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Should the railways be nationalised?

Should the railways be nationalised?

Poll: Should the railways be nationalised?

Total Members Polled: 471

Yes: 40%
No: 60%
Author
Discussion

MajorProblem

4,700 posts

79 months

Sunday 20th September 2015
quotequote all
Seeming as someone's brought up to way people operated in BR, here are some examples of what went on our patch,

Whilst working permanent day shifts - buy a taxi, go taxi driving all night come to work, book on and sleep all day.

One lad had a carpet cleaning business, he used to book on then go carpet cleaning all day, only coming back to book off.

A few lads created a service bay in the workshop so cars can be worked on whilst on afternoon shift.

The electricians would book on and then clear off house bashing all day.

Apprentices were left behind on a Sunday day shift to cook a full Sunday dinner for the returning lads (using only a pot bellied stove and a baby belling) sometimes you had to do fry ups too.

The big "chip vans'" would be used for house removal jobs.

Everyone would be filling cars up off the company.

When tiger tokens where at ESSO they used to leave vans running all the time even with the rear axle off the ground and a brick on the throttle to waste fuel whilst at the depot, the only person to claim all the prizes (I think the top one was a TV) was from our place.

If it was a nice summers day you'd go play football or cricket at the park after a few pints,

Shift changes,

Days would come on at 6am and wake the night shift up to go home.

Afternoons would meet the day shift at the pub to changeover when the day shift has been there since dinner.

Nights would meet the afternoon shift at the working men's club until last orders where the least pissed member of staff would drive the team to the depot for sleeping and await day turn coming on.


V8covin

1,210 posts

108 months

Sunday 20th September 2015
quotequote all
Government subsisdy is more now,even allowing for inflation, than it was prior to privatisation

RichB

37,886 posts

199 months

Sunday 20th September 2015
quotequote all
mph1977 said:
Tango13 said:
Bit in bold rofl
standard gauge track but a smaller overall structural gauge
The term people are looking for is 'loading gauge'. The UK and much of the world runs in 4' 8 1/2" gauge track with a smaller loading gauge than some other countries.

Chrisgr31

10,284 posts

170 months

Sunday 20th September 2015
quotequote all
bhstewie said:
How do other countries seem to manage with cheap fares, trains that run on time, and ticketing structures where you don't need to book 3 weeks in advance if you don't want to hock a kidney?

I don't know if the answer is nationalised or not, but the current system doesn't seem like a shining example of how to do it properly.
If you are going to compare railway networks you need to compare the age of the network, the subsidy its gets, and whether it is operating at peak capacity or not.

Some will recall there was total chaos on the Southern side of London Bridge at the beginning of the year. The reason for this was that track capacity had been reduced leading to the station, and therefore capacity for trains reduced. Southern though wanted to keep as many trains running as possible and offer the best service they could to their passengers who didnt want their trains cancelled. The outcome being the timetable was scheduled at 100% capacity. That would be fine if nothing went wrong, however the moment anything went wrong there was no spare capicity so one train left late, the incoming one was late etc.


Broadly the high speed line works because it doesnt have conflicting movements on it, its new and uses new rolling stock. Although having said I believe the average age of UK rolling stock is reducing and we have a lot of new stock with more on order.

rolex

2,852 posts

173 months

Sunday 20th September 2015
quotequote all
Love to see the return of steam trains, head out of the window hot ash stinging the eyeballs, those were the days!
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MrBarry123

3,855 posts

36 months

Sunday 20th September 2015
quotequote all
I get the reasons for not nationalising the railways however they were only really applicable when we (Britain) were pretty rubbish at running a nationalised service.

I can't see any reason why the national railways can't be run like TfL runs the Tube i.e. have a Transport for Britain (TfB) organisation for the railways. All I seem to read at the moment is that TfL are constantly improving the service provided and my relatively extensive experience (i.e. I use it quite a bit) would, for the majority of the time, confirm this assumption. Why aren't we taking all the experience we've gained through TfL and applying it nationwide to the railway network?

ETA: To clarify, I couldn't give a flying fk whether utilities are nationalised or not. Whatever is best should be accepted and promoted.

