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East Anglia Meetings and Events

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RailEast Branch Newsletter

Latest edition and archive of past editions

Future Branch and National Meetings and Events

Railfuture East Anglia has four branch Meetings every year, which are announced in the RailEast newsletter three or four weeks before. The meetings are held in different venues around the region, all located near to railway stations and are typically attended by forty or so campaigners and members of the public. Most branch meetings start at 14:00, but are occasionally scheduled for the morning. The branch committee usually meets on the same date.

Saturday 24th June 2017 - Ipswich at 14:00
St Mary at Stoke Church Hall, St Mary at Stoke Church, Stoke Street, Ipswich IP2 8BX
Speaker: Allison Cosgrove, Chair of Railfuture Scotland and also Railfuture’s national Vice Chair, will talk about the reopening of the Borders Railway in 2015. The longest ever reopened railway, passenger numbers have
been above estimates with journeys much longer than predicted generating extra revenue and bringing tourism.
It should give people in East Anglia an idea of how similar routes such as East West Rail and the Wisbech
branch can, and will, be opened in the next few years.
See meeting flier.
(Committee meeting in the morning AGA Regional Meeting Room Ipswich station 10:15 to 12:30)

Saturday 23rd September 2017 - Norwich at 14:00
Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Street, Norwich, NR2 1EW
(Committee meeting in the morning 10:00 to 12:30)

Past Branch and National Meetings and Events



Saturday 25th March 2017 - Committee meeting in Cambridge

Saturday 25th February 2017 - AGM in Bury St Edmunds at 14:00
Friends Meeting House, St Andrews Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1SJ
Guest Speaker Colin Harris, Cambridge Connect Light Rail Project
Dr Colin M Harris of Environmental Research and Assessment in Cambridge, is leading the way on the Cambridge Light Rail project called Cambridge Connect. Colin will explain the rationale and plans for this rapidly evolving project and its progress so far.
Read more at www.cambridge-connect.uk
See meeting flier.

Saturday 3rd December 2016 - Cambridge at 14:00
Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8BA
Guest Speaker Jamie Burles, Managing Director of Abellio Greater Anglia to talk to our members and the public in Cambridge. Abellio has just won a franchise for nine more years and has many exciting plans for a much improved rail service including an entirely brand new fleet of trains with modern facilities. Find out what is planned and let him know what additional improvements you want.
See meeting flier.
(Committee meeting in the morning 10:00 to 12:30)

Saturday 24th September 2016 - Norwich at 14:00
Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Street, Norwich, NR2 1EW
Guest speaker Steve Ashling of Network Rail will talk to Railfuture about the DIGITAL RAILWAY, which has the potential to revolutionise the way that Britain’s railway is run. He will explain what ERTMS and ETCS are, and plans for re-signalling the Wherry Lines from Norwich to Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
Followed by a Railfuture branch update on East Anglia’s railway including the promises for new rolling stock and services made by Abellio for its new 9-year rail franchise.
See meeting flier.
(Committee meeting in the morning 10:00 to 12:30)

Saturday 25th June 2016 - Ipswich at 14:00
St Mary at Stoke Church Hall, St Mary at Stoke Church, Stoke Street, Ipswich IP2 8BX
Half a mile east of Ipswich railway station. From the station turn into Burrell Road past the multi-storey car park on your right. Take the right fork up Willoughby Road, at the top of which turn left into Belstead Road, which becomes Stoke Street with the venue in sight.
Guest speaker, Steve Hooker, Network Rail’s Area Director for the Great Eastern Main Line will talk about the problems that passengers experience on the Great Eastern and what Network Rail plans to do in the next few years.
See meeting flier.
(Committee meeting in the morning AGA Regional Meeting Room Ipswich station 10:15 to 12:30)

Saturday 27th February 2016 - AGM in Bury St Edmunds at 14:00
Friends Meeting House, St. Johns Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1SJ
Chris Austin OBE, Railfuture Head of Infrastructure and Networks, Former Director at Strategic Rail Authority and Association of
Train Operating Companies and author of ATOC’s 2009 Connecting Communities report proposing line reopenings will be speaking about his new book (co-written with Richard Faulkner) “DISCONNECTED! Broken Links in Britain’s Rail Policy in which Railfuture made several contributions.
Chris Austin spent his career at British Railways then moving to the Strategic Rail Authority and finally ATOC, spending his spare time being involved with the West Somerset Railway. Since retiring he writes a regular column in Railwatch magazine for Railfuture and has now co-written two highly-regarded books with Richard Faulkner (the first entitled, Holding the Line). Both books can be ordered at a good discount from www.railfuture.org.uk/shop. He will also bring along a small number of books, which he will sign.
Please take this opportunity to make Mr Austin’s attendance worthwhile with your presence too, and also question him and our branch committee about the future. It a challenging but exciting time for the railway!
After the presentation, there is the East Anglian branch AGM with the Chairman and Secretary's round-up the year, election of the officers and committee, treasurer's report. There will be an open discussion
regarding the campaigning priorities for the forthcoming year. It’s your chance to influence the railway.
See meeting flier.
(Committee meeting 10:30 at The Centre opposite the Friends Meeting House)


Saturday 5th December 2015 - Cambridge at 14:00
St Paul's Church Hills Road Cambridge CB2 1JP
Guest speaker Keith Jipps, Passenger Service Director, Great Northern at Govia Thameslink Railway
Our main speaker is Keith Jipps who will speak about what Govia has done since it took over from First Capital Connect in September 2014 and what it will be doing in the future – including new Class 700 trains.
Railfuture will lead the discussion on the CAMBRIDGE CITY DEAL, and our popular proposal for a rail-based metro service.
Our other speaker will be Martin Yallop, Community Stations Development Officer at Association of community Rail Partnerships.
See meeting flier.
(Committee meeting at the same venue)

