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UK To Spend £5.5bn On Transport  
User currently offlineDavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7363 posts, RR: 14
Posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 1231 times:
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Her Majesty's Government in the UK have decided to spens £5.5 bn (or €8.57bn or $8.65bn) on numerous transport "initiatives"; £3bn of it will be in road "improvements" i.e widening some motorways to cater for extra traffic (e.g. M1 between Birmingham and Manchester) and creating new by-passes, and also introducing a new tunnel near Stonehenge. All of this is subject to planning permission being granted.

The other bit of spend includes items such as trams on Merseyside and, at long last, the threatened "Big Bang" of the tram system in Manchester including a link to MAN. But they've still not got the go-ahead for the bit that'll route past me

Full details to be found here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2560003.stm.

David


16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 20
Reply 1, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1211 times:
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I'm no expert on transport, but it's clear the motorways are clogged, gigantic car parks. The problem is too many cars, too little space. 26 million cars in a small island like the UK?! I'm afraid the car is king and unless public transport is made attractive again, people willl stick to their cars. If the trains and buses were cheaper to use and actually ran on time, then many people would consider it when the car is not a necessity. Unless that happens, i don't see people giving up their cars so easily to jump on overcrowded and smelly trains and buses.




In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13170 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1209 times:

The only time when car use in London dropped, was in 1981, when Ken Livingstone's GLC funded big cuts in fares and some service improvements.
Lasted just months, the government got Bromley council (who used to allow the National Front to use council facilities for meetings), to successfully challenge the subsidy in the courts.
Even if you made public transport very cheap, and run at European service levels, there are millions of Jeremy Clarkson types out there who would still drive no matter what, even for very short journeys.
(They would also moan like hell about the tax bill).
This government, (to their regret now), somewhat neglected transport in their first term.
All that is happening now is trying to play catch up, and not only in transport, you are looking at decades of underfunding.
Even London Underground improvements are locked up in this PPP idea, which Gordon Brown probably does not even like, but he knows that for all the complaints about transport, people are not prepared to really fund it, instead they'll bleat on about how this money is all being spent on Asylum Seekers etc, (and other Daily Mail rubbish).


User currently offlineGKirk From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2000, 24914 posts, RR: 56
Reply 3, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1205 times:

Since when has the M1 run between Manchester and Birmingham though....I always thought that was the M6  Smile


When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
User currently offlineNJTurnpike From United States of America, joined May 2000, 580 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1201 times:

With the government at an apparent standstill in their road-building program, and yet the number of cars on the road increasing everyday, something had to give. Looks like it was the government this time. Next time the new lanes fill up (not too far in the distant future judging by recent history), what will give then? By the time many of these improvements are complete, the roads will have filled up with yet more traffic, negating the pressure-relieving effect the schemes were to have afforded. And that's not taking into account the intermediate years of misery as contraflow upon contraflow clog up the roads while the construction takes place.

Good things to come out of this? A twin-bore tunnel under / around Stonehenge. Way, way overdue. This has been talked about for at least 15 - 20 years. Here's hoping the completion date of 2006 is met...here's a fiver to say it's not.



User currently offlinePaulc From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1490 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1191 times:

People will always need to have their own transport. Many of the journey's I do for work and pleasure would be difficult (if not impossible), expensive and time consuming to do by public transport.

Don't forget that people already pay car tax, insurance just to have a car and until public transport is made more affordable and flexible people are going to use something they have already paid for rather than pay again.



English First, British Second, european Never!
User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 1187 times:

No surprises in the goverment announcement, it's what many of us in the railway industry have been fearing for some time and is Blair's way of saying 'We can't fix the railways so we are going to give up'.

The much vaunted Strategic Rail Authority set up by the Labour administration has been a complete waste of time, all it has done is withdrawn funding left right and centre and abandoned projects that had real potential. My company has just spent £700 million on new trains and now the SRA says that it is not economical to upgrade the power supplies to enable these trains to run to their potential. So our lovely new trains will have to be subject to speed restrictions and will have air con systems that we can't use because their is not enough power. We currently have around 60 brand new trains (that's over 200 carriages) lying idle because the SRA won't give Railtrack the money to upgrade the power supplies on a short 10 mile stretch of track so that we can at least get them certified for passenger use. The train companies are trying to improve things but are being stifled by funding constraints from up above. For the trains to run properly and efficiently it requires integrated investment so that when new trains arrive they can be put to good use as soon as possible.

