The Anonymous Widower

Travel Industry Confirms Rail ‘Renaissance’ In Europe

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Assertions that long-distance rail services in Europe are rapidly becoming more popular as passengers eschew flying for environmental reasons were amply confirmed at the Rail Innovation Forum organised by Amadeus at its head office near Nice on October 9-10.

The article also gives these points.

  • Swiss Federal Railways are reporting a 26 % year-on-year increase in passengers for the first quarter of 2019 for night trains.
  • Sweden is reporting a 12 % increase in rail traffic and a 4 % drop in air traffic.
  • Flight bookings across Scandinavia are down by 10 %.
  • German long-distance rail travel is rising.

This all seems good news for carbon emissions.

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

KLM Replaces Plane With High Speed Train

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the introductory paragraph.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is to replace one of its five daily flights between Brussels and Amsterdam Schiphol with reserved seat capacity on a Thalys high speed train service from March 29 2020.

KLM say this the start of a process and will be extended provided the timings are as good.

But how do train and plane compare between Schipol and Brussels?

To give the trip a bit of perspective, note these approximate road distances.

  • Heathrow and Liverpool – 210 km.
  • Heathrow and Manchester – 197 km.
  • Schipol and Brussels – 206 km.

Incidentally, you can’t fly direct between Heathrow and Liverpool and there are only four flights per day between Heathrow and Manchester.

I looked up flights between Schipol and Brussels and the flight time is 45-50 minutes, as opposed to the ytain time of one hour thirty-four minutes.

Prices vary, but I suspect that the train is a little bit cheaper, although it probably depends on how early you book.

I think it’s true to say,you take the mode of travel that suits you best!

I have gone to Amsterdam by train three or four times.

  • I go from St. Pancras to Amsterdam Centraal.
  • St. Pancras is just a direct bus ride from my house.
  • I get a gluten-free meal on Euirostar.
  • I get a big table on which to lay out my pper.
  • I could do it cheaper on easyJet, but it wuld take a bit longer.

But I’ve never come back from Amsterdam t London by train.

  • You have to change trains to clear immigration and customs in Brussels.
  • A couple of times, I’ve flown back from Hamburg.

I can honestly say, that the as more direct trains go to and from Europe, I’ll use them more often.

The Future

Over the next few years, we could see a lot of short haul air routes losing market share to high speed trains.

  • Train companies will see a busy air route and run a competing train service.
  • Many tourists prefer to travel around Europe by train and I’ve met many from North America, Australia and the Far East on train journeys.
  • Global warming will sell seats on trains and especially electric ones.
  • Routes like High Speed Two will add lots of extra capacity.
  • Trains are an easy sell.
  • Governments will invest in railways and perhaps cut prices, as it is an easy way to to be seen to be combating climate change.

We also mustn’t forget that driving cars is getting an increasingly expensive and time-wasting process. I don’t miss driving at all!

 

 

September 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Travelling From Edinburgh To London Next Wednesday

I am going to Scotland for a couple of days and will be returning on Wednesday.

I have just booked a First Class Advance Ticket for £69.30

  • I used my Senior Railcard.
  • The train leaves at 19:36 and s the last direct train South.
  • The train arrives in London at 01:05, which isn’t too late for me, as I can get a taxi home, for a reasonable fare.
  • I can even get an all-night bus to the stop round the corner.
  • I will be served complimentary snacks on the train.

Out of curiosity, I looked up easyJet

These were possible flights and prices, between Edinburgh and Gatwick Airports.

  • 06:05 – 07:35 – 65.55
  • 13:40 – 15:20 – £82.72
  • 15:35 – 17:15 – £88.78
  • 21:15 – 22:45 – £125.14

In addition, I would have to add about a tenner for getting to the Airports and perhaps ninety minutes before and after the flight.

So it looks to me, that my train ticket is better value, quicker and may get me home only an hour or so, later than the last flight, which will be twice the price.

 

August 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rail Passengers Can Now Get From Farnworth To London In Two And A Half Hours

The title of this post is the same as that on this article on  This Is Lancashire.

It may seem to be a bit of a parochial story for those near Farnworth station in Greater Manchester, but it is a problem that sffects many rail passengers all over the UK.

From Farnworth, the quickest way to London, is not the obvious one to go to Manchester Piccadilly.

This may involve changes of trains and busy trains in the Manchester Rush Hour.

Locals find a better way, is to take a train the other way and catch a train from Wigan North Western., where the hardest thing is to decide, whether you want a coffee, as you walk across the platform to catch the London train.

The on-line timetable now has been fixed to offer this route in addition.

These computer-knows-best routes crop up everywhere.

If I want to get to Victoria station from the bus stop around the corner, the best way is to catch a 30 bus to Highbury & Isligton station. There is a walk through the everlasting road-works at the station and a long walk in a tunnel to get to the platform, but it works.

However, the recommended route is to take a 38 bus to Essex Road station and then go out of London, by one stop to Highbury & Islington station.

This route has three problems.

  • There is a double-crossing of busy roads at Essex Road station.
  • Essex Road station was last cleaned and given a makeover, when King George was on the throne.
  • The interchange at Highbury & Islington station is not for the unfit or anybody with a baggagge, bike or buggy

Only a computer working without human help, could design such a bad route.

As at Farnworth and with me in London, local knowledge is everything.

Sorting Out Manchester’s Routes

Northern Trains may have been thinking about passengers getting to the less busy stations.

They have introduced three new services that connect the West Coast Main Line and Greater Manchester.

  • Wigan North Western and Alderly Edge
  • Wigan North Western and Stalybridge
  • Chester and Leeds via Warrington Bank Quay, Manchester Victoria, Rochdale, Hebden Bridge, Halifax and Bradford.

