Locomotive + Hauling Passenger Wagons Will Disappear In The Future And Change To Emu/dmu?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by grdaniel48, Jul 22, 2022.

  1. OldVern

    OldVern Well-Known Member

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    Definitely. A 2 car 155 was not a decent substitute for a 5 coach loco hauled rake on runs like Cardiff to Portsmouth - 160 seats instead of over 200 (with the armrests up in the compartments). The 2 car 158's had even fewer - 138 - though were (a bit) more reliable than the 155's. The philosophy spouted by the (then) Regional Railways management was that a more frequent service balanced the shorter trains. Problem was, routes like Cardiff to Portsmouth and Manchester remained hourly, same frequency as when loco hauled and more people will always travel at peak times.
     
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  2. ARuscoe

    ARuscoe Well-Known Member

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    No, it's supposed to be a company they're running
    Public services don't get privatised so obviously the UK governments since the mid nineties haven't been making anything "public service"
    Even now they're still privatising anything close to "public" so the UK doesn't actually own anything
     
  3. Conductor B

    Conductor B Active Member

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    These companies seem to operate according to the maxim "good enough". Could it be that one of the reasons for their doing so is that the majority of passengers live by the same adage? It seems to me that so many are unwilling to pay for decent products and services these days. The majority seem to care only about the lowest cost, without a care for quality. Thus, quality products cost more than they did in the past, even taking inflation into account; the demand is lacking.

    Another important variable is what seems to be a general cultural decline as it pertains to excellence and a work ethic. More and more people seem to have no problem delivering only what is minimally needed to get by, whereas in the past it seems that the majority were personally committed to "doing my best" just on principle - regardless of any immediate extrinsic reward or penalty. If a culture doesn't value excellence and "doing your best" then you're going to get mediocrity in everything. Also, you can't be cheap and expect quality.

    This latter point - willingness to pay - comes up a lot in debates I have with people over airline service. "But in the 70s you'd get hot meals on domestic flights, would have free checked bags, and would have more room between seats that were better-cushioned!" says my interlocutor. "Yes", I'd reply, "but, adjusted for inflation, you'd be paying more than twice what you're paying now. Are you willing to do so?"

    tl;dr - it's not simply a monomaniacal profit motive on behalf of railroads or the government that makes for bad passenger trains; there's a cultural component as well.

    (If you want a good thought exercise, ask yourself this: would you be willing to dress and comport yourself in the manner of a 1920's era passenger if it meant you'd receive a product and service typical of that era? Would you be willing to pay the higher inflation-adjusted cost?)
     
  4. grdaniel48

    grdaniel48 Well-Known Member

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    One big problem with passenger trains services - in general - is they are not profitable!
    But it is a necessary service for the people, but also for the governments in order to reduce CO2 emissions, and road traffic.
    So they keep them due to that reason.
     
  5. theorganist

    theorganist Well-Known Member

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    Which is why they don't work being run by private entities. I am not anti-privitisation per-se, some of it has been successful, but to me privatising the railways didn't make sense. Neither water either, which I think should definately not be in private hands but that is for another topic.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2022
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  6. Crosstie

    Crosstie Well-Known Member

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    Most products and services are best provided by private enterprise.
    But some services are inherently unprofitable and no-one will undertake them unless they are heavily subsidised by the government. I think passenger rail is one of those. Amtrak relies on Congressional funding, as does US commuter rail, and The UK has that strange hybrid system, in which the central government and/or local governments maintain most of the infrastructure and subsidise the operating companies.
     
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  7. Crosstie

    Crosstie Well-Known Member

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    I agree.
     
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  8. Lamplight

    Lamplight Well-Known Member

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    Similar to Germany, just with the added complication of DB (and its sectors) as a semi-private-public entity. Whether that is strange though depends on what you grew up with, I’d say. For me as a German, the thought of the countless miles of track in private hands in the US seems strange.
     
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  9. FD1003

    FD1003 Well-Known Member

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    I think this is due to EU regulations right? I think a few years ago there was some regulation put in place to separate the train operators and track/infrastructure owners to make it easier for private passenger rail. I think this is quite common in Europe now to have the national train operator be a private company with the majority of the stocks being bought by the state. (Apologies for my complete lack of finesse talking about economy/business matters in english)

    When I think of privately owned infrastructure I immediately think of Railtrack... no thank you :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2022
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  10. grdaniel48

    grdaniel48 Well-Known Member

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    Please notice in the US, almost all tracks and infrastructure was - and is being - made by the private freight companies.
    Which most of them are profitable.

    The higher cost is to create and maintain the infrastructure. Including special ones like tunnels, bridges, yards, etc.
     
  11. Doomotron

    Doomotron Well-Known Member

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    There are huge advantages to using multiple units over loco-hauled sets. Obviously loco-hauled sets can be more comfortable and easier to manage but multiple units have better acceleration and braking due to a better power to weight ratio and as stated earlier locomotives are an inefficient use of space on busy routes.
     
