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Author Topic: Here come the next stages??  (Read 636 times)
grahame
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« on: October 23, 2020, 06:50:25 pm »

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/rail-passenger-numbers-dft-taxpayer-uk-b1251990.html

Quote
An ?unholy spat? has broken out between the Treasury and the Department for Transport (DfT) over funding for Britain?s railway, according to a senior industry source.

The taxpayer is currently propping up train operators to the tune of ?750m per month, as they run a near-normal rail service with few paying passengers.

Quote
At one stage the annual premium paid to the DfT for the right to run trains to and from London Waterloo was enough to match the subsidy to Northern.

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The DfT is aiming to provide a near-normal level of service for essential journeys and to ensure plenty of space for social distancing. But fare revenue is now a tiny fraction of the cost of providing the service.

?The Treasury are asking the DfT how this will ever come to an end,? said the industry source.

?The official line is to provide ample services for essential workers, but a more pressing reason seems to be to avoid a confrontation with the unions.?

Does "Simplification" of rail fares mean that only anytime tickets will remain, as there are no peaks to be "off" or "superoff" any more.
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2020, 06:59:32 pm »

The Independent is also expressing its view in another article ...

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HOW THE GOVERNMENT WILL SQUANDER ?50M ON EMPTY TRAINS THIS WEEKEND

As you know, the government does not currently want anyone to travel from Manchester to London, or vice-versa. Anyone checking out online rail timetables is asked: ?Please avoid non-essential travel in the Greater Manchester area".

As you may not know, the government is paying Avanti West Coast to run 150 trains connecting Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport with London Euston over this weekend. All day on Saturday and Sunday, and into the evening, an express will set off from each end of the route every 20 minutes.

If everyone follows the official advice on tier 3 locations, all 75,000 seats on those trains will be empty when departing from and arriving at Stockport and Manchester. A few fare-paying passengers will join at en-route stops, which variously include Wilmslow, Crewe, Macclesfield, Stoke-on-Trent and Milton Keynes. But much of the line?s normal traffic is end-to-end.

Running an astonishing number of ghost trains a distance of 184 miles, at a top speed of 125mph, is just one way in which ?50m of taxpayers? money will be squandered on the nation?s railways this weekend.

At first glance, perhaps one service in 2 or 3 might be enough at the moment ... but then, what about the staff and capital hire costs of the trains - what would actually be saved?  Below hourly - NO!
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2020, 08:45:50 pm »

I think what will happen is the fares structure will be flattened to 2 or 3 types of ticket, if the franchise system has been consigned to the history books then all that is need is

  • Regular user (Season replacement), this should have the new way of working flexibility of use build in

    Peak - 

    Off peak - Pay as you go
    Off peak - pre booked

This would not rule out in the future offering pre booked discounted fares on set trains




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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2020, 07:17:59 am »

Starting to thin services will be unexpected but still sad. It is a very odd feeling on weekday mornings watching the services hurtling towards Paddington, not being on them. In one sense it?s very reassuring they?re still running - things might return to normal. There?s a sense of the Railway Children about it - that they might get a message to London for me. But on the other hand when you see no passengers on the train it?s quite unnerving. My employers said I won?t be back until Apring 2021 earliest. If anyone has read the Alex cartoon this week in the Telegraph they will have enjoyed the ?ghost train? series Smiley
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eightonedee
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2020, 11:36:49 am »

Quote
The Independent is also expressing its view in another article ...

Quote
HOW THE GOVERNMENT WILL SQUANDER ?50M ON EMPTY TRAINS THIS WEEKEND

As you know, the government does not currently want anyone to travel from Manchester to London, or vice-versa. Anyone checking out online rail timetables is asked: ?Please avoid non-essential travel in the Greater Manchester area".

As you may not know, the government is paying Avanti West Coast to run 150 trains connecting Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport with London Euston over this weekend. All day on Saturday and Sunday, and into the evening, an express will set off from each end of the route every 20 minutes.

If everyone follows the official advice on tier 3 locations, all 75,000 seats on those trains will be empty when departing from and arriving at Stockport and Manchester. A few fare-paying passengers will join at en-route stops, which variously include Wilmslow, Crewe, Macclesfield, Stoke-on-Trent and Milton Keynes. But much of the line?s normal traffic is end-to-end.

Running an astonishing number of ghost trains a distance of 184 miles, at a top speed of 125mph, is just one way in which ?50m of taxpayers? money will be squandered on the nation?s railways this weekend.

At first glance, perhaps one service in 2 or 3 might be enough at the moment ... but then, what about the staff and capital hire costs of the trains - what would actually be saved?  Below hourly - NO!

