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4 minutes ago, billbedford said:

 

The trouble with wishing to curtail consumption, whether of travel or goods, is that it also curtails the ability for people to make a livelihood from providing those goods and services.

Which all runs counter to the 'vote yourself rich' orthodoxy of mass franchise democracy. But when it comes time for the world to be turned upside down, what happens, happens.

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33 minutes ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

The UK did this very effectively in its six years of communism with the line, 'Is your journey really necessary?

I find it really hard to understand your point here, please help.

The "Is your journey really necessary?" was to reduce the need for civilian travel during WW2 - you cannot possibly compare any wartime state of emergency with current lifestyles.

And, "6 years of communism" - again, we largely had a government of national unity led by one Winston Churchill, one of the leading figures who was very well aware of communism. Even the massive Labour landslide post WW2 could not be called communism - if it had been, we would be very well aware of the revolution it would have taken to get where we are now!

I'm confused!

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One of the great ironies of WWII, is that despite the involvement of avowedly communist nations or elements thereof, if you really want to see effective communism in action, it occurred in the UK. The government deployed the national resource with a reasonable stab at equity: everyone was on short personal rations of food, clothing, accommodation, energy; anything extra was specifically related to what was required for your allotted role to be performed properly. (In the case of the PM, a huge daily dose of brandy, champagne and cigars, and enough bathwater for any four other people, in the case of the 'Bevin Boys' sent to the mines, the appropriate kit.)

 

I have not long said my last farewell to a lovely man who spent his war chained to his work at the GPO, and no choice in the matter. He desperately wanted to join a fighting service as his forefathers had done, but the nation needed him to build equipment used in cypher decryption, and he had that knowledge thanks to a GPO engineering apprenticeship, so that's what he was compelled to do - and did very well.

 

Now for sure we don't yet have an emergency to compel a move back in that direction. Yet. But I would suggest that only wilful blindness can deny there is such foreseeable trouble coming.

Edited by 34theletterbetweenB&D
forgot to add conclusion
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53 minutes ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

Just repeating an assumption does not strengthen the case. There are competing ideas which are equally valid. I am in the 'much less travelling' camp, so that existing investment is sufficient. The UK did this very effectively in its six years of communism with the line, 'Is your journey really necessary?'. I would suggest 80% are not.

 

Sorry - I was just listening to the opinions of the experts who work in rail planning all the time. I didn't realise that this was somehow wrong and I should be listening to the views of soothsayers, astrologers and loony tunes who post to facebook in capitals. Obviously, with no background, experience or knowledge, they are far better placed to come up with practical solutions.

 

Much of your argument seems to be that we can't predict the future (your prefered experts suggest we can by looking at chicken entrails or used teacups, but we'll let that pass) in which case I assume that when you visit a supermarket, you only buy enough for the very next meal? After all, we might be hit by an asteroid and wiped out so why stock up? My opinion is that long term planning requires a look at the best data available and then extrapolate it. According to the people working in the industry (I know, they don't know anything. Look a used teacup, let's peek in there!) we need more rail capacity in the UK. This means building new railways as the existing ones are at the limit of useful expansion. 

 

As for your statement that WW2 was "communism" then you need to look at a dictionary (do you believe in those?) first. Even ignoring this point, "is your journey really necessary" was a short-term fix to a rapid need for more rail capacity. Nothing more. Even if we did wish to reduce the number of journeys, presumably of both people AND goods, by 80% nowadays, I think you'll find that a mightly unpopular move and woefully impractical. At the very least, it's well beyond the scope of the people working on HS2.

 

Anyway, one thing I can help with is your dentistry. I don't really know anything, but I have the tools and guarantee to be cheaper than whoever you use right now. After all, you don't believe or approve of experts do you? 

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2 minutes ago, Phil Parker said:

 

Sorry - I was just listening to the opinions of the experts ...

Who are always right, except when they get it wrong.

 

Sorry Phil, but you reveal the weakness of your position by resorting to ad hominem argument.

