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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Robbies, 6 Jun 2012.
I believe the plan was to use cascaded Mark 3s from the WCML after the Intercity 250 was introduced.
The fact you know people who don't conform to the statistics is hardly surprising - the fact is though the statistics are looking at a far broader base than your immediate social circle. And the statistics don't indicate an ongoing decline in private car usage.
On the flip side - that some people who are now prepared to use the train who weren't 15 years ago should prompt you to ask what's changed? And I maintain one of the differences is the attitude towards customers shown by the private rail companies which is light years ahead of anything BR offered.
The fact that it costs much more to run a car than it did 10 - 15 years ago (counting the real cost and not just the cost of fuel) and that the younger generation prefer to spend their money on things like smartphones and ipods and prefer to be able to use Facebook and Twitter when they are travelling. Also the widespeard introduction of advance fares has made train travel very cheap.
Hauled by what though? The 47s would still have been approaching life expiry by the mid 90s.
And all of that assumes that BR would ever have got the IC250 up and running - and I doubt BR would have got beyond the prototype stage by 2000 - let alone started production. So either way the XC network got brand new trains far sooner than BR would ever have proposed.
So are you saying the if BR was still around, the XC routes would still be running to hourly frequencies, but with Voyages formed of 8/9 coaches rather than 4/5?
And didn't preliminary development work for the Pendolino project on the West Coast start under BR in the early 90's?
So surly the idea of producing a tilting DMU to replace aging 47's on the cross county routes would have at least been mentioned at a board meting?
Or did BR have early plans for GWML or MML electrification, (with Pendo's) so that HST's could be released to XC network?
See how things could have worked out so differently if Labour had won the 92 election.
Again, the statistics don't support you.
In fact fuel is the one element of running a car which has massively exceeded both inflation and salaries, due in the most part to the excessive levels of taxation which (once again) a certain G Brown levied on it.
The cost of buying a car (new or used) is proportionally far lower than it was 15 years ago, so to (for most people) is insurance (though young drivers have a problem there) and running / servicing costs.
And the widespread use of cheap advance train tickets was driven by the private companies copying the approach used by the budget airlines. Again, do you honestly think BR would ever have shown the same level of commercial acumen on this?
They are not in any social circle, I just know that they have changed. What the statistics do not do is show any difference in age groups. I get the impression that it is the younger generation that are abandoning cars and switching to public transport and this could explain at least some of the rise in public transport usage when previously many of them would have used cars most of the time.
Just to clarify, was IC250 the codename given by BR to the WCML upgrade that was eventually finished in 2008?
Not what I'm saying. I expect BR would have cobbled together a solution which involved a small class of conventional diesel locos to keep some of the services going on an hourly or bi hourly frequency and would have introduced a development of the class 158 for some others.
Technically the APT was the forerunner of the Pendo, so yes. And that had proved that the WCML needed tilting stock to gain any speed improvements - which isn't a problem for the ECML or GWML.
I doubt that BR had even considered electrifying either the GWML or MML, given that it hadn't considered electrifying the GWML suburban services in the late 80s instead going for the Networkers (165s 166s).
Frankly if Kinnock had won in 1992 the country would have been having the economic problems it's got now in about 2000....... :roll:
This is why it's the younger generation that I believe are using cars less.
The system of rock bottom advance but expensive walk-up fares does however encourage car travel for journeys that can't be planned in advance but I get the impression that most people are happy to book in advance in return for these rock bottom fares. It may well be that BR would also have gone down this route as the government would have still likely wanted to cut subsidy and for at least intercity to be run more like a commercial business.
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It wasn't the same, it was a plan for class 93 locomotives and mark 5 coaches to run on an upgraded WCML at speeds of up to 155 mph. I don't think it was to involve tilt but route realignments instead. This plan was cancelled with privatization impending and OPRAF negociated with Railtrack an upgrade of the WCML to 125 mph. Virgin then agreed a further upgrade with Railtrack to 140 mph but Railtrack failed to deliver this.
Thanks for the clarification.
I've studied a bit of political history and a number of historians have done alternative history timelines that generally say the same thing, that Kinnock would have been seen as a weak PM, Labour would have lost the 97 election and the tories would have been in power ever since, first with Douglas Hurd, then Michael Portilo and now David Cameron as PM.
Make of that what you will, but it's almost universally agreed that if Labour had won in 92, the Conservatives would have received the long term benefits. Make of that what you will, but basically we would have had a Conservative government for 28 of the past 33 years.
The statistics only show the difference between 1995 and 2010. I believe car use continued to increase for some time after 1995/7 and any decline only started in the last few years so it's not surprising that they are still similar or above 1995/7 levels although I do see a decline in private mileage that is not business or commuting. The statistics also only show the general trend, not what a specific age group may or may not be doing. I believe it is the case that some of the younger generation can no longer afford a car when previously they would have done.
