Wednesday, 19 August 2015




  1. Would you rather pay the fares through your taxes wether you use the railways or not ?

    1. have you seen how much money we tax payers still put into private railway companies ,frankly we would have been better off if we had never let privatization of the railways to happen,because now we pay for something we dont own.

      Personally if i have to pay for it then i would like to own it,so your statement holds no water we pay either way.


    2. They should never have been confiscated in the first place .

    3. I think that the subsidies are far larger now that they are privatised.

      Only instead of going to improving the service, they go to pay shareholders.


    5. Well buy some shares.

  2. Yea Tris its appalling when you really look into it,we have public ownership of our railways its just not the public in Britain,the German state run railway company owns a lot of Britain's railways and use high fare costs here to keep the costs in their own country down,the French do the same but you cant blame them for taking a golden opportunity to do so,the blame must go squarely on westminster for allowing this to happen in the first place.


    1. No Derek, I don't really blame the people who make money. It's human nature to want to do that.

      I blame the free for all here. I accept that in a single market there is no reason why SNCF or German Railways wouldn't own parts of the UK network. I understand Dutch Railways own Scotrail. I just don't think they should be in private hands, and if they are they should be like SNCF... the government should have a majority shareholding.

  3. Having used the trains to get to work for only around six years I noticed the rise and rise of fares. Travelling as I did from Fife to Edinburgh on crowded trains specially in the morning, we were promised bigger trains, never got them. Now we have Abellio. I do not really use them now being retired but I do use the station on off peak times to park the car and walk the dog and there doesn't as yet seem to be any difference.
    I always thought that privatisation was a con, money was with held from British Rail which could have been used to improve their service. If they want to see what an old British Rail train looked like I have a model train.
    The one thing you can tell about the Tories, Blue and Red, they look after themselves through looking after their friends. Why are we still paying these people the subsidies we are paying them. Unlike the Nationalised industries they put their profits back into the Country and that is the reason we are in trouble now with things like the NHS.

    1. The railways here are incredibly awful by comparison with continental counterparts.

      Not only are they old, dirty, badly run, and the rails and signalling is antiquated and broken, they also cost on average around twice what most similar continental railways cost per kilometre.

      I remember Richard Wilson doing a documentary a few years ago about how incredibly expensive they were. He wanted to go to Kyle of Lochalsh from Manchester, and was quoted a ticket price that he said would pay for a week in Hong Kong.

      In another example he found it was cheaper to buy a ticket from somewhere in England's West country direct to Paris, than it was to buy one to London. He was told that if he only used the ticket as far as London he would be breaking the law...


      The ticketing system is just ridiculous, and unfortunately none of the staff seem to have an idea about how it works.

      A mess. In the meantime the bonuses for the senior management are eye watering.

      A few years ago I went to Bradford in England to see a concert. It involved 5 trains.

      Dundee-Edin, Edin-Leeds, Leeds-Bradford. On the way back. Bradford-York, York-Dundee.

      Every single train was late. One by 2 hours!

  4. State owned British railways were not the do all and end all of public ownership but at least they were more guided, in my view, to providing a service for the public rather than building up profits for a few share holders.

    I believe that, even though it may not be perfect, putting all aspects of the railways (tracks, signalling, engines, stations etc) back into public ownership must be done. Private ownership of the railway network benefits no one but the few whilst the many pay through the nose for THEIR privilege. In today's era of suffrage under Ozzy and co. with their Austerity cuts for the poor etc this is totally wrong and definitely UN-Christian. (bear in mind I.D.S. CLAIMS to be a christian, Roman Catholic actually.)

    1. No. Railways in the UK have always been pretty poor, but I understand that for a while before privatisation they were starved of funds.

      I'd like to see a situation where more goods travelled by railways, and where the intercity trains were cheap enough that you could afford to use them.

      I'd also like to see the infrastructure updated so that trains signals were broken, bridged dangerous and tracks weren't unusable because of the heat, the cold, the leaves in autumn or any other pathetic excuse.

      Aye the UK government is jammed packed full of Christians. We see the results of it every day!!!!

    2. That starving of funds was purely at the behest of the road haulage lobby all in private hands of course.

  5. I've listened to a few radio 'phone ins' on the subject, and the folk that are against it always complain about how awful BR was.
    Nobody (call UKaye) ever replies that it doesn't need to be like the old BR!
    Britnat employees (call UKaye) knoe this only too well, but want the comparison with the old BR to go unckecked.

    1. Hugely good point.

      The old BR was subsidised and it was slack and poorly run.

      The privatised railways are subsidised a lot more, are slack and poorly run, and the shareholders and directors make fortunes!

