Government may reintegrate Rail and reverse Beeching's Rail closures

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  • With Brexit all on our minds and Christmas approaching too, the Government choose this time to make what could be a significant decision about how the British railways are operated in the future:

    The whole point of separating train from track in the first place was because the tracks were (still are) used by more than one route, so when the system was privatised, the argument given by the government at that time was that you needed a centralised network operator (Railtrack at the time, Network Rail now) to run the track. What has changed? The tracks are still used by more than one train company in many parts of the country. There is also freight.


    For services such as the East Coast Main Line this does make sense. Although Branson has welcomed the decision, he'll have no more excuses if there are problems on his service, although I'll assume he'll still use sub-contractors, but he (Virgin Rail) will be responsible for delays and all problems, no more blaming Network Rail.


    The other significant part of this government announcement (full details are in the link "rail strategy" above) is the reopening of some lines closed by Dr Beeching in the 1960s.


    This was before my time, but the thinking in the 60s was that with car ownership increasing, it was thought that rail use would decline and so much of Britain's railway infrastructure was closed. In fact, the opposite happened. Rail use has steadily increased, not declined with our burgeoning population.


    I will read the rail strategy document as soon as I can, but what are member's initial thoughts on this announcement? Is it wise to reverse the decisions of the past, or is simply correctly bad decisions that should never have been made in the first place?

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  • East Coast Trainline back under Government Control

    Rail services on East Coast Main Line are being brought back under UK government control, operator Stagecoach Group says.

    Stagecoach, which runs the franchise with Virgin Trains, said it has been advised that an "operator of last resort" would be appointed to the London to Edinburgh service.

    The transport secretary is making a statement right now to parliament after the story had been leaked to the guardian.


    Is the end of the current railway system as we know it with private companies running services on one hand, leasing trains on another and of course running those trains on Network Rail's line?

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  • I couldn't give a toss about rail , I live 20 miles from the nearest station and might use the system once every 5 years , I am more angry about the state of the road network and the bill of £140 I just got after a front spring was broken and fell onto my tyre !

  • I don't use the railways either, but the continuing ping pong between taking these rail franchises under public ownership, then flogging them off again, has got to stop.

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  • Some of the franchisees based their business models on an unrealistic increase of passenger numbers. When those numbers failed to materialise the franchise became uneconomic.


    Maybe a bit of realism, particularly on the part of government that is dishing out the franchises, is what is needed.

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  • With passenger numbers still rising, I don't understand why the companies made such miscalculation on this. If there were empty carriages all the time, I could understand why it's come to this point, but trains are packed for most of the day, so someone should be able to come up with a sensible way to run the railways and perhaps make a few quid out of it too.

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  • I don't use the railways either, but the continuing ping pong between taking these rail franchises under public ownership, then flogging them off again, has got to stop.

    As the Tories rightly fear , nationalised railways are a union boss's wet dream , they would have a field day and everyone knows it.

  • Now it has been reported the Secretary is facing more pressure to act over a further four more rail operators, according to The Times.

    Operators in the firing line include Northern Rail, South Western, Transpennine Express and Greater Anglia, it has been claimed.

    Lilian Greenwood, chairwoman of the transport select committee, warned that other rail companies were “struggling to meet their obligations”.

    I've linked the story to The Times' sister paper as The Times is paywall protected.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

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  • The whole privatisation of the railways has been a cock up from start to finish, because before privatisation the railways were run into the ground for years by successive governments just so they could be sold off cheap to their mates who wanted to play trains, only for them to suddenly realise that there is way more involved than it just being an oversized trainset.

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • Government should not manage railways, says review

    The man tasked with working out how to improve UK railways says a "Fat Controller" type figure, independent from government, should be in charge of day-to-day operations.

    The former boss of British Airways, Keith Williams, said government involvement should be limited to overall policy and budget decisions.

    But he said the Department for Transport should not manage the system.

