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You've got to hand it to the French

They sure know how to build good trains...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6521295.stm


I agree with the Guardian leader today as well:
It was the perfect example of "le grand projet": statist, interventionist, and exactly the sort of thing French presidents do. To hell with local planning controls and the small towns it would bypass. To hell with sharp gradients and the cost of laying all that new track.

We should put them in charge of our network
Beep boop. I'm a bot.
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Being on a fast train would be nice, if only I had somewhere to go :(
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Having spent years travelling on Connex trains I shudder to think about the french taking control.

    (French trains in france are excellent though so maybe SNCF rather than connex I cba to actually read the article)
  • Teh_GerbilTeh_Gerbil Posts: 13,332 Born on Earth, Raised by The Mix
    Woot!

    If only the UK had good trains like this, eh?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What I would like to see in Britain is the attitude and determination the Guardian article talks about regarding the French: "To hell with regulations, bypassing small towns, land appropriation or intial cost. Let's build a real high speed line and do it properly whatever it takes".

    As an aside, for all the problems we like to think France has they still have a very strong and capable industry. They build the best trains in the world; they build their own advanced fighter jets by themselves if they don't like the way things are going with multi-nation projects, such as the Eurofighter; they've even built their own nuclear deterrent including the submarines, delivery systems and warheads, so they don't depend on any other country to supply and maintain them.

    Where have they gone right that Britain have gone wrong, one wonders... :chin:
  • JsTJsT Posts: 18,268 Skive's The Limit
    Shows what can be done with proper funding over a number of years and a pro-public transport government.

    Which is why we will never do it.
  • Teh_GerbilTeh_Gerbil Posts: 13,332 Born on Earth, Raised by The Mix
    JsT wrote: »
    Shows what can be done with proper funding over a number of years and a pro-public transport government.

    Which is why we will never do it.

    True that.

    Neither Labour nor Conserative now support public transport. Which pisses me off.

    So we get shoddy service and nothing new and good.

    And yeah, Alladin, I think you know who is to thank for Britain not being able to support itself with it's own Industry now... one of Dis's favourite people... and no workers like her at all...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JsT wrote: »
    Shows what can be done with proper funding over a number of years and a pro-public transport government.

    Which is why we will never do it.

    It also shows you the benefit of a large landmass.

    Which is another reason why we won't do it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Im not usually a fan of the French, but you have got to hand it to them. They know how to achieve something :thumb:

    Just a shame the last time the UK was setting records for train speed was with the flying scotsman in 1066 or something :p

    We really need to pull our finger out and start achieving something in this country, with our third world rail system we are a laughing stock :lol:

    If we had the TGV in the UK, its estimated the London- Manchester journey time would be 45 mins. We could live in Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham or Bristol and work in London.

    Shame the only record our trains are breaking, is the amount of passangers that can be squeezed into the bogs :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It also shows you the benefit of a large landmass.

    Well if I remember anything from my geography GCSE, Japan is pretty small in terms of actual landmass that can be built on. How do they manage it?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It also shows you the benefit of a large landmass.

    Which is another reason why we won't do it.
    While the built-up areas around London admittedly spreads over large areas, there are still hundreds of miles of empty countryside between London and Manchester and Scotland.

    We insist on trying to find excuses for our pisspoor network when none is acceptable.

    Take the Eurostar to Paris. When the line initially opened the French spent billions building a new track for the route while the British stuck the train on existing lines for most of the route. The excuse then was that a new line could not be built due to the congested South East of England and blah blah.

    I suppose some kind of miracle whereby millions of people and property have evaporated from the area must have taken place, because from October we will have a dedicated high speed line linking London with the Channel Tunnel. A line they say couldn't be built.

    As always it all comes down to money and greed.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Are there any good train networks that are commercial? All the top ones seem to be state owned.
  • JsTJsT Posts: 18,268 Skive's The Limit
    Are there any good train networks that are commercial? All the top ones seem to be state owned.

    Deutsche Bahn in Germany is a private company and does a good job.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    At the end of the day it's a question of money though, IIRC France gets more taxation than us and much less social support. Swings and roundabouts I guess.
  • JsTJsT Posts: 18,268 Skive's The Limit
    One thing that didn't get mentioned on here was this.

