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Author Topic: Rail v fly - Southern England to Scottish Lowlands  (Read 841 times)
grahame
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« on: January 26, 2020, 07:14:52 pm »

From BBC Scotland, early last November - posting / starting a fresh thread as it fuels discussion about rail v fly

Quote
Virgin Trains says more passengers are using rail on London-Glasgow route

In the 12 months to July 2019, 29% of passengers chose to travel with the train company rather than fly.
This is nearly two percentage points higher than the previous record set in 2014, during the Commonwealth Games.
Fastest flights between the cities take about an hour and 15 minutes. The train takes about four-and-a-half hours.

The figures released by Virgin Trains show the rise was driven by a 6% year-on-year increase in the number of passengers travelling between London and Glasgow by train, reaching 718,000.

This is up from around 244,000 a decade ago.

West Coast Rail prices could rise, warns watchdog

Virgin Trains managing director Phil Whittingham said: "The number of people choosing train over plane is testament to the investment and improvement Virgin Trains has made in Anglo-Scottish services over the last two decades.
"This growth is critical in supporting Scotland's economy and helping achieve government targets to decarbonise transport and achieve net zero emissions."

Colin Howden, director of sustainable transport charity Transform Scotland, said: "The current level of air travel is incompatible with the climate emergency so it's heartening to hear that rail is growing its market share over air for travel between central Scotland and London.

"Comparable distances across Europe use rail rather than air as the dominant mode of transport, so it is overdue for Scotland to take action to cut the excessive volume of flights from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London."

The boss of the consortium that owns regional airline Flybe recently said he could axe some routes where the journey could be made easily by train or car. Connect Airways chief executive Mark Anderson said: "We need to be responsible." Flybe's existing routes include London Heathrow-Edinburgh and London City-Edinburgh.

Virgin Trains has run services on the West Coast Main Line since March 1997 but the franchise is being handed to First Trenitalia on 8 December.

The air v rail topic - and in particular relation to Flybe - came up at a TravelWatch SouthWest meeting the other day (sleepers in the discussion mix too).

And it strikes me ... 29% London to Glasgow taking the train, 270 minutes v 75 minutes.  What figures (and what prices) Bristol to Glasgow - actually a shorter distance.   And I have randomly chosen 4th February ... London to Glasgow fares of £48.50 on several trains.

Lets try Bristol to Glasgow.  Best price £95.50 - for trains taking 470 minutes. Or for £105.50 taking 350 minutes.  And I expect the fight time (and prices) are very similar.

I just have to wonder ... if Bristol to Glasgow was just under £50 with a couple of sub-300 minute services each day (extra 5 cars on Plymouth - North East service, detach at New Street then Wolverhampton - Preston - Carlisle - Glasgow) ... how many people might switch to rail.
 
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Jamsdad
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2020, 07:37:02 pm »

Indeed, and how many might now use a return of the Bristol- Glasgow sleeper?
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2020, 08:01:58 pm »

Indeed, and how many might now use a return of the Bristol- Glasgow sleeper?

The economics of sleepers - with just a single journey of the train in a day - remain difficult.  At a sensible price and as a hotel on wheels with decent checking times and friends and joined up inward and onward connections it would be really busy.  But not sure if it could be done at a sensible price unless  Cheesy Grin carriages were convertible in some way to provide extra run(s) of the stock.   Who knows - we could end up with the 803 / sleeper convertible IET.
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2020, 09:20:57 pm »

I think that Grahame has hit the nail on the head with his observation that utilisation of sleeping stock is frustrated in the main by diurnal appearance of daylight that contributes to enormous inefficiencies. I might suggest as we enter a new accommodation with the global community that we forge a new allegiance with our old Commonwealth partners to share sleeping stock amongst our various railways. I am inspired by our current leadership that, released from the shackles of conventional control, we can forge new partnerships and seize new opportunities. In a new trade outlook, we should be sharing our sleeping-car stock with New Zealand, one of our oldest, and most loyal antipodean partners. The synergies are so obvious with a 24 hour usage of joint equipment to the benefit of both nations.
 Smiley
« Last Edit: January 26, 2020, 09:42:48 pm by Oxonhutch » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2020, 07:17:43 am »

I just have to wonder ... if Bristol to Glasgow was just under £50 with a couple of sub-300 minute services each day (extra 5 cars on Plymouth - North East service, detach at New Street then Wolverhampton - Preston - Carlisle - Glasgow) ... how many people might switch to rail.

