TransPennine overcrowding.

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Masboroughlad

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I've travelled TPE 5 times in the last 6 days between Leeds and Manchester or vice versa. I have travelled late at night, weekends, weekdays, peak and off peak. At best it's been very full, at worst-ridiculously overcrowded. It seems to have been like this for far too long....

I know, no spare stock etc, but I think it is unreasonable to have to wait for the electric units before the problem is solved. Not convinced those plans are adequate to be honest. Only short-term solution I can see is hired in stock and locos? First TPE need to pull their finger out and get something done. I am sure I am not the only one who is sick of paying for a cramped, uncomfortable journey.

 
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John55

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I've travelled TPE 5 times in the last 6 days between Leeds and Manchester or vice versa. I have travelled late at night, weekends, weekdays, peak and off peak. At best it's been very full, at worst-ridiculously overcrowded. It seems to have been like this for far too long....

I know, no spare stock etc, but I think it is unreasonable to have to wait for the electric units before the problem is solved. Not convinced those plans are adequate to be honest. Only short-term solution I can see is hired in stock and locos? First TPE need to pull their finger out and get something done. I am sure I am not the only one who is sick of paying for a cramped, uncomfortable journey.


What does very full and ridiculously overcrowded mean? I ask because some people I know thing very full means they cannot get a table with 3 empty seats around and others thing full is no more room to stand.
 

aformeruser

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Masboroughlad - I agree with you. Both the routes through Huddersfield and Bolton have numerous off-peak services that can have over 100 standing.

The previous government proposed ordering over 200 new diesel carriages for Northern, TPE and FGW to be in service by the end of 2012. This was additional to extra capacity from the class 150 cascades.

When they looked at the Thameslink plans in more detail they realised they would have over 300 non-life expired redundant electric carriages available so proposed these and a small order of new EMUs would be used instead of ordering new DMUs, with a delay of around 1 year before the first of the cascaded units are ready.

This 1 year delay has been extended and extended without any other interim solution. In comparison Southern are getting extra new carriages in lieu of the 377s they are supposed to get from the Thameslink cascade. Why is it one solution for Southern and another for Northern and FGW? Northern is relevant to bring in here because Northern need extra trains to run more services through Bolton, which would allow TPE to run more services on North TPE.

We have over 200 Pacers alone that'll need replacing imminently, then not long afterwards the 150s will need replacing so I don't agree with the people who say no new DMUs should be ordered as we should be electrifying instead because:
1. Capacity problems need solving now.
2. Electrification takes time.
3. A huge proportion of DMUs in service were introduced in the 1980s so very close to the average expected 30 year shelf-life.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
What does very full and ridiculously overcrowded mean? I ask because some people I know thing very full means they cannot get a table with 3 empty seats around and others thing full is no more room to stand.

If we use DfT's definition of no more than 35% of the seating capacity standing at peak times (before 09:30 and 16:00-18:30) and everyone getting a seat at off-peak times, I think TPE would have something like 90% of their North TPE and North West services classed as overcrowded for at least part of the journey, ignoring overnight Airport services.
 
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Failed Unit

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The mistakes of the 185s on the North TPE routes still bites us in more ways than one.

A series of mistakes.
1. Ordering 3 coach trains from the off-set which have less capacity than the 158 units they replaced.
2. Letting the option to strengthen some / all to 4 coaches lapse.
3. Diverting some of the resource to Scotland routes.

(However am I correct in saying the 170s arriving was supposed to mitigate 3?)
 

Pumbaa

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I'm on day 5 of my new commute - I have had a seat for 2 journeys. It's pretty bad but there's little that can currently be done!
 

aformeruser

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(However am I correct in saying the 170s arriving was supposed to mitigate 3?)

There were supposed to be 56 x 3 car units excluding units for Scottish services and obviously the option for extra centre cars. 51 x 3 car units were delivered so TPE got 6 extra carriages for Scottish services. :roll:
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I'm on day 5 of my new commute - I have had a seat for 2 journeys. It's pretty bad but there's little that can currently be done!

So I take it that's 2 journeys out of 9 so far (Monday-Thursday morning and afternoon and Friday morning.)
 

tsr

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In comparison Southern are getting extra new carriages in lieu of the 377s they are supposed to get from the Thameslink cascade. Why is it one solution for Southern and another for Northern and FGW?

I've no idea why there appears to be an apparent bias. However, I can assure you that the more 377s appear, the better! I have barely ever seen a peak time service on a Southern or FCC route that at some point hasn't been full and standing (including services in what should be the opposite direction to the flow)!
 

