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Lysanderix
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 I wonder ,does anyone know exactly how many times the Midland mainline has had plans made by Government for its electrification?☺️

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I've no idea but it's certainly a lot.

Takes some believing that we electrified the LNER (Victoria Station) line and then shut it down, leaving the Midland LMS line with plans to electrify it which haven't been carried out 50 years later.

Meanwhile, France, who we tend to ridicule, built their High speed system 50 years ag and counties like Japan & China make us look really really stupid.

Makes you wonder where we get our calibre of politicians from.

Doesn't look as though a good education makes much difference or are they all too busy lining their own nests.

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These days electrification really isn't necessary. The locomotives can have engines that are super efficient or could work on green fuels. Lots of them are already in operation. And the cost of electrification is more expensive. Not only do you have to put in gantries and the wires, but rebuild bridges to take the cable. It also would require disruption to the services already operating. Plus you would need new locomotives. And these days they tend to come in sets with the carriages too.  So even greater expense. In railway terms anybody who talks about electrifying a line simply wants to waste money.    

Really fast high speed lines as we have seen require their own routes. Other countries in that respect had the space to just build a line, without the issues the UK has. You can't really convert the old Midland line to a high speed route, so putting wires on it is just not worth the money.

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6 minutes ago, History dude said:

These days electrification really isn't necessary. The locomotives can have engines that are super efficient or could work on green fuels. Lots of them are already in operation. And the cost of electrification is more expensive. Not only do you have to put in gantries and the wires, but rebuild bridges to take the cable. It also would require disruption to the services already operating. Plus you would need new locomotives. And these days they tend to come in sets with the carriages too.  So even greater expense. In railway terms anybody who talks about electrifying a line simply wants to waste money.    

Better tell Boris that then.

We keep hearing about marvellous new technology but in the meantime, almost everything is still running as it has for years and is wasteful inefficient and polluting and will be for some time to come.

I still maintain that some political backsides still need kicking. 

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That's more to do with the companies being private enterprises. Not even UK owned in some cases, with money from the UK railways funding their own countries systems. The way the rail network works means companies can not invest in the future due to the frequent changes in ownership. How many times have we heard that this company has lost it's franchise and another takes over? The only people kept in work by this method are the people who paint the liveries on the trains.  

Actually some of the trains that have come into service that are not electric have much more efficient engines. That train driver who makes cab rides often mentions this, saying how developed certain locomotives are.  So the ability to have the technology is in place, but you have to have money to spend on it. 

Yorkshire is crying out for better rail investment, but the Government is spending it on London, plus HS2. Which will bring more people into London. Leading to the need for more transport investment there, instead of elsewhere. When what really needs to happen is that London needs to shrink in size. The amount of people there is extraordinary. London has currently 8 million people living in it. There are more Londoners than Scottish people (5.3 million) and Welsh people (3.0 million) put together.

Do these people need to be there?

NO

So what are they that are there?

Banking and money people - 26.2% on 2018 figures. Much higher than the 17% of the rest of the UK. The boss and management are also there in higher numbers too. A lot of professionals and technicians are there too. This is probably not as surprising as it's likely than professional based organisations such as The Royal College of Surgeons or other research bodies have been based here in the past. Indeed many such places and bodies were founded in London. They simply have not needed to locate elsewhere, in fact they have all their needs met by the Local Authorities in London and of course Central Government.

So the answer is simple move these professional bodies away from London.  And (like the old song) Boris and his lot to Crewe! Or Birmingham!

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I reckon they have thought of electrifying the Midland at least 4 times in recent years. There is little point, unlike the East Coast which is relatively straight, the Midland winds around all over the place, so speed is limited by the track formation more than the speed the trains are capable of.

Electric only trains are also a liability in bad weather, look how many times they are delayed by having to slow down when the wind picks up, to say nothing of the total chaos when the wires come down. With the recent hikes in electricity prices the cost of running them has caused issues, indeed one freight company recently laid up its electric fleet as it was costing too much to run them!

 

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Ask yourselves WHY the railway companies are private enterprises? It goes back to the politicians as I said who have failed us for at least 50 years.

If electric trains are such a liability, then who's job is it to decide what we replace them with? the politicians of course.

I find it amazing that other countries can run perfectly workable railways but the UK cannot seem to manage this.

I don't see what forcing people to move out of London will do to put our railways right even if that were possible, which it isn't.

We once had the most successful Railway companies in the world and all the world looked to us to see how things should be done.

How the mighty have fallen!

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The idea of privatisation was to get rid of the need of public funding and control of the railways. Of course that was never going to happen. In fact railway privatisation has failed all over the world, not just in the UK. It just doesn't work. If anything the pandemic proved that. For as soon as that hit the government had to take over full control as they would gone up the wall. 

Profitable bits of the railway were only included with the franchises with a none profit section of the line. So no railway franchise could meet the targets set them. Nearly all the other railways around the world are not run for profit. And the German railway system DB operate services in the UK, which fund their own system in Germany. Again a public service.

NOT POSSIBLE.

Three years ago if I had said to you that the government will have to force everyone to stay home. Not go to work. Close Shops impose strict restrictions on people walking in public parks. Cancel Christmas, you would have laughed at me. 

A report on London's transport needs says it will require at least £200 billion.  Meanwhile as the traffic increases in London, revenues from tax on traffic are falling 13 billion a year as cars go electric.  

I doubt any of the Yorkshire rail projects will get anywhere near £1 billion in funding, not alone £200 billion, which London will of course get.

Are you telling me that the Royal College of Surgeons NEED to be in London. Or any of the institutions?

And the Midland Main Line is simply to get people to the place.  Better faster services to London means more money for London.

The real impact of railways was moving goods around faster and better than by roads.  That's were the real investment should be. But goods yards were closed and the truck took over. The Tinsley marshalling yard was even opened by the man who closed down much of the railways. Employed by the government to do so. The bus could move passengers around cheaper. But the buses were never provided and MP's knew that it wasn't going to happen. Rural services suffered most as the farmers didn't pay rates to keep buses going.  

As long as the Government is in London they will continue to pander to the millions who get on community trains between 7am and 9am. Watch them sit around doing nothing all day till hometime.  None of which make money and fares subsidised by tax payers money. All ripe for closure as being unprofitable and not one politician will do it or even suggest it. For they would be out at the next election, or perhaps before it with a few quick protests.   

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I agree with almost everything you say and this is my point entirely.

Our Governments have made wrong decisions time and time again instead of realising that railways are important undertakings and need to be subsidised from the public purse.

This also applies to gas, electricity and water too and privatisation has been thoroughly discredited after seeing their performances.

Unfortunately, although we know that the organisations you mention, do not NEED to be in London, we have no way of making them move and the same goes for Government departments.

I started by saying that for 50 years, our Governments, both Labour and Conservative have let us down and continue to do so and countries like China and Japan make us look stupid.

This still applies so wee need a united shout to make politicians listen.

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As my old Granddad would say…..”a country deserves the Government it votes for”. He was a steam engine driver based, latterly, at Darnall and in his time worked for the GCR, LNER and BR……he also considered we were a nation of idiots to put up with the mess most Governments make of things…..perhaps he had a point!😄

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7 minutes ago, Lysanderix said:

As my old Granddad would say…..”a country deserves the Government it votes for”. He was a steam engine driver based, latterly, at Darnall and in his time worked for the GCR, LNER and BR……he also considered we were a nation of idiots to put up with the mess most Governments make of things…..perhaps he had a point!😄

We certainly agree on that.

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The railways were built by private companies. The government of the day effectively stole them, believing they were a cash cow, then systematically ran them into the ground. Only much later did they decide that selling off franchises to private companies would be a cash cow and...

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1 hour ago, Oldbloke 2 said:

The railways were built by private companies. The government of the day effectively stole them, believing they were a cash cow, then systematically ran them into the ground. Only much later did they decide that selling off franchises to private companies would be a cash cow and...

