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    I've been thinking about this a lot. Why do we still focus on the car as the main method of transportation? It's considerably slower, considerably more accident prone and considerably less environmentally friendly per capita than a train.

    The railway network gave, and to an extent is now giving again, something for us to be proud of. There were and still are some amazing feats of engineering across the railway network. Look at the great stations of the UK:





    And, although you can't see it now because of that horrible 60s concourse at the front, King's Cross will look awesome again in a few years:



    But in the 60s when we abandoned the railways for the car, we got utter ****e across the architectural spectrum - the grandeur of train travel was lost.





    Milton Keynes

    Where's the sense of adventure? Where's the grand architecture? The car ruined Britain - now we sit in little boxes for hours motoring from A to B without any sense of occasion or appreciation for the wonders of engineering that we accomplished in building the great stations of the Victorian age. Dismantling the branch railways means that vast swatches of the country are inexplicably very hard for the urban living population to reach in a reasonable time, and relying on road vehicles for both freight and passenger transport has lead us into an infrastructural disaster because no matter how many lanes you attach on to a motorway, in a few years it will reach it's full capacity again, whereas it has taken more than a century for the major lines of the UK to reach their peak capacity.

    Perhaps there is a place for the car, but it was the railways that built Britain. What I'm trying to say is that we should, IMHO, massively expand the railways again; rebuild the old branch lines, rebuild our grand stations, roll out high speed rail across the major cities. Other nations had this vision in post-war Europe, look at France and Spain for details. Why don't we catch up? Passenger numbers are at their highest ever, so clearly there is a massive incentive for rejuvenating the railways.
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    Because it's expensive.

    But yeah I agree trains rule, esp for long journeys
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    Agreed.
    Especially in somerset and devon, there are so many old branch lines that were closed, that would be so useful these days.

    If I want to see my girlfriend now, I have to go south all the way to exeter, and then north up to Barnstaple. Why was that deemed the better option than simply going west to Taunton, and then west to Barnstaple and onto Bideford? Stupid. I'm just glad the so called "Beeching II" didn't go ahead, or we would have lost even more lines (the only line in Wales would have been the Bristol to swansea line for example).
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    Time and money, that and that the entrepreneurial/just get it done spirit that surrounded these sorts of projects at the time is more or less dead.

    Also, there's a lot more masonry in the way these days, so getting right of way without having to bribe the earth to residents whose houses will have to be demolished and NIMBYs who object to everything is even more difficult.

    That said, it would be great if the railways were rebuilt/improved to meet current demand, at a sensible loading gauge preferably.
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    Completely agree. The UK is in the perfect position to have a world beating rail network. I suspect the main problem is that it's more cost effective for the Treasury to keep us in our cars. Massively expanding the railways would cost tens (if not hundreds) of billions of pounds and running railways isn't really that profitable, especially when operating heavily subsidised smaller routes as a public service rather than as a commercial business. Whereas the government can make very tidy sums by keeping us on the roads and taxing the crap out of us on fuel.
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    It's expensive I agree, but I think it would probably work out cheaper than the high-speed rail link (HS2) they're planning on building right through the chilterns.
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    The train is unneeded hassle if you have a car.

    To catch a train, you have to walk / bus / taxi to the train station, then buy a train ticket, wait around for the train (if it does indeed come on time, that is) if not you wait around some more, finally get on the train load your luggage / bags in the limited space near the door and most likely not get a seat. Then arrive at the next city and again, walk / taxi / bus to where you actually want to go.

    If you have a car, you leave your house get in the car and off you go, in a comfortable environment, where you control the temperature, listen to your music and make a detour if you want to. Importantly, arriving at your destination.

