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Railfuture in the news

Railfuture is frequently quoted by the media in newspapers, transport magazines, online and on radio and television.

Below are some recent examples of Railfuture being reported. If you know of any we've missed, then email media at railfuture.org.uk with details.




2018


18th August - BBC Radio 4

Steve Boulding of West Midlands branch phones in to Any Answers. Whilst choosing to speak in a personal capacity, he gives Railfuture a plug, and his comments about the fragmentation of the industry are consistent with those made by official Railfuture spokespeople. Listen here or download here.

18th August - BBC Radio Shropshire

Colin Major of Railfuture's West Midlands branch appears on the breakfast show to discuss how passengers will be affected by the closure of Euston station. Listen here or download here.

16th August - The Mirror

The paper picks up on our press release: "Pressure group Railfuture claimed passengers are treated like “second-class citizens compared to motorists”."

It goes on to quote Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson: “We’ll easily have the most expensive fares in Europe, yet the Government continues to freeze fuel duty for motorists. Why the double standard?”

The press release is also quoted in the Express, Evening Standard, Metro, the Aberdeen Evening Express and on Sky News, Yahoo! News and BT.com.

16th August - Western Mail

Railfuture Cymru's chairman John Rogers has a letter published in the light of inflation figures which will result in fare rises in the new year. Under the heading "Do rail fare rises just benefit shareholders?" he asks: "Is it the case, then, that the Tory (Westminster) Government is merely boosting shareholders’ dividends by these savage, annual fare rises?"

15th August - BBC Essex

Chris Burton from East Anglia branch appears on the drive time show on the eve of the announcement of July's inflation figures. What are the alternatives to using RPI?
Listen here or download here.

He later gave an interview on Cambridge Community Radio.

15th August - Bauer radio network

Rail fare rises feature on the breakfast news bulletins on the group's Scottish stations, including soundbites from Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson.

14th August - BBC South East Today

Railfuture director Roger Blake appears on the BBC South East Today evening news on 14th August 2018 to support Maria Caulfield MP's idea of forwarding complaints on to Southern and Network Rail. Watch it here on Youtube.

14th August - talkRADIO

Early risers hear Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson comment on prospective fare increases on the very early breakfast show. Listen here or download here.

14th August - The Herald

"Rail fares are increasing twice as fast as wages, new analysis shows" reads the headline, before going on to quote Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson: “For many people, the reality is that British rail transport is hideously expensive and set to get worse.”

13th August - BBC Radio Wales

Early estimates of July's inflation figures predict RPI at 3.5%, which will be the figure used for next January's fare increases. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on the drive time show to argue that this is unfair to passengers. Listen here or download here.

10th August - BBC Coventry & Warwickshire

Tile Hill station has insufficient parking, and there are plans to double the capacity of the car park. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited on to the breakfast show to discuss. Listen here or download here.

1st August - Love Sport Radio

Robert Nisbet, director of the Rail Delivery Group, has claimed that UK trains are the envy of Europe. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson speaks to Kelvin MacKenzie about whether there is any truth in this idea. Listen here or download here.

31st July - Evening Standard

Responding to a recent article highlighting the levels of overcrowding on London commuter routes, Railfuture director Roger Blake has a letter published. He writes: "Continuing high levels of demand, despite recent dips on routes in some areas, must be met with continuing high levels of investment in trains and track. That is what is needed to beat unacceptable crowding and to improve overall quality."

30th July - BBC News Channel

Railfuture director Roger Blake appears on the BBC News Channel to talk about Northern Rail reinstating some of its previously abandoned timetable changes. Watch the clip on Youtube here.

29th July - Daily Mail

The Mail tries to put the blame on train drivers for some of the recent problems on the railways. Responding to suggestions by the Rail Delivery Group that there was no shortage of drivers, Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson said: "There is a shortage of drivers. Whatever the networks say, we know this is the case. We pay the highest rail fares in Europe and we certainly don't get the best service for that. If you are cutting human resources to the bone then that will have an impact."

The same story appears in the Sun and the Express.

27th July - BBC Radio Cornwall

GWR has come in for some criticism over the holiday period as passengers have to endure overcrowding and sweltering conditions. Railfuture's Nigel Bray, secretary of Severnside branch, is invited onto the breakfast show to offer his opinion. Listen here or download here.

24th July - talkRADIO and BBC locals

New passenger statistics list the top ten most overcrowded lines on Britain's railways. Railfuture director Roger Blake has a busy day being interviewed on six different radio stations about this issue:

20th July - talkRADIO

Things have got so bad on the railways that the government is considering a meeting of the emergency COBRA committee. Is this really necessary? Railfuture's Chris Fribbins is the man to ask. Listen here or download here.

16th July - BBC Radio Wales

GWR cancelled many services to South Wales on Sunday, citing reasons such as school holidays, hot weather and the World Cup. How do these excuses stand up to scrutiny? Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited on to the breakfast show to discuss. Listen here or download here.

This story also appears on the BBC News website and Bruce is quoted: "It's understandable passengers get very upset when there's a poor service like this."

12th July - Cambridge Independent

Six weeks after the Govia Thameslink timetable meltdown story first hit the news, it's still making waves in Cambridgeshire. An interim timetable is being introduced from 15th July, and local MP Heidi Allen has written to Govia Thameslink Railway claiming that the situation is “reaching danger point”.

Railfuture is quoted twice in the article. Vice-chair of East Anglia Branch, Christopher Burton, is quoted: “In more than 45 years of personal railway interest I cannot recall timetable disruption on such a profound scale. British Rail sometimes generated slightly overambitious schedules on certain routes, or suffered from traction shortcomingssaid that in a stakeholder meeting on Tuesday evening Govia Thameslink confirmed that they have enough drivers with the right route knowledge to run the service from Monday July 16., but never the sheer disarray at Thameslink or indeed with Northern Rail where the position is at least as bad, but for slightly different reasons.”

Chairman Nick Dibben also has his say: “The problem previously was the ability to match drivers and trains at the start of the new timetable due to last minute changes made to the timetable by Network Rail,” he said. “Over the next few months, additional peak hour trains will be added when practical to do so. The weekend timetable is affected by planned engineering works so passengers urged to check each weekend. The December 2018 timetable change is being reviewed nationally as there are far more changes planned than intended in May 2018. GTR hope to add more of the off-peak trains intended for this May in December.”

9th July - BBC Radio Lincolnshire

The breakfast show is talking about reopening stations. Is this a good idea? Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson thinks so. Listen here or download here.

8th July - BBC News website

New performance figures for Arriva Trains Wales show an increase in the number of complaints. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted "It's disappointing when customer service is not up to scratch. With some of the problems we've been experiencing on the railway the train operating companies can, with some legitimacy, pass the buck and say it's someone else's fault. But when it comes to basic customer service, like replying to complaints, that's totally within Arriva's hands and there's no excuse for that."

The quote is then picked up by the Wales Online website.

