Monday, November 23, 2009

The Most Expensive Distance Between Two Points Is Always a Rail Line

By Daily Mail Reporter
11th November 2009

A Network Rail boss told staff to travel to a conference by coach [bus] because trains are too expensive.

The senior executive decided on coach travel after it was found that taking 200 of the company's staff from Reading to Coventry by rail could cost as much as £27,000.

Instead, the staff will now be collected by coach from Network Rail's head office in Berkshire. Own goal: A Network Rail boss told staff to travel to a conference by coach because trains are too expensive.

Travel expenses will amount to £12 a head by coach, with overall spending being £2,400 - less than a tenth of the cost by train.


  1. Go to, they have both coach and train fares on their website for the UK

    A same day one way ticket from Coventry to Reading by rail is 37 pounds and takes 1h 15min.

    A same day one way ticket from Coventry to Reading by Coach is 18 pounds 60 cents, and takes 4h 55min.

    If three hours and forty minutes of your time is worth less than $30.49, take the coach. Otherwise the train is a better idea.

  2. I agree, Brad, I'd certainly take the train. Unless I was paying for a huge group of people, in which case I might choose the bus.

    This blog post is quite misleading!

  3. Yeah, that's why most of Europe uses rail. They are rich and have money to burn. I wish our country was as rich as the European ones. I heard they can afford healthcare, even for poor people. I wish our country was rich like Italy and Poland.

  4. Read a little closer folks. COAST didn't dream this up. Rather, one of the heads of the UK rail system is the one saying rail is too expensive.

    Obviously rail fares vary widely both here and abroad. Presumably rail system employees know how to buy the right fare for their travel needs. Certainly Brad's cost is accurate for whatever route/day/time he picked, but the rail guy himself pegged his costs at £27,000.

    Please note, the choice did not boil down to public rail vs. public bus, but rather public rail vs charter bus. The giveaway is "collected by coach from Network Rail's head office." Obviously they're hiring 5 or 6 dedicated buses to transport folks directly from source to destination, further reducing both hassle and cost. Such a choice is not available by rail unless the travelers happen to adjoin a rail line.

    At 90 miles away, the travel time won't differ much from the 75 minute rail journey, especially when ticketing and boarding times are included. You just can't beat the flexibility of a bus.

    2nd Anonymous, you might want to look up the fraction of all trips that are taken by transit in Europe; you can even include buses, which do the real heavy lifting in every transit network. You'll be shocked how low it is, even in Europe, with it's very mature rail network.

    Bottom line is, whether you wan't to talk about capital costs, operating costs, or real fares (including subsidies), rail really is the most expensive distance between two points. Granted, it's a nifty way to travel, but any notion that's it's economical is pure fiction.

  5. "[Y]ou can even include buses, which do the real heavy lifting in every transit network."

    Totally untrue -- I live in a European city, and there are relatively few buses. Streetcars and subways take care of most intracity trips, then trains cover intercity trips. Buses are basically used for trips to/around the outer burbs: too far out for the city system, but not a major destination for trains.

    In this system, buses and streetcars/subways cost the same for consumers, while trains are more expensive. Thing is, I (along with everyone I know) prefer trains over buses: I can take a 6-minute train to the airport, or a 25- or 30-minute bus. Which would you take, for an extra dollar or so? (And who has time to kill going to the airport?) Then over longer distances the time saving factor gets enormous.

    Rails are also an investment in the future. Buses will get much more expensive to operate, as gas prices increase. Not to mention environmental impact. The Ohio River Valley could use a little less smog, don't you think?

    If Europe is having second thoughts about rail, they surely aren't showing it, beyond some silly article.

  6. Another point worth mentioning to show how upside down COAST is, and cherry picking their information. Warren Buffett, one of richest and smartest investors of all time went "all in" on the US economy by purchasing what? I'll give you a hint, it wasn' t buses. It was actually rail.

    If COAST wants to be on the wrong side of history, they can keep trying to fight rail. But really it's getting to be like Creationism in science class, or Exxon funding research to try to show global warming isn't happening.

  7. "or Exxon funding research to try to show global warming isn't happening."

    You might want to re-think your religious devotion to man-madde global warming Anon.

    The scientists got caught lying to us. Who do you trust when you can't even trust the "experts". This is why the debate is not "over" as most global warming alarmist wish.

  8. Anon 11:40
    Thanks for proving my point about how out of touch you guys are. There is consensus on global warming, if you are quoting the WSJ on matters of science, you might want to think about what your source has to lose or gain based on what they write. Why do you think Exxon spent more on PR fighting the facts of scientific research than they did on doing their own peer review research?

