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Old April 30th, 2008, 03:55 AM   #281
Republica
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In the UK the privatisation was clearly a mess which cocked up the railways for 7 or 8 years and made some rich people a lot richer.

As we have it now the infrastructure tracks etc are effectively nationalised, the train companies are private.

This bit where we have the problem in my opinion is the ownership of the trains. It has become clear that the train companies will invest in the shittest trains possible in most cases and there wont be any standards across the network in train type. This is quite clearly ridiculous and whoever in the early 90's thought this was a good idea needs to be dealt with! Anyway, as far as i know the trains are actually owned by rolling stock companies which lease the trains to the train operating companies. The rollick stock companies are big banks....

I think these should be nationalised too. This would put some debt onto the government when trains are needed, but they appear to be paying for trains anyway through the complete commercial failure to give a good service.
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Old April 30th, 2008, 10:18 AM   #282
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Or allow the train operating companies to own their own trains, but that may cause havoc at the end of franchises.
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Old April 30th, 2008, 01:57 PM   #283
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Franchise lengths are a problem too, it seems they're not long enough to warrant any long term investment. It's also irritating in that trains are repainted and refurbished too frequently because of constant franchise changes, it's just a waste...

I think the biggest problem is lack of integration, an national Smart Card system could work, train operators could set the fares but they could all be charged on one card. But tbh I don't know what i'm talking about, it's just an idea.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 03:09 PM   #284
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In Holland since the privatisation. The new trainlines Arriva, Connexxion, Syntus, Veolia and DB Regio the passengers has increase with 10 percent. Before on the same lines, the National Dutch railways didn't make a lot of turnover and closed the lines. Mostly the National Dutchrailways didn't given al lot of service en the trains were very old. The new companies upgrated de stations en bought new (lightrail)trains.

The National Dutch Railways give more attention in de metropolitan area of the Randstad (A'dam/R'dam, the Hague, etc).

The only problem is Prorail. Simmilair like Railtrack.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 09:09 PM   #285
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@andrewsimons,...
i'm not for sure, but wasn't that turnover beceause of the travelcart for students, i know for sure that i've read somewhere that, the implemation of that cart the only big turnover was for public transports in the Netherlands. But i'm not sure if that was at the same time as the privatisation

( PS, sorry for my english, i'm quite drunk)
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Old May 4th, 2008, 03:09 PM   #286
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At least with the British system (as it is now) the train operators can be sacked. In the days of BR there was no accountability and the network was in a terminal state of decline. My local train operator is First Great Western and they have been warned by the Government that if they do not improve their performance they will have their franchise terminated at the next possible opportunity. They are now trying really hard and are pumping money into improving the service...its still not going to be enough to save them though. If BR had run the line they would just shrug their shoulders and say "use the bus".

I've heard that SNCF provincial regional services are appalling because the government puts all the money into the TGV lines. There's nothing that the French public can do except vote out the Government at an election.... which is a rather indirect way of complaining about specific service issues. At least with the British system the train companies are held directly to account over their service standards and they stand to loose a lot of money and prestige if they fail.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 07:28 PM   #287
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonesy55 View Post
I agree with C-Beam, infrastructure should remain public, auction off slots to private train operators. There is a tendency in the UK to blame all the faults of the system on privatisation but they forget that British Rail was also crap and the government had not invested much at all in the network for 20 years prior to privatisation during which time passenger numbers showed a consistent decline.

In the past ten years though, rolling stock has been thoroughly modernised and passenger numbers are up by 40% to record levels. This week, Shrewsbury has recommenced a direct link to London thanks to the open-access principle that privatisation has enabled so it can't be all bad.
And in response to Yardmaster's post:

There is a tendency in Victoria to blame all the faults of the system on privatisation but the forget that the Victorian Railways were also crap and the government had not invested much at all in the network for 40 years (bar a couple of exceptions) prior to privatisation during which time passenger numbers showed a consistent decline.

In the past five years though, rolling stock has been thoroughly modernised and passenger numbers have gone up 20% in two years to record levels.



