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DavidB-AU

London-Glasgow passengers choose rail over air

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The proportion of people travelling between London and Glasgow by rail rather than air has reached a record level, according to Virgin Trains.

 

The figures released by Virgin Trains show the rise was driven by a 6% year-on-year increase in the number of passengers travelling between London and Glasgow by train, reaching 718,000.

This is up from around 244,000 a decade ago.

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-50368894

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From the article:

 

"The proportion of people travelling between London and Glasgow by rail rather than air has reached a record level, according to Virgin Trains."

 

- somehow, I don't think that statement is correct. A record level since a rail connection was first made in 1848, or even  since air service started in 1934, or from some other date, not specified?

 

 (Edit to add missing word.)

Edited by pH
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I'm having doubts about the "record" claim too. I have a recollection that rail just pipped air between London and Glasgow (and Edinburgh for that matter) in 2010 when Eyjafjallajökull shut down the airspace several times.

 

Cheers
David

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No surprise at all (as long as you get a seat). 

 

It's more central at both ends, it's no slower when you add in check-in and security, catering is similar or better, certainly more comfortable... leg room, luggage room, lap top power, cell coverage, WiFi... Lots of good reasons.

 

The cost can be a problem, but the peak time airfare on these shuttle services is never cheap. The real battle is with very cheap contract hire cars. We used to try to travel by train but unless going into London, we'd always be given a car.

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4 hours ago, pH said:

From the article:

 

"The proportion of people travelling between London and Glasgow by rail rather than air has reached a record level, according to Virgin Trains."

 

- somehow, I don't think that statement is correct. A record level since a rail connection was first made in 1848, or even  since air service started in 1934, or from some other date, not specified?

 

You may be right, you may not.

 

Electrification transformed the WCML. It is much busier now & services to Glasgow were allegedly not at all regular.

Even 15 years ago when 90s & 87s were in charge, the regular service to Glasgow was only once every 2 hours. Today it is hourly.

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I'd love to go by train to our Glasgow office - but am always instructed to fly as it's cheaper and faster. The only downside is the times of flights - trains are obviously more frequent. The only time I've not flown is when I had to take a load of computers to had to drive.

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1 hour ago, Pete the Elaner said:

Electrification transformed the WCML.

 

I have a badge somewhere from the start of services with a picture of an 87 with the line "Fly the electric Scot" very apt considering the competition that evolved.

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2 hours ago, daveyb said:

No surprise at all (as long as you get a seat). 

 

It's more central at both ends, it's no slower when you add in check-in and security, catering is similar or better, certainly more comfortable... leg room, luggage room, lap top power, cell coverage, WiFi... Lots of good reasons.

 

The cost can be a problem, but the peak time airfare on these shuttle services is never cheap. The real battle is with very cheap contract hire cars. We used to try to travel by train but unless going into London, we'd always be given a car.

As much as I prefer train travel, I always fly when work means going to Glasgow. Even allowing for check in, security etc, etc and getting into Glasgow,  it is still far quicker from, in my case, Gatwick.

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2 hours ago, daveyb said:

No surprise at all (as long as you get a seat). 

 

It's more central at both ends, it's no slower when you add in check-in and security, catering is similar or better, certainly more comfortable... leg room, luggage room, lap top power, cell coverage, WiFi... Lots of good reasons.

 

The cost can be a problem, but the peak time airfare on these shuttle services is never cheap. The real battle is with very cheap contract hire cars. We used to try to travel by train but unless going into London, we'd always be given a car.

My experience of Anglo-Scottish services is that they are a lot less loaded than the Liverpool and Manchester services.

 

The off peak for trains beyond Preston is a lot more generous than from the Northwest, I used to turn up at Euston and have to wait till 7pm for the packed first off peak whilst my colleagues could get their choice of Glasgow bound services whenever they wanted.

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The cost of air travel to Scotland from the Midlands has risen since Loganair succeeded Flybe.Now regretfully,driving is the best option.,when one considers luggage space and security a minus point in rail travel.

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42 minutes ago, Ian Hargrave said:

The cost of air travel to Scotland from the Midlands has risen since Loganair succeeded Flybe.Now regretfully,driving is the best option.,when one considers luggage space and security a minus point in rail travel.

I didn't think it was so unsafe to use a train from Glasgow that security is required?

