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The plight of the British rail network?


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Showing 26-50 of 163 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2012, 11:05:16 BST
I was not aware of that Molly, would make sense though. The quote was from N. Smith though, I was just stating a few facts about advertising and its value.

Posted on 16 Apr 2012, 14:31:03 BST
Sou'Wester says:
I think the lesson here is don't automatically assume that the cheap train ticket websites will always be cheapest. On some occasions I've been able to find quite substantially cheaper tickets on the rail operators' websites. Problem is, there's no consistency and unless you are prepared to spend time checking all the websites (and then looking at different options within those sites) it all becomes a lottery. If there's one long-standing criticism of railways that is valid it is the complexity and lack of transparency in fares.

Posted on 16 Apr 2012, 15:45:15 BST
"Problem is, there's no consistency and unless you are prepared to spend time checking all the websites (and then looking at different options within those sites) it all becomes a lottery" - Totally agree. When me and a friend were young lads, we used to buy these tickets on our local buses at the time which got us unlimited travel in the north east used to cost £3.50 (called junior rovers). With them we got buses free (as far as middlesborough), trains (sunderland - Newcastle - Blaydon) Shields ferry free and the full metro network travel free. A train from Newcastle to Sunderland used to cost £3.50 alone back then. They were not advertised for some reason and half the bus drivers needed us to show them how to do 1 lol. pretty soon after we started telling people about them they stopped selling them hmmmm. I wonder if enough people started finding the best train fares whether or not they would remain 'cheap'.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2012, 15:57:35 BST
Maria says:
The easier they made it to find the cheap fares the less people would pay full price, so the cost would probably increase as they still need to make a profit. It is a business not a service, so it seems that from your experience the best thing is to keep quiet about any bargains -which is a bit sad really.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2012, 16:38:40 BST
With the invention of the internet it should be easier to form comparison sites which are accurate and this would ultimately drive the price down. People just aren't quite at the point of removing iformation assymmetries[sp] yet.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2012, 18:11:32 BST
Yes, an impartial comparison site is what is needed.

Posted on 28 Oct 2012, 13:34:10 GMT
Someone started a re-nationalisation thread? Is that what we really want though? I dont want politicians running our trains do you?

Posted on 28 Oct 2012, 14:19:59 GMT
Cicero says:
Someone who should have known better stated that punctuality today is better than it was under BR. What tosh! I have the BR punctuality figures for BR for fifty years ago and they make today's running seem deplorable. Moreover 'right time' on BR meant exactly that and one minute late was not regarded as on time. Nowadays, a ten minute later arrival is regarded as being on time.

In addition, on BR any ticket entitled you to catch any train on the system - quite unlike today's regulation-ridden system.

Posted on 28 Oct 2012, 14:30:49 GMT
Woking to waterloo, 30 miles approx, 12 month season ticket - £2,780 adult, standard class.

Posted on 28 Oct 2012, 16:15:06 GMT
easytiger says:
Just read a book called 'Global Warming and Other Bollocks'. The author examines the rail network in UK. In all areas, apart from London, it would cut costs, emmissions, times and whatever you care to mention, by converting the railway tracks into roads and using coaches. It's well researched and worth reading. Railways will always be subsidised otherwise no-one would be able to afford them. Prices are set by how much they can squeeze out of people, not what the journey actually costs.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012, 16:28:37 GMT
And, in theory, some of the cost could be recovered when all that scrap rail gets weighed in! I've always imagined the cost of running a rail network to be ridiculous. But coaches and buses on a road network exclusive to them is a ruddy good idea! We'd never get to London from the toon in 3 hours, but if the rail network is replaced by a road for coaches and buses, perhaps even goods vehicles - A/ the A1 would be a more pleasant stretch of road and B/ journey times for the coaches and buses would be significantly reduced! Sounds like a winner, trains are yesterdays transport. If a train breaks down on east coast, imagine the delays. If a coach breaks down, the next coach simply passes by.

