About railways – again!

By | Category: Travel rumblings

there is a suggestion that the old opeator in Wales, Arriva Trains, did little or no maintenace in the last months of its contract. One ex-employee even suggested to me that Arriva removed spare parts from some depots.

This morning it was announced that rail fares would rise by an average of 3.1% on January 2nd. We already knew that regulated fares would raise by 3.2% but the average now includes what the rail companies will charge for those that are unregulated.

Each year I raise the importance of rail travel to visitors and domestic travellers looking to go for days out, weekend breaks and holidays. Readers may be bored if I mention it again but how can rail fares continue to rise when the service is so lamentable?

In Wales some 30 plus trains have been in the repair shops (out of a total of 127) leaving passengers to complete journeys by bus.  In the Senedd (Welsh parliament) yesterday, they admitted that they didn’t know why the trains had broken down and nor do the international experts they had called in to advice them. I myself had to travel on two buses and one train service to complete a ninety mile journey this week. In Scotland there has been criticism of ScotRail and the service they provide whilst I won’t even mention what people in the south east of England and those travelling on Northern rail have had to endure.

Nortern Rail. It came out worst for customer satisfaction in the Which? analysis earlier this year

Satisfaction levels are lower than they have been for years and Network Rail which is responsible for the rail network as opposed to the train services has been strongly criticised by the Office of Rail and Rail and ordered to improve punctuality which is at its worst in five years.

Under such circumstances should there be a rise at all? A reduction might be justified instead for some a disgraceful period on our rails.

The three governments in Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff are responsible for rail price regulation. Whilst they bemoan the shoddy services why couldn’t they alter the practice of ever-increasing fares and reduce them? The last time Network Rail was fined some of the money went into faster wifi.

Frankly it is a reliable, punctual service that is wanted. And  someone or some body that can really achieve change rather than allowing the rail companies, Network Rail and the man in the moon to continue blaming someone else for the problems.

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