7th July - Uckfield News

The paper reports on the Uckfield Festival Big Day. Railfuture is a regular exhibitor, and there's a photo of Railfuture director Roger Blake manning the stall along with Dick Tyler from the Sussex and Coastway division.

2nd July - South Wales Echo

Newly installed overhead line equipment in the Severn tunnel has started rusting. Paul Harding of Railfuture Cymru / Wales is quoted:

“Passengers and taxpayers are not going to be happy that equipment installed less than two years ago is already rusting. Passengers have faced months of inconvenience with diversions and line closures due to the electrification programme and it looks as though there’ll be much more disruption before the benefits even begin to be felt. There are lessons for the whole rail industry here about planning, construction and procurement. Hopefully these lessons can be learnt before electrification of the core valleys lines begin.”

24th June - BBC Radio Devon

Many GWR services were cancelled on the day England played in the world cup. Coincidence? Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson talks about some of the causes of the problems. Listen here or download here.

24th June - talkRADIO

The first ever service of the new LNER arrived on time. Does the failure of Virgin/Stagecoach mean that renationalisation is the way forward? Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on the very early breakfast show to discuss. Listen here or download here.

11th June - Love Sport Radio

Another interview about the recent chaos on the railways. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson discusses some of the causes of the problems, and whether renationalisation might improve things. Listen here or download here.

11th June - talkRADIO

For the second time in the day, Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on the station to talk about the chaos on the railway. He talks to James Whale and his sidekick Ash in a long and not entirely serious interview. Listen here or download here.

11th June - talkRADIO

Mike Graham and Katie Perrior interview Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson about the causes and solutions to the recent chaos on the railway. Listen here or download here.

11th June - The Guardian

Columnist John Harris argues for more devolution of railway management to help cure some of the industry's ills. He took some advice from Railfuture and writes: "I spent a lot of last week discussing potential solutions with people from pressure groups such as Railfuture (which wants “bigger, better railway that people are proud and pleased to use”) and the Campaign for Better Transport. I heard about the endless drawbacks of train franchising: the way that its bidding system emphasises squeezing costs and raising prices, and the fact that deals that tend to last for around eight years combine with the increasingly short cycles of politics to ensure that long-term thinking is always in short supply."

9th June - BBC News channel

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed about Mark Carne's CBE in the light of Network Rail's recent poor performance.

On the same day, he is quoted in The Times on the same subject: “It seems slightly at odds to be making an award for good service at a time when things are going so badly for the railway.”

7th June - Scotsman

"How commuting every day negatively affects your health and wellbeing" is the headline. The article says:

"Chris Hyomes, Director of Communications at Railfuture, a UK advocacy group that promotes better rail services for passengers and freight, explains that public transport needs to be made more attractive so that people want to use it. “More people are commuting today more than ever”, he says, adding that with this, commuters have the “stress of getting to work on time”. As a commuter himself, Mr Hyomes believes that rail travel at the moment is completely unacceptable: “We’re being forced out of public transport and with train fares going up every year, users are not getting value for money.”"

The same article also appears in many local papers.

7th June - Lincolnshire Reporter

Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh writes a regular column for the paper. He says:

"Regular readers of this site will have seen that I have been actively engaged with the various ideas and issues around local rail services.

The return of regular services to Gainsborough Central later this year is a good example of steps in the right direction. I am committed to pressing the case for direct rail links from the Humber south bank to London. This could include a stop at Market Rasen and I will be pressing my case with the Transport Secretary, now that the East Coast service is being brought back into public ownership and as progress is made to re-franchise the East Coast Main Line.

I have also been very interested in suggestions from the local branch of Railfuture about a rail-based part and ride scheme, centred on Lincoln. This could lead to the return of a station at Langworth or the addition of a station at Cherry Willingham."

5th June - Western Mail

Railfuture Cymru president John Rogers has a letter published. "I would like to congratulate our government on the new deal for Welsh railways" he writes, before outlining some of the improvements he would like to see, and arguing for greater devolution of rail,

4th June - BBC Local Radio

In addition to the timetable chaos on Northern and Govia Thameslink, the Rail Delivery Group is opening a consultation on rail ticket reform, but without changing the overall level of fares. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited on to the breakfast shows of several BBC local radio stations. You can hear him make the same comments in slightly different orders on:

2nd June - LoveSport Radio

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on this London station. You can guess what he's talking about. Listen here or download here.

1st June - BBC Two

Disruption caused by the introduction of new timetables is the story that just won't go away. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on the Victoria Derbyshire programme and helps to explain what the problem is. View it on the iPlayer and move the slider forward to about 1 hr and 33 mins.

A clip from the programme is posted on the show's Twitter pageTweet of photo of Bruce Williamson on the BBc's Victoria Derbyshire programme describing timetable chaos as a .

31st May - BBC Sussex

A petition calling for Govia Thameslink Railway to have its contract immediately removed has received thousands of signatures, because of its ongoing problems with the new timetables. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on the breakfast show to offer his perspective. Listen here or download here.

25th May - The Lincolnite

Edward Leigh MP is backing plans by Railfuture's Lincolnshire branch for a rail-based park and ride system. He said: “Railfuture Lincolnshire is right to be stirring up debate on the future of rail services in the county......I would certainly like to see proposals brought forward for a rail-based park and ride scheme, perhaps with a new station at Cherry Willingham or seeing if former infrastructure, like Langworth, could be brought back into use.”

24th May - talkRADIO

The new welsh rail franchise has been awarded to a consortium including SNCF. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited onto the early breakfast show to discuss this, along with privatisation, competition, Thameslink and more. Listen here or download here.

21st May - talkRADIO

New timetables have led to disruption on the railways, particularly Thameslink. Eamonn Holmes and Saira Khan discuss this with Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson. Listen here or download here.

21st May - Rochdale Online

"Four rail user groups have joined together in a grass-roots campaign to revive plans for railway electrification across the North of England.... Founding groups Halifax & District Rail Action Group (HADRAG), Oldham and Rochdale rail users group (STORM), Upper Calder Valley Sustainable Transport Group, and Bradford Rail Users Group are supported by Yorkshire and North West branches of Railfuture, the national independent campaign for a better rail network."

21st May - BBC Radio Nottingham

Timetable changes have affected East Midlands trains. Ariadne Tampion, chair of East Midlands branch, is interviewed on the drive time show to get Railfuture's perspective. Listen here or download here.

21st May - LoveSport Radio

This new London radio station - despite its name - covers current affairs stories in the evening. In the aftermath of "Meltdown Monday", where Thameslink's new timetable suffered teething troubles, Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson analyses what went wrong - or not. Listen here or download here.

16th May - East Coast franchise

There's a lot of interest in the announcement that Chris Grayling is taking the East Coast franchise back into public hands for the third time. What went wrong? Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson gives three interviews attempting to answer that question and others.

He appears on the ITV Central East Midlands evening news.

He is interviewed on Clive Bull's programme on LBC Listen here or download here.