    This fellow is bringing out a report in the Autumn about the railways, but is the idea of a Fat Controller type person or organisation, a bit like the old Strategic Rail Authority, a good idea?


    It seems the problem with the railways is more endemic and as Williams articulated further in the article, the rail franchises are too short and thus the rail companies have no incentive to invest.


    The article goes on to say that rewarding of rail franchises in the future should be based on performance targets like the punctuality of trains rather than how many ticket offices a station has, I assumed this was the case already, no wonder things are in such a mess.


    The solution seems "simple" but that is the separation of track from those who actually run services on that track, needs to be reversed.

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  • Like most government privatisation initiatives, the profits are privatised but the losses are state funded. There has to be some control over the profits, like enforcing a measure of re-investment.


    The biggest rip off of public money was Rail Track (I think I have the right name), so the government must not allow this to happen again.

    Mark Twain — 'Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.'

  • There has to be some control over the profits

    Last figure I saw was that typically only 3% of the ticket price is profit, the rest goes in running the system and investment.

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  • What we need is a government who can think of a bigger picture, where railways can usefully function within that picture. The rail operating model has to address "you and your journey". Anything less is a Russian-style supply economy rather than a consumer economy. Here are just a few examples of requirements and pitfalls:


    1 A high level of timetable reliability is infinitely more important than a fine degree of punctuality. The punctuality targets imposed at present are irrelevant if not downright lamebrain. Rail travellers need to be confident that the time requirement or constraint of their journey will succeed. The time constraint need only be approximate. It's not a schedule for a moon-landing or rendezvous in space. If time is of the essence, where there is a real deadline (eg business appointment, concert, funeral, flight), only a fool would cut it fine. If reliability or predictability is not high enough and one's travel plan needs to be elongated by safety net schedule then probably the rail game is not worth the candle to any travellers who value their time and do not feel that the journey itself is a sought-after pleasurable experience in its own right, in which delay becomes a bonus.


    2 A journey requiring a change from one train to another (where both are long distance and the timetable is infrequent) is a mug's game. It would be stupid and irresponsible to offer it as anything more than a facility suited to those whose journey ambition exceeds their common sense, or have plenty of spare time in their lives, or enjoy gambling. InterCity, at its best, was the very opposite of this. Which shows how even within a Nationalised railway system it just takes a person of vision, a non-apparatchik, to point the way forward (it was John Prideaux).


    3 Rail logistic deterrents include the difficulty of getting to the station of departure and being marooned at a station of arrival with inadequate means of completing one's journey to the final destination. The ideal direct one-stage journey is door to door. Second best is town centre to town centre, provided the rail stations used are within easy access, from both the standpoint of journey origin and journey destination, whether easy access is by foot, private vehicle or public transport with a timetable that intermeshes with rail arrivals and departures. When needing to rely on a private car to connect with station of departure or arrival, car parking or frequent shuttling are essential and the cost of that needs to be reasonable, affordable and fair rather than typical rip-off Britain opportunistic price gouging. What we're talking about here is joined up thinking for integrated national travel.


    4 Duration of journey is more important than speed per se. Duration from origin to final destination does not need to be significantly better than travelling by car on an average day of congestion or roadworks or minor accidents turned into major delays by manically H&S officious traffic police and their infinite length of yellow tape. What matters more is improved reliability/predictability of arrival coupled with sufficient comfort to make the journey enjoyable or at least relaxing or at the very least bearable (like a seat!). That means treating travellers as paying customers. It means not running a transport equivalent of the NHS. Unlike those poor bastards (most of whom are tax payers) who don't have enough money to get medical help anywhere else but with the NHS, rail travellers always have a choice, even if it means abandoning the journey or moving home or job to release themselves from depending on rail to get to & from work.


    5 As in any capitalist society you get what you are able or willing to pay for. In travel this means a tariff choice for food and comfort. Egalitarianism will invariably produce utilitarianism, which is skewed to satisfying the lowest common-denominator.


