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Pre-Budget Report

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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote:
    I've travelled all over the country through both business and pleasure...the worst delay I've ever had was about two hours because someone threw themselves under a train.
    Half hour delays on a 90 minute journey on a regular basis are extremely disruptive. And that happens disturbingly often.


    I just compared two fares for the next day above. Train, full fare, was £90 return, plane was over double that, and the plane restricted you to one service in each direction.

    The cheapest return train fare from Newcastle centre to Central London is £15. The cheapest air fare is at least £15, and then you have to spend another £15 on getting from Stansted or Luton.
    You have to ask yourself how many people end up using the cheaptest fare, and more importantly how much does someone get charged if they commit the outrage of buying a ticket for next day travel at peak times (not to mention same say travel).

    It doesn't matter if sometimes the train is a bit cheaper. It should be a lot cheaper, most if not all of the time.


    Take Newcastle-London. The quickest train is under 3 hours centre to centre. The plane involves a 30-minute tube ride to Newcastle airport, 30 minutes at check-in, 1 hour to get through security, one hour in the air, 30 minutes at baggage reclaim and then another 30 mins on the tube/HEx into London.
    Sure, the closer to London, the more appealing it becomes.

    Try the London to Scotland route, which is the one being discussed and the one where air travel beats train travel by 4 to 1.


    Most are grossly overstated, some are complete fabrications.
    Really? People lie for the sake of it do they? If they say something you don't like to hear, they must be lying.
    This is the same media that blamed the railways for a crash resulting from someone parking a Land Rover on a 125mph main line because of incompetent driving, and that blamed the railways for the crash resulting from someone committing suicide on a level crossing, remember.
    I reckon they have far better reason to blame the railway operators: for instance for claiming to fork out millions in new trains when the government ends up footing the bill (Virgin). For sucking up hundreds of millions in subsidies and yet pocketing all the profits (practically all operators apart from GNER). For increasing profitable first class carriages at the detriment of cattle-class (Virgin). For pretending their trains are not "compatible" with certain stations due to their curvature in order to justify not serving small stations at weekends- despite having no such trouble at weekedays (some South West England operator). For sacking hundreds of drivers out of greed and having to reinstate some of them the very next week as there was nobody left to drive (South West Trains). Etc etc etc.


    If train companies started only letting as many people on trains as there are seats you'd have a heart attack.
    Really? How do you work that one out?

    I don't think there is a single country in the First World, and not many in the Third World, that would sell long distance tickets and not guarantee a seat. Certainly not unless they they're selling a standing ticket only.

    It's an embarrassement and a disgrace of indescribable proprotions. Simple as.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Toadborg wrote:
    It is perfectly simple to book a seat on a train. It also greatly reduces the cost if you book in advance and there are numerous railcards available.
    A lot of people don't have much choice in the matter of when to book seats. And for full, physically able adults who don't travel every day, the discounts available are few and far between.
    Most people would not turn up to an airport and expect to get a seat, they book substantially in advance, which is what you should do for trains as well, at least for long and/or important journeys......
    You're missing the point. Nobody should be made to stand on a long distance journey. We wouldn't do that to cattle.
    When I lived in sheffield I found the sheffield to leicester service to be perfectly adequate, and decently priced compared to buses, taxis and probably cars when you factor in the many costs associated with them.......
    I'm sure some services are okay. But many others are not. There are simply unnaceptably high number of piss-poor services. And there is also an unnaceptable lack of investment. There should be a true high speed line between London and Scotland. The only reason there isn't is because of greed and reluctance to invest. Which is stupid really, because for every Pound spend on the transport infrastructure you get many more in return thanks to increased trade and tourism.

    It's nice to see Britain falling behind such industrial powerhouses and wealthy nations as Portugal or Spain when it comes to high speed lines isn't it?
  • Teh_GerbilTeh_Gerbil Posts: 13,332 Born on Earth, Raised by The Mix
    If climate change is happening and if it is affected by human behaviour and if it can be prevented by humans changing their habits - all big if's that have not been proven, it will take an extraordinary level of united co-operation with the entire world on board. In other words when pigs fly...

    SORRY?

    What the fuck more proof do you need lad? SIBERIA is MELTING. The sea level is rising. Freak floods and droughts hit countries in the same year. Mere months apart. A tornado if fecking London. And that is only half of it.

    As for 4x4's - I dislike them for a different reason. They are a danger to other road users, and I hate people who have one with no good reason. If you don't needs it offroading abilities, you shouldn't have one. Get an MPV instead.

    China and the US (more so the US) are being short sighted. China has begun some (some, not much) action. The US continues its oblivious uncaring path towards the destruction of its own next generation.

    MY generation. Motherfuckers. It isn't just hte US that will suffer, this is what annoyes me. The whole World must pay for the US's sort sighted selfish policies. I mean, we can't excuse China, but alot of that is the fault of our own - we sent industry to a backwards (at the time) and cheap labour nation because we wanted to cut costs instead of doing it at home - so the Chinese did it cheaply with little regulation. If we had instead made it in our countries and paid our wokrers minimum wage, we'd most likley be better off. But the foreign workers don't need a minimum wage, they're just silly foreigners!:rolleyes:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote:
    It doesn't matter if sometimes the train is a bit cheaper. It should be a lot cheaper, most if not all of the time.

