So the train companies are to get a thousand new carriages to be delivered by 2014, 994 of them presumably for Greater London, with half-a-dozen for the rest of the country. What’s left unsaid is whether that’s a thousand additional carriages, or whether a significant proportion will simply be replacements for older rolling stock which will be worn-out by 2014. The sooner the dismal four-wheeled ‘Pacers’ are dispatched to the scrapheap the better.
Naturally, free market ideologue Patrick Crozier is not impressed. All the railway companies need to do is treble the fares, and all the problems of overcrowding with vanish! He does make one valid point, though:
Groan, because, if the last train splurge is anything to go by the new trains will be either unreliable, inappropriate, expensive or late – or all four.
He’s talking about the 1955 modernisation plan, when the nationalised British Railways wasted vast sums of taxpayers money on locomotives some of which turned out to be pretty much useless, and failed to outlive the steam engines they were supposed to replace. Many of them were ordered from manufacturers whose works happened to be in areas of high unemployment, despite the lack of experience in building diesel locomotives.
I don’t think that’s going to happen this time round; in the last few years we’ve already seen a lot of new trains delivered, as will be apparent to anyone that travels by train. If (and it’s a big if) they resist the temptation for the sort of political meddling we saw in 1955, all of those new trains will be repeat orders of tried and trusted designs already in service. So hopefully we won’t get the equivalent of Metrovick Co-Bos or NBL Class 21s this time around.