David_itl
Topic Author
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Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Tue Jan 28, 2003 9:38 pm

Interesting new put out today suggesting that MAN domestic services are experiencing growth as a result of the continuing railway problems, particularly on the route to London which saw 29% growth in December.

I believe that one of the expectations of future domestic air travel was that there would be fewer services between Manchester and London, yet it looks as though the new low fares on offer have seen a mushroom effect on passenger numbers. Whether this will be maintained when the Virgin rail fleet is fully replaced with the "Pendolino" trains is open to debate, but I'd like to know if some passengers will not revert back to rail travel having found that in some instances the fares appear to be dramatically cheaper e.g. a day return to LCY for £40 is cited by VLM.

This Manchester Evening News story reports on this unexpected rail to air substitution. Of interest should be the comment about the MAN-LCY by VLM who are reported to have transported nearly 25,000 passengers in the 4 months they have been operating their service.

bmi in particular are doing well, with the number of passengers on their LHR service increasing by 71%. The one dubious comment comes from BA who state that they carry the most passengers to London from MAN....isn't that a surprise, after all, we'd have never have thought they'd be number one when you consider they operate up to 11 daily LHR services, up to 7 daily LGW services & 3 weekday daily STN services versus bmi's up to 7 daily LHR services and VLM's 28 weekly LCY services.

There is also a MAN press release on this subject.

David
 
Rick767
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Tue Jan 28, 2003 10:12 pm

Having only done it a couple of times, I would never return to rail travel to head up North on visits to the family again.

The low fares available on BA's LGW-MAN route (and other domestic routes) make the stress of train travel entirely unjustified, and I can spend more time with my family flying up to Manchester then flying home after a day or two.

The train would basically take all day both there and back. I must stress though, I regularly take the train from home in Brighton to Gatwick Airport to get to and from work (as I will do tomorrow morning in fact).

I fly the LGW-MAN-LGW flight about once a month and rarely have a problem with it.

Doubt they would give me a free sandwich and a beer on the train (to Manchester) either Big grin
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
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nighthawk
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Tue Jan 28, 2003 10:28 pm

Last year I was travelling from Carlisle to Newbury. It worked out £100 return to get the train to newbury, via london. It worked out cheaper to get the train to Glasgow (£10 return), fly to london (easyjet £40 return) and get the train to Newbury (£20 return?).

It worked out slightly cheaper, but even if it wasnt i would rather fly than take a train!
 
Demoose
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Tue Jan 28, 2003 10:37 pm

I flew MAN-LHR on saturday with bmi and paid only £50 return. After having such a pleasant flight i've decided never to take the train down again if the lower fares offered by bmi and BA remain in place. It's much quicker, easier and i imagine not much difference in price, plus it's also nice to be in calm environment.

Mark
Take a ride...fly across the sky
 
richardw
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Tue Jan 28, 2003 10:44 pm

I did LGW-MAN-LGW a week ago on BA and was surprised how good the service was. I didn't expect a deli bag or an alcoholic drink, I thought they would only give us a soft drink and pretzels. I couldn't find a virgin train fare i was prepared to pay for.

There were also VS cabin crew on the BA plane as passengers, so VS must think it is quite a good service aswell!
 
Guest

RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Tue Jan 28, 2003 11:29 pm

It still depends, as far as I'm personally concerned.

With a Young Person's Railcard, I often get extremely cheap Virgin Value fares between London and cities such as Birmingham and Manchester, which I doubt any of the airlines mentioned above would be able to match.

My main priority is price, so I'm inclined to put up with the odd delay and little or no service.

If I were to attend a job interview or other such important commitment, I would certainly consider paying extra to fly to London - especially LCY.
 
qantas744
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Wed Jan 29, 2003 3:28 am

That would be a pretty short flight Captain, I thought you were in Cambrridgeshire!

Back in the 1980's I recall BA using Tristars on the CDG route, what do they use now? Baby buses and the odd 757, which shows how much impact the high speed Eurostar services have had. London to Manchester isn't quite the same though-even when Sir Richard gets his Pandemonium trains into service there will still be enough of the pie left for BMI and BA to have a healthy share. I doubt whether the airlines can really compete with city centre to city centre timings of under two hours, but they will still have the edge for a number a customers like myself who don't want to spend an hour getting to Euston station when I can be at Heathrow in well under 20 minutes. In addition, Virgin trains will still be plagued by the kind of infrastructure failures that cause unexpected delays-and then there are always other companies trains breaking down and blocking the line.

