Common sense analysis of this, that and the other

UK Rail Network

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In view of this, a few comments, related to the (admittedly amateurishly presented) suggestions made here (by me) on my employer’s website. This really is all about the essential characteristics required to ensure a better quality of life for us all:

  1. Sound state backed infrastructure
  2. Thoughtful design

The private sector should never run national infrastructure, in particular the rail networks, else there is inconsistency and flaws that are for all to see. Whilst in some subjects I believe conservative values to be valuable, with national infrastructure, socially imaginative state based ideals and concepts work well, as long as the system is biased towards quality and reliability over profit – in other words, like some military projects. Work is farmed out for tender and the best selected.

Having travelled a considerably by train in recent years (a horrific experience for countless reasons), here is my take on selecting suitable railstock:

First Great Western train

Ageing but superb for the average commuter and productivity worker

Although an ageing model with manually opened doors, the best train is the one shown above, for the following reasons:

  • Comfortable seats.
  • The pull down seat trays hold small laptops and tablets superbly.
  • The power socket is centrally located below the seats in front of you so easy to reach by either passenger.
  • Very quiet ride. (So much so, it is sometimes difficult to sell if your train is moving out of the station, or the one on the other side of the platform!)

The Virgin Pendolino trains, whilst aesthetically superior, lack the well designed seat trays, the power sockets are in the wrong position, and the internal sliding doors feature buttons that are attached to the actual doors, so you cannot operate the button when the door is moving or in the open position! (You can see this on the photo here.) This latter issue is something you witness every journey as passengers struggle to open the doors whilst carrying luggage, the doors sliding shut on their arms or baggage.

In summary

  • State backed
  • Fair rewards based pay to motivate staff
  • Same trains across all networks for consistency and reduced cost
  • Well designed seat trays and power sockets
  • Pay as you go ticketing system

Fight back club: Contact your local MP or community rail representative with your ideas – they DO listen!

A few years ago, we shared the aforementioned page with several key management at National Rail and First Great Western. Some of our suggestions where adopted within the same year, so don’t doubt your ability to bring about change if you put pressure on the powers that be.


Written by Oflife

October 3, 2012 at 9:31 pm

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