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Old September 22nd, 2011, 04:21 PM   #981
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
K., natural monopolies are more related to individual markets than to national ones, strictu sensu.

A central rail station in a city like Glasgow, or the tracks under the English Channel on Eurotunnel are examples of natural monopolies.
For somethign to be a natural monopoly it has to be a monopoly first. That's the point you seem to be missing.
Eurotunnel is not a natural monopoly. They do not have a monopoly on UK-Continent traffic. They never had, they never will.

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Most of UK franchises operate as effective monopolies, because despite the presence of many franchises in UK, most cities are served only by one company, and there is no actual competition for train services (only competition with other modes like buses, cars or domestic air travel).
Well, you could say that the Coca Cola company has a monopoly on Coca Cola. That doesn't make them a natural monopoly. It's not because only one train company serves a town that it has a monopoly in transportation to/from that town.

And even if it were to have a monopoly in transportation to a particular area (as for example MGB in Switzerland has) people can still vote with their feet and move to an area with better rail service. That is exactly the way that commuter railways compete with each other in Japan.
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 03:07 AM   #982
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To make things work, franchises should be separate between local/regional services and trunk services along main lines, and also provide that, at least on the most trafficked routes, 2 companies are operating trains on the same route. If they want - say - 46 daily Manchester - Euston trains, let one franchise operate 23, another operate other 23. That way, you could achieve price and service quality competition. Price-conscious passengers would take cheaper trains, those wanting to travel ASAP would take whatever trains, those seeking comfort would take more expensive trains etc.
As it happens there is a review under way with the view to opening up paths for open access operators to do the London - Manchester and a few other routes. I think the reality has dawned on the government that whilst it may have been a good idea at the time (it equally may not have been) that now they need to stop giving the long distance operators a monopoly over certain routes. After all it isn't really hurting virgin that London Midland and Chiltern both now provide cheaper slower alternatives, but it gives the passengers a better deal. With the huge increase in passenger numbers, the govt need to get out of the mindset of "managing decline" in which mollycoddling the incumbent operators would make some sort of sense. But the managed decline ceased in the 90s, but many politicians still haven't got that railways are no longer a dying relic. But its changing thankfully.

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Scarcity of rolling stock plays into the hands of the ROSCOs: they can charge higher prices, which provides little incentives for them to expand fleet greatly. From a holding managerial POV, this is especially the case since some ROSCOs were acquired and merged at overpriced (in many analysts opinions) prices: flooding the market with rolling stock is detrimental to their R.O.I.

As they operate now, ROSCOs are pretty much a mere financing agency for DfT which effectively decides what is running where.

In a more free market, excess rolling stock would attract knock-down short-term leases (2-4 years) from open access TOCs, who'd be able to use them to operate free routes within the system, helping push competition. But as it is now, there is no incentive for that, DfT puts safeguarding the franchises as a higher priority.

Here's the official investigation into exactly that, its the press release, only 4 pages.

http://www.competition-commission.or.../pdf/16-09.pdf
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 05:17 PM   #983
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Grand designs at Exeter stations begin

Work to improve Exeter Central and Exeter St Davids into bright, accessible and secure stations has started. Nearly 4m passengers are set to benefit from better journey experiences at both stations from the £7m refurbishment.

It will provide passengers with better facilities including, new waiting shelters, toilets and real-time digital customer information system.

Led by First Great Western and Network Rail, the major refurbishment programme is part of the National Station Improvement Programme (NSIP), which is backed by the Department for Transport.

Network Rail has also launched today a new redevelopment opportunity that could further improve the station area of Exeter St Davids.

By unlocking the untapped potential of the railway assets outside the station, there are opportunities for developers to transform the land into a mixed-use development and an integrated transport hub.

Patrick Hallgate, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “Exeter is forecast to be among the biggest growth cities within South West of England by 2026. It is vital that we provide a robust railway to support this growth and most importantly, the city’s economy.

...
http://www.rail.co/2011/09/21/grand-...tations-begin/
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 06:34 PM   #984
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Virgin Trains pays Government £110m

Virgin Trains has paid the Government £110 million this year – in stark contrast to last year’s figure when the train operator received a subsidy of £40 million.

The change of fortune comes after years of disruption on the West Coast Main Line, as part of the route’s £9 billion upgrade.