And he is also interviewed on the drive time programme on BBC Three Counties Radio Listen here or download here.

16th May - Norwich Evening News

County councillors are writing to transport secretary Chris Grayling, arguing for the retention of the direct rail service between Norwich and Liverpool. Railfuture East Anglia's Chris Burton is quoted:

“Our feeling is that the route should remain a direct link, but that the service needs dramatically speeding up. It is a vital service for Norwich - the city needs to be connected and this route also serves many other cities and universities. I do think it does need greater passenger space and locomotives with faster acceleration though.”

14th May - Rail Technology Magazine

Under the headline "Campaigners ask Grayling for dedicated rail reopenings fund", the magazine picks up on the joint Railfuture / Campaign for Better Transport press release. Railfuture’s Bruce Williamson is quoted: “We know that the few reopenings that have happened have been hugely successful, so we hope that this fund will help kick-start a new wave of rail revival. This money would fund the research needed to identify the most economically viable schemes, which will then give local authorities the confidence to invest further. It's about breaking the log jam that has held up so many reopening schemes over the years.”

10th May - Dorset Echo

The paper highlights the problems in getting the cheapest possible fare, accusing some train operating companies of over-charging passengers. "Railfuture, an independent organisation campaigning for better rail services, accused the government and train operators of hiding the split-ticketing system." reads the article, before quoting Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson: “Passengers shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to find these hidden savings, which can be considerable. It’s unfair that those in the know can obtain cheaper fares than other passengers who pay the full amount.”

9th May - The Star

There are "Growing calls to reopen Woodhead railway tunnels between Sheffield and Manchester". An organisation called Grand Northern Railways wants to reopen the main tunnel, creating a roll-on, roll-off railway service for cargo vehicles which would remove thousands of lorries from congested roads through the Peak District.

"The campaign group Railfuture has said reviving the route should be a 'strong contender' to help achieve the Northern Powerhouse goal of 30-minute rail journeys between Sheffield and Manchester." says the article.

8th May - talkRADIO

The Rail Delivery Group has promised to simplify the ridiculously complex tail fares structure in this country. Eamonn Holmes and Saira Khan discuss this with Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson and Jane Gratton from the British Chambers of Commerce. Listen here or download here.

1st May - talkRADIO

Network Rail's boss Mark Carne has suggested the possibility of 24 hour train services. How realistic is this? Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson discusses it with Eamonn Holmes and Saira Khan on the drive time show. Listen here or download here.

27th April - The Herald

Railfuture Scotland secretary Jane Ann Liston writes an opinion piece for the paper arguing for better facilities for foot passengers at Ardrossan. Currently the station is 200 metres from the embarkation point, making it unattractive for rail passengers. She writes:

"The new Ardrossan terminal is a perfect opportunity to put this right, by bringing the railway line right down to the new passenger arrival point which after all will be mainly used by foot passengers rather than those in cars, sparing everybody a significant hike, including those not as mobile as they were, those pushing child buggies and of course the luggage-laden holidaymakers heading for Scotland’s holiday island."

4th April - LBC

A new report highlights the cost of rail travel in the UK, comparing it unfavourably with other European countries. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited on to Nick Ferrari's breakfast show for his view. Listen here or download here.

22nd March - Northamptonshire Telegraph

Rail campaigner Jim Wade has died at the age of 75. He was a campaigner for the reopening of Corby station and a long-standing Railfuture Member. Steve Jones, secretary of East Midlands branch, is quoted: “There is little doubt that the reopening of the line to Corby may have never have happened without Jim’s involvement, given his passion and dedication for campaigning for the new rail service. It is a fitting memorial to him.”

14th March - Northern Echo

A Railfuture campaigning meeting gets a plug: "The possibility of the mothballed Stillington and Leamside lines being re-instated for passenger use will be on the agenda at a public meeting of Railfuture North-East. The campaign group, which also wants a new station to be built in Ferryhill, County Durham, is pushing for faster and more frequent rail services throughout the region and new or improved trains."

9th March - BBC Coventry & Warwickshire

The West Midlands Combined Authority has agreed to invest nearly £40 million in improvements to Coventry station. What will this mean for the travelling public? Michael Tombs from West Midlands branch is interviewed on the breakfast show. Listen here or download here.

8th March - Fenland Citizen

"Half hourly trains for Wisbech and rural transport hub at Manea is aim of new pressure group" reads the headline. That group is the Wisbech Rail Consultative Group set up by Railfuture East Anglia. Branch chairman Peter Wakefield is extensively quoted in the article, saying, amongst other things “We want to see it deliverd within the next few years and we want it to link right through to the newly funded Cambride South station. Wisbech is vital to the whole county’s economic sustainability."

4th March - Harrogate Informer

Transport campaigner Brian Dunsby has been formally presented with his OBE for services to business and the community in Harrogate. He was a previous recipient of a Railfuture RUG award. The article says:

"Brian has also worked tirelessly as the Transport Spokesman for Harrogate Chamber to improve the rail connectivity to and from Harrogate and was recognised by Railfuture UK in 2015 as the Best Campaigner and for the Best Campaign."

3rd March - Southern Daily Echo

An event organised by the Wessex branch of Railfuture has been cancelled. South Western Railway's senior stakeholder manager Phil Dominey was due to speak about the new seven year franchise, but bad weather has led to train cancellations.

A spokesperson for Railfuture is quoted: "There are train problems meaning that some people can't make it so I don't know if they've done it for the punters or for the main man."

28th February - Daily Express

The Express picks up on yesterday's LBC interview with the headline "UK snow: Expert reveals REAL reason for UK travel chaos and it's NOT snow". It's snow.

27th February - LBC

Extreme cold weather is causing disruption across much of the rail network, and Nick Ferrari interviews Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson on the breakfast show. The interview features on a web page entitled "This Is Why Trains Are Cancelled Even Though There's No Snow". Listen here or download here.

26th February - BBC Radio Leicester

What are the chances of reopening the Leicester-Burton line for passenger traffic? Railfuture East Midlands spokeswoman Ariadne Tampion is interviewed on the drive time programme in advance of a local edition of Inside Out on which she also appears. Listen here or download here.

26th February - talkRADIO

Inadequate provision of replacement buses has caused major disruption on Southern's patch, with angry passengers missing flights. What's Railfuture's perspective? Spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited onto the morning programme. Listen here or download here.

Quotations from the interview are used as the basis of a news article on the talkRADIO website.

21st February - The Week In

The freesheet for East Bristol & North East Somerset picks up on our press release under the headline "Battle lines drawn in light rail debate".

Sustrans had argued that the Bristol and Bath railway path was the wrong choice for a future light rail scheme. "But Railfuture, a campaign group for better rail services across the UK, has hit back at Sustrans, claiming it is not just the “path of least resistance” but the obvious choice for that very reason" reads the article, before extensively quoting from our press release.

14th February - Transport Network

Under the headline "Sustainable transport campaigners fall out over cycle path", the website picks up on our press release.

