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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by AndrewE, 8 Jun 2019.
Maybe because the GWML trumped the Chiltern line for electrification funding?
Huddersfield is also effectively a suburban / commuter station of Leeds, and it is not that far to Manchester too, with a high frequency of trains especially to the former. In contrast, Bournemouth serves as a town station, and being that far in journey time from anywhere of importance so will not have anywhere near as many regular commuters.
Personally I'd love to see Sheffield have a much better rail service (and a more extensive tram network too). But this kind of silly hyperbole does nothing to help your case. I'd hardly call Meadowhall 'nowhere', and the Middlewood/Malin Bridge route serves the University and runs past some fairly heavily populated areas. Yes Manchester has a more extensive tram network than anywhere else in the UK. I'd have thought Sheffield's is fairly comparable with Nottingham's though - and clearly a lot better than the dozens of major cities in both the North AND the South of the UK that have no trams at all. Sheffield's rail network is pretty bad compared to what you'd ideally like, but I don't think you could argue that Sheffield is any more hard done by than lots of other cities.
Presumably, the fact that you said there were no electrified lines in Sheffield. When clearly there are electrified tram lines.
Really? How about - to take one of dozens of examples, San Jose in California - a city twice the size of Sheffield, and whose heavy rail network comprises: An hourly commuter service to San Francisco, seven trains a day to Sacramento, 4 trains a day to Stockton, and the once daily Seattle-Los Angeles service - none of them electrified (although to be fair, the San Francisco service will be electrified in a few years, and there is also a tram 'network' - if you call two lines a network - which I believe is electrified).
May be worth being a bit more careful before you make these kinds of wild assertions about 'in any other country'!
It’s “nowhere” in the grand scheme of things. The Woodseats, Ecclesall, Fulwood, Dore, Whirlow, Nether Edge, Ranmoor, Stocksbridge, Deepcar areas and even the inner ring road justify having their own tram connections. If you’re going to Meadowhall via public transport you’d be better off catching a train as it only takes 5 minutes. Let’s not forget the lack of tram connections to the 2 Hospitals either.
I don’t think mentioning the American rail system is a valid argument as their rail industry isn’t remotely the same as Germany, France, Spain and the UK...
I recently moved to Shipley as I work in Leeds now but return to Sheffield every weekend to visit friends and family, it’s fair to say I am bitter at how much better the rail offerings that Leeds has.
Another point would be Sheffield to Manchester are the worst connected neighbouring cities by both rail and road, it’s laughable at how diabolical the rail and road provisions are between 2 cities that are what, 30-35 miles as the crow flies apart?
What’s worse is the new HS3 won’t be anywhere near Sheffield and the NPR “improvements” to the Hope Valley line were originally meant to improve journey times between Sheffield and Manchester to 30 minutes with 6tph, that’s quietly changed to “40 minutes with 4tph at best”.
Haha, you mention France, cities in France (except Paris) get a worse railway service than Sheffield tbh
What point are you making? Is it trying to justify Bournemouth's exceedingly generous provision?
There is no way that I would describe Bournemouth's rail provision as even remotely generous. The urban area of which Bournemouth is the main centre - the SouthEast Dorset connurbation - has a population of nearly half a million (or, about 2/3 of the population of the urban area centred on Nottingham). This population is served by just one rail line, along which 4tph operate. Although there are a fair few stations along that one line, most see 2tph at irregular intervals with hourly gaps in their service of up to 40-50 minutes. I'd accept that the train lengths on most services are pretty generous, but practically nothing else is.
I'm not saying this to try to make out that any particular city is particularly hard done by. You can pretty much make up any story you want by carefully selecting which cities you compare with (Bournemouth for example is pretty hard done by in comparison with Nottingham, but arguably has excellent provision if you compare it with Plymouth - making some allowance for different populations). The real lesson is that people need to stop picking out towns and using them as sticks with which to bash the extent of rail provision in other towns.
It is in reference to the point that Huddersfield has more customers than Bournemouth.
And it doesn't get a generous service provision, unlike Huddersfield, which does.
Let's review what was said
Any other country, of we use the Pointless definition of a country then the USA counts, unless you've got a better definition in which the USA doesn't count.
Until fairly recently Bristol (the urban are of which isn't much smaller in population size than Sheffield's) would have also not had any electrification, however it also has no tram network.
Should Sheffield have better provision, yes. As I was explaining to my eldest, there's no point complaining that you aren't like someone else, you have to be the best you you can be. That means that there'll be times when things which others find easy or appear to get given on a plate you have to work hard to get, but that doesn't mean you give up.
The problem is that we all find it easy to identify those who are doing better than us, without noticing all those who are doing worse than us. As an example a millionaire more likely see those who are richer and want to be like them more easily than those who have a less than them and be grateful for what they do have.