Saturday 19th September 2015 - Norwich at 14:00
Chapelfields Methodist Church, Chapel Field Road, Norwich NR2 1SD
Guest speaker Ian Brown, Railfuture Director of Policy
Ian Brown has enormous experience of railways (both passenger and freight) in Britain and across Europe. He has been involved in many key projects, including Crossrail and the DLR when he was
Managing Director of London Rail. Now Railfuture’s Director of Policy, he leads all of its campaigning. This is a great opportunity for members and the public to influence what Railfuture campaigns for in future.
Read more about Ian Brown at www.railfuture.org.uk/Ian+Brown+CBE.
See meeting flier.
(the committee meeting is at the same venue)


Saturday 27th June 2015 - Ipswich at 14:00
St Mary at Stoke Church Hall, St Mary at Stoke Church, Stoke Street, Ipswich IP2 8BX
Half a mile east of Ipswich railway station
The speaker will be Richard Storer from the Crossrail project. Richard has been on the project a number of years and will be able to give an informative update on the programme to date and construction progress, as well of the next phase in the project as we move away from tunnelling into systems and fit out.
Meeting
See meeting flier.
(the committee meeting is at the Railway Station)

Saturday 28nd March 2015 - East Anglia Branch Committee Meeting in Cambridge
Committee meeting only at 10:15 - no associated branch meeting

Saturday 28th February 2015 - East Anglia Branch AGM in Bury St Edmunds at 14:00
Friends Meeting House, St. Johns Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1SJ
Guest Speaker: Alan Neville, Manager at Liverpool Street station
See meeting flier
Alan Neville last spoke at a Railfuture East Anglia Branch meeting in 2010. At the time he was local Area Manager responsible for 10 stations between Whittlesea and Audley End. Many members will have seen and spoken to him at Ely, where he spent much of his time. As a hands-on manager he took an active part in several station clean-up activities. He was previously customer service manager at London Liverpool Street as its customer service manager and station manager at King's Cross before that.
Alan is now the manager of Liverpool Street Station and brings 34 years of rail industry experience to the role. His key responsibilities include staff and station standards management, working with Network Rail, which shares management of the station with Abellio Greater Anglia, and improving customer service. His talk to Railfuture is entitled “A Day In The Life."
Please take this opportunity to make Mr Neville’s attendance worthwhile with your presence too, and also question our branch committee about the way ahead. It has been an exciting year on the railway!
After the presentation, there is the branch AGM with the Chairman and Secretary's round-up the year, election of the officers and committee, treasurer's report. There will be discussion regarding the priorities for the forthcoming year.
The St. John's Street entrance is opposite the bus station and car park, the entrance from St. Andrews Street is best for those walking from the railway station, which is about 5 to 10 minutes away. Light refreshments will be available. There is a good range of cafés and restaurants nearby.

Saturday 6th December 2014 - East Anglia Branch Meeting in Peterborough
Howes Room at the Peterborough Museum and City Gallery, Priestgate, Peterborough, PE1 1LF
Branch meeting at 13:30.
See meeting flier.

Saturday 27th September 2014 at 14:00 - East Anglia Branch Meeting in Norwich
Guest speaker Jamie Burles, managing director of Abellio Greater Anglia spoke about
the aspirations for the next GA franchise, which will begin in late 2016.
See meeting flier.
Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, Norwich NR2 1EW
Upper Goat Lane is a one-way street leading off to the left from St Giles Street, just under City Hall clocktower. Norwich bus station, 15 minute walk. Station: Norwich, 15 minute walk. Buses available. Limited parking at the meeting house by arrangement. Multi-storey parking adjacent. Contact in advance for on-site parking.

Saturday 21st June 2014 - Railfuture National Summer Conference in Cambridge
Several speakers including Network Rail and MD of First Capital Connect
In addition to the local meetings, the East Anglia branch of Railfuture will be hosted the national summer conference on 21st June 2014 held in Cambridge. Details HERE

Saturday 14th June 2014 - East Anglia Branch Meeting in Colchester
Colchester YMCA, 159 Magdalen Street, Colchester CO1 2JX
5 mins walk from Colchester Town station.
See meeting flier.
Guest speaker Rob Fairhead will be speaking about the enhancement schemes included in the programme for Control Period 5, including anticipated completion dates. Rob is a Senior Programme Development Manager at Network Rail leading the development and implementation of major renewal and enhancement projects in the Anglia Route. Key projects have included the Cambridge Island Platform, West Anglia Outer 12 Coach Trains, Thameshaven Branch Doubling, Ipswich Chord, Ipswich Yard, Gospel Oak to Barking Electrification.

Saturday 22nd March 2014 10.15 to 13:00 - East Anglia Branch Committee Meeting in Cambridge
Committee meeting only - no associated branch meeting

Saturday 22nd February 2014 - East Anglia Branch AGM in Bury St Edmunds
Friends Meeting House, St. Johns Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1SJ
Guest Speaker Linda McCord Passenger Manager at Passenger Focus.
See meeting flier
Ms McCord is based in Ely and has worked closely with the Railfuture East Anglia Branch on a number of issues over the past year. She will outline these together with a number of others users face when using the railway. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and make points about issues that concern you. Please take this opportunity to make Ms McCord's presentation worthwhile with your attendance and also question our branch committee about the way ahead. It has been an exciting year on the railway! After the presentation, there will the business part of the meeting including Chairman and Secretary's round up the year, the election of the officers and committee, treasurer's report. There will be discussion regarding the priorities for the forthcoming year.
The St. John's Street entrance is opposite the bus station and car park, the entrance from St. Andrews Street is best for those walking from the railway station, which is about 5 to 10 minutes away. Light refreshments will be available. There is a good range of cafés and restaurants nearby.