If the government wants to reform the railways it needs to cut out all the layers of contractors, Railtrack must employ it's own staff to build major projects like the West Coast upgrade, and use it's own staff to do the day to day maintenance as the private companies have proved themselves to be incompetent (i.e. Hatfield and Potters Bar). May be then we will be able to manage costs better and Railtrack could even become an institution that private capital is attracted to once again.

As far as roads are concerned I think that most of this money is not new-it's just money that would otherwise have been given to the railways.

The whole point of privatisation was to cut the railways free from the purse strings of the treasury-and here we are ten years later with railway investment being controlled by the SRA, whose paymaster is...er, the treasury!

Oh well, I suppose I had better go and sell some train tickets!

Matt



you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineNJTurnpike From United States of America, joined May 2000, 580 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 1181 times:

Matt, do you work for SWT? Sounds like it - in which case, you may be stuck with slam-door stuff for a couple more years while they find that supposed _£500,000,000_ to upgrade the supply equipment for the entire third rail network.

The DfT did indeed send a big fat 'f--- you' message to rail commuters. A description of the the £5.5 billion package is at http://www.dft.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2002_0354 , and you have to scroll down quite a ways before you come to the word 'rail'; even then it's only mentioned in the context of the new Merseytram and unspecified lightrail schemes.



User currently offlineDavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7363 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1175 times:
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There's a story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2566343.stm) on the BBC says that Connex South Eastern are being bailed out to the tune of £58m, with the franchise to run out 5 years ahead of schedule in 2006.


David


User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1172 times:

Turnpike:

Correct! I work for SWT....I have more to say on the matter but I have to go get a plane to Edinburgh (quicker, cheaper and far more civilised than driving or geting the train!!).

Matt



you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13170 posts, RR: 77
Reply 10, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 1159 times:

Isn't it great? Connex, crappy old Connex, get a bail out?
So much for John Majors vision.
This is what I hate about so much of UK business, whining bunch of incompetents, bitching day and night about 'government his and government that', yet who do they turn to when they cock things up?
Railway companies? Renationalise the lot of them.
They failed on safety, investment, service, everything, and get a bigger subsidy for this.
And yes, I use the railways, mostly the London commuter lines, BR were not very good, but this lot!
Maybe there are some decent ones out there, I've not seen them, and yes I know Railtrack were the villains for the most part, which is why a clean slate is needed.
At least people knew who they were dealing with when it was all BR, as opposed to the constant buck passing that goes on now.


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 11, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1147 times:

It isn't as if they couldn't see it coming, is it GDB? I mean Connex South Central have already lost their franchise, so why would South Eastern be any better?


She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineDonder10 From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 6659 posts, RR: 21
Reply 12, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1145 times:

The fact is most of these firms don't really compete-usually an important factor in improving service and cost!
I would like to see how fares have risen since privatisation and then ask why the likes of Connex are asking for a bail-out.The one that always pissed me off was trying to get onto the trains at Putney at 7 30 and wondering why they didn't stick another 4 carriages on?But then the carriage leasing market is almost a monopoly so perhaps they can't afford them?


User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 20
Reply 13, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 1132 times:
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The one that always pissed me off was trying to get onto the trains at Putney at 7 30 and wondering why they didn't stick another 4 carriages on?But then the carriage leasing market is almost a monopoly so perhaps they can't afford them?

I have to suffer the same fate on Thameslink on a regular basis between Luton and London. It's infuriating to see only 4 carriages on a peak rush hour on a friday afternoon.




In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 1133 times:

Adding 4 coaches is fine provided the platforms are long enough to accommodate them-which they are not. SWT is running as many trains in to Waterloo as possible every rush hour and yet we still can't keep up with demand. When demand for a product outstrips supply and supply cannot be increased the normal thing that happens next is that prices go up to try and manage demand, we could put prices up by 10% tomorrow and the trains would still be packed. Regardless of that, most tickets sold in the rush hour are travelcards of one form or another and we have no control over the price of travelcards-they are set by Transport For London.

80% of most train companies costs are fixed, in the form of leasing costs and track access costs. When the trains were privatised the Government made sure that the leasing companies and Railtrack had a long term large fixed income in order to make them worth buying into-the down side is that it costs around £300,00 to lease one old slam door train for a year which is ridiculously overpriced. Even if we leased 10 new sliding door trains (not that there are any we could lease) it would cost us around £20 million a year-we then have to pay Railtrack more money because those 10 trains will always be out on the mainline, in a station or in a siding, can we add these trains on the back of the current services to ease overcrowding? No, because the platforms are not long enough-Can we use them as new services in addition to the current timetable? No, because the is no spare capacity. So what do we get for our £20 million? absolutely nothing.