As such going back to your point about cities of a similar size or bigger in the world without electrification, there's probably quite a few, and many of those wouldn't have a tram network, of these there's even a few without ANY rail provision (including a couple with populations of double that of Sheffield) There could even be a couple where fresh water isn't so easily/widely available and/or isn't of as high a quality. However those aren't noticed.
I feel that England is basically London's suburbs and the level of infrastructure and service is what you'd expect from a suburban railway network on 'the continent'. And as such the 'inter-suburban' transport links are viewed as being far less important and the quality of those links reflect that attitude.
There is clearly a case for a massive improvement in integration of transport on a regional basis outside of London. The main contenders are Bristol/Cardiff, the West Midlands, East Midlands, Mersey, Manchester, West Yorkshire, Newcastle/NE. I use these as loose geographical terms not literally.
As one very simple demonstration of the problem, the Oyster card was rolled out in London years ago and there is hardly a sniff of a true equivalent anywhere else, but years of talk.
It is just not taken seriously by Government and is not a priority or even a statutory obligation on local authorities. All cities that have good transport have good transport authorties with proper budgets and powers over the various networks.
Only true regional/city statutory transport authorities with proper budgets will bring about real change. Osborne did make a bit of progress on this and then half the country voted for years of political instability meaning even the key basics are now pushed down the agenda (health, housing, care). Transport doesn't stand a chance in this environment. That is not going to change whilst this self-induced nonsense continues.
Meanwhile, Grayling appears to have literally disappeared and nobody has even noticed.
I agree about the Bournemouth conurbation. For its size, one NE/SW rail link is quite paltry.
It is a bit like saying those under 45 should not worry about the fact that pension provision is typically much worse for them than for those between 45 and 90 because it is dreadful in Kenya and so at least it is not as bad that.
I believe this is also referred to as a race to the bottom.
The situation with the millionaire is quite different. That concern is individualistic and matieralistic whereas concern for pension provision or common transport provision takes into account a concern for more than yourself. It speaks to a system of shared resources and structures. Very different.
The idea behind PTEs was basically a good one - unfortunately since their creation they've been stripped of powers, and stripped of budget. Give the existing PTEs comparable authority to Transport for London, and a budget proportionate to their size, and you'd start making a difference. There are probably a few other metropolitan areas that are large enough to warrant new PTEs on a similar basis.
I think it may also be worth looking at "rural PTEs" in the manner Switzerland sort-of has. It always amazes me just how poor and poorly-coordinated local (i.e. non-London-bound) public transport generally is in the Home Counties when compared with the North, for instance.
The ability to go anywhere that isn't towards London or the direct opposite is severely limited unless you use a car.
Indeed. To a fair extent that reflects demand (down South you have a huge demand towards London and a far lower one between different places, while up North you have a web of medium demand between the entire set of towns and cities), but I think it would be improved by just a bit of coordination.
 One thing many forget is just how rural the Home Counties are once you get past the M25. The North West is far less rural - OK, the cities are a bit smaller, but there is a far higher density of smaller places as one big conurbation which isn't really true in the SE outside of London, there are a smaller number of distinct places with nothingness in between them.
Maybe in the Liverpool<>Manchester<>Leeds corridor, but there's a hell of a lot of "rural" outside that corridor, basically most of Lancashire, Cumbria, West Yorkshire, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, etc. You could say that x miles north and south of the Liverpool<>Leeds corridor is like within the M25, and more than x miles from that corridor is like outside the M25 if you want to compare with London. Even within the corridor there are lots of stand-alone ex mill towns surrounded by hills and green so still pretty rural once you're out of the town itself.
Yes, true, the National Parks and surrounding areas are very rural. TBH, I'd give the National Park Authorities the remit and funding to act as a PTE - without the ability to coordinate public transport properly the only option they really have to solve car issues is upping parking costs, which is fairly ineffective as people on holiday will either just cough up or park somewhere more awkward on-street making things worse.
Having said that, Stagecoach, on a commercial basis, operate a very good network in the Lakes, but Snowdonia (much simpler to serve as there are fewer roads) has a pathetic bus network. Maybe the Welsh Government will move to solve this at some point with some more Traws routes.
 While it's technically OT as it's in Wales, not the North, the long-running strong connections between North Wales and the urban North West (the most likely accent you will hear up Snowdon is Scouse...) mean it is in my view relevant to the discussion.
Sorry to be a killjoy, but that's actually NOT what @The Ham , or I, are saying, and linking that to our posts is itself logically flawed.
If people on here were saying something like, "People in the North shouldn't complain about their rail provision because it's even worse in Outer Mongolia or wherever", then that link would be very relevant. But I'm pretty sure that's not what anyone is saying.
