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Government to get someone even worse than Virgin to run West Coast line

Discussion in 'transport' started by Bernie Gunther, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. _pH_

    _pH_ .

    stuff_it likes this.
  2. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

  3. _pH_

    _pH_ .

    Smoothly? The ECML done on the cheap under BR (headspans instead of gantries) that still causes problems today?

    TOCs and NR work a lot more in partnership than you might think - the recent power upgrade and platform lengthening on the East Grinstead line being one example round here. Loads of weekend possessions resulting in short-term planning and displacement to rolling stock and crews. And every week NR publishes a huge list of possessions for renewals which the TOCs have to work around (although these will have been agreed long before). SWT and NR are working even closer these days. There will always be conflicts, but there were in BR days between the passenger service depts and the P/Way.
  4. Roadkill

    Roadkill Well-Known Member

    Yes, but you know absolutely nothing about the subject at hand.

    Germany, France, Japan (until it was privatised in 1987, by which time most of the high-speed network there was in place) ... there's one thing connecting all of those: they were all nationalised! Now, where does that leave your argument...?

    It was the Southern Railway that started electrifying the commuter trains in the 1920s - a private company. It wasn't the ideal solution, but I'm sure you're aware (no, actually, I'm sure you're not!) that the economic climate in the 1930s wasn't especially good. BR did extend what had been done before the war, but unless you're suggesting they should have torn it all up and started again, raising bridges and heightening tunnels in the most crowded part of the country where infrastructure work it at its most expensive, it's hard to see what alternative they had.

    As for dedicated fast lines, see above: The TGV, the German high-speed trains, the Japanese bullet trains - they were all built by nationalised railways. Perhaps you shouldn't be blaming nationalisation per se for Britain's lack of them, but rather a penny-pinching Treasury that was never prepared to commit the money - partly, I suspect, because it ran scared of what people like you would have said if it had.

    The public sector cannot win with people like you, can it? If it innovates it's wasting money that the private sector could have spent better: if it doesn't then it's stagnant and should be privatised. This is why there's actually no point in debates like this: right-wingers believe what they want to believe: it's a position rooted in blind faith, and no amount of evidence or reasoned argument will change it.

    No it doesn't. Not since HS1 was completed several years ago.

    Seriously, give up. This is painful.
    BigTom and Puddy_Tat like this.
  5. Roadkill

    Roadkill Well-Known Member

    BR managed the project on time and in budget. But if I remember rightly, they were warning from a fairly early stage that the budget was too small and the equipment therefore wouldn't be up to the mark. In the long run, they've been proved right.

    Besides, even allowing for that, compare BR's record at modernising the ECML to the money-pit that the WCML modernisation turned into, and the idea that the private sector will always manage major projects better than the public suddenly looks very shaky indeed...
  6. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

    I really want to make a joke about the service being delayed due to the wrong sort of metor shower, but that wouldn't fit the way this thread is going

  7. Bernie Gunther

    Bernie Gunther Fundamentalist Druid

    He's just making shit up.
  8. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    I am staying out of this debate - but a gold medal to Roadkill and pH !

    (enough idealogical b**cks about running and planning the railway can be found in other media)
    Puddy_Tat and BigTom like this.
  9. Karim

    Karim banned Banned

    You are talking about countries that believe in developing their infrastuctures, invest in new technology and want to run an efficient transport system. That will never happen in Britain!
    The whole idea of committing the country to £ billions of dents for decades ahead to keep pace is complete anatema in Britain: politicians don't want it, and the public don't want it either if it comes from their taxes!
    I am afraid that as a country, we want quick fixes, no pain, no more taxes and we always have a very short-term outlook.
    Hence my first remark,"people still think money grows on trees"
    The denationalisation of BR is probably not a huge succes, but the alternative would have been even worst in my opinion.
  10. Karim

    Karim banned Banned

    Strange that now you agree with me on something
    -"it's absolutely true that British Rail had been underfunded for years"
    -"it wasn't very popular by the 1990s "

    So, there was a case to remedy that and privatisation was the obvious solution: it would bring in foreign capital for modernisation, and the government wouldn't be blamed for its inefficiency.

    Now, if most railways loose money and rely on subsidies, what's wrong with the government giving some subsidies to private companies on the railway, since they have their hands tied and have to operate unprofitable lines or services at time.
    After all, when it was Beeching, he just closed the unprofitable lines, but now private contractors are not allowed, even if they loose massively keeping them running.
  11. Karim

    Karim banned Banned

    No, I am old enough to have seen plenty of going-on in my lifetime, to weight the pros and cons, and to see the big picture instead of focussing only one one are of ther canvas.
    The railway privatisation was part of a wider scheme in which I believe.
    I don't believe in a super state where the main industries, transport network, energy distribution, means of exchanges are in the hands of bureaucrats and politicians; that my ideology. Pseudo-socialism is not what Britain stands for, nor what made it great.
    I agree with rolling back the power of the state and empowering individuals and private enterprise.

