The International Simutrans Forum


Author Topic: Trains in GB and their schedule  (Read 22655 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline jamespetts

  • Simutrans-Extended project coordinator
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 20915
  • Cake baker
    • Bridgewater-Brunel
  • Languages: EN
Re: Trains in GB and their schedule
« Reply #70 on: August 31, 2012, 02:18:33 PM »
Nationalisation doesn't guarantee that things will go wrong - it merely gives rise to a unique type of danger for things going wrong not present with independent operators, either commercial or nonprofit. That danger very much did eventuate, with catastrophic results, for British railways. It might have by chance been averted for BOAC (I don't know so many of the details of how that company worked, so cannot say for sure whether there weren't other abuses in that case), but that does not by itself detract from the general point that there is indeed real danger when the state conflates the roles of economic actor and economic regulator.

One might just as well say that the absence of judicial independence, the separation of powers or democracy is not always good or bad because one can point to some instances where these have not caused particular problems, and other instances where democratic governments with an independent judiciary and the separation of the powers have gone wrong, but that would not undermine the arguments in favour of democracy, the independence of the judiciary or the separation of the powers. The separation of the state's function as regulator of the economy from actual participation in the economy is in the same category as the separation of the powers, for example, for exactly the same reasons. It would be obviously dangerous to nationalise the media (whatever legitimate complaints that one can make about the operation of some private media organisations): that the danger with other organisations is less obvious does not make it any less real, as the eventuation of that danger in the case of railways shows quite conclusively.

Offline rsdworker

  • *
  • Posts: 281
Re: Trains in GB and their schedule
« Reply #71 on: August 31, 2012, 03:09:22 PM »
if disabled person uses Slam door - most common problems was person opening window and reaching handle outside so on modern sliding doors - the disabled person can press open doors from inside
i visited one place where the handles was present inside of carriage (powered Slam doors) disabled person would pull handle to open them - this one found on Hamburg Metro which on older trains and also Amsterdam metro had older trains that had buttons in place of handles postion (the latter trains had buttons on sides of doors
the new one will be have buttons on doors simllar to found on modern trains around world

Offline Fifty

  • *
  • Posts: 280
  • Languages: EN, ES
Re: Trains in GB and their schedule
« Reply #72 on: August 31, 2012, 03:50:56 PM »
I've been following this thread eagerly for some time now. Some thoughts:

In principle, James's argument that politicians are just as likely to think in the short term and not for the common good as the head of a company holds water.  However, it is important to note that a country is inexorably tied to its transportation network, and thus, most modern governments are fundamentally in the business of transportation. A country needs a reliable transportation network in order to have a strong economy, in order to disseminate information, and perhaps most importantly, for defense. It is no secret that the Bill creating the Interstate Highways here in the USA is called the "National Interstate and Defense Highways Act." President Eisenhower, a World War II general, was the most instrumental figure in this creation after seeing the Autobahns in Germany (Of course, it is my understanding that from a military standpoint, the invading Allies made more use of the Autobahns than the Germans, but this is another can of worms...). Quite simply, the transportation network that is perceived to be needed for military use is larger than may be economically viable. During the 1930s, US railroad companies sidelined a good deal of their power and rolling stock, yet when World War II came around, they found themselves with a shortage of equipment. It was in the military's best interest that there be sufficient wartime transport capacity.

EDIT: Thus, the defense and economic aspects of transportation to the country thus make unprofitable rail lines and roads something the Government does not want to leave to "nationalized charity." Moreover, in the USA, "nationalized charity" would likely be considered to be "government intrusion," whereas building roads and subsidizing public transit would be considered just fine, or even a boon to the economy. (End edit)

Moreover, the widespread failure of railways here in the USA and nationalization here and elsewhere came about due to economic conditions that were caused both by public sector meddling and an unrestrained private sector. I will speak on the American side, as that is what I know best. High quality, high speed, toll-free state and federal roads were the primary culprit. After the war, the governments poured inordinate amounts of money into railways' competitors while leaving the railroads to die. In many cases, roads were built not by the federal government, but by local governments to help spur economic development. This was good for and paid for by locals, but it is not so easy to infuse money to railroads on a local scale. For this reason, most railroad development money is on the national scale, where it is much harder to reach a consensus. With subsidized competition, for many railroad companies, the choices were either Nationalization, Subsidization, or Bankruptcy.

The unrestrained public sector was most evident in the Great American Streetcar Scandal. General Motors and other automotive-related companies essentially removed the profitable inner city connection to railroads. It is an example like this that proves that competing transport companies will not necessarily work in the public's best interest, and that public regulation is needed.

