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UK Trains, very good.

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 Uncle Derek 02 May 2022

Recently we have been using the train quite a bit for linear Bike rides, and I must say, I am very impressed.
They are clean, punctual, reasonably priced, though dearer than Spain and Italy, the staff are really nice, stations are a nice environment, not much to complain about.
I was chatting to a guard today and he was saying they have employed quite a few ex air cabin staff and their ethos of customer service is rubbing off on the existing staff.
Anyroads up, a big thumbs from me for UK trains, give em a go.

Post edited at 20:20
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 Le Sapeur 02 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

They are good, as are most things in the UK. Ask anyone who has lived abroad for an extended time and they will agree.

We have a new service on the West Highland line that can accommodate 20 bikes and kit.

9
 ianstevens 02 May 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> They are good, as are most things in the UK. Ask anyone who has lived abroad for an extended time and they will agree.

I’ve lived abroad long enough to know that UK trains are an absolute joke. Expensive, dirty, irregular and late, with poor or non-existent service to rural areas. 

> We have a new service on the West Highland line that can accommodate 20 bikes and kit.

My commuter train does this. Probably actually more than 20 bikes, and comes every 15 minutes. Costs the equivalent of £5 for a 30km journey. The UK equivalent is about £15.

Post edited at 20:33
2
 mondite 02 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

Out of curiosity which lines?

Since my local ones really dont manage that.

 veteye 02 May 2022
In reply to ianstevens:

I think that your view is not balanced, and may well be in a country where the service is heavily subsidised. So tax may be higher, such as in France, where there have been protests about that very thing.

I have certainly not always had perfect journeys when I have been in other countries. Generally the level of cleanliness is variable abroad, and I have had some pretty unhelpful staff there, even when with my daughter present, who speaks fluent French and Spanish.

I cannot answer for the provision along rural routes, apart from the one from my own town to the mainline station, and that is always very clean and on time, but not is not as frequent. 

The cuts to branch lines in the sixties still have an effect on the overall coverage, but that is something that is supposed to be looked at, at the moment.

3
OP Uncle Derek 02 May 2022
In reply to mondite:

Northern primarily, but also Avanti.
I have been rather surprised TBH.
We arrived after a ride up the Cumbrian coast, at Carlisle, and the ticket office person said we had to book bikes on this train, and I was about to start sobbing and book a hotel. He then apologised and said we would have to wait an hour for a train, with space for our bikes, all at a reasonable price.
As we zipped past the Howgills, admiring the view, in our comfy seats, I could see no appeal to being on the M6.

3
 Phil1919 02 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

I think Virgin must take some credit for the positive attitude of the Avanti staff.

1
 Wainers44 02 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

GWR from our neck of the woods, great. Really nice trains and friendly staff. But....

The cost! Gosh.

 ianstevens 02 May 2022
In reply to veteye:

> I think that your view is not balanced, and may well be in a country where the service is heavily subsidised. So tax may be higher, such as in France, where there have been protests about that very thing.

I ridden enough UK trains to have a wide enough range of experience of them thanks. Yes, the trains here are publicly owned, and subsidised, and it’s a high tax country (Denmark). But you know, the trade off is clean, pleasant and functional public services which people use. Something to aspire to no? 

> I have certainly not always had perfect journeys when I have been in other countries. Generally the level of cleanliness is variable abroad, and I have had some pretty unhelpful staff there, even when with my daughter present, who speaks fluent French and Spanish.

Yes, not everywhere is perfect. Not every staff member is perfect. But on average I’ve had far better experiences on Danish/German/Swedish/French/Austrian trains than any in the UK. 

> I cannot answer for the provision along rural routes, apart from the one from my own town to the mainline station, and that is always very clean and on time, but not is not as frequent. 

> The cuts to branch lines in the sixties still have an effect on the overall coverage, but that is something that is supposed to be looked at, at the moment.

Yea of course this is a 60s artefact, but nonetheless is a feature of the UK train network. It’s quicker to cycle from Aberystwyth to Cardiff than to get the train for example. Hardly the glowing review the OP provides.

2
 ianstevens 02 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

The UK system could be a lot worse for sure. Most of the time it’s better (albeit more expensive) than driving for intercity travel. But it could also be a hell of a lot better, and if you want to portray your country as “world leading” then actual world leading services are what you need to compete with  

OP Uncle Derek 02 May 2022
In reply to ianstevens:

I my experience  the trains are very good.
However if you would like a serious discussion the concept of "External Cost" is useful, or as we say up North, there is Nowt for Nowt.

I would suggest that the train passenger where you live does not bear the full cost, that it is shared with the tax payer, possibly good, possibly not. Would you be prepared to pay the full cost?

In the UK, I am not sure how much of the cost is externalised, maybe non, maybe if more was, it would be a good thing, as it could get people out of cars, where the external cost is paid by people in the future and people in poorer countries, which is not nice.

But like I say, it seems pretty good to me, and I shall be using trains more.

4
 Babika 02 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

I think trains are good if you're using s regular route and know your way around the best value fares. 

If not, it's an absolute nightmare. Way harder than trying to buy an airline ticket. Fiddling around with advance fares, guessing the best time, battling with "only 1 seat left at this price" messages and finally the split ticketing fun and games.

Trying to buy 2 tickets where 1 of you has a railcard and the other doesn't? You can forget about that. 

And how to avoid admin charges of between £1.50 and £3 a ticket? Another test in ingenuity. 

The trains are great - it's trying to buy a ticket that's a major struggle 

 veteye 02 May 2022
In reply to Babika:

I agree: It is also about the logic of pricing, and continuity, or lack of it. So why can I pay about £120 return to London at peak time, on the faster train, and yet at other times, I can get it for about 1/4 of that. Yes I understand about supply and demand, and the rush hour, but the differences are far too great.

Also is there logic to two totally different journeys of a similar length and overall average speed of travel in terms of cost? Probably not.

 veteye 02 May 2022
In reply to ianstevens:

> I ridden enough UK trains to have a wide enough range of experience of them thanks.

I'm not sure when you last were on the trains in this country on a regular enough basis to evaluate(?). I travel to London and back about 40 times per year, and the trains generally are cleaner, and run on time, although there are the suicides and deer on the track, which screw things up, and are real (and very sad) events. 

Yes, the trains here are publicly owned, and subsidised, and it’s a high tax country (Denmark). But you know, the trade off is clean, pleasant and functional public services which people use. Something to aspire to no? 

Yet no-one in this country is inclined to pay a higher rate of tax that would cover for this, and as I said France's economy requires a far higher tax rate than ours, and people have been complainng and protesting for several years now about it.

> Yes, not everywhere is perfect. Not every staff member is perfect. But on average I’ve had far better experiences on Danish/German/Swedish/French/Austrian trains than any in the UK. 