Edited by MrBarry123 on Sunday 20th September 23:53

hidetheelephants

13,373 posts

108 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
MajorProblem said:
Basically the railway was at its zenith at the end of World War Two, BR was born from the big four and then the railway was run into the ground until BRs demise in c1994
I've never read anything that suggests this is remotely true, rather the opposite; the network was commandeered by the state in 1939 and run into the ground with minimal maintenance and whatever emergency repairs necessary as a result of the Luftwaffe's redevelopment work. By 1945 everything was utterly knackered, unfortunately the opportunity to replace all the worn out steam with diesel or electric traction was missed and BR spent the 1940s/50s recreating the 1930s. In the first instance it would probably have been necessary to buy american EMDs or licence-build them as british loco works took a very long time to get a grip of the newfangled diesel thing, but they were(or at least Southern was) reasonably good at the electric stuff. The manpower and maintenance costs of running steam traction were crippling. BR was created to save the government the cost of compensating the big four for wearing all their stuff out and not fixing it.

grumbledoak

21,630 posts

148 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
MrBarry123 said:
I can't see any reason why the national railways can't be run like TfL runs the Tube i.e. have a Transport for Britain (TfB) organisation for the railways. All I seem to read at the moment is that TfL are constantly improving the service provided and my relatively extensive experience (i.e. I use it quite a bit) would, for the majority of the time, confirm this assumption. Why aren't we taking all the experience we've gained through TfL and applying it nationwide to the railway network?
All you can conclude from that is that TfL has a large media budget and spends it justifying it's own existence.

It also has more executives paid six-figure sums than any other branch of the civil service. They're not stupid (see above).

Johnnytheboy

14,624 posts

101 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
Dig them all up and turn them into roads.

blueg33

18,166 posts

139 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
I remember BR so I don't want renationalisation. What I would like to see is more competition on each route. The current system creates route monopolies and this must contribute to high fares. In particular XC really take the piss.

Ticketing also needs to be simpler and more transparent. My fare from Birmingham to Manchester is halved if I buy a ticket to Stafford and then Stafford to Manchester, even though I am on the same train in the same seat.

V8 Fettler

4,931 posts

47 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
hidetheelephants said:
MajorProblem said:
Basically the railway was at its zenith at the end of World War Two, BR was born from the big four and then the railway was run into the ground until BRs demise in c1994
I've never read anything that suggests this is remotely true, rather the opposite; the network was commandeered by the state in 1939 and run into the ground with minimal maintenance and whatever emergency repairs necessary as a result of the Luftwaffe's redevelopment work. By 1945 everything was utterly knackered, unfortunately the opportunity to replace all the worn out steam with diesel or electric traction was missed and BR spent the 1940s/50s recreating the 1930s. In the first instance it would probably have been necessary to buy american EMDs or licence-build them as british loco works took a very long time to get a grip of the newfangled diesel thing, but they were(or at least Southern was) reasonably good at the electric stuff. The manpower and maintenance costs of running steam traction were crippling. BR was created to save the government the cost of compensating the big four for wearing all their stuff out and not fixing it.
Furthermore, the Luftwaffe were not particularly efficient in their demolition of the UK's rail network, ready to rebuild after the last unpleasantness.

Brunel got the gauge spec right.

Esseesse

7,882 posts

123 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
Is Corbyn going to change his mind on the EU, because I think nationalising the railways is forbidden.

DIRECTIVE 2012/34/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

There may be more, but at least point 5...

EU Directive 2012/34/EU said:
In order to render railway transport efficient and competitive with other modes of transport, Member States should ensure that railway undertakings have the status of independent operators behaving in a commercial manner and adapting to market needs.

craigjm

6,313 posts

115 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
Welshbeef said:
Gogoplata said:
I'll look forward to the railways striking like the tube workers during the holidays...

Are things really that bad on the railways? I don't use trains very often, but from my experience I thought the cost was reasonable & the service was fine. For £41 I thought it was more cost effective to get the train from Newcastle to Leeds for the weekend instead of taking the car and paying for petrol & parking.
Reading to Paddington 45ish miles
In Rush hour £50.90 return

Off peak it's I think £28 each.
Kind of makes a family outing to the natural history museum (free) very expensive plus parking the car at the station/taxi down.
Why would you buy such a ticket as a family though? A family off peak London Travelcard from Reading is £47

MrBarry123

3,855 posts

36 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
grumbledoak said:
All you can conclude from that is that TfL has a large media budget and spends it justifying it's own existence.

It also has more executives paid six-figure sums than any other branch of the civil service. They're not stupid (see above).
Okay, so it tells people of its success however surely that's better than keeping quiet and having no success?

PRTVR

3,177 posts

136 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
Esseesse said:
Is Corbyn going to change his mind on the EU, because I think nationalising the railways is forbidden.

