Hi Bath VIP
I think yo uare right in that none London centric long distance travel is a different case and where improvements could and perhaps should be made. The Cross Country service is very slow with long layover periods at many station – often sitting for 5-10 minutes at a time. This combined with the arge number of stops that seem to be made and a Bristol to Newcastle is much better to fly if time is of the essence (but not a London to Newcastle or Edinburgh for example).
If you then have to pay high fares for standard or first then the plane is tempting. However what seems incredible is that these trains are always packed and since they launched there new timetables a few years ago with a more “clockwork” frequency and timetable has lead to huge growth – hence why refurbished HST’s came back into service so they could run longer trains. (This is a clear case where the government need to fork out and extend these trains from 4/5 carriages to 7/8 minimum (I know some run as doubles and 10 car formations). There could well be a case to get further train sets to also run services with fewer stops and thus get fast train times.
On this point if (and hopefully when) HS come to fruition it would be a shame if they did not have services that ran from say Bristol to Birmingham, then picked up the HS2 to Manchester or Leeds (hpefully extended to Newcastle) so that the regions can also benefit from these lines (or if they had real ambition extend another fork from Birmingham to Bristol/Cardiff perhaps????).
One can only dream!