Again, my experience on the non-TGV trains in France is not always that good, and it can be tediously slow. Swiss trains are not as slick as you would think, and the set up to try to decide how to get to somewhere is not that easily assimilated from the writing on the wall at times. Belgium likewise. I don't know about the rest.

5
In reply to veteye:

In France the TGV is great but most rural lines would look at ours with envy. La France aime la voiture.  And Deutsche Bahn has a massive punctuality problem.  While the Swiss IC2000 sets have seats designed for midgets and tiny windows for probably the most scenic country in the world, and the Dutch system is a lesson in austerity.  While Spain...well, it has a large coach operation (owned by none other than National Express).

In short none of them are perfect, each has its foibles.

1
In reply to Uncle Derek:

The stretch of line over Shap is one of the most scenic bits of railway in the UK, to be fair to it, and there is something about a proper big fast train on such a line rather than a little 2 car DMU.  The Settle-Carlisle gets all the attention, while this little stretch is ignored.

I even enjoyed a rail replacement bus on the adjacent M6, to be honest.

Post edited at 23:29
 Meddins 03 May 2022

Also something to note, the railway within the United Kingdom is the safest in the whole of Europe. 

In reply to Uncle Derek:

You want to try it with Transpennine Express! Max 2 bikes per train, only when booked ahead. If your train actually turns up 90% of the time the bike area is full and people won't move. A good chunk of the time the train gets cancelled so then you have to try to get booked quickly onto the next one.

I've done 8 bike trips on the train this year and the train rides been a nightmare on each one. All round yorkshire/the peak or up to the lakes.

I've done 1 trip cycling in Andalucía this year and all the trains were on time, easy to use and a quarter of the price. Its a whole different world from what I can see

OP Uncle Derek 03 May 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> In short none of them are perfect, each has its foibles.

It is difficult to compare between nations, I would say that Geography, as in Topography and also History, as in the UK started rail travel very early, make huge differences amongst other things.
However looking at Denmark which has been cited as an exemplar, they do seem to have shut quite a few lines and appear to have a similar model to the UK with mixed private and nationalised https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_rail_transport_in_Denmark.

I have been enjoying the trains though.

OP Uncle Derek 03 May 2022
In reply to willworkforfoodjnr:

> You want to try it with Transpennine Express! Max 2 bikes per train, only when booked ahead. If your train actually turns up 90% of the time the bike area is full and people won't move.

Possibly they are wondering why you are getting on a Train with a huge bicycle and pondering if they should perhaps bring a Piano or a Wardrobe next time. I do feel cyclists are rather fortunate to take their bikes on trains for free. Possibly if one had to pay a fee, there would be an incentive for rail companies to improve things for bikes.

> I've done 8 bike trips on the train this year and the train rides been a nightmare on each one. All round yorkshire/the peak or up to the lakes.

I have heard horror stories, but my experience has been entirely positive. It is good to acquaint oneself with the policies of the rail providers you will be using. For example, some people love the fact you can book your bike on some trains, but some hate it, as they see it that you have to book your bike on the same trains as it impacts your flexibility, same train but two perspectives.

> I've done 1 trip cycling in Andalucía this year and all the trains were on time, easy to use and a quarter of the price. Its a whole different world from what I can see

I have not said UK trains are the best, just that I have found them very good. I assume you were using regional trains as taking bikes on the big super trains is a bit trickier in Spain, I believe, possibly Spanish Regional trains are rather quieter than UK regional trains. It will be interesting to see if Spain starts closing some lines in the next few years.

EDIT, having recently read the marvellous Slow Trains Around Spain: A 3,000-Mile Adventure on 52 Rides, it would seem that you could easily end up a Spanish Bus when you have bought a Spanish Rail ticket and I am not sure how that works with a bike.
How did you get your Bike to Spain, and were you transporting it assembled. I fancy a trip like that, Bikes and Trains, the way ahead.

Post edited at 08:42
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 ianstevens 03 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

> I my experience  the trains are very good.

> However if you would like a serious discussion the concept of "External Cost" is useful, or as we say up North, there is Nowt for Nowt.

> I would suggest that the train passenger where you live does not bear the full cost, that it is shared with the tax payer, possibly good, possibly not. Would you be prepared to pay the full cost?

I do pay the full cost, just not at point of use. I pay by making my contribution to society through taxes (which, as someone earning above median wage, is, as it should be, a sizeable one). The tax payer is not some mysterious entity, it is people, who use the services they also fund. I am equally happy to contribute my share to services I don’t use, such as roads and schools, because they benefit the society I live in as a whole. As does subsiding the train network - people who can’t use the train for whatever reason benefit with there being less traffic, as the train is a viable option. Honestly I don’t know if I’d be so keen to pay the “full” cost at point of use, and also don’t need to becasue I have chosen to live in a socialist society where the tax system is constructed to support societal good as a whole.

> In the UK, I am not sure how much of the cost is externalised, maybe non, maybe if more was, it would be a good thing, as it could get people out of cars, where the external cost is paid by people in the future and people in poorer countries, which is not nice.

Guess I’ve covered this already.

> But like I say, it seems pretty good to me, and I shall be using trains more.

Glad to hear it. For its sins I’ve outlined above, the UK train network does mostly work in that it gets you where you want to be most of the time, albeit at great cost when (IMO) society should be incentivising mass transit systems in light of the climate crisis. And as you have highlighted, not driving is incredibly pleasant

5
 ianstevens 03 May 2022
In reply to veteye:

> I'm not sure when you last were on the trains in this country on a regular enough basis to evaluate(?). I travel to London and back about 40 times per year, and the trains generally are cleaner, and run on time, although there are the suicides and deer on the track, which screw things up, and are real (and very sad) events. 

 

Regularly it’s probably been a couple of years, but I did use the network over the Christmas period. As I’ve described above, they are dirtier, more cramped, less regular and less reliable than what I have become used to in Denmark. 

> Yes, the trains here are publicly owned, and subsidised, and it’s a high tax country (Denmark). But you know, the trade off is clean, pleasant and functional public services which people use. Something to aspire to no? 

> Yet no-one in this country is inclined to pay a higher rate of tax that would cover for this, and as I said France's economy requires a far higher tax rate than ours, and people have been complainng and protesting for several years now about it.

A strange part of the the British mindset that. People see tax as the government “taking” from them; perhaps because they see little for it, perhaps becasue they have little trust in the government to spend tax wisely. That little bit of extra tax is what makes services good, rather than having them just creaking along. Of course, shareholders need to make money on top on the privatised system… Anyway: the mindset here is that tax is a contribution to society as a whole, not something you have “taken” from you. Because of course, as a member of the public, you benefit from public services.

