The Future - 50 years on....?

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Masboroughlad

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What do people think the rail network will look like in 2062?

Will it be as we are now? Bumbling along with what we have?
Will the network have shrunk - ala Serpell report (Lord, I hope not)
Will we have some new lines / re-openings of lines and stations? (would be nice)
HS2/3/4/5??
Will there be trains at all?

I hope that we will have seen some new (or previous) lines opened and revitalised industry. More freight back on the rails, more open thinking of mixed trains etc.

OK, cloud cuckoo land, but we can hope...
 
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SprinterMan

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I think we will end up with 7 big franchises:

Wales
Scotland
East Coast/East Midlands/Anglia/LTS
Northern/TPX
Great Western/Chiltern
West Midlands/West Coast/CrossCountry
Great Northern/Thameslink/Southern/Southeastern/South West


A few lines closed by beeching will reopen, but inner city commuter lines will go over to metro systems like Manchester Metrolink, London Overground etc.

We may have one or two HS lines but these will be government operated and separate from the main franchises.

And the last pacers will just have been withdrawn :P

Adam :D
 

Clip

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More posts will be in multi colour

125s will still be the backbone of Intercity travel

Half the countries ticket offices will be gone

Tickets will finally be simplified to an easy to understand format

The old E* terminus at Waterloo will finally have been converted into flats/offices






*only 1 of these is probably going to happen
 

Eagle

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We have no idea. All the various economical, political and technological considerations are completely impossible to preduct 50 years in advance. (20 years, maybe.)

Here's what I think.

Will it be as we are now? Bumbling along with what we have?
Almost certainly there'll be more trains and more capacity in general; how it'll work I can't say.
Will the network have shrunk - ala Serpell report (Lord, I hope not)
Unlikely, barring a freak occurrence like all the railways being suddenly renationalized leaving the transport budget hugely in debt. Although it's inevitable that there might be a bit of pruning of the most inviable stations and services.
Will we have some new lines / re-openings of lines and stations? (would be nice)
Some reopenings and newbuilds, inevitably. Whether it'll be largescale is less likely (considering the amount of land that's been sold off).
HS2/3/4/5??
I don't think anyone will seriously start planning HS3 until (if) the first part of HS2 opens and is judged a success. Besides, I don't really think there's scope for more HS lines beyond HS2, being as journeys on any other axis will on average be shorter and the benefits less. Also if the full HS2 goes ahead it'll already be connecting nine of the ten largest metropoles in Britain, so there's actually surprisingly little left.
Will there be trains at all?
This is the only one I'm confident on. Yes, of course there will; people will always need public transport.
 

Zoe

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Yes, of course there will; people will always need public transport.
If in 50 years time very few people will have cars then it's quite clear that the public transport network will need to be much more extensive but it's not possible to know for sure if rail will be a major part of this network, you can't accurately predict exactly what technology will be available in 50 years time.
 
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HSTEd

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Also if the full HS2 goes ahead it'll already be connecting nine of the ten largest metropoles in Britain, so there's actually surprisingly little left.

This is the only one I'm confident on. Yes, of course there will; people will always need public transport.

I make 5.

London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester.

The top ten also includes, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leicester and Bristol.
 

HSTEd

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All of which, bar Bristol, will benefit from HS2 services to London.

How would Leicester benefit?
There does not appear to be any benefit at all as far as I can tell due to the lack of any proposed connections with the MML south of Leicester.

Additionally it is highly unlikely that Edinburgh and Glasgow would benefit from reduced journey times to London as it is apparent that no rolling stock capable of 320kph will be available that is capable of tilting to the degree neccesary (atleast 6 degrees) to prevent it loosing all the time it gains on the lower portions of the route on the regions north of Manchester that require the tilt system. (You are effectively back to loco hauled speed limits).
(And on the ECML the time it takes to transit from Leeds to York over the classic line manages to get it there just as the ECML train arrives in York, so no real gain overall)

Liverpool also does not benefit as all current projections show no significant decrease in journey times from HS2 as it appears it will be served by extensions of Manchester trains, which gain no time overall thanks to not cutting the corner at Weaver Junction like the existing trains do.
 

