TFL trains

Last week-end I tried a day return to London from Twyford  by train. Whilst this line is outside my constituency it is close to the northern boundary. I went outbound by TFL and returned by Great Western.

A large sum has been spent on changed logos,signs and facilities on the stations to introduce the TFL brand. The trains both ways were little used. They were running too many carriages. The TFL trains have nine carriages when two or three would have done. The seats were hard and uncomfortable especially on the Great Western.

The TFL railway was designed for five day a week mass commuting. The trains lack toilets and envisage a lot of people standing, using hanging straps in the large open central  areas in the  carriages. The seats are down the sides. The idea seems to have been  to sell commuters an uncomfortable strap hanging experience  at a high price. The poor service of Network Rail is one of the main reasons people do not want to return to five day working in an office. The pandemic allowed a major revolt against the nationalised train service with timetables and standards laid down by government.

The train I went on was an expensive way of carrying out a leisure journey for taxpayers. Clearly TFL need to look at how to make it more attractive for the  leisure travellers who will play an increasing role in providing passengers to offset the  decline in people travelling to work. The nationalised railway shows no wish yet to publish a plan to innovate or to change the source of  its revenues to justify its huge state backed costs. Getting to the  station by car, parking, paying  and then crossing the track to access the station was not easy. Railway planners need to grasp that most of us need to drive to get to a station and see that as part of the journey. The state railways needs to work with Council roads and highways to make it easier.

165 Comments

  1. Mark B
    November 25, 2021

    Good morning.

    Technology has enabled this move from the 9-5, 5 day a week office routine to something a little more fluid. The mythical pandemic was just the catalyst for such change as companies strived to keep going and so used the available technology, plus government subsidies, to enact the changes. Now we has a system where people are encouraged to work from home all or part of the week. This falls in line with the office trend of flexible working and the use of office space – ie ‘Hot Desking’.

    Hot Desking for those who may not be aware is the theory, and practice, of sharing non-assigned desks. For example. A company will have ‘x’ floor space and ‘y’ employees but, not all those desks will be occupied throughout the week. For companies looking to cut costs this means they are paying for office space they no longer need. This idea and trend has been, to my knowledge at least, for nearly 25 years.

    Clearly these trends in cost reduction in office space have an effect on other services such as transport. As personal costs (ie rail fares) are climbing ever upwards it is clear that one of the benefits from working at home is the saving in rail fares which, in some instances, is comparable to a pay rise minus the ENIC, NIC and taxes. A win-win !

    I believe that mass transport outside major cities should be more geared to leisure. Offering families better deals to other locations around the UK, particularly at weekends and during the school summer holidays.

    Reply
    1. Ignoramus
      November 25, 2021

      After the tragedy that happened today, I think we really need to think about putting in a humanitarian visa scheme for asylum-seekers.

      We are in a hopeless state when it comes to providing alternative routes to entering this country except crossing the channel.

      In August the Home Office announced a programme to resettle Afghans who had worked for Western countries and charities. It has yet to get off the ground.

      Deterence has almost no effect. Most of these people have families in the U.K. They are clearly prepared to risk their lives to get here. We need to do better.

      Reply
      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        November 25, 2021

        It’s a terrible dilemma. I agree, but are we simply going to encourage orders more?

        Reply
      2. Andy
        November 25, 2021

        We had safe routes to allow people in to claim asylum – and this Tory government closed those routes down.

        British ministers have blood on their hands. It really is no more complicated than that.

        Reply
        1. Peter2
          November 25, 2021

          Well we don’t seem to be closing it down very well young andy
          In the year ending June 2021 37,235 people claimed asylum in the UK
          Bear in mind that was a time where there were Covid travel restrictions.

          Reply
          1. Peter Parsons
            November 25, 2021

            The safe routes were closed down, which leaves only the less safe ones…

            For a comparative figure, 42,240 people claimed asylum in France in just the sixth months from Jan-Jun 2021.

            Most asylum seekers are not attempting to come to the UK, despite what some would have you believe.

          2. Peter2
            November 26, 2021

            Comparing ourself to other countries is pointless Peter.
            Is there any limit in terms of numbers, to your generosity?
            Do you feel all avenues should be opened to all comers, therefore no controls.
            And how does this affect your net zero ambition?
            PS
            I think nearly 40,000 asylum claims a year on top of an estimated 300,000 net immigration every year since 2000, into one of the most densely populated nations on Earth is already generous.

          3. Micky Taking
            November 27, 2021

            Peter Parsons…. it is not about whether most people or few people try asylum seeking in the UK. It is that they will have passed through several countries before making a nuisance of themselves on the French coast.

        2. Beecee
          November 25, 2021

          Yes we did Andy, and still do, as those legal and supported routes have not closed!

          Without any actual knowledge you throw vile accusations round like confetti. Clearly it is how you get your kicks.

          Reply
        3. No Longer Anonymous
          November 25, 2021

          Record numbers of asylum seekers, Andy. So you’re wrong as usual.

          And if Belarus can be accused of weaponising asylum against the EU why can’t France the EU be accused of weaponising asylum against the UK ?

          But I think there is nothing that will be done and the borders will be thrown open whilst this becomes Operation Deceive the British Public (ODBP).

          Why ODBP ? Well. A country without borders is no country so why the need for a Government, MPs, Lords, Monarchy and all the security etc that goes into it ? Think of the savings !

          Reply
      3. Footprint
        November 25, 2021

        Ignoramus you say this tragedy that happened today.
        I`m sure you mean the loss of illegal immigrant lives in the Chanel
        What an outpouring of grief and sudden blanket attention by the MSM for an event that has been covered and predicted for over a year by Nigel Farage, both before and now during his term at GB TV news.
        I`m not going to rehearse all the failed initiatives proposed by our Home Secretary, nor the complicity displayed by the French in ensuring the success of their smuggling fraternity and just say it is about time we call in the French Ambassador and tell his master in Paris
        That whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation the French have a moral if not a legal authority to prevent people setting off on what has now proved to be a dangerous and increasingly fatal journey from their shores without going through an exit procedure that identifies not only where to but method of travel also.
        The Ambassador she also inform his master that in our opinion, there is and always has a solution to the problem that can and should be put into immediate effect.

        The solution is to stop the import or the manufacture in France or anywhere in the EU at source. Interdict entry of `dingies or other craft` at all customs entry ports and any found should be seized and destroyed (and I mean on the beaches as well)

        The British Government can only expiate their share of responsibility for the present tragedy in the Chanel, by now acting positively in the manner I suggest and in effect putting the ball in the court of Paris. Who will have to shoulder responsibility for future deaths of these illegal travellers.(even one further death is too many)

        (whether they are illegal or not, I believe we all have a responsibility to preserve the sanctity of life)

        Reply
      4. Know-Dice
        November 25, 2021

        I thought 130 female Afghan footballers came in through a legal route a couple of weeks back, hopefully legally applying for asylum now?

        If “most” of these illegal migrants have families in the UK why are they not applying for asylum through a legal route?

        Reply
        1. Grennell
          November 25, 2021

          There is a problem ’cause when they first artived in an EU country they were assessed fingerprinted photographed etc and according to the Dublin convention they should stay in Bulgarua Greece etc or wherever but since we have left the EU the dublin convention no longef applies to us so they are instead trying to seek out their relations further afield in UK.. it’x a bit like that

          Reply
          1. rose
            November 25, 2021

            The Dublin Agreement has not been observed by most countries in the EU so that is a red herring. We tried to observe it but it was no use unless everyone else did too.

          2. No Longer Anonymous
            November 25, 2021

            Let’s put this one to bed, Grennell. Once an asylum seeker had obtained EU citizenship they had the right to move to the UK under Freedom of Movement when we were in the EU.

        2. Cheshire Girl
          November 25, 2021

          I don’t believe most of them have got families here. I think one or two people come in here from a family, with the intent of sending for the rest of the family later. I heard some time ago, that unaccompanied children are sent, so that the rest of the family can get in later.

          Since none of them are ever deported, it seems to work well – for them.

          Reply
          1. rose
            November 26, 2021

            I also notice how many would be illegal immigrants in Calais don’t speak English. So that excuse doesn’t stand up all the time either.