> Again, my experience on the non-TGV trains in France is not always that good, and it can be tediously slow. Swiss trains are not as slick as you would think, and the set up to try to decide how to get to somewhere is not that easily assimilated from the writing on the wall at times. Belgium likewise. I don't know about the rest.

I’ve got a bunch of Swiss trains in my life, and the one time one was two minutes late there was visible indignation amongst the local passengers. I find they system pretty easy to navigate, but have a good enough grasp of German to do so and have only done so in the modern, app-driven world where all new systems are relatively easy becasue the info is so accessible.  Only ever got long distance trains in France so can’t compare there!

2
 John Gresty 03 May 2022

On a Cross Country train recently. Should have been two four car units, only a single four car unit turned up. same on the return trip. Absolutely packed to the gunnels with people standing everywhere, and also sitting on the floor. Total nightmare.

John

 john arran 03 May 2022
In reply to ianstevens:

> I do pay the full cost, just not at point of use. I pay by making my contribution to society through taxes (which, as someone earning above median wage, is, as it should be, a sizeable one). The tax payer is not some mysterious entity, it is people, who use the services they also fund. I am equally happy to contribute my share to services I don’t use, such as roads and schools, because they benefit the society I live in as a whole. As does subsiding the train network - people who can’t use the train for whatever reason benefit with there being less traffic, as the train is a viable option. Honestly I don’t know if I’d be so keen to pay the “full” cost at point of use, and also don’t need to becasue I have chosen to live in a socialist society where the tax system is constructed to support societal good as a whole.

You selfish git, feathering your own nest by the devious means of improving society as a whole, and yourself as a result! 😉

OP Uncle Derek 03 May 2022
In reply to ianstevens:

> I do pay the full cost, just not at point of use. I pay by making my contribution to society through taxes (which, as someone earning above median wage, is, as it should be, a sizeable one). The tax payer is not some mysterious entity, it is people, who use the services they also fund. I am equally happy to contribute my share to services I don’t use, such as roads and schools, because they benefit the society I live in as a whole. As does subsiding the train network - people who can’t use the train for whatever reason benefit with there being less traffic, as the train is a viable option. Honestly I don’t know if I’d be so keen to pay the “full” cost at point of use, and also don’t need to becasue I have chosen to live in a socialist society where the tax system is constructed to support societal good as a whole.

>

I agree with much of what you say. Denmark is a very different country to the UK in many many ways, and I applaud your decision to go and live there, as opposed to sitting moaning about the UK.

The "full" cost thing is rather interesting. I do not think many people appreciate the full cost of driving. For a kick off I believe people very rarely relate the cost of filling the tank with individual journeys, and many certainly underestimate the costs of depreciation and general running costs and the cost and hassle of parking. And then there are those tricky external costs of motoring that poor people far away end paying vis a vis climate change or ditto people in the future. I truly believe that people not altering their activities now to mitigate climate change, the people of the future will look back upon, in the same way we look at people who were anti abolition of slavery of anti suffrage, we, know its wrong, but do not stop.

4
In reply to Uncle Derek:

> Possibly they are wondering why you are getting on a Train with a huge bicycle and pondering if they should perhaps bring a Piano or a Wardrobe next time. 

Didn't you say you are using the trains for linear bike rides? Am I missing something?

"Recently we have been using the train quite a bit for linear Bike rides"

In reply to John Gresty:

> On a Cross Country train recently. Should have been two four car units, only a single four car unit turned up. same on the return trip. Absolutely packed to the gunnels with people standing everywhere, and also sitting on the floor. Total nightmare.

CrossCountry is utterly awful and best avoided, fortunately it mostly duplicates other options so it's fairly easy to avoid, though awkward for a few journeys e.g. Manchester-Birmingham or East Midlands-Birmingham.

OP Uncle Derek 03 May 2022
In reply to willworkforfoodjnr:

> Didn't you say you are using the trains for linear bike rides? Am I missing something?

> "Recently we have been using the train quite a bit for linear Bike rides"

Yes, and I am just suggesting that people seeing a huge bike taking up three seat spaces, for free and having the pedals bang their shins, maybe less than impressed on a busy train. You did say people would not move.
What you are missing that other people have a different perspective, and that perspective is equally valid to your own. I would like to bet on a forum somewhere someone is having a rant about getting bikes banned from trains

11
In reply to ianstevens:

> I’ve got a bunch of Swiss trains in my life, and the one time one was two minutes late there was visible indignation amongst the local passengers. I find they system pretty easy to navigate, but have a good enough grasp of German to do so and have only done so in the modern, app-driven world where all new systems are relatively easy becasue the info is so accessible.  Only ever got long distance trains in France so can’t compare there!

I've used them extensively and in my experience there is delay but it's mostly caused by "imported" delay by international trains particularly from Italy.

Generally they have a high level of slack in the timetables, with trains often waiting around at intermediate stations for 5-10 minutes while connections line up (something they do very well), which means slower but more punctual journeys.

However, I can't forgive them for ordering rolling stock with tiny windows in what might be the most beautiful country in the world, and the seats in the ubiquitous IC2000 double deck sets are far too narrow.

In reply to Uncle Derek:

The only train service I make use of at all regularly is to get into central Edinburgh from north of the Forth. Free parking at Inverkeithing. Frequent trains. Faster than driving and the fares not much more than the fuel to drive in. No traffic or parking issues other end. And you get to cross the magnificent Forth Rail Bridge. All good.

 montyjohn 03 May 2022
In reply to ianstevens:

> But you know, the trade off is clean, pleasant and functional public services which people use. Something to aspire to no? 

Not at all.

You're asking for people who may not use public transport to pay for your journeys. If you want to use a train, you can pay for it. 

8
In reply to Uncle Derek:

Oh, I just have this strange thing where, when there are loads of free seats available, and I've literally booked a place and have a ticket for it, it would be nice if people moved to any of the available spare seats. I'm such an awful person and I apologise for my existence. I said absolutely nothing about super busy trains - I've also had the experience several times of booking a bike ticket then the conductor telling me they are too busy and having to wait for another and scramble to book a new bike ticket. Not the fault of the conductor, more the fault of rail operators who despite £50 for a one way ticket, can't afford anything other than cramming us in to max capacity constantly.

It doesn't have to be this difficult, its made that way because it generates higher profits

In reply to Uncle Derek:

> In the UK, I am not sure how much of the cost is externalised, maybe non, maybe if more was, it would be a good thing, as it could get people out of cars, where the external cost is paid by people in the future and people in poorer countries, which is not nice.

The cost in the UK is a complete joke. If I need to go to London, it costs me significantly less to drive myself down and pay for parking and that is with just myself in the van. In fact, I could even go far enough in to need to pay for the ULEZ and still spend less than half the amount trains would have cost me.