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Review of HS2

A lot of recent posts have been about the cost of journeys for families (or small parties?).

I was very surprised by how cheap it was for my wife's elderly school friends to take a coach tour from Leek to the Edinburgh Festival and Tatoo.

They were away for 6 days,  four of which (like the old joke) were on the road!

But it did give us a chance during their 'free' day here (or at Durham) to show them around the delights of Newcastle/Gateshead.  We all agreed it may be the last time we saw one another.

So it set me to thinking about the future: 

Despite the economic elegance of steel wheel on steel rail, it may be that the 'automated drive' rubber tyred vehicle, whether for freight or passengers may be seen as the cheaper preferred choice for the future because unlike rail, road transport has never since the end of the First World War,  been required to pay its true infrastructure cost.

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1 minute ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

Who are always right, except when they get it wrong.

 

Sorry Phil, but you reveal the weakness of your position by resorting to ad hominem argument.

 

You win the "most bizarre statement on RMweb" prize for today.

If you don't listen to people with some sort of knowledge and expertise, presumably I am bang on when I say you prefer to listen to "soothsayers, astrologers and loony tunes who post to facebook in capitals" - and I am also still available for your dentistry requirements.

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11 minutes ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

One of the great ironies of WWII, is that despite the involvement of avowedly communist nations or elements thereof, if you really want to see effective communism in action, it occurred in the UK. The government deployed the national resource with a reasonable stab at equity: everyone was on short personal rations of food, clothing, accommodation, energy; anything extra was specifically related to what was required for your allotted role to be performed properly. (In the case of the PM, a huge daily dose of brandy, champagne and cigars, and enough bathwater for any four other people, in the case of the 'Bevin Boys' sent to the mines, the appropriate kit.)

 

I have not long said my last farewell to a lovely man who spent his war chained to his work at the GPO, and no choice in the matter. He desperately wanted to join a fighting service as his forefathers had done, but the nation needed him to build equipment used in cypher decryption, and he had that knowledge thanks to a GPO engineering apprenticeship, so that's what he was compelled to do - and did very well.

 

Now for sure we don't yet have an emergency to compel a move back in that direction. Yet. But I would suggest that only wilful blindness can deny there is such foreseeable trouble coming.

Thanks, 34C - I see where you are coming from now.

In a sense, probably wartime Britain was 'operated' in a similar manner to "communist" fashion, folk who were skilled in particular roles did have to continue doing them but were excused military service, everyone pulled together and 'did their bit'. A dear old friend of mine was 'dad's army' because he was a trained engineer!

However, much the same could be said for any country fighting for its life.

I cannot see that, short of being in a wartime situation, there will ever cease to be a need for a new railway in the UK!

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16 minutes ago, Allegheny1600 said:

...I cannot see that, short of being in a wartime situation, there will ever cease to be a need for a new railway in the UK!

Just sixty years ago, expert opinion determined that the UK needed its railway network massively pruned.

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1 hour ago, runs as required said:

Despite the economic elegance of steel wheel on steel rail, it may be that the 'automated drive' rubber tyred vehicle, whether for freight or passengers may be seen as the cheaper preferred choice for the future because unlike rail, road transport has never since the end of the First World War,  been required to pay its true infrastructure cost.

 

Well we could argue that neither does rail, given the large government subsidies.

 

I do wonder though if video-conferencing (no, at the moment it's not a substitute for face-to-face travel, but that doesn't mean it will stay that way) and automated road vehicles could between them cause a significant reduction in demand for rail travel.

 

I don't know that we're likely to see 125 mph or more on the motorway network, but for a lot of journeys it doesn't take much travel at either end to wipe out the speed advantage of rail. 

 

 

 

 

 

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52 minutes ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

Just sixty years ago, expert opinion determined that the UK needed its railway network massively pruned.

And at the time, given what was known, it was undoubtedly the correct decision. Somewhat misguided as it turns out but unless you are Mystic Meg, the future is obscure. 

