News and Views

HS2 Phase 2 cancellation

Author: Ian Brown CBE - Published Wed 04 of Oct, 2023 17:57 BST - (0 Reads)
The Prime Minister announced his decision on HS2 on 4 October 2023, the last day of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, held at Manchester Central, ironically Manchester’s former Central station which hosted the prestige Midland Pullman train from Manchester to London. This is a factual briefing and will be updated when more is revealed on timescales and funding. Blue Pullman at Manchester Central in the sixties, from disusedstations.org.uk.

Keep the London Travelcard

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Thu 11 of May, 2023 08:20 BST - (0 Reads)
Railfuture sets out its views on why removing the London Travelcard product, and, in all likelihood, the related National Rail Travelcard add-on product is a very bad idea, and recommends action you can take.

Bradshaw address briefing

Author: Ian Brown - Published Wed 08 of Feb, 2023 19:51 GMT - (0 Reads)
The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, Transport Secretary, gave an address at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London on 7 February 2023 in what was billed as the big announcement on Great British Railways. 

Stormy forecast for rail

Author: Pete Myers - Published Fri 06 of Jan, 2023 18:25 GMT - (0 Reads)
Pete Myers, formerly Stakeholder Manager for Northern Rail and now a director of Railfuture, forecasts a potentially stormy year for our railway in 2023. Passengers moving fast at Leeds station.

The 2023 Fare Rise and Deckchairs

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Fri 23 of Dec, 2022 21:41 GMT - (0 Reads)
We’re pleased that tthe 2023 rail fare increases will be in line with earnings increases, not inflation, so announced as 5.9%.

But this is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. The service currently being offered to passengers simply isn’t value for money, even when there isn’t industrial action. Too many cancellations, a focus on cost, not the bottom line, so ignoring that most of the railways’ funding comes from passengers and that the service offered needs to meet their needs if revenue is to grow image from WikiPedia

Stop this madness

Author: Ian Brown CBE FCILT - Published Mon 12 of Dec, 2022 18:40 GMT - (0 Reads)
Who can stop the RMT strike madness? Railfuture’s Policy Director comments on the failure of the RMT union and the government to reach a settlement that enables a successful, viable future for rail. Strike day at Paddington – trains going nowhere.

More on Ticket Offices

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Wed 30 of Nov, 2022 10:15 GMT - (0 Reads)
The ticket office has been part of the Railway since the start. But now 7 in 8 people buy their ticket in other ways – online, from ticket vending machines – or use Pay as You Go (PAYG). Those 1 in 8 passengers though still need to be looked after properly - Railfuture strongly believes that in-person ticket selling continues to be essential. That doesn't have to be from behind a ticket office window though. Ticket Office staff should be redeployed to other areas of the station and take on a wider role assisting passengers - as well as continuing to sell tickets. Effort is also needed to improve and extend online selling, TVM functionality and coverage and to Pay as You Go. We believe this needs to happen before there are wholescale closures of ticket offices. Image by author.

Open Access

Author: Stewart Palmer - Published Sun 13 of Nov, 2022 21:38 GMT - (0 Reads)
Railfuture director and vice-president Stewart Palmer, who has and worked in the rail industry for 38 years, puts Railfuture's view on open access passenger operation in Britain. Lumo has shown that rail can attract more passengers and increase revenue if it offers simple high-value product, but not all open access operations have been or will be successful. Lumo class 803 train at Edinburgh. Image by MrBoyt reproduced under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Decarbonisation sunk

Author: Chris Page - Published Sat 22 of Oct, 2022 14:08 BST - (0 Reads)

The Government has binned Network Rail's Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy but does the expected four-fold increase in electricity prices also leave the government's plan to decarbonise road transport underwater? Flooded Tesla charging stations at Wokingham.

Innotrans Berlin

Author: Ian Brown - Published Fri 30 of Sep, 2022 18:48 BST - (0 Reads)
Railfuture’s Ian Brown gives his impressions of a visit to Innotrans during the week commencing 22nd September. The rather traditional entrance to Berlin Messe from the direct walkway from Messe Sud S Bahn station.

Everyone loses

Author: Chris Page - Published Thu 23 of Jun, 2022 18:50 BST - (0 Reads)
The rail strikes this week are bad for everyone. Some trains ran, including on Island Line where rail staff voted against a strike.

