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Breaking News: East Coast Line Taken Over By Govt.


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Bottom line is that the British have never been prepared to pay for infrastructure. They have quickly voted out any government that has tried to address it.

Not true. We certainly PAY for it. We just dont GET it.

£9bn and 6-odd years to upgrade the west coast mainline? FFS! £9Bn!

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Lord Adonis, speaking on the BBC Today programme said: "I am simply not prepared to bail out companies that are unable to fulfil their commitments." What about the banks?!

Darlington to London, standard class was £162 4 years ago. Ticket now costs £276 + £9 car parking. Which is why I now drive to London, so much for reducing congestion.

I'm in a similar position starting from York. And to those who say that the comparison is a false one because it doesn't take into account any of the costs of car ownership except fuel, I'd add the following points.

1. Many of the costs of car ownership are fixed (e.g. tax, insurance, parking permits etc.), which you can only avoid if you don't have a car at all. If you do, then the more you drive it the cheaper the costs per mile those fixed expenses are.

2. As soon as you have more than one person travelling, the cost of using trains becomes even more obscene.

3. Even factoring into account everything, the car is still probably cheaper unless you're driving a brand new, fuel guzzling luxury car which is depreciating at the rate of £5-6k a year.

The thing I dont get, is if its so crap, why do people use it? Its a bit like McDonalds, you cant complain its rubbish when its packed all the time.

Because public sector workers travelling on expenses account for the vast majority of the full price tickets sold, I'd imagine. A couple of months ago I had to tell my boss that I could either attend the London meeting he asked me to go to at 24 hours' notice, or prepare a paper for a meeting on campus the following day, but not both. Not a problem, he replied: go first class and that'll enable you to write the report on the train. He signed off the £350 ticket at the stroke of a pen and with barely a second thought. I've bought flights to America for less than that. Furthermore there is no incentive whatsoever for me to look for lower priced advance fares, though I do so wherever possible because I have no wish to rip off students and taxpayers.

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The thing I dont get, is if its so crap, why do people use it?

Because I dont have any choice.

Too far to walk or cycle, bus would take more than 24hrs and theres no parking.

People dont do it because they like it, they do it because theres no other way to get to work.

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At last, a good move by the government.

With Network Rail a state-owned company and now the National Express's East Coast route going into state ownership, we have almost got back to a publicly owned railway service on one kety route - except that the trains will probably continue to be leased from one of the rolling-stock companies.

Here is a chance for a state-run railway route to prove (or otherwise) that it can compete with the franchised services.

And what should the new publicly owned service be called? BRITISH RAIL, of course.

One has to see this against a background where our largest freight operator, DB Schenker, formely EWS, is part of the German state-owned railway organisation.

->-

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Edited by blankster
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Not true. We certainly PAY for it. We just dont GET it.

£9bn and 6-odd years to upgrade the west coast mainline? FFS! £9Bn!

We´ll just have to disagree on this. IMO the British don´t now (and never have) pay enough for infrastructure. This has led to an inefficient, creaking and expensive (to users) public transport network amongst other things.

£9Bn! (over 5/6 years?) is small beer in the greater scheme of things.

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So ggood its worth repeating

Govt minister says:

I'm simply not prepared to bail out companies that are unable to meet their commitments.

It is simply unacceptable to reap the benefits of contracts when times are good, only to walk away from them when times become more challenging.

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Further to my above post, I think it really would make sense to ressurrect the British Rail name, and the immediately identifiable arrows logo, which is still used a sign for stations. The East Coast trains could even be repainted in an updated version of the 'rail blue' livery.

Re. refused bail-outs. It's worth noting that the German government has recently refused to bail out Porsche, which borrowed huge sums to squander on trying to take over VW.

Edited by blankster
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You have a strange view of the railways if you think the trains are full of 'fat-cats commuting to the City from their place in the country'. Trains are empty because they are too expensive, simple as that. For instance, I am going to Wimbledon this Saturday. Cheapest ticket is £104.90 x 2 = £209.80 + £18 parking which comes to £227.80. I am taking the car as this costs £60 diesel and £38 parking so less than half the cost of the train. Its simple economics.

Additionally, how can we trust MPs to regulate train fares when they get their fares paid for on expenses. Its just numbers on a claim form to them, they are insulated from the true cost of everyday life.

You might be better driving to Surbiton and getting the train from there. It wouldn't cost 38 quid for car park plus train fare x 2, that's for sure.

In unrelated news, the new govt train company has announced 1,250,000 new jobs for personal passenger assistants to show passengers to their trains and carry their bags.