My initial reaction to this is that there would be a very simple way to cut the overheads here. Simply largely combine the Birmingham and Manchester services, routing most of the latter via New Street, thereby maintaining a reasonably frequent service to both.

The list of stops in the Independent article also highlights the lack of regional commercial centres on the Manchester direct route, which cannot help.

I wonder though how much would be saved in costs cutting down the service. There is all the fixed overhead to bear, the staff to pay (whether directly or a proportion under whatever "son of furlough" system we have), the leasing costs to the Roscos, etc etc. I suppose the electricity bill would be reduced!
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2020, 11:44:37 am »

The savings are minimal, so much so that I?ve heard people say that should there be another national lockdown it isn?t worth the hassle of temporarily reducing the service again.
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2020, 11:54:08 am »

I think what will happen is the fares structure will be flattened to 2 or 3 types of ticket, if the franchise system has been consigned to the history books then all that is need is

  • Regular user (Season replacement), this should have the new way of working flexibility of use build in

    Peak - 

    Off peak - Pay as you go
    Off peak - pre booked

This would not rule out in the future offering pre booked discounted fares on set trains



One thing that the DfT should not be doing at the moment, no matter how it might be attractive to the Treasury, is to increase fares to recoup some of the losses currently being incurred. That is absolutely not the way to increase passenger numbers at the moment; it runs the risk of doing the reverse.

There is no real justification for peak rate tickets at the moment because the peak as we have known it for decades does not exist, and we don?t know if it will ever return/ Having said that, I doubt that many peak rate tickets are being sold at the moment, and those that are being sold will be purchased only by those who really need to go at that time of day. The demand for those tickets is therefore likely to be fairly inelastic.

The other thing that nobody should even be contemplated at the moment is to make long term changes to anything during a crisis. However much we might like to kid ourselves that there is, there is no magic bullet; there is no new fare structure that will please everybody; there will be winners and losers in any new fares structure. There are plenty of things going on at the moment for the government to attempt to manage in a way that irritates the smallest number of people, not just the pandemic and Brexit, without stirring up yet another hornets nest.

Patience is called for for the time being


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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2020, 12:08:42 pm »

I have just posted this on Facebook - RailFuture Campaigners -  https://www.facebook.com/groups/12135242142/permalink/10157246647217143 - where the following headline was shared:



Here is my comment:

Quote
Well - there are NOT 75,000 seats all empty - unless perhaps you were to go round on the trains and count the empty seats, ignoring those (not very many, perhaps) in use.

I would agree that a 20 minute service THIS weekend is overkill, but I wonder how busy the trains were - say - 2 and 4 weeks ago?  Personal view - it makes sense to reduce services (but NOT to less than hourly long distance at any station served, nor to make the first train later or the last train earlier) where there is overcapacity ("crowdbusters" not required are running) for a period and not just for a single weekend. Further view - the raining trains may be slowed down by 15 minutes + 10% per journey to allow for services to call at additional intermediate stations to further reduce capacity / provision while not having services at those intemediate stations fall below the reasonable service threshold.

I have no personally observed data out of Euston, but I do have from GWR services from Paddington to Bristol, where the Long distance traffic is thin (to put it politely at) at the moment.  However, local traffic has been much more robust, and many of the long distance trains off Paddington race to Swindon, Taunton, Newport or Oxford and then become regional and local trains. So that makes it more complex.  Busiest arrivals at Swindon (where I have been volunteering as a Journey Maker) in the morning peak are from Bristol Temple Meads / Weston, followed by arrivals from Cheltenham Spa.  Busiest departure with overcrowding problems with social distancing considered is the 07:52 to Gloucester.   London trains - thin.   In the afternoon, busiest arrival - the only one with a notable flood of passengers through the barrier is from Cheltenham / Gloucester, and that's followed again by notable flows but not floods from the Bristol Temple Meads direction.

Busiest trains I have used?  Would you believe 14:32 Melksham to Swindon last Wednesday - not many joining, but when I got on I had to search for a socially distanced seat.  Also the train that connected with WightLink from Ryde Pier Head to Ryde Esplanade the Tuesday of the previous week.  Quietest - 19:00 Swindon to Bath, 3 of us in carriage 6 of a 10 coach train.  With (ironic) the train manager getting really strong-arm with a customer with an off peak ticket as "this is a peak train from London".  Peak in fares, maybe - but not peak in use!
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2020, 12:16:05 pm »

The savings are minimal, so much so that I?ve heard people say that should there be another national lockdown it isn?t worth the hassle of temporarily reducing the service again.