That said, regulation can be both helpful and harmful. The ICC, a federal government agency that set railroad rates until deregulation in 1979/1980 helped to keep railroads unprofitable by setting prices for certain shipments below costs, and raising prices of other shipments so that competitors could take them away more profitably. The division of infrastructure and operations seems about as crazy as what some US states are implementing with power policies, mandating separation of generation and transmission. I live in Virginia, where electricity is provided by a for-profit, integrated monopoly that is regulated by the government. Just a few miles away in Maryland, electricity is deregulated and split up, with generation and transmission separate companies. Electricity is considerably cheaper and more reliable here in Virginia. This is balanced regulation that works with, and not against, the private company, and thus is beneficial to citizens.

Further, the state, unlike a private enterprise, has the general coercive power of lawmaking which politicians can and readily will abuse for their own short-term interests.

At least here in the USA, it is an integral part of business to "lobby" politicians to support the business's petty needs. Tax breaks for new company plants and headquarters are all too common.

Despite having the deck stacked against it, the USA has one of the best freight rail networks in the world: Over 40% of all freight ton-mileage moves by rail. So something is certainly to be said for private freight rail. It's clear that neither complete free market ideals nor complete nationalization is possible nor desired: a limited, balanced regulatory structure works best.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 03:57:56 PM by Fifty »

Offline dom700

  • *
  • Posts: 44
Re: Trains in GB and their schedule
« Reply #73 on: August 31, 2012, 05:23:00 PM »
Despite having the deck stacked against it, the USA has one of the best freight rail networks in the world: Over 40% of all freight ton-mileage moves by rail. So something is certainly to be said for private freight rail. It's clear that neither complete free market ideals nor complete nationalization is possible nor desired: a limited, balanced regulatory structure works best.

Well the US also have their rail infrastructure specialized on cargo. European railway lines do not allow for two containers stacked on one car or trains as long as in the US. Another problem stems from new railway lines being designed exclusively for passenger trains, too steep for cargo.

Also, there is a lot of cargo being transported by ship in Europe ;)

Offline jamespetts

  • Simutrans-Extended project coordinator
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 20915
  • Cake baker
    • Bridgewater-Brunel
  • Languages: EN
Re: Trains in GB and their schedule
« Reply #74 on: August 31, 2012, 05:23:38 PM »
Fifty raises some very interesting points: the military aspect of railways is not often discussed in the UK, and is not usually advanced as a reason in favour of nationalisation: certainly, the private railway companies' networks were sufficient, after some commandeering by the state, for the purposes which they needed to serve during the two world wars. The state does have a legitimate interest in ensuring that the transport network is sufficient for defence purposes, but there is no reason to believe that this requires full-scale nationalisation of all infrastructure; at most, it justifies the purchase and maintenance by the state of those parts of the transport network that are strategically important but that are not viable either commercially or even for non-profit organisations.

A much more interesting observation is in relation to the fact that the ascendancy of the motor car and to some extent of air transport compared to railways is itself a product of state interference: roads and airports do not, after all, build themselves. There is no reason to assume that, given truly fair competition, rail would fall as far behind road and air as occurred with disproportionate subsidies. Even more interestingly, the presence or absence of this effect can be simulated in Simutrans-Experimental (although more work will need to be done on private car routing before that is workable on all but small maps).

And, indeed, any well functioning market economy has some element of state regulation: the rule of law is a prerequisite for any serviceable economy. There is a difference, however, between regulation that gives sweeping discretion to the executive (which can be and often is abused for political ends or just exercised recklessly by politicans or civil servants with little interest in or understanding of the detailed consequences of their decisions, as with UK rail franchising) and regulation by general rules promulgated by the legislature, as was the normal method of regulation of the railways before nationalisation in the UK, which is a far more satisfactory method.

Offline isidoro

  • Devotee
  • *
  • Posts: 1142
Re: Trains in GB and their schedule
« Reply #75 on: September 02, 2012, 02:18:31 AM »
@james: our discussion is very interesting to me, but I don't know if this is the right place to go on.  I'll try to do my best to be telegraphic, since I think that we are not that far away...

You have not answered the question that was intended to determine whether and to what extent resolving this is relevant, being:

Well, you haven't answered many of mine too.   ;)   I guess we cherry-pick, like in git.  If I didn't, it was because I don't understand it, but I feared to ask you to elaborate.  You know, when you elaborate, you elaborate;)

To have a discussion is like having a ping-pong game.  Players must agree on the rules of the game.  Those rules are easy when discussion is about mathematics because both parties agree on some axioms and some deductive rules...  It is  like a pastime.  In physics, more or less, but when we leave those realms, things are not so clear.

My point is that views, opinions, etc. are heavily biased by the frame of reference of each person.  You seem to be a totally rational person, but I can accept other arguments as well.  Something like "I simply like it", is ok for me.  Maybe not for you.  You are, let's say, more limited when discussing topics.

