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Author Topic: Are the railways fit for their (future) purpose?  (Read 8360 times)
Rhydgaled
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« Reply #60 on: December 07, 2021, 08:52:25 pm »

it's serious enough at Bradford-on-Avon to displace people back onto the roads, at Beeston to give severe overcrowding even in the time of depressed covid travel numbers, and at Barrow Haven to leave a station and line without a morning commuter hour train.
Not just Barrow Haven, the two 'Fishguard' stations have lost both their morning and evening 'commuter hour' services to COVID. I'm sure they aren't the only other stations to have lost their commuter-time services.


On the Fishguard branch, I've been told that the full pre-COVID service will be restored in the May 2022 timetable, but I've since been told that even then it will be six trains per day (back in 2011 it was increased from 2 to 7 trains per day, so there's still a cut although I think the overnight 'train', latterly advertised as a replacement bus I think, was probably useless and may have gone before COVID). In fact, it doesn't look like there will be any AM services at Fishguard at all until well into 2022, between 23:00 and noon the next day there is currently nothing, although the evening commuter service looks like it's being restored in the Dec 2021 timetable change the morning remains empty.

I would agree that there is a slow shift towards the kind of longer-termist Climate Emergency focused political view that Robin describes, as evidenced by impressive recent local election results for the Green Party in places like Bristol, London, Sheffield and Suffolk, and by the fact that the Conservative government have felt a clear need to focus on the messaging around COP26. However, I also feel that he is in danger of placing too much emphasis on this at the expense of the far more overriding short-term political imperatives that Central Office tends to focus on.
You go on to use election results as evidence to support your point. I would suggest that stronger evidence for your argument is that the UK (United Kingdom) Government have cut Air Passenger Duty, don't appear to be following Wales in looking into cancelling major road building projects and haven't given a clear signal that they are going to implement Network Rail's recommendations on rail decarbonisation (the TDNS (Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy)). The Climate Emergency is clearly not all that close to the top of the UK Government's agenda.

This is why I believe that The Conversation article that Bmblbzzz posted is bang on the money when comparing the government's rail strategy with the other countries mentioned, and why when Robin asks the question "What western developed country could possibly get away with wholesale rail closures and forcing people on to the roads at this time?", unfortunately my answer has to be "Potentially the UK".

This is also why I would endorse grahame's call for people to keep their eyes open to the potential need to defend their rail service.
"What western developed country could possibly get away with wholesale rail closures"? I would answer that question 'None of them', but I think you asked the wrong question. Now, if you asked "What Government could possibly get away with wholesale rail closures"? then, electorally speaking, the current UK Government might very well get away with it, especially if they manage to bring in measures such as compulsory voter ID.
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Don't DOO (Driver-Only Operation (that is, trains which operate without carrying a guard)) it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
broadgage
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« Reply #61 on: December 08, 2021, 04:13:07 am »

What is the connection between "wholesale rail closures" and the introduction of "compulsory voter identification"
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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 (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #62 on: December 08, 2021, 09:11:22 am »

it's serious enough at Bradford-on-Avon to displace people back onto the roads, at Beeston to give severe overcrowding even in the time of depressed covid travel numbers, and at Barrow Haven to leave a station and line without a morning commuter hour train.
Not just Barrow Haven, the two 'Fishguard' stations have lost both their morning and evening 'commuter hour' services to COVID. I'm sure they aren't the only other stations to have lost their commuter-time services.

I'm aware of Fishguard (took a look on our National Rail timetable mirror at http://www.passenger.chat/nrt/ ) - but my post was examples and to make it a good soundbite, I chose just three places rather than a long list, and all starting with "B" to help it roll off the tongue.  If I could find three "Bs" there are lots more elsewhere in the alphabet.  You have Fs ... and there are more than just the BFs (Brake First (carriage)) around, even if there are (in my view) some BFs making decisions to cut morning services but leave afternoon ones ... similar pattern seen elsewhere are not just in West Wales.   It seems odd to remove all practical get-to-work trains from people but leave the get-them-home services at the end of the day.

The government purpose (as conveyed by by SWR» (South Western Railway - about) last week, confirmed by FOI (Freedom of Information)) seems to be to look at the bottom line of cost and not at the balance sheet. The talk is all of the cost of running the service with no allowance made for the fare box income generated by the extra journeys it generates.  It counts track access charges against the service, where in reality the track maintenance has to continue and Network Rail will need almost all of that money from another source. 