      5. beresford
        November 25, 2021

        But the majority of the migrants have no credible claim to asylum, though as Andy says they are entitled to lodge a claim anyway. Those who advocate ‘safe routes’ to Britain must answer the question of what happens to the many who are rejected, as clearly the entire Third World cannot be allowed into these overcrowded islands. Those who are rejected will just tear up their papers and look for the nearest smuggler.

        Reply
        1. Andy
          November 25, 2021

          What melodramatic nonsense. We are not talking about the entire third world. We are talking about a few tens of thousands of people. None of whom you will ever meet.

          There isn’t a crisis on the Channel. There is a crisis in the heads of Brexit backing pensioners. I don’t know how to fix your heads.

          Reply
          1. No Longer Anonymous
            November 25, 2021

            Set up a ferry service and this ‘tens of thousands’ becomes millions, Andy.

          2. Cheshire Girl
            November 25, 2021

            Dont worry, Andy. As one of the group you despise, I don’t feel the need to have my head ‘fixed’. You, on the other hand, would need to be first in the queue.

          3. Beecee
            November 25, 2021

            “….there he goes again….”

          4. Peter2
            November 26, 2021

            A few tens of thousands….total nonsense young Andy.
            500 a day in dingies is over 175,000 a year alone.
            Plus 300,000 net immigration per year since 2000.

      6. Mark B
        November 25, 2021

        And you of course are willing to fund their housing, healthcare and all other associated costs ?

        Reply
        1. Narrow Shoulders
          November 25, 2021

          In my experience, the something must be done brigade are happy to pay………. for the initial transit costs including a necessary finished with mobile phone and some cast off designer trainers.

          Then it’s someone else’s problem because of the “humamity”

          Reply
      7. Nota#
        November 25, 2021

        @Ignoramus, its the illegal immigrants that have stolen the places that should go to legitimate asylum seekers such as the Afghans – who are seeking safety from tyranny. I guess you intend compassion with your comment however to open the doors in that way is to furnish the trafficker’s with a greater income – last week alone they are said to have been earning more the a 1/4 million a day from the trade.

        These people are not fleeing for their lives the are trying to escape from the safe haven that is the EU

        Reply
      8. Narrow Shoulders
        November 25, 2021

        No we don’t we need to repel those with no entitlement to be here.

        Life is hard, harder for some than others. We need to look after our own with little regard for others.

        Reply
      9. X-Tory
        November 25, 2021

        What you do not seem to be able to understand is that THE UK IS OVERCROWDED. We are FULL. We are overflowing. We simply cannot take ANY more asylum seekers. Not one.

        For the UK to have the same population density as France our total population would need to be less than 30 million! Instead it is around 70 million! Our roads are all congested. Our public services cannot cope. It was reported the other day that approval has been given for another 5,000 homes to be built on floodplains, as there is simply nowhere left to build all the homes we need for the uncontrolled increase in our population.

        This is simply unsustainable. To anyone who says we should take more asylum seekers I have just one question: ‘what do you think is the maximum acceptable population for the UK?’ Give me a precise number. I will give you my answer: 50 million. This was the population in 1950, and this would give us the same population density as Italy. As someone who often visits that country and knows it very well I believe that is the maximum population density that is acceptable. We need to CUT our population, not grow it!!

        Reply
        1. rose
          November 25, 2021

          50 million was too much in the fifties but we were told not to worry, the population would fall naturally to 35 million as people had fewer children. 35 million is the maximum number to be anywhere near sustainable. 25 million would be better – the same as Australia where many of our doctors and nurses go to get a more balanced life.

          And that is without the consideration that we may have to evacuate large numbers of people in floods in the future.

          Reply
        2. Cheshire Girl
          November 25, 2021

          Very well said.

          Reply
    2. Peter
      November 25, 2021

      The TfL Elizabeth Line now means London Freedom Pass holders can travel as far as Reading for free. No complaints from me about that.

      I would draw attention to the lack of toilets on these trains for what can be a long journey.

      Reply
      1. alan jutson
        November 25, 2021

        Indeed not helped when the toilets at the Stations are closed as well

        Reply
      2. Lifelogic
        November 25, 2021

        Even when UK trains have loos they are very often not functioning & out of use in my experience.

        Reply
      3. dixie
        November 25, 2021

        What use is a London Freedom Pass to me as a Wokingham resident?

        Reply
        1. Micky Taking
          November 25, 2021

          Get a London postcode address and the world’s your Oyster – – sorry.

          Reply
          1. dixie
            November 26, 2021

            I used to live in London (pre-Oyster) – had to leave to be able to afford a place to raise my family and London living was too gritty — sorry.

        2. Peter
          November 25, 2021

          “What use is a London Freedom Pass to me as a Wokingham resident?”

          Who cares?

          The pass is a big benefit to large number of Londoners.

          You chose to live in Wokingham. It is up to you to fight your own corner.

          Reply
          1. dixie
            November 26, 2021

            So who is subsidising your “free” ride to Reading? Could it be the residents of Reading, Wokingham etc?
            I find it ironic that conservatives celebrate being freeloaders (freedom pass beyond London boundary), complain when their freebies are taken away (eg entrepreneurs allowance) yet still abuse others who enjoy other “freebies” (eg EV grant).

      4. Micky Taking
        November 25, 2021

        get off, use a station toilet, get the next train.

        Reply
    3. Nota#
      November 25, 2021

      @Mark B +1 Yet the Political Class just don’t get it. My Wife, used to go into an office for work. Even then she was one of the few that had a designated desk, as you say the rest is ‘hot desking’. Now with that extra push that ‘covid’ provided. The office also has been downsized, even that is questionable. It wasn’t that much of a stretch to realize that going into an office to log-in to Chicago wasn’t as efficient as doing the same from home. Even in the physical office all communications were via ‘teams’

      Doesn’t quite help those on the shop floor in manufacturing though, and public transport isn’t directed in the direction of serving those much needed individuals.

      What passes for a UK transport network ‘isn’t’ its modeled on the desire of the political class to make a headline and for them to move around mainly paid for by the taxpayer. It doesn’t serve the people or contribute to the economy of the UK

      Reply
    4. Hope
      November 25, 2021

      And JR’s party and govt has been in office 11 years!! 11 long years of fake promises, three word strap lines and appalling left wing socialist public services always putting themselves first before the service they are mean to provide the public. Scrap mayors they add no value only cost and bureaucracy to the taxpayer. How about knife crime and murder in London, that alone should see the end of Khan and Dick, but no both still there with huge salaries failing the community while the govt. stands idly by.

      Mark, Fake Tories got rid of the bus service for rural communities long ago! JR consistently fails to say, as does green useless Johnson, how do old people get from rural villages to the train station at reasonable cost? How much does it cost for carers to get to rural communities, the council wastes shocking amounts of money with no reform to their largest budget heading! Where is the joined up thinking?

      How many community secretaries failed in their post? Javid ripped up manifesto pledge to freeze community charge and give them 5% year on year increases as well as add ons for nothing in return, nothing. He then went to Home Office and decided to close detention centres for illegal immigrants and asylum seekers even though HO admitted to having lost hundreds of thousands to their system!! This undoubtedly leads to crime and black market Labour, also people turning up at A and E. for treatment. Does Javid accept any responsibility for the tragedy yesterday? He moved on so the mentality of nothing to do with him perhaps? He was a spend and waste Chancellor as well! JR has already pointed out what will he do with the extra taxpayers’ ones given to him? Based on previous positions…. waste it.

      Reply
  2. DOM
    November 25, 2021

    If there’s no threat to their employment there’s no need to innovate and satisfy the will of the customer. Why would they when they get paid not by commercial success but by an act of politics? This regressive, parasitic culture is seen across the public sector. It is the private employee and their companies that are imposed upon to finance largesse of the now politicised public sector

    Let’s be honest, this is an issue that’s been in existence for decades. The only solution is for a government or a political class to allow taxpayer funded entities to fail rather than prop them up for purely political convenience

    Of more importance is the MSM’s cover up regarding the Channel crossings. GB News is exposing this government, Labour, the filthy lying bastards in the MSM and the weeping charities who seek to financially exploit the crossings for personal and political gain

    Reply
    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      November 25, 2021

      “Vote Leave”, eh?

