Thanks, Chris ... this had become one heck of a thread to unpickle too!
This isn't REALLY a proper quote as I've used 8F's post as the basis of a "Powepoint Slide"
1. Run a reliable service briskly.
2. Have a timetable which gives all stations a commuter service for work school and college to the nearest large town or provincial centre.
3. A couple of trains in the day for the odd half day.
4. late "Arts Trains" to cater for night at the cinema theatre etc.
5. A connection to London to get you to London no later than 11:00 with a return after 20:00 or later depending on distance.
6. Reliable trains with sufficient capacity to prevent standing on regular basis
7. 7 day a week railway with all stations open on Sundays unless there is absolutely no likelyhood of any passengers.
8. A simple fare structure without stupid anolmolies then I'd go for them.
1. Yes, but "reliable" and "frequent" needs to take priority over paring off a few minutes. Give me a train every hour that takes 30 minutes in preference to a train every 2 hours that takes 25.
2. Yes - and you suggested a wide commuter range. People should be able to arrive at some point in the 45 minutes prior to their start, and leave again within 45 minutes of their finish ... be that a start time of 8 or 9, and an end time of 4, 5 or 6. And they should be able to set off home later too - "sorry, can't stay late - last train" is a real promotion killer
3. Yes - only in exceptional circumstances should a daytime service drop below every 2 hours.
4. The "art train" doubles as the late night connection back from London too.
5. Yes - up to 120 miles, you're in potential commuter land and should be able to get to London by 08:30 and leave back after 21:00; up to 200 miles, your 11 a.m. / 8 p.m. is fine.
5a. Please do not overlook outbound business people - from London, should people be able to reach anywhere within 120 miles by 09:00 and within 200 miles by 10:00 ?
6. Ideally, all trains should run all the time "nearly all seats taken". I don't want to pay for 2 or 3 seats most of the time because trains only run at 33% to 50% capacity. And that will lead to *some* standing at peak times. Perhaps the target should be to avoid the need to stand for more than 30 minutes, and to have a cap on acceptablity of train loading at 120% of the number of seats?
7. Yes - and Sunday services shouldn't start too much after weekday services. 07:30 is NOT too early for the first train.
8. Yes, please!
I have NOT include the rock that you threw into the pond, 8F, because I'm not sure how you would measure that and I think it could become one of those statistical nightmares that cost a fortune to calculate and was prone to all sorts of manipulation - ORCATS raid gone wild thing.