In a time when we should be encouraging public transport use to get people out of the cars, this is just despicable.

In reply to montyjohn:

> > But you know, the trade off is clean, pleasant and functional public services which people use. Something to aspire to no? 

> Not at all.

> You're asking for people who may not use public transport to pay for your journeys. If you want to use a train, you can pay for it. 

The reason to subsidise public transport is that cars have a strongly negative effect on society if overused, particularly in cities, and thus everyone contributing to a lower cost at the point of use makes sense.  Even EVs don't fully solve the issue - they move the pollution away from the point of use (which is definitely good) but you still have two ton metal boxes zooming around in tightly packed urban areas which need to be places for people rather than vehicles.

OP Uncle Derek 03 May 2022
In reply to willworkforfoodjnr:

> Oh, I just have this strange thing where, when there are loads of free seats available, and I've literally booked a place and have a ticket for it, it would be nice if people moved to any of the available spare seats. I'm such an awful person and I apologise for my existence. I said absolutely nothing about super busy trains - I've also had the experience several times of booking a bike ticket then the conductor telling me they are too busy and having to wait for another and scramble to book a new bike ticket. Not the fault of the conductor, more the fault of rail operators who despite £50 for a one way ticket, can't afford anything other than cramming us in to max capacity constantly.

I am not saying you are wrong, just that you are failing to see the perspective of the other person.
They are nice and settled, engrossed in their phone or picking their nose, and then you show up with your hunk of metal and want them to move.

6
 montyjohn 03 May 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> The reason to subsidise public transport is that cars have a strongly negative effect on society if overused, particularly in cities

As far as sustainability goes, not only do solutions need to be low in carbon emissions, precious metals etc, they also need to be financially sustainable. If a service needs subsidising then it's not sustainable. This doesn't mean it's not worth doing. Policing for example is not financially sustainable, but it's worth the cost.

On public transport this has been tried before. The Tallinn experiment which made all public transport in the city free only saw a 1% increase in use. However there was a 30% increase in car use. The why's I've not fully read into, but supporters of the system claim it's a change in people hobbies and habits rather than a failure of the system.

In reality, those that want to use public transport will, and those that don't, wont.

The price is the price and people will pay it.

2
In reply to montyjohn:

> In reality, those that want to use public transport will, and those that don't, wont. The price is the price and people will pay it. <

Certainly not universally true. For example many pensioners use free public transport where otherwise they would spend much more time in the vicinity of their home.

 montyjohn 03 May 2022
In reply to oldie:

> In reality, those that want to use public transport will, and those that don't, wont. The price is the price and people will pay it. <

> Certainly not universally true. For example many pensioners use free public transport where otherwise they would spend much more time in the vicinity of their home.

This is true, but it won't take car's off the road which was the original point put to me.

In reply to montyjohn:

IMHO it does take cars off the road especially where I live (London). I think this from experience and talking to friends. Even a small decrease in cars especially at peak hours can increase ease of road use for others, beside the environmental and other benefits.

In reply to montyjohn:

> As far as sustainability goes, not only do solutions need to be low in carbon emissions, precious metals etc, they also need to be financially sustainable. If a service needs subsidising then it's not sustainable. This doesn't mean it's not worth doing. Policing for example is not financially sustainable, but it's worth the cost.

Depends what you mean by "financially sustainable".  You clearly mean "profitable" or at least "breaking even", whereas I would see it as "affordable by the public purse".

We fund bin emptying, policing, street cleaning etc through the public purse.  Public transport is just another public service like that, and in pretty much every civilised Western European country they "get it".  Even the US subsidises land public transport and it doesn't even do social healthcare!

Post edited at 10:30
In reply to montyjohn:

> This is true, but it won't take car's off the road which was the original point put to me.

It most definitely does if done well and affordably (UK rail is getting better at the former, but the prices are still too high, certainly for any journey with London at one end).  Even the ENCTS etc free passes do without improving the service - my Dad uses buses now because they're free, he'd never have paid for them.  And as a result my parents have only one car and not two, and use that far less.

Affordable and high quality public transport absolutely does reduce car use.  You need both to make much of an inroad, though - simply making it free won't do it all on its own.  With the exception of some islands of very high quality (one bus manager - Alex Hornby - has had something to do with most of it) i.e. Trent Barton and Transdev Yorkshire, plus London where it's just done like it always was as a nationalised industry, the UK bus industry is utterly dire, for example.

Post edited at 10:35
In reply to Neil Williams:

> In France the TGV is great but most rural lines would look at ours with envy. La France aime la voiture.  And Deutsche Bahn has a massive punctuality problem.  While the Swiss IC2000 sets have seats designed for midgets and tiny windows for probably the most scenic country in the world, and the Dutch system is a lesson in austerity.  While Spain...well, it has a large coach operation (owned by none other than National Express).

> In short none of them are perfect, each has its foibles.

Indeed, I recently found to my cost that German punctuality is not a given, my train was late and I missed my flight back to the UK.

 Ciro 03 May 2022
In reply to willworkforfoodjnr:

> You want to try it with Transpennine Express! Max 2 bikes per train, only when booked ahead. If your train actually turns up 90% of the time the bike area is full and people won't move. A good chunk of the time the train gets cancelled so then you have to try to get booked quickly onto the next one.

The only time I booked a bike onto the Transpennine express, the guard agreed he had my booking but refused to move the luggage he had put in the bike area, and initially refused to allow me to board the train. When I kicked up a fuss, he eventually allowed me to sit on the floor in a doorway with my bike, as long as I took the wheels off.

In reply to Ciro:

> The only time I booked a bike onto the Transpennine express, the guard agreed he had my booking but refused to move the luggage he had put in the bike area, and initially refused to allow me to board the train. When I kicked up a fuss, he eventually allowed me to sit on the floor in a doorway with my bike, as long as I took the wheels off.

Multi-use spaces are a problem in all settings - wheelchair areas are arguably more of a problem as luggage left there can mean accessibility law is broken.  And tip-up seats in luggage and cycle areas were the idea of an utter idiot.

I'd rather a fee was charged for cycles as that is a consideration which means a contract, which means they can't just go "soz, no room" without potentially being liable to be sued for the fee plus consequential loss.  It's the same reason they don't charge for seat reservations and ideally should.

Post edited at 10:41
In reply to veteye:

> I think that your view is not balanced, and may well be in a country where the service is heavily subsidised.

Whereas we get the BEST deal in the UK....we have foreign state-owned rail operators running our services, so they can subsidise their domestic services from the profits being extracted from British commuters. Brilliant.

I lived in Germany for many years, and the rail service is marginally better in terms of comfort, cleanliness, regularity....but most importantly, it's far cheaper.

