Northern trains.
0

23 posts in this topic

You'd have to be on another planet to not know how this wonderful little choo-choo company is performing lately.

So yet another "aren't you glad you live in Bury and not Bolton" to add to the list! But if you do have to use the failways, you have my full sympathy. Any stories greatly appreciated!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Kacc said:

You'd have to be on another planet to not know how this wonderful little choo-choo company is performing lately.

So yet another "aren't you glad you live in Bury and not Bolton" to add to the list! But if you do have to use the failways, you have my full sympathy. Any stories greatly appreciated!!

For a birthday present my daughter bought me and my wife tickets for the terracotta army in Liverpool. I booked a train for a week on Friday only to learn just 2 days later that Lime st. station will be shut for 6-8 weeks! They knew this when I booked yet never mentioned the closure. I have no idea what will happen now (phoning will be at the end of a long queue I imagine) but we have a time slot in which to view the army. Thankfully the train time gives us plenty of time to get to the museum but I am extremely narked that I was sold tickets for Lime st. station knowing it would be shut. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, still running man said:

For a birthday present my daughter bought me and my wife tickets for the terracotta army in Liverpool. I booked a train for a week on Friday only to learn just 2 days later that Lime st. station will be shut for 6-8 weeks! They knew this when I booked yet never mentioned the closure. I have no idea what will happen now (phoning will be at the end of a long queue I imagine) but we have a time slot in which to view the army. Thankfully the train time gives us plenty of time to get to the museum but I am extremely narked that I was sold tickets for Lime st. station knowing it would be shut. 

Good luck!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The whole rail franchising model is appalling, with the lowest bidders routinely underbidding and failing to deliver whilst being massively subsidised by via. the public purse.  I read that part of Northern's bid included the reintroduction of old rolling stock which wouldn't pass health & safety checks today including low backed seating and lack of access for people with disabilities.  Meanwhile, Grayling blames the government arm Network Rail, of which he is essentially the head (!) for failing to deliver engineering works on time.  Network Rail and its predecessors have been underfunded for decades.  If re nationalisation of a desperately needed public service isn't the answer, at least with those in government wedded to a 'private = good - public, bad = ideology;   perhaps it's time to look at privately run operators elsewhere (in Japan for example) who operate timely, efficient, clean, quick and comfortable rail transport at a reasonable cost to their users. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An interesting side note is from what I have read the train system can’t be Nationalised if we had remained in the EU, hence France is having strikes etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, jonathanmvd said:

An interesting side note is from what I have read the train system can’t be Nationalised if we had remained in the EU, hence France is having strikes etc

https://theconversation.com/fact-check-do-new-eu-rules-make-it-impossible-to-renationalise-railways-61180

Must admit, after reading all that I'm no wiser!

Maybe this will help

https://labourlist.org/2017/07/from-trains-to-energy-labour-can-deliver-nationalisation-within-the-single-market/

Edited by Kacc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, jonathanmvd said:

An interesting side note is from what I have read the train system can’t be Nationalised if we had remained in the EU, hence France is having strikes etc

This is true. Against competition rules 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Northern Trains provides transport for people who live, work and study in and around a city which is benefiting from falling unemployment and a growth in opportunities.  The population is growing (see Home Office statistics) and the transport infratructure is struggling to cope.

I believe in the efficacy of a government-controlled transport network but the pace of change and growth is outstripping attempts to deal with it.

Could any system solve the problem to the satisfaction of all parties?.

The Department for Transport has been trying to address the issues caused by Northern Rail for several months.  However, other interests are now involved.  The Lord Mayor has sought to politicise these issues, with the active assistance of the newly-installed editor of the MEN and other media outlets.  A recent MEN story featured a "commuter" who received a 1p refund after complaining about delays (see the MEN website, story dated 31.5.18).  A simple interrogation of the internet established that the "commuter" was a political activist.  Her complaints had been resolved prior to the publication of the story.  

The government has taken control of a part of the south-east rail network which was run by a private operator.  I suspect this has motivated Burnham and others to make political capital out of the problems in Manchester.

Why is there comparatively little interest in the daily overcrowding and delays on the tram network?.

Edited by RADCLIFFE LOYAL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, RADCLIFFE LOYAL said:

Northern Trains provides transport for people who live, work and study in and around a city which is benefiting from falling unemployment and a growth in opportunities.  The population is growing (see Home Office statistics) and the transport infratructure is struggling to cope.

I believe in the efficacy of a government-controlled transport network but the pace of change and growth is outstripping attempts to deal with it.

Could any system solve the problem to the satisfaction of all parties?.