Saturday 7th December 2013 - East Anglia Branch Meeting in Cambridge
Branch Meeting at 14:00 in the Upper Hall at The Centre at St Paul's, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 1JP
See Meeting Flier
Guest Speaker Getaint Hughes, Partnership Manager, Greater Anglia
Cambridge Station Improvements for Passengers and Visitors
Funding from the CB1 redevelopment of the area around Cambridge station will see the crowded station ticket hall tripled in size in 2014 and creation of a multi-storey cycle park with nearly 2,900 spaces (the largest cycle park in the UK). Geraint Hughes, Greater Anglia Partnerships Manager, will be talking about how these and other improvement will benefit passengers.
Getaint Hughes is well known to Railfuture members for his involvement in their Adopt-A-Station initiative.

Saturday 28th September 2013 - East Anglia Branch Meeting in Norwich
This branch meeting was held at 14:00 in Chapelfields Methodist Church, Chapel Field Road, Norwich NR2 1SD
See Meeting Flier

The speaker was David Reed, the Managing Director of Track Access Services Limited (TAS), which is an established company based in Shepreth (just south of Cambridge) that specialises in writing rail route simulators used by train operating companies in Britain and Ireland for driver training.

They also produce signal sighting systems, intended to ensure that signals can be seen by drivers in all conditions. In fact their products are designed to support renewal and enhancement schemes for many rail projects.

More information about what they do can be seen from their www.trackaccess.co.uk web-site (follow them on Twitter @trackaccess).

2013 - COLCHESTER MEETING
Speaker from Essex County Council was planned
This branch meeting was held at 14:00 on Saturday 15th June 2013 in Colchester at the YMCA at 159 Magdalen Street, Colchester, CO1 2JX. The venue was only five minutes' walk (or for our intended speaker see Meeting Flier a three-minute 'wheel' - you wouldn't have caught him!) from Colchester Town station.

We had hoped that Dominic Lund-Conlon, a very impressive and entertaining speaker, would talk to us about accessibility issues on the railways and how they could be improved. Unfortunately because of another commitment he could not attend and so branch committee member Andrew Gee, who works for a neighbouring local authority and knows Dominic well, was able to give a presentation on the same subject using Dominic's prepared slides.

2013 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
AGM - Speaker from Norfolk Orbital Railway
This branch meeting, which is also the AGM, was held at 14:00 on Saturday 23rd February 2013 at the Friends Meeting House, St. Johns Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1SJ. The guest speaker was Derek Haynes, of the Holt, Melton Constable and Fakenham Railway, which promotes the Norfolk Orbital Railway scheme. He has been Chairman for the last year or so, having taken over from Trevor Bailey, but has been involved with the organisation for about six years. See Meeting Flier. He spoke for half an hour about their aims and progress so far with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation that includes a series of maps of the proposed route through Holt. He then answered a series of questions and stayed to talk to members during the tea break.

Some slides from a similar presentation about the scheme given a year earlier, in March 2012 in Norwich, can be viewed at play.goldmail.com/umihtiubv0cq. These contain some useful diagrams of the route through Holt and some photos of that stretch of former trackbed.

2012 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
Speaker: Richard Eccles, Network Rail, Director of Network Strategy and Planning, on Felixstowe to Nuneaton route upgrade
A capacity audience of 50 people attended the branch meeting on Saturday 8th December 2012 at the Central Library in Cambridge. They were not disappointed by the very interesting and humorous presentation by Richard Eccles, who is the Network Rail director in charge of its Network Strategy and Planning team, which conducts the Route Utilisation Strategies. It is responsible for liaison with the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland in the development of passenger franchise specifications. It acts as client for enhancement schemes funded by Network Rail and liaises with customers and stakeholders with regard to the scope of future renewals programmes and the opportunities for enhancements. Mr Eccles is also chairman of the West Coast Events Steering Group, NR's first ESG. He makes occasional appears on television, such as July 2012 when the Ely North Junction improvements were announced. During his presentation he explained that every minister had been sent to a railway location and a Network Rail representative attended with them to answer technical questions.

Mr Eccles had come to talk about Network Rail's plans and progress of the nationally important upgrade of the railway through East Anglia (from Felixstowe to Nuneaton) to take the increasing amount freight being carried between Felixstowe and the inland terminals - see Meeting Flier. Not only will this also lead to a better railway for our vital passenger services, it will give the railway much more capacity to take HGV traffic off the increasingly expensive and dangerous A14 trunk road.

He began his presentation by mentioning how the railway had spent 28 years closing things and selling them off, but for the last eight years he had been doing exactly the opposite. In the past he had been a director of Silverlink passenger trains and had also run inland freight terminals for British Rail's Railfreight Distribution (RFD). He had done his signalbox training at Whittlesea. Today he lives just outside Cambridge.

He was very optimistic about further infrastructure improvements in the future. Citing the Felixstowe branch, which he said was "the single greatest constraint on getting containers out of Felixstowe", he was confident that Network Rail would upgrade the line. At Ely he revealed that he personally had cancelled the two freight loops as the full double-tracking from Soham means they are no longer needed. However, this relies upon Ely level crossing being closed, and therefore the planned bypass being opened.

