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Author Topic: Victorian boom in cheap travel to the seaside  (Read 241 times)
grahame
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« on: May 18, 2019, 06:21:52 pm »

It's reviewing / promoting a book - but an interesting piece in the Daily Mail

Quote
Oh we did like to be beside the seaside! The boom in cheap rail travel meant hordes of Victorian holidaymakers could bask at the beach – but the locals weren’t at all pleased

* Rise of rise railways in the 1840s provided cheap and quick way to get away
* Influx of holidaymakers took towns such as Brighton and Ramsgate by surprise
* Some British towns such as Weston-Super-Mare created ‘social exclusion zones’
* Scotland also popular destination with Thomas Cook taking 50,000 there a year

As late as the '60s or '70s, Saturday trains to the West Country were the busiest of the week, with seat regulation and queueing systems in place as people headed from London, the Midlands and the North to their week staying at a B&B in Newquay, Torquay, Tenby, Minehead or Weymouth.   These days you'll still see a tiny vestige of those services.
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Reginald25
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2019, 07:45:03 pm »

Anyone remember the complementary Merrymakers in the early 70s. I recall a trip from Reading, via the West London line (before ots current resurgence) onto the seaside at Folkestone.
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2019, 08:57:44 pm »

Anyone remember the complementary Merrymakers in the early 70s. I recall a trip from Reading, via the West London line (before ots current resurgence) onto the seaside at Folkestone.

I participated in a Merrymaker trip from Plymouth and Exeter to Devil's Bridge via Aberystwyth in the early 70s. Western hauled through the Welsh Marches to Shrewsbury then a pair of Class 24s through mid-Wales before numbers 7 and 9 took us on the final leg to Devil's Bridge.
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2019, 10:43:39 pm »

Anyone remember the complementary Merrymakers in the early 70s. I recall a trip from Reading, via the West London line (before ots current resurgence) onto the seaside at Folkestone.

I participated in a Merrymaker trip from Plymouth and Exeter to Devil's Bridge via Aberystwyth in the early 70s. Western hauled through the Welsh Marches to Shrewsbury then a pair of Class 24s through mid-Wales before numbers 7 and 9 took us on the final leg to Devil's Bridge.

They are wonderful memories. A very old thread on Merrymaker - http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/2016
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2019, 07:28:33 am »

Thomas Cook not in happy place at present, another sign of evolution of travel and holidays.

The Eastbourne rail crash https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastbourne_rail_crash is an example of how things have changed since the 1950's. I don't think anybody can now imagine a sleeper from Glasgow to Eastbourne, certainly not with only 36 passengers. I don't think you would get many takers on Ryanair if Eastbourne had an airport.
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stuving
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2019, 12:32:25 pm »

Thomas Cook not in happy place at present, another sign of evolution of travel and holidays.

The Eastbourne rail crash https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastbourne_rail_crash is an example of how things have changed since the 1950's. I don't think anybody can now imagine a sleeper from Glasgow to Eastbourne, certainly not with only 36 passengers. I don't think you would get many takers on Ryanair if Eastbourne had an airport.

That train was the Car Sleeper from Glasgow St. Enoch to Eastbourne - they (and Motorail later) did use odd terminals, for several reasons. (And it only had three sleeper cars.) If you can remember what pre-motorway long-distance driving was like, you'll see why by-passing London was a good idea for anyone going to the south coast.

Relatedly (if not much) SNCF have declared that they will not run any Auto/Train services after this year. This year they only serve the south-east from Avigonon to Frejus, having dropped the Perpignan service after one year. Of course there is no sleeper service on this route (only two of those, without Auto/Train). You have to travel by daytime TGV, but you car goes overnight before or after.

This might look crazy, but it has survived because it suits Parisians with holiday homes on the Riviera. They can drop the car off and spend that night at home before going to join it, and the inverse. But there are not enough of them to pay for it at current prices, it's hardly a social priority for subsidy, and hiking prices would probably take out most of the demand. So, evolution, again. 

SNCF will in future offer what is now available on other routes via a partner (Expedicar.com). I found some though-provoking prices quoted in Le Parisien* for Paris-Fréjus:
Auto/Train:          €266
Road transporter:  €504
Professional driver: €832
"Amateur" driver:    €98
  ... or of course you drive yourself.

* While Le Parisien doesn't say, I think the costs of fuel and tolls have to be added to the driver services. Also these "non-rail" prices may not be for guaranteed overnight or on-the-day travel.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2019, 07:08:32 am »

Thanks for the background Stuving.

Another aspect of this incident that always sticks is that the train driver was charged with manslaughter, and acquitted. If a bus or coach driver had caused similar fatalities they would have only been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, and a potentially lighter sentence.
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