Could sleeper trains run through the Channel Tunnel?

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by catfordbags, 23 Apr 2015.

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  1. catfordbags

    catfordbags Member

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    Is there any reason why sleeper trains could not operate from say Manchester to Southern/central Europe via the Chunnel ?
     
  2. Agent_c

    Agent_c Member

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    Economics.

    There was originally in the plan the "nightstars" that would run from points beyond London, however, this was before the explosion in low cost airlines.

    Its simply easier and cheaper to get a sleazyjet flight from Manchester
     
  3. martynbristow

    martynbristow Member

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    Yes there was indeed nightstars. We had the rolling stock and depots and everything. Manchester had until some point a Eurostar sign and long sight.
    It was the commercial viability that shot the idea but also delays and complications were to contribute. We had Night Star rolling stock but thats since been sent to Canada
    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nightstar_(train)

    It would be a good idea and I'd have liked it but ohh well.
     
  4. Traveller54

    Traveller54 Member

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    Aye, when they were promoting the Chunnel in Scotland during the 80s, we were promised direct services from Central Scotland to the continent. So I doubt HS2 will ever make it up here, if indeed it gets started at all.
     
  5. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Not to mention a Swansea / Plymouth combined service via Kensingotn Olympia - was a "ghost" train in the working timetables for years.

    Political planning and economic disaster - stock cancelled - those finished sold to Canada - market gap filled by Ryanair and Easyjet / Flybe etc......
     
  6. BananaRepublic

    BananaRepublic Member

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    The competition from low cost airlines being partly responsible for the cancellation of the proposed"Nightstar" and NoL services seems to have become established folk law, when it is in fact a complete myth.
    The proposed routes of both services are markets where the low cost airlines were not operating at the time and in some cases never have to this very day.
    Amsterdam being the only exception.

    Low cost flights between Manchester/Glasgow and Paris, really didn't appear until around seven or eight years after the cancellation of these proposed rail services.
    Even then, they are few in number and in Manchester's case, outnumbered by the full fare operators.
    Other regional LoCo flights to Paris, of which there are quite a few, also appeared in the 'noughties.

    Also, LoCo flights between London and Brussels have been run over intermittent periods by Ryanair over the years. Operating one season or year and then not served for a couple of years.
    Easyjet added a Gatwick - Brussels service only recently.
    There had never been LoCo flights to Brussels from UK regional airports, until FlyBe took over the BA Regional flights to that destination in the mid 'noughties.
    They're not exactly cheap though, being more of a business route.
    Ryanair recently added Manchester and Edinburgh to Brussels.

    All of this, long after the cancellation of "Nightstar" and NoL.
     
    Last edited: 23 Apr 2015
  7. 87031

    87031 Member

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    They can't even make it to Glasgow at the moment :lol:
     
  8. cjmillsnun

    cjmillsnun Established Member

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    They can, but only with proper traction ;)
     
  9. Saint66

    Saint66 Member

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    To be fair, that's probably best for everyone on board... :lol:
     
  10. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    Why would it have been a good idea when its cheaper and quicker to fly?
     
  11. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    The point isn't that low-cost airline operators ran on routes parallel to those proposed to be run by the sleepers.

    What happened was that the euopean airline market was deregulated in 1992. This caused two things relevant to this discussion, firstly freedom of fare setting by the existing operators in Europe, and secondly much lower barriers of entry to the market on any airline route wholly within the EU. Taken together, this lowered the cost of fares on many (if not all) European routes, and introduced many new routes, and ultimately many new operators, most of which have since gone to the wall or been bought by others.

    So prior to 1992, a weekend away to anywhere in Europe was purely the preserve of the relatively wealthy. Paris in particular was the most popular destination by far, as it was relatively close and thus relatively cheap compared to anywhere else. The sleepers were intended in part to capture some of that market.

    However post 1992, the market changed quickly, and the competition for a prospective sleeper Paris became not the airlines to Paris, but airlines to various other European cities.

    Added to this the fare reductions on the Paris route, and the sleeper market evaporated very quickly.

    Besides, as discussed on this forum as nauseam, 95% of the population would rather fly for journeys of sleeper length, especially when it is cheaper to fly AND get a decent hotel than use the sleeper. Which is what would be the case for a euro-sleeper.
     
  12. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    I imagine we eventually will see sleepers through the Chunnel, as budget airlines become more expensive - plus with the dawn of high speed sleeper services in places like China (and the now-approved HSL from Beijing to Moscow) we may see services to places quite far afield.

    Paying £200 for a 36 hour trip to Beijing instead of £500 for a flight would certainly appeal to some people. Other long distance lines are also in planning to various places surrounding Europe.
     
  13. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    what I never understood is that they invested infrastructure and build rolling stock, and then decided its not viable. How did that process come about?