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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #63 on: December 08, 2021, 09:48:45 am »

I have a question about the Serpell maps posted earlier. Were they proposed services or proposed track? Would some lines have remained open freight-only?
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grahame
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« Reply #64 on: December 08, 2021, 11:58:22 am »

I have a question about the Serpell maps posted earlier. Were they proposed services or proposed track? Would some lines have remained open freight-only?

Full report at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/mirror/DoT_Serpell001.pdf - looking at the "reference case" network, some lines such as Torrington / Meeth, and to Claydon, to Looe, in Ayrshire, the Waterside line were shown - indicting that it was considering the full network at the point.    Some such as option C2 clearly include freight only lines - Looe and Claydon again (and some wonders like Aylesbury served via Princes Risborough but not via Amersham ... and I have to wonder if that was freight only)
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #65 on: December 08, 2021, 12:58:50 pm »

Thanks Grahame. That's a lot of reading and it pre-dates "executive summaries"!
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Rhydgaled
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« Reply #66 on: December 11, 2021, 11:08:29 pm »

What is the connection between "wholesale rail closures" and the introduction of "compulsory voter identification"
No connection with "wholesale rail closures" specifically, but "compulsory voter identification" is predicted by some organisations to effectively disenfranchise fewer Conservative Party voters than voters who favour other parties. Not everyone holds an acceptable form of ID, for example I don't have a driving license and for a good few years my Passport was invalid (it had expired and I hadn't had sufficient reason to renew it). If those people who have ID are those more inclined to vote Conservative...

Thus, the introduction of compulsory voter identification would increase the likelyhood of the UK (United Kingdom) Government being able to "get away with" controversial actions in general.
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Don't DOO (Driver-Only Operation (that is, trains which operate without carrying a guard)) it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #67 on: December 12, 2021, 08:12:53 am »

What is the connection between "wholesale rail closures" and the introduction of "compulsory voter identification"
No connection with "wholesale rail closures" specifically, but "compulsory voter identification" is predicted by some organisations to effectively disenfranchise fewer Conservative Party voters than voters who favour other parties. Not everyone holds an acceptable form of ID, for example I don't have a driving license and for a good few years my Passport was invalid (it had expired and I hadn't had sufficient reason to renew it). If those people who have ID are those more inclined to vote Conservative...

Thus, the introduction of compulsory voter identification would increase the likelyhood of the UK (United Kingdom) Government being able to "get away with" controversial actions in general.

No-one is going to be disenfranchised.

Expired IDs will still be acceptable as long as the photo is still a good likeness

Local authorities will be required, by law, to provide a Voter Card free of charge where an elector does not have one of the approved forms of photo identification.



« Last Edit: December 12, 2021, 08:28:08 am by TaplowGreen » Logged
ellendune
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« Reply #68 on: December 12, 2021, 08:32:23 am »

What is the connection between "wholesale rail closures" and the introduction of "compulsory voter identification"
No connection with "wholesale rail closures" specifically, but "compulsory voter identification" is predicted by some organisations to effectively disenfranchise fewer Conservative Party voters than voters who favour other parties. Not everyone holds an acceptable form of ID, for example I don't have a driving license and for a good few years my Passport was invalid (it had expired and I hadn't had sufficient reason to renew it). If those people who have ID are those more inclined to vote Conservative...

Thus, the introduction of compulsory voter identification would increase the likelyhood of the UK (United Kingdom) Government being able to "get away with" controversial actions in general.
Local authorities will be required, by law, to provide a Voter Card free of charge where an elector does not have one of the approved forms of photo identification.

Yes but you would actually have to apply for such a card beforehand, it puts up an additional barrier to voting.  Experience elsewhere suggests this significantly affects voter turnout.  Of course in countries where everyone has a national ID card - like most European Countries - it is no problem. 
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #69 on: December 12, 2021, 10:08:28 am »

What is the connection between "wholesale rail closures" and the introduction of "compulsory voter identification"
No connection with "wholesale rail closures" specifically, but "compulsory voter identification" is predicted by some organisations to effectively disenfranchise fewer Conservative Party voters than voters who favour other parties. Not everyone holds an acceptable form of ID, for example I don't have a driving license and for a good few years my Passport was invalid (it had expired and I hadn't had sufficient reason to renew it). If those people who have ID are those more inclined to vote Conservative...

Thus, the introduction of compulsory voter identification would increase the likelyhood of the UK (United Kingdom) Government being able to "get away with" controversial actions in general.
Local authorities will be required, by law, to provide a Voter Card free of charge where an elector does not have one of the approved forms of photo identification.

