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emgee
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Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

Lovely, shiny new high-speed link, and it's a technological marvel.

But, it cost 5 billion - that's 250,000 or so for each minute of the whole 20 minutes saved on the journey time to Paris. What kind of difference could that cash have made to the railways in general?

And, it's sod all use to me. I travel to Paris on business from time to time, and several times I've tried to go by train. Trouble is, I can't get to London before about 08.00, even starting out at absolute sparrowfart. Then I've got to get from Euston to St Pancras, and wait for the train. With the time difference in Europe I can't get to my business in paris before lunchtime (i.e. half the afternoon in France). Meanwhile there are sevral flights from manchester that will get me to CDG at about 09.00 local time, so I can be schmoozing my client by about 10.00.

And I love trains, me.
 
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

so the south east gets a shiny spanking new rail link to europe. meanwhile anywhere north of watford is still running on steam trains with 150 year old tracks. remind me why i pay my taxes again?
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

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so the south east gets a shiny spanking new rail link to europe. meanwhile anywhere north of watford is still running on steam trains with 150 year old tracks. remind me why i pay my taxes again?
The commuter lines in the South East are only just seeing tracks being replaced and new rolling stock coming online. When I was travelling to Victroria from Swanley there was still a large number of ancient slam door trains in use and that was only 2 years ago. Bear in mind the amount of people coming in and out of London also.

It is ridiculous though, so you get off the shiny new Eurostar and then venture onto regular train, tube and bus services and get right royally shafted for pleasure of it. The minimum fare on the tube noe for a single journey is 4, hence I walk from Tottenham Court Road to Charing Cross.
 
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

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The commuter lines in the South East are only just seeing tracks being replaced and new rolling stock coming online. When I was travelling to Victroria from Swanley there was still a large number of ancient slam door trains in use and that was only 2 years ago. Bear in mind the amount of people coming in and out of London also.

There was widespread orders of New rolling stock in the mid 90's under British Rail, all agreed and contracts signed. Then the wonders of privatisation came along, and the orders were cancelled, because the private industry baulked at the cost.

They've only replaced stock in the last few years because H&S has forced them through the stock being life expired.
 
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

Still at least they can order new trains
now and not have to shave all the platforms
so the trains actually fit in the stations...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/355299.stm
 
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

i don't think i've been on a train since 2000. i used to travel a lot in the late 90's manchester-london and not once did i ever get back on time. the southward journey was usually ok but the northbound journey was significantly late every single time i did it. in the early 90's i used to travel regularly along the north wales coast line to see my parents and it was a catalogue of disaster journeys. it became almost laughable how many times the rail system would ***** up. i don't care how expensive motoring gets, i will NEVER set foot on another british train in my life unless it's absolutely necessary.

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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

The last time I travelled on a train I was on the footplate and at the controls. Mind you, it was a steam engine that the "Bluebell Railway" had introduced back into service after a fifteen year refit, so we didn't quite manage to get the old boiler up to 125 MPH between London and Paris ! Just about 50 MPH between Haywards Heath and Hassocks !
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

Well, it was very nice of you to take the Mrs out, even if she was unimpressed with the speed.
 
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

Agree with a lot of the above. I used to work for German Rail (DB) and got free passes to travel through Europe - so I did. I frequently used to travel back to Ireland by train & boat (Oostende - Ramsgate, Holyhead to Dublin - even the boats were free) and I was amazed at the state of the railways in the south east back then (1994) - no true intercity service, old grubby slam-door stock, trains seemed to stop everywhere. On that first trip I got into Victoria, then got the Vic line to Euston, then on to Holyhead on a really nice HST (class 43's, or Intercity's) which were good trains. Then I moved to England in 1999 and and have lived in the S.E. since then.

Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate (now the Office of the Rail Regulator) basically gave the mandate to replace the old slam door trains (which were only really left in the south east) for safety reasons - not just the lethal doors, but also the couplings, which were not able to prevent the chassis of one carriage slicing into the next one in the event of an accident.

This was supposed to have happened by 2002, but didn't as the new trains were still being built (ordered late as Connex never wanted to spend a penny (literally) on the south east. The first new trains that arrived were put on the north Kent route and the Chichester/Bognor/Brighton lines. The rest of Kent got the hand-me-down Networker trains, the class 365/465/466 horrible commuter things in late 2004.

The High Speed line was driven by the Government's aspiration to connect to Europe's train network & make it appealing. The route chosen was predominantly a political one, as St.Pancras is geographically illogical for France! Passing through Stratford - now there's a way to boost the area.

If you live in Manchester (for example) then you're right, this probably won't make much sense. However if you're in the South East & at the mercy of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton or Docklands, this is a viable & welcome solution for travelling to the continent.

I was at St.Pancras for some "Volume Testing" last Thursday (i.e. they invite you along, you check in & go through security and then travel on the train to Stratford & back. We did this three times (unpaid for the day) which basically amounted to a grand-scale simulation. St.Pancras is impressive, there's no denying that - even if it did cause the architect to go a bit mental! The Eurostar trains are the original ones & are starting to look a bit tatty now (plenty of corrosion when you look closely) but hey, they're better than taking a slam door to Ramsgate.

I assume people saw the TV programme - a lot of aggression there, particularly by the project managers (some of whom I know) but there's no denying the end result.

Whether or not it could (or should) have been done cheaper, I'm not sure. It's a lot of tunnels, a lot of bridges, and a lot of buildings. Personally I think it's a feat of engineering that will remain in place & be of great use for generations to come. London is still on the map, despite Ken Livingstone's best efforts to close it.

