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Old May 20th, 2011, 11:36 AM   #821
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Scrap fares cap on busy rail routes, says report

Train companies should be allowed to make commuters pay huge fare increases on the most overcrowded routes, a key report said today.

It urged ministers to scrap the legal caps on fares for the busiest rush-hour services in and out of London - as long as they are offset by price cuts on less popular routes.

The recommendations are in a government-commissioned report on rail efficiency by ex-Civil Aviation Authority chief Sir Roy McNulty.
His report said the current formula that limits rises to five per cent above inflation could be abolished for some individual "super-peak" fares.

But any such move is certain to prove hugely unpopular after years of above-inflation fare rises. Commuter groups today said it would simply punish millions of passengers who had to be at work by a certain time.

The 320-page report also said some cheap fares should be ended on popular long-distance routes, such as London to Manchester. If implemented, the report could spell the death knell for cheap Saver fares bought in stations at the last minute.

Gerry Doherty, of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, said: "We could easily be looking at a 30 per cent jump in off-peak fares.

"This is at a time when passengers in Britain already pay the highest fares in Europe. It will particularly hit commuters, especially those who stagger their journeys in order to get cheaper fares.

They arebeing squeezed until the pips squeak." Sir Roy says in his report: "Although fares overall are high relative to other countries, it appears that some are set below the level which passengers would be prepared to pay."

Rail experts said caps on Saver fares put in place during privatisation in the mid-Nineties had left some fares "artificially low".

This has led to anomalies, such as Friday night trains from London to Manchester running half full before the end of the peak - followed by near riots at Euston as passengers scramble for seats on the first off-peak service.

Passengers travelling between London and Manchester in the rush hour currently have to pay £279 for a return but this drops by more than two thirds to £70 after 6.45pm.

Fares expert Barry Doe said: "It is ridiculous when you have trains leaving a quarter full and then when everyone gets on the train and has to stand on the next one because there is such a huge drop in fares."

Sir Roy said: "A more flexible fares structure and the use of 'intelligent ticketing' could assist in making better use of capacity and thus improve efficiency.

"One area that should be considered is the possibility of reducing the coverage of Off-Peak/Saver fares regulation, particularly where operators are competing with other modes of transport, for example on InterCity services.
"This could improve the use of existing capacity and help manage artificial demand peaks, which are caused by current fares structures."

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond accepted Sir Roy's conclusions and has ordered a full review of a fares policy that has barely changed since 1995.

He said today: "If we succeed in implementing the McNulty agenda, I want to put the era of inflation-busting fare rises for Londoners behind us from January 2015."

He wants £1 billion in efficiency savings shared out to reduce the public subsidy and stop steep fare increases - or even cut the cost of travelling. Anthony Smith, chief executive of rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus, said: "Reducing regulation on off-peak tickets is a leap in the dark.

"There will be more losers than winners. Affordable, flexible travel for longer trips will be confined to a brief window in the middle of the day.

"Creating a super-peak fare in the morning commute will force passengers to stump up more or travel at other times. Passengers will resent it." The report, Realising The Potential Of GB Rail, concluded that the costs of running Britain's railways are 40 per cent higher than on the Continent and called for the £1 billion savings.

It also called for a review of staffing and working practices and spoke of the need for pay restraint "in relation to both staff and senior management".

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union, said: "Blaming rail staff for the industry's gross inefficiencies is an attack the RMT will resist."

=========
From The London Evening Standard

You can also consult the whole official report here.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 03:44 PM   #822
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The article is obviously written by someone who don't know much about railway fares

£70 after 6.45pm? Between 9.30am-whatever time evening peak starts is off-peak too...
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 01:26 AM   #823
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Ok, I think I know what's the conclusion of this report. Pansori's rail fare will rise by around 30% from January despite having risen by about 200% over the past 6 years and claims by SW Trains that "on average fares will not increase". It may be called "cost management" or "distribution of... whatever" but I'm leaning towards calling it a scam
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 04:50 PM   #824
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Originally Posted by the_sage View Post
Those Class 90's hauling the MK3 coaches still look good to me, am I imagining it or are there now some of these on the East coast line?
I think there has been for a while but the problem with Class 90s is that their top speed is only 110mph, but I hear that they have better acceleration than the Class 91 so the reduced top speed may be made up for by being able to get to a high speed faster
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 05:03 PM   #825
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Ok, I think I know what's the conclusion of this report. Pansori's rail fare will rise by around 30% from January despite having risen by about 200% over the past 6 years and claims by SW Trains that "on average fares will not increase". It may be called "cost management" or "distribution of... whatever" but I'm leaning towards calling it a scam
Saver fares in UK are quite cheap compared to other countries advanced purchase options. Only Italy has cheaper discounted advanced purchases fares (though they don't have the peak/off-peak concept)
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Old May 26th, 2011, 12:30 AM   #826
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New direct train from London to Harrogate launches

East Coast mainline expanded their services to Harrogate with the addition of a direct train from London Kings Cross.

