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Better than nothing, IMO.

Most travel by heavy rail is skewed towards London & South East, so obviously spend the money where it has most benefit.
I think I’d take issue with that .. the reason more people travel by train in London is because they have more bloody trains !!
Manchester train passenger numbers are lower not because fewer people want to use the train, but because we have a miserable little fleet of hand-me-down old bangers that are not fit for use anywhere else.
Spending the money in the southeast will only serve to increase that gap and perpetuate the cycle.
 

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Outside the peaks 323s (Glossop/Hadfield route) are a massive waste of over capacity that could be put to better use elsewhere.
I suppose by implication you’re saying that they are not a massive waste during peak times ?? That being the case - where would you propose deploying off peak ? - given that everywhere else is likely to have similar demand periods.
In other words I don’t think you can escape the fact that trains or any other transport for that matter are likely to carry “fresh air” about off-peak.... Unless you can somehow bolt on capacity quickly and easily as and when required.
But that sounds like a ball-ache to me, and it would probably be cheaper to simply run big semi-empty trains, rather than faff about... Depends on what the cost of running empty carriages is I guess ... more power obviously, and maintenance contracts .. are they based on mileage or simply time ? insurance ??
That needs to be off set against storage areas .. ie sidings .. and the staff required to hook up, prepare, and disconnect the extra bits, extra manoeuvring traffic to/from sidings and so on.
In other words - with my extremely limited knowledge of the vagaries of the rail industry - it seems far from clear cut as to whether any significant cost benefits can be gained through dynamic capacity management.

Granted - the facilities in this part of the world take inadequate to a whole new level ... Todmorden station doesn’t even have a clock FFS - let alone a ticket machine, or electronic displays. and Victoria is nothing short of a national embarrassment.. but that doesn’t prohibit substantially more rolling stock - shabby or other wise. Literally anything would be an improvement. Pretty much every morning, there’s no point my train even stopping at the 3 stations after Rochdale as no-one can get on.
More passengers = more revenue and more footfall in the stations = command of higher retail rental = improvements to stations = more dwel time = more revenue = more improvements and so-on. Add more capacity and it becomes a virtuous cycle.

Simply chucking more money at the south on the grounds that there are more train users seems - well - a bit daft.. It’s like chucking more money at successful schools on the grounds that they attract more pupils !
 

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Rather be on a bus seated 142 than one of the 150s with their 1980s BR vintage brown plastic seats :D
Much as I despise Pacers for their sheer cheapness... I’d sooner be on a bus-seated pacer than a sprinter with the Richmond high backs... which are the worst seats in the whole history or arse support.
The Richmond’s are more commonly found on Pacers though - and that for me represents the very nadir of train technology.
 

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Mutterings of Calder Valley electrification over on the HS3 thread :

By 2024
Further electrification including to Scarborough, Calder Valley and Hope Valley/south trans Pennine routes, together with new electric fleets, in addition to the well evidenced need for more rolling stock generally across the North

As I recall there was much local consternation that this line was not even included on the “lines we should look at” list published as late as December last year.
Genuine ??
 

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Also AC electrocution is five times ... more likely to cause heart failure for a given current than DC ..
DC electrocution below 200v is relatively safe though always a chance of heart failure whatever the voltage.
I’d like to contribute to the pedantry if I may :
Electrocution means death by electric shock .. as in execution.
“safe electrocution” :)
 

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On this day October 1995 -I got on a train for my first day at work. It was a crappy beaten up, old, overcrowded pacer.
Jumping ahead 20 years to today – October 2015 – the transformation of my commuting experience has been nothing short of breath-taking….Today I got on a crappy beaten up, even older, overcrowded pacer.
The only substantive improvement over two decades is that the station now boasts a clock.
I see no immediate prospect of any Jam for me .. infact it would not surprise me in the least if in another 5 years I am celebrating the silver anniversary of my Jam drought.

From that perspective I have some sympathy with Farsight’s views.
 

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And London/SE Taxpayers, who on average pay more tax and get less back in return.
Looking at tax receipts is facile though. London is skewed massively by the city, Whitehall, and the simple virtue of it being the capital.. All areas of high salaries, and/or high corporation tax receipts… and all areas with which other cities in the country cannot compete no matter how much gumption they have.
Public transport spending should be broadly based on population, not local tax receipts… it is a public service after all.
We all know the stats - £2000 per head in London – a paltry fiver in the north east.
What would happen if we applied the transport spending model to – say – health ???
No Manchester – you get a bunch of second hand-sheds, and a retired VET because you don’t generate the tax … We get far more effective Cost-Benefit in London, so that’s where we’re going to build all the hospitals.
It exactly what is happening, and is as close to lunacy as it is possible to get.
 

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In October 1995 the Pacers would have been approximately ten years of age, which, in rail terms, isn't old, it's relatively new.

I can't see how rail vehicles could be described as being 'beaten up', since, by their nature, they don't sustain accident damage in the way a road vehicle might. I can't fault the external appearance of any modern trains.

Trains are bound to be busy at peak times simply because it doesn't make economic sense to spend £x million on a train and then use it for half an hour, twice a day, five days per week.
A lot of capacity does go to waste, though.
Indeed – 10 is young ish for a train … However in the absence of google at the time I assumed they were much older – some appalling relic from the 60s.. As vold says – they were shite the moment they left the drawing board .. and have not improved with age.

While the “outside appearance” may be inoffensive, that is of little consolation as I spend considerably more time suffering inside than I do outside admiring the purple paint.

Economic sense is not the only sense … infact it can sometime run counter to common sense... the bigger picture.
I for one am thankful that the “economic sense” of the railways as you describe is not applied to – say – the national grid :
Power stations sitting there doing not a lot for much of the day ?? Get rid !! The public is just going the have to accept that they cant just switch on the TV at peak times.
The economic cost of having idle trains is surely trivial compared with the economic boost to be gained by meeting peak transport demand.
I sometimes wonder how Manchester manages to grow at all sometimes – given that pretty much every mode into and out of the city is saturated at peak times.

There is huge pent up demand here – for which “usage” is not a proxy.
My “train” for example started as two carriages. It got increased to three. For a while there was plenty of space on the new longer train.. but after a month or two that slack was gone completely .. Later still that 50% larger train is now more packed than ever.
 

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Unfortunately because of Graylings dithering virtually all the TPE departures will remain as diesel. Not just any diesel but whacking great locomotives! I am not sure if the Bimode class 800s will be going to the airport but presuming they will run there on the 25kv eventually.

Northern's Blackpool services will switch to electric. Windermere is another that could have switched to electric but now cannot.

Despite all the fan fare (at the airport at least) the change is not going to be a big one.
Grayling is obviously totally ineffectual, and slopey shouldered in the extreme… traits that seems to be something of a requirement for secretary of state for transport.
As I mull it over I find myself wandering “who was the last person to occupy the role who wasn’t completely useless ?” … I’m struggling.
 

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Ever since the functioning railway system was dismantled by privatisation ….

I’m of the opinion that the railways were never really actually privatised .. not in the conventional sense any way.
“Out-sourced” is perhaps a better way of describing it :
Tocs don’t own any of their trains – they’re leased. And told what to lease by the DfT ?
They have very little control over fairs – since most are regulated.
They’re obliged to take on staff / pay / conditions from the previous franchise.
Time tabling is largely out of their control.
Track is entirely controlled by the state.
And they only get to run the franchise for 5-7 years.
So “privatised” it might be in the sense that there is private involvement – but for all practical purposes the railway is still nationalised and sinks or swims on the whim of the state.
 
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