The Department for Transport has been trying to address the issues caused by Northern Rail for several months.  However, other interests are now involved.  The Lord Mayor has sought to politicise these issues, with the active assistance of the newly-installed editor of the MEN and other media outlets.  A recent MEN story featured a "commuter" who received a 1p refund after complaining about delays (see the MEN website, story dated 31.5.18).  A simple interrogation of the internet established that the "commuter" was a political activist.  Her complaints had been resolved prior to the publication of the story.  

The government has taken control of a part of the south-east rail network which was run by a private operator.  I suspect this has motivated Burnham and others to make political capital out of the problems in Manchester.

Why is there comparatively little interest in the daily overcrowding and delays on the tram network?.

Some points.

Notwithstanding the employment situation which we will probably always disagree with in the current economic climate (what opportunities?) the population is certainly growing and building hundreds of homes lacking corresponding infrastructure hasn't helped.  The current Northern and Transpennine services issues don't just affect Manchester/Greater Manchester either - there are also major issues for Liverpool, Preston and Cumbria - which relies heavily on tourism, especially at this time of year.

Burnham is absolutely correct to draw attention to these issues, which are historical and more recently, totally unacceptable.  They are political in the sense that the much vaunted Northern Powerhouse project cannot move forward without a high quality integrated public transport infrastructure.  Greater Manchester has been constantly denied the opportunity and funding to develop an integrated ticketing system (by the last Labour government as well as the Coalition/Conservative governments).  It has also been a political choice to invest in Crossrail 2 - the funding for this project was originally earmarked for Greater Manchester btw.  Grayling also talked about reopening some of the lines closed after the Beeching report, as well as the creation of others, country-wide.  Nothing has come of this so far and probably never will.

I use the Metrolink every week during rush hour periods and off peak and trust me, the issues about overcrowding and delays are as nothing compared to what Northern Rail commuters have had to tolerate for years.  I also used Northern and Transpennine on a frequent basis several years ago (en route to Leeds) - and there were issues of overcrowding and delays even then.

Re. the Metrolink again - barely a day goes by without a story or article in the MEN about delays and/or overcrowding, so I'm not sure where you get the impression that it receives relatively little coverage.  There are also daily police incidents in Manchester impacting on the Metrolink service - these incidents are completely out of their control. Again, there is actually a great deal of interest in this locally.

The most recent bid for the Northern franchise included the use of 40 year old Sprinters.  Ordinarily these carriages would fail any routine health & safety tests today.  There is no access for disabled people, who have been told they can either wait for the next train or take a taxi to their destination.

There have been hundreds if not thousands of complaints.  These people are not political activists.  They are ordinary commuters trying to get on with their lives.

There have been unacceptable delays of years for the much needed electrification of sections of the Leeds-Liverpool lines and the reconstruction of a tunnel on the Manchester-Bolton stretch.  There have been major issues with subcontractors failing to research the fact that one tunnel, built in the Victorian era, was actually packed out in part with dung and horse hair - which has led to escalating re engineering costs. 

I've highlighted a fraction of the issues train users are experiencing.  It is absolutely the job of our local politicians to make a great deal of noise about it, and Labour, Conservative and LibDem representatives have been doing just that.  I honestly don't know what the solution could be other than to renationalise, if only short term or until a much better model can be put into place.  Other countries do this.  Why can't we?

 

Edited by myrabury

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want one of these franchises, you can make up any numbers you like to win one and then either pocket a small fortune or hand it back without penalty if you realise you can't make a harmful of cash a la Virgin/Stagecoach. 

That said those awarding the franchise probably felt compelled to give it to Virgin for fear of having to pay their bid costs as happened when they tendered for a health contract!

Still back to Northern and I don't see why people are complaining about the service, it would be much worse if publicly run as we keep getting told that only the private sector can attract the best quality candidates who can run such things successfully 😀

Obviously that last comment is slightly tongue in cheek as many of our rail services are state owned, just a shame that those states are France, Belgium and the Netherlands!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, myrabury said:

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/could-north-take-control-trains-14747823

 

This is a sensible article (for the MEN!) - time for TfN to have more teeth in terms of resourcing and accountability.

The Transport Secretary has already indicated that he is considering all options (see gov.uk, 6.6.18).  However, I suggest that Burnham and his local media buddies will complain about "lack of funding/accountability", even if the franchise is taken over by the government.  This is a weak government.  Burnham and those around him know that it can be bullied.

Always check the stories you read in the MEN.  They have a habit of not telling their readers everything about the "ordinary people" who feature in their stories (see MEN website 30.5.18/1.6.18).  Their fawning coverage of Burnham and their rabble-rousing fail to address the points I made in my original post.

