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Britain's Railways

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Well, this is the problem..

When I were t'Lad, you went t'station bought t'ticket and got on t'train.

But did you? This is still what happens with local trains, but was it ever the case that with long-distance trains you just turned up and got the cheapest possible fare on the spot? I can't really remember, but about 20 years ago there were a few times when I had to travel between Scotland and southern England. I'm fairly sure that I had to buy the tickets several days in advance, and it wasn't just a case of getting on whichever train you fancied.

Now you have to plan your journey to the minute, buy a ticket weeks in advance, ...

Yes, but presumably that's about managing demand and smoothing out train occupancy across the day. If they didn't do that then the trains would be vastly overcrowded. I well remember having to stand most of the way from Exeter to Edinburgh a few days before Easter many years ago: I think that kind of thing just doesn't happen any more.

OK, it's by no means perfect, but the point I was trying to make is that it's not as bad as people make out. Every single time this subject comes up, people "prove" that the railways are rubbish by making claims that simply aren't true, like TMT's claim that a return from Swansea to London is £220. Well it's not. If you want a first-class open return then you can spend that much, but a typical fare is about a quarter of that. Someone else claimed that a return fare from Darlington to London was £250. Guess what? It isn't. Yes, you can spend that much, but as someone else points out you can get a single for £27.

These are, apparently, the benefits of privatization. Or a kind of quasi-nationalisation, but since nationalisation has been declared morally wrong, we have a company with no shareholders and no accountability to government, running a service which a fair chunk of the economy depends on.

No idea how to sort that one out. The "system" at the moment seems completely absurd, but BR wasn't exactly a paragon of efficiency either. Maybe we should let the Germans take over.

Edited by Scunnered

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UK is so ******ed - they need a government thats willing to make far harder cuts in public spending , taxes and red tape (Has the coalition even touched those last two areas yet?) than the current one.They need to come down hard on the unions as well - start undermining their power base , if they don't start up manufacturing and industry again then it's all over.

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But did you? This is still what happens with local trains, but was it ever the case that with long-distance trains you just turned up and got the cheapest possible fare on the spot? I can't really remember, but about 20 years ago there were a few times when I had to travel between Scotland and southern England. I'm fairly sure that I had to buy the tickets several days in advance, and it wasn't just a case of getting on whichever train you fancied.

There may have been advance-purchase tickets, but in general the turn-up-and-go tickets, the Savers and SuperSavers – previously called White Savers and Blue Savers – were priced reasonably enough for turning up and buying a ticket to be perfectly affordable. Admittedly I had a Young Person’s Railcard at the time, which gave me a third off such tickets. This was around 1988–1990. I don’t remember the fares, other than that a return from Coventry to London, with a railcard, was only about £7.50! I think other fares, of a London–Manchester kind of distance, were well under twenty quid with a railcard. It was always more expensive to travel on a Friday, and then Saturdays in July and August also became more expensive sometime around 1988 or ’89, i.e. they became ‘white’ days rather than ‘blue’ days.

I only started buying advance-purchase tickets after privatisation in 1994. It was not necessary prior to that.

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There may have been advance-purchase tickets, but in general the turn-up-and-go tickets, the Savers and SuperSavers – previously called White Savers and Blue Savers – were priced reasonably enough for turning up and buying a ticket to be perfectly affordable. Admittedly I had a Young Person’s Railcard at the time, which gave me a third off such tickets. This was around 1988–1990. I don’t remember the fares, other than that a return from Coventry to London, with a railcard, was only about £7.50! I think other fares, of a London–Manchester kind of distance, were well under twenty quid with a railcard. It was always more expensive to travel on a Friday, and then Saturdays in July and August also became more expensive sometime around 1988 or ’89, i.e. they became ‘white’ days rather than ‘blue’ days.

I only started buying advance-purchase tickets after privatisation in 1994. It was not necessary prior to that.

Fair enough. Maybe I was just buying the tickets early to avoid having to queue on the day with the danger of missing the train while I was waiting. I suppose things would have changed anyway with the advent of the internet, regardless of privatisation (in a similar vein, how many people buy air tickets from travel agents these days?). Buying in advance is bearable if you're only making long train journeys occasionally, but I imagine that if you were doing it regularly then it'd get pretty tiresome.