      Reply
      1. Dave Andrews
        November 25, 2021

        No, I think it’s more the politicians the people vote for.

        Reply
      2. Micky Taking
        November 25, 2021

        I thought we did, but most days it is obvious we couldn’t have done !

        Reply
    2. Sir Joe Soap
      November 25, 2021

      Borders, eh?
      So much fuss and furore over an Irish border and a few sausages crossing north to south, so little fuss over people dying in the channel. It exposes the Franco-EU hypocrisy to its fullest extent. It exposes the weakness of the Patel-Johnson duo that they seem paralysed.

      Reply
      1. John Hatfield
        November 25, 2021

        Vot Reform.

        Reply
        1. John Hatfield
          November 25, 2021

          Vote with an ‘e’.

          Reply
    3. Everhopeful
      November 25, 2021

      It isn’t really fair to expect much of our rail system.
      Since 1850 it has been threatened with bonkers amalgamations ( no doubt with an eye to the main chance). WW1 saw it taken over by government and post war it had to compete with motor cars. WW2 saw another amalgamation of all (or some?) railway companies and then nationalisation. Oh yes…and then Mr Beeching!!
      All the government interference has sealed its fate. It is now a ghastly amalgam of Soviet-style discomfort and the usual denial of human needs ( loos,coffee, physical and mental comfort). Looking forward to the age of trans humanism no doubt.

      Reply
      1. Lifelogic
        November 25, 2021

        Thanks goodness we had Dr Beeching or we would be wasting even more money even now subsidising loss making trains. If trains are so efficient why does it cost about £70 to take 7 people a 400 miles return door to door journey yet more like £1,400 by train plus the end journey costs on top of this? Plus this is despite huge subsidies for trains and huge over taxation of cars and roads?

        We could do with a Dr Beeching for the hugely inefficient NHS and most of the rest of the very wasteful state sector too.

        Reply
        1. Lifelogic
          November 25, 2021

          The point surely is outside a few special situations (London commuting & some intercity journeys) it cannot compete with cars or coaches and on longer distances cannot compete with aircraft. Unless you give it vast subsidies and why would you want to do this?

          Reply
          1. Everhopeful
            November 25, 2021

            +1
            I haven’t ventured on a train since they installed electric doors.
            If only the roads were not so crowded!
            Your remark re NHS… 100%.
            Broke a tooth today. Do you think I can get any help? Not a chance.
            All that NI money!!🤬

          2. John Hatfield
            November 25, 2021

            Perhaps we have the wrong sort of trains Ll.

    4. Everhopeful
      November 25, 2021

      +1
      Agree with all you say!
      My comment above was not meant to be an answer! Sorry.

      Reply
    5. Nota#
      November 25, 2021

      @DOM +1 Big monolithic consumers of direct taxpayer cash have no place in even the latest catch phrase of ‘build back better’ – but I bet you anything that is the only direction that’s envisaged.

      Reply
      1. glen cullen
        November 25, 2021

        Trains work in peppa pig world
        Boris ‘’trains are good, trains are right, trains works’’

        Reply
    6. glen cullen
      November 25, 2021

      I agree with your sentiment Dom, that TfL is largely a ‘tick boxing’ organisation, not designed to satisfy its customers but to satisfy its brief and contract from the department of transport

      Reply
      1. No Longer Anonymous
        November 25, 2021

        The conditions that the rail system was geared up for have changed beyond recognition. Very high passenger volume and commuter traffic.

        London (and other cities) are basically a shadow of their former selves but I do note (being a rail user myself) how people who claim to be scared of going to work by train are happy to get on crowded ones with their families for days out on Mondays and Fridays as well as weekends.

        Reply
    7. Hope
      November 25, 2021

      Dom, I think there is also the EU mentality of showing that the UK leaving EU does not pay and UK still has no control over borders.

      Like the NIP it was designed to keep the UK in regulatory alignment/orbit of EU while incrementally it severing N.Ireland from UK through commerce to make it impossible to trade directly with UK. Sadly, Johnson signed up to it and lied to say he had an oven ready deal! It was a rotten deal, pointed out by everyone with half a brain. He caved in as he has done so with everything else. Frost sill blustering and achieved nothing to date, ironically only air miles. Frost has got no where.

      Reply
  3. Nig l
    November 25, 2021

    With Grant Shapps in charge why should you be surprised. Read Alistair Heath in the DT, ‘the blob is taking back control and destroying Boris;s premiership’

    All of you should be ashamed from weak Ministers to servile MPs.

    Reply
    1. Gary Megson
      November 25, 2021

      Heath writes the same article every week. It’s always someone else’s fault that things are going very badly, never the fault of the Conservative Party which has been in power in this country for (checks notes) the last 11 years and 29 of the last 42 years. Eventually voters are going to work out who is to blame. It won’t be the civil servants trying to make sense of on the hoof media driven “policy”making by the likes of Shapps, Patel and Johnson himself

      Reply
    2. Andy
      November 25, 2021

      Nobody needs to help destroy Johnson’s premiership. It is imploding in front of our eyes. It is highly entertaining watching the useless, incompetent, sleazy, clown crash and burn.

      Reply
      1. No Longer Anonymous
        November 25, 2021

        Alas true and Labour should not be anywhere in sight but I will be voting for them, Andy.

        If we’re going commie lets do it up front and I want your money redistributed good and proper.

        Reply
      2. Micky Taking
        November 25, 2021

        It may be entertaining for you, but it is horrific for me, and probably most of the population that want the best for our country -England. Johnson was thought to be the best of a poor bunch, how bad would it have been if the MPs had seen through the bullshit, bluster and faux raving lunatic and chosen someone else?
        Having succeeded in being worse than the previous 2 PMs, we will have to sit on hands like the MPs and wait for the crumbs of a country left over by the next GE.

        Reply
    3. Everhopeful
      November 25, 2021

      +1

      Reply
      1. Hope
        November 25, 2021

        E,
        At least Carrie was aloud to give a speech to Stonewall at Tory conference. Did it not fill you with joy! I am still trying to work out where family values and the conservatism link to Stonewall when Truss has been trying to cancel some of their support in govt depts.! How much of taxpayers’ money is wasted/used to give to Stonewall? But, then again, Johnson having children by three women in three different households does not get a mention or questioned when he and his new squeeze is pushing the green agenda!

        Reply
    4. Donna
      November 25, 2021

      Nearly right. The Blob and the current Mrs Johnson are destroying Johnson’s premiership ….. with his cowardly acquiescence. Anything for a quiet life …..

      Reply
    5. Lifelogic
      November 25, 2021

      The Carrie green crap and net zero agenda will be and is a disaster for Boris, the Tories and the economy.

      Reply
    6. Lifelogic
      November 25, 2021

      Grant Shapps with his Higher National Diploma in business and finance (Manchester Poly) is so technically illiterate that he thinks Electric Cars are zero emission. In fact replacing your old I/C car with a new EV rather than keeping the old one nearly always increases emissions Grant. Please go and work it out for yourself if you can. This even if we had enough low carbon electricity to charge them all from (and we do not have).

      Reply
  4. Ian Wragg
    November 25, 2021

    Welcomed to our world.
    This is precisely why we have cars, it is also why there will be a mass revolt against being priced off the road by net zero.
    Trains are Victorian technology and are of little use to Joe public.
    Another money pit like the NHS.

    Reply
  5. alan jutson
    November 25, 2021

    Strap hanging passengers was the norm on the tube during rush hour in past years, it has now become the norm on surface railways on some routes. Why, because you can get more people in a carriage if they stand than if they sit, thus more income. more profit supposedly, also speedier to clean as no seats to sweep around. Shaped hard seats much cheaper to produce than comfy cushioned ones, have you noticed they are more narrow as well, so you sit closer to your neighbouring coughing passenger.
    Plan to use the train for the fist time in a couple of years this weekend for a trip to Twickenham, will probably need a second mortgage and a degree in applied mathematics to purchase the ticket, but will let you know how I get on.
    Anyone thought about the safety on these newly designed sealed window, so called air conditioned (clean filtered) aluminium boxes, with masses of people standing.
    Would you go out as a family, take an elderly relative, or a young child on one of these types of trains ?
    I doubt it.