    6 Ease of booking and simplicity of different ticketing conditions and concessions is in much need of creative destruction if rail travellers are to resist either hiring a contract lawyer or taking a crash course in Boolean Algebra. The staff of Britain's Railways who create these ever lengthening-and-changing range of ticket choices and conditions should be committed to an asylum.


    7 If the end game is an integrated national travel system, based on proper joined-up thinking, I would contend that privatisation is the antithesis of that ultimate aim. I do not believe a Nationalised railway is automatically inferior to a privatised railway. Instead it reflects the character and quality of the nation itself. It is deplorable that Britain's railways should be so substantially and shamefully inferior to those of Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain and France. It is not simply a case of Government subsidy; that's just the argument about financing the system based on (a) rail users versus (b) all taxpayers including non-users. On the basis of fairness I would vote for the financing to come from rail users rather than all tax payers, with the usual government concessions to specific sections of society. Method (a) is how it ought to be with the BBC but isn't ...... yet!). More important than that political debate is how the money is put to proper use. For example, nationalisation doesn't mean excluding the contribution that can come from subcontracting to privatised companies. When doing so what needs to be explained to mindless protesters is the simple difference between privatisation and sub-contracting to private companies. Do those protesting idiots think the NHS manufactures their own stethoscopes and scanners?!


    I could go on forever. Most of you who have read this far will think I already have! Let me just end on with this note: everything that I have said above - and a whole lot more I haven't said yet - convinces me that the HS2 project is a monument to Britain's stupidity and a vanity project for the Government that initiated it. As A Unique Selling Proposition the HS2, even today, is neither Unique nor Selling, and by the time it comes into operation, in a world of modern communication and travel, it will be an interesting antique that should never have existed.

  • 1 A high level of timetable reliability is infinitely more important than a fine degree of punctuality. The punctuality targets imposed at present are irrelevant if not downright lamebrain. Rail travellers need to be confident that the time requirement or constraint of their journey will succeed. The time constraint need only be approximate. It's not a schedule for a moon-landing or rendezvous in space. If time is of the essence, where there is a real deadline (eg business appointment, concert, funeral, flight), only a fool would cut it fine. If reliability or predictability is not high enough and one's travel plan needs to be elongated by safety net schedule then probably the rail game is not worth the candle to any travellers who value their time and do not feel that the journey itself is a sought-after pleasurable experience in its own right, in which delay becomes a bonus.

    I don't understand.


    If a train arrives late at a station or is delayed, that effects the timetable and has a knock on effect on other services, so punctuality and reliability are interlinked, are they not??


    2 A journey requiring a change from one train to another (where both are long distance and the timetable is infrequent) is a mug's game. It would be stupid and irresponsible to offer it as anything more than a facility suited to those whose journey ambition exceeds their common sense, or have plenty of spare time in their lives, or enjoy gambling. InterCity, at its best, was the very opposite of this. Which shows how even within a Nationalised railway system it just takes a person of vision, a non-apparatchik, to point the way forward (it was John Prideaux).

    But why can't a private company run intercity services, as you seem to be advocating renationalise here? Or do you mean, if someone has to change train and use a different train company?

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  • 3 Rail logistic deterrents include the difficulty of getting to the station of departure and being marooned at a station of arrival with inadequate means of completing one's journey to the final destination. The ideal direct one-stage journey is door to door. Second best is town centre to town centre, provided the rail stations used are within easy access, from both the standpoint of journey origin and journey destination, whether easy access is by foot, private vehicle or public transport with a timetable that intermeshes with rail arrivals and departures. When needing to rely on a private car to connect with station of departure or arrival, car parking or frequent shuttling are essential and the cost of that needs to be reasonable, affordable and fair rather than typical rip-off Britain opportunistic price gouging. What we're talking about here is joined up thinking for integrated national travel.