142094

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Used to commute between York and Leeds, and in the morning I would purposefully get a slow Northern service as I was guaranteed a seat, instead of standing on all TPE services. On the way back I would normally make a Northern service, as everything after 4pm would be rammed with TPE.
 

aformeruser

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I've no idea why there appears to be an apparent bias. However, I can assure you that the more 377s appear, the better! I have barely ever seen a peak time service on a Southern or FCC route that at some point hasn't been full and standing (including services in what should be the opposite direction to the flow)!

With Southern needing extra capacity and the 313s being towards the end of their life and the 456s going to SWT in the future for extra capacity I agree that more 37xs are a good thing.
 

Class377/5

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The mistakes of the 185s on the North TPE routes still bites us in more ways than one.

A series of mistakes.
1. Ordering 3 coach trains from the off-set which have less capacity than the 158 units they replaced.

All new orders will have less capacity due to newer requirements. For example 8 car = 8 car 377. This is due to disabled area that are now required on all units among other reasons.

When they looked at the Thameslink plans in more detail they realised they would have over 300 non-life expired redundant electric carriages available so proposed these and a small order of new EMUs would be used instead of ordering new DMUs, with a delay of around 1 year before the first of the cascaded units are ready.

This 1 year delay has been extended and extended without any other interim solution. In comparison Southern are getting extra new carriages in lieu of the 377s they are supposed to get from the Thameslink cascade. Why is it one solution for Southern and another for Northern and FGW? Northern is relevant to bring in here because Northern need extra trains to run more services through Bolton, which would allow TPE to run more services on North TPE.

Why one for Southern and another for TPE/Northern. Simple. Southern signed a franchise agreement that stated they got extra stock. These were the 377/5 which were in part paid by Southern themselves (all we sold to the ROSCO after they were with FCC in the end).

As Southern put money where there franchise agreement they then got the 377/6's as the DfT took stock away from Southern. Otherwise the DfT would have stopped a franchise arguement by their own actions.

There is no such agreement for TPE/Northern so they won't as they hav never budgeted for this money. And didn't TPE try to get more units then the DfT but only got a couple of extra units.

The plan for the 319's didn't appear until much later and was a cheap way of justifying putting the wires up.

So the answer to your question of why one solution for Southern is its what the DfT decided to do.

Personally why don't they make Transpennie an 8 car railway as they put the wires up? This would help deal with current growth but before long the routes going to need a 12 car railway.
 

Phil6219

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I agree regarding the overcrowding in the north and the south, having lived to the south of London I have experienced the overcrowding on the early 377 services into the city.

That said the south really do have it easy, they have a train service that we would kill for up here. The trains are all of a decent formation and the frequency is simply amazing, all for a purpose naturally as there are a lot more people to transport however in the North there are still plenty of people and yet we are stuck with two car pacers being used on rush hour services.

Regarding TPE I wrote in several years back to complain about the overcrowding, the WCML was down so most people were coming though Sheffield, I made it to Sheffield from St Pancras on a fantastic IC125 as did quite a few others as most of the passengers on that train were also heading to the other side of the Pennines, try cramming a HST worth of passengers on an already crowded 3 car 185... Granted you may think that was all because the WCML was closed however it has happened a few times since as well.

The overcrowding is mainly on the cross-Pennine part of the route though, the tail ends of the routes are ok but the Manchester-Leeds/York/Sheffield are the sectors that suffer.

Is it worth pointing out that we wouldn't have this problem if we still had 47s hauling carriages? ;)

Even the 158s were better, they had more capacity, comfier seats and (until they banned the use of it) better air conditioning.

Oh well,

Phil 8-)
 

Tramfan

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I regularly use TPE between Blackpool and Manchester Piccadilly (direct) and those trains are always rammed as well. Seems to be any time of the day from early morning to 9pm in the evening. I remember one particularly unpleasant trip where I was completely crushed between other passengers and a set of doors for some 40 minutes unable to move an inch. Had really bad neck and back pain for days afterwards. Then again, I've also seen people left behind as early as Oxford Road on the Blackpool services, so I probably should be grateful that I've even managed to board the train on some occasions!
 
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tbtc

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Please, not another "north vs south" argument. We could just as easily start an argument about TPE vs the rest of the "provincial" routes in the north of England.

At least the two main TPE operated routes (the Huddersfield one and the Bolton one) are getting electrification in the next few years which presumably will mean longer trains (EMUs should be longer than a 170/185?) and additional services (the fifth fast service an hour via Huddersfield in a couple of years, increased to six Leeds - Huddersfield - Manchester trains once electrified when the Diggle stoppers are amalgamated). There are plenty of busy routes (in northern England and elsewhere) which don't even have this light at the end of the tunnel.