Virgin Trains saw its passenger revenue rise 11% to £753 million in the year to March 31st. Passenger figures hit 28 million journeys.

Says Virgin Rail Chief Executive Officer Tony Collins, ‘Our partnership approach with the Department for Transport has seen passenger numbers grow faster than the market over the last six years. We expect to continue this as a result of joint investments such as the recent addition of a new Pendolino train which is now in service.’

The figures will ramp up interest in the battle for the WCML franchise. First Group, SNCF, Abellio and incumbent Virgin are all interested.

The franchise is expected to be let in January 2013.
http://www.rail.co/2011/09/22/virgin...vernment-110m/
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 06:57 PM   #985
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I have a little question about Gatwick Express.

They have been using Class 460 trainsets which were leased new around 2000-2001. But recently the fleet was changed to old refurbished Class 442 which date back to 1988 or so and are essentially old trains (and they do look so!). I understand that refurbishing old trains is a good idea on some slower services with 3rd class seating but how come that a 'premium' service like Gatwick Express is using old Class 442s while 'ordinary' Southern service uses new Class 377s which are more aesthetically appealing and are decent contemporary EMUs? Or was the refurb done so well that it actually makes 422s suitable for such premium service?
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Old September 24th, 2011, 01:39 PM   #986
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£4.30 for a 2.2 mile bus ride must be BY FAR the world's most expensive bus fare! This is beyond extortionate. It by no means makes a two stop train ride for £2.60 'cheap'. Comparable bus ride in London would cost you £1.20 while a train ride should be about the same i.e. £2.60. Those unfoprtunate people paying £4.30 for such a bus journey should rather take a cab and start saving their money!



Why no? Only because everyone says so and you have never tried it? I just checked google maps. It's actually 2.2 miles and takes 43 minutes. If you're fast and not physically incapacitated you can make it in 25-30 minutes. On a bike it would take about 10-12 minutes and perhaps a little longer in a car depending on traffic.


The comparison is flawed in this case because nowhere in the world a 2.2 mile bus ride costs £4.30. Leeds must be somehow unique and special.
I'm not quite sure why you are bothering with this.

Walking from Headingley train station (where i live) to Leeds train station (I work next to it) is an hour walk. There are lots of hills. It takes an hour to walk, that is a fact, I have walked it. I am not going to walk for 2 hours to work every day when I can pay £2.60 and spend a total of 20 mins on the train.

The comparison is not flawed, because that is how much a ticket in Leeds costs... can you not understand that? Of course in reality very few people pay that fare, but I am just comparing the standard turn up and pay fare on the train and bus.... Both of them are day tickets too. You recommend taking a taxi. From Leeds train station to Headingley train station a taxi is between £6 and £8! not much of a money saver is it?
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Old September 24th, 2011, 02:53 PM   #987
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Originally Posted by Pansori View Post
I have a little question about Gatwick Express.

They have been using Class 460 trainsets which were leased new around 2000-2001. But recently the fleet was changed to old refurbished Class 442 which date back to 1988 or so and are essentially old trains (and they do look so!). I understand that refurbishing old trains is a good idea on some slower services with 3rd class seating but how come that a 'premium' service like Gatwick Express is using old Class 442s while 'ordinary' Southern service uses new Class 377s which are more aesthetically appealing and are decent contemporary EMUs? Or was the refurb done so well that it actually makes 422s suitable for such premium service?
The class 442s (not 422s) are based on mk III coaching stock - essentially the same as the HSTs etc. They are perfect for 'premium' services. The reason for the change was because Southern needed to use the GX paths during the peak, so they extended the GX services to Brighton. This required more stock. There are now many more 442 units than the 8 460 units that were available. Two 442s running as a unit use up most of the 240m platform lengths available, whereas the 460s were only 160m, of which one car was wasted as a luggage van.

The 377s feature 3+2 seating a lot, whereas the 442s are 2+2 and are much more comfy. All in all it was a good idea.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 03:36 PM   #988
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A sped up journey on the Chiltern Main line from London Marylebone to Birmingham Moor Street.

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Old September 25th, 2011, 01:13 AM   #989
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London Southend Airport rail link opens

A new rail link between London Southend Airport and the British capital has officially opened, ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The airport's new rail station links Southend to London Liverpool Street, a major station in the City of London and will also stop at Stratford, the main site under development for the Olympic Games.