Unfortunately, people seem to conveniently forget that although trains are occasionally late or cancelled today, the years before privatisation were by far worse and similarly there was no accountability - the VR were never required to put up posters in every station with lateness/cancellation statistics. IMO the matter of privatisation is strictly ideological, at least through Melbourne's experience. The problem is usually mismanagement, not of ownership.

As a taxpayer, I expect the government to spend money efficiently, just as a shareholder would expect from their company. A government department bleeding money is really not that different to a private operator relying on a subsidy.

In Melbourne's case, the problem is nothing to do with who operates the train, it is the lack of willingness or vision of successive governments to demand something better, and provide the resources to facilitate this.
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Old May 6th, 2008, 01:29 PM   #288
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NZ nationalises trains
In New Zealand, ownership of rail and ferry services is to pass back into public hands, bringing a conclusion to what has been called “one of the most disastrous privatisations” in the country’s history - May-06

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/1/9e8e4708-1...0779fd2ac.html
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Old May 6th, 2008, 10:47 PM   #289
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Privatization is popular for everything. National telecoms have always been a farce The similiarity of telecom & electricity&water companies etc would be interesting as both depend infrastructure and every competitor to them in reality has to use their infrastructure.

Privatization of railways done wrong is like privatizing the only oasis in the middle of the desert. Also Estonian Railways was also reprivatized to some extent after being privatized. Apparently there a lot of pitfalls one can fall into. The model with nationalized grid and private train companies is interesting.
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Old May 6th, 2008, 10:55 PM   #290
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3 reasons. 1: money
2: money
3: money

is that so strange to be recognizable?
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Old May 8th, 2008, 12:32 AM   #291
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve87 View Post
NZ nationalises trains
In New Zealand, ownership of rail and ferry services is to pass back into public hands, bringing a conclusion to what has been called “one of the most disastrous privatisations” in the country’s history - May-06

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/1/9e8e4708-1...0779fd2ac.html
It's not renationalising everything, just the rolling stock I believe. There seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding the issue actually as no one really seems very clear about what is happening.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/s...ectid=10508380
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Old May 10th, 2008, 01:32 PM   #292
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Quote:
The new trainlines Arriva, Connexxion, Syntus, Veolia and DB Regio the passengers has increase with 10 percent
Thats a part of the story. Many passengers took before the busservice wich were closed down if it was located somewhat parallel to a railwaytrack. The Fish-grade systems basiclly means that you have to change more times; and that the 'central' line (i.e. the railwayline) gets more passengers while the whole public transport system is not getting more profitable.

Futhermore the new railwayoperators they have to fulfill the "Programma van Eisen" (program of demands) they are asked by the (regional) government. Veolia for instance was obligated to buy new trains; so that was not due to the fact that they were privite companies; but due to the fact that it was obligated; otherwise the area would go to another company.

Actually, the current system in The Netherlands (its a mix of state-inititaive with free market accents) is a good one, but still needs developpment.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 07:33 PM   #293
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Originally Posted by Gag Halfrunt View Post
"Nightstar" cars for international sleeper trains through the Tunnel were built in the early 1990s but never went into service. They then sat in sidings for something like five years and were eventually sold to Canada.
What I don't understand about this whole Nightstar idea is why they wanted to run the trains from regional UK stations into Continental cities. I would have thought that it makes a lot more sense to run night trains out of London into the typical airline destinations, i.e. Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Munich, Frankfurt etc.

At the moment it is necessary to change from Eurostar into night train in Paris or Brussels. The extra change takes the whole convenience point out of it and it becomes more senseful to do the 5hr Heathrow hassle either at 6am in the morning or from late in the afternoon on a workday to catch a flight for a next day meeting.

I am pretty sure that this is mostly a logistical/lobbying problem and not really a question of what would be possible- or am I missing out on something?
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Old June 21st, 2008, 12:30 AM   #294
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Perhaps they should introduce Schengen Zone pre-clearance at St. Pancras (or Ebbsfleet and Ashford) instead, so that trains could enter the Channel Tunnel without immigration controls. It's the same concept as US immigration controls existing at Canadian and Mexican airports and ferry terminals.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 02:05 AM   #295
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Eurostar already has what amounts to pre-clearance, in the sense that anyone who would be refused entry would not get as far as boarding the train.