Isn't there a need to greatly increase staff cover? There are already some staff self-isolating, or (which is much the same) being encouraged to take time off at the slightest hint of some sickness, and that number is likely to rise. Then there's the increased testing activity (including temperature scanners) picking out more of those. And perhaps some places will go on to routine asymptomatic Covid screening too. Ideally, you'd be keeping some staff "in reserve" on leave to bring in for extra cover - but I'm not sure if they've gone that far yet.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2020, 03:34:04 pm »

From Conservative Home

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What a wonderful time to be in charge of Britain?s railways. The pandemic both demands and enables a programme of improvements which would otherwise have taken many years to achieve.

Since March, about ?10 billion of public money has been spent to keep the trains running. At first sight, that looks like an unmitigated disaster. It is certainly unsustainable.

But it also means the strike weapon has lost its edge. To threaten to bring empty trains to a halt is no threat at all.

Nor can the rail unions divide and rule, as they did when services were divided between different train operating companies, a system which had already collapsed before the pandemic.

This is a moment of central control, when the Government is paying the bills and can insist that the interests of passengers and taxpayers take precedence over the desire of the unions to prevent change.

Ministers recognise this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to sweep away the accumulated absurdities, ranging from outdated working practices to the ludicrously convoluted fare structure, which are holding the railways back, and to press ahead with such innovations as the introduction of driverless trains, first seen on the Victoria Line in 1968 and the Docklands Light Railway in 1987.

Long article continues ...

There are elements in the article which some members will dispute.  But it's certainly correct that we're in a time of opportunity.  The arguments are about what, how, and to what end ...


Is this a suggestion for the rebuilding of the Euston Arch, together with a restoration of [most of] of lines closed under the Beeching plan?

Quote
Beeching was a blunder of Harold Macmillan?s later and less happy years as Prime Minister. It ought now to be undone, along with the destruction of the Euston Arch.
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2020, 04:17:13 pm »

From Conservative Home

Quote
What a wonderful time to be in charge of Britain?s railways. The pandemic both demands and enables a programme of improvements which would otherwise have taken many years to achieve.

Since March, about ?10 billion of public money has been spent to keep the trains running. At first sight, that looks like an unmitigated disaster. It is certainly unsustainable.

But it also means the strike weapon has lost its edge. To threaten to bring empty trains to a halt is no threat at all.

Nor can the rail unions divide and rule, as they did when services were divided between different train operating companies, a system which had already collapsed before the pandemic.

This is a moment of central control, when the Government is paying the bills and can insist that the interests of passengers and taxpayers take precedence over the desire of the unions to prevent change.

Ministers recognise this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to sweep away the accumulated absurdities, ranging from outdated working practices to the ludicrously convoluted fare structure, which are holding the railways back, and to press ahead with such innovations as the introduction of driverless trains, first seen on the Victoria Line in 1968 and the Docklands Light Railway in 1987.

Long article continues ...

There are elements in the article which some members will dispute.  But it's certainly correct that we're in a time of opportunity.  The arguments are about what, how, and to what end ...


Is this a suggestion for the rebuilding of the Euston Arch, together with a restoration of [most of] of lines closed under the Beeching plan?

Quote
Beeching was a blunder of Harold Macmillan?s later and less happy years as Prime Minister. It ought now to be undone, along with the destruction of the Euston Arch.


That'll go down well with the bruvvers!
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2020, 04:20:58 pm »

That'll go down well with the bruvvers!

Views quoted in articles from which we share quotations may be at variance from each other - bearing in mind we quote the whole range from Conservative Home to the RMT.

View quoted in articles shared do not necessarily match my personal view - indeed it could not uniformly do so, as the views are at times mutually incompatible.
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2020, 04:27:24 pm »

Is this a suggestion for the rebuilding of the Euston Arch, together with a restoration of [most of] of lines closed under the Beeching plan?

Quote
Beeching was a blunder of Harold Macmillan?s later and less happy years as Prime Minister. It ought now to be undone, along with the destruction of the Euston Arch.

A dissenting view, found at random on the interwebs:
https://londonist.com/2014/03/wemightnotbeentirelyserious
Quote
One recent High Speed 2 report included a headline-grabbing detail: a rebuilt Euston Arch. The early-Victorian landmark was famously destroyed in the 1960s despite a fierce campaign from national treasures like John Betjeman. Now it could be rebuilt, using the original stones.

Press and public attention was wholly positive, with nobody stopping to question whether there's any merit in spending money on resurrecting the arch. Just to be contrary iconoclasts, here are some reasons to leave it well alone.
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« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 08:28:56 am »

Be interesting to see them undo the destruction of the Euston Arch. I believe some bits of it were found, some years ago, in one of London's lesser rivers.
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