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Author Topic: Scotrail cuts 300 services post Covid  (Read 1490 times)
TaplowGreen
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« on: August 21, 2021, 07:51:18 am »

I wonder what La Sturgeon's new colleagues in the Green Party will make of this? (Especially in light of her commitments that Scotland should lead the way in green transport)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-58279271
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2021, 08:12:16 am »

I wonder what La Sturgeon's new colleagues in the Green Party will make of this? (Especially in light of her commitments that Scotland should lead the way in green transport)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-58279271

Scotland is just ahead that is all, the rest of the UK (United Kingdom) will follow and fairly soon.  Be prepared for some shocks in the timetable as the Railway has to meet the spending objectives set by the Treasury.

There is little choice in making cuts in service due to a very slow predicted recovery post Covid 
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onthecushions
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2021, 12:49:43 pm »


I think that the figures were 2400 daily services being reduced to 2100, when loadings are at present c57% of previous.

It's not very green to operate excess empty trains, however they are powered.

If service levels aren't set to match loadings then they won't be increased when demand improves.

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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2021, 01:20:51 pm »

Despite some reporting, this is almost the same process as for the SWR» (South Western Railway - about) one; the differences are that Scottish government commissioned it from Scotrail and the consultation is open to the public as well as stakeholders. But the rubric is awfully similar:
Quote
ScotRail has reviewed the timetable across the whole network to ensure the service meets the needs of customers and the Scottish Government’s aims as Scotland recovers from the pandemic and in the future.

We are proposing a new timetable operating around 2,100 services per weekday as the foundation to encourage a return to public transport following the pandemic. Most customers will find the number of calls at their station and the destinations served are similar to today. However, there are some areas where there is greater change, which is being done for several important reasons.

Our analysis shows prior to the pandemic, on a number of routes across the country, significantly more seats were being provided than were required for the number of passengers travelling. For example, under five and a half million passenger journey miles were completed on a typical weekday, which was just 23 per cent of the available number of seats. In other words, seats were empty for 77 per cent of the distance that was travelled.

Returning to a pre-pandemic timetable would result in trains operating 26 million more vehicle miles each year for little customer benefit. As well as increased emissions, that would increase ScotRail costs to the taxpayer by £30million to £40million each year.

The proposed new timetable will also focus on improved punctuality and reliability of services, building on the record punctuality delivered during the pandemic. Research from Transport Focus has highlighted this is a key priority for customers. The proposed new customer focused timetable will reflect predicted levels of service as well as the need to provide the best value for money for taxpayers. ScotRail said the proposals are a new starting point and in the future, new methods of analysis developed during COVID-19 will refine and improve the service offer as the operator learns more about how customer travel behaviours are changing.
The consultation will be open until 1 October 2021 to seek opinions on the proposed timetables from our customers and stakeholders.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2021, 05:20:51 pm »

Despite some reporting, this is almost the same process as for the SWR» (South Western Railway - about) one; the differences are that Scottish government commissioned it from Scotrail and the consultation is open to the public as well as stakeholders. But the rubric is awfully similar ...

A wide and public consultation has the potential to result in a far more robust and better informed and developed outcome than is likely to be the case otherwise. And such a consultation also help to reassure the public that the change is being thoroughly investigated prior to a decision being made.
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onthecushions
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2021, 05:45:01 pm »


What would be interesting would be a system-wide rolling average target for seat occupancy that would trigger service increases or decreases. I seem to remember Chris Green using a figure of 67% for his Thames Turbo's, quickly eaten up of course!

Individual targets would be harder as some lines are at capacity, especially in the peaks and some are socially needed and could not be reduced further without effective closure.

What do you think?

OTC
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stuving
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2021, 05:57:33 pm »

Despite some reporting, this is almost the same process as for the SWR» (South Western Railway - about) one; the differences are that Scottish government commissioned it from Scotrail and the consultation is open to the public as well as stakeholders. But the rubric is awfully similar ...

A wide and public consultation has the potential to result in a far more robust and better informed and developed outcome than is likely to be the case otherwise. And such a consultation also help to reassure the public that the change is being thoroughly investigated prior to a decision being made.