Perhaps the biggest difference if Kinnock had become PM would be that we would have joined the Euro in 99 like everyone else, without a referendum.
I believe Blair wanted the UK to join but Brown ruled it out. On the subject of privatization though, it's very likely if the Tories regained power in 1997 they would have wanted to privatize the railways but the question is if they would have still chosen the same model that John Major's government did in 1992.
Exactly my point. To add another lane would might help but at what cost? Outside the peaks there would be even more spare capacity and so ad infinitum .....
Trains, on the other hand, are pretty good at moving lots of people around without inconveniencing the rest of the public in general. The Swansea area is a prime example of relying, almost wholly, on road transport. I have family living on the Mumbles Road which can be solid with traffic for hours on end. On fine days I have watched the cars crawl by on their way to Mumbles and watched the same cars crawl back after half an hour or so because all the car parks are full. On the opposite side of the road is trackbed of the Mumbles Railway which used to convey thousands to and from Swansea every day. Those double decked railcars, running in multiples of two would be carrying over 200 hundred passengers at a time with no exhaust fumes and a minimum of fuss. What a tragedy that it was allowed to close.
Where there is no train, the only alternative is often the car, particularly away from urban areas where bus services can be very patchy or, more often these days, non existant. In a city like Swansea which has no local train services, it can be a nightmare. The contrast with Cardiff is startling, which has frequent rail services to places like Barry; Penarth and The Valleys.
The point of this thread is whether or not the railways have improved since privatisation. There have been some improvements but there have also been some backward steps. The franchise system has led to a lot of disunity between services so that it is no longer a 'national' system and scant regard is paid to connections between different TOCs and 'late running penalties' are often responsible for missed connections within TOCs.
State ownership should not result in poor service. That lies at the door of state interference. We are left to wonder what the vast amount of money poured by successive governments into the 'private' railway might have achieved for British Rail. We would, at least, still have a joined up system.
I am not wearing rose tinted spectacles and BR was not perfect but neither were its political masters who were forever dreaming up re-organisations and turning the investment tap on and off at will. Having said that Inter-City was a success story and, towards the end of BR, was profitable. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for local services to make money and everywhere in the developed world they are subsidised, often to a much greater extent than they have ever been in this country. The real gain from such services is their social value, just like winding country roads that might see a dozen vehicles a day but are invaluable to those who depend on them.
But Kinnock would have passed the European Communities Act 1993 without our opt-outs from the social chapter and the single currency. And the Chancellor at the time John Smith probably would have allowed that. I'm guessing that Gordon Brown would have become chancellor after Smith's death in 94, but by then the legislation would have already have been passed and he would have been left to work out the technicalities of membership without been able to change the core principles of the policy. Or Kinnock could have made Blair or Margaret Beckett chancellor in 94 to make sure the Euro project went ahead without too many problems.
As someone who still admires Mrs Thatcher, I still believe that BR should have been kept as a single entity and floated on the stock market as BRplc, in the same way as BT and British Gas. The idea of allowing passengers and small investors to buy shares in BR would have been at the centre of Mrs T's ideal of economic empowerment by building a nation of small share holders. That model worked well for BT, British Gas, the electricity companies etc, so there was no reason why it couldn't have worked for BR.
If I'd been sitting on a commuter train on my way to work one morning in about 1995 and the guard handed me a BR shares prospectus and an application form, I know exactly what I would have done with it. They could even have re-run the old 'nightmail' TV ad as part of the publicity campaign.
But it was not to be.
The privatization of these though allowed more competition. Privatizing BR as it was would have left very few paths for Open Access and so there would have been almost no competition. BR would also have had to separate it's operations and infrastructure accounts so BR (trains) would have had to pay BR (infrastructure) a track access charge for any train it ran and any Open Access company would pay the same charge.
I really don't understand where these doubts come from. BR regularly developed replacement fleets for it's mainlines. The idea that they would have left a flagship service like the West Coast Mainline soldiering on with Mk 3's for ever more simply has no basis in reality.
The 1990 era recession , and the hiatus caused by pre "privatisation" slowed down BR's planning and investment (though a startegy was published and ignored by Govt) - certainly a MK5 coach was developed on paper for the WCML.
Second guessing what might have happened is a fruitless exercise. BR did some good things, and it did some crap things. And, most importantly, like today, the heavy hand of the government was everywhere.
Almost certainly some things would have been better, and some worse.
As ex-BR and current NR, I personally much preferred working in a BR design office, However, there's no doubt that privatisation increased our wages, so it's hard to be against it tbh.