Media picks up on transport disparity between London and "the North"

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by AndrewE, 8 Jun 2019.

  1. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

    Messages:
    3,766
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2012
    My prediction: The extra capacity won't be filled immediately. No, it'll take at least a good couple of weeks before it fills up, and it becomes apparent that trying to - for example - solve overcrowding on 4-carriage trains by supplying 5-carriage trains isn't an adequate long term solution :D
     
  2. Tio Terry

    Tio Terry Member

    Messages:
    705
    Joined:
    2 May 2014
    Location:
    Epsom
    Firstly, I'm from North Norfolk, so neither "Up North" or "Down South"! But I have lived in Epsom for a number of years but, now I'm retired, I spend most of my time in Spain.

    I've watched this thread with great interest for some time and would make a few comments.

    Firstly, in respect of using longer than necessary trains on such things as the Lymington Branch. If you introduce a new, shorter, class of train in to an area then you have to train the maintenance staff, equip the maintenance facilities, stock the necessary spares to ensure adequate reliability, train drivers and any other train or platform staff and have enough stock to cover outages. Sometimes it's easier to use an existing, if longer than necessary, train of a class that you already have everything for.

    In terms of the never ending argument over finance for projects North and South, I tried to Google a truly independent analysis, but failed. Every analysis I found was, in some way, biased towards either North or South. Add to that the different way TfL is funded and there is no way I can find of directly comparing expenditure. Tax revenue to the treasury is undoubtedly greater from London, the South East and East than from any other area of the UK and the argument that it is better to invest what resources you have in an area that produces a known return is better than one that has a record of making a loss holds.

    I think TfN could learn a lesson or two from TfL. If you want to raise finance for a project then you need to produce a good Business Case. One good enough to persuade local businesses to make loans to the project to be repaid from ticket revenue and to apply a Council Tax precept so that local tax payers are committed to the project. This seems to help the treasury to agree that Government Grants are a reasonable thing to give in response to local commitment. Worked for Crossrail and seems to be whats planned for Crossrail 2.

    One thing that seems to be certain is that if you simply ask the DfT to find the finance for whatever you want you will get bogged down in their red tape and will go nowhere for a decade or two!
     
  3. Railwaysceptic

    Railwaysceptic Member

    Messages:
    456
    Joined:
    6 Nov 2017
    This post should be required reading for all those embittered Northern tribalists who enjoy claiming they are the victims of a London conspiracy!
     
  4. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,557
    Joined:
    6 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Yorks
    I'm afraid that just investing 'where the return is greatest' merely perpetuates and exacerbates the problem. It has helped to generate the problem whereby the mighty London economy, can't even provide affordable housing for its own young.

    Where there is a good business case for something, i.e. Trans-pennine electrification, central Government, which hoovers up taxation from all over the country, needs to get on with it and pay for the work, rather than allowing Ministers to indulge their personal fixations (such as Grayling and his bi-mode fettish).

    What's really needed is full devolution and a proper funding settlement for all the regions.
     
  5. Djgr

    Djgr Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    30 Jul 2018
    What's really needed is full devolution and a proper funding settlement for all the regions.

    Absolutely agreed. And if there is one way to really fuel the fires of devolution it's discovering the South awash with half empty trains-ultimately paid for by everyone.
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,546
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    The South isn't "awash with half-empty trains". You are just choosing to be completely ignorant of the usage patterns in the South and the North which means you do get some quieter ones at the outer reaches of their route.

    There are far more "half empty trains" around the North's rural branches.

    This doesn't mean I think the TPE situation is acceptable, but you need to speak facts.
     
  7. Djgr

    Djgr Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    30 Jul 2018
    Ha. I shall be very keen to monitor my train back from Bournemouth this afternoon to see whether I have struck lucky again with a Marie Celeste train. What do we reckon the odds are?
     
  8. hwl

    hwl Established Member

    Messages:
    3,874
    Joined:
    5 Feb 2012
    I trust you will be using a peak train in the peak flow direction?
     
