Tuesday, 6 September 2016

How feasible is ferry to Norway?

Way back in 2008, DFDS cancelled its Newcastle-Bergen ferry due to losses, leaving tourists the options of flying, or taking the car the long way round through Europe to get the ferry across from Denmark.  Since then, there have been several abortive attempts to try and restart the service (most recently by British Scandinavian), and there's a campaign group trying to start a service as a co-operative. Meanwhile in Scotland, many MSPs have come out in support of a service from Aberdeen, but sop far there has been lots of talk and very little action. The main problem here is the distance involved. There's a lot of sea between Britain and Norway, which means high fuel costs. The shortest convenient crossing would be between Aberdeen and Stavanger. Government subsidy might make a link more feasible. Climate challenge or similar funding might be made available.Freight still has the option of the DFDS freight ferry from Immingham to Brevik. DFDS also runs a ro-pax ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam, which is a similar length route to Aberdeen-Stavanger.  If a freight-only ferry on a longer route can run at a profit, why can't DFDS, or even Northlink run a combined freight/tourist ferry on a shorter crossing?

Monday, 5 September 2016

WCML local services

Watching a class 350 speed past Motherwell today made me think: Some Virgin trains stop at Motherwell, but Transpennine Express do not (weirdly their Edinburgh services do call at Haymarket). You would think the slower, more "local" TPX trains would stop at places Virgin's Pendolinos do not. Same for Carstairs. (Transpennine Express do call at Lockerbie.) If Beattock station gets rebuilt (as is the aim of the Beattock Station Action Group), whose trains will call there? If I were in charge of the network, I would put Transpennine Express in charge of stopping trains, calling at the intermediate stations on the route (Motherwell, Carstairs, Beattock and Lockerbie), and have the faster/longer-distance Virgin trains going non-stop to Carlisle.