With such an obvious carbon advantage according to Defra (please see below) of travelling by train in comparison to using cars what hurdles and examples are there to increasing the availability and frequency of train travel....?
The calculations are based on:
Car = 0.114kg CO2 / pass km. This is derived from the DEFRA CO2 emissions factor for an average petrol car which is 0.180kg CO2 / vehicle km and the average loading for a car: 1.6 people / journey (DfT).
Train = 0.052kg CO2 / pass km. This is derived from the DEFRA CO2 emissions factor
Leigh was the southern terminus of the 7.5 miles (12 km) long Bolton and Leigh railway. George Stephenson carried out the survey for the line. It opened between Bolton and William Hulton's coal mines at Chequerbent for freight on 1 August 1828 and to the terminus at the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Leigh in March 1830. Passengers were carried from 13 June 1831. The line was closed to passenger traffic on 29 March 1954, and later closed completely. The railway crossed the town on a viaduct which has since been largely demolished.It was closed in May 1969, leaving the town without a railway: after the reopening of Mansfield and Corby railway stations , Leigh is now one of the largest towns in Great Britain without a railway station. Numerous colliery lines crossed the town, but with the closure of the collieries these were no longer required.
The nearest railway station is at Atherton , 3 miles (5 km) miles to the north, with trains to Wigan and Manchester operated by Northern Rail, leaving the bus station as Leigh's only public transport link. The Leigh-Salford-Manchester Bus Rapid Transit scheme is a bus rapid transit project in Greater Manchester to provide improved transport connections between Leigh and Manchester city centre via Salford. The scheme is being promoted by Transport for Greater Manchester and scheduled for completion by 2015. The scheme includes a 4.5 km guided busway between Leigh and Ellenbrook using the old railway, before joining the A580(East Lancs road) for a conventional journey to Manchester.
Wouldn’t it have been more effective to reinstate the railway, removing buses from the rush hour traffic, cutting commuter journey times for both road and rail rather than the busway which appears to be a mixture of tram, rail and bus technology without the benefits of either?
If we are looking at rail transport then we really need to look at what is technically called the origin and destination (OD matrix) i.e. where people are going to and from overall rather than looking at the individual train journeys.
We need to go further than this and in many cases to see whether they are just trying to carry the man with the briefcase or the woman with the handbag. This might be in line with the HATS technique developed by Oxford University.
We do need mystery travellers in the same way that shops have mystery shoppers to check whether it is easy to make the total journey and whether signage is adequate. This may sound trite, but has anyone tried to go between Stratford International and Stratford mainline where there is no obvious method of going between the two and there is no signage. Railway operators can be as good as other people indulging in our national specialism of moaning, rather than seeing what they can do for themselves.
It is of course important to reduce carbon emissions in both the short and the long term, but it may also be important to reduce pollution. Currently 45,000 people per year die of vehicle pollution. Will having a station at Ebbsfleet with 8000 car parking spaces reduce or increase carbon emissions? At one railway meeting I went to the railway manager was asked whether he would prefer to carry 2000 passengers at £4 or 1000 passengers at £8 and he obviously didn't understand why the question was asked. The logic was that if it carried more passengers then the external costs would be reduced.The famous/infamous Beeching report in 1963, said that the author did not understand cost benefit analysis.
We can see why even non-users of railway services notice if there is a railway breakdown or strike because their journey takes so much longer, particularly in the London area.
Do railway managers and operatives actually get taught cost benefit analysis or do they simply get taught engineering techniques which are important, but are not the whole of the story?
Do they understand queuing theory and why it might be important?
Why is queuing theory relevant?
Almost all organisations and most individuals need to use queuing theory, which is covered in some statistics courses. For example, a railway manager will know if they put in extra ticket windows or machines how much these will be used. There is a trade off between having so many windows open that customers never have to wait and having so few open that customers eventually get fed up with waiting and use alternative methods of transport. Similar principles apply elsewhere, for example with trains and the number of platforms.
Organisations need to know the number of telephones they require. Even hot desking organisations need to know the number of desks they require. If they have too few, then people will spend too much time searching for a desk, whereas if they have too many this is wasteful.
One of the most obvious but frequently overlooked decisions is the number of toilets an organisation requires. An equal number of male and female toilets mean that there is often a queue for the ladies toilets, but not for the men. It should not be difficult to work out what the optimum ratio is, although it is difficult to find organisations that have done this.
In January 2013 there were familiar complaints at Heathrow when there was snow, about lack of information to passengers. There is probably no easy answer to how much equipment would be necessary to keep runways open, but it should not be too difficult to work out the number of staff who should be available to give passengers information.
The average private car sits idle around 90-95% of the time (Campaign for Better Transport), using up land and costing the owner dearly. Car sharing (one car shared by many users - not Ride sharing one car used for many 'riders') makes it viable to have electric vehicles and very low emission cars intensively used and managed by operators who will replace and renew to a planned programme, reducing the wastage of the car suppliers producing to serve a speculative and volatile private sales market, which requires a costly promotional support network. Figures for annual surveys of car club members show dramatically increased use of cycling and rail travel and a doubling of bus use where there is a level playing field for users choice on the marginal cost of making a journey.
1. Capacity - there may not always be sufficient rolling stock or track capacity for additional services. Both require iunvestment.
2.If investment has to be largely or entirely funded from ticket sales, fares may be too high to encourage extra usage.
3. Frequency of trains may not be the only hurdle. Access to and from stations can also be a disincentive. For example, bus, tram, metro or regional train services to and from the main line stations may be costly and inconvenient. More needs to be done to make door-to-door journeys seamless. EPF is working on a report "The Final Mile" which will be available by October 3rd.