On current infrastructure, looking further 300 minutes may be optimistic - look at 315 minutes.   That step up from 270 minutes (London to Glasgow) to 315 minutes may reduce the number of single journeys each train can make a day at "nice" times from 3 to 2, but then diagrams tend to be complex and interwork with other services?  You then need to be looking at robustness too ...
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2020, 05:52:00 pm »

From BBC Scotland, early last November - posting / starting a fresh thread as it fuels discussion about rail v fly

Quote
Virgin Trains says more passengers are using rail on London-Glasgow route

In the 12 months to July 2019, 29% of passengers chose to travel with the train company rather than fly.
This is nearly two percentage points higher than the previous record set in 2014, during the Commonwealth Games.
Fastest flights between the cities take about an hour and 15 minutes. The train takes about four-and-a-half hours.

The figures released by Virgin Trains show the rise was driven by a 6% year-on-year increase in the number of passengers travelling between London and Glasgow by train, reaching 718,000.

This is up from around 244,000 a decade ago.

West Coast Rail prices could rise, warns watchdog

Virgin Trains managing director Phil Whittingham said: "The number of people choosing train over plane is testament to the investment and improvement Virgin Trains has made in Anglo-Scottish services over the last two decades.
"This growth is critical in supporting Scotland's economy and helping achieve government targets to decarbonise transport and achieve net zero emissions."

Colin Howden, director of sustainable transport charity Transform Scotland, said: "The current level of air travel is incompatible with the climate emergency so it's heartening to hear that rail is growing its market share over air for travel between central Scotland and London.

"Comparable distances across Europe use rail rather than air as the dominant mode of transport, so it is overdue for Scotland to take action to cut the excessive volume of flights from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London."

The boss of the consortium that owns regional airline Flybe recently said he could axe some routes where the journey could be made easily by train or car. Connect Airways chief executive Mark Anderson said: "We need to be responsible." Flybe's existing routes include London Heathrow-Edinburgh and London City-Edinburgh.

Virgin Trains has run services on the West Coast Main Line since March 1997 but the franchise is being handed to First Trenitalia on 8 December.

The air v rail topic - and in particular relation to Flybe - came up at a TravelWatch SouthWest meeting the other day (sleepers in the discussion mix too).

And it strikes me ... 29% London to Glasgow taking the train, 270 minutes v 75 minutes.  What figures (and what prices) Bristol to Glasgow - actually a shorter distance.   And I have randomly chosen 4th February ... London to Glasgow fares of £48.50 on several trains.

Lets try Bristol to Glasgow.  Best price £95.50 - for trains taking 470 minutes. Or for £105.50 taking 350 minutes.  And I expect the fight time (and prices) are very similar.

I just have to wonder ... if Bristol to Glasgow was just under £50 with a couple of sub-300 minute services each day (extra 5 cars on Plymouth - North East service, detach at New Street then Wolverhampton - Preston - Carlisle - Glasgow) ... how many people might switch to rail.
 

I think it's important not to regard it as a zero sum game on either side.

On Bristol to Glasgow rail can probably compete with air (and road for that matter) for leisure travellers who aren't so worried about the time it takes and are content to sit back and enjoy the scenery, but for business travellers where it's time that counts I very much doubt many would opt for an 8 hour rail journey if a 1 hr 20 minute flight is available...…...16 hour round trip = 2 working days for many, just sitting on a train, and it would almost inevitably involve the additional expense of an overnight hotel too.

So rail could be a winner for some who aren't in a rush, flying for others for whom time is a factor?
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 06:07:42 pm by TaplowGreen » Logged
Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2020, 07:34:35 pm »

I think that Grahame has hit the nail on the head with his observation that utilisation of sleeping stock is frustrated in the main by diurnal appearance of daylight that contributes to enormous inefficiencies. I might suggest as we enter a new accommodation with the global community that we forge a new allegiance with our old Commonwealth partners to share sleeping stock amongst our various railways. I am inspired by our current leadership that, released from the shackles of conventional control, we can forge new partnerships and seize new opportunities. In a new trade outlook, we should be sharing our sleeping-car stock with New Zealand, one of our oldest, and most loyal antipodean partners. The synergies are so obvious with a 24 hour usage of joint equipment to the benefit of both nations.
 Smiley

I am truly sorry but I am strugglingto make any sense of this.

