Dale Haslam's train blog: New year, new fare increase

Dale Haslam

Dale Haslam

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

REPORTER Dale Haslam continues his regular blog on his daily train journey in and out of Bolton

MY friendly conductor wished me happy new year in the only way train companies seem to know how.

No, he did not shake my hand or wish me all the best for the 12 months ahead — Robert, as his name badge said, put out his hand and demanded another 20p on top of my £6.10 daily fare, from Chorley to Bolton.

This is the experience of long-suffering rail commuters every January and some of them pay as much as £4,000 a year just to get to and from work.

It is not necessarily the price that makes us grumble; it’s the lack of benefits. True, intercity services are much better than 15 years ago, with leg room, magazines, mobile phone charge points and well-stocked snack bars, but local services are the same, if not worse. Some trains, known as Pacers, date back to 1985 and are effectively Leyland buses on rails.

They are cold, bumpy, loud and uncomfortable and should have been binned ages ago (and, thankfully, they will be withdrawn completely in 2019 as they do not comply with disability law).

Call me a cynic, but I do not think it is a coincidence that the fanciest local trains through Bolton go to the airport as transport bosses want to show visitors how wonderful we are (pray they do not go on a Pacer).

So, my call to them for 2014 is — put commuters before tourists and put the airport-route trains on all routes.

That would truly make it a happy new year for all of us who depend on trains.

Comments (5)

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10:57am Mon 6 Jan 14

Jim271 says...

Can you not get a 125 or 126 bus?
Can you not get a 125 or 126 bus? Jim271
  • Score: 2

11:12am Mon 6 Jan 14

soup153 says...

Once saw a couple with two kids going to the airport asking the guard where the first class was, well funny.
Once saw a couple with two kids going to the airport asking the guard where the first class was, well funny. soup153
  • Score: 3

11:37am Mon 6 Jan 14

BWFC71 says...

Is this guy an actual reporter or what????

Firstly he should realise that the Pacers (Class 142's) are operated by Northern Rail whilst the more modern diesel units (Class 185's) that operate to the airport are operated by First Trans-Pennine Express - two separate companies!!!!

As 2019 is only 5 years away and about 92 units have to be replaced does this reporter not realise that not one single order has been sent to replace the Class 142's as of this moment in time - therefore come 2019 we are either going to have a very severe shortage or rail carriages or the UK will get special dispensation from the EU to keep 142's for the rest of their lifes!!! (My money is on the latter due to the fact that the Government doesn't like spending money on new train units for the North whilst - whilst the rest of the country does get them!!!!)

It is not as simple as replacing train for train as there are no spare diesel trains in the UK to replace the Class 142's!!! So the reporters wish will not come true.

As for the price rise it is a legal requirement that prices rise by an average of RPI+x% each year - due to the fact that the various Governments, over the years, want the rail companies to become more and more self reliant rather than relying on hand-outs every year!!! As it is, as the reporter is travelling from Chorley he doesn't get the discounted price which people of Bolton get due to the fact that TfGM actually help to subsidise the prices in Greater Manchester and as such are far cheaper than in Lancashire!!!
Is this guy an actual reporter or what???? Firstly he should realise that the Pacers (Class 142's) are operated by Northern Rail whilst the more modern diesel units (Class 185's) that operate to the airport are operated by First Trans-Pennine Express - two separate companies!!!! As 2019 is only 5 years away and about 92 units have to be replaced does this reporter not realise that not one single order has been sent to replace the Class 142's as of this moment in time - therefore come 2019 we are either going to have a very severe shortage or rail carriages or the UK will get special dispensation from the EU to keep 142's for the rest of their lifes!!! (My money is on the latter due to the fact that the Government doesn't like spending money on new train units for the North whilst - whilst the rest of the country does get them!!!!) It is not as simple as replacing train for train as there are no spare diesel trains in the UK to replace the Class 142's!!! So the reporters wish will not come true. As for the price rise it is a legal requirement that prices rise by an average of RPI+x% each year - due to the fact that the various Governments, over the years, want the rail companies to become more and more self reliant rather than relying on hand-outs every year!!! As it is, as the reporter is travelling from Chorley he doesn't get the discounted price which people of Bolton get due to the fact that TfGM actually help to subsidise the prices in Greater Manchester and as such are far cheaper than in Lancashire!!! BWFC71
  • Score: 1

3:24pm Mon 6 Jan 14

boltonchap says...

Pacer is the operational name of the British Rail Classes 140, 141, 142, 143 and 144 diesel multiple unit railbuses, built between 1984 and 1987. Intended as a short-term solution to a shortage of rolling stock (with a lifespan of no more than 20 years), as of 2013 many Pacer railbuses are still in use.
Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 all public transport must be accessible by 2019. Pacers are unable to meet this requirement so may have to be withdrawn by the end of 2019 unless there is a change in legislation.
Pacer is the operational name of the British Rail Classes 140, 141, 142, 143 and 144 diesel multiple unit railbuses, built between 1984 and 1987. Intended as a short-term solution to a shortage of rolling stock (with a lifespan of no more than 20 years), as of 2013 many Pacer railbuses are still in use. Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 all public transport must be accessible by 2019. Pacers are unable to meet this requirement so may have to be withdrawn by the end of 2019 unless there is a change in legislation. boltonchap
  • Score: 2

12:37pm Tue 7 Jan 14

BWFC71 says...

Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys (BBC2 630pm) stops off in Bolton tonight - what light will he give the town?
Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys (BBC2 630pm) stops off in Bolton tonight - what light will he give the town? BWFC71
  • Score: 0

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