Tag Archives: rail

Train Delays

I must have done something wrong in my previous life because for the last 15 years or, so I have been (it feels like I have been condemned) to travel to work by train. Firstly, it was from Solihull and now from Wokingham to London. My local train from Earley (which comes from Waterloo) to Reading arrives on time no more than 8 to 9 times a year. Approximately 60 per cent of the trains to London are late getting into Reading. However, coming home the trains do leave Paddington on time and get to Reading more or less on time – I can’t complain about my journey back.

I live about 30 miles from London. My trains going to work are invariably late, I often don’t get a seat, and the cost for the national rail ticket is more than £4000. I will no doubt start dreaming “We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to your journey!!”.

Nearly one in three trains across Britain are late, and delays on some routes affect more than half of journeys.  So why are trains delayed? The reasons seem to be because the infrastructure like track, signals, tunnels, overhead lines, trains etc., have been poorly invested in and that has resulted in worn out trains running on crumbling infrastructure. Although the rail companies are modernising and buying some new trains it doesn’t seem to be well managed and often results in further delays.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 38 Comments

Lord Bill Bradshaw writes…A partnership railway can help secure enormous benefits for Britain

It’s been a busy time for rail announcements, following on from the publication last week of the Government’s rail strategy, Connecting people: a strategic vision for rail, which itself was just a few weeks after the launch of a long-term plan, called In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, to change and improve Britain’s railway.

Working together, the partnership railway of the public and private sectors has committed to securing almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country. The plan contains four commitments which will see rail companies strengthen their economic contribution to the country, improve customers’ satisfaction, boost the communities it serves and create more and better jobs in rail.

I welcome this plan, because there is an urgent need to re‐state and define the railway, and the role it can play in meeting Britain’s transport needs. A recent report of the National Infrastructure Commission downplayed the potential of the railway and there is a need for the industry to fight back. We are not the industry of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ and the vintage steam engines which cast an image of a bygone age and dignified decline, nor are we in the image of the RMT who, while advancing bogus claims about safety, obstruct change to a thriving future with more, and better‐rewarded staff, who constantly say when asked that they enjoy working in the industry.

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

London Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon welcomes TfL takeover of suburban trains

Caroline PidgeonToday it was announced that the Transport for London would take over London’s suburban rail network. From the BBC:

Transport for London (TfL) has announced it will be taking over the running of the capital’s suburban rail network.

It will take over the routes as the various rail franchises come up for renewal.

The new partnership between the Department for Transport and TfL says it aims to ensure there are more frequent trains and increased capacity.

The first rail franchise up for renewal is South West in 2017.

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon welcomed this move, although she did say that it really wasn’t happening fast enough:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

Liberal Democrat Jane Ann Liston talks about extending railway to St Andrews

Jane Ann Liston on rail campaignThis weekend, the Borders railway gets back underway again. This is a real achievement of the Scottish Liberal Democrats in government in Scotland. The Bill was passed way back in 2006.

We’ll be writing about this more as the first journeys take place on Sunday, but BBC Scotland has done a feature about how the success of the Borders project has inspired other railways campaigners. They interviewed Jane Ann Liston, a regular commenter on this site. She plays a significant role in the StARlink campaign which wants to see the five miles of track from Leuchars to St Andrews reinstated. See what she had to say here

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

Opinion: Ending the northern power cut

Yesterday, Patrick McLoughlin announced what many of us had feared but were hoping would never happen: electrification of the train line between Manchester and Leeds was to be postponed, and possibly cancelled. The lynchpin of the Northern Powerhouse was pulled out and the plan predictably fell apart at the seams.

Three months ago, the Conservatives promised that £38 bn would be invested in the national rail network, mostly into electrifying the old diesel lines. This was so important to the Tories, we were told, that it was at the top of the manifesto. On page 11, the Tories outlined their plans for £13 bn for the North alone, going towards new trains, new lines, and new wires. And in one speech today, McLoughlin snuffed out the flame of hope in such a way on the Tories can.

The rail network in the North is completely dire, and bears all of the hallmarks of central government in London meddling time and time again. Serco-Abellio were awarded all but the actually profitable lines and told to run a vast network in the North using Cold War-era trains under the assumption that there was to be no growth and no investment in the Northern network. And to their credit, they’ve done a good job from what they’ve been given.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 43 Comments

Opinion: We need HS2 and HS3 to benefit the north

HS2 Distortion 200The government’s support for HS2, despite the critics, has shown a real commitment to providing adequate transport links to sustain the UK and give the North a fairer deal as we head into the mid 21st century. We Lib Dems can be proud to be some of the program’s most enthusiastic and enduring supporters. The announcement yesterday of the creation of Transport for the North and the government’s support for HS3 means the North may finally start to enjoy the benefits of transport investment equivalent to the £17bn Crossrail and £6bn Thameslink that benefit London.This is a project worthy of our support, but there are a few questions to be answered.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

Opinion: We are still living with the consequences of nationalised railways today. Turning back the clock will make matters worse.

Northern trainIn a letter to the Observer a group of Labour PPCs, including my opponent Joshua Fenton-Glynn, have proposed that the Labour should nationalise rail services.

This idea displays an ignorance of the true cause of the problems with UK railways that beggars belief. Almost every issue with rail transport can be traced not to privatisation per se, but to nationalisation, or the insufficiently liberal privatisation foisted upon us by the Major government.

In the 1980s investment in rail was at an all time low, due entirely to the nationalised nature of …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 117 Comments

Opinion: Of driverless cars and passengerless trains

"Driverless Car in Bonita Springs" by Chris Griffith

Driverless cars may not be quite as revolutionary as the 19th century spread of the railway, but there are huge benefits coming into view. The sooner we can deliver them, and the sooner policymakers can take them into account, the better – with mixed results for railways.

To be conservative, let’s imagine it’s 2044 – 30 years from now. We will look back at the idea of people customarily directing 1 tonne cars at speed as madness. Millions

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 28 Comments

Adrian Sanders writes from the cut-off far South West

Three big issues face the South West and the future of its rail links to the rest of the country.

The first big issue is resilience east of Exeter. What we do west of the city is irrelevant if we cannot get beyond Taunton in the north and Crewkerne in the east.

Being cut off at Exeter for the second year running presents an opportunity to focus on what is in all our best interests and that means reliable, faster and greater capacity services to and from the West Country.

The Government has already given the go-ahead for the …

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments
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