Home Forums Chat Forum No more post/mail by train.

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  • No more post/mail by train.
  • kelvin
    Full Member

    https://www.railfreight.com/railfreight/2024/07/10/uk-royal-mail-withdraws-from-rail-distribution-after-200-years/#?gdpr=accept

    So… all post going purely by road, not using the rail network at all?

    Made me think of this (yes, I know the night trains stopped a few years ago):

    3
    dove1
    Full Member

    2
    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Yet more catastrophically short sighted and stupid bollocks from the Tories – 14 years of rail under-investment coming home to roost.

    See also the cancellation of HS2 causing price hikes further down the line:

    https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/train-price-hikes-fewer-seats-hs2-cancellation-3123426

    whyterider93
    Free Member

    Unfortunately the amazon/dpd etc depots are away from rail and are largely not rail served, unlike the 1980s/90s built RM depots which are next to the WCML and ECML.

    Added to that, the Class 325s are owned by Royal Mail themselves (they always have been, no BR privatisation sell off here) and I can’t see them selling their assets to a rival eg Varamis Rail. Furthermore, they are at a point in their lives where they will need extensive work at some point soon.

    Unfortunately, whilst not good news, I can’t see a way back for mail or parcels via rail any more

    CountZero
    Full Member

    Sadly, cuts to the railway network by Beeching annihilated all of the short spurs into towns, and the creation of large business parks with the space for huge logistics warehouses means you’re going to find that the distances from a railway station where cargo, including parcels, can be unloaded are so far from any real logistics hub or warehouse that it’s just not feasible to use the railway network any more.

    3
    ratherbeintobago
    Full Member

    This does seem catastrophically shortsighted but RM is now a private company so I don’t think HMG can do much about it. It’s at odds with the direction of travel we should be taking though.

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    igm
    Full Member

    Surely music-wise it’s Saxon and Princess of the Night?

    cheers_drive
    Full Member

    There was an article the other day stating they are also getting rid of their planes. So I suppose at least  planes aren’t replacing the trains.

    scuttler
    Full Member

    I had a Hornby Royal Mail train once with a little hook thingy that you hung the mail sack from and the train scooped it up at a scale speed of about 300mph.

    “Letters for the rich, letters for the poor”

    Mint!

    2
    slowoldman
    Full Member

    I had a Hornby Royal Mail train once with a little hook thingy that you hung the mail sack from and the train scooped it up at a scale speed of about 300mph.

    I had one of those

    “Letters for the rich, letters for the poor”

    Let’s have the original. Poem by WH Auden, music by Benjamin Britten.

    Or the full documentary if you want it.

    Jordan
    Full Member

    As a postie this is news to me. We’ve all recently been given later start/finish times very much against our wishes and one of the reasons given was that in a move to be greener the overnight traffic was being moved to rail rather than road.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    It does seem to have come out of the blue.

    1
    sirromj
    Full Member

    Came to comment on the aphex twin – not heard that one before, like it!

    2
    alanl
    Free Member

    “Yet more catastrophically short sighted and stupid bollocks from the Tories – 14 years of rail under-investment coming home to roost.”

    Nothing to do with rail investment, RM are a private Company who have decided that using rail transport costs them more than using the road. that seems strange to me, as Tesco run 2 or 3 trains a day from Daventry to Glasgow, and have done for many years, so why are they cost effective, yet RM trains are not?

    “so far from any real logistics hub or warehouse that it’s just not feasible to use the railway network any more”

    RM have a number of distribution depots along the WCML, Wembley, Warrington and Glasgow (area) are the ones used the most, there are others too. No need to have many more, as local delivery will always use lorries for the last 10/20 miles. To take lorries off the bulk of the route would be the aim, so going from London to Glasgow in 5 hours would be far faster than 6+ lorries doing the same route (no idea how many lorry loads fit on the train). What is strange is that the number of trains run was increased 2 years ago, now they are cancelling them, again. They stopped using trains in the early 00’s, but restarted. They must be very badly run [1], as other Operators are making a success of moving parcels by rail, Varamis have recently acquired more trains as their service was doing so well.:
    https://www.varamis.co.uk/

    [1] First class mail at £1.30. How many letters on a train? Got to be 1 million+, I think one million letters would easily fit into my bathroom, so how many in a trainload? And if you have that many letters to deliver, how can you not make a profit out of it?

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    Unfortunately the amazon/dpd etc depots are away from rail and are largely not rail served, unlike the 1980s/90s built RM depots which are next to the WCML and ECML.

    Someone should tell the Theale (serves the Reading area) Amazon depot, it’s opposite a train station, but also 2mins from an M4 junction…

    2
    intheborders
    Free Member

    Nothing to do with rail investment, RM are a private Company who have decided that using rail transport costs them more than using the road. that seems strange to me, as Tesco run 2 or 3 trains a day from Daventry to Glasgow, and have done for many years, so why are they cost effective, yet RM trains are not?

