Should we let the French take over our railways?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by jmcg, 21 Apr 2015.

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  1. jmcg

    jmcg Member

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    With multiple operating companies encroaching on what was solid British Rail territory, is allowing European companies to run our railway the best solution? Or is a British Rail equivalent (as promised by the Green Party, Labour etc) a better idea?
     
  2. Rapidash

    Rapidash Member

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    Depends on your level of Xenophobia, I suppose. I suspect many people don't give a flying (or, indeed, rail journeying) monkeys, as long the damn things turn up on time and get them safely where they want to be.
     
  3. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    John Majors warning of mayhem speech today was perhaps 23 years late!
     
  4. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Where did they promise that?
     
  5. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    The myth of French rail superiority is a Daily Mail concept - good on infrastucture concepts , invented the TGV etc

    Poor on service delivery , customer focus on travel needs and marketing , dire on freight logistics , not good on IR ......(and strike avoidance)

    Magnificent heritage though .
     
  6. jmcg

    jmcg Member

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    More a half-way house, reviewing the franchise system, though it was quite widely touted that there were more plans for the future!

    BBC News
     
  7. gazthomas

    gazthomas Established Member

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    No thanks, in my experience their service is overrated. If it runs of course.
     
  8. Elecman

    Elecman Established Member

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    The Germans are more likely since they already own quite a sizeable lump of the British TOC/FOC and Open Access
     
  9. dgl

    dgl Member

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    why do we need the French? Stagecoach seem to do a good job and they're Scottish.
     
  10. jmcg

    jmcg Member

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    But surely isn't nationalised railways and the good ol' British Rail of the past the better thing for the network? I wish we were back in those days of British Rail!
     
  11. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    And in all fairness DB do a very good of running their network in Germany.
     
  12. al.currie93

    al.currie93 Member

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    They do indeed, and without mentioning where I stand on the nationalisation/privatisation debate, Chiltern Railways is very well run here (though how much of that is down to DB is probably debatable as they had a very good reputation before DB owned them). On the other hand, I've heard very mixed opinions about their other subsidiaries here, even though I have little experience of them myself.
     
  13. NSEFAN

    NSEFAN Established Member

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    How are those rose-tinted spectacles you seem to have there? ;)
     
  14. gazthomas

    gazthomas Established Member

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    Very rose tinted, but it's difficult to compare given the different terms
     
  15. CC 72100

    CC 72100 Established Member

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    Thanks for saving my typing out a similar post. One particular weakness of the French network is the rural lines, which are so neglected compared to English counterparts.
     
  16. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    I concur, it appears that the once mighty SNCF can't wait to get rid of them. And not just in the North for that matter.
     
  17. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    It's a Euro-wide market these days. Arriva owned, or had a majority stake in, a number of rail operators in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden when they were a UK-based plc. Buses in four or so more. Partially why they were so attractive for DB to buy, although they had to divest the German operations to the Italian State Railways for competition reasons.

    National Express has recently won contracts to provide local trains in two parts of Germany, including the Nuremberg S-Bahn from 2018. Stagecoach is rapidly launching Megabus all over Europe (plus the US and Canada where they've had operations for many years) - could see them looking at rail contracts too.
     
    Last edited: 22 Apr 2015
  18. CosherB

    CosherB Established Member

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    I assume you'll be voting for UKIP in a couple of weeks?
     
  19. CC 72100

    CC 72100 Established Member

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    There's also been a lot of talk recently about wanting to get rid of or shift the burden onto local authorities for many Intercités and TER services - not the rural branch lines as I referred to in my first post, but many important inter-regional services.

    The fact that the new order for the old 'line 4' (Paris - Belfort) which will see its LHCS replaced with units currently is only enough to cover 7 of the 13 diagrams (source the excellent http://transportrail.canalblog.com/) shows that unless it's TGV or urban services around large cities, things seem to be winding down.
     
  20. alexl92

    alexl92 Established Member

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    I'd personally prefer a 'British Rail' that has learned from the places the original incarnation failed and works to rectify that, run by people who know and understand the railway industry.
     
  21. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    Once again I concur with everything that you've said here. However the SNCF should be very careful about placing all their eggs in the TGV basket because the high cost of maintaining the LGV network is pricing people off the TGV. For what its worth the SNCF are starting to use Corail stock on some 'budget' services and the new LGV route near Bordeaux will not be used by 'budget' TGV services, so perhaps they are learning??
     
