Following our letter of 18th July 2016 to the Transport Secretary, Railfuture were invited to a meeting with the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard MP, on Monday 28th November 2016.
Railfuture urges the Chancellor of the Exchequer to commit the government in next week’s Autumn Statement to a long-term investment programme which will:
- deliver improved connectivity for London’s growing economic hub in Docklands and for the UK’s second largest airport at Gatwick, and
- meet continually growing travel demand between London, Gatwick and the south coast.
The future of the Waterside Line in the South of England is once again under the spotlight, as freight traffic to Fawley refinery ceases and the Hythe ferry comes under renewed threat of closure. Photo: Marchwood station
Railfuture affiliated local group SENRUG (The South East Northumberland Rail User Group) are leading the campaign to re-introduce passenger services on the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne route which is a working freight line. On 11th October 2016 Northumberland County Council agreed to proceed to GRIP 3, setting out an ambitious timescale and saying trains could be running by early 2021.
In October 2016 a plaque commemorating Asquith Xavier, an accidental campaigner who overturned a colour bar at Euston 50 years ago, was unveiled at Euston station by his family.
InterRail just got better this year – could it be even better in 2017 to celebrate its 45th anniversary? Photo: U-Bahn station, by Nigel Perkins.
There were many objections to HS1 when it was being planned, but it now carries 80% of London – Paris travellers, whilst domestic HS1 services are full and standing during peak hours. The success of HS1 has lessons for HS2, on which construction is planned to start in 2017. Javelin domestic HS1 train at St Pancras - photo reproduced under Creative Commons.
Railfuture had campaigned for decades for the Borders Railway (or at least part of it) to be rebuilt. It was not alone. The reopening was a popular campaign, supported by many, including David Spaven who is a consultant and writer on railways. Very welcome as the half-hourly service is, there have been foreseeable problems with the service and Mr Spaven described these in an article published in The Scotsman on 5 September 2016. All photos by Jerry Alderson.
Where there is no ticket machine or station staff selling tickets passengers should be able to buy any ticket or group of tickets they require from on-board staff. Railfuture believes it is unacceptable for a passenger to regularly have to queue up at their destination to buy a ticket a ticket, yet it happens all too often. Photo: Phil Smart
Railfuture has campaigned for decades for a bigger and better railway so that more people are encouraged to use it. Although rail patronage has doubled in the last 20 years the amount of rail infrastructure and the number of carriages has not. This has inevitably led to higher levels of overcrowding that must be solved. The D-Train is one small part of the solution.
Could local trains soon be running over the Royal Borders Bridge? On 12th September 2016 SENRUG, the Railfuture-affiliated group that campaigns for better rail services in South East Northumberland, unveiled its new campaign for a local rail service running north of Morpeth, every hour of the day. Photo Clive Nicholson / Steve Miller adapted.
Railfuture has spent decades campaigning for new railway stations to open and for closed ones to reopen. If proof were needed that Railfuture is effective, more than 400 stations have (re)opened in that time. Of course, it’s also important that the stations are ‘up to scratch’. Edinburgh Gateway Interchange station will open in December 2016 and a video (screenshot from it) shows what to expect.
Since November 2015 Eurostar has been operating its new 320km/h 'e320' trains (left), initially only on the London-Paris route before being rolled out onto the Brussels service as well. They were purchased to allow Eurostar to operate new services including to Amsterdam. Passengers should notice an improvement in the on-board experience compared to the old Class 373 TMST (“transmanche super train”) trains (right) dating back to 1994.
Rail users may feel that London gets the majority of the investment and other parts of Britain are poorly served but some of the most passenger-focused stations are far from London. Carlisle station, on the West Coast Main Line, sets an example that other parts of the country should follow, particularly when it comes to providing adequate seating (including cushioned seats on platforms – a rare sight) and canopies to the end of a platform.
The vast majority of rail tickets sold in Britain are singles, returns and seasons. Few passengers are aware of ranger (single day) and rover (multiple days, either contiguous or X out of Y days) tickets that allow unlimited travel within a geographic area, or the entire British network in the case of the All-Line Rover. They can be good value for money and are often an ideal way to get to know a region. Felixstowe is one of five East Anglian seaside towns that can be visited with an Anglia Plus Day Ranger. The others are Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Cromer and Sheringham. This view of Felixstowe seafront is just ten minutes’ walk from the platform at Felixstowe station.
A capacity boost was provided for hard-pressed Southern commuters on 25 July 2016 when the first 10-car train ran on the Uckfield line. Network Rail has been performing a series of enhancemrnts on the route including platform extensions. Edenbridge Town, for example, has an extended platform, new passenger shelters and customer information screens (photo above by Roger Blake).
Thanks to a tramway building spree that has ended, Britain now has seven tram systems, all of which have substantial populations (apart from Blackpool – the only one that had never closed). Whilst extensions are being planned there are no new ones. In Denmark, where all of its tram system had closed (the last was Copenhagen, in 1972), it is now building it first new one, in Aarhus (tram vehicle and new tram bridge pictured – photos by Erland Egefors) for a population far smaller than the new systems in Britain. Is there a lesson here?
Railfuture’s campaigns, opinions and successes are often reported by the press and media, see Railfuture in the news.