Is it irrelevant to discuss something then, if opinions for me are respectable?  No.  I would try to show you situations you may have not thought of to see if, even with your frame of reference, it may change your mind.  Or the opposite...  But such a thing as a meaningful general conclusion with so different backgrounds between us is very improbable.

Do you mean by "all those choices are equally respectable" that all individuals' preferences as to what makes them happiest are equally respectable, or all decisions of the state as to what policy to adopt are equally respectable?
Would you think it an acceptable explanation for the state adopting a policy that causes you serious harm and provides benefit to nobody that it's all just a matter of opinion which policies are right, and that all choices that the state might make are equally acceptable? If not, how is a negative answer to that question consistent with your last sentence above? If so, how can you meaningfully hold a political opinion about anything?

One can have political opinions about whatever, we can't do anything about it.  Are all of those equally acceptable?  Of course not.  The vast majority of them that go to the Parliament are, though.  And I may not agree with you, but:
1) I will defend the right of you to express it
2) I am intelligent enough to do the gedanken experiment of wearing your shoes and guess why you opinion is like it is.

the price ticket was low during the period of nationalization (that is a historic fact), but you add: to artificially keep inflation low.  That's a biased opinion.
Why do you think that that is not a fact? That is a description of the motivation for the decision. What about that is non-factual?

It is clearly not a fact.  I understand that a fact is something that we can check that is has happened with reasonable certainty.  I can check that the prices of the tickets were that.  But how can we know about the motivation of a person, less of a group of them?  There is no machine to measure that.  Even if I ask the relevant people, am I sure that they are not lying?

Please, prove me that fact.  I think that your conservative frame of reference makes you think that your political adversaries did it to keep inflation low, but I can think (belonging them to a left-wing party) that they thought it as a way to let more (poor) people ride the trains...

Reason is the only proper way to discuss things.
James, that is a pretty unreasonable sentence...

Because we are discussing the rules about discussing and you want to apply in this discussion your very same rules...  Besides, that's a dangerous way...  Even the most rational (logic) realm, mathematics, the beautiful building one of your fellow countryman, Mr. Russel et al., built, fell down with sentences like that (see Godel's theorem).  It was a hard strike for all pure rationalists...

I don't have a magical world full of colours. There is only the one world, and that is a world that we all inhabit. I don't deny that some people dishonestly pretend to be arguing rationally when in fact they are pursuing an irrational agenda; but it is only rigorous reasoning and the subjecting of arguments to serious reasoned scrutiny that can discover when people are doing this. Those who seek to pretend to be rational when they are not are pursuing the thoroughly insidious goal of trying to suppress or obfuscate truth, and all efforts must always be taken to expose such people as effectively as possible. These sorts of people can usually be identified by their tendency to (1) advance incoherent arguments; and (2) become aggressive and/or evasive when they are confronted with an unanswerable argument (usually arising out of pointing out the incoherency).

That's only your opinion.  I am sorry, James.  Your are platonic again.  You live in the world of Truth, Lies,...  But world is not that simple.  Even if you play marvelously this game you write above you like to play, and you get one person from A to go to B, from B to go to C, and from C to go to not(A).  So that you got that the same person said A and not(A), it proves what?  Life is full of contradictions, you like it or not.  The first one is life itself (and death)... It is a pyrrhic victory.

I know that from this sentence you are going to say: what?  You don't play my rules?  I take my game and I leave...  No problem.  You are the one to leave.

Quite the contrary - there is nothing more uniquely human than the ability to reason. There is nothing irrational about taking into account aesthetics - why do you think to the contrary?

Maybe the source of confusion is the definition of rational argument.  I think that a rational argument is based on logic (classical logic, by the way).  But if you include in the word rational other parts of being human (like love, aesthetics,...) you are in trouble.  Because:
1) Not all human act rationally then
2) Things that are not human can also act rationally (if you have ever had a dog, you would understand what its love is,  a computer is able to derive rational arguments, and so on...)

Aesthetics can not be the base of a (rational) argument because it is something that depends of each person.  I like the washed clothes to be hung in the facades of the buildings because for me it is a sign of life, but most people won't like it.  How can we rationally argue about it?

No crimes have been "based on reason". It is always irrational to do wrong: indeed, how is it possible to arrive at a justifiable conclusion that any given action is wrong but by the very reason that you seek to depracate? It is incoherent to advance an argument that an action is wrong and simultaneously suggest that it was rational: the two are necessarily opposed.

Not at all.  Unless you define being rational as doing good things.  But you come to the same contradiction.  If good depends on people opinions, Alfred can be rational thinking A and Bertha can be rational thinking not(A)...  I'm playing with your rules here, as you can see...

I'm sure that two countries in a war think that they have very good reasons to fight each other.  Otherwise, they wouldn't.

