Public and Commercial Transport

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NewcastleFalcon
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Public and Commercial Transport

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Other threads have picked up opinions on the subject as an aside, but heres a thread to mop up whinges, problems, solutions and developments.

My recent journey home from Manchester gave me a little first-hand update to the state of play on public transport within the boundaries of the "Northern Powerhouse".
NewcastleFalcon wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 10:57
Michel wrote:
11 Nov 2019, 00:15
One bus per hour here to Reading or Wokingham. £6 return.
That's considerably more than the car plus a couple of hours parking costs..
....and thats £6 each, and in an area I assume reasonably close to civilisation. The bus is a last resort here in rural Northumberland, both from a time taken and cost point of view, but I have to admit I am glad its there still on those occasions when there is no alternative. Longer distance Bus travel can be very reasonable. £10 from Newcastle to Manchester much cheaper than the train (and the car), but my last few experiences of doing that journey I tend to get off in Manchester thinking I should have got the train. Only takes a couple of foul mouthed chavs with a bit of drink inside them having a "domestic" behind you for the entire journey to put you off bus travel for ever.
Well this time I decided to pay £38 as opposed to £12 and took the train from Manchester to Newcastle.

First no cricitcism at all of staff on the train, but due to cancellations and late running of connecting trains the platforms of every station between in Manchester and through to Leeds/York were packed with passengers largely unable to get onto trains beacause all trains arriving had passengers standing all along the aisles, and packed into the doorways.

On this particular day, the MEGABus would have been relaxing luxury in comparison :-D

Few days later..Season ticket prices increasing, strikes on the rail network and a general impression that the system is struggling to cope. Many opinions on HS2 no doubt but is getting to birmingham a potential 20 or 30 minutes sooner (on a good day) really a priority on rail networks in the UK?

Regards Neil
Last edited by NewcastleFalcon on 08 Apr 2021, 13:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Mandrake
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Re: Public Transport

Post by Mandrake »

When I used to get the train from Motherwell to Glasgow for work I paid over £100 a month for a season ticket and ended up standing in the doorway area of a jam packed train every morning, such that I could not move or even reach a wall to steady myself against among the sea of other standers who I would inevitably fall into as the train lurched about. Talk about lack of personal space... The prospect of getting a seat was just a remote dream. Occasionally I could not even get on the train due to so many people already being jammed in the doorway in which case I'd have to wait for the next train and be late for work...

On the way home it was supposed to be a 6 carriage train however at least once a week without any warning it would be a 3 carriage train due to "shortages of train staff" which would mean everyone jam packed like sardines again or wait half an hour for the following train. Several times a month the trains would be delayed by 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes and occasionally would just not turn up at all. In the winter any ice would inevitably result in delays or cancellations due to "frozen switching systems" while buses were still running normally.

To add insult to injury after riding the same train for nearly a year on a combined bus/train pass (which I needed as I had to get a bus to the train station first!) Scotrail announced that I was not actually allowed to ride on the cross country train that I had been riding that whole time due to it not being a Scotrail run train, so I would either need to get a Scotrail operated train at a different time (making me late for work or an hour early) or pay extra for separate train and bus tickets (to a total of about £150 a month for what was basically a 12 mile journey) to board the cross country train I had already been using, and the ticket collectors started enforcing this. Enough! :evil:

It's no wonder that I looked into the possibility of commuting to work by EV and managed to make the numbers work, and now that we have a 3 year old to drop off along the way public transport was no longer an option anyway. While motorway traffic can be a bore at least we're comfortably in our own car instead of on separate buses and trains surrounded by other unhappy commuters...

Of the two evils I think I prefer buses over trains to be honest, as they usually run frequently and on time, and aren't as crowded, but that's not saying much! The state of train commuting and to a lesser extent busses in this country is a disgrace. Public transport certainly isn't what it's cracked up to be by the "don't buy a car its bad for the environment" crowd!

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myglaren
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Re: Public Transport

Post by myglaren »

Seems they need to invest in rolling stock and staff rather than quick traction units that save a minimal percentage of transit time.

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NewcastleFalcon
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Re: Public Transport

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Another observation on my little trip, a diesel hauled freight train slowly trundled through Manchester Oxford road station as I was waiting. The clag coming out of its exhaust was unbelievable.