In hindsight the TPE franchise was a mistake (IIRC Private Eye claimed that they get more overall subsidy than Northern do?) as was the stock ordering (replacing four coach 158s with three coach 185s etc), but there's nothing we can do about that now. What matters is that at least there are improvements on the way.
 

aformeruser

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All new orders will have less capacity due to newer requirements. For example 8 car = 8 car 377. This is due to disabled area that are now required on all units among other reasons.

True but the door layout on the 185s reduced seating capacity further.



There is no such agreement for TPE/Northern so they won't as they hav never budgeted for this money. And didn't TPE try to get more units then the DfT but only got a couple of extra units.

But the previous government admitted they got it wrong with not allowing for growth in the Northern, TPE and FGW franchises and DID budget for an order of over 200 new diesel vehicles and also another order for new EMUs for Northern, with the existing 323s and possibly 321s at Northern supposed to have gone to LM for extra capacity. These were both dropped when the 319 idea was put forward and led to some people thinking that the 323s at Northern will go to LM when Northern get 319s even though neither the previous DfT or the current DfT have suggested that.

I don't know what couple of extra units you think TPE have got.

So the answer to your question of why one solution for Southern is its what the DfT decided to do.

So basically they had a written agreement to honour the extra capacity for Southern so had to look for an alternative. Northern, TPE and FGW did not have this so it was torn up.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
(IIRC Private Eye claimed that they get more overall subsidy than Northern do?) as was the stock ordering (replacing four coach 158s with three coach 185s etc)

Here's some details on how the government support TOCs (and incidentally a table showing the average age of rolling stock under each operator.) On page 9 it details how much the total subsidy for each operator is and how much that equates to per passenger mile.
http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/nrt_ch6_miscellaneous_tables.pdf

But in response to that claim - Northern get a higher total subsidy but TPE get slightly more per passenger mile. Arriva Trains Wales and Scotrail receive very high subsidies of over 10p per passenger mile and although that document says London Midland is the most heavily subsided franchise in England, that's no longer the case, it's now Southeastern who had their subsidy increased to over 8p per passenger mile.
 

142094

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The other problem for TPE is that demand is quite polarised. If you take the services that run through York, so Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Scarborough to Manchester Airport and Liverpool, the highest demand will be:

York - Manchester Piccadilly
York - Liverpool Lime Street

and other areas of demand:

Newcastle - Durham and Darlington at peak hours
Scarborough - York during the morning peak

and probably a few more that I've forgotten. Middlesbrough - York has never been anywhere near full when I've used it, and even Manchester Piccadilly - Manchester Airport trains can be half empty at times. Scarborough - York is only full during the holidays or at peak times.
 

Class377/5

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True but the door layout on the 185s reduced seating capacity further.

But the previous government admitted they got it wrong with not allowing for growth in the Northern, TPE and FGW franchises and DID budget for an order of over 200 new diesel vehicles and also another order for new EMUs for Northern, with the existing 323s and possibly 321s at Northern supposed to have gone to LM for extra capacity. These were both dropped when the 319 idea was put forward and led to some people thinking that the 323s at Northern will go to LM when Northern get 319s even though neither the previous DfT or the current DfT have suggested that.

I don't know what couple of extra units you think TPE have got.

So basically they had a written agreement to honour the extra capacity for Southern so had to look for an alternative. Northern, TPE and FGW did not have this so it was torn up.

No, Southern went out and brought its own trains. DfT they told them to give them to Thameslink even tho they were Southern's own units. Southern brought them to comply to its argeements with the DfT.

When the Thmeslink fleet was too delayed, the DfT choice was either be shown to cancel train lengthing because of its own actions or get Southern replacement stock.

I am confused as you say TPE/Northern didn't have this agreement so it was ripped up. How can you rip up something that doesn't exist?

Whether or not DfT got it wrong with Northern is a separate issue to Southern getting more stock.

As for extra Desiro's for TPE, didn't the DfT originally plan to get 49 whn going in but TPE got them to order the 51. I'm on about prior to the new fleet being built not afterwards.
 

tbtc

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Northern get a higher total subsidy but TPE get slightly more per passenger mile

Cheers.

I suspect that most people would have said that TPE had the busiest routes, rather than the quiet branchlines that Northern are lumbered with, so it seems bizarre that TPE need more subsidy to carry each passenger (on a crowded 185) than Northern do to carry passengers on quieter routes.

