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The State of UK Rail - some personal experiences

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Actually it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the livery designer (yes he was not hired to actually design the cab shape, he took that upon himself without BRs permission), was able to convince BR to drop conventional buffers and come up with a much better looking design.

 

And that was, of course, Kenneth Grange.

 

(Interesting - his Wikipedia page has a nice photograph of him standing in front of one of the two historic liveried HST power cars - the one that wasn't named after him).

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Several years ago when a certain Mr Whelan was ASLEF rep at Southern he accepted unlimited DOO so the Southern fight was always going to be lost, none of the other TOCs have that problem.

Edited by royaloak
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I'm not sure how many people you would get to agree that the prototype HST cab was more stylish than the production version. Or indeed at all stylish come to think of it.

It was purely as reported in Chris Tarrant's "The train that saved BR" which aired earlier this year while I was in UK.

I've no specific recollection of the history because by that time I'd abandoned life under the 3 day week, high inflation, no jobs, miner's strike etc for considerably sunnier shores.

 

My point was more to the cause of the change. Regarding style "De gustibus non est disputandum" applies. However it seems to be a reasonable topic as a sub discussion here since these 40+yr old trains are still held in such high regard.

 

BTW I do like the final appearance, I was admiring a set in the display case of my local model shop just earlier this afternoon.

 

Colin

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Several years ago when a certain Mr Whelan was ASLEF rep at Southern he accepted unlimited DOO so the Southern fight was always going to be lost, none of the other TOCs have that problem.

 

I'm not sure that I understand your comment.

 

One thing what ASLEF will accept. Quite another what will pass muster with RMT.

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Actually it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the livery designer (yes he was not hired to actually design the cab shape, he took that upon himself without BRs permission), was able to convince BR to drop conventional buffers and come up with a much better looking design.

 

Obviously the livery designer never had to couple anything to a failed train or use one to assist a failed train.

Lots of things get discussed at CEO / boardroom level that never get far enough down the food chain to trouble day to day operations and its somewhat naive to assume that you or I will always get to hear about it - particularly if said top management reject it.

 

Provided the plan / concept / idea remains a 'table top' / brainstorming type of exercise there is even no technical need to consult with the Unions, etc - that only comes when management have advanced the idea into a actual proposal and they want to start to take it forward to the next stage.

 

There have been plenty of (admittedly oblique) references in the specialist railway press over the years to the fact that SWT did in its early days consider (at a high level that is) and subsequently rejected (again at a high level within the organisation) DOO precisely because the harm (both reputational and financial) a prolonged industrial dispute would cause while they overcame Union resistance.

 

This is how it should be - a company of whether its private or public and regardless of what it does should always be receptive to suggestions. The skill is being able to work out which ones work and which ones don't.

 

Without strong Government support going for DOO has too many negatives compared to positives, which is why no TOC attempted it until the current Conservative administration started making it clear thats what they wanted future franchise bidders to do (and were willing to make good the financial losses which would ensue due to strike action)

 

I would be surprised if they didn't consider it at high level and they perhaps weighed up potential disruption costs/losses against overall gains across the franchise period and decided to steer clear.  That wouldn't be at all unusual in my experience of private companies that get involved in railway franchises etc - they might talk and act tough elsewhere (especially when it comes to running buses) but in many instances in their railway involvement they have been noticeably risk averse and happy to make pay and conditions deals to save their necks (far more so than BR ever was in my direct experience).  Which helps explain how ASLEF under Lew Adams General Secretaryship was able to do so well for its members out of privatisation.

 

Incidentally lest we forget - BR for long steered clear of going for DOO(P) on the South Western despite the fact that much (most?) of the investment in fixed installations, such as cameras and monitors, needed for DOO(P) was actually installed at not inconsiderable expense.

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Digressing slightly, I see Chris Grey Thing is taking the opprobrium for the Gatwick fiasco. While there seems to be no beginning to his abilities, there’s no doubting his stamina and durability.

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I'm not sure why it should be Chris Grayling's fault if idiots shut an airport down by flying a drone over it and when the situation is managed by the appropriate law enforcement and security agencies. If people want to blame the government (which in this case is unmerited IMO) surely it should be the Home Office that takes the heat given their the boss for law and order?