    My road is just about to have car parking permits imposed on us for parking outside our own houses, because the road is within 1km of a station and all free parking spaces are taken up by commuters. So, I agree there needs to adequate provision for car parking, but as its London, there is no space, so other options are needed to complete the "last mile" of the journey for the commuter.


    I'll come back to the subject of integrated travel at the of my reply.


    4 Duration of journey is more important than speed per se. Duration from origin to final destination does not need to be significantly better than travelling by car on an average day of congestion or roadworks or minor accidents turned into major delays by manically H&S officious traffic police and their infinite length of yellow tape. What matters more is improved reliability/predictability of arrival coupled with sufficient comfort to make the journey enjoyable or at least relaxing or at the very least bearable (like a seat!). That means treating travellers as paying customers. It means not running a transport equivalent of the NHS. Unlike those poor bastards (most of whom are tax payers) who don't have enough money to get medical help anywhere else but with the NHS, rail travellers always have a choice, even if it means abandoning the journey or moving home or job to release themselves from depending on rail to get to & from work.

    Like the NHS, there is no real choice for the majority. How many can afford to move or change job, just to be "released" from travelling by train. Very few, I'd imagine.


    5 As in any capitalist society you get what you are able or willing to pay for. In travel this means a tariff choice for food and comfort. Egalitarianism will invariably produce utilitarianism, which is skewed to satisfying the lowest common-denominator.

    One word: Uber.


    I'll come back to this at the end.

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  • 6 Ease of booking and simplicity of different ticketing conditions and concessions is in much need of creative destruction if rail travellers are to resist either hiring a contract lawyer or taking a crash course in Boolean Algebra. The staff of Britain's Railways who create these ever lengthening-and-changing range of ticket choices and conditions should be committed to an asylum.

    Yes and that's supposedly what this Autumn report will go into. I assume it will be based on London's ticketing system in some way, which is integrated via the Oyster card.

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  • 7 If the end game is an integrated national travel system, based on proper joined-up thinking, I would contend that privatisation is the antithesis of that ultimate aim. I do not believe a Nationalised railway is automatically inferior to a privatised railway. Instead it reflects the character and quality of the nation itself. It is deplorable that Britain's railways should be so substantially and shamefully inferior to those of Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain and France. It is not simply a case of Government subsidy; that's just the argument about financing the system based on (a) rail users versus (b) all taxpayers including non-users. On the basis of fairness I would vote for the financing to come from rail users rather than all tax payers, with the usual government concessions to specific sections of society. Method (a) is how it ought to be with the BBC but isn't ...... yet!). More important than that political debate is how the money is put to proper use. For example, nationalisation doesn't mean excluding the contribution that can come from subcontracting to privatised companies. When doing so what needs to be explained to mindless protesters is the simple difference between privatisation and sub-contracting to private companies. Do those protesting idiots think the NHS manufactures their own stethoscopes and scanners?!

    No idea what Boris might do, but Hammond has ruled out any type of PFI deal in the future, so thus, I don't see how a company can be brought into a nationalised system.


    I'm not dogmatic on private vs nationalised, but overall I believe that governments of all flavours are inept and should run as little as possible and by and large, privately run organisations provide better results than nationalised organisations.


    The whole problem with our system is the separation of the track from those who actually run services on that track and until that can be addressed, these problems will continue.

    I could go on forever. Most of you who have read this far will think I already have! Let me just end on with this note: everything that I have said above - and a whole lot more I haven't said yet - convinces me that the HS2 project is a monument to Britain's stupidity and a vanity project for the Government that initiated it. As A Unique Selling Proposition the HS2, even today, is neither Unique nor Selling, and by the time it comes into operation, in a world of modern communication and travel, it will be an interesting antique that should never have existed.

    I wish I had the time to go on forever on this any many other subjects as I rather like forums, but unfortunately personal circumstances doesn't allow at the moment, but let me briefly outline why I think we are about to approach a "perfect storm" in technology that could, if implemented properly, could revolutionise "train" travel and bring about truly integrated travel.