The prices people pay for train commutes in the UK are absolutely obscene. In Germany you can buy a Bahncard 100 for 4k EUR that gives you unlimited travel for a year.

In reply to midgen:

> Whereas we get the BEST deal in the UK....we have foreign state-owned rail operators running our services, so they can subsidise their domestic services from the profits being extracted from British commuters. Brilliant.

Actually, Abellio is making a loss on its UK rail operations at the moment, I believe, which means the Dutch taxpayer is subsidising the rail users of East Anglia and Merseyside (and previously ScotRail, but it's now been taken in-house).

There's also a lot of disquiet in Germany about DB tying itself and its money up with international conquests (!) like Arriva, which is not performing well, and a lot of pressure to flog it off and concentrate on the home market.

> I lived in Germany for many years, and the rail service is marginally better in terms of comfort, cleanliness, regularity....but most importantly, it's far cheaper.

It is certainly very regular, mostly having a regular interval, connectional "Taktfahrplan" timetable.  However, it's not as frequent as the UK, typically, with two-hourly regional services very common.  UK frequencies are the envy of most of the world.  Three trains per hour on a long distance route like London to Manchester is incredibly rare in Europe, for instance.  (Yes, I know one is missing, but it's planned to return in the late May timetable change).  The 6 trains per hour core on TransPennine Express is just unheard of even in Switzerland.

> The prices people pay for train commutes in the UK are absolutely obscene. In Germany you can buy a Bahncard 100 for 4k EUR that gives you unlimited travel for a year.

That's typically possible because commutes in Germany are much shorter than here, so a lower "cap" fits.  Their long distance single/return fares are structured slightly differently and they don't have a peak/off peak walk up split which means flexible tickets are generally much more expensive than here unless you need to go at peak time in which case they're cheaper.

Post edited at 11:08
1

In reply to rexybo:

Don't forget CH is a very small country.  What you want to compare is not what an all-modes season ticket would cost for the whole UK, but perhaps for Wales, or the North of England, or similar.

The answer is of course "more than that" (a monthly Liverpool-Newcastle season is about a grand and a half, for example) - but "all of the UK" isn't a valid comparison.

Germany is probably the one to look at as it's a similarly sized country, though there are elements of the UK system that are more like France because of how London-centric the UK is - Germany is very much polycentric.

Post edited at 11:16
 RobAJones 03 May 2022
In reply to montyjohn:

> On public transport this has been tried before. The Tallinn experiment which made all public transport in the city free only saw a 1% increase in use. However there was a 30% increase in car use.

Are you sure?

Three years after fares were abolished in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, the number of bus passengers increased from 55% to 63%, while car journeys decreased only slightly (from 31% to 28%)

>The why's I've not fully read into, but supporters of the system claim it's a change in people hobbies and habits rather than a failure of the system.

I think you have a point that alone it will not reduce car use significantly and unfortunately in cities more people seem to stop walking and cycling if public transport is free. But I do think it is part of sensible strategy. With the influence covid it is difficult to gauge the effect in Luxembourg at the moment, but it is major part of their measures aiming to reduce commuter journeys in private vehicles from 60% to 30%

In reply to RobAJones:

I don't think you necessarily need to make it free, but "hiding the cost" (in the same way the cost of fuel is hidden when driving as you don't directly pay per trip) does help a lot - contactless payment is very helpful in this regard, as in London you just tap in and out without thinking much about it unless you are on a very tight budget.

It does however need to be affordable, as if it's too pricey the car keys are the default.

Having a flat fare for urban travel works reasonably well, as that discourages use for short journeys where walking/cycling are better.  It also means that like London you only have to "tap in" when boarding and don't have the issue of remembering to "tap out".

Post edited at 11:28
In reply to ianstevens:

>  

> …,, That little bit of extra tax is what makes services good, rather than having them just creaking along. Of course, shareholders need to make money on top on the privatised system… Anyway: the mindset here is that tax is a contribution to society as a whole, not something you have “taken” from you. Because of course, as a member of the public, you benefit from public services.

Amen to that - my general observation of UK public services is that it’s all just a little bit underfunded - maybe ok for a year or two but not for an extended period and our manifest problems in most areas have their roots in our attitude to taxation 

 RobAJones 03 May 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I don't think you necessarily need to make it free

I would make it free for kids, as you say its not just about cost, but also habits. Reflecting on a recent discussion about barriers to enjoying the outdoors/national parks, the main barrier I faced as a kid, without parents who had an interest, was cost/lack of public transport.

In reply to RobAJones:

> I would make it free for kids, as you say its not just about cost, but also habits. Reflecting on a recent discussion about barriers to enjoying the outdoors/national parks, the main barrier I faced as a kid, without parents who had an interest, was cost/lack of public transport.

The London system of withdrawable free travel for kids (Oyster Zip) is a good idea, as there's the possible sanction of withdrawing it or restricting to supervised/school travel use if antisocial behaviour is repeatedly a problem by individuals.

Post edited at 11:34
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Actually, Abellio is making a loss on its UK rail operations at the moment, I believe, which means the Dutch taxpayer is subsidising the rail users of East Anglia and Merseyside (and previously ScotRail, but it's now been taken in-house).

> There's also a lot of disquiet in Germany about DB tying itself and its money up with international conquests (!) like Arriva, which is not performing well, and a lot of pressure to flog it off and concentrate on the home market.

I hadn't looked into the how they're doing recently. Is anyone 'winning' from our botched privatisation of the rail network? Doesn't work for commuters (cripplingly expensive), doesn't work for operators (loss-making), doesn't work for the taxpayer (costs more in subsidies than pre-privatisation)

> It is certainly very regular, mostly having a regular interval, connectional "Taktfahrplan" timetable.  However, it's not as frequent as the UK, typically, with two-hourly regional services very common.  UK frequencies are the envy of most of the world.  Three trains per hour on a long distance route like London to Manchester is incredibly rare in Europe, for instance.  (Yes, I know one is missing, but it's planned to return in the late May timetable change).  The 6 trains per hour core on TransPennine Express is just unheard of even in Switzerland.

I can only speak for where I lived (NRW) but most services were every 10 or 20 minutes. I never used the private services that do exist alongside the DB ones, which adds more options.

> That's typically possible because commutes in Germany are much shorter than here, so a lower "cap" fits.  Their long distance single/return fares are structured slightly differently and they don't have a peak/off peak walk up split which means flexible tickets are generally much more expensive than here unless you need to go at peak time in which case they're cheaper.

Actually being able to walk up and get a cheap ticket is a massive plus on the German network, versus the faffing about required in our mess of a network to get a decent price. Not to mention the parking costs if you actually want to get to a station. It's just typical of so many services in the UK that have been subject to a decade of underfunding and degradation....the poor service that is left has to resort to extracting money from consumers at every turn (parking costs/fines, toilets, etc).