The service is the first new direct service to Harrogate for 25 years and is targeted at people attending conferences or looking to spend a weekend in the town. Although there are frequent services to London via York or Leeds some people are reluctant to use them as the local connecting services are not always well-timed. Harrogate station has 2 million passengers pass through it each year.

Local Photographer Giles Rocholl travelled on the train: “I didn’t realise the direct train was running yet and was surprised to see Harrogate on the departure board – I was even more surprised to of been met by a civic reception!”

Andrew Jones MP who had seen the train depart at Kings Cross commented : “The new direct East Coast Main Line service will give a shot in the arm to business and commerce in Harrogate. Improved transport links with the capital mean more convenient travel for businesses and tourists. Our town’s economic development relies on good transport links and it was great working with others such as the Chamber of Trade and East Coast Main Line to be able to make this new service a reality.”

Karen Bosell the managing director of East Coast travelled on the 17:33 service this evening and although there were problems due to high winds, made it to the Harrogate station on time. A civic reception was hosted in the station ticket hall with the chief executive of Harrogate Borough Council, Wallace Sampson, Harrogate Mayor, Les Ellington and representatives from the local business community.

Karen Boswell addressed the reception and commented on how the route made business-sense for East Coast too.

The event was hosted by the Harrogate chamber of trade and commerce. Simon Cotton, the president and Brian Dunsby, the chief executive, had both been involved with helping to establish the new service. Simon Cotton commented “To enable Harrogate International Centre to compete with the other major Conference Towns in the UK we really need several direct trains to and from London every day.”

This is the first step of a longer-term strategy with the next being 2 direct trains each-way per day before eventually having 7 trains each way per day.
http://harrogate-news.co.uk/2011/05/...gate-launches/


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London to Harrogate train returns after 20 years

A brass band and champagne reception will welcome the first direct train from London to Harrogate in 20 years. An existing morning service operates from London to the North Yorkshire town, but there had been no return service.

Following feedback from customers, East Coast Trains made the decision to introduce the new service.

The first train will arrive at 2028 on Monday and will be marked with a civic reception at the railway station. Harrogate Chamber of Commerce campaigned for the route to assist with the area's economy.

President Simon Cotton said: "It has been proven that people don't like changing trains and this means people will feel more comfortable travelling to Harrogate. It says something about the economy that the service has been introduced."

East Coast Chairman Elaine Holt said: "We have listened to some very persuasive arguments for the economic and social benefits that an inter-city daily return service between Harrogate and London could bring to the town."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-13501525
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Old May 26th, 2011, 01:32 AM   #827
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Why are British so wary of taking connecting trains, like it were the end of the world?
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Old May 26th, 2011, 08:57 AM   #828
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Why are British so wary of taking connecting trains, like it were the end of the world?
We are averse to connections because we are wary of delays.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 03:07 PM   #829
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Why are British so wary of taking connecting trains, like it were the end of the world?
The use of connecting trains is only practical when schedules are coordinated. Something you are normally not a big fan of...
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Old May 26th, 2011, 04:36 PM   #830
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The use of connecting trains is only practical when schedules are coordinated.
That's not true. Highly frequent services and a well designed station layout saves more time than any schedule coordination could ever achieve.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 04:37 PM   #831
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The use of connecting trains is only practical when schedules are coordinated. Something you are normally not a big fan of...
You don't need to have a coordinated, dictatorial network to allow connections everywhere. There are many other ways to accomplish some connections, particularly in the case of UK, where you have, essentially 2, long north-bound railways going north of London and other radial railways in the other directions that carry majority of traffic, all being mostly traffic to/from London measured in passenger*miles
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Old May 26th, 2011, 04:47 PM   #832
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Why are British so wary of taking connecting trains, like it were the end of the world?
They aren't scared of changing. The country has just one huge centre of gravity where most traffic is bound to. It makes more sense to run individual services from London to almost every branch of the network than forcing passengers to change at junctions. It's simply a matter of capacity and a balanced occupancy rate.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 07:05 PM   #833
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They aren't scared of changing. The country has just one huge centre of gravity where most traffic is bound to. It makes more sense to run individual services from London to almost every branch of the network than forcing passengers to change at junctions. It's simply a matter of capacity and a balanced occupancy rate.
Absolutely true. Nearly every TOC in England has their main base in one of the London terminals. One exception is the Cross-Country franchise which serves some very strange routes, Bournemouth-Edinburgh for example.
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Old May 27th, 2011, 12:09 AM   #834
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I have a question, indeed, three:

- are there new open access operators like Hull Trains going to start service anytime soon? They are crucial to ensure true competition and choice, but as for now there are just a few, including the Heathrow Express.

- how is the regulation about international trains running from Ireland (Republic) into Northern Ireland? Are there agreements in place to accommodate the state-based Irish railways with the British franchise-based rail system?

- one of the franchises had bankrupted a while ago (GNER, if I am correct). When is the government going to put it on tender again for a new operator to take over?

