Press release 3rd November 2016

How the West Midlands will lead the rail way to the future

Birmingham plays host to Railfuture's annual conference later this month, with a platform of speakers from the very top of the rail industry. "There’s so much happening in the West Midlands right now - New Street station’s just been modernised and the Midland Metro extended " said conference organiser William Whiting "and the new West Midlands Trains franchise is up for grabs with Virgin West Coast to come soon. There’s a lot to talk about.”

Speakers at the conference, with the theme ‘Heart of the railway - how West Midlands will lead the way to the future”, include Stephen Joseph from the Campaign for Better Transport, Lord Berkeley, from the Rail Freight Group and Toby Rackclifffrom the West Midlands Combined Authority

“In a few weeks time, new trains will start running on the Coventry-Nuneaton line. These are actually London Underground District Line trains which have been modernised. Another one of our speakers is Alice Gillman from Vivarail, the company that refurbished the trains, who will bring us up to date on the porject.”

The conference will see the presentation of the fifth annual Rail User Group awards, judged by Railfuture Vice-Presidents such as Adrian Shooter, Chris Green, Ian Brown, Roger Ford, and Barry Doe. This year 13 Rail User Groups are in the running for awards in the six categories. 17 individual entries have been received, coming from groups spread across the country. Railfuture President Christian Wolmar will make the RUG Award presentations

The conference will be held at the Quaker Meeting House, just two tram stops from New Street, on Saturday 12th November. Everyone is welcome to attend, and the conference fee is £30. Booking is online at www.railfuture.org.uk/conferences.

Notes to editors:

Conference begins at 10:45, registration from 10:00, finishes by 17:00

The full list of speakers is:

* Toby Rackcliff, Rail Policy and Strategy Manager, West Midlands Combined Authority (talking about Driving Improvement in the next West Midlands Franchise)
* Maria Machancoses, Programme Director, Midlands Connect (talking about Powering the Midlands Engine) Twitter Image
* Lord Berkeley, Chairman, Rail Freight Group (talking about Challenges in a devolved rail sector, capacity, investment and access issues) Twitter Image
* Alice Gillman, Communications, Vivarail (talking about The Class 230 - a new train for a new franchise)
* Stephen Joseph, Executive Director, Campaign for Better Transport (talking about Priorities for the Railways, a CBT perspective) Twitter Image Facebook Image
* Professor Clive Roberts, University of Birmingham (talking about the digital age of railways)
* Railfuture Honorary President Christian Wolmar opens the conference and welcomes Councillor Carl Rice, Lord Mayor of Birmingham

Venue: The Priory Rooms, Quaker Meeting House, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham B4 6AF

For further details about the conference please email birmingham2016 at railfuture.org.uk.
Places are still free to book - but bookings for this conference will close on 10/11/2016


* £25.00 - Members
* £30.00 - Non-members
* £15.00 - 16-25 Railcard Holder
* £50.00 - 2 People
* Includes: Welcome refreshments and buffet lunch

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk

Follow Railfuture on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Railfuture

For further information and comment please contact:

William Whiting, conference organiser
e-mail: william.whiting at railfuture.org.uk
Tel: 0121 572 9236, Mobile: 07972 353192

Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
e-mail: media at railfuture.org.uk
Tel: 0117 927 2954 Mobile: 07759 557389