    Reply
  6. alan jutson
    November 25, 2021

    I see we are now getting the wringing hands by politicians over the deaths in the Channel, having done little about the problem for the last couple of years (in particular the French who have taken the money but just stood by and watched) and despite all of the warnings, even given by politicians themselves that it is dangerous, a tragedy has now happened through lack of action.
    Politicians in the UK have done nothing of any good to reduce the pull factor, have not sent any number of any consequence back, so is it any wonder it has happened, and will continue.
    The government is just like a rubber dinghy at the moment, it is drifting out of control with little idea of any sort of direction whist the captain is more interested in making jokes.

    Reply
    1. alan jutson
      November 25, 2021

      What solution will the politicians come up with I wonder, given their past record they will probably suggest they should hire a ferry to reduce the risk !

      Reply
      1. Andy
        November 25, 2021

        It is not a difficult problem to solve. I could end it tomorrow.

        In cooperation with the French you create a safe space near Calais – where people are allowed to claim for asylum in the U.K.

        They are then brought safely to England and given the right to work in certain professions for a time limited period of 1 year during which their asylum claim is considered. Allowing them to work eases our recruitment problems, gives them a chance and negates your argument that they don’t contribute.

        Their claim is considered if they are successful they can stay. If they are unsuccessful they have an appeal. If that fails they can be deported.

        Easy. Problem solved.

        Interestingly – did you notice the first dinghies arrived in 2018. This is a problem of Brexit. Mr Redwood and his Brexity chums didn’t mention dinghies – did they?

        Reply
        1. alan jutson
          November 25, 2021

          Andy, it been a problem for 20 years, do you not remember them hiding in lorries, we had a freezer lorry with 39 bodies in it a few years ago, or have you forgotten, we were in the EU then !
          When going through Calais I have seen them in what was the huge jungle encampment just outside the town, by the side of the main Port road, I have actually been stuck on blocked the roads leading to the Port, indeed it got so bad the UK paid to double fence the main road for a one mile stretch into the Calais Port a number of years ago. So your Brexit reasoning is simply false.
          Macron has absolutely no problem with them if they want to leave France, he simply thinks they should get on with it, hence he is not bothering to stop them. In effect he is saying If you think its better in the UK than France, then P..s Off and go, we will not stop you !
          Immigrants want to come here because we are seen as the most generous Nation on earth, and they believe they will be better off here than anywhere else.
          Once here they then apply for the rest of the family to arrive, so its not 20,000 by boat, its actually more like 100,000 in reality.
          I would certainly agree with you on one matter, and that is on the uselessness of our present leader who is floundering on more than one front at the moment, and is seemingly clueless on what to do.
          The French have refused a so called UK run safe space in France, indeed it is only in the last few years that they have allowed our customs officers to operate in France, as indeed we allow the French ones to operate from our Ports as part of a reciprocal agreement.

          Reply
        2. Micky Taking
          November 26, 2021

          What professions would you suggest, surgery, teaching English to non first tongue children, Police, Armed Forces, Border Control?

          Reply
      2. Fedupsoutherner
        November 25, 2021

        Alan. Yes, not withstanding the fact that any loss of life is a tragedy, I really don’t think the public have the stomach for an easier way into the UK for people supposedly seeking asylum as a refugee. We all know most of these people are not refugees. Sure enough, some have sold their homes to raise the fee for the journey but they have made themselves homeless. I just keep asking the question of all these do gooders, just how many people do you think the UK tax payers should fund? It could and will if the charities get their way, run into millions. We are a small nation and a charitable one but this debacle has gone on too long and is out of control. Rightly or wrongly, I am fearful of young men from Iraq and Iran. The balance of gender is uneven and can only bring troubles of its own and big problems for women in the UK in particular. Macron and Boris need to get their heads together and come up with a sensible solution and that does not mean sitting on a beach and watching these people come over.

        Reply
        1. Shirley M
          November 25, 2021

          Agreed, few are genuine refugees and I am tired of hearing how they are fleeing for their lives …. from France? It appears they would rather risk their, and their children’s, lives in the channel than remain in a safe country.

          If they are genuine refugees, why do they destroy their papers, which I understand applies to many. I don’t know why they bother, as we know none of them will be deported even if their application for asylum fails (and a few rapes, murders or acts of terrorism won’t get them deported either). This is what gives them confidence to arrive illegally, and by any means possible.

          Reply
        2. glen cullen
          November 25, 2021

          and thats the nub of it, we all know they’re not real refugees

          Reply
      3. Donna
        November 25, 2021

        Come on …… think Boris Big. He’ll propose a bridge.

        Reply
        1. glen cullen
          November 25, 2021

          Thanks Donna you made me smile today

          Reply
        2. alan jutson
          November 25, 2021

          Donna
          we already have a tunnel !

          Reply
    2. Micky Taking
      November 25, 2021

      Well the French have immediately arrested 4, now 5 accused people smugglers. Amazing what can be done when the s**t hits the fan, the tragedy spotted by a fisherman calling ‘Mayday’.
      Yet Macron complains the UK is using these illegal activities as a political football….well he would, wouldn’t he!

      Reply
    3. glen cullen
      November 25, 2021

      Tobias Ellwood MP Chair of the defence select committee said today on GB News that ‘illegal immigration’ was our fault, a western problem due to all our pervious wars and he went further to conclude that climate change was also a major factor….what planet are these MPs on
      It’s the fault of the greedy economic illegal immigrant who has no problem circumventing the law, using children, in collusion with criminals and uses the system to their own advantage
      The BBC midday politics show was the same – its everyone else’s fault but never the illegal immigrant

      Reply
      1. rose
        November 25, 2021

        Glen, the BBC Today Programme this am was unbelievable. They all sat round telling each other the public didn’t understand that illegal immigration wasn’t a problem. Bourbons, the lot of them. The disconnection between them and us is bigger than ever.

        Reply
    4. rose
      November 25, 2021

      It is greedy lawyers, not HMG, who stop the deportations at the last minute.

      Reply
      1. glen cullen
        November 25, 2021

        Isn’t it HMG that write the laws that allow greedy lawyers to stop deportations, with an 80 seat majority and a will anything could be achieved

        Reply
        1. jerry
          November 26, 2021

          @glen cullen; Very true, govts do write the laws, they also agree to abide by internationally set laws, so should the current UK govt choose to opt-out of UN laws with regards how asylum claims are dealt with (just as we have the Dublin Agreement)?

          Even if the govt (cabinet) have such a will, could they get such policies through parliament, ultimately even keep their majority. It would only take 35 or so true conservative MP’s to decide they no longer care for what their party and/or politics has become and the Whips will have a real problem… Withdrawing the whip is no deterrent for someone who might have already chosen to sit as an “Independent Conservative”, or cross the floor anyway!

          Reply
          1. Peter2
            November 26, 2021

            Interesting post Jerry.
            Recent polls show a 70% plus majority for stopping the “1000 a day dingies” and wanting better controls over asylum and refugee claims and better controls over ordinary immigration which is still running at hundreds of thousands a year.
            My thoughts are that in a few years, if this situation is not resolved, the Conservatives might lose the next .election.
            But what government might we get?
            An SNP Labour coalition or a Labour Lib Dem Green coalition?
            I think it unlikely that Labour would get enough swing to create a majority on their own.
            I also think it unlikely that a new UKIP type party would gain sufficient seats to challenge.

          2. jerry
            November 27, 2021

            @P2; Nice Headline, “a 70% plus majority” -of those asked, but what were their demographics, who commissioned the poll, and what were the exact questions, was this one set of questions over multiple polls or a conflation of different polls asking different questions – I’m sure those are in full support the rights of migrants also want these inflatable dingies and rafts stopped…

            As for any Labour majority after the next election (not that my point was about a future parliament), if the Red Wall seats return to Labour, and the Conservatives carry on loosing their Blue Wall seats in the south (due to Brexit) I would suggest there is a very real possibility that the Labour party will have an outright majority, if not then yes a coalition (or supply and demand) agreement between Labour the Libdems and/or the SNP is a real danger.