Well, yes and no. If you look at the stated objectives for Scotrail's consultation they are:
Quote
ScotRail is undertaking a public consultation for the May 2022 timetable. The objectives of this are:

1.  To identify areas where the proposed timetable could be improved to better meet the needs of customers without materially adding cost.
2.  To manage expectations about the level of service we will provide in the coming months and years by providing context to the forecast of customers returning to rail travel, as well as the need to provide a cost-efficient railway.
3.  To be open and transparent about the future timetable with our staff, customers, and stakeholders.

Now, 1. is a genuine objective for the consultation as a process, relating to what come out of it. But 2. and .3 are just reasons for publishing the plan in the first place. You can read that in more than one way, but it looks to me as if they do not foreseen any more than minor tweaks to their plan, whatever consultation inputs they receive. That of course is also conveyed by "without materially adding cost" in 1.

On that basis, Scotrail (with tin-hatted ministers cowering behind them) are confident this plan is pretty well what will happen. SWR preferred not to go public, which suggests they are less confident about their plan, and would like others to have a look before committing to it. So maybe Lee's "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" reaction to SWR's approach was wide of the mark.
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2021, 09:06:33 pm »

So maybe Lee's "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" reaction to SWR» (South Western Railway - about)'s approach was wide of the mark.

You can belittle or insult my approach or opinions as much as you like, stuving - It really isnt anything that hasnt been thrown at me multiple times in the past.

The fact is that those of us who have kept an eye on what goes on over the years know that the rail industry in general and DfT» (Department for Transport - about) Rail - and the SRA» (Strategic Rail Authority - about) before them - has always felt that there were far too many of the "wrong trains" on the network, all the fault of the pesky passengers for insisting on services that actually take them where they want to go when they want to go there - how dare they!

The key differences coming into play now is that NR» (Network Rail - home page) is being transformed into GBR (Great British Railways) and given control of specification, and Covid is being used as the excuse to make the cuts they have wanted to see all along. The reason they are trying to remove public consultation from the equation is because they know rallying the public through that was how we put a stop to such utter cobblers last tine they tried to make it fly in the mid-2000s.

It's like planning a murder - They have always had the motive, and this is what happens when you give them the means and opportunity to go with it. If their early plans are allowed to go ahead unhindered, then history suggests that they will become emboldened, that line and station closures will follow, and the death of the rail network as we know it will be complete.

The good news is that one of the reasons that murder is notoriously hard to get away with is because the perpetrator often overlooks those tiny details that the more observant among us manage to spot, thus triggering the killer's ultimate downfall. Believe me, that is as true today as it was in the mid-2000s...

The even better news would be if enough of those ordinary passengers - including "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" if he or she so wishes - that are about to have that rail network ripped away from them in such a underhand manner once again stand up and be counted alongside those of us who are speaking out because we have once again spotted the early warning signs.
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2021, 09:15:24 pm »

Or, in other words, this chap Lee, with a vested interest, has well and truly donned his lobbying boots!  And good on him!
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stuving
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2021, 09:58:58 pm »

So maybe Lee's "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" reaction to SWR» (South Western Railway - about)'s approach was wide of the mark.

You can belittle or insult my approach or opinions as much as you like, stuving - It really isnt anything that hasnt been thrown at me multiple times in the past.

That's odd - I was making a point about the place of consultations and going public in the decision-making process.
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2021, 09:38:13 am »

So maybe Lee's "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" reaction to SWR» (South Western Railway - about)'s approach was wide of the mark.

You can belittle or insult my approach or opinions as much as you like, stuving - It really isnt anything that hasnt been thrown at me multiple times in the past.

The fact is that those of us who have kept an eye on what goes on over the years know that the rail industry in general and DfT» (Department for Transport - about) Rail - and the SRA» (Strategic Rail Authority - about) before them - has always felt that there were far too many of the "wrong trains" on the network, all the fault of the pesky passengers for insisting on services that actually take them where they want to go when they want to go there - how dare they!

The key differences coming into play now is that NR» (Network Rail - home page) is being transformed into GBR (Great British Railways) and given control of specification, and Covid is being used as the excuse to make the cuts they have wanted to see all along. The reason they are trying to remove public consultation from the equation is because they know rallying the public through that was how we put a stop to such utter cobblers last tine they tried to make it fly in the mid-2000s.

It's like planning a murder - They have always had the motive, and this is what happens when you give them the means and opportunity to go with it. If their early plans are allowed to go ahead unhindered, then history suggests that they will become emboldened, that line and station closures will follow, and the death of the rail network as we know it will be complete.

