MCRUA makes BBC Inside Out North West! ….

Posted on December 6th, 2012, by The Chairman

On Monday evening BBC Inside Out North West showed a programme which we had been told was primarily about “Why do we have so much overcrowding and so many old trains compared to much of the rest of the UK.”

Through contacts at TravelWatch North West, I was contacted and asked to do an interview. We did this the previous Wednesday on a very cold, sunny morning on the road by Mobberley station.

There’s a twist. Isn’t there always. It seems they really wanted to talk about how unsafe the Pacers are when crowded ….

The programme’s currently on the BBC iPlayer –
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01p6ns5/Inside_Out_North_West_03_12_2012/
– until Monday 11 December 2012.

Please leave a comment

  1. Laurence Wheeler Says:

    A variable programme with some very mixed messages, but on balance better than the usual BBC railway documentaries.

    Some glaring inconsistencies.
    Statistically trains arriving in the peak at other provincial cities are more crowded than Manchester (Nottingham and Bristol for example). Trains in the Thames valley are the most crowded on Network Rail. Most of Central London Underground is crush loaded all day every day, and in deep tunnels, without any whinging that it is ‘unsafe’.
    The Winsford crash was not “head-on”, and it almost certainly would not have happened with TPWS. A red herring.
    At the start of the programme the Pacers were described as “designed with rural railways in mind and are not suitable for commuter use” only to finish with “they are not suitable for rural routes where there is the danger of level crossing accidents”.
    No mention of the fact that Pacers are in use in other areas of the network and on some horribly unsuitable routes like Cardiff – Taunton. The Northern Rail spokesman did try to point out that the Pacer misery was shared around with Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle etc.

    All that said, I thought your piece to camera was excellent (no big head!). You introduced what the programme should have been about, the fact that Pacers are not fit for purpose for other than safety reasons, noisy, cold, rough riding etc. And the fact that there has been virtually no investment in rolling stock for the North West or indeed for anywhere north of Birmingham to Hadrian’s Wall. Perhaps the MP (who is a Lib Dem) should have explained why his government has still not placed the order for Thameslink trains that would initiate a cascade to the benefit (arguably) to the North West. As it is we will have diesel trains, including Pacers, running under shiny new wires for years to come. The Northern spokesman was similarly excellent in front of the camera, explaining exactly his company’s position.

  2. Simon Barber Says:

    I don’t think it is valid to say that the Winsford crash is a red herring. It showed that whilst the Pacer underframe is sturdy, the bodywork is flimsy and if struck in an accident, is quite likely simply to crumple and collapse. In recent years the accident toll on the railways has mercifully fallen to historically low levels, and one reason has been the strong unitary construction of modern coaches (which does not include Pacers). Look at the accidents at Ufton Nervet (Mk 3 coaches), Great Heck (Mk 4 coaches) and Grayrigg (Pendolino) and you see three cases where coaches were struck very hard and whilst there were fatalities, tragically, the coach bodies remained largely intact and offered a great deal of protection to the passengers. A Pacer in a high speed accident would offer precious little protection (and whilst they’re not capable of 125mph, thank goodness, a 70mph crash would be bad enough). The Southport MP was making an important case which I do not think we should dismiss.

  3. Jen Says:

    Some one who went to Iran recently has posted on a forum that they found Iran has decided the class 141 trains they purchased are life expired and have been left to rot in sidings, having been replaced by new Korean built DMUs.

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