          3. Peter2
            November 27, 2021

            Well you could look it up yourself Jerry.
            I don’t think such a poll result is surprising.

            At least we agree on a possible future election result.
            It would need a huge swing from an 80 seat majority but the way they are currently shooting themselves in both feet nothing is impossible.

          4. jerry
            November 28, 2021

            P2; “Well you could look it up yourself Jerry.”

            How can I do that when you have not cited were the results to the opinion poll(s) you speak off were published… Tell me Peter2, how long is this piece of string I have on my desk? 🙂

            “It would need a huge swing from an 80 seat majority”

            Wrong, the Conservatives only need to loose around 40 seats (on 2019 figures [1]) for their to be a hung parliament, that sort of swing has been quite common, as I have pointed out before (citing specific GE results).

            “but the way they are currently shooting themselves in both feet nothing is impossible.”

            Indeed, but who keeps handing this govt loaded pistols!…

            [1] less if they loose upcoming by-elections

        2. rose
          November 26, 2021

          The Home Secretary is taking the necessary legislation through Parliament at the moment, but it won’t have completed the parliamentary process till next year, 80 seat majority or no.

          Reply
  7. jerry
    November 25, 2021

    Our host seems not to understand how the modern railway system works, often with fixed length train units, expensive or non existent stock sidings (due to ‘excess’ railway land being sold off as per what our host has asked for in the past), whilst a train might appear to be running all but empty during off-peak periods it is still cheaper to run them that way than to shunt off to a siding, uncouple and store the excess carriages, and then shunt back into the station, even if operationally possible.

    I would love the railways to be more adaptable, as BR was in the 1960s and early ’70s, but that is not going to happen whilst accountants and the likes of the Tax Payers Alliance have their way! I agree with our host, TfL is most unsuited for anything but operating the services that used to be run by the LPTB. When GBR starts operations in early 2023 I suspect TFL will concentrate on their core operations.

    But I suspect his real argument is public vs private ownership, TfL being a public, GWR (1996-present) still private, forgetting that many other TOCs also operate trains wholly unsuited for the routes they are now used on, for example “Southern” (2001-present) operate a fleet of trains that were originally designed for London commuter suburban lines out of Waterloo, meaning poor seating, not enough seating, no toilets; these units now operate primarily on the lines east and west of Brighton – the Southern Railway company of 1923-1947, never mind BR, had better trains…

    Reply
    1. jerry
      November 25, 2021

      Slightly off on a tangent, but perhaps relevant to rolling stock availability, there are still ongoing issues with Hitachi designed/made trains across the UK, especially on the GWR and LNER routes.

      The UK needs to start designing and building our own rolling stock (trains) and locomotives again, not buying ‘off the peg’ units from other countries that are not designed for the route geography they actually will run on, there are suggestions that some of the Hitachi trains operated by LNER have suffered issues due to operating certain routs in Scotland.

      Reply
      1. No Longer Anonymous
        November 25, 2021

        The Hitachi trains are actually Japanese commuter trains being used for long distance services in the UK.

        Reply
  8. Richard1
    November 25, 2021

    Boris Johnson and macron are clearly right to say the U.K. and France – and the EU – need to clamp down on people smuggler gangs. At the very least they should be exposed to possible manslaughter charges, if it isn’t possible to pin murder on them.

    But that’s not enough. The demand has to be stopped. The only way to do that is to make it clear that illegal immigration doesn’t work – you will be turned back. If the U.K. and French govts had co-operated with such an approach instead of in effect facilitating illegal migration by boat to the U.K. – those 27 people, including children, would not have drowned. This was a tragedy waiting to happen.

    Reply
    1. rose
      November 26, 2021

      You are quite right, Richard. But we have to stop sentimentalising the demand first. Then we can deal with it.

      Reply
  9. Sir Joe Soap
    November 25, 2021

    Many folk here must read these diatribes and think-“Yes. I agree, but you’re in a far better position to do something about it than we are”.

    You’re one of a couple of hundred people who could turn this government and its policies upside down if you so wished. I’m one of 70 million or so. Were there sufficient Conservative MPs who truly wanted a change in personnel and policies, it would happen. Perhaps you should address this subject in future – why, in the face of the type of nincumpoop policies we see rolled out weeks after week, do you need to still keep banging the same old drum?

    Reply Better policies require good ideas, winning arguments widely enough, and numbers of MPs to vote them through. You need to the first two to get the third.

    Reply
    1. Sir Joe Soap
      November 25, 2021

      So why are there such barriers to winning the arguments? Whether it’s HS2, chucking money at an unreformed NHS, ditching the NI protocol… why are the majority of Tory MPs slavishly following the government line, then dutifully U-turning with it later?

      Reply
  10. Donna
    November 25, 2021

    It’s called Cattle Class because that’s what it resembles. My days of commuting are behind me, but it is a miserable experience and no-one who has done it for many years can blame people for not wanting to return to the 5 day a week misery when technology has proved it isn’t necessary.

    A far better, more comfortable and reliable railway service is needed and one which doesn’t just focus on London as the destination. I now live in Dorset; the rail line from Exeter, through Dorset to Salisbury has several stretches of single track where you can wait anything up to 15 minutes for a train coming in the opposite direction to clear the line before you can proceed. That makes the line less attractive for commuting into Salisbury and also highly vulnerable to weather events and accidents.

    There must be numerous similar examples across the country.

    It shows up again the lunacy of HS2; wasting £100 billion on one line which won’t be constructed for decades. The money should be spent improving and expanding the existing network. I’m afraid this, and the unaffordable Eco Lunacy constantly being rammed down our throats, is clear evidence that this Government will fail to deliver what the people who voted for it wanted.

    Unfortunately – tragically even – the Conservative Party is completely wasting the best opportunity to change this country for the better since Mrs Thatcher. Over the past few weeks, and as yesterday’s tragedy in the channel demonstrated, Johnson has proven beyond any doubt that the only place he’s competent to govern is Peppa Pig World.

    Reply
  11. The Prangwizard
    November 25, 2021

    With cattle-truck style toiletless carriages at least TfL ought to provide straw and buckets and maybe they will after they next take out the few remaining seats.

    Reply
  12. Nig l
    November 25, 2021

    And in other news, reading a report of a speech made by Sir Jim Mackay to NHS managers, very impressive telling them how it is, reminding them we are the customer, we have probably been too tolerant of Covid’s excuses etc.

    Looking to refocus hospital appointments, giving us control etc. if the blob/ our usual failings re large computer projects don’t get in the way, could be the start of a bright future.

    At least how fed up we are (an understatement) and wanting real improvements for our money seems to be cutting through. Lessons for the rest of Government.

    Reply
  13. Everhopeful
    November 25, 2021

    Tatty but comfortable and highly ( helpfully) staffed, BR was much better.
    And tickets bought on the day for the immediate journey with cash…at an affordable price.
    Of course, successive governments have made the country far too dangerous for that sort of transport to work now.

    Reply
    1. glen cullen
      November 25, 2021

      To this day I can still remember my first trip on the InterCity125, which was faster than HS2 and probably cost only 1/100th of HS2

      Reply
      1. Everhopeful
        November 25, 2021

        +1
        Lovely memories!

        Reply
  14. Will in Hampshire
    November 25, 2021

    It’s interesting that the word “Crossrail” didn’t appear in our host’s post today, as what he described is the Crossrail service running near it’s western extremity before descending below ground at Paddington to run parallel to Oxford Street through the City and on to Canary Wharf and beyond. This explains why the rolling stock was designed the way it is: it was intended to serve very high demand for people wanting to cross London east-west much faster than is possible with the Central Line or Circle/District Line alternatives today.

    Now we find ourselves in a post-pandemic world with trains at best half-full. It’s not what was foreseen by planners; happily, it’s not certain that the world will always be like this. (Personally I think the railways will be mostly full again in 2-3 year’s time as businesses adapt their office spaces, working patterns and events to suit the new reality. We’ll see.) But the way the TfL service is described here is inaccurate and unreasonable: our host omits important reasons why the service is the way it is.