Edited by Scunnered

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These are, apparently, the benefits of privatization. Or a kind of quasi-nationalisation, but since nationalisation has been declared morally wrong, we have a company with no shareholders and no accountability to government, running a service which a fair chunk of the economy depends on.

But what about all the investment into new trains? You know, all those ones with far fewer carriages than the old ones, with the seats really crammed in and no luggage space either. Last time I went to visit my parents by train it was on a horribly over-crowded three carriage thing on a journey that used to be served by a full-length train.

On the other hand I think that there's a bit more freight on the railways these days, and if it's keeping a few lorries off the road that's fine by me.

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Surely that's a good thing. Just like houses - the more expensive the better...

Britain's railways named as Europe's most expensive (guardian)

The rail regulator underlined the disparity by revealing that the owner of Britain's railway tracks and stations is up to 40% less efficient than European rivals including Germany, Ireland and Belgium.

The transport secretary, Philip Hammond, is considering higher-than-expected fare rises in January in an attempt to reduce taxpayers' annual £3.7bn subsidy for Network Rail.

"The cost of construction, civil engineering and labour rates is more expensive than in Europe. Whether it is building a bridge, a railway or a house, it is more expensive in the UK than elsewhere. There are wider questions to ask,"

Nice one. Another evidence that there isn't a lot of 'spare capacity' where it is needed then..So those several million unemployed do not appeared to have cut down the labour cost either. On the other hand, we got plenty of capacities in BTL houses in undesirable areas (currently propped up by Housing Benefit...but soon to end)

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It's not that bad. According to www.thetrainline.com, the typical price of a single from Swansea to London today is £38, and there's even one train where you can get a single for £16.50. You have to commit to a specific train for those prices though. A single which works on any off-peak train costs £46, and one which includes peak trains costs £109.50.

It get cheaper if you buy ahead of time. Next Thursday, there are plenty of tickets for £23; two weeks today you can go for £16.

Absolutely. And if you've got children in tow, there's another 33% off adults tickets and 60% off kids tickets with a familiy railcard.

We often go up (from London) to Hull and Sheffield to see the relatives. Usually less than £40 quid, all in. Petrol costs double.

Can't be arsed with driving.

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Next Thursday, there are plenty of tickets for £23; two weeks today you can go for £16.

I'll ask my car when it's convenient for him to take me.

400 mile round trip, say 8 gallons, £50 /4 people in car = £12.50 whenever I feel like it.

The trouble is it's more expensive to park the fricking car and pay congestion charges than it is to make the journey.

Cars are the future in the UK until they democratise trains again which doesn't look very likely.

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I'll ask my car when it's convenient for him to take me.

400 mile round trip, say 8 gallons, £50 /4 people in car = £12.50 whenever I feel like it.

The trouble is it's more expensive to park the fricking car and pay congestion charges than it is to make the journey.

Cars are the future in the UK until they democratise trains again which doesn't look very likely.

Oh well, that conclusively proves that trains are always useless.

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Cars are the future in the UK until they democratise trains again which doesn't look very likely.

I don't enjoy driving in the UK, in fact it is the only country where I try determinedly to avoid long distance journeys for work purposes. I don't have a chauffeur, unfortunately.

About 7 to 4 years ago I found an improvement in the trains, ease of travel and affordability seemed to meet each other.

I no longer look forward to train travel, the redesign of FGW standard class carriages is one reason, and the new cost structure is the other. It is now prohibitively expensive to travel from the Southwest to London to arrive in time for a days work; it is better to travel the evening before and book a room in a central hotel around Trafalgar or Leicester Square.

Now, I seek out coach travel much more than I used to, and often find it a better experience than the train.

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Cars are the future in the UK until they democratise trains again which doesn't look very likely.

+1

But sadly many people in the UK use the word 'cars' to describe shopping trolleys. These days cars get smaller and more plasticky.

Here are some real cars for real humans (not 21st century slaves :P ):

1970redGTX.JPG

800px-1971_Mercury_Cougar.jpg

1973_Dodge_Challenger_Rallye.jpg

1964bonneville.jpg

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  • 277 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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