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View Poll Results: What would you rate it from what you know?
Worst in the world 2 4.17%
Worst in Europe 3 6.25%
Not the worst but at the bottom in Europe 9 18.75%
Just average similar to many countries 13 27.08%
One of the best in Europe 12 25.00%
One of the best in Europe, but would be THE BEST if it had proper HSR 6 12.50%
The best in Europe 1 2.08%
The best in the world ever! 2 4.17%
Voters: 48. You may not vote on this poll

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Old September 23rd, 2009, 10:48 PM   #1
poshbakerloo
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MISC | At what point is a countries rail network 'good'?

At what point is a countries rail network 'good'?

After speaking to random people online from other countries a lot of them seem to have very negative views about the rail network here in the UK.

I've always thought that it was rather good and fast, is 125Mph really too slow for a Manchester-London train taking around 3hrs?

And commuter services running at 100Mph and every 15mins in some places, is that all bad?

Ok, so there are places where the train struggle to run at 75Mph and run once an hour, but its not as if they whole network is like that!

Is it really just the lack of a 180Mph network that holds us back or are people just speaking with out knowing?
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Old September 24th, 2009, 12:52 AM   #2
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UK has the largest number of train services running above 120 km/h IN THE WORLD. (Yes higher than Japon, Germany or France). One could argue that it has the best rail system on the planet, based on this statistics. However, there are other criteria by which a rail system can be evaluated, and in many respects UK is a serios underperformer (high speed rail, urban rail system, trains' timetables & frequencies, train' capacities)
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Old September 25th, 2009, 04:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeyMan View Post
UK has the largest number of train services running above 120 km/h IN THE WORLD. (Yes higher than Japon, Germany or France). One could argue that it has the best rail system on the planet, based on this statistics. However, there are other criteria by which a rail system can be evaluated, and in many respects UK is a serios underperformer (high speed rail, urban rail system, trains' timetables & frequencies, train' capacities)
In the world? More than China? I highly doubt that. Many of China's huge number of inter-city rail services run at 120km/h (T and K trains) or faster, and a lot are at 160km/h or above (all Z and D trains)
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Old September 26th, 2009, 05:54 AM   #4
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Our rail network was good, then a bunch of mergers and such lead to the abandonment of parallel tracks, and some of those tracks started to be freight only, now passenger trains have to wait for the freight, and run on freight quality tracks.

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Old September 26th, 2009, 08:20 AM   #5
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When a person who normally prefers to drive their car will take the train because it ends up being faster or better when all things are equal.

While I've never been there from what I've read it seems like you can go practically anywhere in England at least, on a train and be in London in 4 hours.

Last edited by zaphod; September 26th, 2009 at 08:26 AM.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 08:13 PM   #6
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3 x 125 mph lines - proven to run faster when constraints of signalling and freight are taken away (e.g. 160mph has been achieved). These aren't new lines. They're old. Other nations had to start from scratch to achieve this. Plus 1 of these lines is 100% diesel - to date - no other nation has matched this commercial speed with a diesel loco.

The interurban networks are generally good - very frequent and as already stated - takes the number of kms of track with 100mph running to one the best in the world. Good urban networks exist in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow... pretty much all the major cities of size.

Then we have an HSL line to the chunnel (proven to be capable of 200mph+) - getting you to Brussels in less than 2 hours and Paris in just over 2. Infact, it's now the French who have the speed issue on this route. The journey could be faster if France reduces bottleneck. But still - as one of the "engineering wonders of the world", shared with the French, it's a nice bit of railway kit.

However, no dedicated domestic HSL. Very pricey tickets. Very few through the night services allowing you stay late in cities.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 11:02 PM   #7
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It is awfully expensive for such service. French or German trains are the way better. And even Latvian shitty commy trains are 10x times better for me. Why? Because I can ride 50km for 1 pound compared to 16 pounds on Stansted "express".
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Old September 27th, 2009, 05:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarflonlad View Post
3 x 125 mph lines - proven to run faster when constraints of signalling and freight are taken away (e.g. 160mph has been achieved). These aren't new lines. They're old. Other nations had to start from scratch to achieve this. Plus 1 of these lines is 100% diesel - to date - no other nation has matched this commercial speed with a diesel loco.
You don't really consider this fact to be positive. It actually highlights of how far British Rail has fallen behind.

Beside the lack of electrification it's the length of intercity trains that are way behind. It is remarkable that the British rail industry still can afford to run such short IC trains when many mainline and stations are operated at or over capacity.

Britain has one the best rail networks in the world. But the lack of electrification and the short intercity trains are weaknesses that have to be tackled.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 08:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poshbakerloo View Post
I've always thought that it was rather good and fast, is 125Mph really too slow for a Manchester-London train taking around 3hrs?
Manchester-London is 2 hours!!
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Old September 27th, 2009, 09:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flierfy View Post
You don't really consider this fact to be positive. It actually highlights of how far British Rail has fallen behind.
Or just that it hasn't done anything to move substantially forward.

Maintaining your existing infrastructure to a good standard (in recent years at least) is a positive. Our neighbours with their exception, are very much admired HSR network, have not invested so much in to their other offerings.

