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Train travel will soon be history  RSS feed

 
HS Thomas
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That the Royal Mail is to stop using the railways may be evidence that te railways may be as obsolete as a cost-effective means of transport.
Like canals, train travel will become a romantic memory. Underground and overground railways in congested cities are invaluable but the same cannot be said for inter-city trains or rural railways. Nowhere significant in Britain could not be served by a bus or coach service.
The Oxford to London coach route is more frequent and cheaper than the train and does not depend on subsidies. Although train passengers have increased ,the need for subsidies has too. This 18th century invention may be too expensive to run.
Imagine catching a coach for inter-city job runs.
[ January 12, 2004: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Don't you have traffic in the UK?
 
HS Thomas
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Between cities not the arterial-clogging kind. At least not on the motorways (excluding the M25 which goes round London) and Spaghetti Junction in Manchester has a bypass now.
Unless you meant - can't people drive instead ? Not everyone likes to drive to work in a different city on a daily basis. I've driven to Brighton but caught the train to Bristol and Leeds.
[ January 12, 2004: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by HS Thomas:
Between cities not the arterial-clogging kind.
That is what I meant. Trying to drive the 35 miles into Manhattan would be an effort in bumber to bumper traffic. The train gets to Manhattan in 40 minutes.
 
Tim Baker
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I don't see coach travel as a viable alternative. I've been using the trains every now and then as I can't drive for job interviews and whilst I was at university for weekends home. The coaches have one main problem, they are slow, exceedingly slow. On the journeys I've been taking they take at least 1 and maybe more hours longer than the train journey does. They are also infrequent, compared to most train routes. They are also cramped, you can't get up and walk around on a coach, and the toilets are often non existent or unusable. The coach stations are generally pretty miserable, the same can be said for some train stations but I've seen quite a few nice train stations recently. With the recent train price increases it may now be the case that coaches are cheaper, but for a long journey there is no way I would put up with it. Trains on most routes now are nice and comfortable, and the nice new virgin trains are pretty fast too. For job interviews it is simply not possible to take the coach and get back the same day. I've gotta say I actually like travelling by train, as far as comfort goes, it beats both coaches and cars hands down. The only problem is the price. This is probably due to safety requirements on such an old infrastructure. Once the network has been upgraded as it is being now, this will probably make them more economical to run, the problem then being paying for the upgrades. I think the upgrades should be paid for from general taxation to get us to a point where the railway becomes economical and then the costs can be covered by tickets.
With the introduction of congestion charges in london, tolled motorways and increased railfairs, not to mention petrol prices it does seem that the whole transport system in this country will soon be for the rich only.
 
HS Thomas
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Driving 35 miles usually takes 1 - 1.5 hrs depending on traffic. Catching the train to these destinations (Portsmouth, Stansted Airport, Brighton) 2.5 hrs, 3 hrs, 1 hr door to door. Longer if changing trains is required.
I can do London in 40 minutes on the train ; by car unthinkable.
Otherwise roads will move more people.Imagine in the picture below 7-9 lanes each way.

Tim Baker : I've gotta say I actually like travelling by train, as far as comfort goes, it beats both coaches and cars hands down.
I think so too if I had time on my hands. The only way to keep them going would be by romanticising the trains. Tourists may want to see the countryside and Turneresque views of it.That's why Virgin Trains are so successful - they'll be moving tourists IMHO in a copy of Agatha Christie's Orient Express or horizontal Space Travel or moving hotels. Well whatever the punters want. Trains for inter-city commuters is practically dying.
[ January 12, 2004: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Richard Hawkes
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They say it'll take around 10 years to get UK trains back on track (ha ha) and up to speed (ha ha). Its so expensive now because the Thatcher govn't refused to invest in them all those years - she admitted to hating trains, too communist for her I guess, too many unions for her to deal with! This catch-up time is very frustrating. We're paying more and more but don't see any obvious benefits, just more delays. I think we are right to improve them though. They will probably always need to be subsidised, even after all improvements have been made.
I used to have to use the coach alot. Cambridge to Bournemouth takes about 5 hours. It takes about 2.5 to 3 hours by car, but being a car-less student and train fares being double the coach fare (but only shaving about an hour off travelling time because of all the changes) I had no choice. My major gripe with National Express coaches is that you always seem to have to go to London first to get anywhere. Its getting in, waiting around for a connection, then getting out of Victoria that adds all that time. I bet if I wanted to go Bournemouth to Cornwall I'd have to go to London first! Well maybe not... If they took a third of the seats out of the coaches, that would be nice. I'd pay more for the extra space, though not much more. Coach seating is the worst.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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trains never were and never will be profitable in countries where they are or have ever been run by unions and governments.
Just far too much dead wood that will never go away (as the dead wood educates the next generation which becomes dead wood as well).
It's the same all over Europe...
The highspeed rail link between Amsterdam and Paris via Brussels is taking over a decade to construct at a cost now estimated at over 2.7 billion Euro (original estimates called for 5 years and some 800 million Euro).
It will take them an estimated 20 years of running the service to break even, which happens to be less than the estimated lifetime of the equipment so they'll have to invest hundreds of millions more in taxpayer money before even recovering the initial investment.
Compare an airlink which costs less and is more profitable despite having lower ticket prices...
 
Tim Baker
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Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
We're paying more and more but don't see any obvious benefits, just more delays.

You've gotta admit most of the companies are using nice new trains now, even if they can't go faster or be more reliable because of the track, they are more comfortable than the old ones from british rail!
 
Richard Hawkes
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Originally posted by Tim Baker:
You've gotta admit most of the companies are using nice new trains now, even if they can't go faster or be more reliable because of the track, they are more comfortable than the old ones from british rail!
Yes, they're more comfortable, although not everyone likes them. London to Brighton cyclists had to return by coach this year apparently. They were barred from using the train for their cycles. Its a shame, and there was no provision for adding a baggage carriage or anything. Seems strange to me...
 
Marcus Green
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Rail travel is on the increase in the UK, the following link
compares 1951,1971 and 1999 and I have heard many reports that the
trend has continued since 1999.
http://miltonstation.members.beeb.net/statistics.htm
 
Axel Janssen
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I am using a lot of Cologne - Hannover now (300 km) and train is much better than car (I tried car first month).
In Germany you can buy special one year ticket which costs 200 Euro. With that ticket you get all train routes for half the price. Using this, train is cheaper than car. Its quite fast 2:40 hours. Same distance to Berlin is even 1:40 hours (no cities in the east (ex-comunist part) and infrastructure is very modern or totally roten).
Its no waste of time. I can read. I can even plug in my lapptop.
I am beginning to wonder what all this guys search on highway with their cars.
 
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