Questions we can answer

If the coalition is so keen on communities taking action and making things happen for themselves, why does it not expect the same of private companies? The DfT is putting £9bn into the plan for longer platforms and more carriages for an industry that was, supposedly, privatised more than a decade ago.

Because Gordon Brown nationalised the company that owns the tracks and the stations, leaving only the train operating companies as private companies.

And yes, we do expect the people that own an asset to invest in upgrading an asset.

The carriages will naturally follow when the platforms are long enough to take them.

7 thoughts on “Questions we can answer”

  1. Why don’t they just adopt the system used on Spanish commuter lines (Roadalies in Barcelona for instance) – and use double-decker carriages?

    Ah! I know why… The upstairs headroom is rather limited at the window seats and it’s possible to bang your head on the ceiling if you’re not careful when standing up. I suppose that the UK’s train operators are terrified of being sued for “compo” by some twat who’s stood up suddenly and bashed his bonce on the roof. 🙂

  2. Or more boringly the clearance on most bridges and tunnels on the UK rail network is so tight there just isn’t space for double decker trains.

    Now the bridges could be raised, but it would be pricey (exponentially more if you insist on minimal disruption to normal train services). However I think expanding Victorian brick lined tunnels without demolishing everything above them could be tricky…

  3. Phil – as far as I can see, the Spanish “double-deckers” are no higher than the normal rolling-stock and I’d be very surprised if there was more clearnace under Spanish railway bridges than those in the UK.

    They achieve “double-deckness” by lowering the carriage between the bogies at each end – when you go into one of these things from the platform you either go down a few steps to the “lower deck” or up a few to the “top deck”.

  4. Pogo:
    You’re wrong the Spanish loading gauge ( as the available space for rolling stock is known ) is larger than the British, as it is throughout the continent. Double deck coaches were tried on the Southern Railway to a small extent but the experiment wasn’t a success. Whilst it is sometimes possible to lower tracks in tunnels and has been in various places it is expensive, it would simply not be cost effective to do this on a wide scale in Britain.
    Lengthening platforms is not always possible either but lengthening trains would be perfectly possible without this if the obsession with safety these days didn’t result in complex and expensive measures to prevent doors opening onto open track. At one time train crews were trusted to be able to manage this on their own, now we need computers and GPS to hold their hands.

  5. Actually there is no necessary link between longer trains and longer platforms, the shortage of passenger rolling stock is largely due to the incompetence of the DfT, the whole programme has been stymied by their dithering and temper tantrums directed at the rolling stock companies ( ROSCOS ). The ongoing fiasco with the Thameslink upgrade project, which also involves infrastructure and signalling is an object lesson in why civil servants should be kept away from running anything, let alone transport.

  6. Thornavis: Thanks for the info and I bow to your superior knowledge. In my defence, as a user rather than enthusiast, they don’t look significantly different.

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