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Author Topic: "How coronavirus could usher in a new ‘golden age’ of rail travel"  (Read 1568 times)
grahame
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« on: May 20, 2020, 09:26:17 pm »

From The Conversation

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Quietly, outside of the public gaze, a revolution has started on Britain’s railways. On March 23, COVID-19 destroyed the railway industry as it had existed for the past 25 years. As concerns about virus transmission grew, passenger numbers reduced by 80% before the official lockdown even began. The private companies running train services were broke and the UK government took control, effectively bringing an end to the failed franchise model. As our research has shown, services have to be capable to survive – even in the best of times.

Many organisations, such as the Railway Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) stated that COVID-19 was a temporary blip to the ongoing success of the railways. But more economically informed parts of the transport industry know that this is not the case. Even the chief executive of Network Rail, Andrew Haines, believes the UK is “at a time of industry change”.

Article continues ...
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2020, 10:12:49 pm »

Cloud Cuckoo land time again.....

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Other innovations required by the strategy include trains running when they were needed, rather than to a fixed timetable, to help ensure passengers had the least crowded trains possible. This is a world where the customer – rather than operational convenience – is at the heart of the rail transport strategy.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 02:03:24 pm by SandTEngineer » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2020, 10:31:46 pm »

Cloud Cookoo land time again.....

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Other innovations required by the strategy include trains running when they were needed, rather than to a fixed timetable, to help ensure passengers had the least crowded trains possible. This is a world where the customer – rather than operational convenience – is at the heart of the rail transport strategy.

I do recall that system being used on a railway I once travelled on in the past - with modifications.  "Trains will leave every 30 minutes if there are 25 passengers or more.  I personally found a 30 minute wait a little frustrating, and of course it would have all sorts of issues if there were significant pickups along the way or trips starting at the other end rather that just out and back returns.   Oh - the departure "only if well loaded" was from Llanbeirs, and it came across a being more for operational - or is that financial - convenience rather than for the customer.
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southwest
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2020, 08:47:58 pm »

I will be surprised is we go back to the old franchise model, companies like SWR we're struggling long before Covid. I think the future will be similar to the current GWR franchise, management contracts, something that was in the process a while before the pandemic anyway. 

I don't believe we are about to see the return of British Rail in some form or another as the government are apposed to it. I would certainly like to see train companies become railway companies again, with more integrated control of track & trains and decisions made by the railway companies themselves rather than the DFT.
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Electric train
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2020, 06:53:47 am »

Cloud Cookoo land time again.....

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Other innovations required by the strategy include trains running when they were needed, rather than to a fixed timetable, to help ensure passengers had the least crowded trains possible. This is a world where the customer – rather than operational convenience – is at the heart of the rail transport strategy.

I do recall that system being used on a railway I once travelled on in the past - with modifications.  "Trains will leave every 30 minutes if there are 25 passengers or more.  I personally found a 30 minute wait a little frustrating, and of course it would have all sorts of issues if there were significant pickups along the way or trips starting at the other end rather that just out and back returns.   Oh - the departure "only if well loaded" was from Llanbeirs, and it came across a being more for operational - or is that financial - convenience rather than for the customer.

Do any of you remember the Dial - a - Bus scheme of the 1970's when, in theory, you telephoned an operator and they said a bus will be with you in X time just as you do with a taxi.  I know there are still some dial a bus schemes operating but they are more a pre booked scheme than an on demand scheme.

Railways do not have the operational fallibility of road to run a dial ride scheme, the railways do their best when they operate a regular timetable

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Dwight D. Eisenhower
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2020, 08:57:51 am »


Do any of you remember the Dial - a - Bus scheme of the 1970's when, in theory, you telephoned an operator and they said a bus will be with you in X time just as you do with a taxi.  I know there are still some dial a bus schemes operating but they are more a pre booked scheme than an on demand scheme.

