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U K Shelves Ambitious Rail Improvements

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Jun 25th, 2015, 11:50 AM
  #1
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U K Shelves Ambitious Rail Improvements

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33270586#"

"All bets are off on the 38 billion pound rail improvement scheme with high-speed lines thru the Midlands shelved - only the electrification of Great Western trains remains on schedule but no real high-speed rail for the U.K. which has only one line authentically serving to be called a high-speed line - the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Eurostar trains and a few commuter trains speed over.

So the U.K. remains far behind the likes of Germany, Holland, Blegium, Italy and even Spain in not having a true high-speed rail network. As the number of U.K. rail passengers has doubled in the past 20 years (article say) trains are getting more full and old rail lines saturated yet Britain has its head in the ground on providing a truly modern European rail network. Mind the gap in rail infrastructure and get used to cramped uncomfy slow milk trains typical of today's Britain.
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Jun 25th, 2015, 12:44 PM
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Still ahead of the U.S.
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Jun 25th, 2015, 07:50 PM
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The USA has the greatest HWY infrastructure in the world.
And we love our cars!!!
WHY do people drag US into every problem?
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Jun 26th, 2015, 03:38 AM
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"WHY do people drag US into every problem?"

Because the uninformed poster is American.

PQ's schoolboy fetish about fast trains is written from that world-renowned public transport paradise of Detroit, Michigan.

The announcement has nothing to do with "a true high-speed rail network", which mercifully no British political party has any intention of inflicting on the country's taxpayers or those of us living near countryside such environmentally destructive self-indulgences pollute and disfigure. The future of the proposed cost-ineffective London-Northern England gas-guzzling high speed toy is not affected by this announcement - though the likelihood it'll get at least severely delayed.

A £39 bn upgrade of many lines has been seriously mismanaged by Network Rail, the organisation (directly controlled by the government transport ministry) that owns our intercity tracks. It's running immeasurably behind schedule and over budget. Pending possible reorganisation, the timetable's being changed: it's beyond question that our civil service simply isn't capable of managing the scale of the upgrades planned for the next five years

It won't be clear for a while what will go first, though the most likely candidates for serious delay are the electrification of lines from Southampton to Birmingham, Sheffield to York, Manchester to Leeds and a number of improvements between Heathrow and the Cotswolds.

It's an infernal shame - and no credit to either our civil service, or the Cameron teams's inability to oversee the management of a pissup in a brewery. It contrasts extraordinarily with the Crossrail programme of new track under London, which has been managed differently (and might at least mean the plans for connecting Heathrow to Bristol and Oxford could escape the delays.)

The delays (unless we have a major economic crisis, they should be no more than delays: unlike the continuing furore about the high-speed nonsense, there's no debate all these upgrades are essential) will seriously damage the economy of the area bounded by Southampton, Oxford and Cambridge, where transport is horrendously congested.

No-one affected by this (a very large proportion of the country's economically active population) gives a stuff about what the Spaniards have done to enrich their construction companies.

As a crude rule of thumb: once construction's finished and the builders have banked their profits, a decline in jobs almost inevitably follows the arrival of a 200 mph railway line.
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Jun 26th, 2015, 06:44 AM
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The Netherlands has a high speed line. Just no high speed trains to run on it.
Fyra was a major cock up.

It is a pity that the UK won't use the money assigned to HS2 to modernise existing lines, relieving some of the misery inflicted on rail users, instead of insisting it's countryside destroying white elephant goes ahead regardless.
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Jun 26th, 2015, 07:08 AM
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It's a no-win situation. We have some of the worlds oldest rail infrastructure. It costs a fortune to modernise or even just maintain and it causes significant disruption to travel when services are suspended to allow the work to take place. Building new lines is actually more economical (relatively speaking) though still hugely expensive in actual terms. People complain about there not being enough high speed infrastructure throughout the country and cite the 60s Beeching line closures as a disaster but when expansion is proposed there are instant complaints about what it will do to the countryside and endless enquiries and investigations into environmental impact that would simply not exist in other countries (not always a bad thing but nonetheless a barrier to expansion).

When HS2 was tabled it was instantly dismissed by many as being for the 'convenience' of Londoners travelling north, or only so that northerners could commute to jobs further south without actually regenerating the areas it is serving (with no acknowledgement of the fact that you need to improve the infrastructure before you can attract business and investment in the first place). When there is talk of shelving it, however, it is then used as 'evidence' of lack of investment in the north (even though the majority whinged about what a useless idea it was and only of benefit to southerners and too expensive etc etc when it was first proposed). No government can win on this, whatever their policy.
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Jun 26th, 2015, 07:49 AM
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>> No government can win on this, whatever their policy.<<

They certainly can't if they don't have a policy so much as headline-catching ideas that never quite materialise (or make them look silly when they find their supporters actually expect them to deliver on them).
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Jun 26th, 2015, 11:12 AM
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the lack of putting moneys into infrastructure for years is coming home to roost - why is the U.K. so backwards in rail compared to any country on the continent just about?

