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About Railfuture and the East Anglia Branch

The East Anglian Branch of Railfuture, which celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2012 (see East Anglia 40th Anniversary Celebratory Leaflet) covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, North Essex, North Herts and East Beds
Railfuture nationally has around 2,500 members, of which around 220 members belong to the East Anglia branch. Members receive a quarterly newsletter "RAIL EAST".
The East Anglian branch holds four meetings a year for its members, which are open to the public, usually in Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich.
Railfuture is the organisation for anyone who believes that the railway should play a bigger role in Britain's transport system.

If you are a rail user then Railfuture is here to help you. It is the only true 'rail passenger champion' throughout Great Britain, as it is independent from government, the rail industry, regulators, unions, political parties and other organisations. It exists solely to promote the railway for passengers and freight - supporting improvements and defending services. It campaigns for cheap and convenient rail services; a good passenger experience; better links for buses, bikes and pedestrians; policies to get more heavy lorries on to rail; new lines, stations and freight terminals.

Britain's railway is vital and it matters to everyone. Even if you don't travel by train you still benefit from the railway as a road user - roads couldn't cope with millions more cars and lorries. Without the railway being used to move goods and materials around the country then prices at the supermarket would be higher and even electricity costs would rise.

Railfuture is operated by volunteers, freely giving their time to lobby all arms of government, national and local, along with the rail industry. Working with the network of rail user groups across the country it representing rail users in Britain with thousands of affiliated and individual members. It is funded by annual subscriptions for its members (individuals, families, businesses) and affiliated groups.

Railfuture helps improve rail services by, for example, face-to-face meetings with government ministers and speaking to the people in the rail industry who can make things happen, inviting senior rail repsentatives to branch meetings. It produces research, including conducting independent passenger counts at stations and on-board trains. Tell Railfuture your views by attending our meetings, which are held throughout East Anglia and are free to attend, or one of our national conferences, which usually cost around £30 including lunch and refreshments. Why not invite a Railfuture representative to speak to your organisation?

Railfuture is the campaigning name of the Railway Development Society Ltd (RDS), which is a not-for-dividend company limited by guarantee. It was formed in 1978, although its origins date back to the 1950s.

East Anglia Branch Activities

The East Anglian branch of Railfuture, which campaigns for better passenger and freight rail services, is quite active by anyone's standards, as is demonstrated below. The 40th Anniversary Celebratory Leaflet gives some examples of our past successes and some of the key East Anglia branch campaigns for the future.

The branch holds four branch Meetings every year, in different venues around the region, all located near to railway stations. For details, see Branch Meetings.

Two or three times a year the branch has a stall at public events to promote the pro-rail message, and to recruit new members.

There are four issues a year of "Rail East" (see Back Issues), the branch newsletter, which is sent to all members in the branch area and also opinion formers, particularly in Local Government. Typically the newsletters are published 2-4 weeks before each meeting.

The branch issues Press Releases to make the public, media and rail industry aware of Railfuture's position when news stories occur.

Rail News Snippets, as shown on this web-site, are produced once each month.

The officers (e.g. secretary, vice-chairman), others committee members and normal members give up their time to help promote rail travel. Time is spent on many activities including the following:
  • Promote the smaller stations to local people to ensure the station survies and, hopefully, thrives;
  • Conduct passenger counts at the smaller stations to encourage train operators to provide better services - see below;
  • Attending Route Utilisaton Strategy meetings organised by Network Rail;
  • Attending presentations by train operating companies, such as the franchise presentations by National Express Group, First Group, GB Railways PLC etc.;
  • Attending shareholders meetings, e.g. GB Railways AGM (prior to its acqisition by First Group) and Railtrack AGM (prior to its replacement by Network Rail);
  • Joined TOC promotion train trips e.g. Crosslink press train, Cambridge-Norwich press train;
  • Been guests of TOCs at promotional events, e.g. First Great Eastern's launch of new trains in Wildenrath, Germany;
  • Organised and taken part in sponsored cycle rides to raise funds for rail projects (such as the cycle shelter at Watlington station).

The branch also contributes to Railfuture national events, and organised the 2004 National AGM in Peterborough. It will also be organising the 2006 National Rail Users' Conference in November 2006.

Representatives from the branch have also had private meetings with a variety of organisations:
  • East Anglia Regional Assembly (EERA) in 2006;
  • Owners ot Snetterton Race Track, Norfolk, to discuss their proposal for a new station;
  • Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in 2003 at their East Anglia offices in Newmarket;
  • Gave a presentation to CHUMMS multi-modal study in 2000.

The branch has also promoted itself at:
  • ACoRP's Community Rail Weekend in September 2005 at Norwich and Yarmouth stations;
  • Impington Village College's open evening in 2002;
  • Histon Feast in 2002.

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