    However if the govt do want motorist to even consider alternative means of transport they really need to up their game and make some considerable improvements. They continue to lay on taxes on motorists yet at the same time public transport prices are increasing and remains less efficient (mostly). I can't really see how that encourages motorists to switch.
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    (Original post by The Stig)
    To catch a train, you have to walk / bus / taxi to the train station, then buy a train ticket, wait around for the train (if it does indeed come on time, that is) if not you wait around some more, finally get on the train load your luggage / bags in the limited space near the door and most likely not get a seat. Then arrive at the next city and again, walk / taxi / bus to where you actually want to go.
    But part of the reason it is like that is because of the huge number of routes that were closed in the 60's (**** you Mr Beeching).
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    Because if there was that sortve money lying around, it would be much better spent improving the frequency and speed of trains, and cost of tickets, than improving the train stations themselves.
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    I agree I use trains a lot. Luckily living in the South East they go to most places. However trains are way to expensive.
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    if public transport was as good here as it is in say, germany or switzerland, i would delay driving till i was at least 21 years of age (graduation). however, here the trains are poorly run and overpriced. yes owning a car is more expensive but, as the stig outlines above, at least you get to travel in comfort when and to where you want. if you rely on public transport you have to pretty much plan your day in advance, whereas in a car you just turn on the engine and go.

    for each person that ditches their car, the gov lose probably £1000 + each year!
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    I agree - buses are too expensive and I can't afford to drive either.. Only use the train once or twice a year though as there's no rail networks up here at all!
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    Laws of Supply and Demand I suppose. Until theres a profit incentive no-one will be building anything...
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    Firstly, we should use trains a lot more for transporting freight over long distances. The railways are largely quiet at night and loads of stuff could be transported far more effectively on a massive great train. Get all these damn lorries off our roads. I genuinely think there should be a maximum size limit imposed on lorries to incentivise companies to use the rail network to transport goods.


    Secondly, there are a number of lines that are desperately needed to plug gaps in the network. The fact that you can't get from Cambridge to Bedford (about 20 miles up the road) without making a 70 mile roundtrip through London is utterly ridiculous.

    Finally, the train network needs to be better connected with the airports. You should be able to step straight out of Heathrow onto a NR train without having to use the stupid tube. East Midlands airport is also joke: you get the train to the airport station only to find you're still 10 miles away from the actual airport with no means of getting there other than paying for a taxi.
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    I completely agree. The railway industrialized this country, and introducing it across the Empire gave us control. As well as helping create America, aiding Russia's influence across its massive areas and spreading people around Asia, the Middle East and Australasia; its a brilliant system.

    However, its just cost nowadays. You can fly from London to Edinburgh in forty minutes for about £30. On a train, you have to connect to Glasgow (unless there's now an Eastern line that runs from London to Edinburgh?) and aside from taking over 5 hours, it costs, I believe, over £100(?).
    Then there's the cost for the train's maintanence, laying new railways, maintaining those, etc.

    Whilst I strongly believe the rail service has had a crucial impact on the spread and influence of humanity around the globe, its past its hayday now. The future belongs to aircraft, not trains. :dontknow:
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    Completely agreed. although we need continued investment in road transportation (particularly as logistics use road travel extensively at the moment, and logistics by rail can be problematic for short to medium distances), but with advances in technology, investing in rail travel makes sense now. It's a more environmentally friendly way to travel, much more enjoyable (when it's not crowded that is), and incredibly fast.

    I welcome the Gov't moves to create a new high speed rail like from London to Birmingham, but we should have more of these high speed rail links, and further investment in smaller rail projects too (e.g. a line from Cambridgeshire to Oxfordshire - linking up much of existing rail infrastructure with a new line that would ease the burden of rail traffic heading into London).

    Great post OP.
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    (Original post by DH-Biker)
    I completely agree. The railway industrialized this country, and introducing it across the Empire gave us control. As well as helping create America, aiding Russia's influence across its massive areas and spreading people around Asia, the Middle East and Australasia; its a brilliant system.

    However, its just cost nowadays. You can fly from London to Edinburgh in forty minutes for about £30. On a train, you have to connect to Glasgow (unless there's now an Eastern line that runs from London to Edinburgh?) and aside from taking over 5 hours, it costs, I believe, over £100(?).
    Then there's the cost for the train's maintanence, laying new railways, maintaining those, etc.

    Whilst I strongly believe the rail service has had a crucial impact on the spread and influence of humanity around the globe, its past its hayday now. The future belongs to aircraft, not trains. :dontknow:
    You can't really fly from London to Edinburgh in 40 minutes. There's so much time spent outside of the plane that you have to account for in flying.