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That only applies to those who either don't own a car, or those who could fulfil all their travel needs without the need for a car. Trains are stunningly expensive because, unless you live in and rarely leave a large connurbation with excellent public transport, you need the car as well anyway.

This is exactly why I gave up the train and now drive to work. The price of a season ticket kept going up and up whilst the service got noticeably worse and worse. I have the car anyway so it doesnt cost anything extra to use it. Parking has gotten very compettitive in recent years. I now pay £1.50 for 24hrs, with an attendant on the lookout (I could pay cheaper but prefer my current place). This is because all the cancelled buildings sites and being put to use for parking.

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I'd love to see where all the bottomless pits have been in the crazy privatised rail set-up that's come about, with its separate infrastructure company (now publicly owned again, of course), train operating companies, rolling-stock leasing companies and others.

In the days of British Rail it was all one organisation (yes. with failings, obviously) - they even built a lot of their own locomotives, carriages and wagons, although by no means all of them. Not least, it should be noted, that the same BR that was hitting the headlines for strikes and curled-up sandwiches actually built the HST Inter-City 125s in their own workshops. Those trains are still in service 33 years after they were intoduced, albeit refurbished and with their shrieking Paxman Valenta engines replaced by quieter MTU ones.

Edited by blankster
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Not true. We certainly PAY for it. We just dont GET it.

£9bn and 6-odd years to upgrade the west coast mainline? FFS! £9Bn!

To be fair he didn't say we pay nothing for infrastructure he said that the British are never prepared to pay what it takes to get (and maintain) a good infrastructure - and vote out any government that seeks to spend that sort of money.

It could be argued that the £9bn FFS is because we didn't pay for regular maintenence. Same is true for water - hosepipe bans in the SouthEast yet again this heatwave anyone? The water pressure is certainly down in my area.

Given the choice the British will go for a tax cut over investing in making the country a better place all round - because there's always somebody who can say "I don't use that so why should I pay for it". It takes the ability to think a couple of moves ahead to see the benefits in long term actions. We don't, as a whole, have that ability instead we go for immediate gratification.

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The elephant in the room is Richard Bowker CBE who resigned last night

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/busi...icle6613427.ece

Bowker was brought into national express a couple of years back, decided to merge coaches trains and buses together, failed to win any extra contracts and overpaid for GNER by a long shot. He isnt 'much loved', has has trashed national express, the coaches division were doing really well and it has taken him a couple of years to run things into the ground (AGAIN!?!?). From my experience bowker doesn't understand buses or coaches, and struggles to understand trains, the problem is he is far too removed from a customer, and what a customer wants, cheap reliable transport, and good customer service. The new group management brought up to Birmingham massivly increased costs and confused the business, no-one listened, there was a predecided policy to merge the businesses and share IT systems (which is a joke because the passengers .'. the IT system requirements are different).

Buses : Pax buy tickets when they board, sale by driver

Trains : Use a national booking system for all trains, no passenger limits most tickets unallocated

Coaches : Use a completely different inhouse booking system, fixed number of seats per coach, additional coaches layed on dynamically, most vehicles 3rd part contract vehicles that are negotiated on price as required, pre bough tickets only, 3rd Party Agent Network

There is no synergy, and you cant have one off the shelf IT system that covers everything!

It was clear it was a sinking ship at the start of the transition and LOTS of people left the company because of bad management. I know of one guy who left because his new manager didnt talk to him at all after getting the position, and his manager sat all of 2 meters away!

Bowker is interesting, he was in charge of the SRA until it was shut down, murky guy

http://www.christianwolmar.co.uk/2009/05/r...er-in-the-mire/

Edited by moosetea
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I'd love to see where all the bottomless pits have been in the crazy privatised rail set-up that's come about, with its separate infrastructure company (now publicly owned again, of course), train operating companies, rolling-stock leasing companies and others.

In the days of British Rail it was all one organisation (yes. with failings, obviously) - they even built a lot of their own locomotives, carriages and wagons, although by no means all of them. Not least, it should be noted, that the same BR that was hitting the headlines for strikes and curled-up sandwiches actually built the HST Inter-City 125s in their own workshops. Those trains are still in service 33 years after they were intoduced, albeit refurbished and with their shrieking Paxman Valenta engines replaced by quieter MTU ones.

+1

BR had some great research labs. I recall 30 years ago being driven around in a truck powered a wondeful battery based on liquid sulphur /sodium (yes the stuff that whizzes about on the water at room temperature). Really rapid recharge, viable for commercial use - but only in applications where there was precious little chance of an accident splitting open the battery and releasing molten sodium! They were researching a lot of similar batteries, alternatives without this rather significant safety concern.

