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The state of our railways


Question: The difference in miles between two journeys is 10 miles. What is the difference in time by public transport of these two journeys?

10 minutes? 30 minutes? 1 hour? Or longer?

Answer: It depends.

If you take a relatively short journey then there can be absolutely no difference. For example take the journeys Ayr > Glasgow Central  & Glasgow Queen Street > Edinburgh Waverley which the difference between the 2 journeys is roughly 10 miles then the difference is generally minutes but if you were to time it right there would be no difference what so ever. You could do both journeys in 56 minutes.

However, if you were to take longer journeys e.g. Manchester Piccadilly > Glasgow Central & Manchester Piccadilly > London Euston then the difference could be an hour & 20 minutes. The minimum difference is an hour.

Granted that with the Manchester > Glasgow journey you have to change at Preston but if you time it right the changeover only takes 10 minutes so where is the extra 50 minutes coming from?

I welcome the high speed rail network that this government is putting in place. I welcome Phillip Hammond’s desire to bring the economic hubs of the UK together but I wonder whether the London out approach is the correct approach as generally they are already quick e.g. the Manchester Piccadilly > London Euston line is about an hour quicker on the rails than it is by car. Surely we should be quickening the journeys that already take too long. They seem to be in the north of the country not the south. Perhaps, this is one area where we should be taking the top-down approach opposed to the bottom-up approach.

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