Population density is about the same or greater than many countries which have high-speed rail lines - heck nobody should be flying between say London and Edinburgh or Glasgow - trains today take about 5 hours - in France that would be a two-hour train trip.
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Jun 26th, 2015, 11:23 AM
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It is often cheaper to fly to Edinburgh or Glasgow than it is to take a train. Sad but true.
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Jun 26th, 2015, 02:52 PM
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'the lack of putting moneys into infrastructure for years is coming home to roost - why is the U.K. so backwards in rail compared to any country on the continent just about?'

All untrue and only go to show that you don't read any of the responses - your aim is merely to provoke. As explained on here, and probably multiple threads in the past the UK has a very old rail infrastructure much of it built in Victorian times. The same is true of the tube. It is an order of magnitude harder to update or repair that sort of infrastructure (low bridges, narrow tunnels, ancient wiring) than it is to work on infrastructure built, say, in the 1950s.

Also the UK has a very extensive rail network - its really not that common for even quite modestly sized towns not to have a railway station. You can cite the superiority of services on the continent but many of those countries will have infrastructure serving more major towns and cities only and not every far flung corner in the way much of the UK does. Again, how much easier must the upkeep be when you have many miles less track to look after.
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Jun 26th, 2015, 11:25 PM
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Wonder why this announcement was made after the election?
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Jun 27th, 2015, 01:46 AM
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"Also the UK has a very extensive rail network - its really not that common for even quite modestly sized towns not to have a railway station."

When we lived in the UK, I wondered why Abingdon's was no longer operational. I did contract work there for a while and it's got numerous business parks with lots of area commuters, yet non-drivers (a minority, I admit) had to take buses from Didcot Parkway.

Switzerland, whose public transport system is second to none, has no true high-speed rail. High speed trains like the ICE and TGV do operate in the country, but not at their top speeds. I think the fastest a train goes in Switzerland is 200 km/h, which, while hardly a snail's pace, is not truly high speed. Doesn't bother me, the scenery is so attractive, it's ok that we have a little more time to admire it
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Jun 27th, 2015, 10:43 AM
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its really not that common for even quite modestly sized towns not to have a railway station.

Rather than reinventing the wheel -

http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=69227

And here's a map with UK stations plotted on it - just zoom into the gaps and find places like Keswick, Alnwick, Pickering, Kelso, Ashington, Blyth, Alston, Brough, Barnard Castle...
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Jun 27th, 2015, 10:45 AM
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Let's include the map (if it doesn't work go into Google Maps, go to the UK then type in "train stations")

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/search...,-1.0060458,9z
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Jun 27th, 2015, 11:05 AM
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by whatever mesure if you ride trains much in any Continental country their trains are vastly superior to British trains in all regards except first class - first class in Britain is posh - at least the Gold First Class railpassholders can ride in on some lines - but the rest is more typical of a third-world system creaking along.
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Jun 27th, 2015, 12:37 PM
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Off the headline trains continental trains can be very poor - but then so can British trains (Pacer anyone)
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Jun 30th, 2015, 01:35 PM
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Off the headline trains continental trains can be very poor - but then so can British trains (Pacer anyone)>

No nearly IME of decades of riding Continental trains - some real horrow stories have happened on British trains that are just incredible and I've never seen anywhere else - like a train overshooting the platform before stopping out of the station - rules said they could not back up - we were told - to the most incredibly overcrowded train anywhere and the train from Edinburgh to Carlisle - lost power soon after departure - train had to put temp headlights on and limp into Carlise hours late and on and on - things never ever seen on the zillions of Continental trains.

Now that twice as many Brits are riding trains with little infrastructure being done it must be even worse - oh the long-distance trains have a modicum of comfort - especially in first class but I have yet to see one ride where my coffee cup did not rattle loudly the whole way if I did not put some nappies under it.

The rebuilding of the West Coast line a decade or more ago was at that time the most expensive rail project or one of them in European history - what did they end up with - a new high-speed line - no just a mediocre rebuilding of the old line with marginally increased speeds - the first Virgin train to test out the newly rehabbed tracks has to abort its high speed when the train began to shake rattle and roll (and rock too).

the Advanced Passenger Train or APT was UK's high-speed hopes decades ago but again flopped - causing press on the train to be afraid for their lives in one initial trial.

For some reason Brits are more wed to their cars than trains and those who do ride suffer thru all the hassles never or rarely seen in Europe proper.
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Jun 30th, 2015, 02:00 PM
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1.3 billion journeys are made by train in the UK every year.
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Jun 30th, 2015, 07:15 PM
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The worst train I've ever been on was going from Orleans to Toulouse
in First Class. Awful!

Haven't yet had a problem with spilling coffee or for that matter much else on any of the British rail lines I've ridden. Must be exceptionally lucky!
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Jul 1st, 2015, 12:34 PM
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1.3 billion journeys are made by train in the UK every year.>

And they deserve more better comfy faster trains that are always on time. the one big plus for British trains is that they run very frequently and go everywhere that Beeching did not cut - unlike France where TGVs to Paris and radiating out are fab but cross-country trains very slower and sporadic.
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