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Railfuture in the news

Railfuture is frequently quoted by the media in newspapers, transport magazines, online and on radio and television.

Below are some recent examples of Railfuture being reported. If you know of any we've missed, then email media at railfuture.org.uk with details.



2017


19th September - Modern Railways

In his regular column, Roger Ford writes: "As a Vice-President of Railfuture I was sent a copy of the latest edition of "Britain's growing railway" which lists stations and lines opened, or re-opened, since 1960. The oldest entry is Garscadden in Scotland and the most recent Cambridge North, It also looks ahead to lines opening soon and includes metros, light rail and tramways.

It's gone straight onto my reference bookshelf - much faster than Google. It costs £9.95 for 192 pages and further details are available from www.railfuture.org.uk"

30th August - BBC Radio Lincolnshire

David Harby of Lincolnshire branch is interviewed on the breakfast show about the forthcoming new East Midlands franchise. Listen here or download here.

He later appears on BBC Look North.

28th August - The Guardian

A comparison of rail journey times claims that speeds outside the south east of England are up to four times lower. "Bruce Williamson, the spokesman for campaign group Railfuture, said some journeys were “painfully slow” and this made the railways uncompetitive against other forms of transport such as cars – with negative consequences for the economy and the environment."

He is quoted: “The business community of the north has recognised the need to improve journey times. It’s desperately needed.”

The same story appears in the Independent, and many other newspapers and web sites.

It's given a Scottish flavour in the East Lothian Courier, this time quoting Allison Cosgrove, chair of Railfuture Scotland:

“If you are travelling between Edinburgh and Perth, and making stops at a number of stations on the way – particularly on a week day when it’s probably used by a lot of commuters – then it is not going to be the same as a high speed service that has no stops. And if you want a really high speed service, then the penalty you have to pay is a service that doesn’t stop at certain stations – precisely what we are trying to avoid. We don’t want trains that whizz around at top speed but don’t actually stop anywhere.”

23rd August - The Mirror

Following on from the recent inflation figures, the paper compares British rail fares with those in other European countries and offers some fare-saving tips.

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: “Our walk-on rail fares are the most expensive in Europe. Rail companies will say, and it’s true, that their advance off peak fares are amongst the cheapest in Europe, but that’s not much use to the commuter or someone who wants to travel at short notice. “

23rd August - The Sun

"HOLIDAY TRAIN HELL August Bank Holiday weekend to bring rail travel misery" screams the Sun. The paper notes that some advance fares will not be available this weekend.

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: “Customers will not be happy about reduced advance fares while engineering works are taking place. And things sometimes go wrong when dealing with our Victorian railway, so if works do not finish on time, there needs to be good communication with passengers.”

22nd August - LBC

George Osborne is calling on the government to get on with HS3 - now renamed "Northern Powerhouse Rail". Host Clive Bull gets a briefing from Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson. Listen here or download here.

16th August - Western Mail

Railfuture Wales chairman John Rogers gets a letter printed with the title "Wales must stand firm on rail scheme". He argues for Wales to take control of tracks and trains: "The ultimate plan? As the Western Mail feature recently pointed out, a 100% electrified rail network as part of an integrated public transport system – like Switzerland’s."

16th August - BBC News website

The BBC follows up the story of 16-year-old India Ballancore, who was gifted the £85 cost of a train ticket home by a kind-hearted stranger after she had missed her service, by taking advice from Railfuture:

"The campaign group Rail Future says travellers who find themselves in this situation should ask whoever is on duty at the station to arrange alternative transport. If there are no staff around, you should complain to the train's operator and seek compensation, the group says. It recommends keeping receipts, recording with precise times what happened, and even taking photos of customer information screens."

16th August - talkRADIO

Following on from yesterday's interview about rail fare increases, Railfuture is invited back onto Julia Hartley-Brewer's programme. This time it's the turn of Railfuture chairman Chris Page to discuss some of the issues, including the fairness of subsidising rail passengers (or not). Listen here or download here.

15th August - talkRADIO

July's inflation figures are out, meaning that rail fares will go up by 3.6% in the new year. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed by Julia Hartley-Brewer. Listen here or download here.