Some of the numerous facts that he revealed during the presentation include:

Network Rail has around £240m to spend on the Strategic Freight Network between 2009 and 2014 (CP4)
Between 2014 and 2019 (CP5) the railway will have a budget of £9,421 million for enhancements, with £200m for freight schemes
Gauge enhancement on the route from Southampton has seen rail increase its share of transporting 9'6" containers from 12% to 30%
Network Rail has around £3,800 million of electrificaiton schemes 'on the go'
DfT, Welsh Assembly government and the Scottish Government all use different appraisal systems to decide what schemes should go ahead
Biomass is much lighter than coal and therefore we could see fast freight trains in the future
HS2 would take fast trains off the WCML creating paths that would allow freight ttrains to travel at a more constant speed.

2012 - NORWICH MEETING
Speaker: David Horne, MD East Midlands Trains
This branch meeting was held on Saturday 29th September 2012 at Chapelfield Chapel, Chapelfields Road, Norwich, NR2 1SD. See Meeting Flier.

David Horne had been highly recommended as a speaker by the Railfuture Lincolnshire branch and did not disappoint. A packed room of more than 30 people listened to an hour-long presentation by the East Midlands MD who clearly has a thorough and unchallengeable knowledge of the railway his franchise covers. He provided many illuminating and honest answers to the flurry of questions he faced. A summary of the information he provided is listed in Snippets 233.

He began his railway career in the ticket office at St Austell in the British Rail era. In June 2006 he became Stagecoach's bid manager for the East Midlands Trains franchise. They signed the 2,000-page franchise agreement in June 2007, around five months before it commenced. He was initially the Commercial Director for EMT before succeeding Tim Shoveller as Managing Director.

2012 - COLCHESTER MEETING
Main Speaker: TJ Noomen of Greater Anglia
This branch meeting was held on Saturday 23rd June 2012 in Colchester.

The main speaker was Thijs Jan Noomen, the Project Manager at Greater Anglia, which took over the main East Anglian train franchise in February 2012. There were also two speakers from rail user groups: Derek Monnery from the Essex Rail Users Federation and John Smock of Ontrack, which represents users of the Walton-on-the-Naze, Frinton-on-Sea, Kirby Cross & Thorpe-le-Soken Rail lines. See Meeting Flier.

John Smock talked in detail about the aspirations for the Clacton line, such as a new park and ride station at Gorse Lane, as the expanding population is not well-served by the current Clacton town station. OnTrack also hoped for a connecting curve that would join the Clacton and Walton/Frinton lines.

2012 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
AGM - Presentation and discussion on the East West Rail Link
More than 30 members attended the AGM on Saturday 25th February 2012 at the Friends' Meeting House in Bury St Edmunds. The branch didn't manage to get a speaker from new franchisee Abellio, as had been hoped, but committee member John Henderson gave a presentation on East West Rail link, which was followed by a discussion on possible routes for the 'central' section between Cambridge and Bedford.


2011 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
Julie Houghton, Network Rail East Anglia Route Enhancement Manager
Julie Houghton, Network Rail East Anglia Route Enhancement Manager, was the guest speaker at the branch meeting on Saturday 3rd December 2011 at Little St. Mary's Church in Cambridge. CB2 8AE.

She replaced the planned speaker, Andrew Munden, who was Network Rail's East Anglia Route Director prior to a reorganisation and is now working in London on special projects. In the past it has been difficult to persuade Network Rail to provide a speaker, so Railfuture is particularly pleased that Julie gave a presentation, which was enjoyed by to an audience of more than 30 people.

Julie had only been in the role for 12 weeks, having transferred from being Network Rail's senior project sponsor in the Kent region. However, she had made a real effort to find out about enhancement schemes in the East Anglia region and came armed with a stack of notes from her colleagues. Her presentation included schemes announced just days earlier by the Chancellor in his autumn statement.

Julie works at Liverpool Street and commutes in from Folkestone, having previously worked for Southeastern. Her team of five people have around 100 projects on the go and she reports to Dave Ward, who is the new Route Managing Director for East Anglia.

2011 - NORWICH MEETING
Discussions amongst members about important railway matters in East Anglia
This branch meeting was held on Saturday 1st October 2011 at Chapel Fields Methodist Chapel. NR2 1SD.

2011 - IPSWICH MEETING
Discussions amongst members about important railway matters in East Anglia
This branch meeting was held on Saturday 25th June 2011 at the Friends Meeting House, Ipswich. IP1 3JH.

The meeting focused on two important matters for the East Anglian railways. The first is Railfuture East Anglia's top campaign, the East West Rail Link between Oxford and Cambridge. John Henderson, who is leading the campaign for the branch, gave an update on progress (with a PowerPoint presentation) and showed a video from the EWRL consortium.

Branch secretary Nick Dibben then lead a discussion on Railfuture's aims for the new Greater East Anglia franchise, which will commence in 2014, when the two-and-a-half-year interim franchise ends. Derek Monnery, chairman of the Essex Rail Users Federation, who has met all three bidders for the interim franchise, gave his personal observations and views of each parent train company, based on the company culture and background.

Nick Dibben also provided plus some thoughts on Network Rail's recently released draft RUS (Rail Utilisation Study) about Stations. Nick presented some slides on the latter. The Network Rail Station RUS Overview was discussed which was a high-level look at what the RUS is intended to achieve and focused on East Anglia stations.