In reply to midgen:

> Actually being able to walk up and get a cheap ticket is a massive plus on the German network, versus the faffing about required in our mess of a network to get a decent price.

Hamburg-Koeln is reasonably comparable to London-Manchester in distance (ish), and that comes up as EUR96.60 flexible single (though I think it varies by day of the week) and double that return.  London-Manchester off peak return is £98.10.  I've not used singles as the Press like to because the UK gives a very deep discount for a return trip whereas Germany just charges two singles.  The UK generally actually has better terms, too, e.g. a month validity and and a month to refund after validity end if unused.

If we use EUR1.5 = GBP1, which is a rate that makes the cost of living in both countries similar, rather than the present near 1:1, that makes the German return walk-up fare £128.80.

Obviously in the UK we have the outrageous £350 peak return, but most people will never need to buy that.  So I think I'd rather our fares for this journey.

One thing I really do like about the European model is First Class being on a simple 1.5 multiplier just for the better seat and no gimmicks.  Avanti's Standard Premium pretty much is that, but I wish it was universal.  If it was I'd near enough always go First Class.

Post edited at 11:56
 AukWalk 03 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

My experience is different tbh. Having used regular commuting trains for a period a few years ago I found them to be unreliable, inconvenient, overcrowded, and expensive. My partner used to take her bike on the train for commuting and it was a nightmare, just no space on overcrowded services, on top of her trains being even less reliable than mine, often being cancelled with no notice. The conditions thoroughly discouraged sustainable commuting habits (at the time the main reason she commuted like that was she didn't have a car, safe to say she didn't think twice when it became an option).

My occasional leisure use has been better in general, as when you plan a long distance journey they can be a quick and reasonably pain free way to get around as long as the place you're going has a station on the main line and you don't have to wait for a bus or slow stopping train (often timed so you end up waiting for ages for the connection) to actually get you where you're going. Still, they are very expensive - depends on the route, but for me I find the cost of a train ticket (unless you're in a position to book far in advance, which isn't comparable to a car journey anyway) for one person is roughly equal to the cost of driving somewhere (even when you do split ticketing, which can save a few quid on some routes). Add a second person and the train cost is literally double the cost of driving. Let alone taking some friends as well as your partner when the train becomes ludicrously expensive. Again depends on the route a bit, but I find most journeys by train outside my region have to be planned carefully because missing one will see you waiting for a couple of hours for the next one. Taking a bike is not really an option because of the very limited space on long distance trains for bikes and the need to book them in advance.

The other passengers can be a pain too - eg was racially abused by a drunk last time I got the train back from a day out.

Will agree staff a generally nice though, and stations can be nice but it really depends. 

Good that you've had good experiences recently, but it's really not like that everywhere. I really like the idea of trains and want the services to be invested in and improved, but in reality existing services have many many problems. 

Post edited at 12:10
In reply to Neil Williams:

No one needs a peak ticket? I'm not really interested in spending all day searching ticket prices but I found Hamburg to Koln for less than 50 euros on the DB site very easily, with various cheaper options on the private providers on that line such as Flix. 

Having used the UK network extensively both pre and post privatisation, and Deutsche Bahn for both commuting and leisure for many years, regional, local, and national....there is absolutely no question in my mind which is the better service, offering the better value (apart from slow take up of card payments in Germany, which is a different matter!)

In reply to midgen:

> No one needs a peak ticket?

I didn't say nobody did.  But it's rare for a passenger to need one and be paying for it themselves rather than it being expensable business travel.  Often you see on these debates "but I need to go to a funeral at short notice", but £350 divided by the number of funerals an average person will attend at short notice in their lifetime is a fairly small sum per day/month/year/whatever, so stick it on a credit card and be done with it.

I would rather that fare was more reasonable, say £150-200, but I wouldn't want to go to the German system of one walk-up fare all day if it meant me paying more for Off Peak Returns, the fare of choice for flexible leisure travel and probably the one bought most often by a long way.

> I'm not really interested in spending all day searching ticket prices but I found Hamburg to Koln for less than 50 euros on the DB site very easily, with various cheaper options on the private providers on that line such as Flix. 

Exactly the same situation exists here (I've found London-Manchester for £37 in a very quick search).  It is impossible to do direct comparisons of the "airline style" yield managed Advance (UK) / Sparpreis (DE) fares without writing a screenscraper to work out things like average fares per head/per passenger mile which is quite hard to do, and you can be sure the operators would do everything to stop you finding out!  There are also "open access" operations here equivalent to Flix such as Grand Central and Hull Trains, and you can get dirt cheap London-Manchester walk-up travel (far less than the fuel in a small car plus parking) by using London Northwestern and changing at Crewe.

> Having used the UK network extensively both pre and post privatisation, and Deutsche Bahn for both commuting and leisure for many years, regional, local, and national....there is absolutely no question in my mind which is the better service, offering the better value (apart from slow take up of card payments in Germany, which is a different matter!)

Personally I would rate them about equal at the moment but in different ways.  I did live in Germany in the 1990s and I would say 1990s DB was hugely, hugely better than 1990s BR, but I think the UK has caught up massively in a lot of places and is better in some ways, e.g. frequency of main long distance routes.  Privatisation has been a financial disaster (both for the user and the taxpayer), but it has delivered on some things such as the WCML speed improvements and a pretty much wholesale fleet replacement, as well as some pretty whacking capacity improvements in e.g. the North.  For one, look at Manchester Airport to Blackpool - a 2-car DMU once an hour in the late 90s, now a 6-car brand-new electric unit twice an hour.  It's definitely comparable to that sort of long distance RegionalExpress in Germany now, it wasn't even nearly then.

And we do have things like U- and S-Bahnen here - Merseyrail for instance is almost identical to the Hamburg or Berlin S-Bahn in concept (though does run slightly less frequently), and the London Underground Metropolitan Line, London Overground and Crossrail would all be seen as S-Bahn in Germany, while the Newcastle Metro is a classic German style U-Bahn, the vehicles even look German inside (and I think are German built).

Post edited at 12:20
 Le Sapeur 03 May 2022
In reply to ianstevens:

> My commuter train does this. Probably actually more than 20 bikes, and comes every 15 minutes. 

The Glasgow to Edinburgh trains run every 15 minutes and take bikes. Only a couple of spaces but 10 times as many people cycle in your chosen country so it works out the same.

Again, nothing like a good old grumble about how bad the UK is.

In reply to Neil Williams:

> I didn't say nobody did.  But it's rare for a passenger to need one and be paying for it themselves rather than it being expensable business travel.

Pretty much every time I need to go to London it's to deal with the Greek embassy, so I need a peak ticket and it obviously isn't a business expense... I paid it exactly once and have been driving since.