Ugrading the routes to take longer trains is one of the projects that the SRA is threatening to pull the plug on-it is up to Railtrack to fix/renew the infrastructure, when it is ready to be used we will pay increased track access fees to reflect the investment but Railtrack/The SRA has to get things started.

I don't know what's going on at Connex, I believe that the £58million is conditional on certain service targets being met over the remainder of their franchise. The fact that they have been given more money reflects the Rail Regulations that state that if a train company goes out of business it's services become the responsibility of the government-effectively a state run railway. I doubt that Blair fancied that idea, nor does the Labour Party want to see further disruption to the trains in an area that covers a number of marginal seats. It's all about politics.

I only work for SWT so I can only speak on their behalf (I don't know enough about the others to make informed comment), but I think you'll find there have been no accidents since privatisation where we were at fault-the only serious incident was two years ago and was the result of a bus driver queing in a traffic jam that straddled a level crossing. As far as punctuality is concerned I am not going to defend SWT as puncuality is the the thing we seem worst at-whether a unified state run railway would be better is hard to say, over two thirds of delays are attributable to infrastructure which is only a reflection of the preilous state of Railtrack. Having a state run railway isn't the way to bring about the investment that is needed to sort out the track etc. SWT certainly has delivered on investment, in addition to the £700 million order for new trains we spent £50 million on new trains 4 years ago that are now in service, Feltham station has been completely rebuilt, Brentford is currently being rebuilt-Waterloo, Southampton Airport and Bournemouth have all seen large amounts of investment for the benefit of our customers. If you want to talk about service we can talk about the 40% more trains we are running now than we were when we took over. It's not all bad news you know-there are some bad train companies like Arriva, Connex and Wales & West, but we are not all the cowboy companies some people think we are.

If you want to know the biggest enemy of the train companies, passengers and the government you need look no further than the RMT and ASLEF. People talk about 'Spanish practices' in the Fire service, the railways are much worse and it is a huge drain on resources (principally financial resources). The sooner the train companies stand up to the unions and fight them down, the sooner we will have a more efficient railway.

Competition? It'll never happen on a widespread basis. It was designed like that for a quick sale-it's a lot easier to sell a monopoly supplier than one with lots of competition. For example, Virgin has a clause in it's contract that excludes Midland Mainline from extending their Sheffield to London trains to start back at Manchester-even though there is a specified route in the London to Manchester fare structure which is cheaper than the normal route through Stoke/Stafford. Virgin also signed an exclusive deal with Railtrack that prevented it's competitor (Silverlink) from using the fast lines on the London-Birmingham route, this was part of financing deal for the West Coast upgrade, Railtrack gets money from Virgin, Railtrack provides Virgin with protection from competition-everyone's happy (except Silverlink of course).

That's enough from me-it's been a long day. A pleasant but cold day of photography at EDI and a nice cooked breakfast from BA on the way up! Shame we were an hour late coming back:-(


Matt



you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13170 posts, RR: 77
Reply 15, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 1125 times:

We keep telling ourselves that the state cannot run railways, try telling that to much of Europe, who seem to do a better job, granted they seem to understand that if you want better services you need investment, I suspect even most European car drivers understand that, helps keep their roads clearer for a start.
I'm afraid most British people are too self-centered and selfish to see that.
I believe you when you say your company is doing what it can, but think of all the £ spent on 'consultants' 'Lawyers' and the rest, for what? We invented the railway, what more do we need to know?
Also, what would help things would be if the government actually got around to passing a corporate manslaughter bill, then let's see maintenance go to the lowest bidder, the maintenance staff cut to the bone, unqualified staff be brought in and other decisions to 'enhance shareholder value', if those who took these decisions might end up getting buggered in Parkhurst.
What the Tories did with privatising the BR was criminal, shame on Labour for not immediately reversing it on taking power.


User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1123 times:

It was Labours first U-turn:

In October 1996 Prescott said Labour was committed to returning the railways to public ownership, by May 1997 only days after the election they said they would seek to regulate the railways tightly but that public ownership was not on the agenda.

It's basically gone downhill since then.


Matt



you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
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