Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Trains boats or planes.

Do you have a need to travel to other parts of the UK?

The Memsahib likes to have the odd visit to see the daughter (Dr Steph) who is living and working in Birmingham. So now we have retired, we have been looking at the most economical and cost effective forms of travel.

We first looked at the Railways and after calculating that if we re-mortgaged "Wits End" we might just be able to afford the 3rd class standing room on the early morning milk train.  It galls me to see what's left of our once world leading railway system.    Our recent experience of the railways in Spain have done much to highlight the - crap service - poor rolling stock and the rip-off prices that we are enduring in the UK. Maybe its time for the government to turn the railways into a free standing charity. The huge payments that the tax payers is expected to make year on year to the various rail franchises so that their profits can be boosted is a national disgrace.

So then we thought using the car was a much cheaper option. Even in this time of almost daily price rise hikes in the cost of fuel.  We estimated that about 8 liters of £1.36 a litre diesel would do the trick. Add to this a bit extra on-costs and it would be about £20ish quid. Which is about 15% of the single rail fare and we could carry up to 5 people in the car.

Then the Memsahib had a look on the various intercity "coach" travel sites. Wow! what an eye opener that was. A return ticket booked in advance to Birmingham from Sheffield - a round trip of 200 miles @ £9.99  !!
What's more the comfort and their time keeping have proved to be very good. Daughter picks up and drops off in Birmingham - I pick up and drop off in Sheffield. The Memsahib also likes to meet people on the coach and as they are a captive audience - She can bore the pants off them until they get to their destination.

We even looked at some air flights for our next mini break holiday. - We were looking at a long weekend in Prague or Budapest. Booked in advance £19.99 each way with a no frills airline.
Do you remember the British Railways adverts with Jimmy Saville - He said "Let the train take the strain" - Today it would be more like Jim Royle (Ricky Tomlinson) would say "Strain my horse"

Now this starts me to ask myself the rhetorical question "If the road and rail freight costs continue to rise. Is there a chance that some part of the canals could ever come back into play as a cheap form of bulk freight movement again?" 


1 comment:

  1. Hello Mike, canal transport is already back! Tesco are up and running, shipping wine from Liverpool Sea port to their Manchester bottling plant. They use the virtually unused Manchester Ship Canal to remove 50 lorry journeys a week from the M62. Peel holdings also have an ambitious plan to build a new container terminal at Trafford Park, Manchester, also to increase container shipping from Liverpool to Manchester, then trans-shipped to road vehicles from there. From small beginnings, who knows? Then the question would be, would you want commercial traffic back on the canals with all our leisure boats? Because the modern version of commercial canal traffic would be nothing like the rose tinted versions we all hold in our minds.


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