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The rising cost of train fare

July 15, 2012

Tomorrow the government is expected to announce a multi billion rail investment. This is expected to cost up to 10bn between 2014 and 2019 according to the Guardian which will create growth and cut carbon.
Its even being described as the biggest rail investment program since the Victorian Era!

However, does this mean that rail fares will be cut? Not much has been said about that. Yes, making many of the trains electric is the most practical idea however where is the obvious benefit for the taxpayer?

Tomorrow I fly to Holland for a few days and when booking my tickets I found that my train fare to the airport almost matches how much I am paying for my flights! That is absurd!

I do class flying as a luxury but maybe my mistake but trains have always been something I have taken for granted and I hadn’t quite realised how expensive they had got!

Like Labour’s shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said ‘rail investment was needed to deliver jobs and growth now – not after 2015.’

What would be useful would be cutting train fares – putting money back into the pockets of the consumer.

Good infrastructure is important however people need to be able to afford it first.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2012 2:05 pm

    Fairs are high but I still think the investment is a good move. Hopefuly the coalition is starting to realise that investments such as this will help stimulate the declining British rail industry, helping it to grow large enough to compete with German and French companies again.

    Although perhaps government plans to go ahead with high speed rail are unwise. HS2 isn’t really neccessary and I’m doubtful as to whether Bombardier would be given the contracts in favour of Hitachi anyway. Since ‘98% of the populations will use HS2 less than once a year’ most would instead feel more of a benefit if fares were cut as you suggest.

    http://www.progressonline.org.uk/campaigns/labour-4-high-speed-2/supporters/
    http://stophs2.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/HS2-NOTES-FOR-MPs-extended-02.pdf

    • July 15, 2012 3:24 pm

      HS2 is a bad idea in my opinion anyway.

      Our rail industry will never be as large as that of France or Germany because very simply we are not as heavily reliant on trains as they are and our transport budget is much smaller than theirs.

      Promises after 2015 are no good to the millions of people struggling now. Also, different sections of the railways are owned by different people – so on one train line there can be 3 separate companies for the track, the train and the actual running of it. (A product of privatization) This makes it difficult to target money directly and investment will only be beneficial and worthwhile if it provides long term employment and drives down cost.

      • July 15, 2012 4:13 pm

        Fair enough our industry won’t be as large, but as is, it is being out competed by foreign companies for British contracts it would be perfectly capable of completing. This is largely due to economy of scale. Since redundancies last year Britains only remaining train factory cannot any longer compete with companies like Siemens for the larger contracts, putting thousands of jobs at risk. With EU rules preventing us showing bias in procurement, the only way to ensure our ailing rail industry can continue to exist is to increase the volume of work in the sector.

        In an ideal world we could renationalise the railways. Seeing as thats not going to happen any time soon, the rail companies will still need subsidies and investment.

        Completely agree about HS2 though :]

  2. mcneilio permalink
    July 16, 2012 3:39 pm

    Fares are ludicrously high. Whenever I go to France I am stunned by how much cheaper, but also better, the service is. I think it stands as testament to how much better people’s lives can be when politicians take a long-term approach towards things, as the railway programme in France has enjoyed long term cross-party support. In the UK our parties consistently clash on transport policy and the results are the high fares and poor service. (Obviously there are other factors but this is definately a major part of it.) Good article!

  3. author permalink
    September 16, 2012 4:46 pm

    It can actually work out cheaper to fly to certain parts of the UK instead of getting a train, i saw a Eurostar advertisement, London to Brussels return i believe it was for £59 which is cheaper than going from Sunderland to Blackpool. Public Transport in the UK is in dire need of investment and sometimes its simple not practical, especially in smaller towns.

    • September 17, 2012 9:40 am

      Last christmas I needed to travel on Christmas eve and from Manchester to London on the train would have been around £100 but a flight was £18!!

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