"In an open letter to Mr Cleeton, Railfuture’s press officer, Bruce Williamson, said he was himself ‘disappointed that an organisation called Sustrans is trying to scupper new sustainable transport projects’."

A similar story appears a few days later on the TransportXtra web site.

9th February - BCfm

On the Bristol community station's politics show, presenter Billy Quain interviews Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson extensively about local transport issues. These include "Metrobus", the new bus rapid transit scheme, Mayor Marvin Rees's local rail proposals, including the possibility of re-using part of the former Midland railway (now a cycle track), and many more. Listen here or download here.

6th February - LBC

The East Coast franchise is about to collapse for the third time. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited onto the LBC daily debrief podcast to offer his explanation. Listen here or download here.

5th February - Moneynest

This money advice website publishes an article comparing the cost of rail travel with motoring. "Rail champion Railfuture rightly point out tickets should be based on CPI, not RPI and by not using CPI, rail fares have become 17% higher than they would under the CPI measure."

3rd February - Scotsman

Scottish Greens have struck a deal to secure funding of up to £2 million to develop new stations and lines. This may include the possibility of temporary "pop-up" stations to establish whether demand exists. Railfuture gets a mention, an unnamed spokesman is quoted:

“Although Scotland has seen many more reopenings than England in the last few years, getting any sort of new rail project off the ground is still frustratingly expensive and bureaucratic, so we welcome any moves to kick-start and ease this process. Network Rail has shown how it’s possible to open temporary stations at short notice, so it makes sense to try using pop-up stations to test demand. There are numerous examples in other industries of new products and services being test-driven, so why should the railways be any different?”

The same quote appears in the Alloa Advertiser on the 8th February.

29th January - Herald

"RAIL campaigners have condemned the practice of ‘stop-skipping’ across Scotland after it emerged operators are failing to pull into stations up to 20 times per day." reads the article. it continues: " Allison Cosgrove, chair of Railfuture Scotland, told the Herald: “Stop-skipping is really annoying to people – there is never any justification for it.

“If you get on a train, then you should expect to get off at the stop you want. And not being told (your stop is being skipped) before getting on is completely unhelpful.”

Mrs Cosgrove said that while stop-skipping remains an issue across the rail network, the frustration born from overcrowding is also prominent.

She added: “I sometimes feel there is too much of an emphasis on absolute punctuality. I don’t think passengers on some routes would mind if their train was a few minutes late. What they want is a seat.

“Overcrowding is an issue; we have some longer six-carriage trains on our line now, but on some occasions not everyone who is looking to get on the train at Musselburgh can get on.

“That said, it is not always helpful to complain all the time and I believe journey times where people have to stand in Scotland is less than in England. We also recently met with Alex Hynes (ScotRail’s new managing director) and he struck me as a chap determined to do better.” "

19th January - BBC Radio Devon

It's 25 years since railway privatisation, so how has it worked out? Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited onto Janet Kipling's afternoon show to discuss the pros and cons. Listen here or download here.

9th January - BBC Radio Bristol

A cable theft in the Bristol area has caused widespread disruption to rail services. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited onto John Darvall's phone-in programme to give his perspective. Listen here or download here.

He appeared on the regional news programme Points West in the evening.

8th January - talkRADIO

Railfuture is invited to write an article for the talkRADIO website on the subject of rail fare increases, and spokesman Bruce Williamson takes up the offer. The headline reads 'Rail fare hikes are just discrimination, pure and simple', although he didn't write that bit.

7th January - talkRADIO

The rail fare rise still won't go away, and head of Railfuture's passenger group, Chris Fribbins, is invited onto Jake Yapp's show on talkRADIO. Listen here or download here.

3rd January - Connect FM

Rail fare rises are still in the news, and Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears in the news bulletins throughout the day. Listen here or download here.

3rd January - talkRADIO

With widespread dissatisfaction with rail fares, is renationalisation the answer? Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson discusses the pros and cons with Julia Hartley-Brewer. Listen here or download here.

2nd January - Daily Telegraph

The front page headline is "End scandal of rip-off rail fares", and the article continues "The campaign group Railfuture has estimated that rail fares would be 17 per cent lower if they had been tied to the CPI measure of inflation since 2014." (We actually said since 2004).

In the same edition, Telegraph reader Paul Streeter-Jewitt from Bath has the following letter published: "SIR – Bruce Williamson from the campaign group Railfuture said “very soon, trains without Wi-fi will become unthinkable” (report December 27). The same report said that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was looking to see “how it can 'dramatically' improve internet and phone connectivity on Britain's train network by 2025”. Now we know that “very soon” means seven years."

2nd January - BBC News and others

Rail fares rises prompt protests at stations around the country. Railfuture adds its voice to the chorus of condemnation: "Bruce Williamson, of campaign group Railfuture, has called for the lower Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation measure to be used for regulated fare increases. Mr Williamson argued that if CPI had been used rather than RPI since 2004, rail fares would be 17% lower. He said people were being priced out of getting to work, with British rail fares among "the most expensive in Europe"."

Similar stories appear in the Evening Standard, Sun, ITV, Mirror, AOL and many more.

Chris Burton, vice-chair of East Anglia branch, appears on Look East in the morning and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire in the afternoon. Listen here or download here.

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appeared on Sky News and BBC Radio Five Live
where he was joined by David Sidebottom from Transport Focus to talk to presenters Guy Kilty and Sam Walker. Listen here or download here.

1st January - LBC

On the eve of nationwide fare protests, Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited onto Clive Bull's phone-in programme to discuss fares, privatisation and rolling stock. Listen here or download here.

1st January - Daily Mail

The Mail contrasts executive pay in the rail industry with immenent fare rises. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: "Passengers might say these salaries paid to chief executives are unreasonably large. There's a real problem when bonuses appear regardless of whether the company has performed well or not."

1st January - Daily Mail

Passengers are travelling in carriages which were typically built in the mid-1990s, with the average age being 21.1 years, the highest since records began. Bruce Williamson, spokesman for pressure group Railfuture, said this highlights “an uneven feast or famine in the railways when it comes to investing”. He added: “We’ve still got a lot of catching up to do.”

The same story appears in the Independent and BT online




2017


30th December - Express

An investigation has found that three out of five passenger journeys on Britain’s railways are on foreign-owned services. Railfuture spokesman "Bruce Williams" (Bruce Williamson) is quoted:

“It does raise the question about what is the point of privatising the railway if it’s then going to be owned and operated by the states of other countries. It’s ok for the French government to run our railways but it’s not ok for the British government to run our railways.”

The same story appears in the Daily Mail, Morning Star, AOL and many others.

28th December - Daily Telegraph

"End to mobile signal misery in train tunnels" reads the headline, as the government announces its aspiration to bring super-fast broadband and continuous mobile connectivity to the whole of Britain's rail network. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted:

"It should become absolutely standard for all trains on the British railway network to have seamless connectivity, as it's essential for attracting the smartphone connected generation to rail, as well as the business traveller working on the move. Very soon, trains without wi-fi will become unthinkable, and rail passengers will look forward to the day when the phone doesn't cut out in tunnels."