During the interval attendees had a chance to look at a larger-scale diagram showing Network Rail's design for the new Ipswich chord, which will allow freight trains to avoid reversing in Ipswich yard.

2011 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
Annual General Meeting - discussions amongst members
This branch meeting, which will also be the AGM, will be held on Saturday 26th February 2011 in the Conference Room (on the 3rd floor) at the Central Library, 7 Lion Yard, Cambridge, CB2 3QD. The library had recently been reopened after a major refurbishment and was a superb venue for holding the meeting.

On this occasion there was no speaker, which allowed plenty of time to review the branch's activities in 2010, report on current rail campaigns and for branch members to take part in discussions on several matters. This included at explanation of Railfuture's stance on High-Speed 2 by national vice chairman Jerry Alderson, and a presentation on the East West Rail Link by branch committee member John Henderson.

Railfuture's eagerness for the return of a "7-day railway" was raised, with praise for Network Rail in keeping the East Coast Main Line open using just a single line operated in bi-directional mode, but criticism for the railway bustituting services between Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds because there were engineering works at Stowmarket.

2010 - 2nd BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
James Steward, Norwich Area Station manager for National Express East Anglia
This branch meeting was held on Saturday 4th December 2010 for the second time at the Friends Meeting House in St John's Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1SJ. (The venue has swapped with the Cambridge meeting, which was then held in February 2011.)

The speaker was James Steward who explained the work he undertakes at the NXEA local stations in his charge. As Area Manager Rural routes he controls six of the eight rural routes - his remit does not cover Ipswich to Cambridge/Peterborough - being responsible for 40 stations and eight staff reporting directly to him along with 50 station adopters. These routes see 250+ trains a day and 2.3m passengers a year. An IT graduate, he has worked on the railway for nine years, with First North Western, First Transpennine Express and First Great Eastern staying on to join National Express. He works out of Norwich and lives in Lowestoft.

James explained that Great Yarmouth has really benefited for 'staycations' with summer Friday/Monday trains full to capacity or overflowing. There has been a 10% passenger increase in 2010. He praised the station adopters at Cantley who took over in 2009 and have painted the station. Punctuality is good with rural routes' moving annual average at 91% against 90.4% across the NXEA franchise. Rolling stock has high utilisation with just one train of each type planned to be unavailable each day.

Snow, ice and freezing temperatures can be a problem for the railway with pointwork especially vulnerable as point blades can stick to rails, and ice moisture in the air can freeze electronics and overhead wires.

He reminded attendees that NXEA provided 3,500 extra peak-time seats from December 2009 and would add a further 4,000 from December 2010. The ending of through trains from Lowestoft to London, whilst not popular, has released units to work Ipswich-Saxmundham, and longer trains on Ipswich-Cambridge and Cambridge-Norwich. Car park capacity is a problem with Attleborough amongst the worst, being absolutely full. Despite the NXEA franchising ending in October 2011 (although it might be extended again), he assured Railfuture that NXEA would not use the ending of the franchise as an excuse not to do something, although it clearly could not be expected to provide major funding.

In his spare time, James is also a member of the trust council of the Mid-Norfolk Railway and is its Operations Director. He was able to tell Railfuture how the MNR had achieved some notable successes in the past three years and described what the railway hoped to achieve in the next five years.

2010 - NORWICH MEETING
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of "Shaping Norfolk’s Future"
This branch meeting was held on Saturday 25th September 2010 at Chapel Field Methodist Church, Norwich.

Mr Starkie explained that Shaping Norfolk's Future key objectives for rail are:
  • A 90-minute schedule between London and Norwich
  • More reliable services; new inter-city style trains
  • More capacity; station improvements; steadily improving cleanliness
  • Added comfort; better on-board facilities
  • Action to reduce engineering disruption
  • Improvements to rural lines.

2010 - IPSWICH MEETING
Philip Smart of Ipswich Borough Council - talking about the proposed Ipswich Chord
This branch meeting held on Saturday 26th June 2010 at the Friends Meeting House, 39 Fonnereau Road, Ipswich, IP1 3JH heard a presentation from Coumcillor Philip Smart of Ipswich Borough Council. He talked about how he had pushed local rail schemes ever since he arrived at the council, and described in detail the proposals for the Bacon Factory Curve, which is now known as the Ipswich Chord. Showing plans of the extent of the curve, he outlined the pros and cons of whether it should be built as double track or a more basic single track. He also encouraged Railfuture members to take part in the public consultation meetings.

Councillor Smart replaced the expected speaker John French, who is advising First Group on their bid for the Greater East Anglia franchise, which the government announced on 17th June would be delayed. Ian Dinmore, of Norfolk County Council was advertised as the second speaker, talking about his role promoting community rail partnerships, but owing to his unavailability Peter Lawrence, Railfuture president spoke about his role in the Wherry Lines CRP.

2010 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
Annual General Meeting - Speaker was NXEA's Area Station Manager, Alan Neville, based at Ely station
The branch held its AGM on Saturday 27th February 2010 at the Quaker Meeting House, St John's Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 1SJ. (The usual venue, the Library, was unavailable because of refurbishment works.) Details: www.burystedmundsquakers.org.

The speaker was Alan Neville, who has been involved in East Anglia railways for decades, has been responsible for NXEA's 10 stations between Whittlesea and Audley End since February 2009. He is very much a problem-solver rather than an excuse-giver. As a hands-on manager he has taken an active part in the March station clean-up activities, which has been supported by the council and local volunteers, as well as leading clean-ups by NXEA staff at Newport and Whittlesford Parkway.