Not quite as bad as this but not far off :-D


https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/th ... post-59279

Regards Neil
Last edited by NewcastleFalcon on 04 Dec 2019, 11:21, edited 1 time in total.

Gibbo2286
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Re: Public Transport

Post by Gibbo2286 »

The railways are still trying to catch up after being neglected terribly whilst in government control through the war and in the post war nationalisation, little was spent on track or station maintenance while the bosses played at trying, and failing, to build high speed/pendulum machines etc.

It's always going to be a high price option for passenger transport, a price the users are unwilling to pay, except of course the commuters close to the big cities.

There's also the constraints on usage, a minor breakdown on any part of the system can disrupt traffic hundreds of miles away, a toe-rag chopping a couple of metres of cable to weigh in for scrap will shut the lines for hours, a suicide on the track does the same.

Don't get me wrong, I like trains and the new carriages in recent years are excellent but there's never going to be enough of them.

My daughter's recent experience was quite the opposite of the regular moans, she booked early for a trip from Wolverhampton to Glasgow direct with Virgin Rail, £30 each first class and really enjoyed the ride, no delays and on time.

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NewcastleFalcon
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Re: Public Transport

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

..and just to complete my recent public transport experience.....

Have you spent any time recently in a bus station?

At least Newcastle Haymarket is under cover, but a haven of pollution with a series of mainly Deutches Bahn (Arriva) double deckers arriving and departing chucking out their diesel exhaust fumes to all and sundry..

100% owned by the Federal Republic of Germany.

Regards Neil

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Mandrake
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Re: Public Transport

Post by Mandrake »

I should be clear that I'm moaning about short distance commuting rail, which is abominable.

Long distance sleeper rail has been good in my experience. I caught a train down from Glasgow to Preston on a Sunday (I think) to pick up my Xantia from Trainman a number of years ago and it was a comfortable and enjoyable ride through the countryside. No complaints there.

But commuting to and from work every day by train is a different thing entirely, you are literally jammed in like sardines, there is a mad shoving rush to try and get a seat when the doors open, there are constant delays and cancellations and as you say one problem on a track has knock on effects for hours across dozens of other trains - something that doesn't happen with buses where a single bus breakdown is rare and not a big deal when another one will be along in 10 minutes.

From what I can see the two biggest problems are simply over crowding and under staffing. If the trains are packed to the gunnels at peak commuting times then the obvious solution is to run trains more frequently and/or run longer (full length) trains as surprisingly, many of the peak hour trains are not full length trains but half length due to a lack of working cars or staff.

A surprising number of cancellations are caused by "lack of staff", eg staff calling in sick... again, hire a few more staff so there is better cover and that shouldn't happen!

Every year the prices go up but still we get jam packed over crowded trains and excuses that a train has been cancelled due to lack of staff. Not acceptable, so I've chosen to get out of that mess entirely by just driving a small, economical EV to work which even with rush hour motorway traffic to contend with is a much more enjoyable experience.

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Mandrake
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Re: Public Transport

Post by Mandrake »

NewcastleFalcon wrote:
04 Dec 2019, 11:17
Another observation on my little trip, a diesel hauled freight train slowly trundled through Manchester Oxford road station as I was waiting. The clag coming out of its exhaust was unbelievable.

Not quite as bad as this but not far off :-D
Now that you have spent a bit of time driving an EV, have you found your nose more attuned to the smell of petrol and diesel cars ? I certainly have... :twisted:

On the infrequent occasions that I use the Xantia the smell of a rich running cold engine with cold catalytic converter when I get out to de-ice the windows is obvious and pungent, as is the smell of any diesel vehicles, which I really notice on foot as they pass me...