Northern Trains may be making a hash of their summer service.  However -

were things any better on these routes before the abolition of British Rail?;

what can any rail company do to accommodate the growing number of passengers?;

would public ownership prevent overcrowding and cancellations on primary commuter routes?.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, RADCLIFFE LOYAL said:

The Transport Secretary has already indicated that he is considering all options (see gov.uk, 6.6.18).  However, I suggest that Burnham and his local media buddies will complain about "lack of funding/accountability", even if the franchise is taken over by the government.  This is a weak government.  Burnham and those around him know that it can be bullied.

Always check the stories you read in the MEN.  They have a habit of not telling their readers everything about the "ordinary people" who feature in their stories (see MEN website 30.5.18/1.6.18).  Their fawning coverage of Burnham and their rabble-rousing fail to address the points I made in my original post.

Northern Trains may be making a hash of their summer service.  However -

were things any better on these routes before the abolition of British Rail?;

what can any rail company do to accommodate the growing number of passengers?;

would public ownership prevent overcrowding and cancellations on primary commuter routes?.

 

Living in that town with a bloody big supermarket at the end of it (and not much owt) my biggest critisism of the whole thing is that to get from Bolton to the airport or central Manchester there is either a crawl in a car if you have one, or the train, or (to central Manc but not the airport)the No8 which takes over an hour..
When the trains are down there's simply no other way which makes things worse for commuters. It's not as if the rail has two companies so when one goes down the other can step in.
We used to have a regular bus - 300 or 500 I think - which went form Bolton to Stockport via the airport - no sign of it now. I want to know why a town of 250k people and 20 miles away can't have a direct and regular bus to the airport?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, RADCLIFFE LOYAL said:

The Transport Secretary has already indicated that he is considering all options (see gov.uk, 6.6.18).  However, I suggest that Burnham and his local media buddies will complain about "lack of funding/accountability", even if the franchise is taken over by the government.  This is a weak government.  Burnham and those around him know that it can be bullied.

Always check the stories you read in the MEN.  They have a habit of not telling their readers everything about the "ordinary people" who feature in their stories (see MEN website 30.5.18/1.6.18).  Their fawning coverage of Burnham and their rabble-rousing fail to address the points I made in my original post.

Northern Trains may be making a hash of their summer service.  However -

were things any better on these routes before the abolition of British Rail?;

what can any rail company do to accommodate the growing number of passengers?;

would public ownership prevent overcrowding and cancellations on primary commuter routes?.

 

Oh, I check my stories all right 😉  Remember that I'm no fan of the MEN myself.

Point by point...

Burnham is the Mayor of Greater Manchester.  He did not apply for the post in order to sit back and do nothing - it is his job to promote the area and to maximise its social and economic potential.  People are sick and tired of being left behind in terms of funding for major infrastructure projects - this has come to a head over the last few years.  This government deserves to be bullied.  It is weak, unscrupulous and divisive.  Unfortunately it appears that Labour is in no real position to take them on.

The answer at least from my perspective as a regular rail user during the late 1970s/80s is yes, things were better.

British Rail was underfunded.  Ditto our current state provider.  It is also under a great deal of pressure and successive DoT Ministers have long since been acutely aware of this and have done nothing about it.

Public ownership would ensure that profits were ploughed back into the rail infrastructure.  Whatever happened to Grayling's promise of the reopening of axed commuter lines where possible and the creation of new ones?  Why is it ok for Northern (Arriva), a German State owned company, to operate our train services and yet unacceptable for us to invest in, own and operate our own?

The temporary renationalisation of the East Coast Mainline delivered a healthy profit and much increased customer satisfaction - yet it was quickly refranchised to Virgin who are now struggling to deliver.

Renationalisation may not be a permanent solution however as I've already pointed out, there are other business models elsewhere in the world which operate successful world class rail services.  Why is our government intent on running down our public infrastructure (of which public transport is a major part) to the point of catastrophic failure?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Kacc said:

Living in that town with a bloody big supermarket at the end of it (and not much owt) my biggest critisism of the whole thing is that to get from Bolton to the airport or central Manchester there is either a crawl in a car if you have one, or the train, or (to central Manc but not the airport)the No8 which takes over an hour..
When the trains are down there's simply no other way which makes things worse for commuters. It's not as if the rail has two companies so when one goes down the other can step in.
We used to have a regular bus - 300 or 500 I think - which went form Bolton to Stockport via the airport - no sign of it now. I want to know why a town of 250k people and 20 miles away can't have a direct and regular bus to the airport?