Alan's team will be having a 'big push' on marketing initiatives in 2010, aimed at getting people to use trains for journeys they would not previously have considered. For example, a poster at Ely will promote Audley End and nearby Saffron Walden whilst a poster at Audley End station will promote Ely. In the future Bury St Edmunds will be promoted.

Alan was responsive to the concerns that Railfuture members raised, such as incorrect passenger information and had some good news to give his audience. Staff at stations will be given radio microphones so that they can make announcements from the platform. like London Underground staff do, and he is proposing to change the station signs at Audley End to include the suffix 'for Saffron Walden', although the station name will not be altered on timetables.

2009 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
Mike Lamport on Rail for the Olympics
This branch meeting was held on 5th December 2009 at the Alex Wood Hall, Norfolk Street, Cambridge, CB1 2DL. Mike Lamport of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) gave a very impressive talk about the rail services that will be provided for the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012, and described the infrastructure improvements being made, especially around Stratford, to increase capacity and make the railway more attractive to passengers. His presentation included a wealth of high-quality photos of the work done so far.

Although Stratford in not in the East Anglia branch area, it is an area of London that many people East Anglia visit, and is a key interchange (e.g. for Jubilee line) on the route into London. Railfuture is also campaigning for direct trains from Cambridge to Stratford. Occasionally trains take the route via Stratford on diversions to avoid engineering works but do not stop there.

2009 - NORWICH MEETING
Steven Ashling - on his career working on the 'big' railway and is life-long interest in the railways

This branch meeting was held on 26th September 2009 at Chapel Field Methodist Chapel, Chapel Field Road, Norwich, NR2 1SD. Steven Ashling, who is an Operations Manager for Network Rail in East Anglia, gave a talk in a personal capacity about local railway infrastructure, its strengths, weaknesses, problems and prospects, as well a history of his career and his interest in railways.

Steven Ashling (pictured left, photo Jerry Alderson), is also a director of the North Norfolk Railway, and is chairman-elect. He has been involved with its project to reinstate the level crossing at Sheringham, which took a great leap forward when a Network Rail 'retirement and long-service day' was held on the NNR in October 2007. Steve had just come from a board meeting and was able to reveal to Railfuture that the NNR's directors had agreed to go ahead with the level crossing for a 2010 opening date subject to the remaining £30k (approx.) of the necessary £140k funding being found. March 2011 update: The level crossing completed on time and on budget and was officially opened by Pete Waterman on 11th March 2010 in front of an audience of 5,000 people.

2009 - IPSWICH MEETING
Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs at National Express East Anglia
This branch meeting on 20th June 2009 at Ipswich Institute Reading Room and Library saw a return visit by Jonathan Denby who gave an update on NXEA's current performance and then focused on plans for the future, highlighting the new trains that would be brought into service over the next two years. He pointed out that a 17% increase in the fleet size at once was unprecedented in the history of the region's railways.

Jonathan took a series of questions from the 25-strong audience, which included the recent introduction of barriers at Ipswich, delays in the introduction of lifts at Ipswich and the aspiration for improved services on the East Suffolk Line.

2009 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
Annual General Meeting - Guest Speaker Jonathan Tyler of Passenger Transport Networks
The branch held its AGM on Saturday 28th February 2009 in the Library in Bury St Edmunds. Prior to that there was an excellent presentation about the Swiss Taktfahrplan rail timetabling system from Jonathan Tyler, who is an independent railway consultant specialising in strategic timetable research and planning. Copies of his reports can be found at passengertransportnetworks.co.uk reports. His company Passenger Transport Networks is based in York.

2008 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
Arriva Cross Country service from Stansted to Birmingham
Gilly White, External Relations Manager for Arriva Cross country, was the speaker at the branch meeting in Cambridge on Saturday 29th November 2008 at Alex Wood Hall, Norfolk Street, Cambridge, CB1 1LD.

Arriva operate the Stansted to Birmingham route, which was previously part of the Central Trains.

2008 - NORWICH MEETING
John Hillman of East Midland Trains

The branch had its Norwich meeting on Saturday 27th September at 2pm at Chapel Field Methodist Chapel, Norwich.

John Hillman (pictured left, photo Jerry Alderson), then Stakeholder Relations at East Midland Trains, spoke about the heavily used - and heavily overcrowded - Norwich-Liverpool service and the problems caused by a desperate shortage of rolling stock.

2008 - AGM
Chris Wright of OBRAC on the East West Rail Link
As it was not possible to get the normal Bury St. Edmunds venue, the branch held its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 23rd February at Little St Mary's Church Hall in Cambridge. Chris gave an update on the slow progress of the East West Rail Line, which seemed to be going through a never-ending loop of studies to prove what everyone in the audience felt was obvious, that a link was desperately needed.

2007 - AUTUMN MEETING
Replaced by Rail Users' Conference
There was no November/December branch meeting in 2007 because the branch organised the annual Railfuture Rail Users' Conference at the Maltings in Ely on 3rd November 2007.

2007 - NORWICH MEETING
Andrew Goodrum of 'one' Railway
The branch had its Norwich meeting on Saturday 29th September at 2pm at Chapel Field Methodist Chapel, Norwich.

Andrew Goodrum of 'one' (since rebranded as National Express East Anglia) spoke about the Norwich-Liverpool Street inter-city service and the challenges that the TOC faced.

2007 - IPSWICH MEETING
No speaker - branch discussion
The branch meeting took place Institute Reading Room and Library in Ipswich, on Saturday 16th June.