This ruins the "give the profitable routes to one company" argument...
 

aformeruser

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I am confused as you say TPE/Northern didn't have this agreement so it was ripped up. How can you rip up something that doesn't exist?

The franchise agreements didn't specify extra stock.

Another DfT document entitled something like "Extra capacity required on the network by 2014" included new stock for Northern, TPE and FGW but wasn't a signed agreement.

So DfT could tear up the second because it didn't breach the first.

No, Southern went out and brought its own trains

The 377s were ordered by and are owned by Porterbrook. Southern may have provided funding towards them out of their own pocket but what you're claiming is wrong.

Porterbrook said:
Porterbrook’s culture is of being highly proactive and pioneering, as evidenced by the purchase of the first new passenger trains in the UK post-privatisation and subsequent award of the largest single order of new vehicles with the purchase of 700 Class 377 Electrostar vehicles.
http://www.porterbrook.com/pages/stock.html

As for extra Desiro's for TPE, didn't the DfT originally plan to get 49 whn going in but TPE got them to order the 51. I'm on about prior to the new fleet being built not afterwards.

I don't know where the 49 figure has come from as that wouldn't have been enough to run the minimum number of services required in single formation.
 

transmanche

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In hindsight the TPE franchise was a mistake
Why so?

I must admit I'm a bit confused why a few posters here seem to be keen on merging the Northern & TransPennine franchises in the next franchise round. I'm open to persuasion, but I don't recall anyone saying why the current set-up is bad and why merging the two would be good. (It just seems to me that having one TOC that deals with the inter-regional expresses and one that deals with local/regional services is a good split and a good way of focusing management on delivering one service well, rather than two services badly.)

I'm actually happy with the incumbent operators of both franchises. The only gripe I have is stock, or the lack of it - and additionally on Northern, the age of it.

as was the stock ordering (replacing four coach 158s with three coach 185s etc), but there's nothing we can do about that now. What matters is that at least there are improvements on the way.
Agreed, a diesel version of 444 is what was required at the time - not a diesel version of a short 350.


To get back on topic. The TPE overcrowding on TPE isn't confined to the 'core' around Manchester. Crush loading in the evening peak leaving Newcastle can be as bad as anything I've seen on the tube.

In fact, when travelling between Newcastle and Chester, unless travelling in the evening or with a reservation, I'll often travel via Carlisle instead as I can always get a seat.
 

wilsontown

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I tend to think that the door layout of the 185s is not a problem, given the crowding. Sure, you lose some seats compared to a 158, but you gain a lot of standing space. Also, given the volume of passengers getting on and off at pretty much every stop, it makes dwell times much shorter. Do you really want all those people trying to fight their way down the aisle of a 158, past standing passengers who are not getting off, and then through a narrow end door? And then have the same in reverse as passengers join the train? I see this a lot on Northern's 158s, and I'd much rather have a 185. It's not the door layout, it's the fact that the trains are too short.
 

WestRiding

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TPX is a joke. They knew they had an over-crowding problem when they were running 158s. So they replace 3 car 158s with 3 car 185s. Eh? First class is empty most of the time, apart from rush hour when people pay the premium just to sit down. Joke. When will this country get some proper trains.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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We used the TPE 0929 Manchester Airport service to Windermere/Blackpool yesterday made up of 2 x 185 three-coach sets that split at Preston. At Manchester Airport, there were numerous seat reservation tickets affixed in both portions of the combined train (two of which we ours in the Windermere portion). I don't know if this six-coach train is very useful for flight arrivals, but I will honestly say that I have never seen so many airport passengers boarding this train before. There was a solitary stop at Heald Green (a full platform, no doubt caused by the good weather as many of these were "of a certain age" who were intending to go out for the day..as we were). By the time Manchester Piccadilly was reached, the crowd on platform 14 was "many bodies in depth" and such must have been the demand for Blackpool as a destination, the "standing overflow" from that part of the train, then decamped into the Windermere portion until Preston. Needless to say, there were many more intending passengers wishing to board at Manchester Oxford Road, Salford Crescent and Bolton. Standing must have been a very big problem in the Blackpool portion of the train, if what I saw in the Windermere portion was anything to go by.
 

Failed Unit

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Why so?

I must admit I'm a bit confused why a few posters here seem to be keen on merging the Northern & TransPennine franchises in the next franchise round. I'm open to persuasion, but I don't recall anyone saying why the current set-up is bad and why merging the two would be good. (It just seems to me that having one TOC that deals with the inter-regional expresses and one that deals with local/regional services is a good split and a good way of focusing management on delivering one service well, rather than two services badly.)

