As Britain’s most painful train journeys can take up to three times longer by train than by car


The Yorkshire cities of Leeds and Bradford are only eight miles apart and geographically close enough to share an airport.

But the train ride is still not much less than 20 minutes, and local leaders say it’s slower than when steam engines ran on the stretch in 1900.

It illustrates why the problems on the rail network go much further and deeper than the current controversy, which seems to result in the biggest national strike in decades at the end of this month.

The RMT union says its staff deserves a decent wage increase and protection from job cuts during the cost-of-living crisis, while the government says it saved £ 16 billion in industry during the pandemic and that savings are needed.

Caught in between are millions of travelers who have long suffered from chaotic schedules, crowded, squeaky carriages and mouth-watering price increases year after year.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has fundamentally changed commuting habits, and activists say an opportunity for fundamental reform is being missed.

Here I examines some of the worst examples of meandering train journeys in the UK that do not work for travelers.

Preston to Skipton

Northern passengers have the right to have the largest complaints about railway services.

Analysis by the IPPR North think tank revealed that between 2009/10 and 2019/20, the Nordic countries received less than half of the money spent on transport per person compared to London, £ 349 against £ 864.

As proof, look no further than the £ 19bn mark. Crossrail project that opened last month while the much-announced but cheap Integrated Government Rail Plan demolished a 40-mile line between Leeds and Manchester, the east of HS2 and a Manchester Piccadilly tube station.

The government says its £ 96 billion plan will provide major improvements to the north and midland rail network, which cannot come fast enough.

Traveling from west to east anywhere in the north is not very easy with any form of transportation – the M62 motorway suffers from the worst congestion in the country.

But Preston to Skipton by rail is just one example of poor connectivity.

when I After confirming the time on Thursday, Northern offered a service that took more than three hours, starting at. 14:08 and arrived at 17:09.

It involves switching twice, once in Manchester and again in Leeds, traveling through fourteen stations and costing £ 44 for a single adult ticket a day.

In contrast, the 35-mile journey by car would take about an hour and cost less than £ 18 to 50p per mile.

Manchester to Chester

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was one of the strongest voices for more investment in Northern Railways.

Speaking of transport shortly after he was elected in 2017, Burnham pointed out that it takes longer to travel by train from Manchester to Chester than in 1962.

On Thursday, the service departed at 9:31 an hour and 19 minutes to travel through six stations and involved switching to another operator, Transport for Wales, in Crewe.

The 40-kilometer journey would take an hour.

Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness

Leaders in Cumbria have long claimed the area has poor rail links, despite being an important hub between England and Scotland.

Future priorities include connecting to HS2 and improving the coastline from Carlisle to Lancaster via Barrow-in-Furness.

For a passenger traveling on a Friday, most services between Carlisle and Barrow will take at least two and a half hours with stops at 23 stations.

Driving 87 miles along the M6 ​​will take approximately one hour and 40 minutes.

Liverpool to Hull

Traveling from coast to coast on the railways is never easy.

Improving public transport routes between the two ports of Liverpool and Hull has often been seen as crucial to boosting growth along the ‘Northern Corridor’.

In theory, the 130 miles can be covered in as little as two hours and 10 minutes (though you would be lucky to avoid traffic on the entire journey).

Conversely, a train from Liverpool Lime Street runs on Friday morning at. 7.57 and first arrives at Hull at 11.31.

The journey involves disembarkation from the Northern service at Manchester Victoria, transfer to Manchester Piccadilly by train, tram or on foot and then aboard a new service with the TransPennine Express operator.

It costs £ 80.70 for an off-peak return.

Plymouth to Okehampton

The Nordic countries do not have a monopoly on complaints about public transport, or railway investments in particular.

Southwestern leaders say they also have a strong need for improvement.

Plymouth, for example, is the largest city on the south coast, but suffers from poor transport infrastructure with no motorway or airport.

Activists want to reopen the Okehampton Railway.

Currently, the 30-kilometer journey can take up to 55 minutes by car.

The only train option today takes at least two hours and involves shifts at Exeter St. David’s.

Leicester to Skegness

In 2019, Leicester was chosen as the worst connected city in the country for train passengers.

Although it has frequent connections to London, the only other cities it has direct connections to are Birmingham, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The journey to the popular seaside resort of Skegness, for example, takes three hours and two minutes by train on Fridays and involves shifts in Nottingham.

By car, the 84-mile journey would take approximately two hours and 20 minutes.

Lack of investment blame

Gareth Dennis, a railway engineer and expert, said I: “The problem is the lack of investment in the whole system.

“It’s not just tracks, it’s not just trains, it’s a lack of investment in what I would say decades and decades.

“It’s real since the beginning of the last century that there has been a lot of investment in the railways.”

Mr. Dennis believes the railroads will not improve until “the government stops having total control over investment.”

“If public transport is to be improved in the regions, the regions themselves must be able to raise funds, either through commercial tariffs or through the sale of bonds that require decentralization.”


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