The same story appears in several other news outlets including Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Metro and MSN.

22nd December - South Wales Argus

Plans to reopen Magor station have received a boost, with funding for the third stage of the GRIP process. Some of that funding has come from Railfuture, as councillor Bryan Jones, cabinet member for transport at Monmouthshire County Council, explains:

“The proposed Magor and Undy Walkway station is an innovative proposal for a new railway station to be delivered jointly with a community hub. Together with the funding provided by the county council and the community council, as well as the Railfuture and the MAGOR campaigns, this will allow us to progress the next stage of the development work."

21st December - South Wales Echo

The Welsh Governments instructions to bidders for the next Wales and Borders franchise will remain secret.
Peter Kingsbury, chair of Railfuture Wales, is quoted:

“This is disappointing, as it has prevented all stakeholders with an interest in ensuring the highest quality of service for rail users understanding how the bidders could respond to the challenge laid down by TfW. It is particularly puzzling why TfW is unwilling to make this information available after 21 December, the date for the submission of final tenders from the three companies competing to operate the new franchise, has passed. This lack of transparency has prevented stakeholders from making meaningful detailed comments on the aspirations of TfW for the future quality and shape of the Welsh rail network despite TfW undertaking two rounds of public consultation since the launch of the renewal of franchise process began in 2016.”

14th December - BBC Radio Bristol

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees has proposed an underground railway network. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited onto John Darvall's phone-in programme to offer his thoughts. Listen here or download here.

14th December - News Post Leader

The paper publishes news of South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG)'s award for best website at the Railfuture RUG awards in November. Director Allison Cosgrove is pictured presenting the award to SENRUG chairman Dennis Fancett.

12th December - talkRADIO

Train operating companies have been selling tickets for trains which don't exist, and have been tardy in releasing the full allocation of discount advance tickets for the Christmas period. Julia Hartley-Brewer interviews Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson for his perspective. Listen here or download here.

5th December - talkRADIO

Rail fares will be going up by an average of 3.4% in the new year. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed on the breakfast show by Paul Ross and Carole Malone. Listen here or download here.

4th December - Western Mail

The next Wales and Borders rail franchise will not be allowed to offer direct services to Bristol. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson, who lives in Bristol, offered his opinion:

“From the south Wales point of view, Bristol is the gateway to the south west of England, as well as being a major city destination in itself. The imminent removal of the Severn Bridge tolls will only make road congestion worse, so it’s important that there’s a range of rail services as an alternative. There’s been a direct service between Bristol and Cardiff since 1896, and I don’t think demand is going to reduce any time soon. The track improvements just outside Bristol are due to be completed in a year’s time, so the timetable slots will become available. Is the Department for Transport trying to protect GWR’s patch? If so, could they increase the number of services, maybe running direct trains from Swansea to Portsmouth?”

A similar story appears two days later in the Bristol Post.

29th November - News and Star

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced proposals to reopen some railway lines. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: "It seems that the Government is finally recognising the need to invest in rail because so often when you hear about transport investment it almost always means more road building. Let's hope that there is a stronger emphasis on rail this time. The demand is there. Where reopenings have happened, particularly in Scotland, they have generally-speaking exceeded all expectations."

He is also quoted in The Times (subscription), inews, Aberdeen Evening Express, Spire FM and Manx Radio.

This DfT announcement is also covered by Sky News including comments by Railfuture director Roger Blake.



20th November - Modern Railways

In his regular column, Roger Ford mentions Railfuture's RUG Awards:

"As usual, the meeting of the judging panel for the Railfuture awards was a lively occasion, with some very high quality entries to assess. We are an eclectic bunch, but it was interesting how quickly agreement was reached."

19th November - Kent Live

Southern is revamping the timetable on the Uckfield line, in the hope of improving some of the unreliability problems that have been plaguing the service.

Roger Blake, vice-chair of London & South East branch, remains sceptical:

“All of that is still dependent on a reliable train fleet however, the lack of which is the primary cause of the seemingly disproportionate disruption to services, and to passengers' daily lives, on the Uckfield line... It matters very little what the exact cause of a cancellation has been; the effect is the same."

17th November - Spire FM website

Devizes MP Claire Perry wants to reopen the line that runs between Ludgershall and Andover to passengers. She recently met a group of stakeholders to pursue the project. Of course, Railfuture is ahead of the game here. The website says:

"Re-opening the line is not a new idea. It's something that's been doing the rounds for years. Back in 2009 it appeared as one of several items on a document entitled 'Railfuture Wessex - Development to Rail Services' the www.railfuture.org.uk document says:

* Long term (beyond 2017)
* Double track throughout Salisbury - Exeter.
* Chord at Yeovil to permit through Bournemouth - Exeter services.
* New station at Porton (?).
* Passenger services to Ludgershall (?)."

15th November - Buxton Advertiser

The paper features local winners of Railfuture's RUG awards: "The Chinley and Buxworth Transport Group scooped the Best New Group in the Railfuture organisation awards earlier in the month and also took home a commendation in the category Best Campaign."

9th November - Metro

Aslef have accepted an offer from Southern, ending a long-running dispute. A second worker will be present on all services unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’. That leaves the RMT still in dispute with Southern.

The article says: "Pressure group Railfuture said the RMT members may decide the ‘exceptional circumstances’ caveat is the thin end of the wedge, and fight on for guarantees that drivers would never be alone."

7th November - Lynn News

Members of the King’s Lynn to Hunstanton Railway Project met council representative to discuss restoring the railway between the two towns.

“The keynote speaker at the meeting in Hunstanton was Peter Wakefield of Railfuture. Peter outlined how a similar project had been recently built in the Scottish Borders, the benefits it brought to the communities the rail line served and how seemingly impossible obstacles had been overcome,” said Georgina Turner, who started an online petition to reinstate the railway.

6th November - BBC News South East

There is talk of splitting the Thameslink Southern and Great Northern franchise when it ends its current management contract in 2021. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on the regional news programme and says: “It’s easier to bid for a smaller more self-contained chunk such as Thameslink by itself or Southern franchise by itself, but we’ll just have to see what happens. We don’t know the details of how the franchise is going to be split yet and we don’t know who’s possibly in the running to bid for it”

There is talk of splitting the Thameslink Southern and Great Northern franchise when it ends its current management contract in 2021.  Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on the regional news programme

3rd November - Peterborough Telegraph

New Thameslink trains are about to enter service, offering a direct route between Peterborough and St Pancras. East Anglia branch chairman Nick Dibben is quoted:

“Many commuters will have seen these new trains in the sidings in recent months so will be looking forward to trying them out in real life. The new information screens will help people find a seat and I look forward to the new cross London services and extra seating that will be provided from next May.”

Nick is also quoted in a similar story in Rail Professional.