I'm actually happy with the incumbent operators of both franchises. The only gripe I have is stock, or the lack of it - and additionally on Northern, the age of it.

The problem as always is the boundrys and duplicaton of depots etc.

Take Cleethorpes, Northern operate the Barton-On-Humber service but since the split it is a lot more expensive to run because of ECS, not depot etc. That is why it is often said move the to EMT.

However when RRNE was split up, most of the TPE stock was based at either Heaton or Neville Hill. New depots were build at York and Manchester. If it was one greater Northern Franchise would these be needed? Would Newton Heath, Neville Hill and Heaton have coped with the demands of both? Do we have 2 more depots then we need?

At times 142s used to appear on Manchester - Cleethorpes to cover failure, not ideal, but when you have a bigger operation you have more cover.

I don't think re-creating regional railways would be a bad thing, IC and rural operators co-exist nicely at EMT, FGW and Anglia. If anything EMT is really the odd ball with Lincolnshire as East Coast has more influence on its travel then MML.
 

transmanche

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The problem as always is the boundrys and duplicaton of depots etc.

Take Cleethorpes, Northern operate the Barton-On-Humber service but since the split it is a lot more expensive to run because of ECS, not depot etc. That is why it is often said move the to EMT.
Aha, that makes some sense - thank you.

I don't think re-creating regional railways would be a bad thing, IC and rural operators co-exist nicely at EMT, FGW and Anglia. If anything EMT is really the odd ball with Lincolnshire as East Coast has more influence on its travel then MML.
What started me thinking was a thread some months ago, were a few posters were commenting on the merger of the Wessex & GW franchises - and how this had led to many problems on rural (ex-Wessex) routes. One issue being that management seemed to concentrate more on the the 'premier' HST services and neglected the rural & Bristol commuter services.
 

Failed Unit

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Aha, that makes some sense - thank you.

What started me thinking was a thread some months ago, were a few posters were commenting on the merger of the Wessex & GW franchises - and how this had led to many problems on rural (ex-Wessex) routes. One issue being that management seemed to concentrate more on the the 'premier' HST services and neglected the rural & Bristol commuter services.

To be honest I think that is always going to be the case on rural routes. I am sure had RRNE survived it would have spent more effort on the TPE bit then it did on branches. Scotrail certainly dedicate time to the profitable "Express route", The Edinburgh - Glasgow keeps going no matter whan and the Anniesland route gets dropped.

It would be interesting to see viewpoints from the Anglia region, thier rural routes seem to be a real success story. Likewise the Cornwall branches seemed to have florished under FGW. 1/2 frequecy to Falmouth as an example.

you often see this on Virgin with Liverpool is the poor relation and they have no interest in Birmingham - Scotland etc.
 

David10

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I must admit I'm a bit confused why a few posters here seem to be keen on merging the Northern & TransPennine franchises in the next franchise round.
The DfT recently extended the Northern franchise until April 2014. It also has the option of terminating TPE at the same time so if not actually merging would appear that there will be some restructuring.
 

Failed Unit

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The DfT recently extended the Northern franchise until April 2014. It also has the option of terminating TPE at the same time so if not actually merging would appear that there will be some restructuring.

Not sure if they did merge if it will make crew diagrams easier? ie would it be a benefit to have a TPE driver able to take a Leeds - Huddersfield local service out? Likewise if Northern staff had 185 knowledge, would it mean that if the Huddersfield route is closed that TPE may divert via Rochdale / Sheffield. (I know this may happen anyway but just trying to demonstate a point). Maybe I should have picked Newcastle - York via Sunderland :lol:
 

142094

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To get back on topic. The TPE overcrowding on TPE isn't confined to the 'core' around Manchester. Crush loading in the evening peak leaving Newcastle can be as bad as anything I've seen on the tube.

The main fact for this is that TPE is one of the only operators to stop at Chester-le-Street (and then Durham and Darlington) from Newcastle, and only runs once per hour. Coupled with the fact that there is a decent amount of people going further south to York, Leeds and Manchester, there is always overcrowding in the peak hours.
 

scarby

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This sums up everything that is wrong with the modern railway system. Why the hell is there so little stock available?

I grew up travelling along many parts of this route and at busy periods they simply put on larger trains. Common sense. Like this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinzac55/3285842640/

And that was at a time when the railways were supposedly "broke" and "run down"!

How can anyone in their right mind have decided that tiny 3-car units, with no back up, are fit for purpose?

BUILD MORE AND LARGER TRAINS.
 
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