    If you take a read through there is a lot of small little schemes also going to be done to cut journey times. For example a realigning of Guide Bridge and a new platform at Manchester Airport will cut journey times on a typical York - Manchester Airport journey by over 5 minutes.

    Things still aren't perfect in the UK but things are getting better.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JsT wrote: »
    For example a realigning of Guide Bridge and a new platform at Manchester Airport will cut journey times on a typical York - Manchester Airport journey by over 5 minutes.

    I bet the French are shitting themselves :D

    The £2.7 billion announced by railtrack is going to be spent on platforms, stations, signals and car parks. We need an adequate train service before we start spending money on plant pots and car parks.

    Until I can catch a train form London to Edinburgh in less than 2 hours then I would continue to take a flight (regardless of carbon emissions)

    I used to be able to drive between Newcastle and Nottingham quicker than I could get the train. How on earth are we to convince people to swap their cars for public transport if thats the situation ?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'd have to say I still prefer living in the UK with our slightly slower trains than in France with one of the most socially unstable populations in well, the world.

    Socio-economic timebomb.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Exactly. Even if our trains were as good as the French ones, for all but a select few routes, the prices would have to be way lower to make it a worthwhile alternative to the car.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JsT wrote: »
    Deutsche Bahn in Germany is a private company and does a good job.

    Aren't most/all of the shares owned by the German state, though?
    Aladdin wrote:
    "To hell with regulations, bypassing small towns, land appropriation or intial cost. Let's build a real high speed line and do it properly whatever it takes".

    How good is the train service that serves these towns that have been bypassed?
  • JsTJsT Posts: 18,268 Skive's The Limit
    Calvin wrote: »
    I bet the French are shitting themselves :D

    The £2.7 billion announced by railtrack is going to be spent on platforms, stations, signals and car parks. We need an adequate train service before we start spending money on plant pots and car parks.

    Until I can catch a train form London to Edinburgh in less than 2 hours then I would continue to take a flight (regardless of carbon emissions)

    I used to be able to drive between Newcastle and Nottingham quicker than I could get the train. How on earth are we to convince people to swap their cars for public transport if thats the situation ?

    The French are irrelevant, the minor improvements will improve things for those who make the journey everyday, or even if they do it rarely. The money being spent by Network Rail (not Railtrack) is trying to create an adequate service. Improving stations for the disabled, extending platforms for longer trains, created new stations, new signalling to improve journey times and increase line speeds. Improving car parks so those in rural areas can drive to local stations rather than clogging up the city centres. I could do on.

    The problem with these high speed lines is those in the middle, which is something the French has discovered - as the service away from TGV lines is rubbish. Take your example of Newcastle to Nottingham. A high speed line between these two places is brilliant but what about the residents of Durham, Darlington, Northallerton, York, Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield, Chesterfield etc. Journey times for them would be significantly worse and have a much poorer service overall.

    As for Edinburgh to London - I'm sure the time of 2 hours you give doesnt include, getting to the airport, checking in, waiting around, and then trying to get back into the city centre once your there.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JsT wrote: »
    what about the residents of Durham, Darlington, Northallerton, York, Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield, Chesterfield etc. Journey times for them would be significantly worse and have a much poorer service overall.

    Bollocks to them! Thats life when you dont live in a big city. Why cant they build a high speed train line from edinburgh to london, calling at newcastle, york, leeds etc all the big cities. Everyone else such as people from Durham or Northallerton will have to get a slow train to one of the bigger hubs. Fast trains cant stop everywhere, thats life.
    JsT wrote: »
    As for Edinburgh to London - I'm sure the time of 2 hours you give doesnt include, getting to the airport, checking in, waiting around, and then trying to get back into the city centre once your there.

    With all the checking in etc, it would probably take around 2.5, 3 hours. But a train would have to complete the journey in around 2 hours to entice me from a quicker and often cheaper flight.

    If the government want people to take the train on domestic routes then they are going to have to compete with flying.
  • JsTJsT Posts: 18,268 Skive's The Limit
    Calvin wrote: »
    Bollocks to them! Thats life when you dont live in a big city. Why cant they build a high speed train line from edinburgh to london, calling at newcastle, york, leeds etc all the big cities. Everyone else such as people from Durham or Northallerton will have to get a slow train to one of the bigger hubs. Fast trains cant stop everywhere, thats life.