15th August - BBC Look East

Chris Burton of East Anglia branch is interviewed on the evening news bulletin about the annual fare increases which will happen in the new year.

11th August - Cambridge News

Chris Grayling has strongly hinted at the possibility of a new station for South Cambridge near Addenbrooke's. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: “We welcome this. The passenger demand for the railway keeps going up and up.”

10th August - Gainsborough Standard

Guest columnist Barry Howard discusses the possibility of improved services at Gainsborough station. Railfuture gets a mention: "NNLCRP (North Notts & Lincs Community Rail Partnership) suggested that the stopping service could be extended to Gainsborough Central as the layover time of over 40 minutes at Retford is unproductive. Railfuture and Travel Watch East Midlands also made the same suggestion with the result that Northern Rail adopted our suggestion."

7th August - BBC Surrey

Railfuture chairman Chris Page appears on the breakfast show to comment on the disruption to services at Waterloo whilst engineering work is carried out. Listen here or download here.

6th August - LBC

Platform lengthening work at Waterloo is expected to cause major disruption. Clive Bull interviews Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson about the reasons behind the work and the likely consequences. Listen here or download here.

2nd August - Rail

Rail magazine reports on Secretary of State Chris Grayling's decision to cancel Midland Main Line, Swansea and Windermere electrification schemes in favour of bi-mode trains. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: "It still leaves us with the unanswered question of how we can get the benefits of electrification in the future. We recognise that the costs of the schemes have spiralled, but the way forward is to address the cause of these cost problems rather than simply abandoning electrification schemes."

27th July - Somerset County Gazette

"A study to find out whether regular train services between Minehead and Taunton are viable would be too expensive to carry out, Somerset County Council has said." reads the article, which features a picture of Severnside branch secretary Nigel Bray. It continues:

"The Railfuture group, an independent organisation campaigning for better rail services, wants the council to get on board with support for a regular scheduled train service running between Minehead and Taunton."

25th July - Cambridge News

South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen is urging constituents to respond to the second phase of the Great Northern timetables consultation for 2018. She is concerned that, whilst there will be an increase in service frequency, journeys will take longer.

Peter Wakefield of East Anglia branch is quoted: "Overall we say the service levels will be much improved and with several extra through destinations available throughout London any user that finds their journey a little longer may find that drawback mitigated by these through services to the new destinations. This is a major once in a generation change and there will be huge benefits for most existing and future users, though of course not every journey can be better in overall timings and some users will inevitably be unhappy."

20th July - Western Mail

Railfuture Wales joined in with the widespread condemnation of the government's decision not to electrify as far as Swansea. Paul Harding is quoted:

"It’s hugely disappointing news for the railway and it highlights the UK Government’s lack of ambition. We were on course for a clearer, greener more efficient railway. This also places a big question on the viability of the Metro and Valley Line Electrification which the Welsh Government has still not provided any concrete plans on."

18th July - Kent and Sussex Courier

The headline reads: "Boost for Uckfield line as Transport Secretary agrees to discuss its electrification". Railfuture chairman Chris Page is quoted: "Diesel trains are less reliable. If one breaks down south of Croydon that is going to have an impact on the whole line and block services to Brighton. Chris Gibb makes that point in the report – it could have a knock-on effect on the southern network – that is one of his arguments."

14th July - talkRADIO

A new report from Which? suggests that customer satisfaction with the railways has not improved over the last ten years. Julia Hartley-Brewer discusses the issues with Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson. Listen here or download here.

11th July - Modern Railways

Railfuture gets a couple of namechecks in this month's edition. On the letters page, Reg Harman writes:

"Over the last three decades there have been a good number of local line and station
re-openings, thanks to railway and local authorities and to campaign groups notably Rallfuture."

An article "Capacity crunch at Chester" talks about the Shotton chord and says: "A local service would also provide a foundation for additional stations on the main line. Railfuture has suggested an hourly all-stations Rhyl-Manchester service via Altrincham calling at new stations at Queensferry Connah's Quay, Bagillt and Greenfield, near Holywell."