    Last edited: 22 Apr 2015
  22. Holly

    Holly Member

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    At least British Rail cost only a fraction of the amount of money in subsidies compared with commercialisation.
    De-nationalisation has been a very expensive experiment that we could never afford and will be able to afford even less going forward.
     
  23. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Are UKIP promising to bring back BR?

    Without rehashing the nationalisation debate again, it's a pan European market these days, for better or worse. I don't care if DB, BR, NS or SNCF run the trains, the underlying system is broken and needs fixing.
     
  24. monsento

    monsento Member

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    [​IMG]
    one lazy option might be to just re badge and market the lot as BR or something new minus the open access folks.

    the high end option would be to put it into a trust for the nation, removing it from the reach of politicians likewise schools and hospitals.

    National Rail 'The Nations Railway' or something less cheese

    uniform branding drool id love a new TFL BR style approach to branding on the railways...

    one smart card, one uniform style for staff, livery interiors, signage etc looks so smart the design research unit? been along time since i looked all that stuff over lovely pictures
     
    Last edited: 22 Apr 2015
  25. Metrailway

    Metrailway Member

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    From what I have heard, SNCF wish to get rid of a large number of TGV services as well due to their unprofitablility and substitute them with Intercités services which are cheaper to run. I believe the Socialist Government has also increased state funding for Intercités services.

    Regarding handing our network to the French - IIRC only two cities, Lyon and Lille have a 2tph+ service to Paris. Compare that to how many cities in the UK have a 2tph+ service to London.

    Just to pre-empt the economic argument, Paris is more integral to the French economy (around 30% of GDP) than London is to the UK economy (around 20% of GDP).
     
  26. Domeyhead

    Domeyhead Member

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    I occasionally get those yearnings for the "Golden Age" of BR but as an antidote I watch this rather illuminating cabride from Sheffield Midland to Cleethorpes which somebody put on Youtube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK60Ue8afog
    If anyone can bear to watch the whole thing it is quite sad and sobering to remember just what an awful product BR had become for the average passenger. I exclude the train crew from criticism because you can hear in their conversations that they care desperately for the railway and its run down state, and their demotivation is symptomatic of the state of the railway at that time. The railways needed tens of billions which the Treasury did not have so it was either decimate the railway a la Serpell's OPtion A, or to privatise and get the funding from banks. There is a good argument to be had over the privatisation model but what I can't stand is hearing know nothing fools like the Greens talk about renationalisation while knowing b*****r all about the the detail and not even bothering to educate themselves to understand it.
    (Paradoxically the p-way actually looks less cluttered and better maintained than it does today!!)
     
  27. NSEFAN

    NSEFAN Established Member

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    BR became efficient towards the end of its life, but by then the reputational damage had already been done by decades of neglect. The railways needed a big injection of cash, but this could have only happened under the "private" system we have now because of stupid politics. Now the industry has the money it needs but has forgotten how to be efficient! :lol:
     
  28. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    To be fair, the population is much more thinly distributed in France with large distances between the major cities. Fast trains out of London tend to stop at numerous sizeable towns on the way.
     
  29. Domeyhead

    Domeyhead Member

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    This was part of the problem of the old BR and the "engineering led" railway. There was and is - not point in being efficient if nobody wants the product. You just exist for your own sake. Competitors surged ahead and took BR's business even when they had massive disadvantages (eg National Express, Easyjet etc) because they were customer and market focussed, and all those marketing phrases so hated by unions actually translated into better customer service - customers were no longer merely passengers. In that video I posted note how few passengers are there at each station. Virtually none. THe railway was operating "efficiently" by its own terms but nobody wanted dirty, unfriendly, uninformed, unreliable, demotivated, uncomfortable travel when they had an alternative. When customers / passengers left the railway they seldom came back......until post privatisation. A renationalised railway needs to learn what privatisation got right and acknowledge it instead of denying it.
     
  30. HowardGWR

    HowardGWR Established Member

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    I don't know whether this has been previously mentioned, but frequencies on SNCF are pretty poor and in rural areas, they do a lot of bustitution, which is, for a tourist, most disappointing (not only for rail enthusiasts either).

    I saw evidence of gross overmanning on the line from Bordeaux through the Dordogne, as well. It seems one goes from one extreme to another from nationalisation to private.
     
    Last edited: 22 Apr 2015
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