Archive for April 14th, 2008

Eurostar sees 21% increase in passengers

Monday, 14 April 2008

Photograph: Carl de Souza/AFP

The day when we can take a cheap and fast train from England to Poland took another small step in the right direction today as Eurostar announced that its passenger carryings had increased by 21% since the move of its London terminal from Waterloo to St Pancras. The Guardian reported that,

Eurostar said 2.17 million customers travelled between London, Paris and Brussels in the first three months of the year, an increase of more than 21.3% on the same period in 2007.

Nick Mercer, Eurostar’s commercial director, said the service was benefiting from shorter journey times thanks to the high-speed link and more customers from around Britain due to the location of St Pancras, which is better connected to the UK rail network than the train operator’s former base in Waterloo.

“The passenger increase is coming from shorter journey times, better punctuality and improved connectivity, particularly from the UK regions. We have seen a near doubling of passengers from places such as York and the east Midlands,” he said.

Eurostar is embarking on a joint marketing campaign with Virgin Trains, East Midlands Trains and National Express East Coast this summer and will tour stations in cities including Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham to advertise deals such as £77 for a return trip from Sheffield to Paris, via St Pancras.

Mercer said around half the growth in passenger numbers came from new customers based north of London, with the rest taken from rival ferry operators and airlines.

(Complete article here)

What a pity that plans to run through Eurostar services from Scotland and the Midlands were stifled at birth and while the rest of Europe is rapidly rolling out a network of plus 300 km/hr high speed lines, the UK’s Ministry of Transport is still twiddling its thumbs about building any such lines in the UK and planning to increase capacity at Heathrow Airport for more flights between London and the North.

A note for non-railway buffs. Sir Edward Watkin built a high speed railway from London to Manchester in 1899. The Great Central main line, also known as the London Extension of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway was opened in 1899, it was the last main line railway built in Britain until the first part of High Speed 1 opened in 2003. From the start it was intended to be part of a high speed line to France through the original Channel Tunnel. The line was closed in stages between 1966 and 1969 although much of the formation still remains intact, although with typical British short-sightedness, key sections of the line through towns such as Rugby and Nottingham have been sold to property developers.

More engines for Pyskowice

Monday, 14 April 2008

Ty2-1292, Ty42-24, TKp 15347 at Lazy awaiting departure 5.4.2008

The Jakubina brothers have successfully moved three more locomotives to their steam centre at Pyskowice. The locos. a Ty2, Ty42 and TKp had been stored in the open at Lazy for over 30 years. By creating ‘facts on the ground’ the brothers are hoping to strengthen their negotiating position vis-a-vis PKP Property regarding the future of the steam centre at Pyskowice. In December last year, Pawel Olczyk, the director of the PKP Property Company had his local director in Katowice petition the Katowice Province’s Curator of Heritage for permission to demolish the roundhouse at Pyskowice. The roundhouse was damaged in the winter of 2006/2007 when part of the roof collapsed under the weight of accumulated snow.

The Pyskowice Steam Centre is an interesting and worthwhile ‘living museum’ and its lack of long-term security is typical of much of Poland’s preserved railways and museums. One of the key problems is that the Jakubina brothers have been unable to secure the support of the Pyskowice Town Council. (Compare the similar situation at Krosniewice.) There are a number of overseas locomotive owners who keep their locomotives on the site. The key to resolving the problem would seem to be for the brothers to recruit their overseas ‘tenants’ (one of them Rik de Gruyter is the treasurer of Fedecrail) to join the committee that administers the site and to utilise their expertise in the negotiations that still remain to be concluded.

(Warning. Clicking on the picture above leads to more pictures of the Lazy engines and some commentary in Polish. Clicking on the picture below leads to some short You Tube videos of the move.)

You Tube Videos