  9. Global Warming:
    It isn't a radical agenda to state facts. The Amazon IS being deforested, we are wiping out species left and right, we are already experiencing water shortages, the world is adding desert acreage every year, we have harvested so many fish that we are renaming 'junk' fish just so people will eat them, the icebergs ARE melting. If you don't believe that you can identify the years of the Great Depression in ice core samples based on their reduced CO2 levels, I think you are the one who is following a religion based on magical rather than analytical thinking. This is the reason our country will fail, not some radical leftist agenda.

  10. Global Warming Cult FollowerNovember 29, 2009 at 2:51 PM

    We don't care what legitimate argument there is in the scientific community. We don't care if there is undeniable proof that global warming scientific advocates were caught lying to the public and fudging numbers to support their cause. We will not accept discussion on this topic or listen to opposing viewpoints!!! We only demand debate if it is a debate that will bolster our side. The tine for debate is over. Save the polar bears (and Al Gores pocketbook)!!!

  11. Move along. Nothing to see here!!!

    Drink the climate kool aid. Mmmmmmmmmm.

  12. "if you are quoting the WSJ on matters of science, you might want to think about what your source has to lose or gain based on what they write."

    Yeah, whatever you do, don't get your news from The Wall Street Journal, which has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the United States. Get your news on climate change from the Daily Kos, or better yet, direct from Al Gore's mouth. Those are much more reputable sources, and they have nothing to lose or gain based on what they write. HAHA

  13. Mmmm... OK, so which one my statements are you trying to refute? Polar caps shrinking? Water shortages? Species extinction? Fish harvesting? CO2 levels in ice cores? Expanding deserts? Go ahead and give me some facts that humans aren't impacting their environment. I bet every time you throw a piece of trash in a garbage can you think it magically gets turned into fertilizer? Ever heard of the island of plastic in the Pacific? Maybe you should go live there with the unicorns and your magical thinking.

  14. Mmmmm.... OK. You give me some facts that they are. Your scientific idols have been proven to be liars. The burden is upon you, sir. The only magical thinking is the bile that clouds your brain and eventually spews out of your ignorant mouth. If you don't mind being lied to, then go ahead, close your eyes and believe the garbage that is being shoved into your imbicilic head by the global warming alarmists (who have now been proven to be money hungry frauds). I see that you can't refute the fact that they are proven hucksters, and prefer instead to question the integrity of the WSJ. This is always the last resort of the loser. I don't know about a land of unicorns and rainbows, but you're free to live a pre-industrial revolution existence. You won't, because you're a hypocrite.

  15. Thank God for useful idiots. If not for the gullible, who would Al Gore talk to?

  16. Thank God for useful idiots. If not for the gullible what else would Al Gore and his bought and paid for scientists do?

  17. You still didn't address my question. Which one of the list of examples that I gave about human impact on the environment isn't true? Did you look up any of it up? Nope. The polar ice caps refreeze every winter with a small radius and a large radius. With satellite imagery, we can verify that the polar caps aren't refreezing as much as they used to. It isn't some kind of conspiracy, you can go anywhere online and find the images. Do you dispute that we are causing mass extinction to animal species? The data is there, just google it. Do you discount that we are experiencing water shortages?
    Give me some data that the list I gave you is false. You can't. I proposed an argument that has easily accessible data, give me something other than a WSJ article about emails.

    (By the way, if you read the article, the science isn't being disputed across the greater scientific community, it is splitting hairs about bad protocol and sloppiness in the research. There are multiple sources of information gathering and they are double blind tested for accuracy. The dispute is over methodology, not the validity of climate change.)

  18. Even if those things were true, you can't prove that those things are man-made unless you use faulty and dis-proven science. Look, in spite of your insistance, the time for debate is not over for many, many of us.

    Why is it that liberals say debate is patriotic unless you challenge one of their special causes.

  19. It appears that the executive was quoting the price for what is referred to as an "Open Return Ticket," which basically means, I think, that the user can choose when they will come back and not book an exact start and end time. In reading the comments at the article itself, a number of readers pointed this out. I don't know the ins and outs of the British Rail system (nor this particular private rail company), but if they're arranging for a bus to take them to and fro, that sounds like it will have some definite times scheduled for the travel. Why they couldn't choose to get time definite tickets is beyond me.

    Likewise, back in the day, here in the states, railroad employees traveled free on our passenger rail lines. My grandpa worked for the C&O (now CSX, only a freight line) and Mom talks about them riding free all the time. They went to one of Roosevelt's inaugerations that way, as I recall being told.

    There is generally more to a story and it helps to dig a little deeper. Nice try though, COAST.


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