DIRECTIVE 2012/34/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

There may be more, but at least point 5...

EU Directive 2012/34/EU said:
In order to render railway transport efficient and competitive with other modes of transport, Member States should ensure that railway undertakings have the status of independent operators behaving in a commercial manner and adapting to market needs.
What would happen if they just cut any support, made the train companies pay for everything, the economic model would fail, nobody would take up the franchise, they would have to default back to state ownership, he could argue that he was just removing unfair support.

WCZ

3,659 posts

109 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
MajorProblem said:
Seeming as someone's brought up to way people operated in BR, here are some examples of what went on our patch,

Whilst working permanent day shifts - buy a taxi, go taxi driving all night come to work, book on and sleep all day.

One lad had a carpet cleaning business, he used to book on then go carpet cleaning all day, only coming back to book off.

A few lads created a service bay in the workshop so cars can be worked on whilst on afternoon shift.

The electricians would book on and then clear off house bashing all day.

Apprentices were left behind on a Sunday day shift to cook a full Sunday dinner for the returning lads (using only a pot bellied stove and a baby belling) sometimes you had to do fry ups too.

The big "chip vans'" would be used for house removal jobs.

Everyone would be filling cars up off the company.

When tiger tokens where at ESSO they used to leave vans running all the time even with the rear axle off the ground and a brick on the throttle to waste fuel whilst at the depot, the only person to claim all the prizes (I think the top one was a TV) was from our place.

If it was a nice summers day you'd go play football or cricket at the park after a few pints,

Shift changes,

Days would come on at 6am and wake the night shift up to go home.

Afternoons would meet the day shift at the pub to changeover when the day shift has been there since dinner.

Nights would meet the afternoon shift at the working men's club until last orders where the least pissed member of staff would drive the team to the depot for sleeping and await day turn coming on.
sounds like a great place to work biggrin

edh

1,674 posts

184 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
They already are nationalised in large parts - Huge amounts of debt sunk in Network Rail (~£40bn?), which is our debt, not private debt, Foreign govt owned TOC's. It's a mess. IEA (see below) suggest that "private rail firms have effectively become subcontractors for the Department for Transport"

Citing working practices from the 70's isn't really an argument against state ownership of rail franchises.

The other option is to privatise it properly...
http://www.iea.org.uk/blog/why-are-rail-subsidies-...
Removing state control of commuter fares (surely state interference in "the market" is a bad thing? smile ) and not funding infrastructure from the public purse.

All we do now is transfer money to TOC owners/shareholders, and land owners who benefit from infrastructure spending.


tonker

52,115 posts

163 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
Because FGW no longer sell you the best ticket for you. They got called out on it and admitted they won't sell you the cheapest ticket. So if you don't 'do' trains', then you get stuffed because you ask for the 'wrong' ticket.

FGWs rebrand today will make no difference, everyone knows it is still First in charge. And that they are not the best trainco, they are second only to stagecoach in trying to be Ryanair on rails (without the cheap fares).

KTF

6,718 posts

65 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
WCZ said:
sounds like a great place to work biggrin
Assume the above is true, its just incredible that this sort of thing was allowed to go on and noone seemingly cared.

XM5ER

4,488 posts

163 months

Monday 21st September 2015
quotequote all
I'm going to come at this from a very different angle.

I believe that within 20 years travel will change beyond recognition. With the rise of self driving cars, the need for train travel will diminish so the British government could be left holding a worthless asset attached to a huge debt.

To elaborate, imagine hopping in your comfortable Ikea car, hooking up your tablet and starting your first meeting of the day via video conference as you leave the house. The car itself pops on onto the M6 and joins the high speed convoy in the outside lane and quickly joins onto a fuel efficient "train" of cars traveling at 120mph+ and this gets you down to London in a little over an hour. You hop out of you car in central London and it goes off and parks itself in a car stack and recharges for the journey home. Whilst in London you use Uber's driverless cabs to ferry you around from meeting to meeting and at your final meeting your own car picks you up again and off you pop home, maybe getting a bit of shuteye or finishing off with conference calls to the US.

Now compare that to freezing your arse of at Crewe station to get on an overcrowded train where once again "we cannot take cards at the buffet cab due to a network problem". Etc.

The only value I see long term for the railways is as a freight network linking to various hubs where the freight is removed and transferred to driverless trucks for short journeys.

It will happen, it's just a question of when.