    One other observation: the decisions about rolling-stock for the Crossrail project were taken many years ago, almost certainly at a time when the Chairman of Transport for London was Boris Johnson, who exercised his right to act in that capacity when he was London’s Mayor. Perhaps our host should write to him to complain.

    Reply
  15. Nota#
    November 25, 2021

    Sir John, also a very slow commute option. Strange isn’t it the trains that are required for the real mass transport of people, are the most cramped, almost a downgraded service of what should be possible in a modern transport network.

    The UK is still building for the last century all the logo’s and fresh paint do not make a service. Until the UK Government gets that into its head people will rely on the car.

    As most have said here before the flagship HS2 project goes from nowhere to nowhere, it is slower when compared to the already provided centre-to-centre. HS2 is also using expensive foreign produced generations old technology and rolling stock – a fresh looking livery is not new.

    Reply
  16. Everhopeful
    November 25, 2021

    Here I see and suffer on a daily basis, charitable mayhem.
    Charities are given a free hand in all sorts of care for which they have no training/skill. And people suffer!! Govt lazily and duplicitously hands over many social functions to them.
    It is wrong!
    And now 30 odd dead in The Channel because the couldn’t care less govt ( despite all warnings) handed all security over to NGOs.
    The govt was warned and warned.
    Who will it throw under the bus?

    Reply
    1. glen cullen
      November 25, 2021

      Remember all those European elections that UKIP won due to immigration, and the reported second main reason for Brexit….well the conservative governments ignored all those cues and continue to ignore them

      Reply
      1. Everhopeful
        November 25, 2021

        +1

        Reply
    2. glen cullen
      November 25, 2021

      Today right now someone in government is negotiating with the French to pay them more money and to arrange safe passage to half of the illegal immigrants at Calais..I kid you not

      Reply
      1. Everhopeful
        November 25, 2021

        +1
        It is all getting beyond parody now.
        Today “Conservative Home” said “ The small boats eruption threatens Johnson with a bigger, bolder, nastier incarnation of UKIP” so there may be a little waning of the hubris.
        I thought “nastier” was a blinking cheek considering what the Tories have done to us!!

        Reply
      2. No Longer Anonymous
        November 25, 2021

        And it will be done behind the backs of the British people. Everyone will be consulted except the British people (including the smuggling gangs.)

        It’s the deception which is the worst part of it all.

        Who do they think they’re kidding ?

        Reply
    3. glen cullen
      November 25, 2021

      Boris reminds me of ‘Yes Prime Minister’ last night with his ‘shocked and appalled’ comments…is Sir Humphrey briefing him ?

      Reply
      1. Everhopeful
        November 25, 2021

        +1
        I reckon SOMEONE is briefing him!
        The poor man is positively befuddled. “Bewitched, bothered and bewildered”.
        The question is.
        By whom?

        Reply
        1. Micky Taking
          November 26, 2021

          You make an ELLA good question…

          Reply
  17. ChrisS
    November 25, 2021

    What a horrible experience !

    When I used to commute to Sloane Square in the 197os from Maidenhead, the class 108 diesel railbuses were reasonably quiet and the carriage floors had 100% seating. The seats had cloth trim and were very comfortable.

    Those units were perfect for a 30 mile commute to Paddington. It is true that they did not have toilets but almost everyone can survive an hour without access to a toilet.

    Things seem to have gone backwards !

    Reply
  18. Bryan Harris
    November 25, 2021

    Yet the London mayor, with his excess of highly paid advisors, expects the taxpayer to pick up the tab for his Inefficiencies.

    Our local station has been tarted up, but with no better facilities or ease of access.

    It seems that TFL and train operators haven’t done the basic thing of asking the public what they want! Why is such logic is beyond them?
    I rarely use trains these days, mainly because I was sick of the lousy service, waiting and other conditions, and the time wasted in the slow journey when I had no choice but to commute. I still get riled at the description of a train as ‘fast’, when they mean it doesn’t stop at any stations but still travels at around 20MPH.

    Rail companies grew fat on the commuter trade, and service was never even adequate – another case of rip-off-Britain. As ultimate control of the rail network moves to government, what plans do ministers have to extract a better service from companies running the trains?

    Reply
  19. Nottingham Lad Himself
    November 25, 2021

    I’m constantly wearily alerted to the fact that those running businesses seem to fail to grasp even the basics. Perhaps it stems from an inability to empathise with anyone at all, including their customers.

    You get pubs which are so cold that you can only bear them for five minutes, for instance.

    I’ve just been to the bakers – which make very good stuff – for bread. There were various loaves, savoury pastries and so on in the window and glass cabinets.

    However, there was not a single label as to what they were, their contents e.g. “steak pie” or “vegetarian pasty”, nor the prices.

    It would appear that similar people are running much larger concerns, and with just as little insight.

    Reply
    1. Peter2
      November 26, 2021

      What you are describing is the churn of successful and failing businesses in a free (ish) market economy.
      Some satisfy their customers and thrive.
      Others dont treat their customers correctly and therefore fail.
      I assume you probably wont be going back NHL

      Reply
  20. Micky Taking
    November 25, 2021

    Sir John you write as if all this came as a surprise! I had imagined you travelled by rail very often, so you are now aware of the commuter’s lot, although leisure use has fewer downsides.
    Twyford is a small exception in that route to the carpark, paying by machine at either end, and having to cross the line to Henley is an oddity. Yes the trains appear too long for non-peak travel, but I imagine the difficulties with arranging shorter ones to begin the route after peak hours is not worth the effort. The modern carriages on all lines appear to assume you will travel with a cushion, or have a very short journey. Electric power means faster acceleration, and enhanced braking reduces time taken per station.
    Price is an issue I would like to return to, regularly wanting to reach Didcot from the Waterloo-Reading line. I have had a 3 year Railcard for some years, one third saving on fares is a bonus, but timing is the problem. If I travel on the 9.02 or later my return fare is £5.65, but if I wish to travel earlier on the 8.32 or earlier my fare is £12.20. Both trains are very lightly used.

    Reply I have travelled by train pre pandemic to get around the main cities of the Uk but I had not travelled the new TFL line. I regularly use the tube in London for the longer distances and walk the shorter ones

    Reply
    1. Micky Taking
      November 25, 2021

      reply to reply ….I now realise why you reported on TFL. It must have been very disappointing to find the issues with a line trumpeted for years, costing those £billions, upheaval on the streets of London. It was to be salvation of London’s overcrowded railways….FAIL.

      Reply
  21. ukretired123
    November 25, 2021

    Sir John you were lucky to see so many trains and carriages albeit lacking good management. In the North and other parts of the country you would be lucky to get on such a train, sadly.

    A recent journey from Liverpool to Stroud Glos via Birmingham was curtailed at Cheltenham teatime on a Saturday for an elderly lady travelling alone. An expensive taxi was shared fortunately with 4 other locals who were left high and dry by Network Rails No Trains to London from Gloucester to London most Saturdays recently.

    In other news the migrants drowning in the Channel near Calais disaster should halt forthwith as we have feared for years without real action. Time for real Brexit

    Reply
  22. majorfrustration
    November 25, 2021

    Is anything design to help the voters?

    Reply
  23. beresford
    November 25, 2021

    You seem very interested in railways, JR. Our local service is provided by the awful West Midlands Railways, which routinely cancels trains at short notice due to ‘shortage of staff’. It is a disgrace that some London trains have no toilets, but ours have only one which is ‘out of service’ 50% of the time. Fortunately the stations are unmanned and a spot underneath the footbridge can be found. You are less keen to mention the migrant scandal. As I have said many times, find a poor African country and bribe them. On arrival give the migrants a cursory asylum hearing in front of a single judge, then offer those with no credible case the choice of being put on a plane to their own country (not France) or being put on a plane to our African partner. Once it is demonstrated that we are serious, the flow will dwindle to a trickle as the migrants decide to bank their sure thing in the EU. Then if the EU ever decide to protect their own borders, we should contribute on the basis that it is better to fight your battles far from home.

