Great Western Coffee Shop

All across the Great Western territory => The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom => Topic started by: broadgage on March 20, 2017, 09:30:53 pm



Title: Cost of new trains compared to older ones.
Post by: broadgage on March 20, 2017, 09:30:53 pm
I refer here to the cost of purchase or manufacture, and NOT to the fares payable for use of the train.

Elsewhere on these forums I have speculated that trains seem to be getting more expensive. Mass production and improved technology have allowed cars and aircraft to get better and cheaper whilst trains seem to getting more expensive and arguably worse.
Rather than relying on my subjective impression that "trains have got more expensive" does anyone have any hard figures ?

For example after correcting for inflation, how does the cost per seat of an HST compare to an IET ?

Or what about the cost per seat, after allowing for inflation, of an EPB compared to a networker ? or a more modern EMU ?

Or any other comparisons between older and newer trains that serve at least somewhat similar markets. I refer to the capital cost, not the fares payable for travel.


Title: Re: Cost of new trains compared to older ones.
Post by: ChrisB on March 20, 2017, 09:36:46 pm
Technology costs.

I think you'll find that top of the range cars (avec new technology) are not cheaper than the same top of the range say, 10 years ago


Title: Re: Cost of new trains compared to older ones.
Post by: Tim on March 21, 2017, 12:29:00 pm
Technology costs.

I think you'll find that top of the range cars (avec new technology) are not cheaper than the same top of the range say, 10 years ago

I think a mid-price mass market car would be a better comparison.  Say a Ford Anglia vs a Ford Escort verus a current Ford Focus.

https://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/cost-car-year-born (https://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/cost-car-year-born) has quite a lot of data and it seems that inflation-adjusted prices for cars have been pretty static since 1950.  Although in 2017 you get MUCH more for your money (power, space, and technology) and of course we are much richer than in 1950 so as a proportion of average income cars are now much cheaper. 



Title: Re: Cost of new trains compared to older ones.
Post by: Noggin on March 22, 2017, 08:44:38 pm
I can't give you the figures for what the cost to build, run and maintain. But let's keep things simple, leave diesel engines out of the equation and compare a 304 to a 319 to a 387. 

The 387 is much more comfortable than either of its predecessors, faster, quieter, more reliable, better performance, higher crashworthiness (especially for drivers), better spec interiors. You've got features like on-board CCTV, the toilets are much higher quality, they are far more accessible for the disabled and visually impaired and so forth. Whilst the aircon and performance probably mean higher energy consumption, they have regenerative braking, which I don't believe the 304 or 319 had.

Mechanically they are far more advanced and far more reliable, with things like on-board diagnostics which mean that problems can be caught and fixed far faster, with maintenance planned before the unit even comes back to the depot. I don't have figures, but I'd suspect that the amount of labour needed to maintain each unit is significantly lower with each generation, and the mean-time-between-failure is much lower to boot.

So even between the 319s and 387s you have a big difference in quality and technology, so you're simply not comparing like with like.

Probably to do with having kids and getting old, but every time I get in coaching stock or cars built before about 1980, I'm conscious that in the event of a crash I'd probably be dead, or seriously injured, whereas with modern stock or cars I think I'd be far likelier to get away with it.   


Title: Re: Cost of new trains compared to older ones.
Post by: Tim on March 23, 2017, 09:26:45 am
....indeed.

Moderns trains may not be any cheaper to buy, but their utilisation is much higher.  They spend far less time being repaired or waiting between turns.  Same with aircraft.  EasyJet is able to be cheap not because their airbuses are cheap but because they minimise the time they spend on the ground.  They even spec their planes with wider aisles in order to speed up boarding.