Posted on 28 Oct 2012, 21:18:32 GMT
Cicero says:
The railways were privatised solely to eliminate the subsidy paid to BR and to harness the expertise of the private sector. The subsidy was supposed to have been eliminated by 1998 but instead has risen by a factor of four. Fares have risen by a factor 10 whilst competition is al most entirely absent. TRo make matters worse, today's railways carry virtually no goods traffic whilst passenger loadings are about 40% of what they were in 1950.

Had the railways remained in BR's hands., we would have seen a similar rate of progress as we have under the privateers but at a far lower cost to the taxpayer. In addition, BR had a principle that all tickets were valid on all trains with restrictions being minimal - a considerable contrast to today's regulation-harassed passenger. It should also be remembered that advanced reduced rate tickets were introduced by BR long before privatisation.

Posted on 28 Oct 2012, 23:28:26 GMT
Spin says:
Given the cost of petrol, the new tax hikes and the current governments standing to the suppliers of our energy, I am sure your commuting troubles will only increase..

Posted on 29 Oct 2012, 07:43:59 GMT
The One says:
There is no subsidy........private companies wouldn't be able to make much profit thus the government gives them ''subsidies'' when in reality what we give is their 'profit'.

The problem with railways is how we operate them. Network Rail has debts of £25 billion and consumers are paying more to meet the interest bill and the profit it makes.....if Network Rail was treated the same as roads then it would be covered by the government's expenditure and easily funded via government issuing money debt free........NR also be non-profit.

I've been on the trains for over 20 years and British Rail wasn't as bad as people make out.........it was better than the current lots.......better consumer's services.......so a train arrived 5 minutes late - so what - SO WHAT..........cars can be late because of the traffic........buses rarely turn up on time and when they do they come in threes......plane do not leave on time.....so why do people expect trains to be on time and perfect all the time........get real......train arriving late = chill, get a drink, read a newspaper.......don't stress yourself over nothing.

Now, how many of you get a bus and when on a journey it stops at a bus stop and don't move for 10 minutes because the driver MUST have a break at a fixed time......blithering EU regulations......my bus to town has a habit of doing that......worked out which bus at a certain time makes that stop and avoid it.

No transportation are going to be perfect.....

Posted on 29 Oct 2012, 08:04:16 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
Those who advocate converting railways into roads should consider that, out of thousands of miles of railways closed in the U.K. since the war only a fraction has been utilised as a route for new roads. The reason for this is that these tracks are quite unsuitable, mainly because a railway line takes up far less space than a road. Even a 4 track main line such as the West Coast route would barely accommodate a two lane highway, but with the majority of rail routes you'd have to spend so much money on widening all the infrastructure (as well as providing new access routes) that it would be cheaper to build completely new, purpose-built roads. Not that I'm suggesting we should go down this route; another dose of Beeching would be an absolute disaster for this country and our roads would become even more hellish to travel upon than they are now.
As for the comment about delays; road can be just as bad as rail - as anyone who's been stuck on the M25 because of an accident in the rush-hour will testify!

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012, 09:21:37 GMT
But SW, the roads would not need to be massive motorways. Just a normal single lane road is all that would be required and if only buses, coaches and lorries used it, I can imagine it would ease pressure on existing motorways considerably. The railways, as much as I am found of them, are just to much of a mess to even begin fixing. Debt riddled and overly complex. Yes, if you are going to push rail travel as an alternative to domestic flights, I'll support that all the way, but by screwing rail travellers through insane fare prices, there is no future for our rail network and the public won't want nationalisation because lets face it - many of us cant afford to travel by mainline rail, so why on Earth would we find it acceptable to fund it exclusively? I want our buses back first!

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012, 10:22:46 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 16 Jul 2013, 11:36:05 BST]

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012, 10:44:10 GMT
Wasn't even aware buses had tachs tbh Dav. I thought they just worked a max 9hour shift?

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012, 10:51:19 GMT
easytiger says:
Souwester, a single railway line with its verges takes up as much space as a two lane road. The width and height of the bridges can also accommodate two lanes. We are not talking about creating motorways or trunk roads here, just simply creating fast intertown, intercity roads using coaches and buses on tarmac to arrive at the same destinations for a tenth of the cost. No need for extra accesses, you go to the same station as before. Signalling for the West coast upgrade cost 6 billion and the maintenance costs are horrendous. When it breaks down everything is f u d. You don't 6 billion quids worth of signalling for coaches and buses, just a pair of eyes.