7th July - BBC Radio Merseyside

Merseyrail wants to introduce DCO on its trains, but the RMT are in dispute and plan a series of strikes. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed on the breakfast show to discuss the issue. Listen here or download here.

Later the same day he appears on the ITV local news for Yorkshire to discuss the same issue.

6th July - Public Finance

"Expanding the Railways, published by the Campaign for Better Transport and Railfuture, is intended to help local authorities, developers and communities through the complex processes involved." says the article, reporting on Railfuture's latest joint publication. More information here.

3rd July - The National

The Scottish Government wants to pave the way for a public sector bid for ScotRail. Railfuture Scotland has given a cautious welcome to the news, on the grounds that it could improve passenger service. An unnamed spokesperson said: “Railfuture Scotland is primarily concerned with bringing about the best possible deal and services for rail users. We do not therefore have a particular preference as to whether that should be under private or public ownership. However we cautiously welcome this initiative."

11th June - Western Mail

New figures show that Welsh trains have become the most punctual in Britain. "Passengers’ group Railfuture said tens of thousands of passengers were benefiting and urged more rail investment to help Wales prosper" reads the article, going on to quote Railfuture Wales chair Peter Kingsbury:

“Railfuture Wales supports and calls for further significant investment from both Network Rail and the Welsh train operators to provide the people of Wales with a continually improving and more reliable train service, to enable rail to fulfil its potential as a prime driver of the country’s future prosperity.”

26th May - LBC

In the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, there is increased security on the railways with armed police on trains and at stations. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed by Nick Ferrari. Listen here or download here.

21st May - Cambridge News

Cambridge North station has finally opened after first being mooted 30 years ago. East Anglia branch chairman Nick Dibben is quoted: “This is great news for rail passengers as many people living in the north of Cambridge will have better access to the railway without the need to get caught up in traffic getting to the main station.A lot of different groups including local authorities and the rail industry have been involved in making this happen and they deserve our thanks for their efforts. The large cycle storage and regular buses along the busway and around Cambridge mean that people can leave their cars at home. Once the station has settled down we will carry out one of our station audits to see if improvements can be made.”

The paper gives further coverage the next day, highlighting some of the teething problems and further work needed. Railfuture director Jerry Alderson is quoted: "It's cost £50m, but they need to spend a bit more. There are only two canopies over the platforms, which means that when longer trains start being used, there will be no shelter for people getting on and off."

A further article gets more specific, highlighting the shortage of toilets at the station. Jerry Alderson is quoted again: "We don’t feel that’s enough for a station that is going to be so busy. It’s said that about 3,000 people a day will be going through the station, but our estimate is that it could be three times that. We’ll be doing an audit of the station facilities in a few months’ time, and the toilets will certainly need looking at."

11th May - BBC Radio Northampton

Is the full electrification of the Midland main line ever going to happen? Ariadne Tampion, chair of East Midlands branch, appears as the lead item in the news bulletins and is interviewed on the breakfast show. Listen here or download here.

5th May - BBC News website

Cardiff will host the Champions League final on the 3rd June. 21 post-match high speed trains have been added to avoid the problems encountered during the Rugby World Cup in 2015. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted:

"The reputational damage not having the required transport capacity after such a major international sporting event could be huge and extremely detrimental to Wales. We're glad Wales is placing so much emphasis on railway journeys and we hope, for their sake, they have learned from their mistakes as it could counter-productive to attracting more major events in the future."

4th May - BBC Essex

Chris Burton of East Anglia branch is interviewed on the drive time show about possible ticket office closures. Listen here or download here.

He later appears on TV on BBC Look East.

20th April - Cambridge News

Railfuture director Jerry Alderson is critical of the launch of the new Cambridge North station. The newspaper article features many of his comments, including: "It is very disappointing that Greater Anglia has done nothing to promote the new station to the public. There are no posters at Cambridge station, for example. Searching their website for news stories about Cambridge North finds none. By comparison, in 2002, its predecessor Anglia Railways held roadshows along the route of the then new Cambridge to Norwich direct rail service to promote it to passengers."