Eagle

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Yes, but what I'm saying is those services can and will be accommodated by HS2.

It's not just about reducing journey times (which are actually pretty low already), it's about increasing capacity on the WCML/MML/ECML.

Leicester benefits from increased capacity due to a release of passengers from Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield onto HS2.

Liverpool (even if its HS2 services end up being extensions of Manchester ones) may well end up getting extra fast services on the classic WCML. Glasgow and Edinburgh could go to a total of two per hour to London, one high-speed, one classic.


Pinning it all on journey times is pretty damn superficial if you ask me.
 

HSTEd

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Yes, but what I'm saying is those services can and will be accommodated by HS2.

It's not just about reducing journey times (which are actually pretty low already), it's about increasing capacity on the WCML/MML/ECML.

So we agree that services to intermediate destinations currently served by the WCML and ECML will be withdrawn?
ie. Wakefield looses most of its Intercity services, Stockport likewise?

This is something that noone will currently admit to, rather stating that all capacity on HS2 will be additional to what already exists.
Additionally any capacity benefits on the conventional lines pale into insignificance next to the incrase in capacity to routes on the core (Manchester easily recieving quadrouple the HS service as it recieves conventional service today by a measure of seat numbers).

Leicester benefits from increased capacity due to a release of passengers from Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield onto HS2.
Being as the Leicester capacity issues could be solved with a handful of millions of pounds being spent on more trains (so that all Cl222s on the MML were a full nine cars long or were replaced with trains that are 9 cars long), it is in my opinion a rather flawed argument to assign significant benefits to capacity to Leicester. (Its a credit for possibly less than one percent of the construction price of the Y).

Liverpool (even if its HS2 services end up being extensions of Manchester ones) may well end up getting extra fast services on the classic WCML.
Extra Pendo operated services could be operated to Liverpool today by extending one of the Birmingham trains to Liverpool, the loss of time would not be that extreme, but lack of stock (again rather cheap to solve) and lack of demand seems to prevent it.

Glasgow and Edinburgh could go to a total of two per hour to London, one high-speed, one classic.
Why would you buy more classic compatible trains, likely to be more expensive than regular ones that do not have to comply with TSIs (hence why many of the ICx series trains will apparently be built with a 249kph maximum speed) to operate a service that has few if any benefits over the existing services?
Paths are apparently available to extend additional Birmingham trains to Glasgow, and I have my doubts that an additional hourly path between Newcastle and Edinburgh would be that hard to find if you really want to extend the second hourly Newcastle train to Edinburgh. It is merely the lack of stock and demand at the current journey times that renders this uneconomical.
(And if I read the WCML route plan right the worst bottleneck north of Birmingham is Carlisle, which is in no way helped by HS2).


Pinning it all on journey times is pretty damn superficial if you ask me.

Where do you think the explosive growth predictions in the HS2 demand report come from? That is not natural growth of demand, it is a result of the drastically reduced journey times over the routes directly served by the service leading to a massive pick up in demand.
Rail is not the only transport method available between Scotland and London and it is unlikely to be able to crush domestic air without major reductions in journey times (probably atleast an hour).

ANd before anyone accuses me of blind anti-HS2 prejudices.... I am pro-HS2.
 

Zoe

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Where do you think the explosive growth predictions in the HS2 demand report come from?
You have to consider the possibility of a very large modal shift to rail as people give up their cars. If you took most of the cars off the M40, M1 and M6 I doubt the current rail network would be able to cope with the additional demand and so there needs to be a significant increase in capacity.
 

Johnnie2Sheds

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China and Russia will have just won a war with the Western nations over <insert> and we will be in a massive "austerity period" with the whole infrastructure we take for granted today in pieces. Nothing like a cheerful outlook eh?

BUY FOOD CANS

< Falklands oil, African oil, Arab oil, Alaskan oil, any other damn oil we find anywhere!>
 

stockport1

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China and Russia will have just won a war with the Western nations over <insert> and we will be in a massive "austerity period" with the whole infrastructure we take for granted today in pieces. Nothing like a cheerful outlook eh?