Posted on 29 Oct 2012, 12:14:50 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
If converting railways to roads had been a practical idea it would have been done by now on a large scale - heaven knows there were enough former railway tracks for the road builders to play with. With a single track railway line you're lucky if you can accommodate a foot or cycle path, let alone a two lane road - and that's before you start thinking about cuttings, embankments, viaducts, tunnels, drainage, safety access and so on. As for the preposterous idea of converting the West Coast Main Line to "tarmac", have you any idea how many lorries and coaches would be required to handle all the traffic that route carries at the moment - and the consequences for the rest of the road network when those vehicles move on to their final destinations?
Railways cost money to build and maintain; so do roads - because they are funded in such different ways it's difficult to estimate which actually represents the best value for money, but don't imagine that converting a railway to a road is going to come cheap. Of course one of the reasons railway signalling is expensive is that we (quite rightly) demand a high standard of safety, whereas for roads we seem happy to accept deaths and injuries on a scale which would be totally unacceptable in any other area of life. If you were to factor in the total cost of road accidents into the equation (or, better still, spend money on trying to bring road safety to somewhere near the level of rail safety) I don't think you'd find the economics of road transport would compare so favourably with rail.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012, 12:23:44 GMT
Cicero says:
Quite a lot of single line branch mileage was converted to road, examples include the Caernarvon - Llanberis road and various sections of the Kettering - Cambridge line. If the WCML were to be converted into a road, the transfer of traffic from rail to road would scarcely be noticed - after all 99.9% of all journeys are made by road.

Posted on 29 Oct 2012, 12:26:43 GMT
Spin says:
Public services run by private companies are concerned with profit not the service.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012, 13:23:21 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
Not sure where you get that 99.9% figure from but let's agree that the vast majority of journeys are done by road. However, bare statistics don't tell the whole story. Currently around 9% of freight is carried by rail; not much you might think, but rail is particularly effective and economical with some longer journeys and flows, and the impact of transferring that to road would be catastrophic. The Road Haulage industry certainly wouldn't endorse a rail closure policy; they would be only too aware of how disastrous it would be for them and, indeed, some major hauliers are looking to enter the rail freight market. Apropos the WCML, spend a day at some point on that line, count the trains that pass (pretty much one every few minutes) and try and calculate just how many lorries and coaches you would need to handle that level of traffic. In fact you can forget the coaches; most passengers would probably switch to cars which would create even more congestion and even more accidents.
As a car user, I'm not an "anti-road" fanatic; I'd love to see decent investment in appropriate road expansion, but I also want to see a proper investment in rail (and other forms of transport). It's because countries across the Channel did just this (and continue to do so) that, generally speaking, their transport infrastructure is superior to ours. All cross the world, new railway lines are being built and old ones upgraded; as a country the U.K. is lagging seriously behind.

Posted on 29 Oct 2012, 13:36:47 GMT
Spin says:
Sick of trains, cars and buses? Buy a motorbike.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Oct 2012, 13:50:05 GMT
easytiger says:
Missing the point. I repeat that is a simple replacement of a train infrastructure with a road infrastructure restricted to coaches buses and even HGVs would be straight forward and running costs would be a tenth of the railway. As for freight levels on trains, this is dropping and has done for years, the problem being getting the stuff off trains and onto lorries.
All I will say on the matter is the chapter in the book I mentioned (and I'm not making anything out of this!) went into this issue in great detail and to me as a civil engineer was extremely convincing. On the political side the author reckoned the railways had had their day in the UK years ago but only vested interests such as the BR establishment and then the private train companies with £ signs in their eyes and now those f k n greens had persuaded the government that preservation of the railways was the way forward. I suggest you read it out of interest. Quite frankly I don't give a monkey's, I ride a Triumph.
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Discussion in:  politics discussion forum
Participants:  22
Total posts:  163
Initial post:  14 Apr 2012
Latest post:  7 Jan 2013

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