The other issue we have is a monopoly where in theory, there could quite easily be genuine competition.  First Bus have wiped out the competition in Greater Manchester North, with maybe a couple of exceptions.  Fares have also rocketed of late and routes have been cut - timetables have also been changed to bring forward last bus times.  Greater Manchester South has more competition in terms of fares and routes due in large part to its student population.  Bolton certainly hasn't fared well re. public transport despite the new interchange.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, myrabury said:

The other issue we have is a monopoly where in theory, there could quite easily be genuine competition.  First Bus have wiped out the competition in Greater Manchester North, with maybe a couple of exceptions.  Fares have also rocketed of late and routes have been cut - timetables have also been changed to bring forward last bus times.  Greater Manchester South has more competition in terms of fares and routes due in large part to its student population.  Bolton certainly hasn't fared well re. public transport despite the new interchange.

Gon't get me started on first bus. The 501 - in winter the drivers refused to put the heating on, every time claiming it was "broken" (although their cabs were nice and warm). They chopped and changed routes which were popular and needed - 519 Johnson Fold to town passed Morrisons, doctors surgeries and a couple of schools. Gone. No replacement, the new line goes into town via a completely different route. Residents now have to walk over half-a-mile or more to the 126 on the main road. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What percentage of the general population ever use a train - very few.

Trains only go to a fixed point not always convenient. 

I live close to Preston. Work was four miles away but two bus rides. Certain shifts that was not even possible either.

The car is king. The sooner we have a viable lithium battery car the better ( buy shares in Lithium ! )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, preston exile said:

What percentage of the general population ever use a train - very few.

Trains only go to a fixed point not always convenient. 

I live close to Preston. Work was four miles away but two bus rides. Certain shifts that was not even possible either.

The car is king. The sooner we have a viable lithium battery car the better ( buy shares in Lithium ! )

It isn't easy to get a definitive answer about train use because people use the train for a myriad of reasons.  However, it certainly was thanks to the automobile industry lobbyists and a complete lack of political and economic foresight that led to the closure of lines people desperately want to reopen today - at least those that weren't sold off cheap for landfill, housing or industrial estates.

People living and working in the congested SE often have little choice but to use the train given the scale of routine gridlock on existing roads.

Trains were also responsible for carrying a great deal of freight.

Pollution levels from cars in metropolitan areas are directly responsible for a sharp rise in people suffering from illnesses such as asthma.  Pollution levels around schools located near busy roads are alarming.  (I'm not sure how high levels are in Bury however my eyes are watering by the time I get to work after walking through Crostons during rush hour!)

Perhaps if we had invested in a better public transport network decades ago, we would not be faced with so many current issues.  Tbh whatever we do now will be too little, too late.

...and lithium batteries have a habit of exploding if not used or disposed of appropriately!

 

Sorry, I couldn't resist! :laugh4:  :laugh4:

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 05/06/2018 at 16:25, Shaker Ryan said:

This is true. Against competition rules 

That's not strictly the case.  It is up to individual governments to decide what should be provided by the State and what should be provided via. the private sector. 

A number of EU countries have State owned and operated railways - and just happen to operate a number of franchises in the UK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, preston exile said:

What percentage of the general population ever use a train - very few.

Trains only go to a fixed point not always convenient. 

I live close to Preston. Work was four miles away but two bus rides. Certain shifts that was not even possible either.

The car is king. The sooner we have a viable lithium battery car the better ( buy shares in Lithium ! )

I drive more often than not as it's usually cheaper and quicker. Maybe these things need to be reviewed but not in a way that just lumps extra costs onto the motorist.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 09/06/2018 at 20:11, myrabury said:

That's not strictly the case.  It is up to individual governments to decide what should be provided by the State and what should be provided via. the private sector. 

A number of EU countries have State owned and operated railways - and just happen to operate a number of franchises in the UK.

I think it is though. Whilst they are state owned railways it’s against the rules, hence France will be having strikes this summer.

 

That said it fits into the politics of the country we’ve had for a while. We’ve sold off everything yet EU airlines railways and he rest continue to be state owned under rules where they are not allowed.

 

The EU needs to start again with different principles rather than try fix the unfix able.

 

I wonder why people thing the railways will be better nationalised as it will be the same people running them now who’ll continue. Do we really think national rail will lead to investment when it happens no where else in our facilities provided by the government 

Edited by jonathanmvd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎09‎/‎06‎/‎2018 at 18:48, preston exile said:

What percentage of the general population ever use a train - very few.

Trains only go to a fixed point not always convenient. 

I live close to Preston. Work was four miles away but two bus rides. Certain shifts that was not even possible either.

The car is king. The sooner we have a viable lithium battery car the better ( buy shares in Lithium ! )

Buy BACANORA - lSE- BCN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0