BUY FOOD CANS

< Falklands oil, African oil, Arab oil, Alaskan oil, any other damn oil we find anywhere!>

quite a realistic prediction given the current circumstances.
Im a believer in small limited government and think we would be better off with a privatly owned railway. ( smaller emergency-only based NHS) etc etc.
and i think more people are being drawn to this belief.

However there is a distinction to be made between public investment and ownership in infrastructure and the government running business (NHS,railways,refuse collection etc etc).

In 50 years i think we will have seen a paradigm shift to a free-er world with more trade and bigger railways OR a tyrannical world government dictating how we live with less trade and crumbling rail infrastructure.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
China and Russia will have just won a war with the Western nations over <insert> and we will be in a massive "austerity period" with the whole infrastructure we take for granted today in pieces. Nothing like a cheerful outlook eh?

BUY FOOD CANS

< Falklands oil, African oil, Arab oil, Alaskan oil, any other damn oil we find anywhere!>

HA! peak oil my ar$e :D its all over the place. the wars for the control of the oil is not to control it due to scarcity....it is to induce scarcity!!!!
 

Oswyntail

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What do people think the rail network will look like in 2062?......
Given how little it has changed in the last 50 years, not much different. One new line - HS2 - provided. Technology evolving, slightly behind the cutting edge (wisely). Slightly more freight, but passengers down slightly as travelling for work is considered less essential.
Preserved railways clogged up with the rusting hulks of many too many preserved "celebrity" Class 66s - preserved because they were available, rather than with any sensible plan. A fund slowly growing with the intention of creating a "new build" Class 92, because no one thought to preserve one.
 

Kneedown

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Leicester benefits from increased capacity due to a release of passengers from Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield onto HS2.

But without the revenue generated by the Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield passengers, the BCR for improving the MML will take a huge hit. Will it remain financially viable to maintain it at it's current level or improve it, or will it be run down and left to fester?
4xcar 158's Leicester - St Pancras anyone?
 

michael769

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The Scottish and Welsh Railways will be effectively privatized with the trains being run by arms length government owned ToCs, and Network Rail's successor receiving payments directly from the government in these regions.

To assuage public anger about rail costs the government will wind up the "failed" Network Rail, replacing it with a body with a different name but still run by the same people in the same way.

In England the franchises will be consolidated in to larger sector based franchises.

Ticket's will have been "simplified" with walk up tickets begin available on commuter lines and long distance services requiring booking in advance.

Inter-city services will be cut back as truly unaffordable ticket prices cause passenger numbers to plummet.

The government commissions a report to solve the economic decline caused by the populations inability to afford to travel inter-city (due to eye watering long distance tolls on roads, unaffordable rail fares and air taxes designed to price people out of the sky). The real agenda for the report will be to find ways to plug the gap in public finances due to plummeting demand for fuel, and dropping toll income as people stop using the long distance road network do to it's high taxation related costs.

The government will make more proposals to address the spiraling costs of subsidizing commuter travel. These will achieve nothing.

The prevent "terrorism" facial recognition systems are begin installed in all trains to allow the security services to track the populations movement.

Protesters are going to court to prevent HS2 being built.

I really don't understand why people say I am cynical ;)
 

LexyBoy

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Cornwall cut off from the rail network as the sea will have claimed the line at Dawlish.

Closure of branch lines, only town/city bus services remain.

Talk of opening a HS line alternately promoted and thrown out by successive governments. Still no GWML or MML electrification.

Escalating costs due to oil prices.

Compulsory seat reservations and use of seat belts on all trains except local trains.

Complaints on Railforums that new trains are all rubbish compared to that universally loved classic - the Voyager.
 

Ivo

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Electrification expanded substantialy to combat oil issues, with the GWML (to Plymouth) the South Wales (to Carmarthen), the MML (to Sheffield), all CrossCountry routes, NTP, north to Aberdeen, the Chilterns and certain other prominent routes all wired.

