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What things could we do with a "British Rail" type entity we can't do now?

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Sad Sprinter

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As it says on the tin, if we had a BR type railway, is there anything-from management structure to actual operation we could do better than our current set-up? Lets assume that freight is also brought back under this new BR umbrella.
 
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zwk500

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As it says on the tin, if we had a BR type railway, is there anything-from management structure to actual operation we could do better than our current set-up? Lets assume that freight is also brought back under this new BR umbrella.
To play devil's advocate, what type of BR? Are we looking at the early, regions-based system, with effectively semi-independent geographic monopolies, or the sector-type version, with assets and responsibilities allocated to divisions according to traffic and markets?

Would this hypothetical BR-type railway include buses and Sealink-type operations as well? Because at various times BR had it's fingers in many more pies than just things that ran on rails. It makes a big difference if through ticketing and guaranteed takt-type connections can be offered to broaden a station's catchment area without private vehicles.
 

Sad Sprinter

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To play devil's advocate, what type of BR? Are we looking at the early, regions-based system, with effectively semi-independent geographic monopolies, or the sector-type version, with assets and responsibilities allocated to divisions according to traffic and markets?

Would this hypothetical BR-type railway include buses and Sealink-type operations as well? Because at various times BR had it's fingers in many more pies than just things that ran on rails. It makes a big difference if through ticketing and guaranteed takt-type connections can be offered to broaden a station's catchment area without private vehicles.

Say the early model-without Sealink but lets include buses. I don't think the 1986-1994 era will realistically return because you'd run into the mess of what to do with RR.
 

Bletchleyite

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One for the Unions - a national rail strike is pretty much impossible, unless it involves Network Rail specifically. Indeed, some think that's one key reason why it was privatised as it was, though unfortunately for that person it actually strengthened the unions in many ways.
 

Dr Hoo

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As it says on the tin, if we had a BR type railway, is there anything-from management structure to actual operation we could do better than our current set-up? Lets assume that freight is also brought back under this new BR umbrella.
It would be much easier to cut timetables, increase fares faster than inflation, de-staff stations, give up on certain types of non-passenger operation such as parcels and wagonload, sell off surplus land, reduce train lengths, introduce driver only operation and heavily rationalise track layouts.

(Just a few thoughts to start off from the later years.)
 

zwk500

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It would be much easier to cut timetables, increase fares faster than inflation, de-staff stations, give up on certain types of non-passenger operation such as parcels and wagonload, sell off surplus land, reduce train lengths, introduce driver only operation and heavily rationalise track layouts.

(Just a few thoughts to start off from the later years.)
Only if Parliament abolishes the oversight mechanisms...
 

Irascible

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Merge a couple of TOCs and you're not far off back to regions anyway. For us down west FirstGroup has as much a monopoly as the WR had, and from the state of SWR, much the same priorities...

BR might think about procuring replacement stock nationwide instead of piecemeal. I mean, the DfT tried, at least, once.
 

RT4038

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I suspect that the Railway would be more susceptible to budget cuts, as the detail would no longer be the responsibility (or accountability) of civil servants.
 

ChiefPlanner

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I suspect that the Railway would be more susceptible to budget cuts, as the detail would no longer be the responsibility (or accountability) of civil servants.

The present situation gives you 5 year ("Control Period") assurance , as opposed to old BR who lived on annual settlements (which could often be summarily cut !) , and even then the DfT took a keen interest / involvement in what BR was allowed to invest in , maybe a bit less so on operational matters.
 

172007

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How about a much simplified ticketing system?
That has two arguments revolving around the common theme of a central fare pot.

Fares could be simplified as there would be less arguments generally as to who pockets the fare. Would allow some routes to be extended in the rush hour to maximise capacity.

Simplified fares may come about due to less competition for a fare pot, I.e. TOC specific fares currently designed so that TOC pockets all the revenue take for that fare. Can't see that working as so of it is about spreading demand and avoiding commuters on regional services.
 

Ianno87

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Fares could be simplified as there would be less arguments generally as to who pockets the fare.

You would still need to internally allocate revenue to individual service groups (as any organisation with any commercial awareness would), so "arguments" wouldn't go away.
 

RT4038

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Plus the complication of specific fares to fill otherwise poorly loaded trains (off peak, evening, stopping, indirect etc) is not about who pockets the fare.
 

LUYMun

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Some services may be easier to arrange on special occasions. Pardon me if I'm wrong but footballer's trains are for one.
 

zwk500

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Some services may be easier to arrange on special occasions. Pardon me if I'm wrong but footballer's trains are for one.
They only become easier to arrange if there's spare staff, trains and paths with which to run them. FWIW at least up until the 2018/19 season football specials were run either as general additional services, or as railtours limited to pre-booked ticket holders, usually arranged by clubs either for very long away trips or for Wembley finals.
 

6Gman

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They only become easier to arrange if there's spare staff, trains and paths with which to run them. FWIW at least up until the 2018/19 season football specials were run either as general additional services, or as railtours limited to pre-booked ticket holders, usually arranged by clubs either for very long away trips or for Wembley finals.
Though there may be slightly more flexibility in using resources in a "non-standard" way. And you could recreate "block" links at key depots to allow - and this is just an example - all those Desiros sitting in sidings on Saturdays to do other things.
 

JonathanH

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all those Desiros sitting in sidings on Saturdays to do other things.
What other things? They are rather limited by the need to have electrified track and the fact that there aren't gaps in the timetables nowadays.
 

Dr Day

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At privatisation the railways lost many of the 'central services' type functions including a variety of world-class technical research facilities and systems developers as well as internal engineering design teams who were all part of the railway family. Could this kind of thing come back 'in-house' in a more joined up railway business?

Also, would it be a more attractive industry to work in with the ability to move more seamlessly between roles eg moving from signalling to driving?
 

Bald Rick

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Only if Parliament abolishes the oversight mechanisms...

Parliament (strictly, Ministers) rarely intervened in service cuts / destaffing. BR just got on with it. Closing lines was of course a different matter.
 

zwk500

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Parliament (strictly, Ministers) rarely intervened in service cuts / destaffing. BR just got on with it. Closing lines was of course a different matter.
You're right that Ministers made the decisions (and still do), but it's Parliament that would have to abolish/reform the oversight structure as it's currently empowered by act of parliament.

They may not have intervened in BR (I wasn't around then), but they do now. The OP is asking about a single national operator with vertical integration being set up today, and after 25 years of privatisation I can't see any Govt giving up that power. You may have more faith in Ministers relinquishing a potential electoral aid, but from your previous posts I think you share some of my cynicism!
 

coppercapped

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Well...

...we could cut costs by having a national wage freeze for all Government employees and as the NAO has decreed that Network Rail is a nationalised industry that is not so far fetched.

In any event wages and salaries will drop anyway relative to the national average as 'Nu-BR' will be a monopsony - the only purchaser in a particular market. Monopsonies are equally malignant as monopolies - single suppliers.

Be very, very careful what you wish for. It WILL bite you.
 

Bald Rick

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Well...

...we could cut costs by having a national wage freeze for all Government employees and as the NAO has decreed that Network Rail is a nationalised industry that is not so far fetched.

That’s exactly what has happened!
 
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