    Reply
  24. Amanda Hall
    November 25, 2021

    Dear Mr Redwood
    There is a way of making Macron stop the migrants coming. For every migrant that arrives illegally from France we will take one fishing licence away. Macron does not want these migrants and if a thousand are leaving every day he thinks the French are happy about this and will vote for him. If the French fisherman lose licences, then he will act.
    Amanda

    Reply
    1. Micky Taking
      November 25, 2021

      that would mean no licences left in a week – great idea.

      Reply
  25. glen cullen
    November 25, 2021

    Transport related
    The UK largest fire in a decade burned 300 tonnes of plastic in Hull last night and produced more pollutants than all of the UK vehicles in a single year…puts things into perspective

    Reply
  26. Denis Cooper
    November 25, 2021

    Off topic, a local member of the European Movement writing in to the Maidenhead Advertiser hopes that I noticed the recent protests on the Irish land border, which of course I did:

    https://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2021/11/22/free-ports-need-to-be-freed-to-succeed/#comment-1278470

    “These campaigners have done very well: for more than five years they have had their false images and messages repeatedly reproduced in the mass media of the UK and the Irish Republic and beyond …”

    Including in this report from exactly four years ago today:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/25/phil-hogan-ireland-eu-commissioner-brexit-chaos

    “Phil Hogan, the EU’s agriculture commissioner, told the Observer that it was a “very simple fact” that remaining inside the single market and customs union, or allowing Northern Ireland to do so, would end the standoff.

    Hogan warned there was “blind faith” from some UK ministers that Britain would secure a comprehensive Brexit free trade deal. He warned that Ireland would “continue to play tough to the end” over its threat to veto trade talks until it had guarantees over the border.”

    Despite that stark warning Theresa May and Boris Johnson both made the terrible mistake of supplicating for special trade deals with the EU rather than defaulting to the existing WTO treaties.

    Now we have the new German government pressing for changes to the EU treaties:

    https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-elections-government-europe-olaf-scholz-angela-merkel-sdp-fdp-greens-brussels/

    “… a constitutional convention and the further development of a federal European state ..”

    while insisting that there can be no change to the present UK-EU agreements.

    Reply
  27. BJC
    November 25, 2021

    I’ve booked a one-way (leisure) journey over Christmas. The rail fare was £80, change in London. A National Express coach with large comfortable seats they insist I use, was £25, direct. No contest.

    Reply
  28. beresford
    November 25, 2021

    Blaming the smugglers is just a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from the weak politicians who refuse to remove the incentives to make the crossing. After all the smugglers are only ‘searching for a better life’ and some politicians believe that activities such as ticket touting are praiseworthy examples of free enterprise. Not all illegal immigration is organised by smugglers.

    Reply
  29. X-Tory
    November 25, 2021

    Given that rail operators (such as TfL) have a monopoly they obviously have no incentive whatsoever to spend money on improving the quality of the journey experience for their customers. Complaining or otherwise whingeng about this will have zero effect. What is needed is LEGISLATION forcing all rail companies to provide certain minimum facilities, such as wifi, working toilets and sufficient seats. Of course, this would mean that MPs and ministers would actualy need to CARE about the public, and their is scant evidence of that anywhere I look! If only an MP who did care could bring in a private member’s bill …

    Reply
  30. X-Tory
    November 25, 2021

    Sir John, I see you have tweeted today urging the government to take more acton against people smugglers, but I am afraid that, for once, you are off beam. Where there is a demand there will ALWAYS be a supply. For evey people smuggler you arrest another two will take his place. The government has been trying to arrest major drug gangs for decades, and how’s that going? NO. The only solution is to ELIMINATE THE DEMAND.

    And the only way to do this, as I have said before, is to make it clear that the UK does not accept that ANYONE coming from a safe EU country is a genuine asylum seeker and will therefore NOT grant asylum to ANY of them, nor give them ILR or ELR for ANY reason, and then will deport them ALL back to their HOME country (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc) – and then actually DO THIS. And the only way this can be achieved is by first resiling from international human rights laws. And since the government is too pathetic and treacherous to do this NOTHING will change.

    Reply OI agree we need to do more than one thing to stop this

    Reply
    1. beresford
      November 25, 2021

      You have to overcome the problem that either they won’t tell you their country of origin or they claim to come from a country which won’t accept return of its own citizens (like Iran). Which is why we need to fund an alternative destination somewhere in the Third World.

      Reply
    2. IanT
      November 25, 2021

      At the end of the day – the solution is very simple.

      The migrantsa have clearly come from France and they should be returned back there the very same day. It would then be a very expensive (and dangerous) day-trip that would be impossible to sell. I fully understand that the French don’t like this idea but it would stop this dangerous trade stone dead.

      Reply
      1. rose
        November 26, 2021

        The French are themselves suffering from this influx and should admit that if they controlled their own borders by removing the draw, they would benefit too. It seems they prefer to cut off their noses in punishing us for Brexit.

        Reply
      2. Micky Taking
        November 27, 2021

        and the flow coming in to France would gradually stop too, once the word was out that it was a waste of time.

        Reply
  31. Original Richard
    November 25, 2021

    With new working practices leading to a more distributed office location pattern as well as simply working from home, improved internet communication and the development of driverless EVs I would expect commuter train use will decline considerably.

    Train transport in order to survive needs to find smart ways to lower its costs and to become more reliable.

    For instance, I’m surprised that the Government do not appear to have a plan to convert to driverless trains, which has to be far simpler than driverless cars and HGVs.

    Reply
    1. X-Tory
      November 25, 2021

      The technology for driverless trains (both mainline and underground) already exists and has done for years. Driverless trains are cheaper to run, much safer, more reliable, can be run closer together (meaning more services, and thus less crowding), can be run at times drivers don’t want to work (eg. Christmas or New Year’s Day) and, of course, never go on strike. The only reason we don’t have these wonderful driverless trains is because the government doesn’t have the guts to stand up to the likes of ASLEF and Sadiq Khan. The political will is lacking from the useless blob of jelly that is our prime minister.

      Reply
      1. 37/6
        November 25, 2021

        Driver-less trains.

        Believe me. Workers have NEVER been able to stop automation.

        The reason it hasn’t happened on the mainline railways is that the driver is there to be able to deal with faults and incidents in remote locations.

        A train breaks down in the middle of nowhere with a thousand passengers on it. Who takes charge in the time it takes technicians to get there ? (Up to three hours in some cases if traffic is bad.)

        DLR is not even fully automated. There are always ‘Train Captains’ within walking distance of each train and often on board.

        Reply
        1. Original Richard
          November 26, 2021

          37/6 :

          “The reason it [driverless trains] hasn’t happened on the mainline railways is that the driver is there to be able to deal with faults and incidents in remote locations.

          I would expect there to be a guard/ticket collector on mainline trains to deal with emergencies as well as helping passengers, even though many trains do not travel through “remote locations”.

          Certainly tube trains could be very easily made driverless.

          Particularly as the RMT are striking because they say the rota changes caused by 200 dedicated night-time staff being integrated into the 4000 driving staff, which means I calculate 18 nights/year for each driver, have resulted in ‘unacceptable and intolerable demands’ on its members and their work-life balance.

          Reply
  32. Ed M
    November 25, 2021

    When I go to Switzerland, there is something reassuring about Swiss Rail. Swiss Rail is meant to be the best in Europe. I don’t get that reassuring feeling about railways here. I pity the poor commuters to London, who are crammed like rats, and pay a fortune for it. No doubt The (Financial) City of London would be even stronger if we had better rail.

    Reply
  33. Mark J
    November 25, 2021

    Rather than TFL continually pleading poverty and having the begging bowl out, a better way for them to raise money would be to enforcing the rules on people actually paying for their fares.

    At Twyford you can easily walk onto the platform, plus board a train without buying a ticket, or using the contactless reader. I’ve experienced many stations at the London end with open ticket barriers, such as West Ealing and Acton Mainline. How is that any incentive for me to continue paying for future journeys? How is that helping plug TFL’s black hole in its finances?