    And lets go back to Uber, because this is where it starts. Uber has revolutionised taxi journeys by providing easily available and usually much cheaper journeys. Of course, once the age of AI and robotic cars is upon us, the Uber drivers will be ditched and the service will become fully automated. But why stop at just "taxi" travel?


    For those who like science fiction, the technology of "pods" has been widely mentioned and the Uber controlled taxis, will be the start of this new form of travel, I believe.


    As you've pretty much outlined, there's three main parts to a train journey. Getting to the station, using the trains and then getting from the destination station to the final end point. What if one pod could do the lot and thus eliminate the trains, planes, automobiles, cyclists in lycra (worth it in itself) and even walking..?


    You order your pod for your morning commute and the AI works out where you are and where you want to travel to. You're presented with mulitple price options ranging from a premium service of a private pod which will collect you from your door step and take you right to your final destination. Or, for us peasants, a shared pod which either comes to your door step or close to it and drops you off at your find end point, or close to it. The AI works out how many people are in a certain area and where they are travelling to and despatches the required number of pods. But here's the clever bit. The pods join up at a station, link together and then travel along very high speed "train" tracks to the destination city/town. The pods then break off and each travels to their final end points.


    Straight out of science fiction, except we now have automated vehicles which can be centrally administered like how Uber does with its service now.


    Goodbye trains, buses, taxis and probably even most cars in the future. That's how I reckon it will work, or something like that and freight will work the same way with the lorries getting totally eliminated in the end, except the freight pods will mostly travel at night using the same methods as the passenger pods.

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  • Last figure I saw was that typically only 3% of the ticket price is profit, the rest goes in running the system and investment.

    My now ex-scumbag neighbour works on the railways and if he and his comrades' behaviour is anything to go by, there is potential for enormous savings to be made on the railways as many staff, to put it bluntly, do fuck all.


    Like most government privatisation initiatives, the profits are privatised but the losses are state funded. There has to be some control over the profits, like enforcing a measure of re-investment.


    The biggest rip off of public money was Rail Track (I think I have the right name), so the government must not allow this to happen again.

    Fully agree. It should be written into their contracts that the profits belong to the companies, as does all the risk.


    And it was Railtrack. Minus a space and a capital letter.:P


    Surprised to learn from that link that Railtrack wasn't fully dissolved until 2010!8|

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  • The problem with rail privatisation these days is there are far too many people with fingers in the pie, whereas in the days before British Rail the companies owned the trains, the track and all the other infrastructure, today we have the train operating companies who just run the trains while leasing the trains from another company over tracks owned by someone else.


    As for the cost of tickets I just dont get the pricing for instance I live in Banbury and sometimes travel to Oxford and Bicester, the tickets to Oxford cost around £6 for a off-peak standard return whereas the tickets to Bicester costs around £9 for a off-peak standard return you only have to look on a map to see Bicester is not as far as Oxford, I have yet to have anyone give me a satisfactory explanation as to why it costs more to travel to Bicester than it does to Oxford.

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • I remember when Arriva first took a rail franchise, many of their bus drivers immediately applied to become train drivers as the pay was approx 3x the pay of bus drivers. Why is that?

    Mark Twain — 'Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.'

  • Heavily unionised. The trains will go automatic, hence why there was strikes on one of the lines the other year which will stop that nonsense in the end.


    The problem with rail privatisation these days is there are far too many people with fingers in the pie, whereas in the days before British Rail the companies owned the trains, the track and all the other infrastructure, today we have the train operating companies who just run the trains while leasing the trains from another company over tracks owned by someone else.

    The rail system was broken up as it is now because the track is shared and breaks off into different directions. If you had one or more tracks going to each destination, those tracks could be individually owned by the train companies, but the train companies have to share the tracks with each other and thus why we have Network Rail. And the trains are leased becuase the franchises are so small. If the train companies had franchisees of 30 years say, they probably would buy their own trains.