HS3 has just celebrated 10 years of service, with through services now operating between Paris and Cardiff (calling at Lille, a new E* station at Cheriton, Stratford, Old Oak, Bristol and Cardiff). This introduction has been done to mark the anniversary of the UK joining Schengen - the first anniversary :roll:

But the costs involved have increased prices to a point where local routes are no longer viable so - with the anniversary of a certain Report looming - fears of another Report to remove some minor lines are growing. On the other hand, Uckfield to Lewes has just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

LUL have just opened their new line - the Pinnacle line (KGX-WAT non-stop). That makes three new lines this century, with the Chelney line now approaching 40 years of service and a fairly recent addition being the Southern line between Clapham Junction and the Hayes (Kent) route, via both Victoria and Waterloo.

Oh, and Blackpool Transport have just introduced their new model of tram, replacing the Flexity 19s (introduced in 2044) - the Flexity 28. And anyone currently aged 25 or under - you'll still be working because the retirement age will be 75.
 

Ivo

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First thought: why would anyone want to go to Watford:oops:

Who said the Met wouldn't introduce Express services (as Watkin and co. had intended) between Watford Junction and the central area?

...actually, that's a stupid idea. Far too slow compared to what is currently London Midland.
 

tsr

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Bus routes and guided busways will have been gradually converted into tram systems following the widespread success of examples such as Croydon Tramlink. Even Edinburgh. ;) might have a working system. This may lead to considerations for extra heavy rail lines within cities being dropped.

A railway line linking mainland Europe and Ireland via the west coast of England or Wales may have been built, leading to high-speed stations en-route. Perhaps a new line will have been built as a branch off HS2 (which, by the way, will involve fewer reversals after better designs for stations have been drawn up).

More and more services outside London and big cities will operate on a turn-up-and-go frequency due to population increases causing demand; hopefully more reliable signalling and better braking/acceleration will help.

There will probably be a number of lines that have finally been built connecting up nearby branches and termini.

You will find a "further out" version of the London Overground, with new lines going east-west south of the Croydon area, for example, and perhaps a parallel of the Varsity Line closer to London.

London will be a mass of incredibly complex railway systems. Londoners will barely remember which layer is actually the "ground" because the whole city - buildings, transport etc. - are stacked on top of each other even more than ever. The "Underground" is a quaint and old-fashioned term.

Someone will have increased the North Downs Line, Redhill to Tonbridge, Southeastern Mainline gauges and ensured electrification throughout. Cross-country services will use the line between the southeast and the west side of the UK.

Ticketing will be simpler and pay-by-mile at the same rate throughout the country. Peak restrictions probably won't exist but there may well still be First Class - possibly even a Business Class option, too.

More services will have small shop/buffet counters.

You'll find the odd Turbostar and Turbo Express on heritage railways as these have recently been scrapped...

The last Pacer has disintegrated into a pile of dust.
 

GNERman

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Full electrification of GWML to Plymouth, including Bristol - Taunton.

Full electrification of MML (minus Corby) to ECML at South Kirby Junction, nr Moorthorpe and also to South Yorkshire Junction, Doncaster.

Electrification of "core" XC route - Derby to Birmingham New Street and Bristol Parkway, allows GLC/EDB and MAN to PLY services to operate using OHLE.
 

LE Greys

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Well, I've been trying to write a book set 36 years in the future, and here are the major changes.

  • Nuclear fusion has revolutionised the electricity generating industry, so electricity is un-metered
  • One by-product of fuel production for this (electrolysis of seawater to extract deuterium) is loads of free hydrogen, which is bottled and used to power many vehicles
  • This means that there is a lot of spare oil, so supersonic air travel is commonplace, including executive aircraft
  • The economy is booming, so former luxuries (such as private aircraft) are now affordable for the masses, partly because carbon-based fuels are very cheap
  • The USA is in a state resembling the USSR in the late 1980s, and about to collapse altogether
  • China now resembles the USA in the 1920s, just reaching the height of her power, but isolationist
  • Relations between the two went downhill in the 2020s, causing a 'New Cold War'
  • The EU is on the threshold of becoming a single country, having shifted politically to be very close to China and benefit as their biggest trading partner
  • It is about to implode into a civil war because separatists in many member states do not want this