I doubt that research survived privatisation. Probably scrapped and packaged off to some other country where long term thinking was more fashionable.

There were many good things about BR to offset the well-trumpeted failings. The privatisation gave us lots of cash, but now we discover they didn't spend it wisely and have to buy the technology we used to do ourselves from abroad.

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I'm not surprised. As a regular Leeds to London traveller the signs have been there. I'd estimate passenger numbers to be down by around 20%. Staff morale seems low at times - they now have to provide their own float for on-board tickets etc (ie you trust someone with the lives of 400+ people but not a £20 float).

The trolley dollys and buffet cars are increasingly shrill. Various daft and still expensive deals regularly announced on the tannoy.

The prices are truly ridiculous and have climbed considerably in the last year or so - in the face of obvious falling demand (great understanding of the market eh?).

And the people paying the most for a ticket now have to pay an extra £5 return to guarantee a seat!

The reliability of the service actually seems better than under GNER though. Though an strange increase in cancellations in the last few weeks - I guess we know why now.

The rail service should never have been privatised - there would have been riots if it had happened to the roads. Frankly it's bonkers that the country that invented them should have one of the poorest and expensive networks in Europe.

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Re-nationalisation by stealth?

Not Likely!!

This has happened before with other 'franchises' before (cannot recall the names). But I think this would be a fantastic excuse to start that process. Privatisation is a waste of money, but I don't think there are any politicians that will admit this.

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This is exactly why I gave up the train and now drive to work. The price of a season ticket kept going up and up whilst the service got noticeably worse and worse. I have the car anyway so it doesnt cost anything extra to use it. Parking has gotten very compettitive in recent years. I now pay £1.50 for 24hrs, with an attendant on the lookout (I could pay cheaper but prefer my current place). This is because all the cancelled buildings sites and being put to use for parking.

Right, some places wash, vacuum your car inside and out, and park it for you. Prices start from £5.

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There were many good things about BR to offset the well-trumpeted failings. The privatisation gave us lots of cash, but now we discover they didn't spend it wisely and have to buy the technology we used to do ourselves from abroad.
In the years leading up to privatisation, British Rail had plans to electrify many more routes, including the Great Western main lines to South Wales and the South West of England.

Privatisation killed off these plans and for some time it halted investment in new electric trains, since the rolling stock companies found diesels more flexible for leasing as they could be used anywhere. That ended up with diesels operating services that were wholly along electrified routes. I think that situation has improved a bit now.

Edited by blankster
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BR had some great research labs. I recall 30 years ago being driven around in a truck powered a wondeful battery based on liquid sulphur /sodium (yes the stuff that whizzes about on the water at room temperature). Really rapid recharge, viable for commercial use - but only in applications where there was precious little chance of an accident splitting open the battery and releasing molten sodium! They were researching a lot of similar batteries, alternatives without this rather significant safety concern.

I doubt that research survived privatisation. Probably scrapped and packaged off to some other country where long term thinking was more fashionable.

There were many good things about BR to offset the well-trumpeted failings. The privatisation gave us lots of cash, but now we discover they didn't spend it wisely and have to buy the technology we used to do ourselves from abroad.

By way of balance, I offer the APT, the freight locos turned out in the late 70s \ early 80s, and mere existance of Pacers. Chuck in the massive amounts wasted during the replacement of steam with diesel and electric, and their overall record is definately dubious. Yes, they got some things right, but also made a hell of a lot of cockups.

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Although BR workshops produced some fine machines, I think most of the remaining locos from BR days still in use (apart from the HST 125s) were built by private companies like English Electric and Brush.

Ironically, the APT in its final electric form was very similar to the Pendolinos, it even tilted, which was part of its problem.

The original APT was powered by gas turbines, which turned out to be a dead-end for rail use.

Edited by blankster
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Right, some places wash, vacuum your car inside and out, and park it for you. Prices start from £5.

My car is lucky if it gets a wash every few months!. but its amazing how much you can spoil yourself whilst driving compared to the cost of the train. Can't believe I put up with it for so long.

I can also swear to the fact that I've had less colds & general illness since I gave up the trains.

It shouldnt be that way, but in this country it is.

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Darlington to London, standard class was £162 4 years ago. Ticket now costs £276 + £9 car parking. Which is why I now drive to London, so much for reducing congestion.

Public transport should be affordable and something provided by the government at cost as a service for its people. Something successive governments have completely ignored.

276 quid Darlo to London :o:blink::unsure: eff me gently, I'd want a chauffeur driven limo for that money.

I am shocked

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