The security arrangements are very similar to those at airports. When you arrive at the station, you have to check in for your train. Your ticket and passport are checked, after which you wait in the departure lounge until the train is ready to board. Once you arrive at your destination, your passport is checked again by immigration officers. At London and Paris, they have booths as far as I remember, but at Lille the gendarmes just stood on the platform.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 01:33 PM   #296
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I have been hoping for a direct connection by rail from Frankfurt to London as that is my most common connection, of which I fly several times a year. However, 5 hours is really pushing it to the extreme when comparing to flying for this short route so I am not sure if it is really viable.

Let's consider some of your advantages:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rheintram View Post
The biggest advantage of railways are that they go:

1. right to the city cores
2. do not require long check-in procedures
3. offer services several times a day, compared to only few flights
1. Well, it depends where you really need to go. If you are travelling for business and the destination is Canary Wharf, flying is still closer and quicker by using London City Airport. When I travel for business, it is to Canary Wharf, so I would certainly choose flying in this case. The other situation is that many people are visiting family or friends and that usually means to the suburbs or even outside of London. It maybe more practical to fly to Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton or Stansted as they maybe closer to the suburban destination than central London. Or if they are travelling somewhere else in the South East it may also be easier to fly into an airport where they can either pick up their car or rent one and easily drive out without paying a congestion charge. There are a lot of expats in Frankfurt and I wouldn't be surprised that they constitute the 2nd largest number of passengers after business flights. Central London maybe less convenient to them

2. This is not always true as well. If I fly from London City airport, I usually checkin 30minutes before the flight. The same time recommended for a standard Eurostar ticket holder. Of cause the larger airports require more, but at Frankfurt airport I usually check in 1 hour before the flight and considering it's an hour long flight instead of 5hours on the train, it is still quicker.

And let's be honest. Between Frankfurt and London Heathrow now it's two fantastic terminals with BA. Check in extra early? So what, they are both very comfortable places to sit down and relax at a bar, connect with your Wifi, shop or have something to eat. Whichever way, that time spent is still in more spacious and comfortable settings than any train.

3. Do they really offer more services per day? I don't know, but there are plenty of services flying between Frankfurt and London. I doubt very much there would be more by train.


There are other advantages to flying. One big one is luggage. When you go to an airport, the first thing you do is check in your luggage. Then you forget about it until the other end. At train stations, you have to lug these heavy bags around with you, then try and find a space on the train. Often, your bags are too large for the overhead rack, so you need to find the oversize luggage slots. On DB ICE trains, these are pretty scarce and you may end up leaving them in a different carriage to where you are seating. I always feel uncomfortable doing that - unlike a plane, people get on and off at various stations on route and who knows if one decided to take your bag as a bonus. As for carry-on luggage. In a plane, you can drop that laptop bag in the overhead compartment then close your eyes and full asleep knowing your laptop will still be there when you wake up. Try doing that on a train. I know so many people that have fallen asleep and found their bags stolen. So, on that 1hour flight, you can sleep or rest, on that 5 hour train journey, you must stay awake.

As I said, I really look forward to such a train service going between Frankfurt and London. I will certainly use it if my destination is central London (not the suburbs or Canary Wharf) and give it a try. But I really don't understand all this what people say when they claim flying is so uncomfortable compared to rail. I always use trains within Germany, and nearby countries (off to Paris in a couple of weeks and of cause taking the train) but I also find flying very comfortable these days. Maybe that's because I don't use budget airlines much, I don't know. But I just don't understand why some people think short hop flying is such a hassle.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 01:35 PM   #297
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve87 View Post
As far as I remember the UK authorities were a bit fussy with the passport controls and insisted that passengers are being checked before they board the train. Given the slow speed of the Eurostar before HS1 that does not surprise me since any illegals who would have made it into the Schengen area could have boarded the Eurostar on the Continent and then jump off the train into the English countryside without having been checked once.