2007 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
No speaker - Annual General Meeting
The branch held its AGM on Saturday 24th February 2007 in the Library in Bury St Edmunds.

2006 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
Larry Heyman of First Capital Connect
The branch held its Cambridge meeting on Saturday 2nd December at Little St Mary's Church Hall in Cambridge.

Larry Heyman, Integration and Partnership Manager, of First Capital Connect (FCC) gave the 25 or so people present a long and detailed explanation of FCC’s first eight months in business. Larry is responsible for initiating better coordination with other transport modes, as well as nurturing close relationships with local authorities and user groups.

2006 - NORWICH MEETING
Denise Carlo of STEER (Sustainable Transport Eastern England Region)
The branch held its Norwich meeting on Saturday 9th September at 2pm at The Greenhouse, 42-46 Bethel Street, Norwich, NR2 1NR. Tel: 01603 631007.

Denise Carlo of STEER and other organisations was the speaker. She is also the national TAR (Transport Activists Roundtable) co-ordinator, and has professional expertise of land-use planning especially in relation to roads.

2006 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
Friends of Brandon Station
The branch held its Bury St Edmunds meeting on Saturday 24th June at 2pm in the Library. Ken Drane and Jenny Ahern of Friends of Brandon Station (www.brandonstation.co.uk) were the speakers.

2006 - FELIXSTOWE MEETING
Jonathan Denby from 'one' Railway
The branch held its 2005 AGM in Felixstowe to mark the 'retirement' of Railfuture member Charles Taylor from active campaigning. Jonathan Denby of 'one' Railway was the guest speaker.

2005 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
Stuart Towler, Cambridge Station Manager for 'one' Railway
The branch held its Cambridge meeting on Saturday 10th December at Little St Mary's Church Hall in Cambridge. The station manager at Cambridge spoke about the plans by Ashwell to redevelop the area around Cambridge Station.

2005 - NORWICH MEETING
Mike Young of Norfolk County Council
The branch held its Norwich meeting on Saturday 1st October at 2pm at the Assembly House. Mike Young of Norfolk County Council gave an update on the county's rail freight strategy.

2005 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
No speaker. Meeting dedicated to planning branch campaigns
The branch held its Bury St Edmunds meeting on Saturday 25th June at 2pm in the Library (upstairs).

2005 - ELY MEETING
Jonathan Denby from 'one' Railway
The branch held its 2005 AGM at the Maltings in Ely on Saturday 19th February 2005 at 2pm. The guest was Jonathan Denby of 'one' making a welcome return visit to speal to the branch. The venue was shared with STEER (Sustainable Transport for the East of England Region), who held their AGM at 4pm.

2004 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
Lord Berkeley, Chairman of the Rail Freight Group
Tony Berkeley spoke to more than 40 members of the branch for the first time in five years. The meeting was held on on Saturday 4th December at 2pm at Little St Mary's Church Hall in Cambridge. His presentation included PowerPoint slides.

2004 - NORWICH MEETING
User group forum - speaker from each group
The meeting was held at the Assembly House in Norwich on Saturday 18th September. Representatives of various user groups gave a 5-minute presentation about their concerns and issues with the railways in East Anglia:
  • Jerry Alderson of CAST.IRON repeated a 10-minute speech given to the Rail Passengers Committee for Eastern England;
  • Peter Downs, chairman of the March-Wisbech Bramley Line, revealed positive news from Network Rail and their hopes to lease the northern most 1.5 miles of track very soon;
  • Trevor Garrod of ESTA talked about the Beccles Loop, estimated to cost £6m. and called upon everyone to focus on the loop and not get sidetracked by alternatives;
  • Derek Monnery of Manningtree Users told how patronage on the Grerat Easatern line has grown massively with an urgent need for infrastructure enhancements;
  • John Smock of On-Track (Clacton/Walton users) expressed his serious concerns about the December 2004 timetable;
  • Acting-chairman Peter Wakefield led a discussion about the Snoasis Project near Claydon on the GE Mainline;
  • John Saunders of Peterborough-Norwich Rail Users (PENRUG), explained some of Central Trains' recent controversial actions, including changes to fares.

2004 - IPSWICH MEETING
Peter Meades of National Express' 'one' Railway

Peter Meades from 'one' Railway, operated by National Express, spoke to the branch about plans for service improvements on Saturday 12th June 2004 at 2pm, in the County Library in Ipswich.

Peter has worked in East Anglia's railway for more than a decade, previously with Anglia Railways. He writes a regular column in the ESTA Felistowe's newsletter.

2004 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
No speaker - significant branch business
The branch were unable to get a speaker from National Express, then preferred bidder for the Greater East Anglia rail franchise, at the meeting on Saturday 21st February 2004 at 2pm, in the Library in Bury St Edmunds. As well as the AGM, the branch focused on the GAf service and defeating the guided bus TWA Order application submitted by Cambridgeshire County Council.

2003 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
Tony Brown of Central Trains
Tony Brown gave an informative talk about the new Citylink rebranding of the Stansted and Norwich train services, and the improvements that passengers will notice from January 2004 on these trains.

Jerry Alderson, executive from CAST.IRON
Jerry gave a short summary on recent progress on reopening the railway line between Cambridge and St. Ives.

The branch meeting was held at Little St Mary's Church Hall on Saturday 22nd November at 10.30am.

2003 - NORWICH MEETING
Ingo Wagenecht from Green Party in Norwich
Ingo is one of the Green Party's Eastern Region European election candidates. He spoke about various transport issues with Norwich, including ideas for a tram system.