 

I would have thought it was air travel that was the issue when it comes to luggage and security issues.

 

Rail travel surely has to be the least stressful journey - the M8 and M6 might be relatively quiet north of Lancaster but once you hit the M6 in the North West it must surely be awful which is my experience of any journey between Manchester and Birmingham by road - HGV volume, almost constant roadworks @ 50mph, smart motorways with speed limit bingo and all the commuters especially around the conurbations.

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49 minutes ago, woodenhead said:

I didn't think it was so unsafe to use a train from Glasgow that security is required?

 

I would have thought it was air travel that was the issue when it comes to luggage and security issues.

 

Rail travel surely has to be the least stressful journey - the M8 and M6 might be relatively quiet north of Lancaster but once you hit the M6 in the North West it must surely be awful which is my experience of any journey between Manchester and Birmingham by road - HGV volume, almost constant roadworks @ 50mph, smart motorways with speed limit bingo and all the commuters especially around the conurbations.


No,I’m talking about security of personal luggage.If I travel to Glasgow or Edinburgh by train with a suitcase for which there is insufficient room on an overhead rack.I have to place it in luggage space not in personal open sight where it is all too    vulnerable to theft.Such luggage is less vulnerable in an aircraft hold for obvious reasons ...Unless as can happen,the airline misdirects the luggage. I grant you of course that there is the stress factor in driving but for travel for two,driving remains ,in terms of cost and convenience,the clear best option for me from here in middle England.I speak as one who made the return journey to the Highlands by car in September after weighing up and costing all three options.

 

Some day,I ‘d love to try the Caledonian Sleeper from Crewe but really,is it cost effective when you could,as we did,break the journey at Moffat off the M 74 at a rather good b&b which also provided a fine evening meal ?

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I am glad that Virgin have increased passengers it shows how people are changing their views about travel, I flew to Glasgow twice but gave up and took the train  and will continue to use it.Okay its four hours by rail but when you add check in times for air rail wins also when my train reaches Glasgow you can see just how busy it is the platform is full going through the barriers.I hope that the new franchisees will continue to increase the growth .Lets shout this from the roof tops not decry it.

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Of course now Virgin don't have a foot in both air and trains watch them induce business passengers onto their Virgin Connect service.

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I suppose it will always depend on where you live, if your close to Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton or Stanstead airports, then it’s going to be more advantageous flying rather than travelling by rail and making connections to services to Glasgow or travelling into London.

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5 hours ago, Ian Hargrave said:

 

Some day,I ‘d love to try the Caledonian Sleeper from Crewe but really,is it cost effective when you could,as we did,break the journey at Moffat off the M 74 at a rather good b&b which also provided a fine evening meal ?

I tried it for the Perth show a couple of years ago, but from Euston.

It was rather nice to remember nothing after Crewe then waking briefly in Edinburgh before going back to sleep again. It freed up my early evening, which I would otherwise have spent driving.

It was more expensive, but you can offset that slightly because it is also your hotel.

 

Timing is also an issue. I went to Modelrail Scotland for Saturday this year. If I had gone on Friday, I could have flown from Luton or Birmingham, but their flights were at unsuitable times for me. This left Heathrow as an option. After driving there & checking in, then a 90 minute delay because of a faulty aircraft, it would have been quicker to take the train.

 

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I can do a day trip to Edinburgh or Glasgow from the south of England if I fly, but by train that would be hopeless. Doing so is a long day, and it's influenced by the fact that Southampton airport is pretty convenient for me, but if I can avoid a night away from home then I will.

 

I'd never choose to drive that kind of distance though. I hate driving long journeys.

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Slightly tangential, it will be interesting to see what the 4 hour London - Edinburgh schedules do to domestic air travel. LNER got one in the current timetable by making just one stop (Newcastle) but from 2021 when the ECML upgrades are done there are plans for multiple journeys per day of under 4 hours with 2-3 stops. 

 

Cheers

David

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On 12/11/2019 at 06:24, daveyb said:

No surprise at all (as long as you get a seat). 

 

It's more central at both ends, it's no slower when you add in check-in and security, catering is similar or better, certainly more comfortable... leg room, luggage room, lap top power, cell coverage, WiFi... Lots of good reasons.

 

The cost can be a problem, but the peak time airfare on these shuttle services is never cheap. The real battle is with very cheap contract hire cars. We used to try to travel by train but unless going into London, we'd always be given a car.

