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grumbledoak

18,748 posts

119 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
dcb said:
Railways were good in their day, but newer and better technology in
the car and the lorry has come along since.
Indeed.

When everyone lived in t'same t'road and worked down t'same t'pit, mass transport worked well.
When the alternative was horse drawn coach, the railways worked well.
The world turns.

Now they should kill the subsidy and see what is still worth doing that way. My guess is that only inter city and profitable commuter misery will survive. But at least we won't all be paying over the odds for an oversized toy train set.

blueg33

13,600 posts

110 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
My theory is - those on here who say get rod of railways either don't use them regularly or don't use them properly.

I think the whole thing would be better and cheaper if all operators are allowed to operate every route and compete properly. Otherwise its still one operator per route and that looks like state sponsored monopoly to me.

hidetheelephants

8,155 posts

79 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
blueg33 said:
hidetheelephants said:
Pro rata the privatised railways absorb twice the subsidy BR ever got.
Adjusted for inflation, health and safety laws, per passenger mile?

Please show me the figures
Per passenger mile is a poor measure as it doesn't change the fixed costs, and more importantly I can't find any figures corrected for that. The railways seem to be delivering about twice the passenger miles and about twice the passenger journeys that BR were in 1994 for 3x the passenger revenue. They are receiving about £4bn in subsidy compared to BR average over the period 90-94 of £1.1bn; according to BoE rates that's equivalent to £1.57bn now. Even if you're generous and link the subsidy to passenger miles alone, they are coining it in. The tracklength in the UK hasn't gone up much in 18 years(320km laid since 1994) and the level of rolling stock was 11,000 in 1994 and 12,100 in 2011, implying an increase in longterm fixed costs of ~8%.

The ease with which the DOR caretaker on the ECML has exceeded the performance of the TOC which abandoned its obligations, or the previous incumbent that went bust might be dismissed as a one off, but South Eastern Trains, the DOR which replaced the impressively shonky Connex South Eastern, managed to run a better service at a modest profit. The private sector has no more monopoly on good management than the state sector has on bad management.

V8mate

37,006 posts

75 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
hidetheelephants said:
The ease with which the DOR caretaker on the ECML has exceeded the performance of the TOC which abandoned its obligations, or the previous incumbent that went bust might be dismissed as a one off, but South Eastern Trains, the DOR which replaced the impressively shonky Connex South Eastern, managed to run a better service at a modest profit.
Entirely correct. Shame that Go-Ahead have fked it up since.

blueg33

13,600 posts

110 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
hidetheelephants said:
Per passenger mile is a poor measure as it doesn't change the fixed costs, and more importantly I can't find any figures corrected for that. The railways seem to be delivering about twice the passenger miles and about twice the passenger journeys that BR were in 1994 for 3x the passenger revenue. They are receiving about £4bn in subsidy compared to BR average over the period 90-94 of £1.1bn; according to BoE rates that's equivalent to £1.57bn now. Even if you're generous and link the subsidy to passenger miles alone, they are coining it in. The tracklength in the UK hasn't gone up much in 18 years(320km laid since 1994) and the level of rolling stock was 11,000 in 1994 and 12,100 in 2011, implying an increase in longterm fixed costs of ~8%.

The ease with which the DOR caretaker on the ECML has exceeded the performance of the TOC which abandoned its obligations, or the previous incumbent that went bust might be dismissed as a one off, but South Eastern Trains, the DOR which replaced the impressively shonky Connex South Eastern, managed to run a better service at a modest profit. The private sector has no more monopoly on good management than the state sector has on bad management.
Surely the cost per passenger mile is the best way to measure it in terms of comparison, as it is the actual cost of the railways for doing the job?

By the time the railways were privatised in 1994 the £1.1bn was clearly too little as the infrastructure was left in a very poor state and that underspend is still being rectified today. Publicly owned infrastructure always has massive underspend (I see millions of ££'s of backlog maintenance on hospitals etc), so I dont see that using the 1994 figure is a fair comparison.

I agree about private sector not having a monopoly on bad management but public sector they have no real profit incentive so will rarely be efficient with spending and govermnment control always means that it would be a very was place to cut costs for political expediaency.

I work with the public sector and see the above traits everywhere, I also work with the private sector and those issues are much less pronounced.

Nationalisation would bring back all of the old habits and old problems and by 2050 we will have infrastructure that has seen no material improvement over the present infrastructure
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V8mate

37,006 posts

75 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
You guys do realise that it's still the same old managers, right?

I'm very close to some of the most senior people in Britain's railways: in TOCs, NR and the various railway 'bodies'. The people running and providing the leadership teams in these organisations are almost all ex-BR.

blueg33

13,600 posts

110 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
V8mate said:
You guys do realise that it's still the same old managers, right?

