Dale Haslam's train blog: New ideas are needed to benefit passengers

Dale Haslam

Dale Haslam

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

REPORTER  Dale Haslam continues his regular column about his daily train commute
in and out of Bolton

THERE must be a general election around the corner as politicians seem to be coming up with ideas that might appeal to voters.

The latest comes from Ed Miliband who wants to renationalise the railways.

But the Labour leader cannot, practically speaking, do that as you cannot just go around ripping up contracts with rail providers and do a DIY job.

Instead, his approach seems to be ‘if you cannot get rid of them, join them’ so the opposition wants to create its own train company that, it seems, would bid for contracts and mimic the old British Rail system.

Except it will not. It cannot.

The whole point of British Rail was that it worked as one, massive, nationwide machine and so, if you began a journey in Plymouth and ended it in Inverness, all the rail workers you come across all worked for the same company.

Some weeks ago, I wrote in this column about a nightmare journey I had recently from Bristol to Manchester because six separate companies, which run stations and trains, did not speak to each other.

Surely, under Miliband’s proposal it will just make it worse, as the Government-backed company would just be another firm to deal with along your journey?

Labour also wants to simplify the fare structure, restrict fare rises and make it easier for passengers to buy the cheapest ticket.

Forgive me for being cynical, but I have heard it all before and, while it is commendable that the red rosettes are coming up with some ideas, I cannot applaud them until I see them in action, working for the benefit of passengers.

But if their overall aim is to stop passengers being ripped off, as they say, then good on Labour for discussing it.

If nothing else, it puts pressure on their political opponents to say how they plan to improve the passenger’s lot in the coming years.

Over to you, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg.

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:45am Mon 21 Jul 14

Ernagy2 says...

The biggest problem to British Rail is when the unions go on strike the whole network is down - how does Dale deal with that under his 'nationalisation' plans. I saw the effects of Nationalisation in the last 70's and early 80's when we had no one on the trains as it was far too expensive. I was lucky enough to be a student at the time.

The problems we have now are ones of success not of failure. Over crowding is a successful situation, it needs to be managed with more carriages and the railways allowed to develop. We still have too much state control in the wrong areas. We need to change health and safety rules on the railways so that there would be a maximum number of people allowed to stand and ensure that the train companies are reminded of their responsibility to carry evey passenger, thus ensuring extra carriages.
The biggest problem to British Rail is when the unions go on strike the whole network is down - how does Dale deal with that under his 'nationalisation' plans. I saw the effects of Nationalisation in the last 70's and early 80's when we had no one on the trains as it was far too expensive. I was lucky enough to be a student at the time. The problems we have now are ones of success not of failure. Over crowding is a successful situation, it needs to be managed with more carriages and the railways allowed to develop. We still have too much state control in the wrong areas. We need to change health and safety rules on the railways so that there would be a maximum number of people allowed to stand and ensure that the train companies are reminded of their responsibility to carry evey passenger, thus ensuring extra carriages. Ernagy2
  • Score: -2

10:30am Mon 21 Jul 14

filthy6 says...

Ernagy2 wrote:
The biggest problem to British Rail is when the unions go on strike the whole network is down - how does Dale deal with that under his 'nationalisation' plans. I saw the effects of Nationalisation in the last 70's and early 80's when we had no one on the trains as it was far too expensive. I was lucky enough to be a student at the time. The problems we have now are ones of success not of failure. Over crowding is a successful situation, it needs to be managed with more carriages and the railways allowed to develop. We still have too much state control in the wrong areas. We need to change health and safety rules on the railways so that there would be a maximum number of people allowed to stand and ensure that the train companies are reminded of their responsibility to carry evey passenger, thus ensuring extra carriages.
When was the last rail strike to affect Bolton?
[quote][p][bold]Ernagy2[/bold] wrote: The biggest problem to British Rail is when the unions go on strike the whole network is down - how does Dale deal with that under his 'nationalisation' plans. I saw the effects of Nationalisation in the last 70's and early 80's when we had no one on the trains as it was far too expensive. I was lucky enough to be a student at the time. The problems we have now are ones of success not of failure. Over crowding is a successful situation, it needs to be managed with more carriages and the railways allowed to develop. We still have too much state control in the wrong areas. We need to change health and safety rules on the railways so that there would be a maximum number of people allowed to stand and ensure that the train companies are reminded of their responsibility to carry evey passenger, thus ensuring extra carriages.[/p][/quote]When was the last rail strike to affect Bolton? filthy6
  • Score: 1

11:21am Mon 21 Jul 14

FreedomOfSpeech1945 says...