    The c2c line (the former Misery Line) by me going from Southend into Fenchurch St is one such track that only goes in one direction and thus is owned by one company, but that is not the norm.

    As for the cost of tickets I just dont get the pricing for instance I live in Banbury and sometimes travel to Oxford and Bicester, the tickets to Oxford cost around £6 for a off-peak standard return whereas the tickets to Bicester costs around £9 for a off-peak standard return you only have to look on a map to see Bicester is not as far as Oxford, I have yet to have anyone give me a satisfactory explanation as to why it costs more to travel to Bicester than it does to Oxford.

    Don't know Ron. Apart from London, I've never been on trains elsewhere between major towns and cities. Have you ever asked your train company why this is? Perhaps the Bicester route stops more and thus costs more to operate??

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  • saing space - see above #13,14,1,5,16

    Horizon: thanks for getting as immersed as I did. Answering all your comments - same numbering as I used and you stuck to


    1 Reliability/predictability is more important than stringent punctuality because connections between modes of public transport can never equal a personal taxi/limo waiting for your train to arrive no more than 10-15 minutes late. So one must rely on a reasonable frequent multi-stop shuttle service into the town centre.


    2 I’m not saying a private company can’t run a high quality rail service such as InterCity. I’m just using Intercity to demonstrate that privatisation is not a prerequisite and that the right culture within a nationalised railway is feasible, a viable stand-alone division within Britain’s railways that can do its own thing. Also, there is no justification in an Intercity passenger being disallowed to have a total journey ticket and be disallowed to change to a non-Intercity train to complete their journey. This is what happens when independent private rail companies are allowed by Government to behave in such a dog-in-manger manner that prevents an integrated railway system. It’s monumentally stupid of Government to let that happen. Never mind Government running a railway, how about it just governs properly?!


    3 Parking one’s car at one of London’s rail termini (or a main city terminus) is probably a luxury that can’t be afforded and inasmuch that other public transport will run to & from that termini I don’t see that there is much of a problem here that needs addressing. It’s the outlying/provincial stations I was referring to.


    4 I’m not saying people will change job or home locations just to fit their lifestyle to the railway system. What I’m saying is that when the opportunity or necessity to change jobs or home locations enters into people’s lives, viable rail travel will factor into that decision. Thus, it’s a long term trend.


    5 Capitalism and a consumer demand economy rather than a Soviet Russian supply economy: yes, you’re so right, “Uber” says it all with regard the new travel offerings that are on the horizon


    6 Ease of booking vs a ticket jungle: you’re right, today’s computer should remove the excuse that allows railway divisions to impose their confused or opportunistic opaque tariffs on travellers.


    7 Like you I'm also not dogmatic on private vs nationalised and, with the quality and culture of Government which we have, privately run organisations is the better or less bad option. With one major proviso: better government regulation to ensure that private companies keep to the promises in a well-conceived contract that should anticipate all manner of opportunistic abuses. Needless to say, the contract should be sufficiently long term for the private company to make long term investment decisions rather just pursuing a fast buck. As for separating track from trains, that was never going to work. It was inevitably going to be an excuse escape clause for private companies who own routes blaming the Government who own the track. Both or neither need to be privatised.


    8 Thinking beyond and ahead of HS2: thank you for going the distance. I love your visions. The reason why I no longer read science fiction is that it’s become real or within our sights (if not in all cases within our lifetime!). If Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and all other greats (Maine, Bester, Sheckley, Clarke, Dick, Heinlein etc) were alive today they’d be stretched to peer any further into the future. Movie directors have taken that ball and are running with it. As you say, different travel pods for different travel purposes, different economic/wealth segments and different levels of tailored exclusivity; but all with built in safety mechanisms for every human being with the exception of lycra-clad cyclists. Hedgehogs would no longer be an endangered species.