Ask two lovers...
That is not a meaningful response, I am afraid. People often use the word "argument" to mean the same as "quarrel", but the formal sense of the word, which I have been using here, is quite different. If you mean to do something other than refer to quarrelling, then it is not clear what exactly you mean, I am afraid.

Two lovers can very softly, and lovely, discuss about anything and most of the time, arguments are not based on logic at all...  The deadly question, for instance, But darling don't you love me any more?

How is this a response to the point about the dangers of the state being both regulator and actor in the same economic domain? Your welfare has to depend far more on the good-will of politicians and civil servants when there are no means of separating regulating activity and conducting that activity than when there is such a separation.

I think you are mixing things here.  A civil servant and a politician are both parts of the Administration (or the State, if you want), but all your argumentation about the possible intentions of politicians (earn more votes) that deviate their behavior from what should be, doesn't hold for civil servants.  That's the whole point of a civil servant: one with some security in his job so that he can freely make lawful and fair decisions.

This rather returns to the point discussed at the outset: it is not the state making decisions (as an abstraction cannot actually make decisions), but a individual politicians. As discussed at length above, there is no reason to believe that thier interests are more aligned with voters than company directors' interests are aligned with consumers. You have not provided any counter-arguments to those points (indeed, nobody has so far: I venture to suggest that that is because the points are quite unanswerable). And if you think that taxation is not forced - what do you think happens to people who don't pay their taxes?

Well, the basic and most important reason is that if we are not citizens but consumers, our power of decision will depend on the money we have (how much we can consume).  I'm sure that you are a truly democratic person and believe that one person is one vote, aren't you?

And regarding taxes, I don't say it is not forced, or at least not as much forced as I am to accept a bad job to just be able to have something to eat.  What I say is that society is not taking something by the force from somebody (robbing), but taking what it really belongs to it.

If you think the problem as a whole (and not selfishly) money is given by society to society itself.  To put an example you will clearly understand, do yo think that a father is forced to give the money he earns to their children?

I think that you misunderstand the point: the point was not that taxation is wrong: taxation is necessary in order properly to fund the necessary machinary of the state, which is essential for the operation of any civilised society. The point was simply that, if subsidy is desirable in some cases, and further, if the only way of raising that subsidy is by forcing the general population to hand over money, why does the money have to be handled directly by the state? There are many cases where the state collects money from people by way of taxation and, in effect, distributes it to (state run) good causes: things that are desirable but cannot be commercially profitable. This amounts to nationalisation of charity. The only necessity of the state's involvement is the element of coercion: it does not have to be involved in the ultimate distribution. Indeed, by being so involved, it raises the possibility of the sort of abuses that I have discussed at some length above. Why can the state not, instead of requiring a large amount of money in taxes, require a smaller amount of money in taxes, and mandate that citizens donate a further proportion of their income (equivalent to the difference between the smaller and larger amount of taxation) to charities of their choice, which might include welfare for the poor, medical care, uneconomic but socially important transport, and so forth?

Simple.  Because to the citizen, it is the same money.  And what happens if, by chance, all money is donated to transportation and nothing to hospitals?  That has to be done in a rational way...

This is a generalisation which you have not attempted to support by actual examples or real statistical evidence. In particular, on what basis do you dismiss the prominent example of British railways before 1948?

Neither: see above on the alternative to what is in effect nationalised chairty.

Well, for me, my personal experience is very powerful when reaching a conclusion.  And it absolutely points in only one direction, much the opposite of the standard discourse I've been hearing all my life.

When I started my career at the University (a public one, since private ones are expensive here and much worse,  OMG! Anathema!  :D ) I had to look for somewhere to live.  I chose one Residence from the same very University.  For a fairly reasonable price, I got my room tidied up, my bed made each morning, my clothes washed and ironed, and very, very good meals.  The persons doing all those chores were permanent and I knew them.  Then, suddenly, all these winds of privatization, etc. came.  And I saw both worlds.  Suddenly, my bed wasn't made any longer, some washing machines with coins were added, the stuff they put us to eat I wouldn't give it to pigs, I didn't know the people in charge of my things any longer.  Each month there were different faces.  Some of my things were broken...  And the price doubled!

And I could write a dozen more examples.

But the main reason I'm against your position is very simple.  Communist dictatorships (I'm biased here because I added dictatorship, you know  ;) ) had their time and more or less nearly everybody agrees that they failed.  But your theory of economy also had its chance (low taxation, free movement of capitals, weak state, private initiative,...) from 1980 on, with Thatcher, Reagan (and I would add Wojtyla).  And it has miserably failed too.  What other fact you need to see it that the outcome of those policies we are suffering today?  There are a lot of people having a very, very bad time as a direct consequence of those policies.  What else has to happen?  Another war like the preceding ones to reactivate things and start over again?