Open Jaw: State of UK's railways


Simon Calder's investigation into the railways industry published last week (
independent.co.uk/crossedlines) has aroused plenty of comment...

I go to France and I pay a very small amount for fantastic transport on good, clean trains between Nice and Marseille, or Antibes and Monaco. It is all remarkably cheap, yet we seem to pay a fortune for the same distance covered... or do we? Last week, I travelled from Liverpool to Scarborough, a journey of three hours, for £26 return. Two weeks before that, I travelled from Liverpool to London Euston and back for £20. OK, so I booked ahead and took advantage of advance purchase, but this facility was denied to me 35 years ago.

So, as an old left-wing "private is bad, public is good" type of guy, the jury is out on how bad things are. The confusion comes from how many companies there are and whether they benefit the passenger (I still refuse to call them "customers") or their own balance sheets?

Steven Calrow

It's good to have positive stuff on the railways. I find them – most of the time – to be good, cheap if you book early, and with the best rolling stock in Europe.

Michael Barton

When we had the LMS and the LNER, etc, as separate companies, at least they ran trains on their own tracks. Surely the great weakness of the last privatisation, which must cause continual friction, is the awful interface, wheel to track, and the inevitable complications of signalling and communicating between rolling stock and trackside.

John Lawson

The railways should never have been privatised. The whole reason they were nationalised in the first place was the pre-war companies were making a mess of it and now, today, they are making a mess of it once again. We were told that the Government "had" to privatise, because it would be cheaper than continuing the subsidy of the British Rail network.

But hold on, we are now pouring more money in than ever under nationalisation and public subsidy. All the promises have been broken – promises that trains would be better and on time, fares wouldn't be prohibitive. Every one of the critics at the time of privatisation have been proved right.

We need to return to the original British Rail – not the track version of British Leyland that the Labour Party brought about in the bad old years but previous to that, when it worked, when it was a service that was fairly priced, reliable, owned by the public and treated as an asset of Great Britain.

"ancientoneuk"

It really is time to debunk the myth that Oxford has a good train service to London. At best it's patchy, at worst it's unreliable.

There are two express coach operators that offer services from Oxford to Victoria. They both offer free Wi-Fi and 13-amp sockets and (how good is this?) guarantee us poor cattle a seat. The cost- saving of the coach alone makes this a travel win.

Brennig Jones

Simon Calder makes some valid points; a relief to have him out of his usual wearisome "Only 50p by Bloggair to Nice, etc" anorak mode, extolling the alleged virtues of cheapo air travel.

Dr John Davis

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map