1
 PaulJepson 03 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

The cost of rail transport in this country is a joke. It is usually half the price to drive there AND BACK than the cost of a single train ticket (so roughly 4x the cost of driving on my own). 

It's also subsidised by the government and yet pays out dividends to its private shareholders, even though it runs at a loss?  wtf

In reply to Alkis:

> Pretty much every time I need to go to London it's to deal with the Greek embassy, so I need a peak ticket and it obviously isn't a business expense... I paid it exactly once and have been driving since.

What percentage of the population needs to deal with the Greek embassy, I wonder?

It's a bit annoying for you I'm sure, but you're not in the majority by any stretch.  And it could be avoided other ways e.g. travelling down the night before, or taking a slower journey using LNR from Crewe.

I don't think these fares are sensible at all, but they affect a very small number of users (of whom sadly you are one) and so the Press using them to do comparisons with Ryanair etc are being rather disingenuous.  For most use-cases that aren't on expenses, the walk up fare is £90ish return.

Post edited at 13:18
In reply to veteye:

> I agree: It is also about the logic of pricing, and continuity, or lack of it. So why can I pay about £120 return to London at peak time, on the faster train, and yet at other times, I can get it for about 1/4 of that. Yes I understand about supply and demand, and the rush hour, but the differences are far too great.

> Also is there logic to two totally different journeys of a similar length and overall average speed of travel in terms of cost? Probably not.

That reminds me of when I lived in Grenoble and had to get the train to Germany every two or three weeks at the weekend. 

The ticket hall at Grenoble had several queues, all of them long, and labelled 'International Trains, ' Local Trains' and so on. But every time I got to the front of my queue I seemed to  be charged something very different to what I had paid the previous time for no clear reason. So, although I understood why the wait was often so long, I would come away wishing there was a queue for 'People who don't want an argument'.

Post edited at 13:36
 Mike Stretford 03 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

The service is improving as most rail companies upgrade their rolling stock. Our local service is improving, thanks to the Spanish built CAF trains Northern have bought.

In reply to Neil Williams:

Pretty much anyone that needs to go to London for any administrative reason is affected by this, and there are plenty. Thankfully, for British nationals the reasons are dwindling but it wasn't that long ago when my English housemate had to go down to London to get his first passport because for some reason there were issues that couldn't be resolved in Nottingham.

Sure, the number is a minority in comparison to all the business travel into London, but it's certainly far bigger than "people that deal with the Greek embassy".

> And it could be avoided other ways e.g. travelling down the night before,

And staying where exactly?

> or taking a slower journey using LNR from Crewe.

Have you actually checked the prices and times of that?

To be entirely fair though, while checking, I found that it is possible to make the standard Nottingham -> St Pancras one fairly cheap by leaving before 6AM. and returning as late as possible, down to 60-ish quid which is tolerable. It's still more than driving under normal (as in not £1.72/L) circumstances.

> For most use-cases that aren't on expenses, the walk up fare is £90ish return.

Which is approximately 50% more expensive than driving with a single passenger, including parking. We can't be having a climate crisis and have these prices on public transport is basically my point.

Post edited at 14:35
In reply to Alkis:

> And staying where exactly?

YHA?  Travelodge?  Premier Inn?  Motel One?  A night in any of those plus an Off Peak Return is going to be cheaper than £350 even at London prices.  Or the Imperial Hotels near Euston are a bit grim but not very expensive by London standards.  There are hotels other than the Ritz!

FWIW I have only once in my whole life had to go to London for adminstrative reasons which was for an Indian visa at short notice.  But that was a work trip so they paid.  It could have been done without going to London, just not on the required timescales.

> Have you actually checked the prices and times of that?

The Anytime Return is £124.60, and they often offer excellent value Advances, and their Off Peak only has morning restrictions, not evening.

Time wise your first one is the 0714 from Crewe arriving at 0937.  There's an arrival from Manchester at Crewe on TfW (who accept that ticket from Manchester) at 0709.  This is not an "official connection" (Crewe is I think 10 minutes) but is likely to be OK, or you can split tickets at Crewe and use Avanti for that bit fairly cheaply if it's crucial you don't get there an hour later.

> To be entirely fair though, while checking, I found that it is possible to make the standard Nottingham -> St Pancras one fairly cheap by leaving before 6AM. and returning as late as possible, down to 60-ish quid which is tolerable. It's still more than driving under normal (as in not £1.72/L) circumstances.

That's the new normal.

> Which is approximately 50% more expensive than driving with a single passenger, including parking. We can't be having a climate crisis and have these prices on public transport is basically my point.

Which means increased subsidy, there's no other way to achieve that.

Post edited at 15:02
In reply to Neil Williams:

> That's the new normal.

That's not an assumption I would make. With BEV adoption where it is, fuel that expensive over a long period of time would be a major inflation driver across the entire economy. 
 

> Which means increased subsidy, there's no other way to achieve that.

Absolutely 100%. Transport is business lube. Even as someone that drives a *lot*, I would be very happy for my taxes to be used for cheaper public transport for everyone.

Post edited at 15:05
In reply to Alkis:

> > That's the new normal.

> That's not an assumption I would make. With BEV adoption where it is, fuel that expensive over a long period of time would be a major inflation driver across the entire economy. 

I just can't see a scenario in which it would reduce substantially.  Maybe to £1.50/l or so but not much below.  Best I can see happening is it stagnating for an extended period, potentially even "permanently" in terms of ICE use, and inflation just making it less in a meaningful sense.  Same for house prices, FWIW, another crash is fanciful.

Post edited at 15:49
OP Uncle Derek 03 May 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

>  FWIW, another crash is fanciful.

I am sorry, but I am puzzled how you come to this conclusion. It ranks alongside the people who I hear on the news saying  that War should not be happening in the 21st Century, have they not been paying attention, there is nearly always a war going on. 
Same with the idea of another housing crash, I am not saying we are going to have one now, or that we are not, but economics are driven by human emotions, fear, and as humans have not changed, I would suggest economics have not changed, and that there will definitely be another crash, one of these days.

Post edited at 16:53
In reply to Uncle Derek:

The 1980s house price crash* was caused not by the actions of individuals, but rather by the Tories increasing interest rates to a staggeringly and nonsensically high level (what was it, about 12%?) due entirely to political motivations, which in a flash rendered vast numbers of people unable to pay their mortgage and so saturated the market.  Interest rates are now under the control of the Bank of England who make prudent decisions in the interests of the wider economy, and a move that would double (or more) most peoples' mortgage payments is not a "prudent decision in the interests of the wider economy".

The only way it'd happen again is if rates were taken back into political control but I just can't see it happening.