- I just read on the taxpayer alliance website that British passenger operations cost £ 10.400 mln. of which only £ 6.100 are funded through fares. If true, these numbers would mean the farebox recovery (assuming, as in the case of UK, that infrastructure costs are paid and accounted for - via Railtrack and now National Rail fees) is the lowest among big Western European countries. Are those number even grossly correct? If so, what are the chances of a massive cut of unprofitable and light-trafficked routes/lines as to improve financial health of the rail system? What about a massive cut of branch lines like Inverness-Thurso or other slow Highland railways?
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Old May 27th, 2011, 02:14 AM   #835
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2,000 extra trains for London during 2012 games

Extra services, longer trains and late-night running will be a feature of the rail services which will get take more than eight million people to and from next summer's London Olympics, it was announced today.

More than 2,000 extra services will run during the Games in late July and early August 2012 and more than 1,500 extra services will be laid on during the Paralympics in late August and early September. On the main line, there will be late-night trains to get people home from Olympic events, with departures from London as late as 1.30am. On the Tube, the last trains will leave the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, at around 1.30am and services will leave central London as late as 2am.

Network Rail (NR) has suspended all disruptive engineering work on rail routes serving Olympic venues from the end of June to early September 2012. There will also be no weekend closures on London Underground. Mainline train tickets for the Games will be available to buy - from a special national rail website - from late June this year and will offer "good value for money", NR said today.

All those with Olympic tickets will get a free Games Travelcard with their event tickets which will allow free travel on London public transport on the day of their event.Specific fares and a final timetable for Games trains will be available soon. Hugh Sumner, Olympic Delivery Authority director of transport, said: "Travelling to the Games will be very much a part of the spectator experience and we need to get it right.

"The UK's transport network has responded to the requirement for enhanced services during London 2012. Longer, later and more frequent trains are being provided to ensure as best we can that spectators are able to get to their events on time and get back home afterwards - even if they decide to stay for a bite to eat or a sports session overruns."

Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: "The rail industry is committed to offering fast, flexible, reliable and affordable travel for the millions of spectators expected at Olympic and Paralympic events. "As well as being able to book their London 2012 Games train fares up to 12 months in advance - a UK first - spectators will also be able to take advantage of thousands of extra services, earlier starting and later trains to make sure they don't miss a second of the action."
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...-2012-games.do

Quote:
Later trains to smooth Olympic flow

Last trains will leave central London for regional cities as late as 1.30am and there will be more carriages late at night as the national rail network runs 2,000 additional services to handle extra demand during the 2012 Olympic Games, Network Rail has announced.

...
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/27000...#axzz1NOEVTreu
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Old May 27th, 2011, 12:02 PM   #836
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They should put some VIP trains in place also, with 1st class cars only and reserved seating, or at least controlled capacity on train-specific reservations, as to provide a comfortable experience for those not willing to stand on regular Game trains. What is the point investing in an expensive ticket with club seats and some other amenities if even a taxi will not be able to drive up to the entrance of the stadium?
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Old May 27th, 2011, 10:30 PM   #837
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They should put some VIP trains in place also, with 1st class cars only and reserved seating, or at least controlled capacity on train-specific reservations, as to provide a comfortable experience for those not willing to stand on regular Game trains. What is the point investing in an expensive ticket with club seats and some other amenities if even a taxi will not be able to drive up to the entrance of the stadium?
They should do only such services if there's demand for it.
If nobody starts such service in the UK, it means to me that it isn't profitable.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 12:10 AM   #838
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If we actually do have the lowest farebox recovery in Europe then that should be something of a concern, given the huge fare hikes, fare levels and, in spite of that, passenger growth.

There aren't really that many lightly trafficked lines and the Highland lines are promoted almost as much as some sort of tourist facility as they are a transport mode. Transport in Scotland is generally a devolved matter too and there seems to be little appetite for closures up there, new rail lines are being built as well. Don't panic though, cars still rule in the Highlands as everywhere else.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 12:59 AM   #839
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They should do only such services if there's demand for it.
If nobody starts such service in the UK, it means to me that it isn't profitable.
I was referring for some specific to the Olympic Games period only.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 01:13 AM   #840
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If we actually do have the lowest farebox recovery in Europe then that should be something of a concern, given the huge fare hikes, fare levels and, in spite of that, passenger growth.

There aren't really that many lightly trafficked lines and the Highland lines are promoted almost as much as some sort of tourist facility as they are a transport mode. Transport in Scotland is generally a devolved matter too and there seems to be little appetite for closures up there, new rail lines are being built as well. Don't panic though, cars still rule in the Highlands as everywhere else.
Does it have to do with the fact National Rail (and formely RailTrack) didn't/don't receive much money for network improvements? I read somewhere (can't recall which site, but it was something serious) that the trackage fees for UK franchises is 4 to 6 times higher than in continental Europe, mainly because heavy improvements like West Coast Main Line widening/refitting/electrification, many fly-overs and costly station renovations were done without as much State payments as in other countries.

The bottom line was that trackage fees are very expensive in UK. Moreover, the use of diesel trains only made it worse as they oil is more expensive now and most continental railways use electricity.
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