Railways do not have the operational fallibility of road to run a dial ride scheme, the railways do their best when they operate a regular timetable



A similar service was trialled in Sutton (London) last May.
https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2019/may/trial-of-on-demand-bus-service-gosutton-launches-today

The one year trial was interrupted by Covid-19 and it is not know if it will continue. I can't find any info on a resumption apart from party political bickering.

A second scheme launched in November 2019 in Ealing called Slide.
https://londonist.com/london/transport/tfl-bus-on-demand-ealing

But the Slide website says this
Quote
We have with regret decided to end the Slide Ealing service.

Due to the on-going pandemic, we are unable to operate the Slide Ealing service in a way that we envisaged at the start of the trial.

It has been a great pleasure serving the Ealing community, and we are proud of what we have learned and achieved during our time in operation.



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eightonedee
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2020, 10:25:40 am »

Sorry to be negative, but Covid 19 is difficult to see as anything other than a setback. Changing working patterns, with more white collar, professional and clerical work being done at home and a proportion of the population  now put off public transport by thr perception of the health risk looks like reducing passenger numbers. 

The final collapse of the franchise system will not make much difference.  One of the lessons I have learnt from my membership of this forum is that DfT micromanages a lot of the details of service and it is difficult to see this changing.  Add in to this the reduced fare income, a smaller proportion of the electorate travelling by train and (in due course) the need to get public finances back into shape and we may end up looking back at the last decade as a golden age of railways
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2020, 10:56:21 am »

Sorry to be negative, but Covid 19 is difficult to see as anything other than a setback. Changing working patterns, with more white collar, professional and clerical work being done at home and a proportion of the population  now put off public transport by thr perception of the health risk looks like reducing passenger numbers. 

The final collapse of the franchise system will not make much difference.  One of the lessons I have learnt from my membership of this forum is that DfT micromanages a lot of the details of service and it is difficult to see this changing.  Add in to this the reduced fare income, a smaller proportion of the electorate travelling by train and (in due course) the need to get public finances back into shape and we may end up looking back at the last decade as a golden age of railways

I think you're correct in that the railways will take a huge hit as a result of changing working patterns and habits - there's been a huge realisation over the last few months that people don't have to be in the office anything like as much as previously and are indeed in many cases more productive, happier and healthier WFH with the additional benefits it brings to work/life balance. This has been the experience of almost everyone I know and is perhaps one of the few positive outcomes of the pandemic.

Businesses will also realise the benefits of huge savings in accommodation.

This effect will be felt mostly (but by no means exclusively) in London and the South East but the railway has an opportunity to partially re-invent itself and develop as the preferred option for local and long distance travel not necessarily for business - I'm thinking of lines such as the Trans Wilts on a local level and London to the Westcountry long distance.............make it more frequent, more reliable, more competitive, generally improve the offer and it could usher in whole new opportunities.

A "golden age" however is perhaps a little optimistic.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2020, 01:27:31 pm »

...make it more frequent, more reliable, more competitive, generally improve the offer and it could usher in whole new opportunities.

Steady on, TG - you're making your case for HS2 there.  Wink
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2020, 02:28:39 pm »

We have had a "dial a public transport service" of sorts here in Wiltshire for some time. When the local council withdrew funding for the former 95 service between Chippeham and Lyneham/Bradenstoke via the villages, it was replaced by what was, in essence, a taxi on a Q path.

There is a published timetable, and if anyone wants to use it they ring the taxi operator. If no-one  does, the taxi stays in their yard. 
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2020, 05:08:53 pm »

...make it more frequent, more reliable, more competitive, generally improve the offer and it could usher in whole new opportunities.

Steady on, TG - you're making your case for HS2 there.  Wink

Blimey, is HS2 heading for Plymouth now? Better add another £20 billion............actually make it 30!  Grin
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southwest
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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2020, 11:57:14 pm »

Sorry to be negative, but Covid 19 is difficult to see as anything other than a setback. Changing working patterns, with more white collar, professional and clerical work being done at home and a proportion of the population  now put off public transport by thr perception of the health risk looks like reducing passenger numbers. 