1st November - BBC News website

As Arriva drops out of the bidding for the Wales franchise, the headline is "Passengers 'missing out' on chance to voice rail views". The article questions the level of transparency in the franchising process.

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson adds his comment: "An invitation to tender is generally a public document, so franchise bidders know what they are bidding for and the passengers, the key to success for rail companies, and passenger groups can have their input on the level of service proposed. It's a bit of a missed opportunity."

26th October - Modern Railways

Alan Williams writes: "So may I draw your attention to 'The Coffee Station' at Hebden Bridge, voted the 'Best independent station cafe' in a national competition organised by Railfuture (as a Vice President thereof I declare an interest at this present juncture, although I had no knowledge of or involvement in the competition). Station cafe customers throughout the country were asked to vote for their favourite independent station cafe. And there must be something about coffee brewed along the CalderValley line, because just two stations along, at Sowerby Bridge, the Jubilee refreshment rooms came joint third in the same comoetition."

25th October - RAIL magazine

Barry Doe reviews Railfuture's latest edition of Britain's Growing Railway:

"Railfuture achieves excellent work in many fields and its latest publication - BGR - is a superb read for those wanting facts and figures relating to more than 400 new stations that have either reopened or were new since 1960. With 192 pages it has an alphabetical list of them with details of each followed by details of another 22 stations expected to open within the next seven years. There is then a section on complete lines and chords that have opened since 1986 plus those with future opening dates. Much detail for Metro and tram systems follows, plus a section on Ireland.
A list then shows re-opening by date, and it comes as a surprise to realise that stations were being opened or reopened in the Breeching era. Furthermore 350 were opened under British Rail. This volume is well worth £9.95"

19th October - Worthing Herald

Railfuture member Edgar Locke has a letter published, arguing for better public transport. "I am passionately interested in public transport", he writes, before namechecking Railfuture twice, and adds "I wish that some of the recent cuts in public transport would be reinstated."

18th October - Cambridge News

"Transport experts say Cambridge’s guided busway is doomed" - one of those experts being Chris Burton of East Anglia branch, although he's credited as being from Rail East, the name of the branch newsletter. He says:

“I’m well aware of Cambridgeshire County Council action against BAM Nuttall and the increasingly rough ride quality being offered. It seems increasingly obvious that sooner rather than later the trackway is going to become an embarrassing safety issue threatening to close the route in its entirety. Equally obviously, until the legal contest is resolved, the service issue cannot be either. A very depressing situation and one I fervently hope will not default to rate payers picking up the tab.”

18th October - Daily Telegraph

On the letters page, Roger Smith, editor of Rail User Express, has the following letter published:

"SIR – Dr Heather Williams wonders why Stratford-upon-Avon, one of the world’s leading tourist attractions, is so inaccessible by rail (Letters, October 17). Reopening the branch from the Cotswold line at Honeybourne would allow direct rail access to Stratford from Oxford and Worcester.

It is not the only example. Stonehenge also has no station – the closest would be the proposed Wilton Parkway station. And the Imperial War Museum at Duxford has no public transport at all, although Whittlesford Station is less than two miles away.

All of these are campaigns by the local rail user group and Railfuture."

17th October - TransportXtra

"An ‘Ideas Festival’ is taking place in Chelmsford on 24 October to discuss the future of transport. Experts from Essex County Council, Jacobs, Wedderburn Transport Planning, Anglia Ruskin University and campaigners RailFuture will give presentations and talk to residents, young people and professionals about how transport needs to evolve in smaller cities such as Chelmsford."

13th October - Bexhill Observer

Railfuture director Roger Blake has a letter published:

"Game-changer as High Speed services from London and Kent into East Sussex will undoubtedly be, they’re for the next decade. What’s for next year, and also mentioned by several speakers at the recent Hastings Rail Summit, is a new Southern timetable which will dramatically shorten connection times between existing High Speed services and the local MarshLink services at Ashford International – to single-figure minutes ... Concerted campaigning will see a step-change as early as next May – even if the step is smaller and less dramatic than a new High Speed service."

13th October - Buxton Advertiser

Campaigners have put together a petition calling for improved access at Chinley station in Derbyshire.

Railfuture vice president Paul Abell is quoted: “When you look at the access now its crazy but up until the 1980s there was level access. So the access has got worse which is just ridiculous.”

13th October - BBC News South East

Thameslink trains are being cancelled because of leaves on the line, and Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson was interviewed briefly on BBC One's local news programme. Appearing on screen for just eight seconds, he said "we get the railway we're prepared to pay for, and if we want a shoestring railway, then we will have to accept this sort of disruption from time to time"

13th October - BBC Radio Five Live

Lord Adonis is urging the government to tackle the shortcomings in Britain's infrastructure, including rail. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited onto the drive time programme and talks about the need for rail investment. Listen here or download here.

11th October - BBC Look East

Peter Wakefield of East Anglia branch appears on the late night bulletin to talk about next year's Thameslink timetable.
Railfuture East Anlgia's Peter Wakefield on BBC Look East (speaking from their studio in Cambridge) on 11th October 2017 about the planned Great Northern timetable changes

11th October - South Wales Echo

Emergency engineering work at Reading will cause severe disruption to services from South Wales to London. Peter Kingsbury, chair of Railfuture Wales, is quoted:

“To Railfuture’s best knowledge, this is the first time that no through trains have run from South Wales to the UK capital for an entire weekend. The need for emergency engineering works to be very occasionally undertaken is understood, but previously a direct service to London has always been maintained by diverting trains .... It is hoped that if further works are planned on the route between South Wales and London a through service is maintained for the duration of the work, even if journey times are substantially extended.”

27th September - The Railway Magazine

The magazine gives a warm review of Railfuture's latest edition of Britain's Growing Railway, saying:

"The latest edition of this excellent handbook lists every station and halt to have appeared on the network during the last half century or so – and RM readers will be gratified to know the total now exceeds 400",

"It is bang up to date, containing the opening of Cambridge North on May 21"

and "...a useful guide to the way the network has ebbed and flowed."

26th September - East Anglian Daily Times

"Rail group calls for more and faster trains from Ipswich to Cambridge" reads the headline. That rail group is of course Railfuture, and the article features East Anglia branch's support for plans to treble the frequency of trains as well as reducing journey times.

19th September - Modern Railways

In his regular column, Roger Ford writes: "As a Vice-President of Railfuture I was sent a copy of the latest edition of "Britain's growing railway" which lists stations and lines opened, or re-opened, since 1960. The oldest entry is Garscadden in Scotland and the most recent Cambridge North, It also looks ahead to lines opening soon and includes metros, light rail and tramways.

It's gone straight onto my reference bookshelf - much faster than Google. It costs £9.95 for 192 pages and further details are available from www.railfuture.org.uk"

30th August - BBC Radio Lincolnshire

David Harby of Lincolnshire branch is interviewed on the breakfast show about the forthcoming new East Midlands franchise. Listen here or download here.

He later appears on BBC Look North.

28th August - The Guardian

A comparison of rail journey times claims that speeds outside the south east of England are up to four times lower. "Bruce Williamson, the spokesman for campaign group Railfuture, said some journeys were “painfully slow” and this made the railways uncompetitive against other forms of transport such as cars – with negative consequences for the economy and the environment."

He is quoted: “The business community of the north has recognised the need to improve journey times. It’s desperately needed.”

The same story appears in the Independent, and many other newspapers and web sites.

It's given a Scottish flavour in the East Lothian Courier, this time quoting Allison Cosgrove, chair of Railfuture Scotland:

“If you are travelling between Edinburgh and Perth, and making stops at a number of stations on the way – particularly on a week day when it’s probably used by a lot of commuters – then it is not going to be the same as a high speed service that has no stops. And if you want a really high speed service, then the penalty you have to pay is a service that doesn’t stop at certain stations – precisely what we are trying to avoid. We don’t want trains that whizz around at top speed but don’t actually stop anywhere.”

23rd August - The Mirror

Following on from the recent inflation figures, the paper compares British rail fares with those in other European countries and offers some fare-saving tips.

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: “Our walk-on rail fares are the most expensive in Europe. Rail companies will say, and it’s true, that their advance off peak fares are amongst the cheapest in Europe, but that’s not much use to the commuter or someone who wants to travel at short notice. “

23rd August - The Sun

"HOLIDAY TRAIN HELL August Bank Holiday weekend to bring rail travel misery" screams the Sun. The paper notes that some advance fares will not be available this weekend.

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: “Customers will not be happy about reduced advance fares while engineering works are taking place. And things sometimes go wrong when dealing with our Victorian railway, so if works do not finish on time, there needs to be good communication with passengers.”

22nd August - LBC

George Osborne is calling on the government to get on with HS3 - now renamed "Northern Powerhouse Rail". Host Clive Bull gets a briefing from Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson. Listen here or download here.

16th August - Western Mail

Railfuture Wales chairman John Rogers gets a letter printed with the title "Wales must stand firm on rail scheme". He argues for Wales to take control of tracks and trains: "The ultimate plan? As the Western Mail feature recently pointed out, a 100% electrified rail network as part of an integrated public transport system – like Switzerland’s."

16th August - BBC News website

The BBC follows up the story of 16-year-old India Ballancore, who was gifted the £85 cost of a train ticket home by a kind-hearted stranger after she had missed her service, by taking advice from Railfuture:

"The campaign group Rail Future says travellers who find themselves in this situation should ask whoever is on duty at the station to arrange alternative transport. If there are no staff around, you should complain to the train's operator and seek compensation, the group says. It recommends keeping receipts, recording with precise times what happened, and even taking photos of customer information screens."

16th August - talkRADIO

Following on from yesterday's interview about rail fare increases, Railfuture is invited back onto Julia Hartley-Brewer's programme. This time it's the turn of Railfuture chairman Chris Page to discuss some of the issues, including the fairness of subsidising rail passengers (or not). Listen here or download here.

15th August - talkRADIO

July's inflation figures are out, meaning that rail fares will go up by 3.6% in the new year. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed by Julia Hartley-Brewer. Listen here or download here.

15th August - BBC Look East

Chris Burton of East Anglia branch is interviewed on the evening news bulletin about the annual fare increases which will happen in the new year.

11th August - Cambridge News

Chris Grayling has strongly hinted at the possibility of a new station for South Cambridge near Addenbrooke's. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: “We welcome this. The passenger demand for the railway keeps going up and up.”

10th August - Gainsborough Standard

Guest columnist Barry Howard discusses the possibility of improved services at Gainsborough station. Railfuture gets a mention: "NNLCRP (North Notts & Lincs Community Rail Partnership) suggested that the stopping service could be extended to Gainsborough Central as the layover time of over 40 minutes at Retford is unproductive. Railfuture and Travel Watch East Midlands also made the same suggestion with the result that Northern Rail adopted our suggestion."

7th August - BBC Surrey

Railfuture chairman Chris Page appears on the breakfast show to comment on the disruption to services at Waterloo whilst engineering work is carried out. Listen here or download here.

6th August - LBC

Platform lengthening work at Waterloo is expected to cause major disruption. Clive Bull interviews Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson about the reasons behind the work and the likely consequences. Listen here or download here.

2nd August - Rail

Rail magazine reports on Secretary of State Chris Grayling's decision to cancel Midland Main Line, Swansea and Windermere electrification schemes in favour of bi-mode trains. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: "It still leaves us with the unanswered question of how we can get the benefits of electrification in the future. We recognise that the costs of the schemes have spiralled, but the way forward is to address the cause of these cost problems rather than simply abandoning electrification schemes."

27th July - Somerset County Gazette

"A study to find out whether regular train services between Minehead and Taunton are viable would be too expensive to carry out, Somerset County Council has said." reads the article, which features a picture of Severnside branch secretary Nigel Bray. It continues:

"The Railfuture group, an independent organisation campaigning for better rail services, wants the council to get on board with support for a regular scheduled train service running between Minehead and Taunton."

25th July - Cambridge News

South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen is urging constituents to respond to the second phase of the Great Northern timetables consultation for 2018. She is concerned that, whilst there will be an increase in service frequency, journeys will take longer.

Peter Wakefield of East Anglia branch is quoted: "Overall we say the service levels will be much improved and with several extra through destinations available throughout London any user that finds their journey a little longer may find that drawback mitigated by these through services to the new destinations. This is a major once in a generation change and there will be huge benefits for most existing and future users, though of course not every journey can be better in overall timings and some users will inevitably be unhappy."

20th July - Western Mail

Railfuture Wales joined in with the widespread condemnation of the government's decision not to electrify as far as Swansea. Paul Harding is quoted:

"It’s hugely disappointing news for the railway and it highlights the UK Government’s lack of ambition. We were on course for a clearer, greener more efficient railway. This also places a big question on the viability of the Metro and Valley Line Electrification which the Welsh Government has still not provided any concrete plans on."

18th July - Kent and Sussex Courier

The headline reads: "Boost for Uckfield line as Transport Secretary agrees to discuss its electrification". Railfuture chairman Chris Page is quoted: "Diesel trains are less reliable. If one breaks down south of Croydon that is going to have an impact on the whole line and block services to Brighton. Chris Gibb makes that point in the report – it could have a knock-on effect on the southern network – that is one of his arguments."

14th July - talkRADIO

A new report from Which? suggests that customer satisfaction with the railways has not improved over the last ten years. Julia Hartley-Brewer discusses the issues with Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson. Listen here or download here.

11th July - Modern Railways

Railfuture gets a couple of namechecks in this month's edition. On the letters page, Reg Harman writes:

"Over the last three decades there have been a good number of local line and station
re-openings, thanks to railway and local authorities and to campaign groups notably Rallfuture."