    Why should it?

    The entire tax system is set up to make the train more expensive. Whilst TOCs have to pay a largely commercial rate on their fuel (electricity prices charged by Network Rail have doubled in the last year, which is one of the reasons why GNER have hit financial trouble), airlines do not.
    Really? People lie for the sake of it do they? If they say something you don't like to hear, they must be lying.

    I think many journalists do lie, about every conceivable subject. You know they lie about everything else, what makes you think that they're telling the truth about the trains (especially as most journos don't know one end of a train from another)? It's fashionable to nail TOCs for small issues without breathing a word about lorry drivers and operators or car drivers. That's why six deaths in a train crash caused by a driver error or an engineer's error it is a national scandal, and everyone should spend trillions on making sure it never happens again, but when some pissed truck driver kills ten on the M1 it barely even makes the local news unless he's Polish.
    I don't think there is a single country in the First World, and not many in the Third World, that would sell long distance tickets and not guarantee a seat. Certainly not unless they they're selling a standing ticket only.

    You're right- most other countries enforce mandatory reservations, and if you don't have a seat booked you can't get on the train. They should do that over here, then there'd be no overcrowding at all.

    In this country there are no mandatory reservations, and as such at peak times (weekday evenings, Sunday afternoon) there are more people trying to get on a train than there are seats. The reason why this does not happen on airlines or on the Shinkansen or on the TGV is because once the train or plane is full you cannot buy a ticket for that service. There's no overcrowding because you can't get on a train without a reservation.

    If Virgin brought in a policy of no boarding without a reservation (like they want to) the media and you would be wringing your panties in knots about how its a national disgrace. You can't have it both ways. You can't compare apples with oranges and then get pissed off when an apple becomes an orange.

    As for a high-speed line between London and Scotland, I could see the advantages, but the cost would be astronomical. When 40 miles of the CTRL cost nearly £6billion, the 350 miles from Edinburgh to London would cost perhaps as much as £100billion, and its very hard to justify that kind of spending when it could be put to much better use on hospitals and schools.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote:
    Why should it?

    The entire tax system is set up to make the train more expensive. Whilst TOCs have to pay a largely commercial rate on their fuel (electricity prices charged by Network Rail have doubled in the last year, which is one of the reasons why GNER have hit financial trouble), airlines do not.
    It's not just tax is it? It's a chronic problem in this country with underinvestment. And to be fair governments past and present are much to blame for it. But the bottom line remains that operators, Network rail and government blame each other for rises, passengers end up paying for it all. Prices in this country are disproportionally high.


    I think many journalists do lie, about every conceivable subject. You know they lie about everything else, what makes you think that they're telling the truth about the trains (especially as most journos don't know one end of a train from another)? It's fashionable to nail TOCs for small issues without breathing a word about lorry drivers and operators or car drivers. That's why six deaths in a train crash caused by a driver error or an engineer's error it is a national scandal, and everyone should spend trillions on making sure it never happens again, but when some pissed truck driver kills ten on the M1 it barely even makes the local news unless he's Polish.
    The thing Kermit is that I can think of many instances of bad delays, bad service, lack of seat etc that were told directly to me by people I know. Nothing to do with the press.


    You're right- most other countries enforce mandatory reservations, and if you don't have a seat booked you can't get on the train. They should do that over here, then there'd be no overcrowding at all.

    In this country there are no mandatory reservations, and as such at peak times (weekday evenings, Sunday afternoon) there are more people trying to get on a train than there are seats. The reason why this does not happen on airlines or on the Shinkansen or on the TGV is because once the train or plane is full you cannot buy a ticket for that service. There's no overcrowding because you can't get on a train without a reservation.

    If Virgin brought in a policy of no boarding without a reservation (like they want to) the media and you would be wringing your panties in knots about how its a national disgrace. You can't have it both ways. You can't compare apples with oranges and then get pissed off when an apple becomes an orange.
    ?Actually you can have it both ways. Too many passengers? Increase trains. Too many trains? Improve signalling to increase capacity. Still trouble? Double up the lines. Problem with adjacent land? Compulsory purchase.

    Many other countries appear to solve such problems. If it's not so in Britain is not because it is unsolvable, but because this country appears to have a natural repulsion to the concept of investing in order to have an adequate network.

    As ever it all boils down to money.
    As for a high-speed line between London and Scotland, I could see the advantages, but the cost would be astronomical. When 40 miles of the CTRL cost nearly £6billion, the 350 miles from Edinburgh to London would cost perhaps as much as £100billion, and its very hard to justify that kind of spending when it could be put to much better use on hospitals and schools.
    I don't think it would cost nearly as much. But when you are talking about vital infrastructure, initial investment is secondary. The benefits of it will be there for decades to come. Railway building doesn't come cheap anywhere. But if it has to come out of taxes, so be it.

