nationalisation and privatisation of British Rail

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Re: nationalisation and privatisation of British Rail

Postby mdvle » Thu May 17, 2018 10:33 am

johnthefireman wrote:Confusing - but nothing to the confusion which has arisen over fares. There are thousands of different fares and types of fare which bear no relation to common sense and are often counter-intuitive. The adoption of airline practice where a walk-on fare can be far more expensive than a fare booked in advance runs counter to the British culture of using trains - people expect to arrive at a station and buy a ticket at a fair price. While you mght be able to predict and book your holiday in Spain or your business trip to New York weeks or months in advance, the sort of trips which many people make by train are not so predictable.


The thing people forget is that BR started this process. While we can't say a BR existing today would have the same ticketing system, there would be something along the same lines for the simple reason that it is the best way to maximise revenue, and as long as the demand is there (which it is) and people want to keep their taxes low (and hence subsidies low) the railway needs to maximise revenue.
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Re: nationalisation and privatisation of British Rail

Postby mdvle » Thu May 17, 2018 10:48 am

johnthefireman wrote:That injection of capital certainly had positive results, but capital could have been invested by the government without privatisation if the political will had been there.


Absolutely, and actually it's worse when you consider the likelihood that the same government investment would have gone further with BR given all the external costs that a franchised railway inherently has.

johnthefireman wrote:unlike many of the newer trains which try to cram in as many passengers as possible, with seats not lining up with windows, limited leg room, and the windows themselves so small that one can scarcely see out.


The problem is that an accurate definition of newer then is 40 years given that the Mk3 didn't have seats lining up with windows. Even BR was trying to fit more people per train and the move to a better design of train where the entire shell became structural limits the ability to play around with the window placement.

There is no easy solution to this problem as it is somewhat a side effect of decisions made over 100 years ago that limit the options when trying to increase the number of people moved by trains.
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Re: nationalisation and privatisation of British Rail

Postby mdvle » Thu May 17, 2018 11:08 am

David Benton wrote:The Sprinters did the same for regional services. The Pacers , maybe not so successful mechanically , and comfort wise, but the low capital cost simply meant the survival of many rural lines.


The Pacers (or in my area at the time Skippers) are an interesting case.

Yes, they were cheap. The problem was that they were too cheap and thus incapable of doing the job intended.

Many of the rural lines, particularly in Cornwall, simply didn't agree with the Pacer 4 wheel design and thus the Pacers were reassigned to duties that they weren't really designed for.

Instead those rural lines were saved by the Sprinters with the splitting up of the Class 155 into the Class 153.
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Re: nationalisation and privatisation of British Rail

Postby David Benton » Fri May 18, 2018 5:08 pm

I seem to remember the main problem was with the Voith gearboxes. The design evolved from a Leyland bus, on a 4 wheel chassis , I don't remember if it was Leyland or British Rail that developed it. I think the concept is good , especially for developing countries. I rode a narrow gauge version in Malaysia , in the 80 's , the ride was comparable to existing stock.
I also rode many "bubble railcars in the late eighties in England. These were pretty much what the pacers and sprinters were replacing. While the large windows were attractive, I would say the ride and noise level was inferior to the Pacer, and the Sprinters were a huge improvemnt on them .
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Re: nationalisation and privatisation of British Rail

Postby mdvle » Sat May 19, 2018 6:33 pm

David Benton wrote:I seem to remember the main problem was with the Voith gearboxes.


The Voith gearboxes were the replacement to the original, and it happened about 5 years after introduction.

Though it should be noted that there are 2 different versions of the Pacer - the Class 142 (Leyland based) and the Class 143/144 (Walter Alexander based) plus the Class 140/141 prototypes/test vehicles.

In addition to the transmission and engine issues, the 142s also had reliability issue with their doors, which were replaced with the type of doors from the 143 design.

Despite those 2 issues it really was the 4 wheel chassis that booted them off the branchlines, particularly in Cornwall. The tight curves resulted in excessive squeal and heavy flange wear. Compounding the issue was their lightness which meant the often struggled on steep sections of line (I was on a 142 on a rainy day that barely made it from Torquay to Torre as the wheels kept slipping, a 2 minute journey to just over 10 minutes).

The result was that 142s were quickly booted out of the Western Region, replaced with loco hauled / old DMUs / and for a short while the Class 155 units until the decision was made to split them up and create the 153s.

David Benton wrote:I also rode many "bubble railcars in the late eighties in England. These were pretty much what the pacers and sprinters were replacing. While the large windows were attractive, I would say the ride and noise level was inferior to the Pacer, and the Sprinters were a huge improvement on them .


I didn't get any bubble cars but did get the sisters (class 101/108/118) which had to return after the failure of the Skippers. They were definitely showing their age at that point but ride quality was no contest. There is a reason the Pacers are nicknamed Nodding Donkeys, and it isn't a good reason. The units would bounce just accelerating away from a station stop and were quite rough going through switches.
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