    Then of course we can get rid of all of that advanced travel technology once we master Jaunting. After all, if Gully Foyle could manage to do it, any of us can

  • 2 I’m not saying a private company can’t runa high quality rail service such as InterCity. I’m just using Intercity to demonstrate that privatisation is not a prerequisiteand that the right culture within a nationalised railway is feasible, a viablestand-alone division within Britain’s railways that can do its own thing. Also, there is no justification in an Intercitypassenger being disallowed to have a total journey ticket and be disallowed to changeto a non-Intercity train to complete their journey. This is what happens when independent privaterail companies are allowed by Government to behave in such a dog-in-mangermanner that prevents an integrated railway system. It’s monumentally stupid of Government to letthat happen. Never mind Governmentrunning a railway, how about it just governs properly?!

    Agree and as I don't travel on trains beyond London, I wasn't aware of how the ticketing works. Everyone should be allowed to travel on one ticket.

    3 Parking one’s car at one of London’s rail termini(or a main city terminus) is probably a luxury that can’t be afforded and inasmuchthat other public transport will run to & from that termini I don’t seethat there is much of a problem here that needs addressing. It’s the outlying/provincial stations I was referring to.

    Me too. I live in about as outer London as you can get.


    7 Like you I'm also not dogmatic on private vsnationalised and, with the quality and culture of Government which we have, privatelyrun organisations is the better or less bad option. With one major proviso: better government regulation to ensure thatprivate companies keep to the promises in a well-conceived contract that shouldanticipate all manner of opportunistic abuses. Needless to say, the contract should be sufficiently long term for theprivate company to make long term investment decisions rather just pursuing afast buck. As for separating track from trains,that was never going to work. It was inevitablygoing to be an excuse escape clause for private companies who own routes blamingthe Government who own the track. Bothor neither need to be privatised.

    But whether private or not, the track is still shared between different services that travel at different speeds that ultimately end up at different destinations. And I agree about the governance/regulation and the companies need to be pinned down in proper contracts that make them accountable. And on that...:


    I never went into HS2, but let me briefly explain why this is so important.


    The headline for HS2 is "shave 20 mins off your journey" or whatever it maybe, but that is not the reason for having HS2. What is misunderstood or not known about HS2 is the knock on effect on existing services.


    By having a brand new railway line, you not only increase capacity on existing lines, but it allows the train companies to fiddle with their time tables and make substantial improvements to services, because there will be far less sharing of the track, because new track, new capacity, will be built.

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  • Everyone should be allowed to travel on one ticket.

    When I was car-less and traveled down to Cornwall regularly you couldn't get a single ticket for down and return legs. There was always a split and you had to jiggle with its position to get the best price. Here the on-line rail journey planners were a godsend.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

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  • I suppose in a way I'm spoiled, as one can travel on the oyster card anywhere in London and a bit beyond whether it be on buses, trains or tubes.

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  • I never went into HS2, but let me briefly explain why this is so important.


    The headline for HS2 is "shave 20 mins off your journey" or whatever it maybe, but that is not the reason for having HS2. What is misunderstood or not known about HS2 is the knock on effect on existing services.


    By having a brand new railway line, you not only increase capacity on existing lines, but it allows the train companies to fiddle with their time tables and make substantial improvements to services, because there will be far less sharing of the track, because new track, new capacity, will be built.

    HS2 when announced in 2010 was going to cost £33 billion. It's now increased to £56 billion. Independent estimates are that it will end up costing £100 billion.


    Compulsory purchasing of property is already a shabby disgrace.


    Originally HS2 was all about speed. Thanks to on-train internet connectivity making it possible to work on trains, extra speed becomes less important


    The new justification for HS2 is capacity. But London to Birmingham is less than half full on average and at its peak no more than 70%. The movie concept "build it and they will come" might work for a baseball field in the wilds of Nebraska but I doubt it is a business model for HS2 between London and the North


    Besides, the North-South divide is already well served by rail. Possibly a faster East-West connection in the North of England (ditto in the South). At present HS2 is too London-Centric, which is hardly powering up the North.


