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Author Topic: Scotrail  (Read 1746 times)
Sixty3Closure
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« on: October 19, 2017, 11:15:47 pm »

I came here as a frustrated FGW/GWR passenger and have continued to watch things fail to improve over the years. My posts tend to reflect that so I though I'd post a positive one.

Having been in Scotland for the last week and done a fair bit of travelling on Scotrail I;ve been really impressed. The tickets seems a lot cheaper than the south east, I got a seat on every journey, the trains were clean and the staff seemed happy to stop and chat. Even the stations were a bit more cheerful with flowers and containers.

Perhaps I was lucky but chatting to family and friends they seemed reasonably happy with the service they get especially after i mention the £4k+ a year I pay to stand quite often. It maybe that the Scottish network is 'simpler' - essentially one operator or there's more money about because of the Scottish Governments attitude and whoever pays for what was formally the Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive.

And the views were great  Smiley

Only downside is that outside the central belt it's pretty limited.
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 07:47:16 am »

I came here as a frustrated FGW/GWR passenger and have continued to watch things fail to improve over the years. My posts tend to reflect that so I though I'd post a positive one.

Having been in Scotland for the last week and done a fair bit of travelling on Scotrail I;ve been really impressed. ...

I was impressed too when I was up in Scotland last week - services running mostly to time, plenty of seats even on the 'fast' 17:45 Edinburgh to Glasgow service which also provides for outgoing commuters to Linlithgow, Polmont and Falkirk. Plenty of ticket inspection staff too; no unchecked journeys made - even a "one stop hop".   

Of course, I don't have enough samples there to give a balanced statistical view - even with an 8% cancellation rate as recently reported on one of our GWR lines (not a TransWilts figure!), chances are I could have been OK.  There probably are peak trains that are squashed like some of ours.   And the Scots edition of the Metro is making a bit thing of trains skipping stops to catch up the timetable.

One of the lines I took had one train along the whole route every two hours when I visited it many years ago. Now it has  two trains every one hour - a massive improvement.  Not unique to Scotland - with the exception of the morning peak, Chippenham has gone similarly over the same period;  perversely, Chippenham's service on its key and largest commuter flow (Bath / Bristol) is only offered hourly at the start of the day, yet half hourly coming back.  I didn't spot any such oddity in Scotland, but there probably are some.

One of the lines I travelled on, and where I stopped at stations, wasn't open when I visited Scotland 40 years ago. And looking at / comparing maps, I note a number of Scots lines re-opened to passengers after a significant number of years of closure.  Lookng ONLY at line with station re-openings, I see (sample stations given):
* Bathgate
* Larkhall
* Alloa
* Tweedbank
* Glasgow Central (Low Level)
* Kirknewton
* Paisley Canal
* Possil Park
Looking for a similar list across the South West (my definition being Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Devon and Cornwall), I found none at all - a number of new/reopened stations which are fantastic news and a huge success for the most part, one line which had a "parliamentary" service which has moved up to a useable (but very thin) service, with a station re-opened halfway along.

Someone may correct me on re-openings in the South West, and tell me of problems I didn't come across in Scotland; for sure, there are things I could ask "wouldn't it be nice if" and questions I would be asking about specific stations, lines, information and practises if it were my place.  But the overall impression is that we have a lot of good (effective) practise to look at north of the border.

I agree with you, Sixty3Closure - what a positive experience!
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 10:21:25 am »

Ivybridge.
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2017, 10:45:14 am »

Ivybridge.

That's on an existing line, though - like Newcourt, Cranbrook, Templecombe and others.   I started such a list for Scotland ... Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh Gateway, South Gyle, Wallyford, Musselburgh, Kingsknowe, Westerhailes, Curriehill, Livingston South ... and found myself still just in the Edinburgh area.
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John R
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2017, 11:03:45 am »


One of the lines I travelled on, and where I stopped at stations, wasn't open when I visited Scotland 40 years ago. And looking at / comparing maps, I note a number of Scots lines re-opened to passengers after a significant number of years of closure.  Lookng ONLY at line with station re-openings, I see (sample stations given):
* Bathgate
* Larkhall
* Alloa
* Tweedbank
* Glasgow Central (Low Level)
* Kirknewton
* Paisley Canal
* Possil Park


You can add to that the branch to Whifflet in Strathclyde.  However, I don't believe Kirknewton was on a line reopening, nor even a reopened station (although it was renamed in 1982).

And worth expanding Bathgate as the current line is a result of three separate openings, namely Bathgate to Edinburgh, Airdrie to Drumgelloch, and then finally joining the missing link.

Being slightly pedantic, the Paisley Canal branch was still open 40 years ago.  It closed along with the Kilmacolm branch in c 1983 only to be revived a few years later (though sadly the Kilmacolm branch itself didn't reopen).


 
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froome
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2017, 12:10:04 pm »

I've not traveled on Scotrail for about 5 years now, but from my experiences I would agree with everything in the original post. I would love to take a journey on the new Edinburgh to Tweedbank line via Galashiels. I had hoped to find the time this year but it will have to wait now until 2018.

