Such a failure, eh?

Entirely dreadful performance:

Train use has doubled since privatisation in the 1990s under John Major, putting huge pressure on existing infrastructure.

14 thoughts on “Such a failure, eh?”

  1. I don’t think they’re linked that much, though. It’s more about the growth in services and how much that is in the South East.

    Because they’re still fairly rubbish. There’s some things that got a bitbetter, like trains break down less, and they’re cleaner and staff are more pleasant. But they’re still frequently late, or have technical issues. Or just leave you stranded when there’s a few mm of snow. No-one involved in the TOCs or National Rail gives a shit about making it better because they have millions of hostages who have to use the train to avoid congestion.

    Compared to the cost, punctuality and reliability of my 20 year old car, or the bus, they’re garbage.

  2. Train crashes are way down too.

    RMT resists automation keeping costs high and proving jobs really expensive…..

    OTOH, the perfidious alliance of big tech and big government needs more of a kicking right now than the working classes IMO

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    This is the Tellie and not the Guardian? How the mighty have fallen.

    In true Guardian style they have managed to take a Tory success and spun it as a failure. Passengers doubled hey? How about pointing out that is good news towards meeting Britain’s idiotic CO2 cuts? Or relieves congestion? The Left wants to push us proles on to Trains and out of their special Zil lanes. You might think they would celebrate this.

    But no.

    However, right-wing critics argue that the surge in demand over the past few decades is the reason for heightened criticism of rail services and should not be conflated with a failure of private capital.

    Right wing critics? Really? The interns have taken over the Tellie. Failure of private capital? What – they should have tripled passenger numbers?

    F*ck ’em. Refuse to buy the rag.

  4. Next week, the Commons transport committee will open a new inquiry called “Reforming public transport after the pandemic”

    Correct conclusion:
    Let’s stop pissing money away on old technology that people were abandoning before the pandemic.

    Likely conclusion:
    Let’s spunk even more money on old technology that people were abandoning before the pandemic.

  5. I don’t think a lot of train usage is anything to do with how good they are.
    If I am unemployed I won’t commute at all. If I have easily and cheaply move to near my work and not commute I will do so.
    However if I have a job can’t live near by nor drive (because it is an awful journey by car), then I will commute – even if the service is rubbish.

  6. I’m reminded of London Underground’s response to criticism that their service was poor compared to some european systems. “Our network is so much larger, you see?” Apparently economies of scale work in reverse for state controlled monopolies.

  7. PJF,

    “Correct conclusion:
    Let’s stop pissing money away on old technology that people were abandoning before the pandemic.

    Likely conclusion:
    Let’s spunk even more money on old technology that people were abandoning before the pandemic.”

    Yup. Bikes and trains. And probably fucking trams.

    What no-one seems to have put together is that if there’s a lot more home working, that also means less people on the roads. At which point, one of the incentives for taking a train (that you go past the traffic queues) is lost. If the roads are free-flowing, it’s under an hour by car to Clifton, compared to 90+ minutes by bus/train/bus.

  8. PJF – yea, people were abandoning rail commutes about five years ago, possibly a bit longer – shows up in the TfL numbers.

    The DfT annual survey numbers suggest that only 11% of commuters, nationally, use rail. That number is a lot higher in the South East, because, London.

    Which suggests that nearly all of the growth in usage post the boy Major, occurred in the South East.

    Being exactly the area where WfH is most likely.

    So, the passenger use case just got shot in the face by SARS-CoV2.

    Happily, all that lovely spare capacity can now be used for freight, clearing the roads even further.

    All you really need would be some number of guards vans on each service, which were ditched to make room for more passengers.

    Ho hum.

  9. Corollary here.

    I walk for an hour every day. I see 4 school buses come into duh ‘hood, and pick up NO ONE. Arrive empty; leave empty. The school district must keep up the transportation plan, even if no one uses it.

    Driving by a school on the way to the gym, there is a bus parked out front with a big sign, “Drivers needed.”

    Square that.

    Gamecock could never be a driver. He couldn’t put up with dozens of little shi+s, whose parents want to sue him. But driving an empty bus around seems innocuous – maybe even fun. Wonder if he could get one to slide . . . .

  10. It’s hardly surprising the Berney Arms gets so little passenger traffic. It’s (literally) in the middle of nowhere – the nearest public roads are more than 2 miles in either direction (both via tracks and fields). It’s over half a mile to moorings on the River Yare and the Berney Arms pub, but that closed in 2015. As the “Station” is little more than a short platform, and trains don’t run particularly quickly on the stretch, it probably doesn’t cost much to keep it open as a “Request Stop” for the occasional walkers and bird watchers..

  11. @ Bloke on the M4
    My local train services improved significantly after privatisation: British Fail was utterly appalling. The number of times when the delay exceeded the scheduled time for the journey – I keep repeating that they never even answered my letter when I complained that my fastest journey home one week was when I had taken a tube to Oakwood and run the 20-ish miles from there; trains cancelled without reason or warning and then the next one packed so jammed full that it was physically impossible to board the train in London.
    None of that recurred after privatisation – yes there were failures but none that bad and we haven’t had “the wrong kind of snow” since privatisation.

  12. I depended on the train for only one year of my life. Alas the big tunnel on the route collapsed.

    As a female friend of that era used to say, fuckety-fuckety-foo.

  13. @ itellyounothing
    “Transport Minister Sadiq Khan”?
    Eurostar is 60% state-owned (55% SNCF, 5% Belgian national railways)

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