 

On 12/11/2019 at 08:17, Bucoops said:

I'd love to go by train to our Glasgow office - but am always instructed to fly as it's cheaper and faster. The only downside is the times of flights - trains are obviously more frequent. The only time I've not flown is when I had to take a load of computers to had to drive.

When considering how to travel for work, does anyone take account of being able to do useful work on the train with a laptop?  I was travelling a lot between Nottingham and Glasgow a few years ago, flying was about 3hr door to door but it was virtually all "dead time".  The train took nearly twice as long but I could do useful work for most of that time - as long as I chose a route that didn't involve Voyagers.  An Advance ticket plus hotel was a bit more expensive than the flight, but the work time offset that and I also arrived reasonably well rested for a morning meeting instead of having to get up at about 0400.  

 

For the East Midlands the frequency is also an advantage - there is at least one train connection each hour but only a handful of flights per day.  With Advances you don't get the flexibility to set out back as soon as you are done, but you can at least choose a train that doesn't involve waiting for hours.  This would be less important for London area where there is more choice of flights.  

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18 minutes ago, Edwin_m said:

When considering how to travel for work, does anyone take account of being able to do useful work on the train with a laptop? 

 

This is precisely why Eurostar has around 75% of the London-Paris/Brussels business travel market. The time spent on the train can be useful work time. Not just a laptop but you can use your phone.

 

Cheers

David

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On 13/11/2019 at 08:46, Edwin_m said:

 

When considering how to travel for work, does anyone take account of being able to do useful work on the train with a laptop?  I was travelling a lot between Nottingham and Glasgow a few years ago, flying was about 3hr door to door but it was virtually all "dead time".  The train took nearly twice as long but I could do useful work for most of that time - as long as I chose a route that didn't involve Voyagers.  An Advance ticket plus hotel was a bit more expensive than the flight, but the work time offset that and I also arrived reasonably well rested for a morning meeting instead of having to get up at about 0400.  

 

For the East Midlands the frequency is also an advantage - there is at least one train connection each hour but only a handful of flights per day.  With Advances you don't get the flexibility to set out back as soon as you are done, but you can at least choose a train that doesn't involve waiting for hours.  This would be less important for London area where there is more choice of flights.  

 

The work I do does involve computers but not using them in transit but fixing the damned things when I'm there :)

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On 13/11/2019 at 03:05, DavidB-AU said:

Slightly tangential, it will be interesting to see what the 4 hour London - Edinburgh schedules do to domestic air travel.

 

Weren't the HSTs doing this in the InterCity era? 

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13 hours ago, Western Aviator said:

 

Weren't the HSTs doing this in the InterCity era? 

 

I think (working from memory) the fastest regular scheduled HST diagram was 4:13 with 1 stop at Newcastle. It could have been faster but IIRC it was pathed through York station rather than the avoiding lines. There were faster non-stop timings but they were golf specials to Dundee for St Andrew's.

 

There was a 3:59 non-stop 91 in GNER days. And of course the 3:30 non-stop test run with just 3 coaches.

 

4 hours with 1 stop is still pretty impressive. Sub 4 hours with 3 stops will be interesting.

 

Cheers

David

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On 17/11/2019 at 01:39, Bucoops said:

 

The work I do does involve computers but not using them in transit but fixing the damned things when I'm there :)

Obviously the usefulness of the travel time for doing work depends on what work you do - but I'm very envious if you don't have to do paperwork on a laptop to account for all the computers you've fixed!  

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It will always be a time distance equation in the airline world we use to talk about competing with air and as a rule of thumb we used the following. Distance over land greater than 800km or crossing water then air has the advantage. I worked as Ops Manager for Air Wales and we where always being asked for flights to Heathrow/Gatwick from Cardiff we did operate London City but made a big loss but that was caught up in costs. There is no time advantage to operate from Cardiff to London by air rail will always beat air. I would answer the request with put two people in the centre of Cardiff needing to get to Hyde Park. One by air one by rail. You now add in 30 mins to get to Cardiff airport lets say 1 hour for checkin sequrity, then 1 hour flight to Heathrow, 30 minutes to get through the airport, 30 minutes by HEX to Paddington etc etc. Or 10 minute walk to Cardiff central station and two hours to Paddington.

 

Keith  

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