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Offline HarrierST

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Trains in Britain
« on: May 17, 2016, 12:26:58 AM »
In reality, public transportation became more widespread, faster and cheaper, thus more accessible over the years. 

You do not  live (I guess)  in Britain.  Over the last  25 years or more prices have increased dramatically and services have been reduced even more so.

For example  - a train from Norwich to London  (100 miles ),  stops about half way into the journey, you then transfer to a bus to continue the trip in to London.  {Why bother with the train}

In the past you could walk into a station and buy a ticket - with no problem. Try that today and if you have not pre-ordered your ticket!!! Wow a massive increase in the price.

I no longer use trains.  Expensive and unreliable.

Offline DrSuperGood

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2016, 06:26:30 PM »
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I no longer use trains.  Expensive and unreliable.
Apparently this is only really the case in the UK. There are also many reasons behind it such as profit driven private enterprises and of course that much of those profits are then used to subsidise trains in other countries by their share holders.

UK trains are probably the most expensive per km traveled in the world.

Offline Ters

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2016, 07:37:23 PM »
UK trains are probably the most expensive per km traveled in the world.

If Norway hasn't already topped that, maybe the upcoming reform will helt get us there. We have an expensive image to maintain here.

In the past you could walk into a station and buy a ticket - with no problem. Try that today and if you have not pre-ordered your ticket!!! Wow a massive increase in the price.

I no longer use trains.  Expensive and unreliable.

Over here, there was (maybe still is) a period of transition between manned desks at the stations where tickets could be bought, and ticket machines, ticket sales in nearby kiosks and online tickets. On stations that had neither, you could buy tickets onboard for the same price (online was always an option, I think). But you better check thoroughly before getting on that train. If you overlooked a well hidden ticket machine, that pretty much counted as being a stowaway, even if you tried to pay immediately. (Which gets even worse if you don't have enough cash and your bank card doesn't work offline. Then you can't even chose to pay the fine and get it over with, which happened to some children a while back.)

Still, I prefer trains over buses. Even though old train commuters complain that the newer trains have narrow seats, they are still way better than bus seats. And I prefer trains over airplanes, unless I need to cross a continent (or technically a sub-continent), which I have done only once in my life (well, twice, if you count the return trip by itself). Maybe that is another reason I focus so much on trains when I play Simutrans. Boats are simply too slow, at least for the so called JIT1.

Offline prissi

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2016, 10:31:36 PM »
Well you can go from Norwich to London via Cambridge ... but I agree, the UK has the highest cost for any country running subsidized trains. (In Japan trains are not subsidized.) Every line/area here got a monopoly which guarantees a steady income. But that should rather go into another topic.

Offline Lmallet

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2016, 12:30:01 AM »
UK trains are probably the most expensive per km traveled in the world.

I am surprised Canada doesn't get that title.  Flying here is much cheaper than taking the train (except in the Quebec-Windsor) corridor, and to put that in perspective, it is often cheaper to fly to Europe than to fly inside Canada.

Offline sdog

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2016, 12:48:32 AM »
UK trains are probably the most expensive per km traveled in the world.

Which is so very unfortunate. I should love to visit and travel Britain, but I don't expect to get that rich in the foreseeable future.

Quote from: prissi
(In Japan trains are not subsidized.) Every line/area here got a monopoly which guarantees a steady income. But that should rather go into another topic.
Speaking of Japan and off-topic: I remembered Japan rail passes to be not very expensive and to cover one month. Did they get marked up considerably since about 2009 or am I just mis-remembering. A three weeks pass costs now 60k (EUR 470, USD 540). Recently the fare was halved.

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I am surprised Canada doesn't get that title.  Flying here is much cheaper than taking the train (except in the Quebec-Windsor) corridor, and to put that in perspective, it is often cheaper to fly to Europe than to fly inside Canada.
One has to be rather lucky to get a train ticket that is cheaper than a flight Toronto--Montreal, which is on the corridor. I was that lucky once, and had  to endure a 500 km route that regularly takes about 8 hours. (Due to misfortune of a smaller earthquake it extended 13 hours). The trains are also so infrequent that they are not really an option for anyone but pensioners on holidays. Trans-Canada ... only tourist purposes.

The new airport shuttle train in Toronto, Pearson-Union-Express, perhaps had the most expensive fare per km: CAD 27.5 + tax which is about USD 23 for the fantastically long distance of 23 km.

Offline Ters

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2016, 06:05:09 AM »
I am surprised Canada doesn't get that title.  Flying here is much cheaper than taking the train (except in the Quebec-Windsor) corridor, and to put that in perspective, it is often cheaper to fly to Europe than to fly inside Canada.

