Intercity Anglia

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Kier

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On YouTube, the other day I saw a documentary on BR in the early 90s and that rail travellers on the Norwich-Liverpool Street line were suing BR for the appalling level of service run by old rolling stock and frequent delays.

Did anything ever come of this? It also said that Intercity recieved no subsidy and had to run profitable services, in effect a commercial service and this was unique to Britain. Is this still the case?
 
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ainsworth74

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It also said that Intercity recieved no subsidy and had to run profitable services, in effect a commercial service and this was unique to Britain. Is this still the case?
I'm not quite sure what you mean as InterCity no longer exists as it was (along with the rest of BR) broken up into various franchises at privatisation.
 

Kier

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Would Intercity franchises (East Coast, Virgin) recieve a subsidy?

East Midlands Trains, FGW and Greater Anglia run a combination of InterCity and Regional Railways routes so I presume they do recieve some sort of subsidy?
 

Wath Yard

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Would Intercity franchises (East Coast, Virgin) recieve a subsidy?
It depends on how you define subsidy. EC and VWC both now pay a premium, however if you take into account the money paid directly to Network Rail by the DfT they effectively receive a subsidy. So no, they do not make a profit in reality but do superficially, a system presumably put in place to show that privatisation works.
 

jopsuk

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The "Intercity" service on the GE didn't, by my research, receive new stock at all during the 90s. When did it get mark 2s? The seventies? It finally received 1970/80s vintage Mark 3s in 2004.
 

Flying Snail

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It depends on how you define subsidy. EC and VWC both now pay a premium, however if you take into account the money paid directly to Network Rail by the DfT they effectively receive a subsidy. So no, they do not make a profit in reality but do superficially, a system presumably put in place to show that privatisation works.
However the network of companies invented to take the place of BR all take out generous profits for themselves despite the industry requiring heavy subsidy from taxpayers.

The irony is that despite it being a far more costly and inefficient way of running the railways the current set-up makes it far more difficult for the state funding to be cut then previously.
 

ainsworth74

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Is this line cursed then? Its still like this isn't it..?
I think it suffers from never being a priority in part due to it's end to end length. Under InterCity it will have been considered something of a secondary main line compared with their services on the ECML or WCML or GWML (and I think the MML suffered in a similar fashion) so it was never a priority for investment in new rolling stock. Then with privatisation it had it's first franchise (Anglia Railways) that seemed to actually care enough to spend money on the passenger environment but since then NXEA and the DfT (Anglia was one of the first franchises so had a lot more freedom of manoeuvre than later franchises once the DfT started to take more direct control post Hadfield and the collapse of Railtrack) have quite clearly not given a stuff about the route other than to transfer the ex-WCML Mk3s and 90s to replace the Mk2s and 86s.

As an Intercity route it's a backwater compared to long distance services on somewhere like the ECML so always ends up low down the priority list for new stock. However, questions should definitely be asked about the state of the infrastructure over there.
 

tbtc

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As they say in Yorkshire, the GEML to Norwich is "neither nowt nor summat"...

...not long enough and/or not serving large enough places to really justify brand new *high* speed stock/services, but too far for "outer suburban" EMUs to work on. So a brand new 125mph Pendolino would be overkill but it needs something better than a 317/321 etc.

I'm not wholly convinced by the "Intercity was profitable" argument - it suited the privatisation agenda to show that there were profitable parts that would be attractive to private companies, but it really depends on how you account for things (whether each service pays its fair share of infrastructure costs etc). There will be some services/ routes that are more profitable than others, but I don't know how BR's accounting worked - you could hide a lot of costs if you wanted to.
 

jopsuk

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If the linespeed was fast enough, 140mph Class 395s would make perfectly good units for Norwich services- an hour (or less) end to end would not require "Intercity" standards of service.
(if 1st class was REALLY required I'm sure a suitable interior could be arranged)
 

david_VI

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I think it suffers from never being a priority in part due to it's end to end length. Under InterCity it will have been considered something of a secondary main line compared with their services on the ECML or WCML or GWML (and I think the MML suffered in a similar fashion) so it was never a priority for investment in new rolling stock. Then with privatisation it had it's first franchise (Anglia Railways) that seemed to actually care enough to spend money on the passenger environment but since then NXEA and the DfT (Anglia was one of the first franchises so had a lot more freedom of manoeuvre than later franchises once the DfT started to take more direct control post Hadfield and the collapse of Railtrack) have quite clearly not given a stuff about the route other than to transfer the ex-WCML Mk3s and 90s to replace the Mk2s and 86s.

As an Intercity route it's a backwater compared to long distance services on somewhere like the ECML so always ends up low down the priority list for new stock. However, questions should definitely be asked about the state of the infrastructure over there.
Thanks for the explanation, makes sense now, how it is stuck inbetween being a long route and a commuter route.
 

jon0844

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On YouTube, the other day I saw a documentary on BR in the early 90s and that rail travellers on the Norwich-Liverpool Street line were suing BR for the appalling level of service run by old rolling stock and frequent delays.
That can't have happened. We all know everything was perfect under BR. ;)
 

jha4ceb

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The GEML is not that unique, length-wise. The lines to Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol, and Weymouth are all of broadly similar length. Of course, only one of those is electrified (two if we're counting the WCML to Birmingham rather than the Chiltern line -- the latter is probably a better comparison).
 

calc7

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The GEML is not that unique, length-wise. The lines to Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol, and Weymouth are all of broadly similar length. Of course, only one of those is electrified (two if we're counting the WCML to Birmingham rather than the Chiltern line -- the latter is probably a better comparison).
But without getting into a debate about which cities are "most important", at the end of the GWML you have Bristol and Cardiff, the Dorset conurbation is of a decent size and the line serves lots of affluent areas en route, and the MML goes to four decently-sized East Midlands cities. Rather than the length of the line we need to consider the value of the passenger flows using that route.
 

jopsuk

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There were many oddities in the way BR carved things up- why Kings Lynn was part of NSE, whilst Peterborough wasn't (but was served by NSE trains- it remains outside the "Network Card" area) and Norwich too. East Anglia wound up a mix of NSE, RR and IC, whilst NSE ran as far, and more slowly, out to Weymouth and Exeter.
 

pitdiver

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As a regular visitor to the Norwich area on the way to the Broads. I really think that the city deserves a better service than it receives now. It really is a regional centre with many important organisations including UEA. I don't think you can compare it to Weymouth which was always considered to be a seaside town. I know it has received a lot of attention now those "Games" are going there but once those are over it will revert back to what it was.
To be quite honest I would think most visitors to Weymouth don't go by train.
 

Z12XE

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Then with privatisation it had it's first franchise (Anglia Railways) that seemed to actually care enough to spend money on the passenger environment but since then NXEA and the DfT (Anglia was one of the first franchises so had a lot more freedom of manoeuvre than later franchises once the DfT started to take more direct control post Hadfield and the collapse of Railtrack) have quite clearly not given a stuff about the route other than to transfer the ex-WCML Mk3s and 90s to replace the Mk2s and 86s.
Anglia Railways a triumph of Marketing over any great substance.

Their service was poor and unrelilable - the majority of their former lines gets a much better service now than it ever did in their days.
They could talk a good game, and spend other peoples money but there was little substance to any of it. The only decent thing from their days were the 170s now on the local lines, which to them were ordered as mainline trains (and please dont quote them as being used providing through services to the branches, as they did several runs per day which terminated/started from Norwich, with just a token service to GYM and LWT once per day)
 

ainsworth74

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Anglia Railways a triumph of Marketing over any great substance.
Fair enough, I wasn't particularly interested in the railway at that point to take any notice of pretty much anything railway related. So all I have to go in is what's written on line and in relation to Anglia Railways, that's not much.
 

andykn

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As a regular visitor to the Norwich area on the way to the Broads. I really think that the city deserves a better service than it receives now. It really is a regional centre with many important organisations including UEA. I don't think you can compare it to Weymouth which was always considered to be a seaside town. I know it has received a lot of attention now those "Games" are going there but once those are over it will revert back to what it was.
To be quite honest I would think most visitors to Weymouth don't go by train.
Norwich gets a better service than Weymouth because it's a bigger place. London to Weymouth is nearly 3 hours, the fastest trains stop 12 times, Norwich is less than 2. Even on a Friday with standing room only out of Waterloo there will be few people left at Weymouth, plenty more will stay on to Norwich.
 

yorksrob

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Isn't one of the main problems with the route the fact that it has a shorter section of quadruple track on the approach to London than most InterCity routes which will presumably have an effect on reliability (something touched on in the documentary if it's the one I'm thinking of).

You could spruce up the MK3's to a pretty good standard and have modern locos, however there's still a greater chance of getting stuck behind a stopper.
 

LE Greys

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Ever since 1922, this line has been considered secondary to something. The GER did not help themselves by building short turntables, so anything longer than a 4-4-0 had to have a very squashed tender. The gave it compact yet powerful B17s, but still seemed to consider it of lesser status until they suddenly dropped the East Anglian streamliner on the route. BR decided to try out new stock on the route, so it first had Britannias, then Class 40s, but got lumbered with the 40s right up until electrification. They wanted to cascade HSTs there, but only when APT was in service :roll: . Eventually, it was wired instead, but ended up with second-hand electrics made spare from the London Midland. Today, I reckon 90s and MkIIIs aren't bad, certainly better than the 444s foisted on SWT or Voyagers on XC. Enjoy it while you can.
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Isn't one of the main problems with the route the fact that it has a shorter section of quadruple track on the approach to London than most InterCity routes which will presumably have an effect on reliability (something touched on in the documentary if it's the one I'm thinking of).

You could spruce up the MK3's to a pretty good standard and have modern locos, however there's still a greater chance of getting stuck behind a stopper.
That is a very good point. Really, the line needs four tracks to Colchester, but that's probably too much investment to be attractive despite it being important for containers as well as passengers. 125 mph would be nice as well, or even the 110 mph the 90s are capable of.
 
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