The latter route is an interesting one, as not only does it offer some good journey possibilities, but it is a scenic route through the Pennines.

 

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

£100m Train Test Complex Plans For Neath Valley Backed

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This much-needed project, which some wag has called Project Hornby, seems to be moving on..

This brief description is from the article.

The complex would allow trains to be tested on special tracks – laid out on 4.5 mile (7.3km) and two mile (3.1km) ovals – at speeds of up to 100mph (160kph).

It will certainly test their ability to go round corners.

Hopefully, the test track will shorten the time, it takes new and updated trains into service.

May 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Newquay Link With Heathrow Takes Off Courtesy Of Taxpayer

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

From next weekend air travellers will be given the equivalent of a £5 bung, courtesy of the taxpayer, to use Newquay airport in Cornwall for four flights a day both ways to Heathrow.

The article describes how the service is run under a Public Aervice Obligation or PSO.

Other air services in the UK run on this basis include.

  • Stansted to Derry
  • Stansted to Dundee

Similar subsidies are used in the EU and the United States.

This Google Map shows Newquay (indicated by a red marker,and the airport.

The town and the airport are about 4.3 miles apart.

This Google Map shows the centre of Newquay.

Note Newquay station in the middle of the town close to the beach.

  • How rare to see a coastal town with a well-placed station.
  • It does seem that in the Summer, there are more than just a rudimentary local service to the town.
  • In the Summer, there are also long distance services, to London, Manchester and Scotland.

I also think, that GWR might run one of their shortened HSTs to the town from perhaps Exeter with upmarket service on board.

So I have to ask, the question, if the a subsidy for the air service is really necessary?

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Finland – Estonia Tunnel Secures €15bn In Funding

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the International Rail Journal.

This is the first paragraph.

FINEST Bay Area Development has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Touchstone Capital Partners, China, to secure €15bn in financing for construction of a 100km railway tunnel under the Gulf of Finland between Helsinki, Finland, and Tallinn, Estonia.

Linked to the planned Rail Baltica, it will mean that passengers and freight will be able to use railways between the UK and Finland.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Irish Rail Seeks Second-Hand DMUs To Boost Fleet Capacity

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the Internation Railway Journal.

Ireland needs more capacity on its railways and the preferred solution appears to be some second-hand DMUs.

It is likely, they will come from Great Britain.

  • We are replacing some DMUs with new fleets.
  • The Irish have a similar restricted loading gauge.
  • The trains will need to be converted from standard to Irish gauge.

The article mentions that Class 185 trains are likely candidates.

Yet again, the stupid decision of the British Government in the Railway Regulation (Gauge) Act 1846, is costing the Irish good money.

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

DfT Urged To Make Operators Reveal If Trains Are Electric Or Diesel Due To Carbon Concerns

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on |Engineering And Technology.

This is the first paragraph.

Nearly half of rail passengers would like to know how their trains are powered according to a new poll of 1,025 regular rail users from train ticket retailer Loco2.

I think that loco2 are on the right track.

London And Birmingham

For instance take the route between London and Birmingham, where you have three different train operators.

  • Virgin Trains – 125 mph electric trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street stations – Fast, cramped and the most expensive
  • West Midland Trains – 110 mph electric trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street stations – Slower, more space and reasonably priced
  • Chiltern Railways – 100 mph diesel trains between London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street stations – Slower, most comfortable and reasonable priced

If I need to get to Birmingham in a hurry, a use Virgin, but if I want a comfortable journe at a lower pricey, where I can spread my paper on a large table, I take Chiltern.

Those that pay the money make their choice.

Knowing the carbon footprint might persuade some passengers to take a particular train operating company, but I think it would have an effect on train operating companies, if they were perceived to have a low carbon rating.

In my example, the only diesel operator of the three; Chiltern Railways, probably can’t switch to electric traction, as electrifying the route would be prohibitively expensive.

  • They can offset their carbon footprint, by perhaps planting trees.
  • There will also be technology that will cut their diesel consumption.

After that it’s down to the strength of their marketing.

London And Scotland

The competition for trains between London and Scotland is the airlines.

Publishing carbon footprints would favour the trains, as there is a lot of electrification on Scottish routes.

The Man In Seat 61 gives his view on this page of his web site.

 

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

DfT Consulting On Plans To Expand Pay-As-You-Go Rail Travel Nationwide

The total of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

I can’t see what the problem is.

  • My bank card would be linked to my Freedom Pass and Senior Railcard on either a ticketing web site or even better on my on-line bank account.
  • If it were the latter, then when I checked my bank account, as I do regularly, I could also check my travel.
  • I would then just touch in and touch out for each journey.
  • The central computer would then give me the best price for my journey.

As an example, if I went to say Oxford, I would only be charged between the Zone 6 boundary, which is my Freedom Pass limit and Oxford station.

I would not need to buy an extra ticket.

This is all well and good for those with UK bank accounts, but how would it handle other eventualities?

Overseas Visitors

If say one of my overseas friends was in the UK, they would just use a contactless bank card.

If they had a Railcard, as several do, they would register the link on a ticketing web site.

Advance Tickets

These could still be bought on-line or at a booking office as now.

Buses, Taxis and Trams

The system should be extended to buses, taxis, traims and any other future transport systems like cable-cars and pod systems.

Conclusion

It would be a very complicated computer system to program, but most of the work has already been done for London and is working successfully.

It would make the UK’s public transport system one of the most passenger-fruendly in the world.

What would that do for ridership? And tourism?

 

February 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment