‘I’ Newspaper: Rail Franchise System Not Working and Needs to be Changed

I agree the rail network could be much better and maybe the franchise contracts are to blame.

But when accounting blame which are purely down the train operators and which are down to rework Rail which is not a private company.

Before privatisation the Rail network, rolling stock, train stations and the line and signal infrastructure were need great need of investment.

The food was the butt of a joke, as the British Rail Sandwich was infamous as it curled up at the edges.

My own line was ‘The Midland, which was the poor relation in the industry as the rolling stock was secondhand, passed on from other regions.

In my 20 odd years of using British Railways and then British Rail I hardly ever got on and off a train that was to time.

The various Governments over that period showed a distinct lack of interest and investment into the industry. Hence all the new rolling stock was came about during Privatisation. This led to very outdated systems, not fit for the 19th century, let alone the 20th and then the 21st.

Who would have thought that Great Britain invented the Railways, through early train inventors who were Matthew Murray who created first steam powered locomotive, Richard Trevithick who popularized trains series of showcasing in London, George Stephenson who become famous for ‘The Rocket’ and for the coal transporting trains.

But were some of these private companies up to the job and this goes down to the Tender process and in many ways still does, the NHS, other parts of the health service, Local Government and other such services. As it appears any contract is given to the lowest bidder without any apparent investigation into the bids to ascertain if they are, in fact, viable.

This a fault of the tender process and the Governments administering the process.

Then what about the Contracts themselves are they effective and efficiently written?, do they meets the needs of the industry and the customers?, are the companies themselves sufficiently solvent? and many more investigative questions.

Here again the Governments are at fault.

There are indeed many problems, but to re-nationalise them, would this go back to British Railways and British Rail.

If it does, then the required investment needs to be guaranteed for way into the future and not be allowed to run on the whims of any Government as it was previously.

Much like the NHS and Social Care, especially Social Care today.

Governments need to realise that these industries and organisations are not there to be used for political purposes, but for the benefit of the population of the UK.

For until that realisation comes into any Government, these areas will continue to faulter to the whims of each and every Government, who only care for themselves, irrespective of its Party colour.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

I found this report in the I newspaper on our country’s failing rail network. The article states that a recent report has found that the current system of rail franchising doesn’t work and cannot continue as it is. The article, ‘Rail franchising ‘no longer delivers clear benefits’, on page 4 of today’s paper, 27th February 2019, by Neil Lancefield runs

Britain’s rail franchise system no longer delivers clear benefits and cannot continue in its current form, according to the man leading an official review of the network.

Keith Williams told industry leaders that operators were not adapting to changing consumer demands.

The contracting out of passenger services has drawn heavy criticism, with some contracts failing and customer complaints rising. The rail industry has said it accepts that the status quo cannot continue.

Mr Williams was appointed by the Government last year to lead its “root-and-branch” Rail Review. Speaking in London…

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Buses could be history sooner than you think – here’s why : The Conversation

In 1890, no one foresaw the rise of the internal combustion engine: horses were the fastest means of transport, and a status symbol. Today, society stands at a similar tipping point. No one can really predict how transport will be used in the coming century, or if people will even need to travel as much as they do today. But some of the most commonly used modes of public transport may be closer to extinction than previously thought.

Buses have been a reliable feature of urban and rural landscapes for more than 200 years. They have helped to define communities; think of London’s red double-decker bus, or the iconic Greyhound bus across the US. And buses have traditionally been a great social leveller: ethnic minority groups fought hard for the right to share the same seats and stops and the poor enjoy the same regulated prices as the middle class.

Yet the end of the bus has already been signalled. In the UK, there has been a reported decline in bus and train usage over recent decades – and it’s not related to the nation’s sluggish economy. Today, only 5% of journeys are made by bus, with 10% by rail, 1% by air, 1% by bicycle and 83% by car or taxi.


Source: Buses could be history sooner than you think – here’s why : The Conversation

Counterpunch on the Dangers of the Driverless Car

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Ralph Nader in an article posted on Tuesday’s Counterpunch took to task the current hype about driverless cars following a day long conference on them at Washington University’s law school.

Driverless cars are being promoted because sales are cars are expected to flatten out due to car-sharing, or even fall as the younger generation are less inclined to buy them. Rather than actually investing in public transport, the car industry is promoting driverless automobiles as a way of stimulating sales again.

Nader is rightly sceptical about how well such vehicles will perform in the real world. There are 250 million motor vehicles in the US. This means that real driving conditions are way more complicated than the simple routes on which these vehicles are developed and tested. And while the car industry claims that they will be safer than human-driven vehicles, the reality is most people won’t want a car…

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How a driverless car sees the road

Original post from TED

‘…………….By Chris Urmson


Statistically, the least reliable part of the car is … the driver. Chris Urmson heads up Google’s driverless car program, one of several efforts to remove humans from the driver’s seat. He talks about where his program is right now, and shares fascinating footage that shows how the car sees the road and makes autonomous decisions about what to do next.  …………’

Cyclists and their safety

Before I make my comments I would advise that I am not a cyclist, in fact I can not ride a bike, I tried to ride one in my early teens and fell off and never went on a bike again.  This, however is not a reason for me to not comment on cyclists safety, I am concerned for their safety on the road, as I am for any road user.

Today, at approx 1.30 pm, I was driving in north Derbyshire on the road from Hope to Bamford, in the direction of going to Bamford and at the point where the 50 mile speed limit changes to 40 mile speed limit there are road works, where the traffic follow is controlled by temporary traffic lights, allowing only single lane traffic, for approx 300 – 400 yards.  When the lights changed to green, the traffic started to proceed towards Bamford. At approx. half way into this controlled flow of traffic, what do we see approaching us,, but a cyclist, although in the cycle lane for the direction he was going, it did mean that he had gone through the red traffic light, which was stopping all the other traffic.  To view this cyclist, he was dressed as through he was a seasoned cyclist, as he was in all the right attire.  What concerns me is why he thought that the red traffic light did not apply to him.  The cycle lane was only separated from the roadway by a single white line and it’s width only just sufficient to accommodate the cycle and cyclist.  He was riding as though he had no concern for his own safety from the oncoming traffic.  Only a slight deviation from either the cyclist or any of the vehicles approaching him would have caused a major accident in which many would be injured, if not dead, especially the cyclist.

Currently there is an increase in the amount of cyclists on the road, in some, no doubt, due to the successes of the Tour de France and Olympics. I do not object to the cyclists on the road, but do feel they should abide by the Highway Code.  Unfortunately the law of this country is not currently stating, that cyclists need to know the code or in fact show that they know the code or that the cycles are of road worthy condition. In fact anyone can get on a bike, go on the road with no training and no road sense.

Further on, on the road from Bamford to Hathersage, going to Hathersage, there was 2 or 3 cyclists going towards Hathersage and a car was trying to overtake them.  The car in doing so went into the flow of the oncoming traffic in the drivers frustration to get passed them. The car driver , in this instance should have waited for a suitable gap in the traffic flow approaching and then overtake, which I did.  So before someone says it is not always the cyclists, but mainly the drivers of other vehicles at fault, in most cases I would agree.  All road users need to show more consideration for their fellow road users and in doing so, the roads would be much safer for all concerned.

If any cyclists or in fact, any interested party read this, please see the following:

General rules, techniques and advice for all drivers and riders (103-158)




Signals (103-112)



Traffic light signals and traffic signs. You MUST obey all traffic light signals (see ‘Light signals controlling traffic’) and traffic signs giving orders, including temporary signals and signs (see ‘Signs giving orders’, ‘Warning signs’, ‘Direction signs’). Make sure you know, understand and act on all other traffic and information signs and road markings (see ‘Signs giving orders’, ‘Warning signs’, ‘Direction signs’, ‘Information signs’, ‘Road markings’ and ‘Vehicle markings’).

[Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10, 15, 16, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 36, 38 & 40]

You and your bicycle


Rules for cyclists (59-82)


REMEMBER the Highway Code is there for all road users to follow and to do so, is in the interests of safety for all concerned.