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Author Topic: Tatty XC Vomiters  (Read 5725 times)
grahame
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« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2020, 07:05:43 am »

... a tendency to resurrect old threads, such as this one, where nothing has been posted for a few months, and I'm not sure of the merits of reopening a discussion on threads which appeared to have drawn to a natural conclusion, unless of course there has been some new information that would trigger it.   

Our forum alerts posters if they're about to re-open a thread that has no recent activity - set at 120 days; this thread we're in had been unaltered for rather less than that - 100 days.  We have never altered this definition of and perhaps we should review / reduce it to help members be alerted rather earlier?   Off the Voyager topic - discussion at http://www.passenger.chat/24023
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2020, 10:27:48 am »

You would need more than passenger comfort to improve things, as you say cheaper fares is one way but most people who use XC are either commuters or business workers
Historically CrossCountry was the franchise with the greatest proportion of leisure travel. I don't know if this is still the case but I could believe it.

Quite. IMHO your quoted poster didn't really think it through before typing.

XC does what it says on the tin. It operates cross-country providing a service to numerus provincial towns and cities which will generate leisure travel for shopping, exploraion or events. Taunton to Bristo or Exeter; Cheltenham Tamwioth and Burton to Brum; Derby to Sheffield; Darlington to York - the list is pretty long.

I was on one a couple of years ago that suddnly became full and standing beyond Chesterfield with large numbers of people dressed in mildly unusual clothing - it turned out they were all off to York races.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2020, 09:27:37 pm »

Quote
You would need more than passenger comfort to improve things, as you say cheaper fares is one way but most people who use XC are either commuters or business workers, the later don't want to spent hour on a train from Plymouth to Newcastle when they can drive to Exeter, fly to Newcastle and be back before the kids go to bed. XC is never going to match what most people want which is speed which is probably why it has been struggling to make any decent profit in years.

and

Quote
Quote from: Richard Fairhurst on Today at 12:19:00 am
Quote from: southwest on Yesterday at 09:36:26 pm
You would need more than passenger comfort to improve things, as you say cheaper fares is one way but most people who use XC are either commuters or business workers
Historically CrossCountry was the franchise with the greatest proportion of leisure travel. I don't know if this is still the case but I could believe it.

Quite. IMHO your quoted poster didn't really think it through before typing.

XC does what it says on the tin. It operates cross-country providing a service to numerus provincial towns and cities which will generate leisure travel for shopping, exploraion or events. Taunton to Bristo or Exeter; Cheltenham Tamwioth and Burton to Brum; Derby to Sheffield; Darlington to York - the list is pretty long.

I was on one a couple of years ago that suddnly became full and standing beyond Chesterfield with large numbers of people dressed in mildly unusual clothing - it turned out they were all off to York races.

I feel that I am becoming the forum's defender of XC and Voyagers!

This franchise provides a number of useful ways of filling gaps that the other franchise holders do not cover, and supplement their services.

From my experience on the south east "leg" of their network, quite a few business travellers use it to get to Birmingham in particular from the Thames Valley and Solent regions, and I find it useful to get to Manchester - more pleasant than going via London, not too long a journey, and probably by the time you get to an airport (by whatever means!) check in then battle into the city centre, quicker than by air from Reading or Oxford, as well as giving you that smug feeling of being less environmentally damaging. However there seems to be quite a few people unaware that the service exists. Southampton, Reading, Birmingham and Manchester are all substantial centres for the provision of professional services, and there will be a reasonable amount of transactions being dealt with between firms based in them. If we get back to the days of meeting to negotiate, discuss and agree in person, there's a market for business travel directly between them. In my last firm, a senior colleague in our Manchester office was unaware that there were regular direct trains between his home station in Macclesfield and Reading until we both had to attend a meeting there together, and I suggested meeting him at the station.