The diesel line in question is a serious contender for full electrification. However, what people forget is that Britain is an island. Diesels are always going to play a necessary role particularly on lines threatened by waves. Not sure you want a load of salt water plonked on top of 25kV lines.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 10:48 PM   #11
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Lol at the poll options.

We all should know that the country with the best rail network in Europe doesn't have proper HSR. And the only country that may even top that one is are some Islands in East Asia. Japan beats Switzerland on the HSR and the urban network, but Switzerland beats Japan on the rural network and non HSR intercity connections. Considering the scale differences I would say it's a tie.

If you picked the poll option "The best in Europe" you only think Switzerland has a good rail network, but then your standards are just too high.

But seriously the question is tricky, because the only real answer is when a network does what it needs to do in a good way, and that is of course different for every other country.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 02:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momo1435 View Post
If you picked the poll option "The best in Europe" you only think Switzerland has a good rail network, but then your standards are just too high.
The Swiss rail network is completely overrated. Without high speed lines it is nowhere near the best. And their astronomical rail fares makes it actually one of the worst.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 05:38 PM   #13
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35-42 € (27 € if you found a discount) for one day of unlimited free travel on all trains and buses is not that expensive.

For standard tickets, the fare is comparable (per kilometre) to an InterCity in Italy, and children up to 16 travel for free if they are with their parents or grand-parents. For two parents and two children a 300 km trip in Switzerland is actually cheaper than in italy - about half the price.

All that only if you have an half-fare card (100 € per year) - but all frequent travellers have it. Trains are really, really expensive only if you take them once a year. And are often slow - but this allows good connections in main cities and increase capacity - 12 trains per hour per direction on two tracks are quite common.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 08:36 PM   #14
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The density of the network is almost unmatched in Europe, only towns in the most mountainous areas have no rail connection but are served by buses.

It has the best timetable in the world. With the Bahn 2000 project that started in 1987 and was completed in 2004 many lines have been upgraded to improve on the regular interval timetable that was already introduced in 1972, but now all major stations have been turned into rail hubs. All the trains come in just before the hour or half-hour and leave after the hour or half-hour, therefor you always have a good connection with the next train. And the regional lines all have a good frequency in a regular interval, that's not something that can be said for most European countries.

Let's not forget, the Swiss have the highest rail use in the world with the highest km per person per year figures. That wouldn't be possible with an outstanding rail network and it also goes against the claim that it's too expensive.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 04:46 AM   #15
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As a visitor from a US city just starting to have rail transit at all, I'm always impressed as hell at London's rail. However there's plenty to nitpick about. Breakdowns in service, poor direction during breakdowns, consistenly molasses-like speeds in some places (commuter rail around Tower Bridge Station for example), and a (mostly) lack of cross-town service on commuter and national rail mean there's plenty of room to improve. Much of the system is also showing its age in general shabbyness. I'd kill to have London's system, but others seem better. (However, I don't know other cities' systems in equal detail, so it's hard to say...)

Great means fast, reliable service that goes within walking distance of everywhere. London isn't far off.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 06:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momo1435 View Post
Lol at the poll options.

We all should know that the country with the best rail network in Europe doesn't have proper HSR. And the only country that may even top that one is are some Islands in East Asia. Japan beats Switzerland on the HSR and the urban network, but Switzerland beats Japan on the rural network and non HSR intercity connections. Considering the scale differences I would say it's a tie.

If you picked the poll option "The best in Europe" you only think Switzerland has a good rail network, but then your standards are just too high.

But seriously the question is tricky, because the only real answer is when a network does what it needs to do in a good way, and that is of course different for every other country.
Agree with Momo. Confusing choices on the poll. A better list of choices would be based on operating criteria, such as percentage of HSR linking big cities, train frequencies, average distance to nearest train station, on-time performance, safety, etc.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momo1435 View Post
The density of the network is almost unmatched in Europe, only towns in the most mountainous areas have no rail connection but are served by buses.
(Non-alpine) Switzerland is a densely populated and extremely rich country. These circumstances are favourable for rail traffic. Still, the southeast of England is nothing short of the Swiss rail network. Neither in density nor frequency.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 06:59 PM   #18
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That's just the South of England and not the whole country. If you want to be the best in world you have to be excellent on several points all over the country. And the Swiss network is just excelling on more points then any other European railways. The South West of England may be up to par with Switzerland but with the lack of railways in Wales an Scotland is so many steps down from the Swiss railway lines to small villages like Scuol, Wasserauen or Sainte-Croix.

And of course the fact that it's a small, rich and densely populated country helps. And tourism also helps for the railway the reach the smaller villages in the alps, but let's be honest to be best you have to have the most favorable circumstances.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 08:21 PM   #19
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Swiss railways are slow and awfully expensive. That makes hardly excellent. They are barely average.
I doubt that serving small village in the mountains is necessary or anywhere near economically justifiable. The greatest strength of railways is to serve densely populated areas and to connect towns and cities of reasonable size. For anything else there are still roads.
Railway networks all over Europe do exactly this. Sparing almost unpopulated areas doesn't makes them bad. On the contrary. They get better value for money. Which allows them to offer reasonable priced rail fares. Something Swiss railways fail to do.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:18 PM   #20
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The Swiss people don't agree with you, why else would they use the train as much as they do, more then any other nation in the world?
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