The good news is that one of the reasons that murder is notoriously hard to get away with is because the perpetrator often overlooks those tiny details that the more observant among us manage to spot, thus triggering the killer's ultimate downfall. Believe me, that is as true today as it was in the mid-2000s...

The even better news would be if enough of those ordinary passengers - including "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" if he or she so wishes - that are about to have that rail network ripped away from them in such a underhand manner once again stand up and be counted alongside those of us who are speaking out because we have once again spotted the early warning signs.

Covid is not being used as an excuse to cut services, it is a valid reason.  The Treasury has made it quite clear to ToC's and NR that the emergency Covid state funding of the railways is unsustainable and cost must be reduced, fortunately the Government have mostly left the rail industry to manage the cost cutting, it will be painful.

There is no doubt that GBR would have carried out a rationalisation of services as the 'free market is best' of the rail franchise model changes to GBR model
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Lee
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2021, 09:55:25 am »

]
Covid is not being used as an excuse to cut services, it is a valid reason.  The Treasury has made it quite clear to ToC's and NR» (Network Rail - home page) that the emergency Covid state funding of the railways is unsustainable and cost must be reduced, fortunately the Government have mostly left the rail industry to manage the cost cutting, it will be painful.

There is no doubt that GBR (Great British Railways) would have carried out a rationalisation of services as the 'free market is best' of the rail franchise model changes to GBR model

On Covid, I think we have a difference of opinion that you wouldnt be able to resolve through debate. I think people are going to have to look at the opposing points of view and make their own minds up on that one.

If the rail industry aim is to justify some of the cuts on rationalisation supposedly taming the excesses of the free market, then I would suggest they are already losing the argument even among those who have worked closely with them over the years, as services such as Bristol-Waterloo get caught in the crossfire.
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stuving
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2021, 11:09:33 am »


What would be interesting would be a system-wide rolling average target for seat occupancy that would trigger service increases or decreases. I seem to remember Chris Green using a figure of 67% for his Thames Turbo's, quickly eaten up of course!

Individual targets would be harder as some lines are at capacity, especially in the peaks and some are socially needed and could not be reduced further without effective closure.

What do you think?

OTC

The Scotrail consultation background documents contain a lot of that sort of information. Now Scotland is not the Thames valley, so the numbers are not comparable, but I was struck by how low the occupancy rates are (or were, pre-Covid).

Either use the link I gave earlier, or go to the Detailed Assessment section direct. Under the expanding sub-head Demand versus capacity they show this graph:


And there are links to various things in there, including a PDF called Key Metric Assessment, containing a route by route breakdown of seat and passenger numbers, costs, revenue etc.

They say, about the substantial subsidy levels in all of those services that "There is no suggestion that every route should generate enough income from passengers to cover its operating cost. This is just not practicable with a dispersed population as Scotland has." Which is fair enough, for half of the country, though only one route - Edinburgh to Glasgow (Intercity) - shows any surplus of revenue over costs, and all their figures exclude Network Rail's fixed track access charge and their direct subsidy, which (on the figures given) amount to more than Scotrail's total costs.
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2021, 11:39:10 am »

The importance of issues about service provision levels (and which ones they are) is such that many of us are enormously engaged - and at times this brings it personal, and close to chucking personal 'crap' around.  Understood, everyone (on this and other threads - I am very limited in my access today!) and please don't let passion overflow ...

No easy answers, though.  My PERSONAL view is that there is some sense in reducing capacity where passenger levels aren't retuning to pre-covid levels (or levels that were predicted) and are unlikely to do so in the near future. But it would be / is crazy to remove services which make it practical for people to travel - so that's thinning out services below a reasonable frequency or removing well used through services.  A "two for one" type approach, where a fast regional train and a not-quite-so-fast more-local train on a line, can be combined, at some cost to the fastest long distance journey times, strikes me as being acceptable.

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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2021, 05:27:39 pm »

Combining threads here, sorry….

But other than the stated removal of those 5 through services that are discussed in the SWT (South West Trains) thread, which services fall under your definition above? As I understand things currently, bo other services in the Coffeeshop region are definitely threatened with removal - and of those 5 that are, other than being ‘through’ services to London for just 2/3/4 stations (that have no other through services to London) - and we don’t know what service is going to be offered by GWR (Great Western Railway) yet - they may be very good connections, who knows?

I think waiting to find out more from GWR possibly? Otherwise we may find there are meatier causes to fight.
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