Bring back BR and all the old lines!
Bring back BR and all the old lines! FreedomOfSpeech1945
  • Score: 4

3:26pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Oldmanofthemountains says...

Apologies if I'm rather off-topic, but the point about next year's general election is particularly interesting. The Lancashire Telegraph recently made a big splash abut E Lancs MPs, together with Kate Hollern (BwD Council chief), and Northern Rail bigwigs "signing up" to the upgrading, ie. track re-doubling, of the Blackburn to Bolton route. I don't recall any mention at the time of the fact that it also has to be agreed to by Network Rail and the DofT (+ possibly even the SRA), before it can happen. If Cameron's cronies are kicked out next May, there doesn't seem to be any assurance from our Labour "friends" that the work will go ahead. Is this yet another, classic example of political brinkmanship by the two major parties?
Apologies if I'm rather off-topic, but the point about next year's general election is particularly interesting. The Lancashire Telegraph recently made a big splash abut E Lancs MPs, together with Kate Hollern (BwD Council chief), and Northern Rail bigwigs "signing up" to the upgrading, ie. track re-doubling, of the Blackburn to Bolton route. I don't recall any mention at the time of the fact that it also has to be agreed to by Network Rail and the DofT (+ possibly even the SRA), before it can happen. If Cameron's cronies are kicked out next May, there doesn't seem to be any assurance from our Labour "friends" that the work will go ahead. Is this yet another, classic example of political brinkmanship by the two major parties? Oldmanofthemountains
  • Score: 0

10:22pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Ernagy2 says...

filthy6 wrote:
Ernagy2 wrote:
The biggest problem to British Rail is when the unions go on strike the whole network is down - how does Dale deal with that under his 'nationalisation' plans. I saw the effects of Nationalisation in the last 70's and early 80's when we had no one on the trains as it was far too expensive. I was lucky enough to be a student at the time. The problems we have now are ones of success not of failure. Over crowding is a successful situation, it needs to be managed with more carriages and the railways allowed to develop. We still have too much state control in the wrong areas. We need to change health and safety rules on the railways so that there would be a maximum number of people allowed to stand and ensure that the train companies are reminded of their responsibility to carry evey passenger, thus ensuring extra carriages.
When was the last rail strike to affect Bolton?
Exactly - that is because of privatisation. In the south they're striking all the time. We would be brought into that dispute. Fortunately the companies are privatised in effect by region so we don't get affected. If it was nationalised we'd be affected by the strike.
[quote][p][bold]filthy6[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ernagy2[/bold] wrote: The biggest problem to British Rail is when the unions go on strike the whole network is down - how does Dale deal with that under his 'nationalisation' plans. I saw the effects of Nationalisation in the last 70's and early 80's when we had no one on the trains as it was far too expensive. I was lucky enough to be a student at the time. The problems we have now are ones of success not of failure. Over crowding is a successful situation, it needs to be managed with more carriages and the railways allowed to develop. We still have too much state control in the wrong areas. We need to change health and safety rules on the railways so that there would be a maximum number of people allowed to stand and ensure that the train companies are reminded of their responsibility to carry evey passenger, thus ensuring extra carriages.[/p][/quote]When was the last rail strike to affect Bolton?[/p][/quote]Exactly - that is because of privatisation. In the south they're striking all the time. We would be brought into that dispute. Fortunately the companies are privatised in effect by region so we don't get affected. If it was nationalised we'd be affected by the strike. Ernagy2
  • Score: 0

10:23pm Mon 21 Jul 14

jeffthomas81 says...

What is needed is to go to a regional type railway
Keep the track signals and operations with Network Rail and then have regional railway
Eg northwest, southwest ect ect.
Do away with train operators ( Northern Trains , Virgin Trains ect ect) and have the trains, station staff guards and driver manage by regions
What is needed is to go to a regional type railway Keep the track signals and operations with Network Rail and then have regional railway Eg northwest, southwest ect ect. Do away with train operators ( Northern Trains , Virgin Trains ect ect) and have the trains, station staff guards and driver manage by regions jeffthomas81
  • Score: 0

10:23pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Ernagy2 says...

FreedomOfSpeech1945 wrote:
Bring back BR and all the old lines!
The old lines were lost before nationalisation and the beeching report.

You want expensive trains running with nobody on them?
[quote][p][bold]FreedomOfSpeech1945[/bold] wrote: Bring back BR and all the old lines![/p][/quote]The old lines were lost before nationalisation and the beeching report. You want expensive trains running with nobody on them? Ernagy2
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree