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International

Railfuture’s international campaigning involves both passenger and freight services around the world, and looks at how Britain's railways can adopt best practice from the railways across the world (including Europe, Asia and North America). Railfuture also monitors and presses for improved rail links between the United Kingdom and the European continent.

Go and compare

Railfuture’s role is to campaign for a bigger, better railway in Britain. We want to equip our members and branches with strong arguments based on best practice worldwide.

We are building a knowledge bank by capturing impressions of systems in other countries from the viewpoint of a user, possibly unused to the system or the language, particularly in areas where we see the job as not being done in Britain.

Key areas of interest where we want to see improvements here are: information, wayfinding, ease of use of ticketing and fares, how operators are tackling disability access and how rail and light rail are integrated into city transport systems. Go and compare gives examples of best practice that Railfuture has identified.

You can help on your next trip abroad by using your camera or phone or tablet to take pictures of good and bad practice and sending your impressions to feedback at railfuture.org.uk.

Some highlights from Railfuture's International Best Practice Twitter account can be found HERE.

Going abroad

Experienced travellers in Railfuture have compiled a leaflet to provide tips on planning a trip abroad which can be downloaded here.

If you need more information than we could pack into this leaflet, check the Going abroad page of our online Rail User Help guide.

Eurostar travel surveys

Our latest Eurostar survey ended in June 2015 after a full year in order that we could get evidence of who uses Eurostar and why. This was Railfuture's third survey of travel using Eurostar services and this time looked in more detail at why people use Eurostar, how they booked their ticket and their experience of travel on board and onward connections. The survey was open to everyone, not just Railfuture members. The article Eurostar snapshot survey descibes the survey results and includes a personal experience.

Railfuture conducted a previous survey during 2011 among Eurostar passengers to see what they thought about the service. You can download a 14-page report: Eurostar survey 2011 610kB.

Railfuture jointly with Bus Users UK) carried out a survey during 2012 examining links to UK Airports and how they were publicised.

You can download a 11-page report on the survey: Public Transport Links to UK Airports 2012 613kB.

In 2013 Railfuture completed a survey of ferry passengers to gather information about how easy or difficult it is, and to provide objective evidence to support our case. We asked for information about any journey you made by ferry to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Continent, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Wight, the Scilly Isles or the Scottish islands, between October 1st 2012 and September 30th 2013. What really happens to passengers who travel by train and/or bus to catch a ferry, or who wish to take their bicycle with them on a sea crossing?

You can download a 16-page report on the survey: Public Transport Links to Ferry Ports 2013 465kB.

General Activities

Railfuture has close links with like-minded bodies abroad and in particular with the European Passengers’ Federation (EPF), whose President is a member of Railfuture.

Railfuture is a founder member of the European Passengers' Federation, which is a federation of passenger representative bodies from countries across the EU.

Several Railfuture members attended the EPF 2015 conference in Budapest and produced this report of what we learnt, to feed into our campaigning for a better railway in Britain.

Association Europeene pour le Developpement du Transport Ferroviaire is another pan-European body also includes freight services within its remit.

Issues of concern for Railfuture include the difficulty of making bookings to and within the continent in the United Kingdom, including dealing with misleading information from British train operators, and the lack of through rail services to the continent from north of London. Once on the continent, there is also concern about the poor cross-border connections between some countries.

Railfuture also keeps an eye on Irish issues and ferries to and from Ireland and the continent, with particular reference to the problems of foot passengers.

Over the years Railfuture has published a number of reports on such matters as cross-border travel and rail links to British airports. It is also in touch with members of the European Parliament and lobbies there and elsewhere.

Since November 2013, Railfuture has undertaken many international rail activities:
  • wrote to all British MEPs on the Transport & Tourism Committee concerning the 4th Railway Package.
  • had further correspondence with the main political parties over their policies prior to the 2014 European Parliament elections and produced a Railwatch article with 200-word statements from current or would-be MEPs in each of the four parties. We asked Railfuture Wales and Railfuture Scotland to deal with Plaid Cymru and the SNP.
  • met Home Office and Dept for Transport officials for a private discussion on security aspects of Channel Tunnel services.
  • sent a delegate to the Air/Rail Conference in London
  • discussed the future of rail links at Hoek van Holland with our Dutch sister organisation.
  • submitted views via EPF to the SHIFT2RAIL research project, giving passenger views on how European rail travel can become more attractive and competitive.

Several people involved with Railfuture's campaigning are fluent in at least one European language and many more have also travelled extensively on railways in Europe and across the world.

If you have information to share about railway international best practice, whether or not you are a Railfuture member, please submit your views to our FEEDBACK e-mail account.

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