    About 1-2 hours at check-in (maybe more if you're going very long haul), anywhere up to 40 minutes on the taxiway at both ends and 20 minutes unloading at the end, easily about 30 minutes for baggage claim, and then you've got to get to and from the airports. This latter point really negates the time advantage of flying because unless you live in central London and can get to Heathrow or London City in under 30 minutes, you often have to spend hours in a taxi or on the train to get to the bloody airport! Domestic flying is a profoundly false economy in the UK. The only justifiable routes are to the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, the Western Isles and the Northern Isles, because they're remote communities and obviously the ferry isn't convenient for everyone.

    The future of European travel lies in high speed trains. As of next year you'll be able to go from London to Frankfurt and Amsterdam direct, and as the network improves it'll be from London to Barcelona, London to Madrid, London to Rome, London to Zurich, London to Berlin, etc. Short-haul flying has had it's day as far as I'm concerned.
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    Then when you get a rail strike you'll be wishing you had a car
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    (Original post by Aphotic Cosmos)
    You can't really fly from London to Edinburgh in 40 minutes. There's so much time spent outside of the plane that you have to account for in flying.
    You can; Hell, the smaller City-Hopper aircraft do it that fast. Its only 400 miles odd? For example, a Fokker 400 is a common plane to city-hop with. That travels at 550mph odd? That's easily within half an hour to forty minutes.

    About 1-2 hours at check-in (maybe more if you're going very long haul)
    You can dive into these things in minutes. They are so common, the flight change over is like half an hour. You can be into Heathrow, on a plane and gone in like, half an hour? Three quarters?

    anywhere up to 40 minutes on the taxiway at both ends and 20 minutes unloading at the end
    No. The Northern Runway on Heathrow is empty; no planes take off that way. On the way back from Edinburgh, yeah, its South-Bound so you may have to wait 10 minutes or so max for your place in the flight-line.
    Baggage collection? Meh, there aren't that many people on these flights. (I know this is just from London to Edinburgh, and the times change between different cities).

    easily about 30 minutes for baggage claim
    I got off a flight from Newcastle to New Zealand with 300 people on; baggage was out and in my hand within 20 minutes; that was including a bike bag and two other bags.

    and then you've got to get to and from the airports.
    Can't argue there, but it depends on where the airport is, the time, if its a holiday or not, etc. Train times will be effected by this too.

    This latter point really negates the time advantage of flying because unless you live in central London and can get to Heathrow or London City in under 30 minutes, you often have to spend hours in a taxi or on the train to get to the bloody airport!
    In many cases, yes. Alternatively, just as with Trains, you can get the Underground to the stations/airports. Heathrow has its own stop as does Waterloo, Huston, etc.

    Domestic flying is a profoundly false economy in the UK.
    Potentially, however (and whilst I do love the idea of trains making a comeback), I don't think they'll have any problem facing against the rail services.

    The only justifiable routes are to the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, the Western Isles and the Northern Isles, because they're remote communities and obviously the ferry isn't convenient for everyone.
    There are many justifiable routes; Its now possible to get to a meeting in Edinburgh and come back to London in one night; that's justifiable. And cheaper.

    The future of European travel lies in high speed trains. As of next year you'll be able to go from London to Frankfurt and Amsterdam direct, and as the network improves it'll be from London to Barcelona, London to Madrid, London to Rome, London to Zurich, London to Berlin, etc. Short-haul flying has had it's day as far as I'm concerned.
    I'd like to believe that. But I'm afriad I don't.

    I fly from Newcastle to Holland to see my Dad, and I've never had any problems. Schipol is one of the busiest airports in Europe, too. Again, no problems.

    All these places, whilst I'd absolutely love to see the scenery between here and there, are easier, faster and cheaper to get too flying. The future of the train, apart from those taking a long relaxed holiday, is frieght and machinery.

    Sadly, I do stand by my point that the hayday of the train for holidays, breaks, etc is now over. :cool:
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    It'll cost a lot which means they will raise the price which isn't good considering it's already pricey.
 
 
 
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