Tag Archives: trains

I apologise for my lack of enthusiasm for HS2. It’s been unavoidably delayed owing to the lack of evidence

HS2‘All aboard!’ exhorts the email I received last night from Lib Dem transport minister Norman Baker, hailing his announcement of the Coalition’s plans for Phase Two of Britain’s High Speed Rail Network (aka HS2). I’m afraid, though, I’m going to have to apologise to Norman for the delay in arrival of my goodwill owing to what I suspect is the wrong type of investment on the lines.

HS2, we are told, will cut journey times, help the environment, heal the North-South divide and boost growth. Each of these arguments is less …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 45 Comments

4-in-10 Lib Dem members want to see the railways fully nationalised

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Just 1-in-20 Lib Dems opt for full privatisation

LDV asked: In general, would you like to see more or less government involvement in running the country’s railways?

    41% – I would like to see the railways fully nationalised

    34% – I would like to see more government regulation than there is currently, but

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

Opinion: Are we being taken for a First(Group)-class ride?

As someone who has used the west coast mainline regularly for the past fifteen years (and would have done so more if the cheaper fares were more readily available), I can testify to a significant improvement in reliability and levels of service in recent years. Much of this was of course down to the £9bn and more of public investment in upgrading the line, and much was down to Virgin themselves – I carry no torch for Sir Richard but there’s little denying that Virgin trains, expensive though they undoubtedly can be, ran what became a reliable, punctual, comfortable service.

But …

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Opinion: Green light for Light Rail

Six years ago amid a huge amount of controversy, the then Transport Secretary Alistair Darling announced the scraping of several “tram schemes” designed to serve Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Hampshire. In doing so he effectively scrapped plans outlined by the then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott for a network of 30 Light Rail schemes to serve our major conurbations. The reason – escalating costs.

Light Rail was deemed too expensive in this country compared to costs on the continent.

Despite a subsequent report from the Transport Select Committee on what could be done to reduce costs little was done by the Department …

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Lib Dems plan rail expansion by cutting road projects

So reports the BBC:

The Liberal Democrats have set out plans to reopen thousands of miles of railway tracks and stations.

The scheme would be funded by cutting capital spending on roads by £3bn.

Its new Rail Expansion Fund would lead to the biggest expansion of the rail network since the Victorian era, the party claims.

Motorists’ group the RAC Foundation said it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money when only 7% of UK journeys were made by train, compared to 90% by car.

However, Lib Dem transport spokesman Norman Baker said the plan would “make our railway great again”…

Although exact decisions on

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Baker: time to refund passengers forced on to rail replacement buses

Ah, the joy of train travel – you buy your ticket, possibly costing you a small fortune unless booked in advance, only to discover you’re chucked off the train and onto a bus if there are repairs being made to the line. Well, no more, says Norman Baker, the Lib Dems’ shadow transport secretary.

Stormin’ Norm is proposing that the Lib Dems would radically overhaul Network Rail, replacing its executives with a ‘Public Interest Board’ made up of representatives of customer watchdog Passenger Focus, the Local Government Association and independent experts. They would be charged with putting the interests of passengers …

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Daily View 2×2: 27 July 2009

2 Big Stories

MPs urge rail franchise reforms
A report by MPs has pronounced the rail franchise system a “muddle” and has called for its reform, including the nationalisation of East Coast trains.
From the BBC:

The Commons transport committee said operators were making profits in good times but forcing the government to step in when revenues fall.

And they charged “unacceptable” fare rises of up to 11% above inflation.

The Association of Train Operating Companies said four-fifths of passengers bought discounted tickets.

The MPs urged the government to run East Coast trains itself.

They said nationalisation could be a way of comparing

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

At least the trains are running on time (Or are they?)

The news isn’t all doom ‘n’ gloom, y’know – even in the Telegraph:

Trains are more punctual than ever, Network Rail has claimed, with more than nine out of 10 arriving on time over the past year. The figures are the best since the industry started collating punctuality statistics in 1992. Last month the performance was even better than the yearly average, with 93.5 per cent of services classed as running on time. The industry’s definition of punctuality is based on commuter services operating within five minutes of the timetable and for longer distance trains, 10 minutes.

However, Lib Dem …

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