That's right. The competing companies kept things going. But the second world war saw them damaged and run down. There was a belief at the time that the big four were not working for the public interest. The trade union movement believed that the railway would be better in public hands. Unfortunately this was put into practice in a way that meant the control fell into the hands of people who did not have the public good in mind. Effectively they left much of the old structure in place, just making it run by a management with no vision and lots of red tape. The first thing management did is seeing that the four sections were no longer in competition with one another. This meant that stations and goods yard very near to one another were just wasting resources. So the new British Railways started closing lines down. There was also no vision of the future for railways in central government. Instead the road system was seen as the new way of moving people and goods around. And the government didn't need to invest in cars and trucks, because private firms and people did that for them. They only needed to invest in roads and when the Minister of Transport also had a road building business guess what happened next!

I certainly believe that if the rail system had not been nationalised then the big four would have coped and developed a much better rail network.  If that was the case why didn't the privatisation work? Well you can blame the European Union for that. Many European countries were talking about privatisation of their system. But the EU stepped in and said that private companies could not own the tracks. In the UK this lead to the foundation of Network Rail, the first step needed for privatisation. Then the franchise system which set unreasonable targets and lumbered each company with services that they couldn't run without government funds. This meant that the rail system needed just as much money and actually more subsidies than British Rail.

So the rail system needs a long term strategy. But as it stands no company can do that. It's not a question of each company worrying if they going bust or making profit. That's all the old big four did.  It's a question of meeting targets. You can be making money and still not meet the targets. Resulting in a loss of franchise.  So you are left with returning the system back to the public. But you meet the same problem again. Governments can last five years and each one will have a new vision for transport. If you have a government that favours Rail, then the system maybe can do something. But if the next Government favours the road system. That will get the funds and the rail system gets ignored.

I have always found it odd that Heritage Railways (at least before the pandemic) did so well. The reason why is they do not have to work to government rules and they own the lot. From engines, to track and platforms and stations. Many of the franchise companies don't even own the rolling stock. They have it on hire.  

If you really want to run a railway properly you should look how the Heritage lines operate and base it on that.        

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5 hours ago, Organgrinder said:

Unfortunately, although we know that the organisations you mention, do not NEED to be in London, we have no way of making them move and the same goes for Government departments.

Actually there is a way. It's called Taxation. You just have to introduce "based in London Tax".

So a company or organisation that (1) provides no direct services to London itself. Would pay a new tax at 100% of the set rate for being just in the London area. This would reduce down if you did provide services etc to London. 

Part of the recovered tax would cover the cost of moving out of London any firms based there. The rest used as a development fund to run down areas outside London.

So for an example a Tesco Supermarket in London would pay nothing. But the head office of Tesco would pay 100%  A distribution centre in London itself (unless it was dealing with supplying Supermarkets in London), would also be hit by the tax. 

There have been attempts to move some Government departments out of London, you might remember the Manpower Services Commission being set up in Sheffield in that strange red bricked thing on the bottom of the Moor.  But I doubt it was based on an idea of actually cutting London down to size.  

I suppose what it all comes down to is the rest of the UK saying we are not going to pay for more London expansion and the area needs cutting down in size. So it doesn't need more rail links like what we have seen. Where they put in special track at great expense just so the opera goers at some posh theatre do not hear a rumble from a train.

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Again, I agree with you but, you make it sound as though this could be easily forced onto the Government when the said Government doesn't allow us to tell them what we are, or are not, going to pay.

As the majority of the rich, powerful and the famous, live down there, they will always make sure that they get first bite of any apples. Nothing we can do about that.

There was a Government department near to our Winter Gardens but it didn't last long until the Government moved them all out again.

There is also the problem of incoming Governments forever overturning projects that the previous Government set up because they are only interested in savaging their opponents instead of working together for the countries benefit. 

 

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I don't think the heritage railway model would work for a national system. Most railways don't own all the locomotives, and pay the owners/groups to have them on their line. The price of their rail tickets doesn't compare with national prices, per mile they are much higher. Finally they don't operate all day every day, so they don't incur costs when there aren't many visitors, national railways have to run the train even if it is empty.

Modern rolling stock is incredibly expensive, you are looking at £1million per coach with some units, so a company with only a limited franchise length is never going to own it's own stock, hence leasing arrangements. Then the government gets involved by telling them what they can run, I remember that Transpennine wanted to add another coach to their class 185's that run to Manchester and the powers that be blocked that. Hull Trains were told to pass their Pioneer fleet to East Midlands and ended up with the class 180's that Great Western had so much trouble with! So although it is privatised, not all the operation is in the control of the operators.

 

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There's an awful lot of politics involved here, so I'm just confining myself to railway performance.  Prior to COVID the railways were carrying more passengers than they had ever done:

GBR_rail_passengers_by_year_1830-2015.pn

The UK rail network has outperformed France, Germany and Italy over the last couple of decades:

Rail_transport_in_Europe_rescaled.png

After a disastrous fall during the "BR" era the percentage of all journeys that are done by rail has been steadily increasing:

Rail_modal_share.png

I totally concur with the comments others have made about cancelling the eastern half of HS2 and the cross Pennine link, as I said a lot of politics.  It is unfair though the way some people always portray rail privatisation as a disaster, the figures just don't support it.

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They may well have been carrying more passengers but what about freight. and do we have comparable figures for the real amount of subsidy paid to these companies compared to nationalised British Rail.?


The fall in passenger numbers during BR times was ,arguably, due to the post war increase in the use of our roads…by lorries and by burgeoning private car ownership….resulting in a substantial increase in road building whereas BR was left with a rundown system in both rolling stock, signalling, track work and passenger facilities  BR also having to pay for everything ,whereas it can be argued that road freight operators are subsidised out of general taxation and the private car owner.

Rail also also had to contend with governments who resented the concept of service over profit and unlike our Continental cousins saw no future in the rail system.The fact that so many of our private operators are foreign owned demonstrates the system is profitable…( or is it so because of subsidy)but does it offer a nationwide level of good passenger services? Methinks not at all.

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I will answer part of my own question.. Freight by rail has increased from 8% of the total in 1998 to almost 12% last year. This is accounted for by freight through the Channel tunnel and freight from Felixstowe which is containerised.

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I think that a lot of the increase in passengers was due to the fact that railway fares were no longer controlled by one operator.  You could get cheaper fares from Sheffield to London.  At the same time the motorway network became more crowded better quality trains on some routes increased passenger numbers. However there's one way to increase the passenger numbers that's to pack the trains with people, but not have the trains big enough to space them out. The numbers look good, but travelling on them is a nightmare.  Plus the services are subsidies at levels higher than BR even allowing for the numbers travelling I believe. 

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17 hours ago, Organgrinder said:

Again, I agree with you but, you make it sound as though this could be easily forced onto the Government when the said Government doesn't allow us to tell them what we are, or are not, going to pay.

As the majority of the rich, powerful and the famous, live down there, they will always make sure that they get first bite of any apples. Nothing we can do about that.

There was a Government department near to our Winter Gardens but it didn't last long until the Government moved them all out again.

There is also the problem of incoming Governments forever overturning projects that the previous Government set up because they are only interested in savaging their opponents instead of working together for the countries benefit. 

 

I don't believe for one minute that the reason for London being that big as it is is due to rich people being the most people there. The vast majority are probably lower to middle class people, who are paying through the nose to live there due to the fact that it's the company base of operations.  

Lots of parties are now more interested in regional governments. The Government has already lost control of Scotland and Wales, so it's just a question of time till more areas force change. 

If it continues most of the population of the UK will NEED to be in London at least for various work related jobs.  The Population of London is set to grow so vast in 10 years that if something is not done to reverse it, any places that does not have control of itself, will be living of the scraps of money left over from what London needs. I would argue that's already happening in Sheffield.

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25 minutes ago, History dude said:

However there's one way to increase the passenger numbers that's to pack the trains with people, but not have the trains big enough to space them out.

Again, keeping off the politics, there are two limits to consider here.  Trains cannot be arbitrarily lengthened, they have to fit into platforms at stations.  Lengthening the platform is expensive.  The other limit is that trains have to keep a safe distance apart.  Overall the system is pretty well at capacity for safely passing trains.  What's needed is new track, lets see - maybe a high speed rail link for passenger use only? (hint hint Boris)

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We seem to forget that in 1945 most of Europe’s rail system had been decimated in the War ( so had Japans) except ours which was-extant but tired and run down. After nationalisation we concentrated on building possibly more efficient steam engines whilst the rest of Europe looked toward electrification

We continued with what we had until mass dieselisation …itself a bit of a disaster in parts….gave us a more modern and efficient range of motive power.Additional route mileage seemed to have been largely ignored bearing in mind the Beeching closures and electrification progressed very slowly except on the Southern Region with its high demand for commuter routes….with , amazingly,some closures…Woodhead in the north which lost its passenger services years before final closure with passenger services being transferred to the rather meandering, slow Hope Valley route

Electrification of the Midland route has been on the cards for decades…but economies and savings always seem to hit our region ….save Supertram where many hard lessons were learned! It does seem to be down to politics and for most of the last 70 or more years we haven't  voted for the governing party.😉

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3 hours ago, MartinR said:

Again, keeping off the politics, there are two limits to consider here.  Trains cannot be arbitrarily lengthened, they have to fit into platforms at stations.  Lengthening the platform is expensive.  The other limit is that trains have to keep a safe distance apart.  Overall the system is pretty well at capacity for safely passing trains.  What's needed is new track, lets see - maybe a high speed rail link for passenger use only? (hint hint Boris)

But it's probably not the long distance trains that are overcrowded. It's the short distance ones that are overcrowded.  Sending one of these (below) to move passengers that would fill a football stadium is often typical. From watching the YouTube driver videos I have noticed that many platforms in the Yorkshire area have sections in place to accommodate longer trains, these platforms are simply not in use and often overgrown with weeds. Network rail for example reduced all the tracks coming into Sheffield creating a bottleneck. Trains using the Hope Valley line have to wait for express services coming in from the South to get into Sheffield.  These are simply cost cutting measures on track maintenance. Many times I have seen the line reduced down to a single track, but there's done with the empty space. It's just cheaper to have a single track. Of course that's where trains are more likely to hit each other on the single track. Rather than a two way system and of course if the thing breaks down. The line is blocked.  Putting back lost tracks is much cheaper than building new railways.

The high speed train to London you mean?  Cuts off 30 minutes of the current time. Tell you what lets tax the pensioners to pay for it. It costs a few billions to build and will not start operating till half the population is of pension age, so they can save 30 minutes to go to London to watch the investiture of one of the current royal brats.   

image.png.7c32ee27e9860f6a9034d0a9269cfebd.png

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1 hour ago, Lysanderix said:

We seem to forget that in 1945 most of Europe’s rail system had been decimated in the War ( so had Japans) except ours which was-extant but tired and run down. After nationalisation we concentrated on building possibly more efficient steam engines whilst the rest of Europe looked toward electrification

We continued with what we had until mass dieselisation …itself a bit of a disaster in parts….gave us a more modern and efficient range of motive power. Additional route mileage seemed to have been largely ignored bearing in mind the Beeching closures and electrification progressed very slowly except on the Southern Region with its high demand for commuter routes….with , amazingly,some closures…Woodhead in the north which lost its passenger services years before final closure with passenger services being transferred to the rather meandering, slow Hope Valley route

Electrification of the Midland route has been on the cards for decades…but economies and savings always seem to hit our region ….save Supertram where many hard lessons were learned! It does seem to be down to politics and for most of the last 70 or more years we haven't  voted for the governing party.😉

Many of the issues that you mention were not really caused by political circumstances. But issues arising from using old technology. The UK in 1948 had great stocks of coal, so there was no need to invest in electric services or expensive and unreliable diesel trains. But then the problem of the pollution from coal burning messed that up. Clean air was needed and steam trains were a big cause of the smog. Electrification on the other hand needed loads of bridges to be heightened. That wasn't a problem in mainland Europe as nearly all the railway bridges had been blown up by the UK and USA forces. The Woodhead route was never extended to the South, even though the Great Central line to London was someone's idea of a high speed rail route, long before they were popular. To British Rail it was just duplication of services. BR also adopted 25KV electrification for nearly every other main route, so the Woodhead line was not compatible with this. Early on the diesel idea was going to be put in place. But I understand that there was some sort of crisis that ended cheap oil to the UK.  When diesels were forced on BR, bad management insured a mess. So orders went out for the wrong type of locomotives, leading to many getting scrapped after five years of life. All from public money, but BR were good at keeping things like that quite.     

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