    Now, some people may disagree with me on these points, and I may be in minority on this forum, but I am well aware that outside, roughly half of the population thinks like me. I don't expect to convice anyone, or to influence anyone's opinion.
    So my contribution to this conversation is now over.
    existentialist likes this.
  12. Roadkill

    Roadkill Well-Known Member

    You're not wrong about Britain being wary of major infrastructure spending in a lot of cases, but in BR's case that was partly because Tory politicians had spent years misinforming us about what an inefficient money-pit it was, when in fact you could construct a good case for saying that it was the most efficient rail operator in the developed world. As for the 'alternative,' well the alternative to privatisation was to keep BR. Not perfect, but it's unlikely that the rail network would have collapsed wholesale as it did in 2000 after the Hatfield crash, and it would almost certainly be costing the taxpayer less than the railways do now.

    I'm not agreeing with you. :confused: Really, what I was working towards was an argument for my alternative to privatisation - increase BR's subsidy, but give it a series of clear targets to work towards, especially in terms of punctuality (although that is now little better than it was in the early 1990s, after a long period of being worse), tidiness, age of rolling stock, and so on.

    Privatisation was only an 'obvious solution' to those who believed BR was a basket case. The reality is that it wasn't: it was just underfunded and overstretched.

    What's wrong with it? The simple fact I pointed out to you right at the start of this discussion, to which you've never responded: in real terms, the railways now cost the taxpayer between three and five times what British Rail did.

    As for Beeching, that's a whole other can of worms and I've not time to get into it, but it's been discussed at length on here in the past - do a search.
  13. stuff_it

    stuff_it stirred the primordial soup

    It's ok everyone, Karim appears to be way more leftie/socialist than the current govt. Are you a Labour voter then?




  14. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

  15. starfish2000

    starfish2000 Well-Known Member

    The government will give contracts based on premiums and also who is willing to enact McNulty. The Railway Pension is still very good and as most of the employees have come in post 1997 its difficult for the government to tinker with. So culling staff now allows them to reduce the pension burden.

    A Pendelino has a 5-6 man crew. But the train and route with a little modification is capable of DOO operation, so I imagine that there will be a staff cull followed by a move to outsourced agency staff on minimum wage. You may still get a Guard, but I imagine their role will be to supervise the agency staff. so they could save nearly 6 figures off every crew they reduce.

    If your a vunerable person travelling alone late at night this lack of staff prescence will probably mean more crime on trains I imagine. All those ipads and laptops and wallets and hardly any staff about. The ones who will be agency on minimum wage...
    Frances Lengel likes this.
  16. nino_savatte

    nino_savatte No pasaran!

    I've travelled on FGW and whenever I've booked a forward-facing table seat, I get a backwards-facing airline seat. I expect this cavalier disregard for the passenger's choice to be extended to the WCML.
  17. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    There are only a handful of tables on the FGW trains and they get booked very quickly. If you want forward facing, just specify that.
  18. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Wouldn't be surprised if First tried to get rid of table seats and legroom altogether, having seen what they did to the HSTs on FGW.

    Will they bring butcher-shop style internal lighting to the Pendolinos as well I wonder.
  19. nino_savatte

    nino_savatte No pasaran!

    Well, that's funny because each time that I've travelled with FGW, there have been empty, unreserved table seats in adjacent carriages. I go and sit in one of them, but that isn't the issue: I wasn't given what I'd requested when I booked my ticket and in that respect, FGW's customer service stinks.
  20. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    and sawdust on the floor
  21. nino_savatte

    nino_savatte No pasaran!

  22. Awesome :cool:

    BigTom likes this.
  23. mattie

    mattie missing in inaction

    I gather one coach in every train is unreserved.

    I think that the booking service has too many options - window or aisle, quiet carriage or no, plug socket, table, backwards/forwards, and you cna't specify an order of precedence (i.e I'm not bothered by quiet or entertainment but hate facing backwards). I'd actually prefer to book the seats at the ends of carriages, as they have more legroom, but that's not an option. Perhaps legitimately, as they're intended for people with limited mobility.

    The FGW carriages are shit though - far too claustrophobic.
    nino_savatte likes this.
  24. nino_savatte

    nino_savatte No pasaran!

    They pay lip service to the idea of choice but like anything in this marketised era we live in, choice is meaningless.
  25. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    They should just show a graphic of the train, with booked, unbooked, and unbookable seats, and let you click which ones you want.
    paolo and Tankus like this.
  26. nino_savatte

    nino_savatte No pasaran!

    Aye, like the airlines do. You can see, at a glance, which seats are free.
  27. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    And you can choose seats near your friends, if you book separately.
  28. mattie

    mattie missing in inaction

    If I know my First great Western, that's a slippery slope towards paying extra for table seats. C.f. emergency exit seats on aircraft.
  29. Roadkill

    Roadkill Well-Known Member

    Yes, the last refurb has done them no favours at all: seats too close together and too high-backed, not enough tables, and the decor is horrible. I've chatted with a few train crew who agree, including a guard who complained that they make his job difficult because it's more difficult to see who's in what seat when checking tickets. GNER's refurb of the same and similar MkIV carriages was much better. The best of the lot are on Grand Central, though, as they still have the seating layout they were built with in the 70s, and compared to modern carriages they feel unbelievably spacious.

    That said, even the FGW ones are still nicer than a lot of other carriages, mainly thanks to having more headroom and, being loco-hauled, they're quieter as there's no engine hammering away under the floor.
  30. BigTom

    BigTom Well-Known Member

    Cross Country trains does this.

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