The "sharing of sleeping stock" is unlikely to be of any benefit when most Commonwealth countries that actually still have railways tend not to use our standard gauge.

Secondly, even if you did have bogies that would run without conversion on other country's railways, how the devil is this going to reduce the amount of time sleeping cars sit is sidings waiting for it to get dark? I agree that New Zealand is about 12 hours adrift of UK time so when it is dark here it is light there and vice-versa, but until someone invents a teleporting device that will take sleeping cars I can't see that time difference being much of an advatage.

And besides, if a teleporting machine could move sleeping cars to down under at the speed of light, it could move people like that too so we wouldn't need sleeping cars...

I also have a problem with this in this context:
Quote
I am inspired by our current leadership that, released from the shackles of conventional control, we can forge new partnerships and seize new opportunities.

What, pray tell, is "shackling" plucky little Blighty from trading railway equipment with the rest of the world? Is it the evil EU? If so, someone had better tell them that Hitachi, who seem to be building most of our trains at the moment, is not exactly a lovable little family firm that started in Wigan in 1853 but originate - horror of horrors - abroad. Not just across the Channel abroad, but go though the Suex canal and keep going for a long time abroad. Real abroad. Outside the EU abroad. The "here be dragons" abroad, where people wear kimonos and not just as dressing gowns. The abroad of UKIP's worst nightmares...

I apologise if I've come over rather more strongly than usual, but I've just read another thread where someone seems to think reopening Kemble to Tetbuy might be a runner. Perhaps there's someting in the air in the UK at the moment that I'm not getting down here in Cape Town. In abroad. In 3'6" gauge abroad...

Wink
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2020, 07:51:32 pm »

Overhead shot? 😉
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2020, 10:08:52 pm »

Robin, I am not sure that you are fully engaged with our upcoming opportunity and that attention to mere details detracts significantly from the benefits that will surely disperse upon the body public once we open our minds and dispel previous mantra that have kept us so straightjacketed this past several decades.  Your focus on track gauge for instance speaks volumes on an attention to detail that detracts from the ultimate goal of new global optimism. England, I am sure will be the first to embrace teleportation – after all we thought of it first – and the carbon benefits I’m sure are already being woven into national policy on rail transportation.

Even in our unique seasonal optimism, not seen since a stable incident some time ago, a Tetbury connection, as you observed, would probably require miraculous convergence.

But 3’6” is a wonderful gauge, same as New Zealand, and they both run trains far larger than ours – bit like France and Germany …

Enjoy Kaapstad - a truly wonderful place  Cheesy
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2020, 11:14:41 am »

I think it's important not to regard it as a zero sum game on either side.

Totally agreed.  29% London-> Glasgow choose train over plane means that 71% choose plane over train.  And as you adjust the parameters, you effect decisions.

Parameters ...
* What does it cost?
* How long does it take?
* Is it easy to book?
* Do I have to change along the way?
* How convenient is it for my start and end points within London / Glasgow?
* How early do I need to check in?
* How much luggage (and what?) can I take with me?
* When does it depart or arrive - is it running at a good time for me?

Quote
... I very much doubt many would opt for an 8 hour rail journey if a 1 hr 20 minute flight is available ...

Yes, but then Bristol to Glasgow in 5.5 hours might sway some more.  And with 85 minutes Bristol to Birmingham (2 intermediate stops) then 240 minutes Birmingham to Glasgow (9 intermediates stops) at present, the time argument may cease to be quite such a dominant decider.  Provided the fare is right, and it's a through train ... and if it's a new through train, dropping 9 intermediate stops to 3 on a service that's right behind a London - Preston - Carlisle - Glasgow superfast would bring it closer to the 5 hours. Cover Birmingham to Glasgow traffic better too.
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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2020, 12:56:44 pm »

Figures were for the year to July to 2019 - I'd love to see updated figures to see whether the recent increase in environmental awareness associated with XR, Greta, the Flygskam movement etc have had a noticeable impact. Anecdotally from colleagues who travel frequently between our Glasgow and London offices the trains are significantly busier with corresponding impact on prices. They also suggest it's time to build a second sleeper as the existing one is often fully booked even weeks in advance.

I've also heard planes between London and Glasgow seem to have excess capacity and cheaper, despite several flights being cancelled.

