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British rail. Your comments please.

#1
It would be very kind of you to comment current state of British railways. Are they ok? What is the best way to handle them: private or state-run.

Your comments will be much appresiated. References to web-pages would be especially valuable.

Thanks in advance!
 
#2
Quicker than a bus .Probably cheaper to drive anywhere though long distance .Though if you go by train ar least you can havea beer when you get there :) .Would hate to have to rely on it everyday though . No idea if state or private would manage it best but think that one lot running it would be best .Meaning owning the rails and the trains .
 
#3
Would agree only if refering to solo journeys (travelling alone). Rail is effing expensive for what it is, especially now that it is cheaper and faster to fly between many cities over 150 miles apart (25quid London to Glasgow by plane, over 140 quid by train).

Bugger late for a meeting
 
#4
Ah, yes. But they have just tripled the price of the Forces Railcard.

I can't imagine the Yanks losing their perks at the rate we do. Bloody hell - they'll be asking me to pay full price at Burger King soon!
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#6
Oh dear, what a time for this thread. I have just suffered a journey from hell getting in today. Train cancelled, no excuses (well, not a beleivable one), crammed on like sardines, to be met at the end by a group of inspectors for the first time in months checking each season ticket very, very slowly, leading to massive queues. I was also unable to understand what the first Inspector said to me, as his accent (I have no idea where from) was so thick.

Enough ranting... British Rail is no more - in one of the Tories dafter ideas (that's saying something) it is now divided up into Companies owning franchises for certain areas. They have fairly short contracts, so have no incentive to invest. They are out for a quick buck, and care not a hoot for their passengers.

Before, British Rail were a hideous nationalised industry, in which the staff had no interest at all in their passengers - so no real change.

The railways in the UK are overpriced and frankly pretty piss poor, but they always have been. It would only change if, like France, they were massively subsidised.
 
#7
Where to start....
Commuting by rail in London is cross between playing Sardines and a form of Jap torture. Plus you have to fork out about £1400 per year for the fun.

London to Edinburgh used to be fun when I was a kid and they had real trains with staff and ticket conductors, the 5 hours whizzed by. Now I'm an adult it cost over £100 off peak, the trains are always over crowded, the food is over priced and of very poor quality. Plus all of the delays.
I do not look for the fabled free seats any more, I just camp down in the doorway with a good book.

I tend to fly now, it's cheaper, faster, the staff are friendlier, very few delays. I can easy jet a return home for about £50 and save 4 hours of pain.

I say nationalise the rail and don't let the Unions take over again.
 
#8
KGB_resident said:
It would be very kind of you to comment current state of British railways. Are they ok? What is the best way to handle them: private or state-run.

Your comments will be much appresiated. References to web-pages would be especially valuable.

Thanks in advance!
What is the aim of your question Sergei? Just the opportunity for people to post their opinion on the railways or are you looking for a blueprint to start your own?

Important thing to note is that the railway system is now divided into separate areas with private companies running different parts. Some are good and some are bad and they have targets set for them. Many years of under funding will take a while to sort out I think.

In general - bloody expensive for what you get.

http://www.rodge.force9.co.uk/faq/index.html

Edited to add: Dr Beeching has a lot to answer for.
 
#11
What might have worked for the old gas board certainly didn't work for British rail, one class fcuk-up by the Tories then Ignored by Labour till the railways had lined the pockets of share holders, and got to a state when it took death on the railway to force a change. Oh how I laughed when the share holders didn't get compensation. (The value of your stock may rise and fall also go bust) Thankfully I haven't been on a train in over 12 years and have no intention of doing so.
A country deserves a decent working transport system Mr. Blair, And If it cost the government money, then pay up and make it work.
 
#12
Sergei, if you need any more detail on rail privatisation there is a very comprehensive page on WIKIPEDIA (LINK)

The privatisation of British Rail was partly based on the Swedish model, in which ownership of the railway operations and the fixed infrastructure had been split. This was then further complicated by separating the operations from ownership of the rolling stock (wagons), also by dividing the rail operations into a series of 'franchises' which commercial companies then bid for. Kafka would have approved.
 
#13
I gave up using trains in the 90s and finally bought a car coz the trains were so bad. Constant delays, poor service and spiralling costs. even with a Forces Railcard the discount was hardly worth it.