Journey time to central London will be 53 minutes, around eight minutes longer than the journey from Stansted Airport, although the time to Stratford is 44 minutes.

The airport is aiming to give passengers with hand luggage a 'plane-to-train' time of just 15 minutes, with a maximum four-minute wait at security checkpoints in the other direction.

Although Stratford currently serves only small airlines, its importance is expected to grow significantly next year with the launch of easyJet services, with 70 flights a week scheduled to begin in April 2012 to destinations across Europe.

The airport also confirmed this week that a new carrier, Jetisfaction, will soon offer regular services to and from Germany.
http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/...s-2359628.html
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Old September 25th, 2011, 01:31 AM   #990
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Originally Posted by makita09 View Post
The class 442s (not 422s) are based on mk III coaching stock - essentially the same as the HSTs etc. They are perfect for 'premium' services. The reason for the change was because Southern needed to use the GX paths during the peak, so they extended the GX services to Brighton. This required more stock. There are now many more 442 units than the 8 460 units that were available. Two 442s running as a unit use up most of the 240m platform lengths available, whereas the 460s were only 160m, of which one car was wasted as a luggage van.

The 377s feature 3+2 seating a lot, whereas the 442s are 2+2 and are much more comfy. All in all it was a good idea.
Thanks for explanation. That makes sense. I wonder for how long these 442s will remain in service?
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Old September 25th, 2011, 11:30 PM   #991
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makita09

The class 442s (not 422s) are based on mk III coaching stock - essentially the same as the HSTs etc. They are perfect for 'premium' services. The reason for the change was because Southern needed to use the GX paths during the peak, so they extended the GX services to Brighton. This required more stock. There are now many more 442 units than the 8 460 units that were available. Two 442s running as a unit use up most of the 240m platform lengths available, whereas the 460s were only 160m, of which one car was wasted as a luggage van.

The 377s feature 3+2 seating a lot, whereas the 442s are 2+2 and are much more comfy. All in all it was a good idea.
Since they are based on the mk III coaches I imagine the ride would be smother / quieter than the newer units they replaced?
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Old September 26th, 2011, 02:45 PM   #992
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Not really, the 460s were nice too. Only rode one once as an emergency shuttle from Victoria to East Croydon due to a fire at Victoria, but it was smooth. Quieter perhaps in a 442 unless you're in the motor car, plus the 442s have the old school brake pumps that kick in every now and then, that sounds like a giant washing machine crossed with a pigeon. But all the units on the Brighton Mainline are modern smooth and quiet apart from the slightly rickety 319s.

The one disadvantage of the 442s is they have poor acceleration - 7.9bhp/ton and about 20t of tractive effort, but no problem really if they are on expresses.

The 460s - 9.2bhp/ton and nearly 100t of tractive effort (per 8x20m cars)
The 377s - 11.8bhp/ton and about 50t of tractive effort (per 4x20m cars)
The 319s - 9.33bhp/ton and about 20t of tractive effort (per 4x20m cars)

@ Pansori, for the foreseeable future I imagine. I reckon it will be ten years at least before they're replaced now, when hopefully some capacity enhancements are made to the line once the 12-car thameslink projects are filled with bums on seats.
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Old September 27th, 2011, 08:48 PM   #993
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Network Rail announces Queen Street station revamp plan

[IMG]http://i52.************/1zdw041.jpg[/IMG]

Network Rail has selected the Buchanan Partnership as its partner for a multi-million pound redevelopment of Glasgow Queen Street station.

The project is expected to run from 2013 until 2015, with some improvements made for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

A new glass frontage will be added to the station's George Square entrance.

Inside, the concourse will be extended, a new mezzanine level food court added, along with an atrium link to the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre.

The Dundas Street and North Hanover Street entrances will also be redesigned and there will be a new entrance created from Cathedral Street.

The mezzanine and food court will be created in the air space above the current station car park, while that car park will be replaced with a multi-storey parking facility.

David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said: "Glasgow Queen Street is one of the busiest stations in Scotland handling more than 19 million passengers a year and the proposals announced today will deliver a more modern station with enhanced retail and leisure facilities for those travellers.