10th April - talkRADIO

The boss of GTR - the group that includes Southern - has seen his wages almost double. Julia Hartley-Brewer talks to Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson about whether this increase can be justified. Listen here or download here.

22nd March - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Peter Wakefield of East Anglia branch is joined by Dr Colin Harris from Cambridge Connect and Craig Bennet from Friends of the Earth to discuss what they hope the new mayor will to to improve transport in the area. Listen here or download here.

22nd March - Cambridge News

Rail commuters who forget their railcard will be treated slightly more sympathetically in future. Train operators will refund the cost of a journey if a railcard holder forgets their pass and has to buy a full fare ticket, but the refund will only be given once per year.

Railfuture director Jerry Alderson is quoted: "This is good news for passengers. Season ticket holders were already allowed to forget a couple of times a year. Forgetful passengers will still have to pay a full fare but can then claim it back by proving that they had a railcard. It would also be useful if the leniency could be extended to passengers if they have not renewed their railcard in time, especially where the railcard expired after their outward but before their return journey."

16th March - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Network Rail is proposing to close some level crossings in Cambridgeshire. Chris Burton of East Anglia branch appears on the breakfast show to offer his views. Listen here or download here.

15th March - talkRADIO

Chris Grayling is proposing to remove first class carriages from trains in the next South Eastern franchise. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson talks to Julia Hartley-Brewer about this on the national digital station. Listen here or download here.

3rd March - BBC Radio Berkshire

Richard Stow of Thames Valley branch appears on the Breakfast show to talk about cost overruns on the Great Western electrification. Listen here or download here.

2nd March - Cambridge News

"Cambridge's MP and city council leader are campaigning for Peterborough to Stansted train services to stop at the new Cambridge North railway station." reads the article, going on to quote Railfuture director Jerry Alderson:

"Cross Country, which is owned by Arriva, recently signed a franchise extension with the Department for Transport that will last until October 2019. This specifies service patterns and where trains must call. Railfuture believes it is an oversight that Cambridge North was not included. We cannot wait until the December 2019 timetable change for trains to serve the new station. Railfuture is pleased they are open to talks with local stakeholders."

5th February - BBC1

Sunday Politics South East focuses on rail and features Railfuture director Roger Blake on the trackbed of the Lewes Uckfield line.



2nd February - Southern Daily Echo

"WALLET-BUSTING train journeys could be a thing of the past after it was announced rail fares will undergo a massive overhaul." said the paper, going on to quote Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson:

"“We certainly welcome any efforts to simplify the ridiculously complex ticket pricing system in this country. It is a step in the right direction but I think there is a long way to go until we achieve simple and cheap fares like some of our European neighbours. It is certainly helpful that some of these hidden fares will be unearthed and made available to the public, and hopefully there will be some wider savings for commuters. But the proof is in the pudding so we will have to wait and see how this experiment pans out.”

1st February - talkRADIO

An overhaul of the ticket pricing structure is planned, to make cheaper tickets (such as split tickets) automatically available when they are purchased. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed on national digital station talkRADIO. Listen here or download here.

The interview is featured in a story on talkRADIO's website with the headline "Train ticket revamp could actually hurt customers, says Rail Future"

The same topic came up on the breakfast show on BBC WM. Listen here or download here.

31st January - Cambrian News

Railfuture Wales's AGM at the Owain Glyndwr Centre on Saturday, 28 January gets a detailed write up in the community news section.

27th January - Ely Standard

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has agreed to put up £9 million to help fund three projects: Ely North, track doubling and a new station at Soham, and the next stage of the Wisbech to March reopening.

MP Steve Barclay said that Railfuture had challenged the high costs of re instigating the Wisbech to March line.

He said: “Railfuture also appear to agree both with the Secretary of State for Transport and myself that a third party contractor (firms like Skanska) could be commissioned directly to build the railway without the need for Network Rail to do so. It makes sense to look for other firms alongside the option of Network Rail which is already struggling to cover all the work it has agreed to do and is therefore resistant to taking on new work. Railfuture further add that Greater Anglia plan to make the Norwich to Cambridge service a through one to Stansted Airport, and therefore this could free platform 5 all day long for a Wisbech service.”

