News and Views

All change for rail

Author: Chris Page and Neil Middleton - Published Fri 05 of Jul, 2024 17:34 BST - (0 Reads)
The electorate has voted for change - it now expects to see real results for rail without delay. Rail reform must show measurable improvements before Labour's honeymoon period withers. With the new Ministerial team setting the tone and tempo the Department for Transport (DfT) must focus on progress and delivery, not process. Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and Secretary of State for Transport Louise Haigh pictured at Hitachi's Newton Aycliffe plant on 20 April 2024 before their election to office. PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo.

Rail Action Plan

Author: Chris Page - Published Sat 03 of Feb, 2024 18:24 GMT - (0 Reads)
Railfuture advises any prospective government to follow this 10 point action plan, which has been presented to the shadow Rail Minister, Stephen Morgan, and offered to the other political parties.
Time is of the essence for rail. Photo of Waterloo station clock by Chris Page for Railfuture.

Freight growth target

Author: Owen O'Neill - Published Sat 03 of Feb, 2024 17:55 GMT - (0 Reads)
Rail is the most environmentally sustainable form of transport, particularly for freight. The government's freight growth target of 75% by 2050 is no more than keeping pace with expected economic growth - so it is effectively a no-modal-share growth target. The most cost-effective way to achieve net zero carbon from transport is to set a target of at least doubling rail freight in the next 20 years. 92019 Dollands Moor to Daventry 4M38 Jaguar Land Rover Whitley (from Neuss, Nievenheim, Germany). Image by Train Photos, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

The future of stations

Author: Neil Middleton - Published Fri 02 of Feb, 2024 17:51 GMT - (0 Reads)
The Ticket Office closure consultation over the summer of 2023 showed the value passengers place on a properly staffed station, complete with the right facilities for those staff to meet passenger needs. A warm welcome greets passengers in Bicester Village's customer support lounge at the station that serves the shopping centre. Photo by Chris Page for Railfuture.

Keep HS2 options open

Author: Chris Page - Published Wed 31 of Jan, 2024 19:23 GMT - (0 Reads)
The government must either proceed with HS2 Phase 2 or resolve the network pinch points exposed by the cancellation. If the discussions on privately funding phase 2 do not succeed, it is essential that options for the future are not closed for good so land must not be sold. The constraints must be mitigated - as an absolute minimum the Euston terminus and the delta junction east of Birmingham must go ahead. Sign installed at Crewe station, the planned destination for HS2 when phase 2 approved, was still in place after cancellation. Photo by Chris Page for Railfuture.

Road user charging

Author: Owen O'Neill - Published Tue 30 of Jan, 2024 17:09 GMT - (0 Reads)
Opportunity, not threat. Railfuture suggests that there is a way of making road user charging politically acceptable. Appropriate branding for an HGV. Photo by Richard Says under <creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/> via Flickr.

Journey reliability

Author: Ian Brown CBE, Railfuture Policy Director - Published Fri 05 of Jan, 2024 18:27 GMT - (0 Reads)
Transport Focus, the non -departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Transport, regularly surveys passenger satisfaction and says “Satisfaction with punctuality/reliability is, by a distance, the most important driver of satisfaction...”
Photo taken by Stewart Palmer on 5th January at Dorchester South station. If train operators cannot display up-to-date information, what trust can passengers have in service reliability? Would M&S tolerate this?

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.  Photo via gov.uk.

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. Photo by Roger Blake for Railfuture.

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. Photo via @MegBaynes on Twitter.

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. All photos by Anna Brown for Railfuture.

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. Photo by Chris Page for Railfuture.

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 from 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

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