"The Buchanan Partnership's exciting plans for the station will also greatly enhance the appeal of the wider city centre to rail passengers and shoppers alike and this partnership allows Network Rail to redevelop this important station in a cost-effective way and generate additional revenue which we can reinvest in the nation's railways."

The Buchanan Partnership is a joint venture between Land Securities and Henderson Global Investors.

Land Securities head of retail, Lester Hampson, said: "The redevelopment of Glasgow Queen Street Station will create a world-class integrated transport hub and is an important element in progressing our aspiration to enhance and expand the Buchanan Quarter, cementing Glasgow's position as the top retail and leisure destination outside London."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...-west-15061417

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Old September 28th, 2011, 02:49 PM   #994
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Sunderland to London Kings Cross @ 2,660mph

Credit to grandcentralofficial

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Old September 29th, 2011, 05:07 PM   #995
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Unveiled: Plans for 700 extra trains a day across the north

Rail chiefs today unveiled plans to deliver deliver more than 700 extra services a day between Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle as part of a £560m “northern hub”. The so-called “initial industry plan” also includes journey time improvements in Yorkshire and electrification of the Midland main line and north trans-Pennine line.

The programme covers the period 2014 to 2019, with the industry aiming to cut rail costs by £1.3 billion a year by the end of this decade.

The plan envisages improvements to a number of stations including Fenchurch Street in London and Liverpool Central - but does not confirm any in Yorkshire. Rail chiefs claim that by better linking Britain’s major cities, an extra 180,000 peak-time seats could be provided, as well as accommodating a 30% increase in freight.

The hoped-for schemes, which will need Government approval, are in addition to £4.9 billion-worth of ongoing projects such as the Thameslink and Crossrail schemes in London and already-announced electrification schemes such as the Great Western line.

The rail industry also spoke today of trying to improve the passenger experience in key areas such as journey information, comfort and accessibility.

Network Rail group strategy director Paul Plummer said: “The railways are booming, with more and more people choosing rail. Closer collaboration within the industry will deliver even more efficiencies. This revenue growth and improved efficiency taken together provide governments with real choices to consider, choices around the appropriate balance between subsidy, investment and fares.”

Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “Rail has a bright future in supporting a successful green economy in the years ahead. This plan shows how we can do that by providing a better quality of service to growing numbers of passengers at a more affordable cost. We look forward to working with government to ensure the right framework is in place to make this possible.”

The plan comes as season-ticket holders face average fare rises of 8% in the new year at a time when passenger numbers are rising on a network where rail costs are seen as too high.
http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/busin...orth_1_3819330
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Old September 30th, 2011, 11:46 PM   #996
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Travel to Germany with high speed trains from London in just four hours from 2013

Londoners and Germans have been waiting for an alternative to air travel for a long time. Finally a very appealing solution seems to be in sight as from 2013 a new high speed train service will allow you hop on a train at London St Pancras and be in Cologne in four hours.

After a successful test run through the Channel Tunnel to the Eurostar terminal at London St Pancras, German rail operator Deutsche Bahn plans to start a full inter-continental service in 2013.

Travel time from Cologne and Amsterdam to London is expected to be under four hours and from Frankfurt just over five hours.

Currently, only Eurostar has the use of the Channel Tunnel, giving it a total monopoly on trains to Europe, with passengers changing at Brussels to reach other destinations.

But the new route will see German trains travel from London to Brussels, where they will split, with one half going on to Rotterdam and Amsterdam and the other to Cologne and Frankfurt, without the passengers having to disembark.

The chairman of the DB Management Board, Dr Rutiger Grube, said, "by making full use of the opportunities afforded by the liberalisation of the European rail transport market we are able to offer our customers genuine alternatives to air travel."
http://optimistworld.com/Articles.as...1-5a5f5b361035

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Deutsche Bahn to launch channel tunnel rail services

German rail operate Deutsche Bahn has confirmed it will launch services through the Channel Tunnel in 2013. Initially the operator will offer departures between London St Pancras International and Brussels, with a view to expanding to Amsterdam (via Rotterdam), Cologne and Frankfurt.

DB will use its newly built ICE 3 (class 407) for the service. The train operator argues this will reduce the travel time from London to Cologne and Amsterdam to less than four hours and to Frankfurt to just over five.