Well, it is about as far from one end of Canada to the other as it is from Canada to Europe, so on such a broad level, that isn't too surprising. International flights also seem to offer more loopholes for cheap labour. Most of the world is also at a disadvantage compared to Europe when it comes to population density and terrain suitable for infrastructure. Wealth is both cause and effect.

Offline Carl

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2016, 07:57:47 PM »
For example  - a train from Norwich to London  (100 miles ),  stops about half way into the journey, you then transfer to a bus to continue the trip in to London.  {Why bother with the train}


This is only true when there are engineering works (occasional weekends). Otherwise there are twice-hourly direct services from Norwich to London.

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall us

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2016, 08:15:08 PM »
I have to drive four hours to get to the nearest Amtrak station. We definitely do not have rail service to all our major cities in the US. Some do, of course.

If I want to go to Seattle (NW corner of the US), I have to go four hours the wrong way to catch a train that goes NORTH instead of WEST for hundreds of miles. Then I can go west…

http://s.ieh.im/mC2XptgR.png

Link to PDF that I took a screenshot of above: https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/948/674/System0211_101web,0.pdf

Offline sdog

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2016, 09:01:41 PM »
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I have to drive four hours to get to the nearest Amtrak station.
You live near the line labelled 'service suspended'? You live halfway between Pensacola and Talahasse, I think. I suppose you would have to drive to St Luis. To Seattle seems not a bad route, going north to Chicago and from there close to the shortest path. Overall it is 25% longer than the distance along the geodesic. The route that takes about 3 days, according to google. In that regard it certainly cannot compete with flights.

On the net I found $360 tickets, which is surprisingly cheap when considering that it is about 4k to 4k5 km long. That is about $0.08 per km. According to [1], the average cost per km travelled with a car in the US is $0.35. The travel time is roughly equal, driving toujours, 48h.

In comparison, the longest high speed line is Beijing–Guangzhou, about 2k km long, which is covered in 8 hours, and costs about $130. [Next time in China i want to take that line, simply to enjoy the engineering marvel!]

Offline prissi

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2016, 10:07:32 PM »
Trains in Russia and trains in the US have a lot in common: They are relaitvely cheap, but slow. Ok, they go 80-120 km/h in Russia, but then every 6-8 hour they stop for 20-40 minute to add carriages and change the engine to the next voltage of electric overhead wires. In the US the train simply peaks on most tracks at 30-40 miles per hour, and slower part are no exceptions. But then the landscape in the US beat russia hands down (at least in the west).

However, the US trains are way more luxury, a double decker has just 36 seats ... but then, unlike Russia Amtrak almost never runs on time the further west you got. (It seems not uncommon, that you have to leave a train in a backcountry station to catch a bus which drives for six hours so you can catch connections (in that case the one Postland to chicago) because the trains are even slower than buses.) And in three day travel on average I had one minor derailment. But then, from four spikes in the track there were only one still in ...)

On Russia I had a carriage where neither the window, nor light not the radio (fixed on one station) was working. But over the five day travel they repaired it bit by bit again.

To Japan: Yes, railpasses are a good deal. But you can only by them outside. Inside you have to pay very much. The flight Tokyo to Kagoshime is about 4-5x cheaper than rail and almost 4x faster too. (The same price difference is true for british trains, and the country is tiny ... )

Back to Britain: A yearly commuter ticket Cambridge London is about 4,692.00 GBP or roughly 6000 €. (For 50 min Cambridge London service). Compare this with the 4.090 € which buy you a year of free travel on the ENTIRE network of Germany including local services in most cities. Or the 3655 CHF in Switzerland, where you really get more for your money.

For comparison in Japan the yearly price for Tsukuba-Akihabara (which is about the same distance and category as Cambridge-London) is 459120 Yen or 2900 GBP. So even Japan does not reach Britisch prices.

You could travel cheaper in britain by traveling on weekends and after 10 am and using several discount cards (which give you 30 % off), but that really depends on local operator and other conditions.

Offline kierongreen

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2016, 11:04:39 PM »
Am really not sure about trains in Britain always being that expensive (although it might seem so compared to other countries admittedly). I'm travelling next month from Oban to Brighton for £350 return but that includes a first class sleeper one way... £160 (say €180 or $220) return gives you a flexible off peak ticket (on long journeys peak restrictions rarely come into effect). Booking specific services can reduce this to under £100. Distance is around 850km and journey time is around 10 hours each way (only 8 1/2 travelling but connections push the overall time up). By comparison flights from Glasgow to London (600km or so) are £60 or so each way, and you can add on £50 for transport to and from airports, taking 6 hours in total. Driving would cost about £75 each way in fuel and take about 9 hours not including breaks. Or you could probably use the coach for about £50 return which would take about 12 hours.