      But BR didn;t have to be inefficient.

      Why do we assume that the only things that give good service are privatised. They just need to be run propoerly.

      How many privatised things are properly run anyway. Didn't I hear this morning that privatised BT charged with getting fast broadband all over Britain has failed dismally. The Ukraine, I' heard on the Today Programme has faster Broadband than Britain.

      Is everyone happy with the electricity and gas companies now that they are privatised?

      Were the English well supplied with water when they privatised the water companies?

      Why can't we just run services for the benefits of the customer rather than the benefits of the owners?

  6. I would go further, and renationalise all public utilities too. These companies make vast amounts of money which then leaves these shores, instead of returning to the public purse or indeed improving their infrastructure and customer service.
    There is no reason why, a company owned by the people cannot turn a profit, they do it now in private hands, they can do it in our best interests too.
    The original privatisation was politically motivated, not withstanding the cash Thatchers friends would have made, we can and should "tell Sid" to bugger off we're taking it back.

    1. Yes. I agree. Call it socialist if you will... adn why not, but there are some things that should be run by the state for the population.

      Local government services, hospitals, schools, water, gas, electricity and railways seem to be sensible starts. Then we should get back to providing people with affordable housing on the state.

      private housing is all very well when things are going well, but when the bottom falls out of the economy people need cheap places to live.

      Private landlords cost the country a fortune in rent allowances.

    2. As you know Tris, I'm a bricklayer and build private housing. I would much prefer to build, quality, social housing. Not the crap that was built in the 50's through to the early 21st century.
      Even some of the private house builders build, in my opinion, substandard houses. Some of the smallest, least environmental, least insulated in Europe but, still want top dollar, to feed the hungry, ever hungry, shareholders.
      Now, profit is not a dirty word but, building to the highest standard, in terms of materials used, workmanship, larger homes with well drained flat gardens, homes people would like to live in, should be the norm. Not maximising profit over quality and livability.
      I'd wager, most building firm's top brass, wouldn't go near one of their products.

      Thatcher's right to buy was not, as is often touted by her admirers, a leg up for the masses on to the property market. It was designed to control local councils, by reducing their incomes via their housing stock. Add to the mix the poll tax and a top up from central government, if you play by the book, and councils are thus hamstrung. No new social housing, crap or good, an ever dwindling stock.
      Exstock, bought then subsequently, sold to private land lords who can charge an arm and a leg, oft moving in the unemployed as a steady state funded income.
      There is one thing this country needs right now, and that is a massive restocking of social housing, this was once apon a time a Labour policy, one they never followed through on.
      Not withstanding the high rise abominations, modeled on eastern block housing, they built.
      But as I said, homes people would actually want to live in, houses not highrises.
      Small schemes not sprawling anonymous estates.
      Small schemes with shops, nursery and primary schools, play grounds, parks and pubs. Places where a sense of belong and community can flourish.
      I'm not describing a socialist utopia but, how things should be done,
      for a healthier society. If we build nice places to live, people will want to stay there, they will need all the goods to furnish and decorate these new homes; some has to make these goods, so industry gets a boost. It's a bit simplistic but it's a good start.

  7. I always use the "Pint of Beer" test whenever time price comparisons come - what was the price of a pint of Tennants in 1995 compared to 2015 - to put things in context, I can't remember but it would be interesting to hear from sombody who does!

    If privatised Train service provision (remember the "Railways" as such are state owned) had been such a disaster (I'm being Devil's Advocate here) then I would have expected to see two things - declining usage and service cutbacks, however the actual results are the opposite. I'm not saying privatisation is why that has happened or that it's a good thing that private profits are being made from train travel but it's just as well to have all the facts when discussing this topic.

    Meanwhile growth at say DB or SNCF is sluggish or even declining - the struggling SNCF non TGV inter-city services (the TET network) have only recently narrowly escaped complete closure for instance and line closures in Germany still occur - something that would be unthinkable in the UK now.

    1. 1995 pint anywhere between £1.40 & £1.60...

    2. Thanks.
      So about a doubling then which would appear to support the view that privatisation has caused above inflation increases - however one thing to consider is the availability of very cheap advance tickets on online booking - it would be interesting to find out what the average fare actually paid for a given journey - say Glasgow to London - was in 1995 and what it is today.

    3. Yes above inflation rises, and above inflation increases in subsidy.

      And still the rail service is crap beyond belief.

      Certainly as far as intercity is concerned I have been on a few trains around Europe and nothing compares to the sheer utter crap of the British system for reliability, cleanliness, food, service, and ticketing.