I wouldn't dream of travelling by train now unless the firm paid for it and it was on their time!

Why can our Government not get it right? Look at the Europeans (OK we hate the French), but they have a public transport system that is clean, on time (ish), and doesn't coat an arm and leg. Even the underground/Tram systems are excellent-(Germany)

Come Tony, Put the Great back into Britain FFS!!!!
 
#14
Does anyone know why the railways were nationalised in the first place? Did the pre-war companies go bust or was it just a bit of socialist dogma? I can't believe that the original companies that owned track, stock and "franchises" were any worse than BR or the current mess.
 
#15
Murielson said:
What is the aim of your question Sergei?
It is a personal interest. I would like to boast that my daughter (17) has impressed her professor by her skills in discussion. Soon there will be a scientific conference in Moscow State Juridicial Adademy (juridicial questions in economics). Many high ranked economists (almost all are morons) will take part. And few students will be allowed for short reports. As I understand idea of the professor is to shock these dullards by highly professional speech sounded by child-looking lass. Moreover that my daughter is able to answer for all their idiotic questions. These servants of Russian tycoons are making their pseudo-scientific calculations to approve privatisation of litarally anything. It would be funny to laugh at them.

I picked the theme: British railways, juridicial acpects, efficiency, ownership.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#16
Sergey -

To be fair, most privatisations worked. BR was a feck-up and didn't. Gas, electricity, water and telephones were privatised very successfully. People forget (or are too young to remember) when there was a 3 - 6 month wait to get a telephone line installed. There were no technical reasons, just inefficiency and bureaucracy. The Gas Board were just as bad.
 
#17
Bladensburg said:
Does anyone know why the railways were nationalised in the first place? Did the pre-war companies go bust or was it just a bit of socialist dogma? I can't believe that the original companies that owned track, stock and "franchises" were any worse than BR or the current mess.
Long story, but the railways were first brought under national control to help the war effort in WW1. This ended under legislation in 1921 which 'grouped' the railways under four mega-companies (GWR, LMS, LNER and SR). The railways were again brought under state control in WW2. By the end of the war they were worn out by enemy action and their support to the war effort. The economic situation after the war and the legacy of the pre-war depression also had a dire effect on their ability to survive, develop and invest. The railways were only one of the strategic sectors nationalised by the Attlee Labour Government.

It has been claimed that John Major's nostalgia for the great railway names of the pre-war "grouping" might have been a factor in the privatisation model later adopted by the Conservative government, although he (born 1943) would not have had any real experience of them.
 
#18
OldSnowy said:
Sergey -

To be fair, most privatisations worked. BR was a feck-up and didn't. Gas, electricity, water and telephones were privatised very successfully. People forget (or are too young to remember) when there was a 3 - 6 month wait to get a telephone line installed. There were no technical reasons, just inefficiency and bureaucracy. The Gas Board were just as bad.
Yes I agree that average privatised plant works more efficiently than average state-run one but in any concrete case it should be proven independently. Average man is higher that average woman but in some concrete cases it is not true.

As for telephones then there was exactly the same situation in Moscow (and in Russia). But solution was a simple one. After introdicing of payment $200 for installation land-line telephone is not a problem (btw, main share-holder of Moscow telephone net is Moscow's government). Moreover, I suspect that ownership is absolutely irrelevant here.
 
#19
I think the question is not who would be the best to run the railways, but who can run a railway.

If the service ran on time, and you didn't get the dreaded automated announcement:

“The **:** Hrs from London Waterloo is running late due to the late arrival of a member of the train crew”

Then I think more people would use rail.

I do not pretend to be able to run it myself, but surely it can be run efficiently.
 
#20
hackle said:
The railways were only one of the strategic sectors nationalised by the Attlee Labour Government.
Yes.

http://www.britannia.com/history/nar20hist5.html

The second major change brought about by the Labour Government, under Attlee, was to take control of industry and public utilities, and a two-year period beginning in 1946, saw the nationalization of the Bank of England; the coal industry; electricity and gas; air transport, along with road, rail and waterways. A total of 20 percent of all British industry had been taken into public ownership by 1950.
 

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