Official government statistics certainly show a massive decrease in domestic air travel since April 2019 - https://twitter.com/HelenJackson0/status/1217746925992271872?s=19

Reduction in domestic air travel for environmental reasons, likely substituted with rail and/or road, would certainly explain Flybe's financial issues, plus Easyjet/BA/Ryanair trying to polish their environmental credentials. 
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2020, 05:45:55 pm »

Can’t remember whether it’s EasyJet or Ryanair, but a recent ad campaign extolling their green credentials was finger down the throat stuff!
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rogerw
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2020, 06:28:59 pm »

Ryanair Angry
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2020, 08:05:29 pm »

Robin, I am not sure that you are fully engaged with our upcoming opportunity and that attention to mere details detracts significantly from the benefits that will surely disperse upon the body public once we open our minds and dispel previous mantra that have kept us so straightjacketed this past several decades.  Your focus on track gauge for instance speaks volumes on an attention to detail that detracts from the ultimate goal of new global optimism. England, I am sure will be the first to embrace teleportation – after all we thought of it first – and the carbon benefits I’m sure are already being woven into national policy on rail transportation.

Even in our unique seasonal optimism, not seen since a stable incident some time ago, a Tetbury connection, as you observed, would probably require miraculous convergence.

But 3’6” is a wonderful gauge, same as New Zealand, and they both run trains far larger than ours – bit like France and Germany …

Enjoy Kaapstad - a truly wonderful place  Cheesy


I'm glad to see you didn't take umbrage with my post! Grin

However, the devil is in the detail. For many years one of my major jobs was to take other people's strategy and vision, and turn it into a sensible, workable and realistic way forard. That is why, whenever I am faced with a new strategy, and especially a rhetorical one, my first question is:

"OK then, how are we going to make this thing actually happen? How is it going to work? What are the dangers and where are the pitfalls that will stop it working?"

Without the answers to these questions you are never going to get anyone's pet scheme up and running.

We all know what the elephant in the room is here but neither of us is saying it, so let's get it out in the open. It's Brexit. Ever since June 2016 we have had politicians waxing on in full rhetorical thrust about the wondrous opportinities that lie just around the corner. Well personally I don't want to hear their rhetoric - I have no time for rhetoric - rhetoric is tuppence a ton -- I want to know what they are actully going to DO that this country can't do already. Because let's be clear = we have been able to trade with any country anywhere in the world ever since we joined the EU, and the only caaeat is that we have had to abide by the same tariff and customs terms as all the other countries in the EU. Nobody else has a problem with that, but apparently we do.

If we want to buy trains from Japan or bananas from Jamaica nobody is stopping us.We import steam locomotive tyres from South Africa because it is the only country in the western world that still produces them; nothing is stopping us. The list goes on and on and on. And of course thise same freedoms exist in oiher countries too.

So when, with respect, I see a post on here which is to all intents and purposes a regurgitation of that political rhetoric I so much detest because of its emptiness in terms of detail, I react by pointing out some obvious details that may stand in the way of doing what you the poster suggests we will be able to do, I get:

"I am not sure that you are fully engaged with our upcoming opportunity and that attention to mere details detracts significantly from the benefits that will surely disperse upon the body public once we open our minds and dispel previous mantra that have kept us so straightjacketed this past several decades."

I'm sorry, you're damned right I can't engage with that - because ultimately it ain't true. We could do it all already; you are being lied to by politicians who tell you we can't and like, when any justifiable concerns by the remain side in the referendum campaign were put forward, the point gets sidestepped with a rhetorical "have faith" or "Project Fear" again.

You will of course have your faith and I will have mine, And if and when your faith gets tested by having to get a Shengen visa to take a day trip to Calais I am sure that the politicians will tell you that it's all because of the spiteful EU having a go at Plucky Little Britain because they hate the idea that we can live without them. You believe it if you like.

As Dave Allen used to say at the end of his shows: "Goodnight, and may your God go with you"

Wink
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2020, 10:13:18 pm »

Robin, You misunderstand me. We are living in times that frankly beggar belief for the straight-thinking man. I enjoy satire - as I hope you can now see, that I like to turn a mirror on those that would abuse us in our comfort of European sanity. I am an international man, working in an international industry, with colleagues - who at the last count - sported 50 different passports.  I am an Englishman, a patriot, a Unionist and frankly - if it wasn't for my humour - I would weep.
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