      I know you can sometimes get really cheap fares if you book yourself on line. There are a few on every train at various discounts including some REALLY cheap ones (you have to try lots of different trains to see if you can get them). I got to London and back for £40 a few years ago (although on the way back there was a two hour delay
      somewhere in the north of England, because of faulty rails).

      On another occasion the train broke down outside Peterborough and we had to get on the next one, which was full and so we had to stand all the way to Edinburgh.

      On another occasion the train I was getting to Edinburgh (to catch a flight to London, to catch another flight to Zurich, to catch another flight to Tirana) broke down and I only made the Edinburgh flight by 5 minutes!!

  8. In theory there should be no need for Tesco or Asda, because the Co-op system eliminates the profit and we are all better off. Except that it does not work that way. For some reason mutual societies end up not working for the mutual benefit of the members. BR was a laughing stock. Perhaps unfairly, but it was.

    Now it may be statistical trickery, or the chronic biased media. It may be just voodoo economics. One big problem with our once state owned industries was that they were monopolies which were neither run in the interest of the taxpayers, their customers nor their employees. They were political footballs. Nationalisation may be the worst thing that ever happened in post war Britain, and indeed I believe it was why the Tories were popular in the 1950's ( and there we were thinking it was about sashes... ).

    Today our railway gets huge investment. That wasn't happening in BR. It may have been a good idea if it had been, but it just wasn't. We have electrification ( in a country that ran steam trains into the 1960's ) of lines. New routes ( Airdrie/ Edinburgh. Larkhall/Milngavie. Into the Borders ). We have major work on lines, tunnels ( some Victorian! ) and tracks at night and weekends ( where the workers aint doing it for free). And it has to be paid for.

    Train drivers, for example, are well paid now ( often for a job that robots could do ), and strikes are rare. There is heavy use of the trains even at the silly prices ( and for comparison, I suggest you look at Japan rather that Germany or France).

    I would suggest that the quoted prices are probably only paid by those with rail warrants. Most everyone would fly for much less than that on many of those quoted routes.

    No one likes to pay for anything. But eventually it will all work, and be finished ( like our central belt road network is shortly to be ), and we can hope for price stability and something else to grumble about. And for comparison, its still cheaper to take the train from Glasgow to Edinburgh if you count your tyre wear, tax, insurance, depreciation and the stupid parking costs. Beer on the other hand, is pushing £4 to £5 a pint at the Festival - and thats industrial gassy pi##!

    1. To be fair there is often no real competition in privatised utilities.

      In England you get your water form the people who supply it. You can;t suddenly say, we this service is crap here form Yorkshire Water, so I want Cornish Water from now on...

      You can change your electricity, gas and telephone, but they pretty much operate cartels and they make it very hard to change.

      BR was a laughing stock, but to be fair so are the privatised companies. Anyone happ[y with the service?

      Scotland seems to be building new railways, it's true. But that's not the companies doing that. That's the government.

      I think one of the reasons that the trains are so well subscribed is the difficulties of taking cars into big cities.

      Clearly the vast numbers that use the London stations daily just couldn't possibly bring cars into town, and there would be nowhere to park them. Even it there were parking all day in London is prohibitive too.

      I tend to fly now rather than use the train because of the terrible delays on the railways, but at that you have to get to an airport, which , if you live in Dundee means a bus and or train journey, then a wait, then a long journey the other side.

      I just think we should be able to do better than we are doing at present.

      I sympathise with you about the dreadful beer at the festival.


  9. Replies
    1. They make me shudder with revulsion.

      Clearly the Tories are anti Scottish because they have lost any chance of ever making inroads here again in the foreseeable future.

      There may be some chances for them in Yorkshire though.

    2. tris

      Shudder ? ya big tit

      competition well yeah but so liittle it dont notice
      proper state oversight is needed to look after the
      exploited end user....

  10. I think that rather than outright Nationalisation in 1948 it would have better if the the State had gradually bought stock in the "Big Four" and fully compensated the railways for their use by goverment in WW2 backing their investment with pro-rail policies which the LMS/LNER/GWR/SR had been lobbying for since the early 1930s.
    However the powerful Oil/Road interests were just gearing up and whether they could have been stood up to is debatable - however what is not generally known though is that the "Big Four" were very paragmatic and had been investing heavily in road transport, both goods and passenger since the 1920s and if left alone may even have become dominant in the sector by the 1950s/60s.

  11. tris

    I voted Jeremy and Tom watson and you were compelled to vote
    for the others in order ......bit cheeky that one so kendall a lowly
    fourth but rather i didnt have to vote for her at all......yuk !