The Voyager Family

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


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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

ISBN: 978-1-52673-144-9

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.