Jerry Alderson, executive from CAST.IRON
Jerry gave a 50-minute presentation about the Cambridge And St. Ives Railway Organisation.

This meeting was held at the Pearl Continental Hotel, Thorpe Road, Norwich, NR1 1RU on Saturday 20th September at 10.30am.

This was a new venue, and it is within 10 minutes' walk of the railway station entrance. Simply turn right when coming out of the station, along Thorpe Road, past the Royal Mail and Le Café Maison. It is a very gentle climb. The hotel is on the left. For further details, see http://www.pc.activehotels.com/THE.

2003 - IPSWICH MEETING
Tim Robinson, Commercial Director of GB Railfreight

This meeting was at the earlier time of 10.30am on Saturday 7th June, allowing members the chance to take a train to Lowestoft, Felixstowe or elsewhere after the meeting, which will end by 1pm. The meeting was held in the large room upstairs on the first floor using the entrance on Old Foundry Road.

Tim Robinson, commercial director of GB Railfreight, gave a very interesting and warmly received speech. Details of what he said can be found in Snippets 118 (under "Freight").

2003 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
Journalist Christian Wolmar

Respected journalist, columnist and author Christian Wolmar - he of Broken Rails, Down the Tube and Stagecoach amongst other books of the time (and may more since) - spoke to around 40 people, mostly Railfuture members. about the state of the railways, including the London Underground, of which he has become an expert on the PPP.

Christian always has something to say on the news of the day. A few weeks earlier he had written an article for the New Statesman titled "Wrong kind of Prime Minister on the line", which accused Tony Blair of ignoring transport issues, in favour of core policies such as education and health.

2002 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
No guest - discussion about Government's airport strategy
Shortly before this meeting on 9th November, the government launched its "predict and provide" consultation document on the supposed need for massive airport expansion in the south east of England (SERAS). Comments had to be submitted imminently.

The airport expansion strategy has many negative impacts on rail transport and the environment. Branch vice-chairman, and CPRE transport spokesman, Ivan Ivanovic led a discussion on the issues of airport expansion.

2002 - IPSWICH MEETING
Barry Woodgett of Ipswich Council Council
Barry spoke on 13th July about the transport strategy produced by Ipswich County Council, and what this meant for the rail and bus services in the short and longer term.

Barry is also a volunteer on the Mid-Norfolk Railway.

2002 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
John Brodribb of STEER and RPC
John Brodribb, who is a member of the Strategic Transport for the East of England Region organisation and also the Rail Passengers Committee for the East of England, gave an entertaining talk on 23rd February about rail issues in the branch area.

2001 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
No speaker - debate on guided busway
At a meeting entitled "CHUMMS...a discussion and branch action" on 17th November, the branch discussed at length the progress of the Cambridge-Huntingdon "rapid transit" system (a guided busway), which threatens the Cambridge to St. Ives railway line.

This was also branch chairman Peter Wakefield's last meeting before starting his two-year work project in Africa.

2001 - IPSWICH MEETING
Richard Stuart of the Strategic Rail Authority
Richard Stuart from the Strategic Rail Authority gave a presentation to around 20 members at the Railfuture branch meeting in Ipswich on 29th September.

He talked about the current work of the SRA in East Anglia, including franchise replacement and the East-West rail link.

2001 - NORWICH MEETING
Geoff Gowing of North Norfolk Railway
At the time of the meeting on 9th June, the North Norfolk Railway faced eviction from its Sheringham Station as it was being sold by its owners. Geoff talked about the station appeal, and the future plans for the railway. The NNR was able to buy the station a few weeks after the meeting, thanks to people supporting the appeal and a lottery grant.

Jonathan Denby, Corporate Affairs Director of Anglia Railways
Jonathan has worked in the rail industry since 1990 and was previously Anglia’s Business Manager for Planning & Corporate Affairs. As Director, he is responsible for leading the company’s public relations strategy, service development opportunities and franchise compliance issues with the Strategic Rail Authority.

2001 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
No guest speaker
Branch Secretary Nick Dibben presented a slide show on 24th February of his recent trip to the United States and Mexico. He talked in length about the railways that he visited.

2000 - IPSWICH MEETING
Bob Breakwell of First Great Eastern
This meeting took place a month after the Hatfield accident, and FGE managing director Bob Breakwell, a career railwayman, spoke informally about the state of the railways.

2000 - NORWICH MEETING
Chris Hayward of East West Rail Consortium
Chris Hayward of Ipswich Borough Council, who was then the project officer for the East West Rail Link consortium, gave a presentation about the East West Rail project at the Assembly House on 30th September.

2000 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
Public Meeting on Cambridge to St. Ives Railway Line
This special meeting on 17th June had only one purpose, to discuss the use of the Cambridge to St. Ives railway line. The branch chairman, vice-chairman and secretary each spoke about the major transport issues to the sub-region and explained how the railway offered, in their opinion, the best solution. Over 100 people attended, which resulted in many people writing to politicians in support of the railway.

2000 - BURY ST EDMUNDS MEETING
Malcolm Hill of Cambridge Sudbury Rail Renewal Association
The Reverend Malcolm Hill spoke on 26th February at the Library about the proposal to reinstate the railway between Cambridge and Sudbury (in Suffolk) which had been closed in 1968.

1999 - CAMBRIDGE MEETING
Speaker from WAGN
A representative from WAGN spoke to the branch meeting at Little St. Mary's Church on 27th November.

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