    Simple for me, trains and/or a contract with a rail delivery partner are long term investments (+5 years, if not far longer) whereas road transport isn’t.  The owners of RM don’t want to commit to the long term even if in the long term it’s cheaper.

    1
    5lab
    Full Member

    I imagine that the actually cost to transport a letter by train is lower than that of road, but the compromises around it make it more expensive. As overall letter/parcel traffic drops, the number of trains a day you need drops. That means that you have longer between each train arriving/leaving and a more “spikey” workload for those who are loading/unloading trains – with lorries you can have a constant stream of deliveries coming into the depot, with trains it’ll trend towards one a night, with a whole load of infra cost needed to keep the network (the bits not on the main line) up and running

    1
    irc
    Full Member

    If a private company decides road is more effective than rail it is their decision. It isn’t as if rail isn’t heavily subsidised. 60% of govt transport funding in 22/23 despite only a small share of journeys.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/rail-factsheet-2023/rail-factsheet-2023#rail-travel-in-the-context-of-other-transport-modes

    For passenger use constant industrial action doesn’t help. Mrs IRC had a weekend in London last year. Had to book a late flight after strikes cancelled her train. Had planned a day out to Oban today but cancelled because of uncertainty as to what trains would be running.

    2
    alanl
    Free Member

    “Had planned a day out to Oban today but cancelled because of uncertainty as to what trains would be running.”

    For once, that is not the fault of the UK Government [1], it is all down to Scotrail, which is run by the Scottish Government. They have offered, afair, 2% a year for the next 3 years. ASLEF, the Drivers Union, have refused, saying it’s not enough. Scotrail wont bump the rise up, so the Drivers are not actually striking, they are just refusing to do overtime, or work on their days off. So it’s all down to bad management, there are not enough Staff to run the trains if the Staff ‘only’ do 40 hour weeks. Employ more Staff, and the problem goes away. Offer a higher pay rise, and the Drivers will continue to work overtime and rest days. Employing more Staff is the better option, but Scotrail dont want the fixed charges associated with employing more Staff, so continue asking Staff to work 6 day weeks.

    [1]though the Uk Government are to blame for the majority of rail strikes, by not negotiating a settlement, they just outright refuse to negotiate, so hopefully Labour will sort that one out.

    irc
    Full Member

    Another SNP failure. I might have known!

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    Drac
    Full Member

    Typical woke agenda can’t even call a train a mail train now.

    faustus
    Full Member

    Seems a poor decision. But if the train units are owned by RM then I can see why, big capital expenditure to replace compared with a bunch of lorries. Assuming leasing rolling stock/loco would be as expensive, and as it’s a specialist unit then probably nothing similar to replace it (it’s basically an emptied out electric passenger train though). I did immediately think of Public Service Broadcasting, as I love that track. Also still have a Hornby royal mail pickup carriage in the loft somewhere.

    airvent
    Free Member

    I don’t know why this is surprising, the rail network is dreadful and poorly connected, and investing in new rolling stock is a huge capital expense at a time where borrowing costs are comparatively high.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    Employing more Staff is the better option, but Scotrail dont want the fixed charges associated with employing more Staff, so continue asking Staff to work 6 day weeks.

    Except they are employing more but haven’t got the levels they need. From the email I got notifying me about the temporary timetable change:

    While ScotRail is currently recruiting 160 new drivers – the highest level ever – each year to improve resilience, some rest day working and overtime is still needed to deliver a normal timetable.

    https://www.scotrail.co.uk/about-scotrail/news-press-releases-latest-news-media-release/scotrail-introduce-temporary-timetable?utm_source=July24TempTT&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1793724_July%2024%20Temp%20Timetable%20Update

    Another SNP failure. I might have known!

    Er, no, it was an issue whilst Abellio were running the franchise as well. Besides the fact that the franchise holder =! Scotrail, they exist as two very separate entities.

    Scotrail deal with manning.

    Franchise holder deals with finances and train rental.

    Transport Scotland set the timetables.

    Network Rail own and maintain the tracks.

    If any one of those bugger up then things stop working. The problems with Scotrail are institutional, changing the franchise was never going to be a silver bullet. As long as it remains a separate entity staffed by the same people nothing will change.

    irc
    Full Member

    “As long as it remains a separate entity staffed by the same people nothing will change.”

    Were the SNP wrong  then when they thought nationalising was the answer?

    Putting ScotRail into public ownership

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    Yes, because it’s only part of the solution. In fairness, Abellio never received any profits from the franchise so I doubt they were too upset at losing it. Nationalising and making it an arms length company removes the politically thorny issue of subsidies to private companies (regardless of if they make a profit) but does give the opportunity of any profits made in future staying within the system. So yes, right thing to do but not the whole story, nationalising something and then running it in the same way isn’t going to produce results.

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