Overall in Britain rail travel is priced not based on what people can afford as such but to be competitive with driving or flying. That means that commuter journeys are quite pricey, after all Cambridwtoto London is 80km or so, so driving that distance every working day would cost you £15 or so a day, or about £4500 a year.

In comparison when travelling in other countries I found France to be much cheaper, but Switzerland at least as expensive as Britain if not more. China is obviously much much cheaper!

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2016, 03:22:51 AM »
I live in Vancouver, Canada... my train choices involve a daily Via Rail travel that travels east to Edmonton, Canada (a 25 hour trip) or the Amtrak that travels a few times per day down to Seattle.  This part of North America is all cars and planes, rail is really just a tourism option.

The nearest large cities to me are Seattle, 3 hours' drive south, Portland, 6 hours' drive south, Calgary, 10 hours' drive east and Edmonton, 12 hours' drive east.  The next major cities after that are much, much farther away...

Amtrak only exists through massive government subsidies.

Offline sdog

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2016, 05:15:47 AM »
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To Japan: Yes, railpasses are a good deal. But you can only by them outside. Inside you have to pay very much.
Thanks. I thought about buying it there, as I am not sure when. (If we actually go) I thought a week or two of travelling would be nice. However, I remember that it did cost next to nothing 8 years ago (where i missed to buy it and were only told on my last day.)

Quote
Or you could probably use the coach for about £50 return which would take about 12 hours.
That would be a truly miserable holiday for me. Going to see the nation where railways came to be, and taking a coach. (Not that taking a coach is not miserable anywhere in the world, being cramped in and nauseated.)

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This part of North America is all cars and planes, rail is really just a tourism option. [...] Amtrak only exists through massive government subsidies.
For tourisms sake... i hope it stays subsidized. While my trip Toronto--Montreal took nearly 13 hours, instead of the regular 8 hours, it was a nice sight. The train compartment was, as prissi said, extremely spacious. For some reason every compartment has their own conductor. And while it looked like it were from the time when Elizabeth was a still a princess, it was also meticulously clean. If there were tea and I had a more pleasant book, it could have been rather a comfortable day spent on a sofa looking at the (slowly) changing countryside. [We travelled at a walking pace, navigators walked the whole length of the track to confirm it were in good order after a minor earthquake].

Taking the train rather than the plane is something tourists in north america might want to consider.

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I live in Vancouver, Canada...
I'm not so sure if it is the thin rail network that is to blame there, after all if you want to go from Vancouver to anywhere else but to Seattle, it takes very long and is very expensive. I've considered visiting it, but flights YYZ - YVR cost usually more than transatlantic from Toronto.

This is one of the main reasons I don't want to stay permanently in Canada, I miss travelling. There's not much one can do here other than staying in Toronto or visiting Montreal. At least without getting bankrupt in the process.

Offline Ters

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2016, 06:12:03 AM »
Am really not sure about trains in Britain always being that expensive (although it might seem so compared to other countries admittedly). I'm travelling next month from Oban to Brighton for £350 return but that includes a first class sleeper one way... £160 (say €180 or $220) return gives you a flexible off peak ticket (on long journeys peak restrictions rarely come into effect). Booking specific services can reduce this to under £100. Distance is around 850km and journey time is around 10 hours each way (only 8 1/2 travelling but connections push the overall time up). By comparison flights from Glasgow to London (600km or so) are £60 or so each way, and you can add on £50 for transport to and from airports, taking 6 hours in total. Driving would cost about £75 each way in fuel and take about 9 hours not including breaks. Or you could probably use the coach for about £50 return which would take about 12 hours.

The train prices seem comparable to Norway, if I take into account that first class sleepers won't be included (or even an option) and the distance is slightly shorter (I didn't bother trying to find an exact match). If you order well in advance and waiver the right to refunds, you can save 50%, though. Going by air is double the price of trains, or more. I could not find comparable bus prices. Apparently, too few would be crazy enough to make a direct service worthwhile. One could probably find connections between a dozen or so regional bus services if one really wanted, but expect at least £10 for each, plus you might have to spend the night somewhere along the way (not on a bus). Most people would chose to go by air in Norway at these distances. (The big Norwegian airports compare well with other European airports that aren't major international hubs, in terms of passengers per year, despite our rather small population. I don't expect our trains stations to do anywhere near as good.)

Offline Junna

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2016, 08:34:17 PM »
Sweden's bloody expensive also in general. Buying tickets right before departure on lightly trafficked days you can get cheap tickets (far from the usual prices), but that's about it, and you have no way to be sure you're getting the tickets either. That new crappy liberal fluctuating price is terrible. This means that if you order well in advance, your ticket price will be far higher (reserve a month and a half in advance -- about 290 euro equivalent, buy on departure day-- 45 euro for three tickets.)