Yes but you would actually have to apply for such a card beforehand, it puts up an additional barrier to voting.  Experience elsewhere suggests this significantly affects voter turnout.  Of course in countries where everyone has a national ID card - like most European Countries - it is no problem. 

I'd be genuinely interested in the data from elsewhere showing that having to apply for such a card significantly affects voter turnout - can you provide a reference to back up the assertion?
« Last Edit: December 12, 2021, 10:18:55 am by TaplowGreen » Logged
ellendune
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« Reply #70 on: December 12, 2021, 12:29:25 pm »

I'd be genuinely interested in the data from elsewhere showing that having to apply for such a card significantly affects voter turnout - can you provide a reference to back up the assertion?

Putting up barriers to voter registration in many US states has been found to significantly reduce voter registration by poor, predominantly black voters. 
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #71 on: December 12, 2021, 04:45:27 pm »

I'd be genuinely interested in the data from elsewhere showing that having to apply for such a card significantly affects voter turnout - can you provide a reference to back up the assertion?

Putting up barriers to voter registration in many US states has been found to significantly reduce voter registration by poor, predominantly black voters. 

That's a general anecdote rather than a reference/data referring to the effect of providing voter ID cards which was the question - I'd challenge the assertion that providing such ID represents a "barrier", notwithstanding the need to apply for it which I'd imagine is a pretty simple process, but I suggest we agree to differ given the thread drift.
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Lee
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« Reply #72 on: December 17, 2021, 06:33:59 am »

What really keeps Central Office inhabitants up at night though is the recent trend in By-Elections for either Labour or the Liberal Democrats to basically not turn up in campaigning terms if the other party has a better chance. This mirrors the undeclared tactic deployed by Tony Blair and Paddy Ashdown in the run-up to and during the 1997 General Election, two men who were close enough in political terms to facilitate that kind of understanding. Today, Keir Starmer and Ed Davey are similarly close enough in political terms to facilitate that kind of understanding, in a way that would never have been possible with, say, Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson. The modern day understanding between the two parties is directly responsible for the Lib Dem Chesham and Amersham By-Election win, for Labour holding Batley and Spen in that By-Election, and for the Labour vote jumping by 7.4% while the Lib Dem similarly plummeted by 5.3% in the Old Bexley & Sidcup By-Election. It therefore doesn't take a genius to work out what could be made possible if similar tactics are deployed in the upcoming North Shropshire By-Election.

The Conservatives know that it only takes a combination of negative electoral factors - such as sleaze and changing attitudes towards Brexit for example - to shave off a few percentage points from their vote, along with the above understanding between Labour and the Lib Dems, to bring what currently look on paper to be very safe Conservative seats back into the play as the marginals they often used to be again. Indeed, their ultimate fear is that Geoffrey Cox will either be forced out or call it a day as Torridge and West Devon MP (Member of Parliament), ushering in a Lib Dem By-Election victory that would be seen as a "turning point" moment which opens the door for them to ultimately regain their former seats across the South West. Such an outcome would be a political catastrophe for the Conservatives - For example, people often forget that it was less than a decade ago that 4 out of the 5 Somerset constituencies were Lib-Dem held.

I am certainly now hearing reports of formerly just sleepless nights turning into outright panic at Central Office at the loss of North Shropshire.

On a more directly relevant note to some members of the forum, they might want to start thinking about what a post-Johnson premiership might bring without his trademark stamp and interest on certain policy areas, such as buses for example.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #73 on: January 24, 2022, 07:44:40 am »

Excellent (if lengthy!) tweet from Nigel Harris of Rail Magazine in response to an article about "people friendly trains", greater seat pitch, more wheelchair/bike space etc;

Railway needs to completely change its mindset and become customer focussed in a way it literally has never had to be before.

Pax need to be wooed, attracted, treated well and delighted so they wish to return. Not given what they're given and put up with it. Those days are gone. So all of those things Rog, but it's also about things that cost nothing: approach and attitude of ALL staff. You've said yourself that LNER» (London North Eastern Railway - about) understand this and they do - and have done since GNER (Great North Eastern Railways) days. But many others do not - and I include Treasury and DfT» (Department for Transport - about).
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grahame
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« Reply #74 on: January 24, 2022, 07:54:56 am »

Railway needs to completely change its mindset and become customer focussed in a way it literally has never had to be before.

YES!

We are at a time of great opportunity - but also of great risk ...
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