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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

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There was widespread orders of New rolling stock in the mid 90's under British Rail, all agreed and contracts signed. Then the wonders of privatisation came along, and the orders were cancelled, because the private industry baulked at the cost.

They've only replaced stock in the last few years because H&S has forced them through the stock being life expired.
Interestingly here as well Connex as it was bought a whole load of trains that ended up sitting in the sheds for a long period, as no one thought to check how much power these marvelous new trains needed. Sure enough the power system could not provide enough.

My train is now on time more often so I don't get discount due to the crap service, however the fact that they altered the timetable to fit their shoddyness doesn't come into it
 
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

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Interestingly here as well Connex as it was bought a whole load of trains that ended up sitting in the sheds for a long period, as no one thought to check how much power these marvelous new trains needed. Sure enough the power system could not provide enough.
Hence the PSU (power supply upgrade) project was born. Now of course, these newer power-consuming trains are causing untold problems with premature track wear & noise issues too

Train service punctuality is getting better in the UK, but it's worth noting that there's a myth about German train punctuality too - but there's soooo much float in the timetable, and less dependency on critically congested train routes too, it's no wonder it all runs like clockwork. Blame Beeching for closing down all the "alternative" routes in this country... a prime example is Brighton - when the line is blocked for whatever reason, there's no alternatives. He didn't take into account population grown at all. Shodt-sightedness to save a few pennies at the time.

I digress... I remain a fan of the engineering achievement that is the newly completed High Speed line.
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

As far as I know the rolling stock intended for the through trains from t'North to Foreign are still rusting away in a shed at Longsight. The emergence of the bucket shop airlines killed 'em off.
 
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As far as I know the rolling stock intended for the through trains from t'North to Foreign are still rusting away in a shed at Longsight. The emergence of the bucket shop airlines killed 'em off.
Budget airline style fares are available on the railways too, but for some dumb reason they don't advertise them too good.

London to Glasgow from 25
London to York from 20
London to Truro from 17

Are just 3 that I remember off the top of my head. The railway should be shouting these from the rooftops, especially since rail passenger numbers are rising so fast because of our gridlocked roads, they could really clean up and take back trade lost from the shambolic lo-cost airlines (which I have used a few times and HATE passionatly)
 
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

easyjet rock, i'd rather travel round the world with them than travel 10 minutes on a train. don't get me wrong, i like going by train when everything works, but not when every single journey is an overpriced, scruffy arsed shambles
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

What all train journeys should be like in the 21st century:

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.
 
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

oh joy the french are even closer to us
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

Nev that video was amazing, the last 45 seconds are a great visula to just how fast that train is moving
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

There were a lot o unpublished factors that went into that "alleged" record run... larger wheels for a start, which added to stability. There was an ICE lecture on that run, the guest speaker was John Armitt, then then CE of Network Rail, who then commented that if Network Rail had run 4 car units with extra-large wheels, they too would hold the record. Don't ever believe all of what you see!
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

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oh joy the french are even closer to us
What are they gonna do? Put the words "surrender" and "monkeys" into a sentence
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

Several billions has been spent on improving the UK's railway infrastructure in recent years and this spending is to soar in the coming years in order to meet the growing passenger numbers which are at their highest for 60 years. I think that the benefits will be more visible in time, all over the country. The price of public transport in general is a big problem though and so I prefer to travel by car in the main. Until the costs come down and reliability is up to scratch, people are not going to give up their cars - it is that simple.

That said, I travelled to Paris on the Eurostar recently for one of England's RWC matches and it was an absolute pleasure - far less stressful than any plane flight I have been on. If only public transport was so easy.
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

Yes pouring money into private rail companies:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/press/speeches...ilfebruary2005

Brilliant, it now costs the tax payers more
than when it was a true public rail network.

Still, at least they all don't strike every five minutes
because the government is trying to take their
retire-at-50-final-pensions , free electricity/travel etc.
away from them. :rolleye:
 
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

what that video DIDN'T show was the driver panicking and slamming it into reverse when he saw he was getting close to germany

still, 358mph ain't bad though virgin west coast are (afaik) still limited to 90mph for much of the london-glasgow route as the tracks are still made from hessian and bicycle clips. we truly do have the rover 75 of all rail services here.
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

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easyjet rock, i'd rather travel round the world with them than travel 10 minutes on a train. don't get me wrong, i like going by train when everything works, but not when every single journey is an overpriced, scruffy arsed shambles
As has been every budget airline trip i've taken, Easyjet and Ryanair, both the same. Stupid scrum at the check in desk, 'can't check that bag in here, has to be done over there', then another stupid scrum at the gate to board the plane, then a dash across a taxiway and onto the plane, then another stupid scrum to get to a group of seats together. Then miserable cabin crew leave you in no doubts as to whether or not they actually care about your wellbeing by ignoring every single passenger on board.

Then you (eventually) take off, haiving read the graffiti'd safety card selotaped to the back of the seat in front of you. The trolley dolley brings round a cup of tea which costs £4, and as soon as it's cooled down enough to take a single sip of the damn thing she's back taking it off of you because you're coming in to land (that's actually 100% accurate - happened to me on a Ryanair flight to Dublin)

And I also have doubts about a company which has such poor conditions for it's pilots compared to the other companies in the industry. Rubbish pay, massive hours and low morale. Not a great combination in such a safety orientated industry.
 
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Re: Two cheers for the Eurostar high-speed rail link

i think ryanair do indeed get a very bad rep but i've never flown with them personally so can't comment. easyjet have been absolutely superb on the dozen or so times i've flown with them. maybe the staff at luton/stanstead are just duffers, easyjet at liverpool are superb. always very efficient & friendly and the dollies all have that cheeky scouse glint in their eye
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