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Just now, david.hill64 said:

And at the time, given what was known, it was undoubtedly the correct decision. Somewhat misguided as it turns out but unless you are Mystic Meg, the future is obscure. 

To add to this, just what would you wish, with hindsight, should have stayed open for economic as opposed to romantic notions?

 

Great Central main line must be a good start. 

 

Buxton to Matlock? Possibly. 

 

Woodhead? Probably. 

 

The single tracking and de-quadrification of main lines? Almost certainly. 

 

Anything else? 

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16 hours ago, Fenman said:

 

Oh, I love your logic. If we slow the timetable down - as has happened on this route - people get more travelling time for their money, so it’s now a bargain!

 

Maybe that’s where HS2 is going wrong? If they ran trains at only 20mph but kept prices the same, the service would be full of happy, smiling people, thrilled at the value for money they were getting. Er...

 

Paul

 

 

Compare your fare with fares over routes of a similar distance or travel time or any other scenario you can think of, and let me know how they compare, you can chose travelling in the middle of the day to get the cheaper off peak fares as well, and I bet they will still be more expensive than your example.

 

Was your route slowed down because the trains made more stops or was it simply adding padding to ensure better timekeeping?

You might not have noticed but there are many more trains running now than there were 10 years ago so some adjustments are necessary to allow them all to be pathed.

Edited by royaloak

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43 minutes ago, david.hill64 said:

And at the time, given what was known, it was undoubtedly the correct decision. Somewhat misguided as it turns out but unless you are Mystic Meg, the future is obscure. 

 

Albeit that if you had kept it open, and kept paying the annual maintenance costs, the periodic renewals, the operating losses, you’d have spent a hell of a lot of money over 50 years.  Say a £1bn a year, and you’re at best cash neutral on your option and as you observe, you’d have needed some foresight to have made that call in the early 1960s. 

 

In any event, would places like the woodhead tunnel have taken high cube container boxes without massive cost to bore out the incremental volumes? Nevermind the myriad of supporting structures along the route.

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31 minutes ago, royaloak said:

Compare your fare with fares over routes of a similar distance or travel time or any other scenario you can think of, and let me know how they compare, you can chose travelling in the middle of the day to get the cheaper off peak fares as well, and I bet they will still be more expensive than your example.

 

Was your route slowed down because the trains made more stops or was it simply adding padding to ensure better timekeeping?

You might not have noticed but there are many more trains running now than there were 10 years ago so some adjustments are necessary to allow them all to be pathed.

 

I had noticed that, thanks for saying. This particular line was *promised* a doubling of frequency - to half-hourly - and a doubling of train length - to 8-car. That was *definitely* happening by the end of 2017. Guess what: neither of those things have happened. And there is no schedule for all those improvements to be completed - on what are now some of the mist over-crowded trains anywhere. Lies and broken promises.

 

And now with slower trains - both with added padding, and with extra stops on many between Cambridge and London. 

 

I’m glad to see you’re finally referencing cost-per-train-mile, instead of your earlier - frankly bizarre - measure of total journey time. The former is how British railways have traditionally costed and measured journeys (some early Acts of Parliament specified maximum costs per mile).

 

But you now seem to have shifted your argument. I was making a point that not every British rail route offers discounted fares for advance purchase — and it’s those which, per mile, work out as great value compared to, say, Western European railways. On routes like the Fen line there are *no* apex discounts, only walk-up fares. So the cost per mile remains towards the top of comparative league tables. 

 

If you want to now compare costs of that to other modes if transport, well, that’s legitimate. But it’s a different point. And at that point I’d start bringing in factors like seat comfort, privacy, door-to-door timings, etc. 

 

Paul

 

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21 hours ago, Classsix T said:

I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition... just it might be nice to have the GC (as was) as a freight only "relief" had we not been so short sighted?

If plans had been delivered as promised for upgrades to the GE/GN joint (including March-Spalding) then freight might expect to be better served?

