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British Rail ways?

Posted by Nice&Easy - Created: 14 years ago
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8 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 8)

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Posted by stgeorge-182529 - 14 years ago

MikeP !

My God ! I can remember those days as well ! Change at Carlisle for Glasgow , then a local train for Achnasheen , then an old Bedford Bus to the Boom Defence Depot at Loch Ewe ( Aultbea ) ( Where the convoys used to gather for the Murmansk run !! )

The steam trains of that epoch were an adventure in itself - the smell of inefficient burning coal , the screech of metal on metal , the hot sparks flying past , the taking of water ,the lovely country stations with plants and flowers so proudly kept up by the Station Master and his family - I can see it as if it were yesterday - would we return to that late 50's , early 60's era  ? Maybe ??!! Maybe not !!!

 

stgeorge

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Posted by MikeP-180526 - 14 years ago

Probably a peed off employee putting a spanner on the tracks!

Runaway - your very evocative description of those golden days of rail travel in the UK bought a lump to my throat.  I used to travel a lot on the Settle and Carlisle railway, and up to Scotland.  Those grimey old steam heated coaches, so much character!  Happy days!

 

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Posted by fugly-185614 - 14 years ago

another derailment today just round the corner from victoria!!

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Posted by Andrew.Wilk - 14 years ago

You will all have read by now that french-owned Connex have just lost their South Central single remaining franchise in England, so "privatised" but regulated mean you can get rid of a poor management - oh if only the same could be done to the abysmal SNCF - in our experience an organisation run solely around the convenience of its staff eg two hour gap in scheduled service due to lunch break...

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Posted by Runaway-182887 - 14 years ago

MikeP.

Don't worry about being compared to my mum, you're more in my age bracket than hers!

I know what you mean about the different companies though. A friend came to visit recently and should have travelled, by train, from Luton Airport up here to the Midlands and the number of train companies involved bordered on the ridiculous (but he did arrive, safe and sound, eventually, but that was due more to French strikes rather than UK rail companies).

One of my abiding memories of childhood is of standing on the platform, waiting for the old steam train to take us to the seaside on annual day trips, organised by the local collieries where all our fathers' worked - and the Miners' Welfare clubs plus various pubs.  We all got crisps, sweets and pop and a little brown envelope with a 10 shilling note in it (God!, now I'm showing my age!).  Mum would have made ham rolls, in the days when it was 'real' ham, inch thick, fresh rolls and thick butter on them. I'm not sure which is the most evocotive smell, the steam engine or the ham!

We would all stand together, sick with excitement, straining our ears to hear the whistle as the train drew near. Then, we could hear the noise of the train grow louder and louder, until, at last, it came around the bend and pulled into the station......... this great hissing beast, belching out smoke. The noise, the venting steam and the sheer size of it both terrified and exhilarated me, it still does when I see one. We'd all pile in, looking for empty compartments to fill and then we were off....... the journey was never quite the same on the return but we were happy and contented and there was always another 'trip' to look forward to.  The trips continued after the railways closed but were never quite the same........or did I just get older?   Ah!  happy days.........(when God was a lad and Mars Bars were so big you had to carry them under your arm)

xx

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Posted by MikeP-180526 - 14 years ago

Runaway

I think age is irrelevant here (as it happens I'm 50), and I am not sure if being compared to your mum is good or bad.  Let's leave that aside!

I have been involved in transportation for many years and also happen to be interested in rail transportation (and no I don't have an anorak and no I am not a train spotter!), and whilst I wouldn't quite blame Beeching for Armageddon,  I think it is fair to say that if one had to name one individual who initiated the decline of the UK's transport systems into the mockery that they are today, it would be him.  Which means, yes, he is indirectly responsible for traffic jams.

All of the private rail franchises are abysmal (in my limited recent experience the worst is GNER) the problem being largely that the segmented type of operating conditions under which they are forced to operate cannot support viable operations in a country as densely railed as the UK.  If, for example,  50% of the population travelled end to end between Bristol and Glasgow, and the other 50% travelled between Newcastle and Cardiff,  you could split the rail system up into two operators and it would work.  Clearly that scenario is improbable,  but it is on that basis, where companies are working in isolation, that the current system is trying to operate.

 

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Posted by Runaway-182887 - 14 years ago

Mikep

I don't know how old you are but you sound like my mum!!  I think she blames Beeching for everything from traffic jams to Armageddon.

The Connex stories are probably true if the 'Watchdog' programmes are anything to go by but the upside is that they've just had the rug pulled from underneath them! That may just serve as a 'wake up call' to the rest of them.  As for branch lines - we got ours back a couple of years ago and it's extending all the time. It isn't 100% reliable - far from it, but what is these days? I do agree with you that privatisation was the worst thing that could have happened to the rail network - also to all the utility supplies - but - money makes the world go around and I suppose the share holders are happy in all cases.

xx

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Posted by MikeP-180526 - 14 years ago

The above quote is a badly written sensationalist peice of gutterpress 'journalism'. 

Nevertheless, the sad truth is that Britain's railway system has declined from being one of, if not, the best, in the world, to one of the worst.  Dr Beeching started it by shutting down 'unprofitable' branch lines,  overlooking the obvious fact that these branch lines provided feeder traffic to the backbone networks.  Thus began the beginning of the end.

It has been proven almost without exception, globally, that privatised mainline railways do not work.  The sooner some UK government wakes up to this fact and applies it in the context of an integrated public transportation system,  the sooner things will start to work again.