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Author Topic: Growth by 2050  (Read 1278 times)
grahame
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« on: February 27, 2024, 06:16:38 »

From Rail Business UK (United Kingdom)

Quote
UK: Rail passenger numbers will grow steadily even under the most pessimistic scenarios and could double by 2050, according to research undertaken by consultancy Steer for the Railway Industry Association.

Passenger volumes could grow between at least 37% and nearly 100% up to 2050, when compared with the pre-pandemic peak. ‘Under any scenario GB (Great Britain) rail demand will grow well beyond the capacity provided for today, growth that government policy, rail services and operators will need to accommodate’, Steer says.

Demand drivers include population and economic growth but also policy interventions.

‘Under the lowest growth scenario, even if the UK government does nothing and lets the industry drift along as it is, rail passenger numbers still grow by a third in the 25 years to 2050’, commented RIA Chief Executive Darren Caplan when the report was published on February 19. ’Alternatively, if a future government adopts a bold and ambitious strategy to improve the customer offer and drive some behavioural change, passenger numbers could double by 2050, dramatically increasing revenues. Freight is also likely to grow in this time, with the government itself setting a 75% growth target over the next 25 years.

‘So there is clearly a huge opportunity to expand rail travel, benefiting the UK’s economy and its connectivity, as well as bringing social and decarbonisation benefits. To achieve this, we need to see rail reform and a long-term rail strategy as soon as possible, including a plan for increased north-south capacity, which all rail experts agree will not be delivered under current plans.’

There is, indeed, a huge opportunity.  I travelled the last fortnight "All Around Europe" and all around Europe, in many countries, I saw major railway (re)construction under way.  That seems conspicuous by its absence here in the UK.  Most of the trains were electric, and most were modern, though there were exceptions.     

The comment in the article about freight is a good one too - so noticeable the massive amount of freight, behind electric locos, all across Europe.  Some of the passenger services I travelled on - for example the Budapest to Ljublyana train - run just  daily via Hodos  on the Hungary to Slovenia border - had more empty seats that occupied ones and the service was so thin one has to wonder at the economics. But they work; no great shakes in speed, single track, loco and 3 or 4 coaches. When you see the "realistic" overhead structures which work well enough up to around 100 kms per hour, unfenced lines, skinny low platforms that people close without the need for a footbridge such as you see at Worle, Cam or Ashchurch (and is missing an Pilning) you realise just how different mainland Europe is.   Oh - trains on time or very close all the way (one exception, in Germany, this I think was about 20 minutes down) and that on many single line sections there were loops or multiple loops along the way, and we passed freight trains at each loop. Some being double loops with several freights waiting.

Freight allows the economics of the thin passenger services work over long distances, and I very much suspect that a midweek Febuary day is going to be just about the quietest of the year.   The differences really make you think.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2024, 09:42:46 »

Strikes me we ought to be planning for the extra capacity for this now, you know, like the French did 50 years ago. Perhaps what we need is a high-speed network to separate out the long-distance traffic and free up existing capacity for freight and local trains.

Oh, wait.........
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broadgage
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2024, 16:19:01 »

And increasing capacity on existing routes, longer platforms and longer trains with selective door opening for platforms that can not be made longer.
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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.
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2024, 11:40:43 »

It's a fair observation, but I think you underestimate quite how much work goes on in the UK (United Kingdom).

The reality is that much of the UK railway has been effectively rebuilt over the last 15 years - in England alone we've had the electrification of the GWML (Great Western Main Line) with the colossal rebuild of Reading, Filton Bank, Okehampton reopening, North West electrification, MML» (Midland Main Line. - about) to Kettering, Elizabeth Line, London Overground, plus an awful lot of money spent on rebuilding stations, updating signalling and OLE (Overhead Line Equipment, more often "OHLE"), new trains etc. Over 100 new mainline stations since 2000 IIRC (if I recall/remember/read correctly), not to mention light rail.

In terms of ongoing projects, the list includes EastWest rail, Transpennine upgrade, MML electrification (lots of work going on behind the scenes), Northumberland line, Camp Hill line and of course HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)), which whilst it might be a bit of a mess, will include a massive new station on the GWML relieving Paddington.

There's also huge ambition for rail on the part of local bodies, backed up by realistic long-term plans to incrementally improve services.

If you want to compare the UK with France, there were also about 100 station openings (of all types) since 2000 but almost entirely focused on dense urban areas - RER, Metro, Tram and TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse), which is very nice for those that use them, but in much of France, local and regional rail services are extremely slow and spartan, devolved to local authorities who have little money or ambition for them, making the car the only realistic means of transport.

Incidentally, I also think the UK railway "product" is generally much faster, more pleasant and more comfortable, with better customer service than most of the lines I've traveled on in Continental Europe, for all its foibles. And lets remember the reason you don't get overcrowding on TGV's is that they are all reserved, not to mention that catching the Paris RER or Metro at rush hour or late at night is not a very pleasant experience. 

But absolutely, there's much more to do, and of course much of the problem is that we are having to spend huge amounts of money undoing the last century's "rationalisation", which generally didn't happen in most of Continental Europe.

 
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2024, 12:02:56 »

Come now, Noggin.  We don’t encourage optimism and positive comparisons here! Grin
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broadgage
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2024, 18:47:20 »

Come now, Noggin.  We don’t encourage optimism and positive comparisons here! Grin

I am pro-rail and do see SOME reason for optimism. However many of the works listed seem to have produced little actual benifits for rail users.
The so called electrification of the GWR (Great Western Railway) main line has been hugely disruptive and completion still not within sight.
And as for new trains my views are well known, and more importantly not confined to me !
We talk about improving capacity, and yet regard 5 car trains as an improvement over 8 cars.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2024, 21:16:39 by broadgage » Logged

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.
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« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2024, 17:50:32 »

Come now, Noggin.  We don’t encourage optimism and positive comparisons here! Grin

I am pro-rail and do see SOME reason for optimism. However many of the works listed seem to have produced little actual benifits for rail users.
The so called electrification of the GWR (Great Western Railway) main line has been hugely disruptive and completion still not within sight.
And as for new trains my views are well known, and more importantly not confined to me !
We talk about improving capacity, and yet regard 5 car trains as an improvement over 8 cars.

Oh, there are plenty of holes to be picked. But:

a) Memories are short and we don't tend to notice incremental change e.g. commuting Reading to London 20 years ago was an unreliable slog. The 180s were awful at speed, Paddington was noisy, fume filled and going across London on the Tube took forever. Local Thames Valley services were infrequent short Turbos etc.
b) We also underestimate the cumulative effect of change e.g. Filton Bank and East Junction might seem like they give minimal passenger benefit but enabled the extra services to Gloucester, on the Severn Beach line, will enable the Ashley Down & Henbury spur services etc.
c) When we travel, we tend to see the nicer bits of railway which get lavished with attention - the terminus stations, the high-speed expresses, the airport stations - we rarely find ourselves trying to get to work on a graffiti and litter-strewn platform wondering if the train is going to come before we get mugged.

You're right about shorter trains though. Not a new phenomenon either, I remember in the 1980s when the loco + 4 sets on the Hope Valley services were replaced with 2-car 156's and the carnage that ensued. Using 80x stock on the Worcester services seems equally daft, a bulk order of Stadler tri-mode units and a 20-year electrification plan would be a much better idea. 
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