If I have to go to Manchester city centre I'll get the train-if I'm having a days photography at the airport I'll fly. It's a very marginal choice for me since I live so close to LHR but at the same time I get heavily discounted train fares without the need to book in advance.


Matt
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
 
trintocan
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Wed Jan 29, 2003 9:06 am

Well, with all of the talk of cutting back of train schedules to reduce delays that will simply help to push more UK passengers onto planes. While the cuts will hit Virgin's Cross Country services (eg Cardiff-Aberdeen) more than the mainline ones (ie Euston-Birmingham/Manchester/Liverpool/Glasgow) the impact on the whole operation could still be significant. Add to that the long and costly West Coast line upgrade and one could easily see many former rail passengers moving to the skies for good. It's sad though - while we all love planes I like trains too and from an environmental perspective they are much gentler than planes.

Ultimately the UK's problem is too many trains are being run on too few lines - after the Beeching cuts of the 1960s and 70s there are now fewer lines in existence than ever have been in the last 100 years or so but yet the private train companies try to run as many services as possible. Today I travelled to Charing Cross via London Bridge from Kent and the delay at London Bridge was horrendous - more than 10 minutes in a queue as at least 15 trains whizzed in and out. Many seemed to simply be empties returning to depot after the early rush hour - but nonetheless taking line space anyway.

This mess is certainly one bmi, BA, easyjet and the others can make a mint from.

TrintoCan.
Hop to it, fly for life!
 
qantas744
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Wed Jan 29, 2003 2:35 pm

On the whole correct Trinto can, although IMO the ultimate problem is that of a government that wants to be seen to be doing something but isn't actually doing anything about the nations transport infrastructure. they have quite obviously failed to sort out the mess the railways were left in by the Tories (even the Tories admit they cocked it up) and were not even capable of organising the Aviation consultation document without getting their backsides kicked by a judge.

When it comes to transport, this government is hopeless.


Matt
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
 
EGNM-LBA
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Sat Feb 01, 2003 1:37 am

No mention I see of the fact that between Dec-00 and Dec-01, passengers between MAN and the London airports fell by 28%. So, back to where everyone was 2 years ago - but at much reduced yields.

Not in itself a bad achievement considering that the later part of 2000 was over-egged due to the fall out from Hatfield and the railways were in a mess, but there is of course the additional service to LCY compared to then.

 
Rick767
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Sat Feb 01, 2003 1:49 am

I remember BA using the 747-400 on the Manchester Shuttle a few times after the Hatfield Crash.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
qantas744
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Sat Feb 01, 2003 4:09 am

Do they really still use the 767 on this route sometimes? I uploaded a picture of a 767 today and when checking my records I had it down as BA1383 from MAN.

It just seems a bit big for this flight.



Matt
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
 
donder10
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Sat Feb 01, 2003 4:13 am

Have you tried booking on the Virgin trains site?I ran out of patient and booked on bmi in the end!I must say that FR and EZY have excellent sites-well laid-out and quick.BY direct was also impressive with its choice of flights on surrounding dates to the ones I chose.
And SK.....
 
David_itl
Topic Author
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Sat Feb 01, 2003 4:27 am

Matt

Before bmi came on the route, I believe the 1384/1389 + 1394/1399 tended to be 767s with 757s on 9 of the other services and a 737 doing the 1402/1407.

When bmi started the service, I'm sure they said it was the "thickest" domestic route with no competition (floating around the 1 million pax mark).

Nowadays, we get the very infrequent 767 operating on the shuttle and when G-TECH needs to be looked at in LHR, we often end up with a LHR 767 on the 1384 and out as the 1503, with G-TECH in on the 1502 and out as the 1389.

David
 
qantas744
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Sat Feb 01, 2003 5:17 am

This is the one,


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Matthew Willmott-Sharp




Donder, I hear what you are saying-it is actually quicker for me to book BA/BD or any airline tickets on the net than it is to book on Virgin/GNER/Great Western or any other train operator using the railway's own booking system when I'm at work.

I can honestly say that booking my flights to New York with BA last summer was quicker than the average booking I do at work.


Matt
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
 
BHXviscount
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Sat Feb 01, 2003 8:13 am

The problem with the railways is rather complex and was mainly the fault of the disaster that was privitisation the Tories heaped upon us. There are too many operators competing on our railways- there use to be 1, British Rail who would setup services and connections across the whole of the UK as well as parcels and freight. Generally it worked ok although it wasn't perfect- and not the railways we use to have post war, the 50's being considered the heyday of Britain's Railways. Along came 'The Beeching Report' in the 60,s (Dr Beeching-poor guy has been slated for years as destroying the rail network when all he did was produce reports on the railways which the then Tory government implemented) and over third of the network disappeared by the early 70's, although 25% of lines closed have now been reopened-governments, don't they waste OUR money!
In the 80's the motor ruled so the railways have taken back seat -Tories then privatised the network into many train operators. The roads are now intolerable M25 M1 M6 all car parks! The answer it would seem is to go by rail... er but many of the train operators have actually less coaches/seats on their trains now and all want to run at peak time where there are more potential customers( being private company's they are now in it for profit gain not as when BR ran it as a public service)- just look at the lack of sleeper services there are now, there were plenty of them in 70's/80's from London to Scotland, non peak train services are non existent, so putting more pressure on roads etc etc. Also Railtrack actually started to remove passing sidings(where freight trains would sit to await passing of passenger trains)and single alot of lines- Plymouth-Penzance for example a main line too, just when more train company's were trying to run more trains! Also, the only good thing to come out of the privatisation mess,there is the freight flow. A new company called EWS(English Welsh & Scottish) was setup to handle freight across the network.It was bought by an American train nut who transformed it and freight movement went thru the roof!! And so did the train movements- lots of them ,add this to the above and you can see why the railways are in a mess. Then came Hatfield,track repairs etc etc..... This is where air travel comes in. Travel times are alot less and now prices are quite favorable too. The transport system is in a mess( and governments seem inept at sorting it!) so market forces are taking over, air travel is the only viable alternative for alot of people and if things don't improve then will continue to grow...
BHXviscount.
No officer, its NOT a surface to air missile its a camera..for taking photographs.
 
FrequentFlyKid
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Sat Feb 01, 2003 12:40 pm

I hope this isn't too off track from the original topic, but what it's pinching rail passengers, at least on this side of the pond, is their (Amtrak's) outrageous fares.
 
qantas744
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Sat Feb 01, 2003 1:57 pm

BHX,

As far as the trains go we are back to where we were 30 years ago, i.e. the treausury is holding the purse strings, and that quite obviously proves what a waste of effort privatisation has been. The fact that noone wants to put money into the railways is largely a result of the Railtrack fiasco, but the most damaging people in the industry at the moment are Bob Crow and Mick Rix-the men responsible for all the industrial disputes over the last few years.

As far as freight is concerned BR ran it's own freight company called Railfreight, in 1994 at great expense to the taxpayer this was split into three companies who were encouraged to compete against each other when they should have been competing against road traffic. All three companies were bought by Wisconsin Rail in 1996 and were rebranded as English Welsh and Scottish Railways. Many millions of taxpayers money was wasted creating three companies which two years went back to being one company......a complete waste of time.


Matt
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
 
LPL
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2001 2:13 am

RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Sat Feb 01, 2003 5:39 pm

I'm going to London in 2 weeks. If EasyJet still had a LPL-LUT service I would have used it. But I'm taking the train instead.

I'd much rather take the plane, the train from Lime St to Euston takes 3 and a half hours.
 
EGNM-LBA
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RE: Air Services "pinching" Rail Passengers?

Sat Feb 01, 2003 8:19 pm

In defence of the railways, its worth mentioning that the East Cost Mail Line, on which GNER operate, is tremendously reliable and a big success. For city centre to city centre trips, no-one travels by air from LBA to LHR or LGW. The airlines just can't compete with the sub 2 hour services from either Leeds or York to Kings Cross. Indeed, I beleive Leeds - Kings Cross is the busiest cross-country route in the UK.

egnm

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