    Completion is forecast for around 2033. Are you confident that HS2 will be a relevant method of travel within Britain 14 years hence? I'm certainly not

  • There was a time when our railways were the envy of the world, now they are a joke.


    You would think that with everyone supposedly tying to be more eco friendly, the powers that be, would be trying to encourage everyone to use public transport.

    Young boys in the park jumpers for goalpost that's what footballs all about isn't it.

  • Completion is forecast for around 2033. Are you confident that HS2 will be a relevant method of travel within Britain 14 years hence? I'm certainly not

    Baring in mind what I said about automated pods, no I'm not. And we'll have flying pods by then too.


    HS2 when announced in 2010 was going to cost £33 billion. It's now increased to £56 billion. Independent estimates are that it will end up costing £100 billion.

    £100bn for a new railway line is a joke. Actually, no, it's criminal. Whoever is quoting those figures needs to be shot.

    Besides, the North-South divide is already well served by rail. Possibly a faster East-West connection in the North of England (ditto in the South). At present HS2 is too London-Centric, which is hardly powering up the North.

    I agree. No idea how one would travel between Manchester and Newcastle by public transport. Donkey, I presume. South West desperately needs a new connection too after that flooding fiasco a few years ago.


    There was a time when our railways were the envy of the world, now they are a joke.


    You would think that with everyone supposedly tying to be more eco friendly, the powers that be, would be trying to encourage everyone to use public transport.

    Compared to some, we;re still pretty good Ron.


    The French boast about their high speed TGVs going between their cities, but what about more shorter distances. Almost non-existent, as far as train services go.

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  • 1 £100bn for a new railway line is a joke. Actually, no, it's criminal. Whoever is quoting those figures needs to be shot.


    2 South West desperately needs a new connection too after that flooding fiasco a few years ago.


    3 The French boast about their high speed TGVs going between their cities, but what about more shorter distances. Almost non-existent, as far as train services go.

    1 And whoever assured the public of much lower figures, either through incompetence or deceit should by drawn & quartered


    2 When in my work I travelled a great deal around Britain I fondly remember taking a sleeper from Newcastle to Exeter. It was a cross country service. It took about 6.5 hours. That cross country service still exists but minus the sleeper service (because convenience and comfort has always been an anathema to Britain's railways). Once you take away the convenience of a sleeper, Consequently, if you look at cross country's timetable, there is less than a 15 minute difference in total duration from going diagonally cross-country versus Newcastle-London-Exeter. Maybe this points to how we should develop Britain's railways: not as an effective way to travel from A to B but rather for a sightseeing meandering hop-off-hop-on way of exploring Britain, with trains coming along every couple of hours. Message from pilot to passengers: "we shall be landing in Britain in 20 minutes, please reset your watches back 100 years.


    3 TGV is impressively high speed but it has never been as as luxurious and relaxing as Intercity once was during its heyday (it's Eurostar that has picked up that ball and ran with it ...... if you can afford it). Apart from the grand views, America's Amtrak is also a shadow of its former self. Even if I suited up and looked like Cary Grant there is no way I'd find myself sitting down to have cocktails and then dinner with Eve Mary Saint as our train speeds through the prairie from Chicago to Denver, with a bar pianist tinkling in the background. Indeed, Amtrak today makes Britain's Railways look good.

  • Northern rail could be nationalised

    The government is considering whether the management of the North of England's largest rail commuter service should be taken into public hands.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Northern's poor performance, with trains regularly arriving late or not at all, "cannot continue".

    I do not understand why a railway is so hard to run. The trains can only go to certain places and run along a fixed route, yet time and time again, these companies are failing to run an acceptable level of service.

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