Overcrowding on trains is not exactly a new concept – our railway network has been split up into private companies all sharing rolling stock and track in some monolithic monstrosity of a national railway infrastructure.
As a result of this break up of the railway infrastructure, corporations are more interested in keeping their costs down than providing an adequate railway service. Far too often are trains running late.
Looking across the EU, we can see that privatized railway infrastructure has been implemented in a way which allows the government to inventiveness a good running service – fines for late trains, termination of operation contract in the event of a company not fulfilling their obligations to the successful operation of the railway.
Transport secretary Philip Hammond has announced that £6Bn is to be spent on the Thameslink route which covers the south coast of England with towns north of London. From about Bedford to Brighton via London to be more precise. I am certain that the London routes indeed to generate a significant amount of traffic for the railway network. However, this is not the only railway route in Britain. Numerous times on my local train service into Manchester its been very overcrowded , running late or even not running at all.
What the UK really needs is a substantial investment in the entire national infrastructure. A program that would see services run regularly and even 24 hours, high speed links between cities such as Glasgow , Edinburgh and London. This sort of investment would be considerable but the economic gains from UK transport infrastructure would far outweigh any costs associated with repairing the railway network.
They say parts of the North West England routes will be electrified starting next year and should be completed by 2016. This too will be beneficial but only goes so far. The cost of this upgrade however is going to be borne by the general public in the form of large fare increases on trains. This really is not a justified approach – high costs of public transport will push people onto low cost high pollution emmiting vehicles instead.
If I had my way, during peak hours, 4 services an hour on most routes, 2 at all other times around the clock and free fares for travel within council areas would exist. It will incentivize people to take the train instead of the car and keep our CO2 emissions low.