A Conversation for British Trains

"We apologise for the inconvience..."

Post 1


Just a quick remark.

Great First Western go as far as Hereford and as far down as Penzance not just South Wales and Devon. Virgin go to Edinburgh and Glasgow so include Scotland as well as England. I think there's also a Virgin service that runs between Newcastle and Swansea, which is in Wales and not England.

"We apologise for the inconvience..."

Post 2


Similarly, Wales and West operate largely in South Wales and the South West. The term 'West Coast' in railway matters usually refers to the London Euston - Glasgow main line (which doesn't actually go anywhere near the coast, confusingly enough).

"We apologise for the inconvience..."

Post 3


And First North Western, though based in Manchester operate all over the North West of England (Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool, the Lakes, N Wales).

"We apologise for the inconvience..."

Post 4

Captain Kebab

And East Coast refers to the East Coast Main Line from Kings Cross to Edinburgh via York (the route of the Flying Scotsman, as the message on the side of GNER's trains reminds us) - also not near the coast, mostly.

Many of the Train Operating Companies mentioned serve a rather larger area than shown, as the previous posts show, but the list does give a good indication of where they are based.

There is a lot of overlap - First North Western, as Solsbury said, serve the whole of the North West, but they also have routes into Yorkshire. Their headquarters is in Manchester. Arriva Trains Northern are based in York and serve mainly Yorkshire and the North East for local services - but they also have a number of routes into the North West - to Manchester, Liverpool and Blackpool. Central Trains run a service from Norwich which runs through Arriva Northern's 'patch' in South Yorkshire, and then through Manchester to Liverpool.

Of course the poor old passenger just wants to catch a train - he doesn't care what name is on the side of it. One of many reasons why privatisation was such a disaster. Please don't ask me for more, I could rant for hours!

"We apologise for the inconvience..."

Post 5


I think we could all rant for hours about it smiley - winkeye

"We apologise for the inconvience..."

Post 6


Bring back nationalisation. At least that way we can blame the govrnment properly rather than individual companies. Certainly with the RailTrack fiasco, RailTrack should belong to the public sector as do roads even if cars and buses are private.

"We apologise for the inconvience..."

Post 7

Captain Kebab

You've got my vote, Das Mouldy Sandwich, but I don't recall deregulation of the buses being such a great idea either. Around these parts profitable routes are overrun with buses during the day, with nothing much in the evening. When they were run by the local authorities they were more interested in providing a public service.

I simply don't agree with the notion that everything is best run on business lines for profit and that there is no place for publicly-owned and run institions. You can't make a profit out of providing cheap, local public transport for ordinary people at affordable prices - that's why local bus and train services are subsidised out of the public purse - subsidies that go to make companies that are not naturally profitable, profitable.

I can't see why, when so many cities world-wide provide cheap flat-ate transport using publicly owned assets supported out of taxation, that we insist it can't be done.

"We apologise for the inconvience..."

Post 8


I don't understand it either. In Swansea the service where I used to live is worsening. The number of buses has halved at least over the past decade and it now costs over £2.50 just for a five mile return ticket. In Oxford where the service is run by the council (I think) I can spend about £2 for unlimited travel all day. The same applies in Reading. Nottingham buses are slightly weird. You can only buy singles but the most you pay is about 90p. However, there are no day cards as far as I'm aware. Edinburgh has a resonable bus survice as well run by Lothian. Unfortunately First (or is it Stagecouch?) are trying to undercut them and do what they did to Swansea.

I don't see why public transport can't be run by the public sector. It isn't any less efficient despite what economists may say. They only think in terms of profit not in service. I blame Th*tch*r though I'm sure they're are many, many, many, many, many others to blame.

PS- Don't let the underground go private. The first thing that goes is safety. Don't privatise the air traffic control either - particularly in light of recent events.

"We apologise for the inconvience..."

Post 9

Captain Kebab

*Tries to think of counter-argument...* - nope, can't do it. Why is it obvious to everybody except government?

When Th*thc*r did it to the buses she said rail was a privatisation too far (or was it Cecil Parkinson - either way they didn't proceed), then when M*j*r did it to the railways Blair and Brown opposed it, and now they want to do it to the tube. You'll note that I use 'did it' as a code for totally screwed up.

I really can't get my head around why apparently otherwise intelligent people (and for all my dislike of politicians, none of the above are stupid) insist on pushing through these mad schemes when absolutely everybody involved, whether within the industry as employer or employee, when all the end-users, when all the experts are implacably opposed and all the evidence shows that they are bound to make matters worse.

It just makes me want to scream. I live near Manchester where we have a rapid light rail system (Metrolink), which is, well, not reliable, but marginally less unreliable than heavy rail - but it is also prohibitively expensive and horribly overcrowded, although it's only 10 years old. We also have extensive rail links and the trains around here are not as unreliable as those in the South East. We have Stagecoach, and Firstbus (with their posh new bendy-buses) and more small bus companies than you can shake a stick at. Manchester is a place with relatively good public transport by British standards.

But it is nowhere near good enough. When I visit Europe, I use public transport. It is cheap. It is reliable. I am happy to use it and I don't have to watch what I drink. Why can't we copy their best practice? If it works in Paris or Berlin or Madrid, why do we persist in our model which patently _doesn't_ work? It's all so bloody infuriating!

When I am at home I drive everywhere. It's the only sensible choice. smiley - grr

"We apologise for the inconvience..."

Post 10


Whilst I agree with you that the Parisian public transport is much better than anything that we have over here, once you leave Paris there is practically no public transport anywhere else in France. This is because it is underpopulated relative to the UK. Train services in France are sporadic at best and bus services are practically non-existent outside major towns and cities. Then again France has Always been horribly overcentralised, (If that is a word.)

It is also interesting to note that Paris needs its public transport and the metro/RER in particular simply because driving in Paris is a nightmare.

"We apologise for the inconvience..."

Post 11


This Dodo is not dead, it can not possibly be, why does everyone think that this problem started with Mrs Thatcher?

Actually it started in 1947 with the closure of The Rochdale-Bacup Branch Line. With the Nationalisation of our railways and their great wealth of land and properties the greed and corruption started then by the asset strippers, continues today.

The cash provided by taxpayers to update our rail network recently, was appropriated as per the normal established practices, golden handshakes excessive pensions and bonuses to management, and then trips to Brazil to buy cheap, brittle railways lines that were a menace to life and limb was the very last straw, or was it?

Minister Stephen Byers saw the light and it was indeed a very Red one, he pulled the plug on the subsidies to the fat cats, and as usual he paid the penalty for trying too hard.

The weak attempts to prosecute rail management for various crimes are very interesting, but will they succeed any better than previous attempts to stop the severe case of dry rot.

The British Transport Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have just dropped another expensive clanger, thirty or forty milion pounds
in a fruitless court case that has taken years to gain a non result, perhaps now is the time to start saving taxpayers cash and close both of these very expensive liabilities as a starter for ten.

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