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mickthemaverick
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Re: Public Transport

Post by mickthemaverick »

I think i might regret this post but nevertheless:
I am currently sitting in an almost completely empty quiet zone waiting area at Stansted airport awaiting my 12.15 flight to Mallorca. There are 160+ empty seats in here with me and 2 other passengers at the other end of this 36m x 12m ish room. No noise and no smells, 19 minutes to wait for them to post my gate number so I can rejoin life!! SWMBO dropped me at the free set down and I jumped on the transit bus within 5 mins. Arrived at departures, my printed boarding card wouldn't operate the first barrier so I had to go through manual ticket check, the walk through scanner alarmed and I had to have a static scan. Nothing found!! Took 10 minutes to get through the "buy a lot of crap because you have nothing better to do" section and made my way down here to relax!! I'm warm and comfortable and awaiting my gate info now due in 14 mins!
I have no complaint in general because I feel safe knowing the security everyone now has to go through and apart from a couple of technical gremlins I have nothing to justify complaining. So I will fly out to some winter sun secure in the knowledge that some of you will be using buses and trains in the next few days and I'll be using the MX5!! Yippeee!!!

Gibbo2286
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Re: Public Transport

Post by Gibbo2286 »

A lot of the 'under staffing' on the railways is not really due to not enough staff but more to the fact that they have the staff but they're in the wrong place due to other causes.

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Re: Public Transport

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Mandrake wrote:
04 Dec 2019, 12:20

Now that you have spent a bit of time driving an EV, have you found your nose more attuned to the smell of petrol and diesel cars ? I certainly have... :twisted:
Absolutely right Simon. We live out in the Country, but walking back early morning from plugging in the car at the free charger, just as the local tradesmen we’re preparing for the day ahead with their vans, pick ups, and lorries idling away as the lads congregated, school buses warming up from cold in the car park, and commuters Newcastle bound streaming out with their vapour trails hanging in the air behind them.

Not exactly the clean fresh country air you might expect.

I think the difference of zero Vehicle emissions “On the road” would be enormous.

While in the process of “dumping my diesel” last week, I started it along the end of the street as it has a very low battery, and I wanted warm it up. In readiness for the scrapyard lads to collect it and drive it away on their garage plates. While it was warming up one of my neighbours came along with his two little toddlers, one in a push chair and one holding his hand. I was embarrassed and apologised to him for the exhaust fumes coming out of my car which unavoidably they had to walk through as they were hanging in the air even with it switched off.

Makes you think about your own albeit small role in contributing to pollution. My ford sierra diesel from years ago was terrible.

Regards Neil

Peter.N.
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Re: Public Transport

Post by Peter.N. »

We don't have any.

Peter

RichardW
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Re: Public Transport

Post by RichardW »

I currently drive to work, 30 miles each way, costs about 6 litres of diesel, £8, plus wear on the car, say £9 total a day. Takes 45mins door to door. I could get the train.... Station is 3/4 mile from the house, so 15 mins walk, or 5 mins by bike. Then the fun starts...trains do not run in the N/S direction I want to go, only E/W. So I have to change twice. If I left 10 mins earlier in the morning (06.05 instead of 06.15) I could get to the station local to the office by 08.08 - but that is still 3 miles from the office, so either a 15 min ride, or a taxi (or presumably a couple of busses) so I get to the office at 08.30 - compared to 07:00 by car. Same in the evening, currently leave at 16.15, and get home by 17.15. On the train I wouldn't be able to leave office till 17.45 due to late start, and then I wouldn't get home until at least 20:00. The cost, with a season ticket, would be similar (if I biked!).

Er, think I'll stick with the car....

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Re: Public Transport

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

The trans pennine route which I travelled recently , has some major obstacles to its improvement, not the least of which are tunnels and gradients. Then there is the disruption over 5 years or so while improvements are carried out when, if things are bad now, they get a lot worse before they get better, or marginally improve.

Meanwhile locomotives and rolling stock need replacing with more of the same just newer, or planning for the future with more innovative zero emission locomotives, using batteries and overhead wire, or even hydrogen.

A bit of a discussion in this article
https://www.railfuture.org.uk/article18 ... ternatives
Touching on

discontinuous electrification
Bi-mode diesel-electric
Diesel battery hybrid
Battery electric
Hydrogen
Overhead electrication
Regards Neil

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white exec
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Re: Public Transport

Post by white exec »

Looks as if the rolling stock on trans-pennine is the same ancient bus-derived kit that I used to do a Manchester-Leeds journey back in 2001 #-o .

Agree that much commuter service/stock is chronically under-invested (or dividend-stripped). All this is in stark contrast to many other EU countries, where local (and national) rail travel is of an excellent standard, while being just as much in demand.