 

But as a respected member of someone who has had to deal with freight on rail, Mike, from what I know, the industry is tied? 

 

C6T. 

Railborne freight today is vastly different from what it was when the GC was closed.  the GC went because the capacity it provided couldn't be justified any more.  And subsequently the freight capacity on the once even busier Midland mainline was cut to shreds as well.  The reason?  The principal freight traffic by the 1960s on routes between the Midlands (in particular) and London was coal and for all sorts of reasons that traffic was vanishing.

 

The freight flows of today are very different with a major part of it on the logical alternative to the GC (i.e. Reading - Banbury - Coventry) being maritime container traffic to/from Southampton - so even if the GC existed all of that traffic which could be got onto it wouldn't be going south of Woodford Halse.  WCML freight is a bit more mixed but a lot of it is still containerised traffic and it can be run at very respectable speeds which - as in the example I quoted - can run a lot of semi-fast and stopping passenger trains into the dust as the freights speed away ahead of them.  But neither the local/semi-fast passenger trains nor the freights can easily compete fr paths with the high speed (i.e. 100mph plus) passenger trains and it s the latter whic don't sit so easily on a mixed traffic WCML.

 

The infrastructure work needed to build a sort WCML relief route for freight would in some respects not be much different from what is going to be built.  While it could get away with smaller, and therefore cheaper, tunnel bores and less much complex tunnel emergency evacuation provisions it would need less steep (= longer gradients) and a much less gradient infested overall profile potentially involving more significant (= expensive earthworks).  And it would still leave the high speed passenger trains on the WCML mixing it with slower trains.

 

Overall freight route planning and provision has perhaps taken a back seat in some respects but a lot of money has been spent on various parts of the Southampton - West Midlands freight corridor which is keeping an awful lot of lorries off the A34.   I'm not sure to what extent upgrade work on March - Spalding, and various other schemes to relieve the GNML has impacted on freight on the WCML but I suspect it isn't particularly noticeable amongst everything else which has happened on that route in terms of increases in the number of trains. 

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4 hours ago, ess1uk said:

 

Sceptics of HS2 please note that substantial demolition will be needed WHICHEVER route out o London you wish to 'upgrade'

 

The CAPACITY NEED is for the equivalent of two extra tracks between London  and the West Midlands - and no amount of fancy signalling etc will provide that. Nor will that capacity need just vanish because its expensive to provide!

 

Adding two extra tracks to the current WCML is simply going to move the demolition to the likes of Wembley, Harrow, Bushey, etc.

 

Of course you could widen some bits of the formation with retaining walls - but that would then anger the environmental lobby as vast tracts of vegetated lineside are lost!

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Allegheny1600 said:

Thanks, 34C - I see where you are coming from now.

In a sense, probably wartime Britain was 'operated' in a similar manner to "communist" fashion, folk who were skilled in particular roles did have to continue doing them but were excused military service, everyone pulled together and 'did their bit'. A dear old friend of mine was 'dad's army' because he was a trained engineer!

However, much the same could be said for any country fighting for its life.

I cannot see that, short of being in a wartime situation, there will ever cease to be a need for a new railway in the UK!

I love the bit about making best use of skilled labour.  My father was working in an aircraft factory as a skilled woodworker making (wooden) components for aircraft - he applied for the job and was gladly taken on by Miles after being rejected for military service due to a heart murmur.  The Ministry of War Labour subsequently directed him from skilled work in an aircraft factory to semi-skilled site work erecting barrack huts for the army and navy.  The country obviously needed huts but it also needed the training aircraft which he had been involved in building.  Dead clever those who directed skilled labour to where it was needed.

 

Incidentally looking at official statistics from the Central Statistical Office the number of rail passengers increased considerably during the war after an initial decline in in 1940.  falling from 1,226 million in 1939 to 967 million in 1940 then starting to rise - to 1,023 million in 1941; 1,218 million in 1942; 1,335 million in 1943; 1,345 million in 1944, and 1,372 million in 1945.  Passenger miles rose from 18,993 million in 1939 to 32,273 million in 1943, and reached 35,248 million in 1945.  the big difference of course was the nature of passenger journeys.