    Martin
     
  14. sarahj

    sarahj Established Member

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    IIRC there was stuff in the original CT agreement for running services north of london and sleeper services. Back then EPS believed there was a market for sleeper services and a stock order was placed. Usage for Eurostar services were also predicted to be around the 10 million mark within a year of the route opening and I guess the same wild figs were quoted for the sleepers. Slowly the stock got built. testing started and it was found that Hotel power was massive and many locos stuggled to cope. Then there was the fact that intermediate passengers could not be carried due to security/customs, and the plans just drifted. Some 37's were done up ready, and some connecting services using HST's were run, but they were just not used. Why catch a HST from Newcastle etc to Waterloo, when there were/are daily direct flights. and then came Privatisation. The plans were looked at and just seemed fanciful in the light of day. No one took it forward. Sleeper trains were just so last year. The stock sat half built in the yards, and then was sold off to Canade. The NOL Eurostars were used on French internal routes and the 37's and sidings built just collected rust or weeds.

    And that was that.

    Meanwhile budget flying took off and as a result has decimated sleeper services in mainland europe. Meanwhile on the rail front day services were getting faster and faster. So it became why spend a night on a train when you can either be in a hotel bed, or your own and then catch a fast plane/train during the day.

    It was a dream that faded in the light of day.

    (just a note, most inter euro flights carry just 150-200 folks and can be quickly taken off routes if the punters are not there. A eurostar carries 800, nightstar a few hundred and on timetables that get planned years in advance. they are a fixed asset that have little use outside their core jobs. unused they just sit and rot and can not be used on many other services. Get it wrong and you are left with wasted money and no handy desert to leave them in storage when not needed)
     
    Last edited: 24 Apr 2015
  15. route:oxford

    route:oxford Established Member

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    Scotland hasn't built HS1 yet!
     
  16. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    No, and it wouldn't do so since HS1 was built a decade ago and runs only from London to Folkestone.
     
  17. Groningen

    Groningen Established Member

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    Eh; letting the British borderforce work at night? Do not think so.
     
  18. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    I suspect this is part of the real reason...

    Installing border checkpoints all throughout Europe would be hideously expensive, and checking on the train would make UKIP's heads explode.
     
  19. HLE 13

    HLE 13 Established Member

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    Maybe it's just time to join the Schengen Agreement but keep passport checks for Non EU citizens, I'm not particularly pro EU but in these times it seems obviously that's it best for business.

    I doubt EU sleepers would come to the UK though, probably better to run more Eurostars to a hub like Paris and travel from there.
     
  20. catfordbags

    catfordbags Member

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    Similar question... Could Eurostar run trains direct from Paris to Manchester using HS1 then the WCML ?

    Apart from the infrastructure at Manchester Piccadilly one would assume the economics for this would stack up.
     
  21. HLE 13

    HLE 13 Established Member

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    Well I can't see why not after all if Europe can cope with domestic and international trains why can't we? especially when we join the Schengen Agreement which will no doubt happen, not keen on adopting the Euro though.
     
  22. JoeGJ1984

    JoeGJ1984 Member

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    Similarly, could direct trains run from London to Barcelona by 'joining up' the existing London to Paris and Paris to Barcelona routes? (I.e. run London-Paris-Barcelona?)
     
  23. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    You'd have to use the short North of London sets, or equivalent.
    You'd also have to get around the migration and security concerns.
    Realistically, and sadly, the economics are unlikely to stack up if they are required only to carry international passengers.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Again, theoretically yes, assuming the had all the necessary safety critical stuff. The problem with Paris, though, is that it has separate termini, so trains from further North can't realistically serve the city centre. I can see Lille/Brussels to Barcelona coming eventually, but bearing in mind that there is still only one Brussels - Nice (the longest TGV route IIRC) after many years, I wouldn't hold my breath.
     
  24. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Manchester-Charleroi ("Brussels South") twice daily on Ryanair, cheap as chips (£15 each way when I used it).
    Direct coach to Brussels Midi or train via Charleroi Sud.
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2015
  25. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    As far as I can see, Eurostar is the only train service which carries only international passengers. It is just about worthwhile for it do so because it links three of Europe's biggest cities, which happen to be around the three-hour journey time where rail is competitive against air.

    All other international train services also carry domestic passengers within the countries they pass through. If on-train passport checks were acceptable and security screening wasn't considered necessary then there could be, for example, a Manchester-Birmingham-OOC-Stratford-Ebbsfleet-Ashford-Lille-Paris service every hour or two via a HS1-HS2 link. This would provide useful cross-London links within the UK, might not require an extra path on HS2 and the total of domestic and international passengers might make it worth doing.

    However we appear to be stuck with passport checks and security before boarding, which would also apply to domestic passengers using that train. Thus all the stations it calls at would have to have facilities and staff to conduct these, and the check-in time, need for ID and general hassle factor means that domestic passengers just wouldn't bother. If passports could be checked on the train after the last domestic stop, and the lower risk of devices on trains versus planes allowed security checks to be reduced, then it might be a different story.
     
  26. Jordeh

    Jordeh Member

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    There is zero to no chance of the UK joining the Schengen Agreement anytime in the foreseeable future, it would be political suicide. For good or for worse, there's a much greater chance of us leaving the EU.
     
  27. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Agree that full Schengen membership is unlikely, however the fact that we have only one land border makes a partial restriction possible - maybe even in the lifetime of the next parliament.
     
  28. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Not that it will ever happen, but you would need to add at least one zero to that sleeper fare...
     
  29. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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  30. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    I wonder if we'll ever then see a standard gauge connection to Europe from Moscow?
     
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