24th January - South Wales Echo

The latest National Rail Passenger Survey shows that Arriva Trains Wales passengers’ satisfaction with their service has fallen across a number of measures – including ticket-buying facilities and the trains themselves.

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: “I am disappointed there has been no improvement generally. I think there is dissatisfaction across the board. The issues which came up were overcrowding and ticket pricing. The train operating companies have little room for manoeuvre when it comes to rail stock. That is something that is out of Arriva Train Wales’ hands.”

18th January - Bury Free Press

Lakenheath station is one of the least used in the UK, with fewer than 500 passengers using it per year.

The article says: "Rail Future, which is campaigning for better passenger and freight rail services in the UK, if RAF Mildenhall is used for housing when the USAF leave, Lakenheath station could provide valuable park and ride services to Cambridge, just 25 minutes away."

10th January - talkRADIO

With the Southern strike grinding on, and strikes on the Underground and Northerm, Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson talks to Julia Hartley-Brewer to discuss the strikes and the issue of staffing on the railways.
Listen here or download here.

8th January - Cambridge News

Cambridge station passenger numbers have grown to 11 million a year, further boosting the case for a new station, Cambridge North, which opens in May.

Railfuture director "Jerry Alderton" (Alderson) is quoted: "A station in the area was first proposed around 1987, which Railfuture supported and included it its 1990s proposal for a cross-city rail link including the St Ives railway line. Clearly 30 years is far too long to wait for any station. The main benefit it will bring is that people will not have to travel through Cambridge to access the railway."

He goes on to criticise the minimal facilities planned for the new station.

6th January - Independent

Passengers wanting to buy season tickets online might not be getting the best possible deal. The article reads: "The official Season Ticket Calculator tool on the National Rail Enquiries website only compares the average price per journey on an annual pass compared to a weekly ticket, ignoring other options that may be more suitable for passengers."

Railfuture vice president Barry Doe is quoted as saying: “When it comes to seasons people ought to be told clearly of the week, month, annual differences and ratios and the advantages of annuals.”

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted too: “We're concerned that this looks like another example of passengers being directed towards the most expensive option rather than the one which is best for them,”

3rd January - Cambridge News

The paper's coverage of the fares protests includes quotes from Railfuture director Jerry Alderson. Amongst other things, he says: "Few would consider peak-time rail travel on weekdays to be value for money, although the time-saving into cities at that time is highest. However, off-peak journeys can be good value depending on where you are travelling, and can still be cheaper than two or more people in a car."

3rd January - BBC Radio York

Railfuture director Chris Hyomes is interviewed on the morning show about rail fares in the light of the protests happening around the country. Listen here or download here.

3rd January - BBC Radio Five Live

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on Five Live on the Morning Reports programme and in news bulletins, commenting on the day's rail fare protests. The interview is used on BBC local radio and even gets a mention on Riviera Radio in the south of France. Listen here or download here.

The rail fare protests give a second bite of the cherry to our press release, with Railfuture again quoted in the Daily Mail, Guardian, Scotsman, London Evening Standard, Herald, BT.com, Huffington Post, BBC News and many other newspapers and websites.

2nd January - Fare rises

Our press release on annual fare rises is picked up by many news outlets including the Mirror, Telegraph, BBC website, Daily Mail, Sun, Metro, South Wales Echo, Yorkshire Post, Bristol Post, Birmingham Mail, Plymouth Herald, and many more news outlets.

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on Sky News and talkRADIO - listen here or download here.

The itv.com website said:

Bruce Williamson, of independent campaign group Railfuture, said: "With the chaos on Southern, lacklustre performance in Scotland and stalled electrification on the Great Western main line, passengers are going to wonder what they are getting for their increased ticket price.

"Our walk-on rail fares are already the most eye-watering in Europe, and with fuel duty frozen for motorists for the fifth year on the trot, it can't be denied that people are being priced off the railways."



Click HERE for previous examples of Railfuture in the media.

Media - For more information please contact:
Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954
Mobile: 07759 557389
Email: media at railfuture.org.uk

Apply to join Railfuture now - click HERE.


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