  9. hwl

    hwl Established Member

    Messages:
    3,874
    Joined:
    5 Feb 2012
    With full devolution it will end up mostly getting spent on more roads, it would also come with the stipulation of more local funding (as is the case with London) which will be a hard sell in some places.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,546
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Did you even read what I told you about the unicentric demand in the South East (into/out of London) vs the multicentric "web" of demand in the North that gives for much more consistent loadings?
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,546
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Any train between London Waterloo and its first station (other than Clapham Jn) will do.
     
  12. hwl

    hwl Established Member

    Messages:
    3,874
    Joined:
    5 Feb 2012
    See post 287* The problems is that majority of OPEX for Northern is covered by subsidy (for Northern the total subsidy is 70% or an average of £6.46 per passenger) and that need to be turned around a bit before any bit of government will countenance serious CAPEX. (Ditto TPE though subsidy at 41% is a better place to start)

    Revenues need to increase through more passengers, less fares subsidy (see former PTE area fares) and better fares collection. The average fares revenue per passenger at Northern is just £2.77 seeing it rise to £4.15 (lowest of the range of typical L&SE equivalents) would reduce subsidy levels to just 40% (still more than 2x the worst L&SE level).

    Costs need to be reduced with key metric being lower "X" /per car. On the fewer staff per car losing the DOO / role of the guard** disagreement won't have helped. ** Having the second staff member focus on fares collection enforcement rather than door opening would be a significant change.

    The north had a great friend in Patrick who who signed off on the new rolling stock /pacer replacement, Arriva and stakeholders need to start delivering some improvements.

    The current Northern and TPE franchises are about addressing the previous under investment during the no growth franchise era and seeing how much the economics can be turned around.

    * https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...don-and-the-north.183936/page-10#post-4086158
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,546
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Just getting rid of Northern's excessively restrictive policies on where the guard may operate in a multi-unit set (or indeed a single unit) would make big inroads into the loss of revenue. Most TOCs do not operate such policies and they are completely unnecessary.
     
  14. underbank

    underbank Member

    Messages:
    923
    Joined:
    26 Jan 2013
    Northern fares are crazy. Windermere to Manchester 13:06 today £9.50, but windermere to preston, same train, same time is £19.00. So twice as much for half the distance on the same train. It's counter-intuitive. We're constantly told that the trains are at capacity around Manchester and too empty out in the rural areas, so why charge double for a "rural" journey and half to the city centre. There's no logic. If they want to increase usage outside the major cities, then they need to price accordingly, i.e. cheaper to attract customers. It's the exact opposite of basic Economics where you charge more where demand is high and charge less where demand is low.

    As for fare collection/evasion, they need to start putting barriers on stations like Lancaster where fare evasion/avoidance is rife, particularly on the full school/commuter trains between Lancaster & Morecambe, and to a lesser extent between Lancaster and Carnforth, where the guard has no hope of going through the train collecting fares/checking tickets.
     
  15. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,546
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    VTWC are not great fans of barriers, having only installed them where they are a franchise commitment (and still showing no signs of installing them at Euston other than on P1-3 even though that is a franchise commitment). Nothing stopping Northern doing revenue stings, though.

    Northern clearly aren't that bothered, though, as if they were they'd do away with the stupid and unnecessary restrictions on how guards work their train.
     
  16. underbank

    underbank Member

    Messages:
    923
    Joined:
    26 Jan 2013
    Until they get ticket machines at all unmanned stations, that's not possible. On a lot of rural journeys, you have to get the ticket from the guard, and if he can't get to you before your destination, what are you supposed to do? You can't have revenue protection officers waiting on the platform to catch you if you didn't get an opportunity to buy a ticket. The roll out of ticket machines is far too painfully slow - they should have been installed years/decades ago when the stations became unmanned - a bit late in the day to do it now if they were serious about fare collection.
     