There are a lot of implications for the railways
  • The EU has finally made an exemption from its directive, allowing railway operations and infrastructure to be managed together
  • Network Rail has broken into four, roughly along the 'Big Four' lines
  • There are still franchises, but managed differently, the exact arrangement is unknown
  • HS2 still isn't built yet, but most main lines are set up for tilt
  • Almost all trains are electric, certainly all passenger trains
  • However, business travel is at an all-time low, because many more meetings are happening on the Network (descendent of the Internet)
  • The last Voyagers, eventually farmed out to work regional stopping services, were withdrawn a few years ago
  • 185s also finished working the West Highland and Far North a few years ago
  • Railtours still happen, indeed the one main-line certified HST (complete with two Valenta-engined power cars) is very popular on them
  • Steam tours still happen
  • The heritage market is dominated by replicas, since many historic steam engines were 'stuffed and mounted' when their main frames wore out, replacing them would have effectively created a replica
  • The war will throw the railways into chaos (resembling occupied France) including an attempt to flood the Channel Tunnel
 

HH

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I make 5.

London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester.

The top ten also includes, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leicester and Bristol.

5 of the top 6 are on WCML: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool.
 

DownSouth

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Crikey you're optimistic. I though a mid life overhaul in 2062...<D

And re-engineered for 125 mph.....of course.<D<D
A Pacer would struggle to hit that speed even when dropped from a crane.

Which would be perhaps the third ever Top Gear stunt meeting majority approval among rail enthusiasts, as long as a whole unit was used, the numbers matched up and a geriatric Jeremy Clarkson then had the subsequent wreckage carpet-bombed just to make sure it couldn't come back from the dead.


In other Pacer news, British relations with Iran deteriorate to the point that Iran send back the Class 141 fleet in a fit of aggression.
 

Badger

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This is going to sound awfully sci-fi and whatnot but:

Matter transportation will be developed in the next 50 years. It won't be used for human transportation (because of ethical reasons).

I say it will, because it's daddy is already here in the form of 3D printers. Any freight movements will purely consist of moving raw materials from place to place. This will mean we won't see container movements any more. Instead of transporting 100 cars by freight, massive "3D Printers" (more like car generators, think Star Trek replicator) will be more locally found, and you'd just generate a car, from the initial raw materials.

This would have a profound impact on the design and creation of the trains themselves. Structurally strong things will be able to be created without welding, bolting, etc; they'd be created as single structures. The cost of generating a rail carriage will be nowhere near the cost of building one today. This will presumably mean we can solve the capacity crises somewhat.

The creation of high speed infrastructure will be made much simpler by this also.

We would probably see a reduction, if not the complete removal, of guards on trains, maybe even drivers. (It would be terrible, but it's going to happen, undoubtedly).

Instead of tickets there would be a national (or even international) smartcard system, but these would be stored as microchips within the body. Instead of swiping in and whatnot, you'd just walk onto a train and it would automatically register you as being on it and charge you accordingly.

This would mean there would be no ticket barriers, no revenue protection inspectors, and no ticket offices or TVMs. This would too be horrible, but it would mean train stations would be a lot more inviting perhaps, with wide open spaces instead of bottle necks to accomodate such things.
 

LE Greys

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I'll add two more.
  • There will no longer be such a thing as cash, so the practice of 'paying' for things will be a matter of picking it up and registering the card directly from your wallet
  • Conventional signalling will be gone, replaced by a cross between ERTMS and TVM430, essentially a speed-signalling system using moving-block
  • Even steam will have to have this system, with some form of automatic regulator shut-off, to work over the main-line network

Instead of tickets there would be a national (or even international) smartcard system, but these would be stored as microchips within the body. Instead of swiping in and whatnot, you'd just walk onto a train and it would automatically register you as being on it and charge you accordingly.

If they try that on me, I'll tell them where to stick their microchips!
 

yorksrob

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However there is a distinction to be made between public investment and ownership in infrastructure and the government running business (NHS,railways,refuse collection etc etc).

Would that be the distinction between the taxpayer paying for the kit and big business creaming off the profits ?
 

asylumxl

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Supersized metors will rain from the sky, destroying much of the recently opened HS2, with the current administration blaming the meteor shower on the previous administration's "incompetence"...
 
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