The final collapse of the franchise system will not make much difference.  One of the lessons I have learnt from my membership of this forum is that DfT micromanages a lot of the details of service and it is difficult to see this changing.  Add in to this the reduced fare income, a smaller proportion of the electorate travelling by train and (in due course) the need to get public finances back into shape and we may end up looking back at the last decade as a golden age of railways

I think you're correct in that the railways will take a huge hit as a result of changing working patterns and habits - there's been a huge realisation over the last few months that people don't have to be in the office anything like as much as previously and are indeed in many cases more productive, happier and healthier WFH with the additional benefits it brings to work/life balance. This has been the experience of almost everyone I know and is perhaps one of the few positive outcomes of the pandemic.

Businesses will also realise the benefits of huge savings in accommodation.

This effect will be felt mostly (but by no means exclusively) in London and the South East but the railway has an opportunity to partially re-invent itself and develop as the preferred option for local and long distance travel not necessarily for business - I'm thinking of lines such as the Trans Wilts on a local level and London to the Westcountry long distance.............make it more frequent, more reliable, more competitive, generally improve the offer and it could usher in whole new opportunities.

A "golden age" however is perhaps a little optimistic.

A small temporary hit, I don't believe it will last more than 2 years.
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broadgage
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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2020, 01:04:17 am »

I fear that covid related disruption may be around for a lot longer than two years.
Apart from direct effects as may be observed right now, I fear panic measures being brought in for each new disease, even if such only kill a few dozen people none of them in the UK.

" New illness discovered in china ! Several dead ! Close down the schools ! Ban sunbathing, close the pubs, bail out the airlines."
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2020, 06:38:33 am »

I fear that covid related disruption may be around for a lot longer than two years.
Apart from direct effects as may be observed right now, I fear panic measures being brought in for each new disease, even if such only kill a few dozen people none of them in the UK.

" New illness discovered in china ! Several dead ! Close down the schools ! Ban sunbathing, close the pubs, bail out the airlines."

I'm sure some people took that light hearted attitude when COVID-19 was first talked about, and now there are almost 50,000 dead in the UK alone.

Had "panic measures" (those who know about such things would probably describe them as "precautions") such as some of those you mention above been taken with an earlier lockdown, it's likely that many lives would have been saved, so I'd be happy for them to be reintroduced to prevent another pandemic or at least minimise its effect.

As for your obsession with and objection to the Government "bailing out" the airlines, 70,000 UK jobs in aviation are at risk. What's your alternative solution to the Government stepping in to mitigate this risk?

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broadgage
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2020, 12:07:09 pm »

The present pandemic has indeed resulted in substantial loss of life, and a rigorous response was therefore entirely justified, and arguably should have been introduced sooner to limit the loss of life.
I do however fear a future over reaction to each new outbreak of illness.

As regards airlines, the government simply don't have enough money to bail out every organisation affected by the pandemic.
Airlines and related air transport industries should in my view be at the bottom of the list. Air travel is virtually 100% fossil fuel powered, and therefore detrimental to the climate.
If we are serious about climate change, we need to fly less and not more. Bail outs, grants and subsidies that make air travel cheaper or more widely available will encourage more people to fly, more often.

Banning air travel is going a bit far, but subsidising it, no way.
Let the market decide. If this means that a flight from London to Glasgow costs £250 instead of £50, then so be it.
If at £250, fewer people fly and providing the service becomes uneconomic, then so be it.

Likewise, I would not yet ban the manufacture of, or the use of, fossil fuel burning cars, but I would not subsidise the manufacture of such vehicles. Let the market decide, if this means fewer car makers and a reduced range of more expensive models from which to chose, then so be it.

I would subsidise trains and buses, preferably electric. Both the building of the vehicles and the operating thereof.

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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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