Offline Ters

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2016, 05:23:02 AM »
So naturally Norway has chosen Sweden and the United Kingdom as the best examples on how to de-nationalize the passenger train service.

Offline gauthier

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2016, 04:59:36 PM »
In France, commuter trains are not too expensive. A year of "pass navigo", allowing to take all public transportation means in the region of Paris, costs EUR 770, way cheaper than the prices I saw in this thread :p Here public transportation are heavily subsidized, especially in Paris and its suburb.
Anyway TGV tickets are expensive unless reserved several months in advance, and regular intercity trains that used to roll on the same schedules are almost dead. Plane is often competitive with TGV.

Offline Ters

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2016, 05:57:39 PM »
Interesting how prices go up the later you buy them in some countries, and down in others.

A year of "pass navigo", allowing to take all public transportation means in the region of Paris, costs EUR 770[...]
The price is about the same for the same deal in Oslo (which includes a bit of the surrounding municipalities as well). There might be less public transportation to spend it on in a city with between a quarter and a seventh of the population, depending on how much you include in the count.

Offline Vladki cz

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2016, 06:37:44 PM »
For that money you get a year ticket to ride the whole czech rail network, including first class. :p

Fortunately, it is still possible to get reasonably priced tickets on "last minute" here. You just risk that you'll stand on one foot (not yours) all yourney. There is some discount on tickets bought online, and a free seat resevation as bonus.

Offline sdog

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2016, 09:27:35 PM »
In France, commuter trains are not too expensive. A year of "pass navigo", allowing to take all public transportation means in the region of Paris, costs EUR 770.
For that money you get a year ticket to ride the whole czech rail network, including first class. :p
"By the 2012 census the Paris metropolitan area had reached 12,341,418 inhabitants in 17,174 km², an area significantly larger than Île-de-France."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Metropolitan_Area

Population of the Czech Republic (2015 estimate) 10,553,443,
This is on a considerably larger area though: 78,866 km².

Offline Junna

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2016, 02:21:05 AM »
So naturally Norway has chosen Sweden and the United Kingdom as the best examples on how to de-nationalize the passenger train service.

The daft Swedish government--promising prior to the last election that, if they won, they would make significant changes to the railway system--gave the job of evaluating this endeavour to some industry lobbyist who, early this year, after some year of circuitous study no doubt meant to take as long and cost as much as possible, published at last his supposed 'findings'. This report presents the UK system of direct franchising as the ideal system for the future, and recommended no changes of any significant sort.

The depressing thing is that the Swedish government's decision to split the state railway in 1988 into an operative department and a separate infrastructure body was something that inspired both the method of railway privatisation and slaughter in the UK and also the dreaded policy document which in the EU dictates that all member countries must adopt this method of operation (Directive 440/91 from 1996) on penalty of vast fines. Prior to 1988, the Swedish state railways themselves pushed for this split, because it would make the state directly, and not the state railway's organisation, responsible for the funding and maintenance work. However, this split creates a very difficult and complex bureaucracy with poor communication between the multitude parts--even worse now that maintenance is also franchised. In fact, even a full privatisation of both operations and maintenance into a single organisation would be preferable than this buffoonish morass (though I would be opposed to that too). It really results in the worst of both alternatives; increasing cross-border goods and passenger services could well have been done in other ways than this open-access nightmare that reminds of the initial mode of operation seen on the SDR in the 1820's.

Offline Ters

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2016, 07:20:05 AM »
I've read that Germany has chosen a different solution that seems to be preferred by some "experts" (the kind that write forum posts for free, not the ones that get paid lots of money to do studies), but I haven't understood what they have done differently.

Offline prissi

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Re: Trains in Britain
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2016, 09:44:13 PM »
I am not sure Germany did better. It just privatised the entire natial rail as one company (like France and the Netherlands did). Ok, two companies, one for freight and one for passengers. Then the latter has various holdings, regional companies for local transport, foreign companies (in the UK cross country for isntance).

But any company is allowed to run any destination in the German public network, so in principle there is a chance for more competition than in the UK. However, local transport is again subsidized which are tendered and then are run by one company. Thus other private companies run some local services, sleeper trains, and few long distance trains. And until recently all long distance buses were owned by law by the DB AG, but now with competition from buses the tickets for trains seem to get rather cheaper.

In the UK there are buses, but they are not much cheaper than trains and even way slower. In other countries like Switzerland or Japan (and to some extend) France, trains are way faster than buses could ever be. (Either due to topography or lower population density).

In the US buses are relatively cheap, hence train tickets are cheaper.