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Rail Reforms

 
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mark occomore



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 9955
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:51 am    Post subject: Rail Reforms Reply with quote

The Government want to cut the cost of running the railways. They are considering cutting ticket offices and guards on trains. Obviously unions are not pleased and ballot members with possible industrial action.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17295718
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It's greedy bonuses which are not helping. We are the worst railway service in the country with passenger delays, over crowding and even rail replacement bus services when the network has problems. Better investment needs to be given. Better rolling stock should be provided with more carriage space to carry passengers.
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Angela W



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 6877
Location: North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having to pay shareholders doesn't help either. The railways are still state owned but the trouble is that its not by our state. Let us hope McNulty's cuts don't cost lives.
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ruddlescat



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 18010
Location: Near Chester

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I'm generally in favour of privatisation where it works I think that doing so with things like the railways and the water utilities were privatisations too far

There are some essential services like railways which have to have their 'raison d'etre' to provide a proper travel infrastructure rather than to make a profit although if they do so much the better

There were some very good privatisations under Maggie Thatcher such as BT - we all remember from the old days how long people used to wait to get a phone installed - and I think perhaps she knew where to draw the line as most of the bad privatisations like the railways took place in the 90's after she left office

We need a properly funded rail network if we are seriously to compete with the likes of France,Germany,Italy and Japan and it would be a good start if the Government started giving contracts to home based companies like Bombardier rather than putting money in the pockets of one of their main foreign competitors Rolling Eyes
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R2Icon



Joined: 10 Sep 2009
Posts: 1444

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

History tells us that no railway system anywhere on the planet has ever made a profit when taking into account the original construction costs and through life running and maintenance costs. So it begs the question- why would a private company wish to run a railway? In this country it’s simple: the entire network is being massively subsidised by the Government (tax-payer- i.e. us- you and me) and really our rail network hasn’t been privatised at all, private companies have been given a licence to run trains on a Government funded network of lines: there’s a big difference to it being a privatised railway. The current proposals are to reduce that subsidy – which if the private companies were prepared to take a reduction in profit, would have no effect on the services they offer- so it would be win-win but the private companies of course, won’t do that, they’re in the business of making money, they have shareholders and so will try to reduce their costs (mainly staff) to take up the slack. It’s a stupid system.

An example of stupid it is: before privatisation, it used to take 1hr:50 to get from my town to London by train, often it would be a few minutes late. No biggy. Southwest Trains now take 2hrs:28 to get from my town to London but they’re never late, in fact sometimes the train has to go really slowly or even stop for 5-minutes at a time to ensure that it doesn’t arrive ridiculously early!
Under the old system we used to get there late in under two hours, under the new system we get there on time in 2 hours and 28 minutes. So we pay more to take longer, oh and there’s fewer trains too- we used to have one every half hour, now its one per hour.
We should have some pride in our rail-system, we should be leading the world in travel technology but we’re not even running to catch up, no, we’re running the other way.
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RockitRon



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 7565

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

R2Icon wrote:
History tells us that no railway system anywhere on the planet has ever made a profit when taking into account the original construction costs and through life running and maintenance costs. So it begs the question- why would a private company wish to run a railway? In this country it’s simple: the entire network is being massively subsidised by the Government (tax-payer- i.e. us- you and me) and really our rail network hasn’t been privatised at all, private companies have been given a licence to run trains on a Government funded network of lines: there’s a big difference to it being a privatised railway. The current proposals are to reduce that subsidy – which if the private companies were prepared to take a reduction in profit, would have no effect on the services they offer- so it would be win-win but the private companies of course, won’t do that, they’re in the business of making money, they have shareholders and so will try to reduce their costs (mainly staff) to take up the slack. It’s a stupid system.


Well exactly. The privatisation of the railways and rail engineering was a massive misjudgment, compounded by the fact they made a dog's dinner of the way they mashed it all up and dished it out.

"When it was one industry, British Rail, it was subsidised to the tune of around £1.5bn in today's money and at the moment it's getting £4bn of taxpayers' money.

When it was one homogenous industry it worked, albeit creakingly. It is now fragmented into hundreds of bits and doesn't.

R2Icon wrote:
An example of stupid it is: before privatisation, it used to take 1hr:50 to get from my town to London by train, often it would be a few minutes late. No biggy. Southwest Trains now take 2hrs:28 to get from my town to London but they’re never late, in fact sometimes the train has to go really slowly or even stop for 5-minutes at a time to ensure that it doesn’t arrive ridiculously early!
Under the old system we used to get there late in under two hours, under the new system we get there on time in 2 hours and 28 minutes. So we pay more to take longer, oh and there’s fewer trains too- we used to have one every half hour, now its one per hour.


We're the same, Rach. There is no reason why the journey from Nottingham to London should take longer than 90 minutes, but because so much "recovery time" is built into the schedule, to avoid penalties being incurred should it get delayed for any reason, it actually takes two minutes under two hours - it was quicker than that by steam puffer 150 years ago. We still have a half-hourly service, or should I say two trains an hour, a "fast(ish)" one and a stopping one - the former usually catches the other one up.

R2Icon wrote:
We should have some pride in our rail-system, we should be leading the world in travel technology but we’re not even running to catch up, no, we’re running the other way.


ruddlescat wrote:
We need a properly funded rail network if we are seriously to compete with the likes of France,Germany,Italy and Japan and it would be a good start if the Government started giving contracts to home based companies like Bombardier rather than putting money in the pockets of one of their main foreign competitors


Alas, Bombardier is a Canadian company whose train and rail engineering division is headquartered in Germany. It has manufacturing plant in most European countries - the Derby works is but one small cog.

I fear that not even spending £38bn on HS2 is going to make anyone proud of our railway. There will, however, almost certainly be arguments and recriminations when it goes pear-shaped and over budget.


Bringing the ticketing system into the 21st century and simplifying the fare structure is a good idea though. I Wonder who will get the contract for that Question
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RockitRon



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 7565

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops. Just read the updated version of that news report
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17295718
The fare structure is going to be (even) more varied than the chaotic state it's in at the moment, and apparently it is by no means certain that the system will be compatible with, based on or operated in the same way as the popular Oyster card in London. Rolling Eyes
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R2Icon



Joined: 10 Sep 2009
Posts: 1444

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course the other problem is the cost of tickets on trains. My mum's recent visit highlights this: - cost on the train- cheapest fare, would have been £70 each way, so £140 and over 6 hours of time each way on the train. She flew with Flybe from Newcastle, total cost there and back £90 , just over one hour each way. I had to collect her and take her to the airport of course but the cost of doing that was dwafed by the cost and time saving on the plane - so she'll never come on the train, not now: and her experience has convinced me that for long journies ( domestic flights only) - the plane, where available, is faster, cheaper and more convienient. What makes it worse is that I paid extra to choose her seat on the plane and it was near empty, so she sat wherever she wanted anyway. Humph! It had never occured to me that I could have a day-trip to Newcastle from the south coast but it is possible and for only about £80 if you don't mind where you sit. Travelling by train needs to be cheaper, better, faster and more reliable than it is now for it to catch on.
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mark occomore



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 9955
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smart cards are also reported the Government could consider. Oyster Cards work very well in London, so an National Rail card might work too. Rolling stock is also outdated on some networks which needs improving too. Maybe HS2 should be put on hold, and spend on what rails we have at present.
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mark occomore



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 9955
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know it's slightly off topic. I don't know if anyone saw this interesting piece a few weeks ago. Driverless trains. Obviously there were plans for this to be introduced to the London underground, but unions are up in arms as job losses would happen.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4c0da906-5b18-11e1-ab75-00144feabdc0.html
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