The author has provided a detailed view of the Voyager trains and the environment in which they were expected to work. This new book provides thought provoking text with some outstanding colour photography. – Highly Recommended
NAME: The Voyager Family FILE: R2725 AUTHOR: Fred Kerr PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword Transport BINDING: hard back PAGES: 128 PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: British railways, railroads, privatization, rail franchise, franchisees, political interference, Voyager class trains, electrified rail
IMAGE: B2725.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/yd9tns5x LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The author has provided a detailed view of the Voyager trains and the environment in which they were expected to work. This new book provides thought provoking text with some outstanding colour photography. - Highly Recommended “What a way to run a railway” is an expression used to remark on a 'classic cock-up', a total failure of organization. It is a natural response to nationalized railways but it is equally applicable to the British 'de-nationalization' program. British Rail had become something of a laughing stock, a byword for poor service and industrial disputes, an example of how to treat customers with close to total contempt. It discouraged users at a time when there were many excellent reasons for encouraging rail use. Some decisive action was required but unfortunately this had to be entrusted to politicians and they did not surprise. Somehow they managed to partly privatize Britain's railways by taking the worst of the two systems, rather than by attempting to take the best, or to come up with an excellent and innovative new system. By breaking the trains up into a series of franchises that had to run on what was effectively the old nationalized system for provision of rail tracks and associated services, the politicians somehow managed to maintain the principles of monopoly and continued to provide every opportunity for them to further complicate matters by retaining their ability to interfere and make a difficult situation untenable. There were many things that could have been modified to make matters better, but as the saga has unravelled since 1994, it is becoming increasingly clear that a major rethink is required and it should not be left to the politicians. The system of broadly regional franchises has one immediate risk. Passengers want to travel between two points of their choice. Inevitably, that means that many journeys involve two or more franchisees. That demands a ticketing system that is fair and simple for the passenger with franchisees carrying passengers by mutual facilities between the two points chosen by the passenger. That should be extremely simple to achieve in an age of 'smart' devices, with a passenger keying in or selecting stations, seeing a single travel price, paying for the ticket and being able to reserve seats automatically, with the single ticket being printed and honoured throughout the journey. Providing ticket offices at stations for those who do not want to buy on-line from a 'smart phone' or computer workstation should be an equally simple thing to achieve, with the ticket office clerks using the same on-line system. There are some possible problems where equipment fails and trains are cancelled or delayed. However that can be dealt with by the franchisees, providing information to passengers on trains and at stations, and accepting tickets on alternative trains. Unfortunately there are many incidents daily where the service is not remotely close to this theoretical service level. Apart from the challenges faced by train operators in providing an acceptable level of service from their own resources, they also have to contend with the rail track service provider who seems to regard franchisees as an unfortunate complication of its life. That frequently results in chaos and many very frustrated passengers who are paying a premium rate for a very low level of service. The author has managed to convey a very astute view of the history of the Voyager train set family, and the environment in which they have been expected to function reliably, with crisp concise text. The full colour photographs provide an eloquent essay that shows not only the trains of the franchisees, but also the backgrounds against which the trains run. This is a book of images to delight train enthusiasts and a very information review of how the politicians created the situation that Rail Track and the franchisees have failed to deal with satisfactorily.