    If there was to be a true high speed dedicated line between London and the North, trains could get to Glasgow or Edinburgh in well under 3 hours. And if tickets were kept at reasonable prices instead of worrying about profitability, even if the taxpayer had to part-pay for it, few people would feel the need to fly- and indeed to drive- to those destinations. The benefits in reduced congestion and pollution would justify the initial investment very quickly.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Many other countries have the room to build the high-speed lines that they require. Even in Germany there isn't the density of population that there is in the UK.

    There isn't the room to extend most urban railways, and that is where the delays occur. And as most of the UK is urban or semi-urban, there isn't the scope to extend. As in Europe, TGV-style trains would have to travel on normal tracks when entering cities. Great if the big cities are 300 miles apart, as in France or Spain, but not so great when the big cities are 40 miles apart. The only way to get major time savings would be to have "parkway" stations- time savings which would be negated by having to get to the out-of-town station in the first place.

    A TGV-style line is a fantastic pipe-dream, I'd love to see one too, but it is nothing more than that. Given the cost of the WCML upgrade, and the cost of the CTRL, I don't think £100bn is an exceptionally high estimate. And £100bn on one railway line is far too much money, especially for a time saving of only 45 minutes at most. Infrastructure upgrades at key pinch points, such as Welwyn Viaduct on the way into Kings Cross, would have the same effect at a fraction of the price.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    one problem with this; tax doesn't decrease emmisions. so it's a bit of a futile gesture, as I really don't see it effecting the amount of flights made in the UK.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote:
    Why should it?
    Well that depends on whether you want people to use them or not. If it's not cheaper to travel on a train, then don't be surprised when people choose the more convenient and affordable option that is the car. If you want people to travel in a more environmentally friendly way, then you've got to make it cheaper and better for them, or not complain when everyone gets into their 4x4 instead.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote:
    Many other countries have the room to build the high-speed lines that they require. Even in Germany there isn't the density of population that there is in the UK.

    There isn't the room to extend most urban railways, and that is where the delays occur. And as most of the UK is urban or semi-urban, there isn't the scope to extend. As in Europe, TGV-style trains would have to travel on normal tracks when entering cities. Great if the big cities are 300 miles apart, as in France or Spain, but not so great when the big cities are 40 miles apart. The only way to get major time savings would be to have "parkway" stations- time savings which would be negated by having to get to the out-of-town station in the first place.
    Last time I went on a train up North I noticed vast expands of countryside between cities and towns.

    Outside the metropolitan area of London there is plenty of space available for building an extra line. Of the 300 odd miles between London and Scotalnd, what are we talking about that would be in really densely populated areas? 20? 30 at the most?
    A TGV-style line is a fantastic pipe-dream, I'd love to see one too, but it is nothing more than that. Given the cost of the WCML upgrade, and the cost of the CTRL, I don't think £100bn is an exceptionally high estimate.
    £20bn would be a lot closer to the mark actually. £25bn at the most I should think.

    But in any case it does not matter, because study after study shows that you'd get at least twice the orginal investment back in benefits and profits

    http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_railways/documents/page/dft_railways_032563.hcsp
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote:
    Last time I went on a train up North I noticed vast expands of countryside between cities and towns.

    Yep, but it isn't there that you would get the time savings, as any fule kno. There isn't that much difference between 125mph and 160mph.

    The biggest gap between two cities up here that I can think of is the 85-mile gap between York and Newcastle. You'd still have to slow down onto "normal" tracks through the cities, as TGV does, or build a parkway that avoids the cities but makes everyone trapise out to it on local transport.

    I'd love to see TGV in this country, but I don't ever think it could be justified in terms of cost. And, as in France, I see smaller towns being overlooked and ignored by the development of high-speed lines. Whereas now towns like Peterborough and Penrith get fast and regular intercity trains, either the new line would avoid them completely (as has happened to places like Brive in France) or the train would be stopping every 40 miles negating all the speed increases.

    You might get Edinburgh-London down to, say, 3hr instead of 4hr, but I doubt the cost would justify that.

    I'd solve the cost problem of public transport by making car users pay the real cost of their travel. Roads should be self-financing, from road tax and road tolls, bus lanes should be improved, and car parking should become more expensive. As it is the Government pays a huge hidden subsidy to the road network, paid for by those who don't use cars.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    On proper high speed lines trains would run at 190mph+. They would also be dedicated lines and high speed trains wouldn't have to share them with freight or commuter trains. The reduction in journey times would be quite dramatic. And more to the point, the only way to drag people away from air travel.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    TGV has a top speed of 186mph;)

    There are too many problems facing a TGV-style line in this country, not least of all the size of the country. The average gap between stops on the ECML is about 40 miles, and most stops are major stops. That's not long enough to get up to speed and slow down again (on emergency brakes it takes about two miles to stop from 186mph), so the full speed benefit wouldn't be felt.

    Sure, you could cut stops out, but why should major intermediate towns have to make do with a second-rate train service because the small number of businessmen who want to travel to Edinburgh at speed? Because that is what happens- TGV is rightly hailed as a success, but towns that aren't deemed important enough for a station are left at the side making do with two or three very slow trains a day.
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