What will most likely happen to house prices is long-term stagnation or slow decline, which coupled with high inflation will mean a decline in real-terms values, which will make houses more affordable without bankrupting people who already own one.  This is the desirable way to fix the overpricing problem because it does it (albeit over a number of years) without destroying large parts of the economy by removing all disposable income from vast swathes of the mortgage-holding population.

If you mean fuel prices, when did they crash?  They reduced a bit during COVID due to significantly reduced demand, I don't think they've ever crashed.

* I don't count the minor reductions in value in the mid-late 2000s as a crash.

Post edited at 17:47
1
OP Uncle Derek 03 May 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> The 1980s house price crash* was caused not by the actions of individuals, but rather by the Tories increasing interest rates to a staggeringly and nonsensically high level (what was it, about 12%?) due entirely to political motivations, which in a flash rendered vast numbers of people unable to pay their mortgage and so saturated the market.  Interest rates are now under the control of the Bank of England who make prudent decisions in the interests of the wider economy, and a move that would double (or more) most peoples' mortgage payments is not a "prudent decision in the interests of the wider economy".

> The only way it'd happen again is if rates were taken back into political control but I just can't see it happening.

> What will most likely happen to house prices is long-term stagnation or slow decline, which coupled with high inflation will mean a decline in real-terms values, which will make houses more affordable without bankrupting people who already own one.  This is the desirable way to fix the overpricing problem because it does it (albeit over a number of years) without destroying large parts of the economy by removing all disposable income from vast swathes of the mortgage-holding population.

> If you mean fuel prices, when did they crash?  They reduced a bit during COVID due to significantly reduced demand, I don't think they've ever crashed.

> * I don't count the minor reductions in value in the mid-late 2000s as a crash.

I must say, you are a good writer, many people looking at this would think these are words of wisdom from a leading economist, as opposed to the opinion of an IT guy from Milton Keynes. 

 duchessofmalfi 03 May 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

I'd far rather all trains just took bikes free by default, no booking, no arguments. Train+bike is an amazing solution to low carbon low hassle travel. Works in other places. Sadly requires a bit of joined up thinking which we seem incapable as a nation of doing.

 Doug 03 May 2022
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

> ... Sadly requires a bit of joined up thinking which we seem incapable as a nation of doing.

But used to be commonplace in Britain - I used to regularly visit the Botanic Garden Library in Edinburgh by train & bike when a student at Stirling (early 80s). Cycle from home to Stirling station, train to Waverley, then cycle out to the gardens. No need to book & no charge, but at the time most trains used to have a guards wagon for luggage & space for several bikes per train.

 Glug 03 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

What about the one in the early 90s? my house bought in 93 was worth 20% less within the year, and didn't regain its purchase price for about 8 years.

In reply to duchessofmalfi:

Cycle carriage will always be a limited resource, even if they increased spaces if there wasn't booking then you would risk being stranded.  Even with a capacity of 20+ you might unwittingly get stuck if e.g. there was a cycle race on you didn't know about.

Other than high frequency urban commuter routes like Merseyrail where waiting 15 minutes is no great hassle and you could easily cycle instead if necessary, I would far rather booking, ideally with an app allowing a booking to be made and to see real time availability on any train.  I would happily pay for this because it would make cycling by train far more practical and less stressful.

Post edited at 20:02
3
In reply to Neil Williams:

Housing price crash in the 8oS( starting in 1989) was a result of a global recession that hit Western European countries ranging from the USA to Finland.  Look it up on Wikipedia .

In reply to Glug:

Isn't that the same one?  Perhaps it was early 90s rather than 80s.

In reply to neilh:

In the meantime we have had a global recession without a crash, because interest rates have been managed by a prudential body without political interference.

 ianstevens 05 May 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

> > 

> >

> I agree with much of what you say. Denmark is a very different country to the UK in many many ways, and I applaud your decision to go and live there, as opposed to sitting moaning about the UK.

> The "full" cost thing is rather interesting. I do not think many people appreciate the full cost of driving. For a kick off I believe people very rarely relate the cost of filling the tank with individual journeys, and many certainly underestimate the costs of depreciation and general running costs and the cost and hassle of parking. And then there are those tricky external costs of motoring that poor people far away end paying vis a vis climate change or ditto people in the future. I truly believe that people not altering their activities now to mitigate climate change, the people of the future will look back upon, in the same way we look at people who were anti abolition of slavery of anti suffrage, we, know its wrong, but do not stop.

Yup, I agree entirely with this. Added to the fact that we’re yet to pay the full cost of the environmental damage of driving, and it’s actually a pretty expensive mode of transport!

 ianstevens 05 May 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> The reason to subsidise public transport is that cars have a strongly negative effect on society if overused, particularly in cities, and thus everyone contributing to a lower cost at the point of use makes sense.  Even EVs don't fully solve the issue - they move the pollution away from the point of use (which is definitely good) but you still have two ton metal boxes zooming around in tightly packed urban areas which need to be places for people rather than vehicles.


AMEN

 ianstevens 05 May 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> The Glasgow to Edinburgh trains run every 15 minutes and take bikes. Only a couple of spaces but 10 times as many people cycle in your chosen country so it works out the same.

> Again, nothing like a good old grumble about how bad the UK is.

Good to hear it’s working out somewhere, although very much in contrast to my experience of the UK network. How much does it cost with a bike out of interest?

 veteye 08 May 2022
In reply to midgen:

> Whereas we get the BEST deal in the UK....we have foreign state-owned rail operators running our services, so they can subsidise their domestic services from the profits being extracted from British commuters. Brilliant.

There's a lot of industries and services that we have let go to foreign investors, which are, I agree, bad, including the Chinese owning key things that they ought not be let anywhere near

> I lived in Germany for many years, and the rail service is marginally better in terms of comfort, cleanliness, regularity....but most importantly, it's far cheaper.

The argument for price has been argued by others, BUT one thing that keeps being said on here, is that other countries have cleaner services. I disagree. I've been on mucky French trains and stations, and actually most people who say this have either not been on a British train for a couple of years, or they have got used to saying it. I regularly travel on the east coast mainline, and I tend to either travel on the LNER trains, or Thames Link, and both are cleaner than trains in the past. Both are fine. My vehicle can be dirtier at times.

> The prices people pay for train commutes in the UK are absolutely obscene. In Germany you can buy a Bahncard 100 for 4k EUR that gives you unlimited travel for a year.

Price has been discussed by others.

On cost, someone mentioned paying £1.72 per litre for fuel, but this can be significantly more on main routes (yes buy at home etc, but it is not always possible), and that is not the total cost. You need to be looking at 30-40 pence per mile, not just at the fuel cost.

Plus what is the cost to your soul, in terms of environmental guilt, and also the stress of driving alongside those who constantly wind you up?


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