It is interesting though that the Swiss authorities appear to be much more relaxed about this.
I remember this being the case even before the Schengen here. Passports were checked on board the trains between most European countries. It is simply the UK government making a big issue about this. Island mentality I suppose.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 01:40 PM   #298
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve87 View Post
What I don't understand about this whole Nightstar idea is why they wanted to run the trains from regional UK stations into Continental cities. I would have thought that it makes a lot more sense to run night trains out of London into the typical airline destinations, i.e. Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Munich, Frankfurt etc.

At the moment it is necessary to change from Eurostar into night train in Paris or Brussels. The extra change takes the whole convenience point out of it and it becomes more senseful to do the 5hr Heathrow hassle either at 6am in the morning or from late in the afternoon on a workday to catch a flight for a next day meeting.

I am pretty sure that this is mostly a logistical/lobbying problem and not really a question of what would be possible- or am I missing out on something?

It's the convenience point. Night trains are great (well, as long as you book a sleeper ;O) but they only work well if you leave a good time in the evening, have a good nights sleep and don't arrive too early. London to Frankfurt/Berlin etc maybe too quick, even for a slow train to do this. Afterall, no one likes waking up at 4am, so an early arrival in your destination would take the comfort out of these.

City Night Line is a recent service which you can check out their DB website and they offer some good routes. Where I live in Frankfurt, there are a number of cities which have good timings. Though, still early wake up calls, many not at dafto'clock. http://www.bahn.co.uk/international/...nachtzug.shtml
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 11:52 AM   #299
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rheintram View Post
The biggest advantage of railways are that they go:

1. right to the city cores
2. do not require long check-in procedures
3. offer services several times a day, compared to only few flights

hence there is little extra time spendt besides the actual travelling time, unlike with flights.

Any regulation, such as the UK border controls, that unnecessarily extends the amount of 'extra time' makes trains less attractive. People don't mind to stay an hour longer in a train, where they can work with their laptops, enjoy a meal or just a chat with another passenger, if they are spared all the disadvantages of the planes: Long commuting to the airport, long check-in procedures, long check-out procedures.
I think the growth in the number of passengers using Eurostar since its move to St Pancras goes part way to show that the security checks are not a significant consideration. My personal experience of the Eurostar border controls is that they are nothing like as time consuming as those at Heathrow say, where I have, on at least two cases, spent over an hour in the queue due to understaffing.

However, DB have rightly taking border controls into consideration since on any London - Rhine routes, the end to end journey time would limit the share of traffic that could be gained from air-travel and they have probably found that it has a significant impact on profitability of any such services.

I think a read in a follow-up article/comment that ICE units would not be used on a London - Rhine service; TGV-Est designs being the preferred option based on costs adapting the vehicles which are already technically compatable.

Last edited by Magellan; August 22nd, 2008 at 12:22 PM.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 12:01 PM   #300
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Originally Posted by sotonsi View Post
I think you misunderstand me completely - it's as if you haven't read what I said - your brain added 're' before moved and replaced 'to' with 'from' to end up with the opposite meaning of what I said. I reckon such a brain malfunction means that you did that deliberately to put up a straw man barrier to/problem with running from London to other destinations.

I didn't mention removing St Pancras' border controls (though it would be nice to have none), I talked about moving all (so Paris', Lille's, Brussels') border control to St Pancras, where they have clearly left space in Arrivals for it. There would be no need to provide them in mainland European stations as they will all be in St Pancras.

I'll reiterate this, so that you get the point, St Pancras has space for border control for arriving trains, thus negating the need for any border control facilities in continental stations - existing facilities for border control over the channel can be moved to England and no new ones need be built.

Again (forth time's a charm) - arriving trains would go through English border control at St Pancras, rather than Paris, Lille, Brussels, Amsterdam, Koln, etc. There would be no need for any border control stuff in non-English Stations, hence why Schengen is a red herring.
That is an incorrect conclusion; border controls are required such that everyone passes through checks before gaining access to the vehicles. I think the UK would be inclined to joining the Schengen agreement if it were not for its past experiences of terrorist activity (and possibly at the prompting of the US Government), certainly the British public would no doubt welcome it.
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