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We need them back -URGENTLYThe train companies we have are completely useless and fare prices are completely unreasonable.I bet the French and Japanese don't pay what we do for rail travel and their train services are much better than ours. The government needs to step in and get the railways renationalised. A London travelcard from where I live under British rail? £10 for an adult. These companies £22.00 - Its gone up by over 100%!!! Where's the justification in inflation like that? I got a single train and then drove back £55.00 for the train fare and probably around £20 in petrol by car!!! Its time to bring back BR and get rid of these dopey money grabbing companies.
As an employee of the rail industury, one question seems to reign supreme: "Were we better off before privatisation?" My overall view is no BUT I do have major reservations about the way the system is being run. The main benefit of the old BR system is that when we had a problem on the line i.e Manchester to London I would be able to find new route and send you on it, (via sheffield to St Pancreas usually). Now however I have to tell you the route then I have to send you to the Virgin ticket office to "discuss" (argue) with them to allow you to do this. This is the major disadvantage at present is the fragmentation of the rail companies and the fact we have 26 TOCs (Train Operating Companies) who seem unable to work together to support the infrastructure. However I do beleive that if that if we had stuck with BR we would have seen no new investment into the railways and hence we would never of seen any improvement in train punctuality and reliability. I see it as a case of losing the flexibilty of travelling via any reasonable route for the fact that EVENTUALLY we will have a rail network we can proud of in this country than may compare to the rest of Europe. That I believe would never of happened during the days of BR. What i would like to see happen however is a relaxation of the rules regarding ticket restrictions imposed on routing. A replacement brought in for the NRE (National Rail Enquirys) as they are absolutly useless. A reduction in the number of TOC's from 26 to single figures which would ease up the pressure on companies to provide new rolling stock (trains) and ease ticket restrictions. :) I only wish arranging this to happen was as simple as saying you want it done!
Have you tried to book a ticket over the phone lately for your rail journeys? My advice...don't bother. Things have changed. I called the booking line today, (couldn't do it over the internet because I need to take a bike with me on two networks...)no longer do you speak to a real person, you do not even have to touch tone your requests. Latest in BR technology...voice activated. I ended up getting very angry and put the phone down after the millionth 'sorry we do not understand that request, please repeat'. Now when you phone the booking line they ask you to use the voice activated options. You then need to tell them the date, time, location, destination of your journey in queen's english, otherwise they don't understand. They then put you through to the operator, who you have to repeat everything to anyway...go figure! The rail companies are making money from the phonecalls and often the information they give you is not reliable. You would think that the problems British Rail have had over the last year they would at least make an effort to retain the customers they have left. You can book tickets on the internet, over the phone, at train stations and even at some travel agents. You can purchase tickets in advance to save you money or you can travel on the day. I would strongly reccommend seeing a real human being because, on the whole, they have some concept of a railcard and special requirements. Good Luck!! Where to book: Online: www.thetrainline.com or www.virgintrainfares.co.uk Over the phone: 08457222333 Your local train station STA Travel Agents
Well, have you gathered what I think of them yet? - Advantages: It's a monopoly, so it offers a service no one else can. - Disadvantages: It's a monopoly, do they know they can get away with it., Delays. Lots of them. And then the delays use the free time created to breed more baby delays, which grow up to become BIG DELAYS., Overpriced. They use the extra cash to dream up ways of skinning you for more money.
British rail are humiliating this country. The standard of their railways and trains would not even be accepted by a tramp living on the streets. The trains are dirty, cold and not up to a satisfactory standard. You feel as if you would rather walk than pay hard earned money on a shabby train journey. Why do we pay taxes? So that our money helps the nation clean up its act. So i want to know why this is not happening on our railway lines.
I don't think it is fair to be deriding British Rail or their spawned private companies at this time. They are in a no win situation, if they let the trains run uninterrupted and thereis another accident you would not be pleased because they hadn't repaired the rails. Now there has been another accident and the trains are running slowly to enable track repairs and you are all complaining again. Why is it that whenever a private or public company puts safety first, even if it means a few people arrive late, people are voiciferous in complaint. Surely you are all not so selfish that your precious meeting or your arrival home half an hour late is worth the lives of several hundred people tomorrow. Has the world got this selfish, what happened to the old saying "it is better to arrive late than not at all" Safety has to come first. Stop your complaining and let the rail companies get on with the work that will make your next trip, above all, safe.
Yesterday myself and 5 work collegues went to a conference in Brighton, travelling from London. Even though we did have valid tickets throughout the whole journey we never encountered any staff members either to check our tickets or to ask for assistance. Also the lack of security seemed a bit disturbing seeing as train stations are often targeted by terrorists (makes me wonder why i bought the tickets in the first place) If i had been a tourist or someone not families with the areas of travel we could have been lost for a good portion of the day. I suggest putting staff at the stations and on the trains or Automate the whole service and make sure the gates work.
As you probably know there is not one single entitiy known as British rail any longer, but a number of companies responsible for different trains. The two of these which you are most likely to travel on when on long distances are GNER and Virgin trains. The latter have been subject to a lot of bad press...and far be it from me to stick up for them. I am a sympathiser with Richard Branson but his trains drive me up the wall. I rarely travel on them but sometimes have to, they are old, bought by Virgin from their previous owners, and arent paticularly well done up. Carriages are not paticularly comfortable, but there is alot of room. Trains tend to be unreliable, and if you book your ticket via their online 'Trainline service' you may find it more trouble than its worth, with tickets not coming until the morning of your departure, by which time you will have phoned up their help line who can't help and probably booked other tickets. The doors are manual and you have to hang out of the window to open the buggers. However, they're not too bad and the buffet cars are usually well stocked, but, as with all buffet cars, a rip off - take your own sandwiches! The former, GNER, are a more luxurious outfit with new trains such as the Scottish Pullman and the Highland Chieftan, boasting to take the route of the Flying Scotsman. The carraiges are pleasant and the trains decor is very grand. The buffet car provides excellent food, as do the resteraunt cars, and a real effort has obviously been made, they live up to they're promise of being innovative, fresh and delicious with such delights as wild mushroom soup and roasted pepper baguettes as well as the more usual fair, still a bit pricey though. You only really have a choice of these two when travelling to destinations between Cornwall and Inverness unless you keep changing from local service to local service, which is not reccomended as these are all very old, uncomfortable and ugly tra
ins apart from those belonging to Scotrail, a company who really do make an effort and don't have to as they have a monopoly in Scotland even over the larger companies such as GNER. My main tip for rail travel is to buy a railcard relevant to you, students, you can get a third of ticket prices, an adult can get 20% off and pay only £2 per child with a family rail card and pensioners can get up to 50%, most railcards pay for themselves after only one journey. Booking in advance can also get you cheaper tickets.