I'm very close to some of the most senior people in Britain's railways: in TOCs, NR and the various railway 'bodies'. The people running and providing the leadership teams in these organisations are almost all ex-BR.
The thing is, IMO its not individuals, its culture that affects the way things are done. The difference is culture between the various train companies is very evident. Generally in my experience Virgin = friendly and helpful (excpet customers services), FGW = friendly train staff, surly station staff, Cross Country = Couldn't give a damn.

hidetheelephants

8,155 posts

79 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
blueg33 said:
By the time the railways were privatised in 1994 the £1.1bn was clearly too little as the infrastructure was left in a very poor state and that underspend is still being rectified today. Publicly owned infrastructure always has massive underspend (I see millions of ££'s of backlog maintenance on hospitals etc), so I dont see that using the 1994 figure is a fair comparison.
That is an increased figure; the spend 89-94 was averaging £1.1bn(1989 £800m rising to 1993 £1.6bn), for the period 80-89 the average is £650m. Given this pitiful figure I find it very impressive that the management kept the system running at all, never mind not killing the passengers on a daily basis and maintaining a programme of planned rolling stock replacement. It's no surprise at all that the basic infrastructure was wearing out and the non-critical assets ignored entirely.

The Crack Fox

9,971 posts

78 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
I'm new to this thread. I can't see a single benefit of privatised railways, there are certain things that any developed, civilised country should provide it's people without anyone else profiting from it - basic transport (trains, buses), water and power. Having lived and worked abroad where most of this is usually state-run, I can see how backwards we are in the UK, we seem to have a headling charge into flogging stuff off regardless of the consequences. How can it be right that someone profits from supplying me with water ? I don't mind paying for it, I do mind someone profiting from it, it's a basic human right, surely ?!

miniman

17,091 posts

148 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
Running a railway (amongst other things) properly requires excellent people. Excellent people demand excellent salaries. On a nationalised, non-profit basis, things will be run on a shoestring, so can't afford excellent people.

This is the thing that has to be addressed before we can (re)nationalise anything.

williamp

12,511 posts

159 months

[news] 
Saturday 6th October 2012 quote quote all
An interesting period piece called "railwatch" from 1990.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBvUT5VFOAU

You deicde if the railways have got better or worse in the 22 (!) years since this was filmed.

(extra points awarded for counting the number of ski jackets and shell suits worn...)

BlackVanDyke

8,607 posts

97 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
AJS- said:
thinfourth2 said:
AJS- said:
I'd replace them with motorways. Trains seem pretty well redundant in the age of cheap flight and pneumatic tyres. And since we're a clear 100 years into that age, let's just get rid of trains?
Go to a country with decent railways and you may think differently
I've been to plenty. They're alright but still very limited compared to the flexibility of cars, or even buses and taxis.
Less flexible but faster, safer and cheaper than most of those - for some, easier too. It took me 2 hours and 5 minutes to get from London to Manchester this afternoon, give me a way to do that as quickly and easily without substantial extra cost and we're talking... I hate getting the train but the diesel would have cost more than my ticket and the fatigue from driving would have taken almost an entire useful week off me.

RichB

30,607 posts

170 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
BlackVanDyke said:
...the fatigue from driving would have taken almost an entire useful week off me.
eek you take a week to recover from driving London to Manchester? Lightweight biggrin

tonker

47,117 posts

134 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
miniman said:
Running a railway (amongst other things) properly requires excellent people. Excellent people demand excellent salaries. On a nationalised, non-profit basis, things will be run on a shoestring, so can't afford excellent people.

This is the thing that has to be addressed before we can (re)nationalise anything.
but we are paying excellent salaries to a lot of people in the rail sector. And more importantly, more than excellent packages. If I wasn't colourblind, I would happily take train driving as my 'downshifting' job..... limited hours (if a bit antisocial at times), great money, amazing pension and benefits....

miniman

17,091 posts

148 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
tonker said:
miniman said:
Running a railway (amongst other things) properly requires excellent people. Excellent people demand excellent salaries. On a nationalised, non-profit basis, things will be run on a shoestring, so can't afford excellent people.

This is the thing that has to be addressed before we can (re)nationalise anything.
but we are paying excellent salaries to a lot of people in the rail sector. And more importantly, more than excellent packages. If I wasn't colourblind, I would happily take train driving as my 'downshifting' job..... limited hours (if a bit antisocial at times), great money, amazing pension and benefits....
My point being - could that continue in a nationalised situation?

Podie

41,522 posts

161 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
tonker said:
miniman said:
Running a railway (amongst other things) properly requires excellent people. Excellent people demand excellent salaries. On a nationalised, non-profit basis, things will be run on a shoestring, so can't afford excellent people.

This is the thing that has to be addressed before we can (re)nationalise anything.
but we are paying excellent salaries to a lot of people in the rail sector. And more importantly, more than excellent packages. If I wasn't colourblind, I would happily take train driving as my 'downshifting' job..... limited hours (if a bit antisocial at times), great money, amazing pension and benefits....
Train driving is only a tiny part of running a railway - and better paid than other safety critical posts.

tonker

47,117 posts

134 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
Podie said:
Train driving is only a tiny part of running a railway - and better paid than other safety critical posts.
yes. And even amongst the PW crew, the wages aren't bad (or not as bad as elsewhere (I know most are now subbied out)), then you have the station staff, low pay, but that pension still. And the hours, in safety critical roles, are very heavily restricted....

as for could that continue in a nationalised railway.... it's where we got them from

BlackVanDyke

8,607 posts

97 months

[news] 
Sunday 7th October 2012 quote quote all
RichB said:
BlackVanDyke said:
...the fatigue from driving would have taken almost an entire useful week off me.
eek you take a week to recover from driving London to Manchester? Lightweight biggrin
Correct.

paperbag
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