing moving people from the terminal to the station was it's only function).
 
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