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I'm not sure why it should be Chris Grayling's fault if idiots shut an airport down by flying a drone over it and when the situation is managed by the appropriate law enforcement and security agencies. If people want to blame the government (which in this case is unmerited IMO) surely it should be the Home Office that takes the heat given their the boss for law and order?

Reading the latest coverage in the press, it appears that there are companies specialising in dealing with exactly this sort of problem, that they arrived on location within hours and that two persons have now been identified and arrested.

 

Gatwick, it appears, is operated by an international company licenced for the purpose. Responsibility seems to rest ultimately with CAA and through them, DofT https://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/about-gatwick/company-information/how-we-are-regulated/ - so it does seem to come back to Mr Grayling.

 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Edited by rockershovel

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Reading the latest coverage in the press, it appears that there are companies specialising in dealing with exactly this sort of problem, that they arrived on location within hours and that two persons have now been identified and arrested.

 

Gatwick, it appears, is operated by an international company licenced for the purpose. Responsibility seems to rest ultimately with CAA and through them, DofT https://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/about-gatwick/company-information/how-we-are-regulated/ - so it does seem to come back to Mr Grayling.

 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

And those people have now been declared innocent and released without charge.

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I'm not sure why it should be Chris Grayling's fault if idiots shut an airport down by flying a drone over it and when the situation is managed by the appropriate law enforcement and security agencies. If people want to blame the government (which in this case is unmerited IMO) surely it should be the Home Office that takes the heat given their the boss for law and order?

 

However surely the CAA  has some responsibilities in this area, definitely so in respect of air navigation, and has actually issued a 'please be good and be careful with your drone, or else' notice since this incident.  Presumably they come somewhere within the DfT umbrella although in respect of security it will no doubt be jointly with various other agencies.

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I'm not sure why it should be Chris Grayling's fault if idiots shut an airport down by flying a drone over it and when the situation is managed by the appropriate law enforcement and security agencies. If people want to blame the government (which in this case is unmerited IMO) surely it should be the Home Office that takes the heat given their the boss for law and order?

 

The point is I understand Chris Grayling was planning to introduce further legislation as regards drones before the Westminster summer recess. Whether it would have been effective at preventing the Gatwick incident is perhaps doubtful, but at least it would have probably meant the authorities better prepared to handle things.

 

Unfortunately the car crash that is Brexit has meant that numerous parliamentary bills have had to be postponed to make room for a lot of squabbling toddlers to vent their views

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And those people have now been declared innocent and released without charge.

So they have; which raises a number of difficult questions about how the press obtained their details, so quickly. The actual photo used, looks like the sort of thing people routinely post on social media.

 

Some of the reporting appears contradictory, to the extent of at least one report in a national press source claiming that there may have been no drone at all. All most odd.

 

Regarding responsibility, I’d always understood that the function of the Minister responsible was to oversee and direct at a policy level, based upon advice from those actually involved in operation, and upon his understanding of Government policy. I’d also understood that it was his (or her, as it might be) responsibility to interact with other agencies, at Ministerial level, to secure or promote whatever cooperation might be indicated.

 

So Chris Grayling is undoubtedly the primary owner of events of this nature, but isn’t required to deal with them from his sole resources.

Edited by rockershovel

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Order! gentlemen. This is drifting way off what is already cast as a very wide topic,

 

Please have a most enjoyable Christmas. We're forecast to have a delightful 29C for Christmas Day here and 25C for the start of the Boxing Day Test, which I'll be in attendance.

 

Colin

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Following on from my October trip last year, thought I would push the boat out a little more for this years holiday. A 'All line rover' is pushing the boat out by a long way. When I first entertained the idea back in 2017 I just couldn't swallow the price £347.15 for 7 consecutive days with rail-card discount. As my little jolly last year with split ticketing showed it can be good value. At £49.59 a day for 7 consecutive days, I am someone who wants to squeeze every penny out of this ticket.

 

With my accommodation booked, in the order of staying York, Haworth, Newcastle, Mankinholes, Edale (Derbyshire) and finally Penzance. To say squeeze every penny out is a understatement , starting my little jolly from North Norfolk yesterday (9th September) I want to knock down quite a few stretches of line for some it will just be another commute by train for me it's a voyage of discovery.