 

All of which has little or nothing to do with HS 2

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4 hours ago, ess1uk said:

 

I'm glad to see that they are being proactive and have stated purchasing property and negotiating for more. To stop doing this would delay the project even further should (when) it be approved again. 

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My father too was rejected from military service in WW2 due to medical reasons. He worked with the United States Air Force down at Haydock Park racecourse, (sub depot of Burtonwood Airfield) assembling crated vehicles (Jeeps) and various machinery. Trainloads of stuff was sent out on the old GC St Helens lines. - now all gone but a part of the old GC line here will form the Bamfurlong leg of HS2 if it ever gets built.

 

Relocate the capital of the UK and the government etc to sunny Wigan and it's all sorted !! Errrr- perhaps not - the silly bu88ers can stay down there. Our houses up here are expensive enough already - and THAT is a major problem that HS2 will cause for many locations en route - house price inflation. 

 

Brit15

 

 

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52 minutes ago, Kris said:

 

I'm glad to see that they are being proactive and have stated purchasing property and negotiating for more. To stop doing this would delay the project even further should (when) it be approved again. 

 

What will happen to these properties in the event of long delay or cancellation? Just be left to rot?

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4 hours ago, Coryton said:

Well we could argue that neither does rail, given the large government subsidies.

I do wonder though if video-conferencing (no, at the moment it's not a substitute for face-to-face travel, but that doesn't mean it will stay that way) and automated road vehicles could between them cause a significant reduction in demand for rail travel.

I don't know that we're likely to see 125 mph or more on the motorway network, but for a lot of journeys it doesn't take much travel at either end to wipe out the speed advantage of rail. 

What I am not at all clear about is who will "own" these automated zero-headway traffic lanes of the future being developed by the competing systems. Will it be a remote Corporate body - such as Amazon, or one of the journey data hoarders like Google or a European Corporate such as Daimler-Benz/Volvo ?

The Spanish own many of our airports.

 

4 hours ago, david.hill64 said:

And at the time, given what was known, [massive pruning of the rail network] was undoubtedly the correct decision. Somewhat misguided as it turns out but unless you are Mystic Meg, the future is obscure. 

Of course the most Libertarian of Free Marketeers argue that such Planning 'Future-proofing' attempts to defend 'way-leaves' get in the way of innovative entrepreneurs.

The 'Hidden Hand' can handle everything ...

Ouch  ... ouch ... is the Planet getting warmer as I type?

dh

Edited by runs as required
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4 minutes ago, PhilH said:

 

What will happen to these properties in the event of long delay or cancellation? Just be left to rot?

It's happenned before. The Midland spent £1.2 million in 1897 buying a swzthe of propery across central Bradford for the West Riding Lines project. This was retained and tenants kept paying rent till 1921. During that time a revision of plans and a new Act in 1911 altered the route from a cutting to a viaduct, then when WW1 broke out the scheme was put on hold just as it was about to go out to tender. After the war, with greatly altered economic circumstances and high inflation, the Midland formally abandoned the scheme and after a neat bit of corporate blackmail  Bradford city bought the land for a net £185,000. 

 

Much the same happenned a few years ago with land bought for the aborted Glasgow airport link with the land sold off for much less than the purchase price. 

 

If the scheme is cancelled I would expect the same to happen again.

 

Jamie

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4 hours ago, Fenman said:

I was making a point that not every British rail route offers discounted fares for advance purchase

Indeed they dont, the point I was trying to make was routes of a similar distance or travelling time have much higher fares (however you want to measure them either pence per mile or any other method) than the one you are quoting, find me one which is cheaper into London from a similar distance or travel time, I have had a quick look and cant find anything even close to your fares.

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