    So what your suggesting is the French system, if your in a big city brilliant - if your not - tough shit. Flawed concept. As an aside, the project of building a new 450 mile high speed link would never happen in this country. The argument about who gets it and who doesnt would rumble on for years. The best that can be hoped for this there will be improvement to the line that currently exists and journey times would be reduced to about 3hrs 30.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JsT wrote: »
    So what your suggesting is the French system, if your in a big city brilliant - if your not - tough shit.

    :yes: Got it in one.

    Who cares about Durham or Doncaster. People need to get between the big cities and quick. If you want a quick services you will get yourself to a big city. If not then you have to take the slower train.
  • JsTJsT Posts: 18,268 Skive's The Limit
    Calvin wrote: »
    :yes: Got it in one.

    Who cares about Durham or Doncaster. People need to get between the big cities and quick. If you want a quick services you will get yourself to a big city. If not then you have to take the slower train.
    Its just so so so flawed. We are a country of varying cities, with few areas of high population closely combined (aside from London really) so such an idea really really will not work. We are a country of limited landmass, such an idea will just not work.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Not so good if you're in one of the small towns which suddenly has a high speed line through your back garden.

    Planning controls are there for reasons - and one of those reason is to stop the state or big corporations building over your house.

    Perhaps I'm old fashioned but I rather like living in a country where the state has to jump through lots of hoops if its making a compulsory purchase of my house...

    That's the reason British transport projects take so long, not lack of money and not inefficient British engineering...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've used the trains in France and wouldn't say they're that great. Of course, there are world class, fast links between the major cities but the local and regional services are very mixed. Trains in Germany are very good all over, the fast IC and ICE trains are excellent and the local services are decent too. Italian trains aren't bad either, good local trains too. (I've inter-railed around Europe...)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The Spanish high speed trains will refund you the full price of your ticket, if the train arrives more than 5 minutes late.

    Cant really see any of our companies doing this :no:
  • JsTJsT Posts: 18,268 Skive's The Limit
    Calvin wrote: »
    Cant really see any of our companies doing this :no:

    Of course not.

    Because the network suffers from so much previous under funding that the network hasn't expanded when it should have, old equipment breaks etc. And thats before you get planks throwing bricks and trespassing.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    And the trains are mostly owned by banks.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Are trains in the UK really that bad? I think they're quite adequate really, and I use them fairly often now. York to Leicester is a 2.5 hour trip, takes about the same by car, but my mum estimates it costs her £50 in petrol (not sure if thats one way or return). In the car I have to put up with her temper, and traffic, and can't have an angus beef cheeseburger with caramalised onions (i recommend), and it only costs me (return) £25. Add another £5 on for buses at both ends, I can get from my place in york to my place at home with one suitcase (got the massive one for big washes :D) in the same time as my mum can drive me, and it's much more comfortable.

    If I could drive, I might do that instead, because of course you then have the convenience of having the car with you. Although, where do you park the car? And insurance works out for me to be approximately £100 a month, so I'd have to travel a lot to subsidise that. Add on top road tax, MOT / maintainence and depreciation, and I think the train is actually a not so bad alternative.

    I would say it can be slightly on the expensive side, I've struggled so far getting advance book discounts with my rail card because they're always sold out (probably JsT buying leeds to london ones or something :p).

    Any country can get the 'fastest' whatever. But what about the worst? In America: richest people, sure. What about the millions who live below the poverty line, without access to even basic healthcare. In France, with high unemployment, stupid inflation, and political agendas targetting asylum seekers / immigrants, it's going to explode in a few years. Isn't the president one of the most disliked in recent history?

    If we look at it like this - China, America, Russia all put astronauts into space. But would you enjoy living in any of those 'pioneering' countries? As long as you're middle class in the UK, you're sorted. And even being working class these days isn't a death knell, as education is free, healthcare is free, if you need it - housing is free!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    shyboy wrote:
    Are trains in the UK really that bad

    Well some services are quite good but there are still major deficiencies in some areas that should not exist in country like Britain.

    There is really no excuse for the lack of a true high speed line linking London with the North. It is quite bad (and bad for the country's image and economy) that we have no high speed railways here. Three out of four public transport passengers in the London- Glasgow route choose the plane over the train. That is bad enough. But that there are many daily flights between London and Manchester is nothing short of a disgrace. There shouldn't be anyone flying between London and Manchester out of choice.
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