What I - and I'm fairly sure @The Ham and others are saying is more like: By all means complain about poor rail provision in Sheffield or Leeds or Manchester or wherever, but do so for the right reasons - and there's no need to start bashing the South or setting up a North vs South thing in the process. In other words: Campaign for better rail provision because it would be much better for the environment, and for quality of life, and for economic development etc. etc. if those places (and lots of other places) had better public transport, including rail. And because in many cases because the poor rail provision is almost certainly suppressing demand. You can say all that, and make detailed arguments for specific improvements (such as new through platforms at Piccadilly, a decent metro service between Dore and Rotherham, more electrification, longer trains etc.) without at the same time spoiling your arguments by trying to knock other parts of the country. After all, while it's certainly true that some places have better rail services than other places, there's virtually nowhere in the country (even London) where public transport provision is really adequate for having a sustainable transport network.
There is never going to be public transport that suits every journey, but I'd say within about zone 4 or so when coupled with a bicycle and occasional taxi/car club usage that there is really no need to own a car in London at all. This isn't true about most other UK cities, though Merseyrail helps to get close to it in Liverpool if you're willing to take a bike with you.
I'm not sure I'd fully agree. Outside a few specific corridors (such as the North London line corridor), it's surprisingly difficult to make Orbital journey by public transport in London. Generally speaking, if your journey is to/from the centre of London, then you're fine. If you want to do something like Sidcup-Streatham or Walthamstow-Stratford, then you're basically screwed - unless you head towards the centre and then back out again. Yes there are buses but they are so slow that they are only really useful for journeys of up to a couple of miles (Walthamstow-Stratford would be just doable on a bus, but with an awful lot of being stuck in traffic en route). (Obviously, that doesn't change the fact that London's rail provision is more generous than most other places in the UK).
"when coupled with a bicycle and occasional taxi/car club usage" .... well, actually if you have a bicycle and you're able and willing to use it in all weathers, then no matter where you live, you can pretty much make any regular journey of up to 5 miles or so (Longer probably requires more fitness/dedication than most people probably have). So on that basis, you could argue that in almost any city, there's no need to own a car if you have a bicycle and most of your journeys are not much more than 5 miles[*]. For what it's worth, I do live in London Zone 4, and I do get by pretty well with a bicycle and no car. But without the bicycle, I would struggle for a fair few journeys.
[*] Admittedly, in parts of Sheffield, you'd have to be incredibly fit
It seems to be a general problem with most cities that circumferential travel is much more difficult than radial travel. Even in a car - the faster, good quality roads are almost always the radial routes.
I'm not even a "proper" cyclist (I ride a hybrid as a mode of transport, not a fancy road bike in lycra for leisure - so Dutch style really) and if I had to choose to get rid of my car or my bike the car would go, and the decision would not even be difficult. And that's living in the city of the car (taxis in MK are cheap enough if one was needed from time to time, and I have large supermarket shops delivered anyway).
I'd still want to be able to drive, to hire a van to get DIY stuff or whatever, though. So if it was lose the bike or lose the driving licence that would be more difficult.
I think we need more of that mindset - to be more Dutch-like, really.
In principle I agree with that which I think will also be a majority solution when EVs are the only viable type of car after the goverment(s) price hydrocarbon polluters off the roads. That's the way that everybody will live with the diminishing excuse of range, (in the north or south) by intelligent blending of travel using owned cars, hired cars, cycles, public transport, taxis and shank's.
Correct. I often say that there's a need for improvements to happen, just because somewhere else is better isn't a good reason to have those impoverishments (although can be used as an example of what somewhere could look like if the improvements were made).
I notice that when my son lived in Croydon and worked in the City he didn't use his car. It was a hobby, to polish and show off, driving 2000 miles a year at most. There were trains, trams and buses and walking between them.
I notice that my local trains in the North are Pacers, introduced in 1985 and soldiering on in all probability into 2020. OK, they work but their replacements are to be different refurbished units also over 30 years old.
There is a new Crossrail line for which there are brand new electric units that have been parked up unused for many months. Up north new trains are on order but are very slow to enter service. Electrification has stalled. New lines to free congestion through Manchester are bogged down in indecision. It's all a thin layer of jam tomorrow.
When the Cross North tunnel for 32 miles between the centres of Manchester and Sheffield is opened, giving a centre to centre journey time of 20-25 minutes instead of the present 50-55, I'll believe the North/South balance has been partially redressed. I won't live long enough to see the idea even seriously considered!
Manchester to Leeds is much more likely. Same mileage, more potential for traffic.
This paragraph is saying that Crossrail in the South has new trains but they are very slow to enter service. New trains are also coming in the North but they are also very slow to enter service. I don't think it works to use that as an example of how the North is (allegedly) hard done by.