  17. hwl

    hwl Established Member

    Messages:
    3,874
    Joined:
    5 Feb 2012
    Completely agree, there needs to be fares reform, there will be some winners and some losers though.
    At the moment the fares in the former PTE areas are cheap and very heavily subsidised (compared to the more rural ones) and increasing capacity (more vehicles in service) in the urban areas increases subsidy requirement in cash terms (which DfT can't fund as it comes from annual managed expenditure budgets).

    The chicken and egg type cycle needs to be broken to enable big changes.
     
  18. hwl

    hwl Established Member

    Messages:
    3,874
    Joined:
    5 Feb 2012
    Agreed, unfortunately many TOCs /owning groups aren't staff/resourced for major change implementation especially in any sensible time scales.
     
  19. FelixtheCat

    FelixtheCat Established Member

    Messages:
    2,695
    Joined:
    23 Jul 2015
    Location:
    Edinburgh, London, or somewhere else
    Trains run around as 10-12 car sets all day because they are required to be that long at peak times. It has been deemed pointlessly complicated to split trains so that they run as 4/5 car sets outside of those times. On ThamesLink, it is impossible to split the Class 700s into 4 car sets. Hence, they run in the longest formation all day. Even then, some 4 car services do run, and they are pretty much full (in terms of number of seats with bums on them).

    To make a more general point, I suggest some research into how to conduct a proper study of crowding. Choosing one afternoon train from Bournemouth is a very poor method for getting an overall idea of crowding levels of services in London. If you don't want to do it properly (and I don't blame you if you don't want to), then it may be worth looking up some studies that people have already done. They are likely to be of better quality than your method.
     
  20. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    40,546
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    No, but he shouldn't expect his observations to be taken seriously when I can find him just as many overcrowded trains in the South (wasn't one of the 18xx LNR services out of Euston meant to be the most overcrowded in the country, for instance? Or go join the dastardly Reading commuters for a trip?) and empty ones up North (try the Bentham Line or the Cumbrian Coast away from Sellafield shift changes if you want an easy one of those).
     
  21. FelixtheCat

    FelixtheCat Established Member

    Messages:
    2,695
    Joined:
    23 Jul 2015
    Location:
    Edinburgh, London, or somewhere else
    There's 50% of a sentence which you haven't quoted, and 2 paragraphs. Those parts are important for providing context to that little bit of sentence which you've jumped on.
     
  22. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,791
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    I was on one of those last night. 12 cars. Ram packed. But that information is wasted on many who haven't lived outside of the north and have not experienced it . I will happily say that was my view until i moved down south. Reality and perception are two very different things.
     
  23. underbank

    underbank Member

    Messages:
    923
    Joined:
    26 Jan 2013
    How can it be pointless to split them to save huge amounts of energy, emissions, and wear and tear. It may be complicated (though it shouldn't be if planned properly), but the savings would be immense (not just monetary but also environmental). Let's face it - the real reason is that the TOC's can't be bothered to do it - perhaps they need to be "encouraged" to be more environmentally aware and also "encouraged" by the leasing companies to use them less to reduce wear and tear.
     
  24. 87015

    87015 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,259
    Joined:
    3 Mar 2006
    Location:
    GEML/WCML/SR
    Splitting costs drivers. This is far more of a direct, large expense to a TOC than any of the above - there are certainly not immense savings in it or it would happen.
     
  25. sprunt

    sprunt Member

    Messages:
    613
    Joined:
    22 Jul 2017
    Of you convincing anyone of your case based on a single anecdote? About 100/1, I'd say.
     
  26. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,557
    Joined:
    6 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Yorks
    I'm afraid that fares within PTE areas have already been ramped up as far as is practically sensible. The increase in the Manchester area over the past ten years has been vastly in excess of inflation. And as for those outside PTE areas, many of these are excessive anyway.

    The dirt cheap fares have gone. London needs to cough up some Capex now and do it properly, not abanon it half way through.

    How is a Cumbrian coast service away from the Sellafield shift change any different from a London service at the country end ?
     