Yes - there is still a substantial volume of leisure business - the contemporary equivalent of granny from the north taking her seaside holiday in Bournemouth using the Pines Express. I have used it myself- to get to North Yorkshire to see my wife's family, and on the way back from Inverness five years ago, when we decided to change at Newcastle rather than have to cross London in the rush hour. This also gave my an opportunity to have a back to back comparison of comfort between East Coast HSTs and Voyagers - the latter winning hands down as the seats fitted on the last refit of the East Coast HSTs were much inferior to those on GWR. There's also better informed travellers who use XC to get to Gatwick from the Midlands and the North - two of those wheeling airline luggage off the Redhill train referred to in my recent post headed off to the XC on platform 7. 

Then there are commuters who use the services which are thread between the services of the regional operators whose territories they run through. If (for example) you travel between Reading and Oxford or Reading and Basingstoke it adds capacity and to your choice of trains. I for one perfectly understand why commuters between Birmingham and places like Leamington use available XC services, even if they have to stand, rather than wait for the next stopping train. I think it's somewhat mean minded for those travelling longer distance who usually have booked seats to resent their presence for a modest part only of their journey. From comments on this forum there appears to be more of a problem with crowding on the south west leg of their network - is it because their trains are proportionally more of the fast/semi-fast trains, compared with those coming up from the south east?

So - it is a very useful part of the nation's railway provision - long may it continue, and perhaps if it was better known (and more capacity when Midland Main Line is ready to cascade their Meridians) it might even prosper! 
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Rhydgaled
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« Reply #33 on: September 25, 2020, 02:34:34 pm »

Cross country has in my opinion, has huge potential, with a 800 type bi mode train, say 7 coaches, running pretty much the present network, with perhaps some better service to the south east, say Brighton and possibly Margate.
I think even the Voyagers could have potential, the only black against them that is drawn in permanent marker being that they drink alot of diesel. The other major shortcoming is that they are too short, which could potentially be solved in the next few years if XC receive the class 222s from the East Midlands and class 221s from InterCity West Coast by either doubling up sets or storing/scraping some driving cars to allow the intermediate vehicles to lengthen other sets. If they were longer you could then afford to take out a few seats to improve legroom, add more tables and align all seats with the windows. Some 5-car sets (with 1st class reduced or removed) could take over Cardiff-Nottingham services, and by 2035 electrification to Aberdeen and Inverness should allow LNER to release some class 800s to XC. Similarly wires from London to Oxford, Bristol, Sheffield and Nottingham, if and when they happen, should release some bi-mode units. If XC were to get all of these it would go some way to replacing the Voyagers, which will be life-expired by then.

I'm not keen on expanding the use of diesel by introducing Brighton/Margate services, but would a Long-Distance High-Speed (LDHS) train tri-mode be feesible? If not, I would wait until the missing sections (the North Downs Line, Didcot to Birmingham and Crewe to Holyhead) have been electrified and then introduce a Holyhead to Brighton or Dover service using dual-voltage trains (3rd rail plus overhead).
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« Reply #34 on: September 27, 2020, 11:30:31 pm »

The other major shortcoming is that they are too short, which could potentially be solved in the next few years if XC receive the class 222s from the East Midlands and class 221s from InterCity West Coast by either doubling up sets or storing/scraping some driving cars to allow the intermediate vehicles to lengthen other sets. If they were longer you could then afford to take out a few seats to improve legroom, add more tables and align all seats with the windows.
I've had exactly the same thought myself.  Four coach sets are horribly inefficient for seating, and so must cost a lot per seat mile to run.

By scrapping the driving vehicles of half of the 34 Class 220 and 2 x 4 Car Class 221s you could make 19x6 car sets.  With the 20 AWC sets added, you could then switch the diagrams around so just about all the existing 5 car diagrams are 6 car, and the 4 car become 5 car. A reasonable result in terms of capacity, and I would have thought the lessor would probably be reasonably happy if it guarantees work for the majority of the cars in the fleet, when there must be a risk that they could all get replaced by IET's if Hitachi strike a competitive deal to keep the factory going.  (I doubt the Class 220s would find a replacement home due to the cost and inefficient seating capacity.)
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 12:15:58 pm by Richard Fairhurst » Logged
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