Nuclear power dash

Author: Ian Brown CBE FCILT - Published Mon 11 of Apr, 2022 18:50 BST - (0 Reads)
The UK government has announced eight new nuclear power stations for Britain, triggering reaction from many environmentalists. But what about a strategy for reducing demand? Railfuture policy director Ian Brown sets out the opportunity for rail. Nuclear fuel and nuclear waste has been travelling safely on our railways for a long time. Image by Reddit.

The Travelcard Add-on

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Wed 06 of Apr, 2022 19:35 BST - (0 Reads)
Neil Middleton, a Railfuture Director, takes a look at the London Travelcard Add-on, which is currently threatened by TfL's need to raise more fare income. He is unconvinced that abolition will lead to the expected revenue increase. Rather, he thinks it is frequently about convenience and certainty – abolition will mean some passengers will lose convenience and trust - and thus not travel – and the research others do will mean they realise they can now pay less. Thus, Railfuture believes that the Travelcard add-on should be retained – and improved. We have a survey to be completed to understand usage better - please complete it. Pic: Neil Middleton

Ticket offices may close

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Wed 23 of Mar, 2022 22:13 GMT - (0 Reads)
Neil Middleton, a Railfuture Director takes a look at expected Station Ticket Office closures and wonders if, looked at through wider viewpoints such as timing (vs fare simplification), inclusivity, attracting new passengers to rail they are necessarily a wise move. Pic: This is Money.

Prospects for rail freight

Author: Ian Brown CBE FCILT - Published Sun 12 of Dec, 2021 18:41 GMT - (0 Reads)
Ian Brown, Railfuture Policy Director and former rail freight manager, looks at the prospects for freight on rail in a world where addressing climate change is starting to matter following COP26, with the creation of Great British Railways. First New Silk Road train arriving on HS1 to Barking from Yiwo in China. Railfuture would like to see many more. Photo by morethanshipping.com.

Make IRP work

Author: Chris Page, Railfuture - Published Sat 04 of Dec, 2021 18:32 GMT - (0 Reads)
The Integrated Rail Plan has generated lots of adverse publicity, but how does it really compare with what people in the Midlands and North thought they were promised? Artists impression of the previously proposed Leeds HS2 station - image by HS2 Ltd.

Leeds metro

Author: Mike Rose and Chris Hyomes - Published Tue 16 of Nov, 2021 18:31 GMT - (0 Reads)
The Government’s Integrated Rail Review announced that Leeds and West Yorkshire will get their long overdue Mass Transit system. Proposed West Yorkshire mass transit network. Image by West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

COP 26 fare rise hypocrisy

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Wed 03 of Nov, 2021 08:06 GMT - (0 Reads)
COP26: “They cut air passenger duty for polluting aeroplanes, have frozen fuel duty for motorists again and again, but if you want to take the green option and travel by train, the government punishes you with eye-watering fare increases” said Chris Page, chair of Railfuture “It really is crazy that at a time when there is a real need to reduce our carbon usage, all the good news is for the more polluting choices. All rail wants is for it to be treated fairly as we go about reducing carbon usage in transport. Surely the time is right for a fares freeze, which would match the gift to car users and air travellers. Anything else would go totally against the goals of COP26” The Climate Train - image from Avanti West Coast

Fares after Covid

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Sun 24 of Oct, 2021 20:08 BST - (0 Reads)
There is lots of talk of fares reform, but the detail, other than headline items like "Pay as You Go" and "Single Leg" pricing is missing. An appearance before the House of Lords Built Environment Committee gave us a great opportunity to set out our thoughts on improvements needed to fares and ticketing: we advocate both specific tactical improvements and some principles for fundamental reform. Thameslink train at Blackfriars - own image

HS2E – a better alternative

Author: Ian Brown CBE FCILT - Published Sun 12 of Sep, 2021 18:00 BST - (0 Reads)
The HS2 Eastern leg is looking increasing likely to be scrapped, leaving many major cities off the high speed network. However, Railfuture has a cheaper and better alternative plan. There could still be a return of 186 mph (or faster) trains to Leeds – image by RP Marks.

Railfuture’s campaigns, opinions and successes are often reported by the press and media, see Railfuture in the news.