DB submitted an application in July for fundamental approval for its ICE trains to use the Channel Tunnel the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC), the safety authority responsible for this.

Deutsche Bahn had previously outlined its plans following a series of safety tests earlier this year.
http://www.breakingtravelnews.com/ne...rail-services/
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Old October 4th, 2011, 12:10 PM   #997
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Good news for users of the Midland Mainline... (well if you will be using it in 4-6 years!)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-15111438

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/Network..._Midlands.aspx
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Old October 4th, 2011, 01:09 PM   #998
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Good news for users of the Midland Mainline... (well if you will be using it in 4-6 years!)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-15111438

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/Network..._Midlands.aspx
Finally!

Although to be honest, I care more about FCC improving their shitty service
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Old October 4th, 2011, 08:24 PM   #999
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Official opening for new £1.5m Southend East Station

The Mayor of Southend-on-Sea, Councillor David Norman today officially opened the new and upgraded Southend East station.

National Express train operator c2c’s Southend East station has been significantly upgraded and rebuilt over the past 9 months in a £1.5m investment as part of the National Stations Improvement Programme, with much improved facilities for customers including:

- Construction of a brand new ticket office on the south side of the station
- Improvements to station platforms, lighting and signage
- Enhanced CCTV equipment and customer information systems
- Improved pedestrian and cycle access from Ambleside Drive
- New station entrance with better access
- New cycle parking provided by the Borough Council on the north side of the station, in addition to the existing cycle parking provided by c2c at the station
- A much improved environment and asset for the local community

Julian Drury Managing Director of c2c said: “We’re proud to serve the people of Southend and Essex with award-winning train services – this significant investment at Southend East demonstrates our commitment to upgrading our stations and services in responding to what are customers are telling us. We want to make a positive contribution to the communities we serve. Here at Southend East we have met their aspirations, which were for better ticketing facilities and information, improved security and more cycle parking.”

James Duddridge MP for Rochford and Southend East said: “I am delighted to see the continual investment that c2c have carried out on the Shoeburyness to Fenchurch Street line. The investment to Southend East train station is yet another testament to their commitment to ensuring the service they provide to their passengers is second to none. I would like to thank c2c for their continual investment programme and I am sure that the residents of Southend will enjoy the new and improved station.”

Andrew Munden, Network Rail Route Director, said: “The improvements that have been delivered at Southend East station will give passengers what they want – a safer and brighter station providing an improved environment for everyone travelling by train.

“Britain relies on train travel and these new facilities are a great example of how the rail industry is collaborating to bring our stations into the 21st century, encouraging great use of the network.”
http://www.rail.co/2011/10/03/offici...-east-station/
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Old October 7th, 2011, 01:38 AM   #1000
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Euston joint control room points to way forward for rail industry

A new control room at Euston station has opened as part of a collaborative effort from Network Rail, London Midland and Virgin Trains. The project marks the first time that a joint control room has been built from scratch, with both train operators and Network Rail contributing to the design so that the control room delivers what each party needs.

The new facility was designed to assist and encourage collaborative working between the three companies’ staff, which will improve both the management of station personnel and the dissemination of information between station staff and train operators. This will help to deduce the dwell time for trains at the station, improving train performance and reducing delays for passengers.

London Euston was chosen as the site for the first joint control room due to the high number of passengers that use the station and the potential for overcrowding during times of service disruption.

Steve Lewis, Network Rail station manager at Euston, said: “This new control room is a fantastic example of what we can achieve when we work together.

“Euston is one of the busiest stations in the country and the whole team here, whether they work for Network Rail, London Midland or Virgin Trains, have a huge role to play in keeping thousands of people moving each day. This facility will make working together easier and improve the service we provide to passengers and to each other.”

David Johnson, duty station manager for Virgin Trains at Euston, said: “We now have a state of the art Joint Control facility at London Euston to enable Virgin Trains, London Midland and Network Rail to work closely together to deliver the timetable to our passengers, and co-ordinate service recovery following any disruption.”

Alex Hynes, commercial director, London Midland, said: “This is partnership working in action. Keeping staff and customers up to date with the latest information is the best way to boost passenger approval.”
http://www.rail.co/2011/10/06/euston...rail-industry/
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