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Railways – How it's done when things go wrong

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  • #38775
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg

    On the 3rd we traveled from Paris to Amsterdam on the Thalys express. €57 each for a 300+ mile late morning journey taking just over 3hrs.

    Zut Alors! It was late, over an hour late. Turns out there was a boar on the track on the Belgian border that was causing problems. Sacré bleu! It was still there on our return and caused trains in both directions to share a single track holding us up there by another 20 minutes.

    We then missed our slots all the way up getting stuck behind slower trains, barely beating the next Thalys behind us to Amsterdam and arriving 121 minutes late. The compensation (thank you EU) is 25% for 60 – 119 minutes and 50% if 120+

    Did the online claim forms at noon today, by half past twelve we’d both received notification of a 50% refund going to the credit card within 15 days. No arguments.

    I was speaking to someone in Steve’s pub who’d tried the same on a delayed trip from Cornwall to Rhyl. The journey involved 4 train franchises, plus National Rail, who all blamed each other even though the first 2 legs (of 4) had been on time. It was pretty clear the 3rd leg was to blame which knocked on to the 4th which was also dire in it’s own right. In the end he gave up.

    Rather than fly we went by train for our Euro break this time, not for any environmental reason (but that was a plus point) but because timing for most legs were OK and we could take big suitcases to bring back presents.

    Apart from the Thalys everything was fine and GWR’s new electrified fleet can hold it’s head up on timing and comfort with the best. If only they could sort the seat reservation system which is often broken, also the on train catering in the UK is pants – when there is any at all! How nice to actually have an old fashioned buffet car on the Thalys and Eurostar (the Dutch inter city trains have a man with a tray of goodies and a tank of coffee on his back).

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  • #38776
    Participant
    The VFM Addict
    @thevfmaddict
    Forumite Points: 2,901

    Don’t worry.  If Corbyn gets in he’s going to sort out the railways.   😂

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    #38777
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,058

    It needs sorting, Boris has seen the need to get it sorted too but in a different way (and I don’t mean HS2).

    Due to my particular disability I use public transport a lot and it’s atrocious in this country. If you’re in London it’s a totally different world but why the rest of us are not allowed to use that model is beyond me. Mind you it keeps the shareholders of First happy.

    #38778
    Participant
    Ed P
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 16,259

    Its the damned system of different franchises. The Civil Service + John Major designed a system which is made to fail.

    Quite frankly, having suffered under Govia Management’s incompetence compounded by the Chief Incompetent Chris Greyling and Network Rail’s funding issues, I long for the good old days of British Rail and I could not care less which political party reintroduced it.

    #38779
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,058

    Why the Europeans can make it work and we can’t is always beyond me.

    #38785
    Participant
    Bob Williams
    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 13,458

    My late, much-missed Fil was the last stationmaster at Clay Cross, Derbyshire in 1962 and he would agree with your last statement, Dave. He had progressed in the British Rail system from Porter, across the UK in various stations,* until that post. His view of Dr. Beeching was not exactly complimentary and he worked in a time when timekeeping was of the essence. He was a stickler for accurate timekeeping, even in retirement. I had not been married to his middle daughter for long when we arranged tp pick them up for a Welsh holiday, at 0830. I got to the road at exactly 0829, but drove around the block until 0840.

    “Where have you been? We said 0830!”

    “Yes I know dad, but I am never on time as you know, I got to the house on time and just could not ruin my reputation.”

    He frowned, then laughed like a drain. We became good friends and I hope he respected me as much as I did him.

    *I tell my missus she was a Traveller.

    When the Thought Police arrive at your door, think -
    I'm out.

    #38786
    Participant
    Ed P
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 16,259

    Beeching was told to cut the guts out of Rail in order to favour Marples’s Road construction interests and building a motorway network. It was a ‘study’ that verged on corrupt. It had nothing to do with economics and most of the line closures would be economically viable today. You have only to look at the high utilisation of tiddly little branch lines in Germany to see what might have been.

    #38787
    Participant
    D-Dan
    @d-dan
    Forumite Points: 2,596

    I’m not looking forward to 27/12. That’s my next trip to Newport, and the weather is already getting bad (by which, I mean there may have been a drop of rain) which automatically means problems. It will probably be a bit chilly, too, so more delays. AND, the train ends at Cwmbran and bus the rest of the way. Should be 15 minutes, but I’m guessing an hour, on account of it will probably be dark, too.

    The reason other European countries manage are most are state owned, though if it were up to me, I’d get the Japanese in. Damn, they know how to run a railway.

    Arch Linux, on a Ryzen 7 1800X, 16 GB, 5 (yes -5) HDs inc 2 SSDs, 4 RPi 3Bs + 1 RPi 4B - one as an NFS server with two more drives, PiHole (shut yours), Plex server, cloud server, and other random Pi stuff. Nice CoolerMaster case, NV GTX 1070 8GB, and a whopping 32" AOC 1440P monitor.

    #38793
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,058

    Dan, with my daughter being in Bangor I know those trips down the borders well. The Manchester to Cardiff train is positively luxurious compared to the direct ones that run up through Hereford, Shrewsbury and Chester. You get a massive discount from Transport for Wales traveling via Hereford on their cattle trucks – £56 compared to £107 on a single. Perversely there’s not much difference on a return, go figure.

    The problem is going you only get 5 minutes to change at Newport, which is nowhere near enough if you have to get to platform 1 from 3, and the borders train is only every 2 hours. If you miss the connection it’s a 30 minute wait followed by a 2 or 3 change job; your Manchester train to change at Shrewsbury (another 30 mins plus wait) then often another change at Chester too. I’ve managed to dodge the bus connection between Newport and Cwmbran though.

    Sometimes I just say sod the expense and get the train to Birmingham New Street then the Holyhead connection. That’s the same rolling stock as yours but at least they put on more than the 2 carriages of the borders trains! I do get to the other end with a bit more life left in me. Coming back from Rhyl a few weeks ago I was almost brain dead and that journey went OK. It’s the no mobile signal and nothing to look at in the dark that’s the killer, along with playing sardines after Chester.

    #38797
    Participant
    dwynnehugh
    @dwynnehugh
    Forumite Points: 2,184

    Over the years I have had a fair bit of connection with the railway mainly because my father worked on it.

    Don’t know whether it is true or not but it was said that on many branchlines Beeching did his survey in the summer – school holiday weeks – hence lower daily footfall.  That said as a preserved railway enthusiast he did great work for the current preserved lines – without him I doubt very much whether we would still be seeing steam trains anywhere in the UK.

    The UK railway network stems back to the Victorian times and to a great extent the majority of current network is still using the same routes – bends and hills etc. During the war the UK railway network was severely damaged and engines and rolling stock simply run into the ground – little investment was made in the railways save a patch here and there. Another great disadvantage of railways in the UK was that they were ‘commo0n carriers’ which meant that had to carry anything to anywhere and had to advertise their prices for doing so.  Ideal for a ‘man with a van’ and undercutting or old WD lorries sold off at rock bottom rates post war to private haulage companies.

    The devastation on the continent gave them the opportunity (and foresight??) to build a new system – we continued with the old building steam locos because we then had an abundance of local coal whereas more far sighted systems electrified – only the SR in the UK followed suite. As already said Marple had a very strong invested interest in road transport and made certain that money went into road as opposed to new tracks / rolling stock.

    The UK in many aspects has been in the forefront of new technology only to dither about funding and then purchasing off the Yanks or other manufacturing country – we have bought back our own ideas because those in government either lacked real knowledge of the technology or had vested interests elsewhere.

    We are the poor men of Europe in terms of high speed trains – yet all the agro with HS2 beggers belief. We will get HS2 when most other countries will be running their equivalent of HS5 unfortunately.

    But thanks you Dr Beeching we owe that to you for unwittingly ensuring that in decade to come you preserved systems you where instructed to destroy.

     

     

     

     

    The more you meet people the more you understand why Noah took animals instead of humans

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