As Sixty3Closure said, when you spend most of your traveling time having to stand in overcrowded trains, or waiting for trains that are then cancelled, travelling in many other areas outside of GWR territory is an eye opener of what could be.
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Sixty3Closure
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2017, 01:33:24 pm »

I hadn't really thought about the new stations even though I used Camelon to go visit the Falkirk Wheel. Grahame's list does make it look like there's quite a different approach to rail travel.

The new Border's railway is also on my 'to do' list but I think I'll wait for spring or summer.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 06:12:46 pm »

The Scottish Goverment pumos funds into their rail system, ciurtesy of the Barnett formula, so yours & my taxes folks
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stuving
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2017, 06:51:46 pm »

The Scottish Goverment pumos funds into their rail system, ciurtesy of the Barnett formula, so yours & my taxes folks

If you plough through Grayling's session with the MPs on Monday, you'll find this exchange:

Quote
Q60   Ronnie Cowan: Can I pick up the earlier point that passengers are looking for a train that runs on time and takes them from A to B? You have taken the decision to change the long-term funding formula for Scottish Rail, which will now be linked to population and the Barnett formula.
Chris Grayling: Yes.

Q61   Ronnie Cowan: Until now it was linked to the extent of the rail network and the geography. I am sure that as Transport Secretary you have first-hand knowledge of Scotlandís rail structure and the geography on which it runs. Why are you making the decision now to cut £600 million from essential funding for Scotland?
Chris Grayling: The Barnett formula is a tried and trusted mechanism for allocating funding to Scotland.

Q62   Ronnie Cowan: Thatís it? Why now?
Chris Grayling: Because we are at the start of a new control period. The Treasury has considered the issue carefully and has come to the view that, since the Barnett formula applies across a whole range of the ways Scotland is funded, there is no obvious reason for that not to continue.

Q63   Ronnie Cowan: Did you consult the Scottish Government over this?
Chris Grayling: The Barnett formula is something the Scottish Government have supported for a long time.

Q64   Ronnie Cowan: My question was, did you consult the Scottish Government over this change in their funding?
Chris Grayling: It is a Treasury decision, so I am the wrong Minister to ask.

So it seems the SG used to get about £600M more than the Barnett formula would have given, but from now on they won't.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2017, 06:55:47 pm »

Excellent use of my (and the Scots) taxes. The Barnett formula is based on public spending in England or England & Wales. So if England or England & Wales gets a certain amount of funds for a particular public service, then Scotland gets an equivalent amount based based on their population proportion versus England or England & Wales.

And remember, this money comes from Scottish taxpayer contributions to the UK treasury too.
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ellendune
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2017, 07:33:45 pm »

So if England or England & Wales gets a certain amount of funds for a particular public service, then Scotland gets an equivalent amount based based on their population proportion versus England or England & Wales.

And remember, this money comes from Scottish taxpayer contributions to the UK treasury too.

That is why Scottish MP's must be able to vote on expenditure in E&W. 
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ChrisB
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2017, 01:03:20 pm »

I'm not sure 'equivalent' is the right word though. Per population, the Barnett formula provides more funding per person than an E/Wales project provides for their populations.

Which is how the SC can splash the cash per person more than they do in England
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stuving
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2017, 01:55:22 pm »

I'm not sure 'equivalent' is the right word though. Per population, the Barnett formula provides more funding per person than an E/Wales project provides for their populations.

Which is how the SC can splash the cash per person more than they do in England

That's true of the division of funding, which gives more per head in Scotland; but that's not due to Barnett, whose formula does reflect the populations. His formula is only applied to increases in funding, on top of last year's money which continues unchanged. When this system was adopted (temporarily, of course) in 1979, spending levels were already higher in Scotland (and in Wales and Northern Ireland too), for a variety of reasons. Over time the spending levels "tend to" converge on the population ratio, but only slowly.

For railways, I've not seen the announcement, but I presume the existing rail funding from the Treasury to each part of the UK will be added to the overall baselines for last year, the totals adjusted for inflation, and then the Barnett formula applied to the increase in the relevant total. Would that give £600 less in a year? No, nothing like. I wonder, what does that figure mean?
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 02:03:04 pm by stuving » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2018, 06:45:05 am »

From Rail Technology Magazine - a further step forward in Scotland

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Alloa line reopens after electrification works

The Alloa line has reopened following the completion of a multi-million pound upgrade project to prepare the line for electric trains.

The work, which lasted four weeks, is part of a Scottish government-funded programme to electrify lines throughout the central belt.

Over the four weeks, hundreds of engineers worked from Stirling to Alloa along six miles of the route, installing over 200 masts and supporting cantilevers and stringing overhead power lines, as part of the wider programme to electrify the lines linking Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Once the works are complete in 2019, the electrification of the route will mean that many services will be operated by electric class 385 trains, which Network Rail says will offer a better experience and reduce journey times from Stirling to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

28 days of rail replacement buses, and the reward is trains running there under electric power from next year.  GWR and NR have the interesting case to talk to at Pewsey of 50 days of rail replacement buses this year, and the trains will still be running from there under diesel power ...
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eightf48544
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2018, 10:17:23 am »

Hopefully they will have solved the 385 windscreen problem.

Great Western Coffee Shop > All across the Great Western territory > The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom > Problems with new Class 385 Trains in Scotland
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