  27. bramling

    bramling Established Member

    Messages:
    6,481
    Joined:
    5 Mar 2012
    Location:
    Hertfordshire / Teesdale
    I’d go with that. A friend of mine who has lived in various places “up north” (Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Grimsby, Berwick) was absolutely shocked at the intensity of the London / south-east commuter operation, and even the off-peak operation. Completely awe-struck seeing a fully loaded 12-car train unload, or on the Underground seeing fully loaded trains follow each other with the next straight on the tail.
     
  28. hwl

    hwl Established Member

    Messages:
    3,874
    Joined:
    5 Feb 2012
    No - it is just cheaper not to split.
    EMU wear and tear based on mileage is far lower than for DMUs which also feeds though to the maintenance costs.
    EMU energy costs are far lower than DMU ones. (EMUs are almost 3 times as energy efficient overall as DMUs)
    EMUs used rheostatic or regenerative braking so the brake pad costs (including labour) are far lower.
    Hence plenty of apple and orange type comparisons going on between EMU and DMU.

    As I said several pages ago you won't get much change from £250k for a cab etc. on a new train. 3 pairs of cabs = cost of 1 top spec EMU car so much more sensible to go for longer units than pay more for the ability to split. Longer units mean more equipment can be shared and the total equipment requirement reduced also reducing cost e.g. an average train in service would have fewer TMCS computers, compressors, traction electronics controllers, static converters for auxiliary supplies etc. this also reduces (maintenance costs and time not in service).

    Exactly Southern and SWT stopped doing it.
    Regenerative braking was one of the final things that helped tip the balance.
    The hourly full (inc employer costs) cost of a driver would cover the energy cost of 12-13 station stop cycles on a standalone 4 car EMU so easier to leave the unit joined on the back of another...
     
  29. hwl

    hwl Established Member

    Messages:
    3,874
    Joined:
    5 Feb 2012
    Yep plenty of field trips needed.
     
  30. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

    Messages:
    3,766
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2012
    Firstly, you seem to have ignored @Bletchleyite's point about Bournemouth being at (almost) the far end of a line which is much busier at the other end. A fairer comparison would be to something like many of the Virgin trains I've been on where north of Lancaster, you could easily accommodate everyone on a smaller train. But the point of the long train is that it's absolutely packed south of Warrington - just as the Bournemouth trains will often be very busy east of Woking.

    But secondly, there's another way of looking at the Bournemouth route: As a perfect example of suppressed demand due to poor timetable and connections. Bournemouth station is nearly a mile from the town centre, and - unlike Manchester - there are no frequent trams to get you to somewhere more useful. If you're going to London, the fastest trains take nearly 2 hours - almost the same time as Manchester to London, despite Manchester to London being twice the distance. Looking more locally, there are two fast trains an hour to Southampton, which must be the nearest major destination from Bournemouth. Except that's not every 30 minutes. Coming from Southampton, the two trains depart 6 minutes apart, leaving almost an hour gap until the next fast trains. And if you live at one of the local stations around Bournemouth, you'll see one or two trains per hour. If it's 2 tph, it's still with gaps of up to 50 minutes because the trains aren't regularly spaced. And these are mainly stations in fairly well built up areas. And in case you want a really extra-slow journey, the hourly stopper between Southampton and Bournemouth waits for an astonishing 25 minutes at Brockenhurst. If you wanted to deliberately design a timetable to stop people wanting to travel by train, despite high notional frequencies, the timetable around Bournemouth looks almost perfect for the job!

    Oh, and the longer trains divide, losing half their carriages to go West from Bournemouth. If I recall correctly, that's not because of any particular desire to do so, but because the power supply west of Bournemouth isn't adequate for longer trains.

    Can you see where I'm heading... you can construct a pretty good argument for saying that trains around Bournemouth would be a lot better used with a bit of investment to improve services. Exactly the same argument that is often (quite correctly) made for many services in the North of England.

    I'm not saying this to have a go at the North or put one part of the country against another. The point is that there are almost no parts of the UK that couldn't benefit from improved services or investment in rail infrastructure etc. - and it's therefore pointless trying to make an argument based 'you shouldn't get anything because we really need it'
     

Share This Page