  12. Lamplight

    Lamplight Well-Known Member

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    You’ve got me there. I’m not so well versed in the business side of things. All I know is that with the merger of the Bundesbahn and DR, the higher-ups and politicians were (over-)eager to privatise as much as possible. Since then, DB is split into Fernverkehr, Regio, and Cargo for running trains while the infrastructure is owned by DB Netz. Can’t tell you much more than that as it’s not my forté. I could well imagine though that it’s due to the EU and private railroads (called private EVUs in German railroad jargon) have a much easier time since and provide much of the service now - my own local line, for example. Full privatisation was planned but is (thankfully) off the table now as far as I know.


    Just had a look at that - what a mess! Who knew profit-oriented companies would start cutting corners? :D


    I know all of that since US railroading is my great second passion after German railroading. I was just trying to prove the point that it’s always “the other” that seems strange compared to what you grew up with. While I fully understand why things are the way they are in the US, tracks being (indirectly) state-owned is just natural to me.
     
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  13. Conductor B

    Conductor B Active Member

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    All I know about public vs. private for passenger is that Amtrak is a textbook case of why public doesn't work. They are hell-bent on destroying any long-distance passenger trains. Every year that goes by they cut more and more trains and make services worse and worse. Now that they've been given the largest financial windfall in existence, it makes no difference - they keep making things worse. In the UK, you have Pullman dining. Amtrak cuts a popular long-distance train, that is one of the few ones that come close to making a profit (the Silver Meteor). They don't let coach passengers use the dining car nor do they allow them to use half the cafe car on a 32-hour trip - it's a crew lounge. This is despite the fact that coach passengers have no where else to go or eat. Don't get me started about the food - Delta Airlines provides better meals than Amtrak.

    On the other hand, look at VIA. It's public yet it runs one of the best passenger trains in the world - the Canadian. It's heavily subsidized though...

    I guess I made an argument for getting rid of Amtrak and not necessarily an argument in favor of either public or private ownership, though it seems to me some mixing will happen, whether infrastructure, subsidies on some routes (I do believe some passenger lines have the potential to make a profit, but not all.), etc. Pullman Rail Journeys were forbidden from running New York to Florida runs because it'd make Amtrak look bad.

    The railfan in me looks at the UK and likes how there are so many companies and so many options (e.g. Avanti vs Chiltern). It's certainly more interesting having all those different liveries! I can't voice an opinion on whether the system is good or bad though, but it seems to me that it's worlds better than anything Amtrak can offer. (Then again, so is VIA...)
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2022
  14. driverwoods#1787

    driverwoods#1787 Well-Known Member

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    Spot on and furthermore Freight is the king of US Railroads outside of the NEC which means they go first then the Amtrak train second. some freight trains can also be 6km long
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2022
  15. grdaniel48

    grdaniel48 Well-Known Member

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    I like trains in general, but always payed more attention to me, the same as you.
    Germans, and US (freight trains mainly).
    Also Shinkansen from Japan, likes me very much!
     
  16. Doomotron

    Doomotron Well-Known Member

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    That's part of the long-term plan unfortunately. Cut the losses to make the profits more profity. Same reason why the Caledonian Sleeper became part of ScotRail; to make InterCity more profitable.
    On a very limited set of services run by GWR. It's closer to railtour than an actual part of the service. And a significant proportion of the time it doesn't run at all.
     
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  17. OldVern

    OldVern Well-Known Member

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    And the luxury Pullman trains like Orient Express or Belmond cost £100’s for a ticket, very much aimed at the well off and tourist market.
     
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  18. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    But for that same reason, electrification is unlikely. Freight railroads have no incentive to make that massive capital investment (especially considering the mind-boggling number of track-miles involved)
     
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  19. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    There were a few railroads who thought about making the change back in the 70s during the oil crisis, hence why EMD made both the GM10B and the GM6C to test the concept, on top of helping out the Penn Central replace their aging Electric fleet.
    Emd_electrics.jpg
    None of that ever happened however due to the drop in oil prices and the end of PCs electric freight lines after Conrail took over.

    Instead, most modern day railroads are looking to Battery powered locos working with the current crop of diesel electrics.
     
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  20. Doomotron

    Doomotron Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how well those fit the OP as they're not proper services as such, but indeed those services are expensive and really one of the few good uses of locos on passenger locos. They don't really need to conform to the 'rules' proper passenger trains have, such as fast acceleration and braking and efficiency.
     
  21. grdaniel48

    grdaniel48 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that is for sure.
    They had a really very long network, so it will be very expensive to change to electricity.
    Even they like much heavy noise and "look powerful" locomotives, than silent electric and modern design.

    Furthermore, please notice they are building the new "high speed" passenger service - Brightline - between Miami and Orlando, but they are diesel power one!
     
  22. grdaniel48

    grdaniel48 Well-Known Member

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    As a recent prove of change from Locomotive + hauling passenger wagons to EMUs, is in the USA with Caltrain!
    Furthermore they are changing from Diesel to Electric!

    They are already testing their new Stadler ones:

     
  23. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    Caltrain isn't private, it's a state agency.
     
  24. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    And I'm still wondering how the state will deal with that and the CHSR while still deal with the power shortages during the summer....
     
  25. grdaniel48

    grdaniel48 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I know.
    But on that comment, I was referring to this thread theme.
    Which is general. No matter the company.
    For that reason I did not "quote" it
     

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