    In the evenings and after about 8pm on a Sunday, all the barriers are usually open, including at Reading. Those that know how to cheat the system will be well aware of this for a ‘free’ journey.

    When the Elizabeth Line has costs us the Taxpayer many billions, you would have thought TFL would have done a far better job enforcing people paying to help cover the running costs.

    TFL also need to understand the needs of public transport is more than continually subsidising London. Why should TFL be given another few billions to squander, when many other areas in the UK do not have the luxury of such a regular transport system.

    As for the Tube Drivers. About time they were told where to go. They already receive substantial pay and perks, compared to many other people. They now come across as exceptionally greedy.

    Reply
    1. Ed M
      November 25, 2021

      More is needed than catching ticket dodgers. I’d send a small research team over to Switzerland and try and copy what they do so, relatively-speaking, well in rail (no country exactly same obviously but can still get an idea).

      Reply
  34. Mark J
    November 25, 2021

    Just to add:

    – The length of the TFL trains. They start off with few getting at Reading and Twyford, however past Slough the trains soon fill up. I usually take my bicycle on TFL rail services to London, due to the ridiculous booking policy and cycle spaces offered by GWR.
    – No toilets. Agree this is ridiculous, especially for late night/early hours services coming back from London. People are likely to have been out for a few drinks. Will the trains wait around whilst they pop into the station toilets provided? I don’t think so.
    – Prices. From Twyford to Paddington – £17.10 (non travlecard), £21.90 (with Travelcard). A railcard will save a third. However, how are the standard prices encouraging people to use public transport? The Conservatives policy of making fare payers pay a greater share is absolutely wrong. Every other country subsidises public transport. Only in the UK this is seen as a bad thing. You will never get a public transport system running to a big profit. Certainly not by pricing people from using it!

    A more sensible pricing structure would be first adult = full fare. Second adult = half fare, with kids going free. The costs would then be comparable to taking the car, fuel and parking costs.

    Reply I went to Paddington and it didn’t fill up

    Reply
    1. MikeP
      November 25, 2021

      Yes the seats on many trains are hard, barely padded at all, even the new GWR intercities you may have used so far from ideal on longer journeys. Then try to locate the 3-pin plug for your mobile phone charger, down beneath the table under your seat, barmy!

      Reply
  35. MWB
    November 25, 2021

    British trains have been dirty and decrepit for as long as I can remember. My eyes were opened in the 1960s as to what the 1st world was like, when I was on my first holiday abroad, and travelled on the railway line from Bergen to Oslo. Beautifully clean carriages, multi-lingual announcements, nice refreshments served, quiet, and ample space to store one’s luggage and skis.
    The restaurant at Bergen station was also of the highest quality.
    Unfortunately, I had to come home to 3rd world Britain when my holiday was over.
    Things will never get better.

    Reply
    1. Micky Taking
      November 26, 2021

      I must be blessed, the trains I use on GWR and South West Trains are not decrepit or dirty..

      Reply
  36. Everhopeful
    November 25, 2021

    ANOTHER footballer has collapsed.
    Wigan Athletic striker Charlie Wyke.
    What on earth is going on?

    Reply
    1. Donna
      November 25, 2021

      Anyone who reads Toby Young’s “The Daily Sceptic” website has a pretty good idea.

      Reply
      1. No Longer Anonymous
        November 25, 2021

        I also know of a few cases of Bell’s Paulsey too.

        Reply
  37. MikeP
    November 25, 2021

    Yes the seats on many trains are hard, barely padded at all, even the new GWR intercities you may have used so far from ideal on longer journeys. Then try to locate the 3-pin plug for your mobile phone charger, down beneath the table under your seat, barmy!

    Reply
  38. Grennell
    November 25, 2021

    Just listening to Lord West he thinks ilegal people should be blown out if the water just like the Belgrano people

    Reply
    1. Micky Taking
      November 26, 2021

      Is it you making the idiotic evil comparison, or Lord West?

      Reply
      1. Peter2
        November 26, 2021

        Grennell has been reading the Independent and the Guardian again.

        Reply
  39. George Brooks.
    November 25, 2021

    The business commuting pattern has been completely altered by the pandemic and modern communication technology so now is the perfect time to design and build the railway model of the future. HS2 and the plans announced last week for the East Midlands and the North are fine for the ‘spine’ of the country.

    The passenger train timetables and length of trains need to go back to basics and be redrawn to meet future needs and this will free up a huge amount of track space and time that should be occupied by a significantly increased freight traffic to service all the Free ports and our major cities. In other words ”Reverse Beeching” and get as many of those diesel container trucks off the road as possible.

    Don’t waste time and money by trying to alter or tweak the present timetables. Go back to basics and create a brand new model

    Reply
  40. acorn
    November 25, 2021

    Network Rail (NR) has recently completed a project to lengthen freight trains that can use Southampton docks. NR, as always on GB’s Victorian railway, is continually faced with the conflict between Passenger Services and Freight Services. Alas, passengers vote, freight wagons don’t. In the Shapps’ northern rail plan, the word “intermodal” is used only once when referring to freight.

    Those, who like me, have waited at a rail crossing in North America, while a two mile long freight train passes at slow speed, will understand that some railway systems; like in the US and Canada, are built for freight movement, not high speed passengers. The universal solution is four track corridors. two for freight and to for passengers. The northern rail plan does actually plan to build a few miles of this at known conflict points. So it can’t be all as bad as Redwoodian commenters rant about.

    Reply
    1. anon
      November 25, 2021

      Driverless electric air& ground-taxis & are a strategic threat to railways.
      Mega-cities may only need DLR type trains/buses.

      The railways may be better concentrating on heavy freight thats left.

      Reply
      1. acorn
        November 26, 2021

        Agree. I would electrify all freight routes and concentrate on making those routes “gauge cleared” for 20ft and 40ft container flat wagons at least. 45ft containers fit neatly on an EU standard 13.6m road trailer and megafret rail wagons.

        Reply
  41. Iain Gill
    November 25, 2021

    The “southern trains” song by the darkness is great, and tells us all we need to know about trains in the UK.

    Reply
  42. Peter from Leeds
    November 25, 2021

    Freedom pass – who pays for that! When around £2000 per person in London and the SE of Taxpayers’ money is spent on transport infrastructure compared to £430 per person in the North. But for Leeds we have been promised a return to the 1950s with a replacement tram system – because we obviously don’t need 21st century trains.

    Driving on the A1 today makes me wonder what HGV driver shortage? How about using some of the railways to transport goods if the trains do not have enough passengers and the trains don’t have toilets or enough seats anyway.

    Reply
  43. Lindsay McDougall
    November 26, 2021

    Sooner or later the Prime Minister and the Government will have to come to terms with the fact that public transport usage is about 30% down compared with pre-pandemic levels. There is considerable regional variation across the country, the reduction in commuting to London being 44%, whereas the reduction in a northern town like Burnley is near zero. Having lots of half empty trains charging about the country is neither environmentally friendly nor financially viable. When things are back to a new normal in the spring, operating companies will need to look at train lengths and frequencies with a view to running trains full but not overful. The exercise will involve mothballing some rolling stock, some redundancies, and reviewing where trains are parked overnight and at off peak times during the day.
    I have several times advocated vertically integrated area or corridor railway monopolies, with the companies owning the freehold of property at stations, and zero intererence by the State. One such corridor company might be Bristol to London Paddington, to include places like Reading and Twyford. I challenge Sir John to get out a railway atlas, acquire an inventory of railway assets in that corridor, plus data on population locations and train patronage, and come up with an outline plan to run that railway at a profit.

    Reply
  44. Mike Wilson
    November 26, 2021

    If there were no railways, who would invent them now?

    What came first – the railway or the commute? Obviously, the railway. The railway facilitated the commute. Now the commute, by office workers at least, is unnecessary – the railways are unnecessary. Axe the lot.

    Reply
  45. Micky Taking
    November 27, 2021

    Will the Government make good the massive drop in donations and bequests to the RNLI which will become apparent in a year or two? No more casual donations from me, but I will leave a sum to remain in my will. I expect lots of people to cancel theirs.

    Reply

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