 

Setting off Gunton to Norwich, No problems here's, always a good start.

Norwich to Stowmarket, Minute down due to a late departure for the 10:57 EMR

Stowmarket to Cambridge, Well broken down freight between Ipswich and Stowmarket and 'Vehicle striking a bridge'. Credit to the staff a Stowmarket for keeping the passengers updated, sadly lost 1 hour 20 minutes and the train to Cambridge now going to Ely only calling at Bury St Edmunds only, making up time by terminating a train earlier is standard practice which is something my Grandad told me about when he worked for BR / Central trains.

 

Any who getting to Ely and our guard being very useful and information which trains to take for onward travel. For me London Kings Cross.

Ely to London Kings Cross, for a country bumpkin those class 387 can really take off and tried the 'Free WiFi' all in all no problems.

Kings Cross to St Pancras.

St Pancras to Sheffield, no problems here, I'd be interested to see what EMR do, the old saying 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' comes to mind but we'll see.

Sheffield to York, No problems just the usual busy service.

 

With day 1 down Gunton to York via Stowmarket, Ely, London and Sheffield not bad going.

 

I'll try and post my fun and frolic over the week.

 

        

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Assuming travel for 14 hours per day for 5 of the 7 days works out at £5 / hour of railway enjoyment,  £350 for a holiday adventure with the potential to visit far-off  places on the railway atlas such as Windermere, Plymouth, Scotland, that is my idea of a holiday, please take in  the Settle and Carlisle line if you can.

Edited by Pandora

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So Tuesday 10th September, from my nights digs in York, I wanted to do what I can only descride as a large figure of 8.

 

York to Leeds via Harrogate, No problems and what a pleasant journey with Knaresborough definitely worth a holiday on it's own.

Leeds to Hull, Signal trouble outside Hull but other wise TPE very good and smooth which is a odd thing to say. I've found class 185 ride very well. Oh I was interested in seeing 2 HST sets at Hull.

Hull to Seamer, Another pleasant journey and first time on a class 155. My plan was to head to Scarborough but the change over time between the Hull service and the Liverpool lime street serivce was to large, I bottled it in the end. Besides Scarborough isn't going to disappear anytime soon.

Seamer to York, A another journey pleasant, I just can't get over Malton station everything tells me that the second platform should still be there but like Dunbar lost it's second platform due to reduceding serivce in BR days?

York to Leeds, To complete my figure of 8 I was heading for Doncaster but jumped on the wrong Cross Country Train and headed for leeds instead, nothing  lost.

Leeds to Keighley, 16:28 to skipton is the where what feels like the whole of Leeds fit onto one train.

 

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Edited by 17A
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Well a little behind on travel my reports,

 

Wednesday 11th covered quite a few miles starting in Keighley which is a pleasure to wait for a train.

 

Keighley to Skipton, a fast and frequent service. Skipton never been to before and keeping in with the theme of Keighley colour scheme well done Northern.

Skipton to Hellifield, starting to get into the dark depths of the Yorkshire dales now. I didn't know what to expect at Hellifeild, it's certainly out in the sticks but reminded of North Norfolk with what was waiting in the other platform.....

Hellifield to Carlisle, oh this is what has been on my bucket list for every since I've found out about this line. Wait pays off @Pandora . Something that bugs me about this line, with all the hype about the Settle and Carlisle why isn't a more regular service being run? All the same the service was on time the class 158 being a little tired but there we go.

Carlisle to Newcastle, the Hadrain's wall country line is a little gem of a line and I don't think it's publicized enough which is a great shame. To say that Dr beeching would have kept the Newcastle to Carlisle line open had his second phase of plans of cuts gone ahead.

Newcastle to Berwick-upon-Tweed return, just a quick call to Berwick-upon-Tweed can't help myself by falling in love with that stretch of coast line and Berwick-upon-Tweed it self is very pleasant.

 

Ps more photo will follow later as the WiFI on XC to Birmingham is a little slow, as I feel I could be slowing other people down.

 

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Edited by 17A
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It is worrying to think that from being a country of confident outgoing youth we have a generation of children who know nought of danger, ability to communicate or understanding of many things in the world around them.Of course there are thankfully exceptions and these are a joy to be around who can be trusted to handle themselves in a proper manner.My generation had to look after themselves as adults then were working hard to rebuild our country some thing we were made fully aware of at all times.Pleasure time was something we made the most in safety  trainspotting trips to main stations by bus or days out with a Red Rover ticket  not something to attempt on your own now ,sadly not possible due to problems in society.Times have sadly changed and there is nothing really that can be done to change it.

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The Settle & Carlisle service was upgraded   for 2018 with an extra train in each direction per day. The friends of the S&C organisation would agree with  comment, but 30 years ago the  line was to be closed for good

 

Read this:

 

https://www.foscl.org.uk/content/settle-carlisle-line-celebrating-25-years-its-reprieve

Edited by Pandora

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re s and c -one thing that confuses me is why a few trains run 'express' and miss out on calls at say ribblehead.

maybe there is 'no demand' but the time saved must be minimal.

(I'm talking about daytime rather than the evening situation)

regards

mike j

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On 14/09/2019 at 13:44, lmsforever said:

It is worrying to think that from being a country of confident outgoing youth we have a generation of children who know nought of danger, ability to communicate or understanding of many things in the world around them.

 

Doesn't every generation make similar sweeping statements about the 'youth of today'?  

Edited by Christopher125
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23 hours ago, mikejames said:

re s and c -one thing that confuses me is why a few trains run 'express' and miss out on calls at say ribblehead.

maybe there is 'no demand' but the time saved must be minimal.

(I'm talking about daytime rather than the evening situation)

regards

 

Might be pathing issues. Certainly a few years ago there was a fair amount of freight, although I'm guessing the decline of coal traffic has had a significant impact on it. The sections are quite long and must've been limiting again (a change from the level of usage back then when they were probably more than adequate), enough for intermediate block signals to have been added in some places a while back.

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Having now been let across the boarder back into North Norfolk, it's time to report on the rest of my travels.

 

Starting on Thursday 12th September. 

 

Newcastle Central has a real buzz, where I stood on the end of platform 4 I couldn't keep track (no pun intended) of the amount of movements.

From Newcastle my destination was a town called Todmorden where I hoped to catch a bus up to my digs in Mankinhole.

As I've based myself around the Northern half of the country for most of the week I've heavily used TPE (Trans Pennine Express) and can say I'm not disappointed.  

First point of call was the Bishop Line, as I wanted to catch a glimpse where tornado was built and see what I could of the Newton Aycliffle Hitachi factory.... Not a lot.

Back at Darlington and I made haste to Doncaster. I have found traveling over the week that within the quiet coach can deliver on quite a few seats being empty / unreserved. Cross Country Trains and LNER especially after the morning peak.

Arriving at Doncaster on time gave an opportunity to go to Lincoln, it's been on my bucket list and knowing there are a direct trains to Sheffield and Leeds for onward travel to Todmorden.

I am staggered to find a class 153 to run the service to Lincoln but saying that a class 153 runs to Derby to Crewe line. Lincoln station is very pleasant and I do commend East Midland Trains for giving the station a nice ambiance.

On the Northern service to Leeds, compared to my Settle to Carlisle journey the previous day, the scenery couldn't be more different. I went as far as Barnsley to change onto the Penistone Line. This is where I should have planned a lot better, as I didn't bank on how long the journey from Barnsley to Huddersfield was going to take. Needing to bare in mind my last check-in for my digs was 21:00, onward travel to Halifax was my option but connections would mean I would wait 40 minutes at Halifax. So enter centre stage right...…. The bus.

 

Running like clock work and with top notch WiFi on board the bus, I made my connection at Halifax to Todmorden with a few minutes to spare. Still missed the bus up Mankinhole so used a taxi. The lesson here is best to research train times before one gets off at a station then not knowing very little about the connection further up the line later*. 

 

But having done the distance and seen what I might have missed it's still worth it, even if I have to improvise.

 

*Still didn't learn my lesson later on in the week.

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Edited by 17A
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On 15/09/2019 at 19:16, Christopher125 said:

 

Doesn't every generation make similar sweeping statements about the 'youth of today'?  

Yes, it's rather humorous how it always goes full circle. I'm only 29 and I find myself having to catch myself making similar comments about the apprentices on site!

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