An article "Capacity crunch at Chester" talks about the Shotton chord and says: "A local service would also provide a foundation for additional stations on the main line. Railfuture has suggested an hourly all-stations Rhyl-Manchester service via Altrincham calling at new stations at Queensferry Connah's Quay, Bagillt and Greenfield, near Holywell."

7th July - BBC Radio Merseyside

Merseyrail wants to introduce DCO on its trains, but the RMT are in dispute and plan a series of strikes. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed on the breakfast show to discuss the issue. Listen here or download here.

Later the same day he appears on the ITV local news for Yorkshire to discuss the same issue.

6th July - Public Finance

"Expanding the Railways, published by the Campaign for Better Transport and Railfuture, is intended to help local authorities, developers and communities through the complex processes involved." says the article, reporting on Railfuture's latest joint publication. More information here.

3rd July - The National

The Scottish Government wants to pave the way for a public sector bid for ScotRail. Railfuture Scotland has given a cautious welcome to the news, on the grounds that it could improve passenger service. An unnamed spokesperson said: “Railfuture Scotland is primarily concerned with bringing about the best possible deal and services for rail users. We do not therefore have a particular preference as to whether that should be under private or public ownership. However we cautiously welcome this initiative."

11th June - Western Mail

New figures show that Welsh trains have become the most punctual in Britain. "Passengers’ group Railfuture said tens of thousands of passengers were benefiting and urged more rail investment to help Wales prosper" reads the article, going on to quote Railfuture Wales chair Peter Kingsbury:

“Railfuture Wales supports and calls for further significant investment from both Network Rail and the Welsh train operators to provide the people of Wales with a continually improving and more reliable train service, to enable rail to fulfil its potential as a prime driver of the country’s future prosperity.”

26th May - LBC

In the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, there is increased security on the railways with armed police on trains and at stations. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed by Nick Ferrari. Listen here or download here.

21st May - Cambridge News

Cambridge North station has finally opened after first being mooted 30 years ago. East Anglia branch chairman Nick Dibben is quoted: “This is great news for rail passengers as many people living in the north of Cambridge will have better access to the railway without the need to get caught up in traffic getting to the main station.A lot of different groups including local authorities and the rail industry have been involved in making this happen and they deserve our thanks for their efforts. The large cycle storage and regular buses along the busway and around Cambridge mean that people can leave their cars at home. Once the station has settled down we will carry out one of our station audits to see if improvements can be made.”

The paper gives further coverage the next day, highlighting some of the teething problems and further work needed. Railfuture director Jerry Alderson is quoted: "It's cost £50m, but they need to spend a bit more. There are only two canopies over the platforms, which means that when longer trains start being used, there will be no shelter for people getting on and off."

A further article gets more specific, highlighting the shortage of toilets at the station. Jerry Alderson is quoted again: "We don’t feel that’s enough for a station that is going to be so busy. It’s said that about 3,000 people a day will be going through the station, but our estimate is that it could be three times that. We’ll be doing an audit of the station facilities in a few months’ time, and the toilets will certainly need looking at."

11th May - BBC Radio Northampton

Is the full electrification of the Midland main line ever going to happen? Ariadne Tampion, chair of East Midlands branch, appears as the lead item in the news bulletins and is interviewed on the breakfast show. Listen here or download here.

5th May - BBC News website

Cardiff will host the Champions League final on the 3rd June. 21 post-match high speed trains have been added to avoid the problems encountered during the Rugby World Cup in 2015. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted:

"The reputational damage not having the required transport capacity after such a major international sporting event could be huge and extremely detrimental to Wales. We're glad Wales is placing so much emphasis on railway journeys and we hope, for their sake, they have learned from their mistakes as it could counter-productive to attracting more major events in the future."

4th May - BBC Essex

Chris Burton of East Anglia branch is interviewed on the drive time show about possible ticket office closures. Listen here or download here.

He later appears on TV on BBC Look East.

20th April - Cambridge News

Railfuture director Jerry Alderson is critical of the launch of the new Cambridge North station. The newspaper article features many of his comments, including: "It is very disappointing that Greater Anglia has done nothing to promote the new station to the public. There are no posters at Cambridge station, for example. Searching their website for news stories about Cambridge North finds none. By comparison, in 2002, its predecessor Anglia Railways held roadshows along the route of the then new Cambridge to Norwich direct rail service to promote it to passengers."

10th April - talkRADIO

The boss of GTR - the group that includes Southern - has seen his wages almost double. Julia Hartley-Brewer talks to Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson about whether this increase can be justified. Listen here or download here.

22nd March - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Peter Wakefield of East Anglia branch is joined by Dr Colin Harris from Cambridge Connect and Craig Bennet from Friends of the Earth to discuss what they hope the new mayor will to to improve transport in the area. Listen here or download here.

22nd March - Cambridge News

Rail commuters who forget their railcard will be treated slightly more sympathetically in future. Train operators will refund the cost of a journey if a railcard holder forgets their pass and has to buy a full fare ticket, but the refund will only be given once per year.

Railfuture director Jerry Alderson is quoted: "This is good news for passengers. Season ticket holders were already allowed to forget a couple of times a year. Forgetful passengers will still have to pay a full fare but can then claim it back by proving that they had a railcard. It would also be useful if the leniency could be extended to passengers if they have not renewed their railcard in time, especially where the railcard expired after their outward but before their return journey."

16th March - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Network Rail is proposing to close some level crossings in Cambridgeshire. Chris Burton of East Anglia branch appears on the breakfast show to offer his views. Listen here or download here.

15th March - talkRADIO

Chris Grayling is proposing to remove first class carriages from trains in the next South Eastern franchise. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson talks to Julia Hartley-Brewer about this on the national digital station. Listen here or download here.

3rd March - BBC Radio Berkshire

Richard Stow of Thames Valley branch appears on the Breakfast show to talk about cost overruns on the Great Western electrification. Listen here or download here.

2nd March - Cambridge News

"Cambridge's MP and city council leader are campaigning for Peterborough to Stansted train services to stop at the new Cambridge North railway station." reads the article, going on to quote Railfuture director Jerry Alderson:

"Cross Country, which is owned by Arriva, recently signed a franchise extension with the Department for Transport that will last until October 2019. This specifies service patterns and where trains must call. Railfuture believes it is an oversight that Cambridge North was not included. We cannot wait until the December 2019 timetable change for trains to serve the new station. Railfuture is pleased they are open to talks with local stakeholders."

5th February - BBC1

Sunday Politics South East focuses on rail and features Railfuture director Roger Blake on the trackbed of the Lewes Uckfield line.



2nd February - Southern Daily Echo

"WALLET-BUSTING train journeys could be a thing of the past after it was announced rail fares will undergo a massive overhaul." said the paper, going on to quote Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson:

"“We certainly welcome any efforts to simplify the ridiculously complex ticket pricing system in this country. It is a step in the right direction but I think there is a long way to go until we achieve simple and cheap fares like some of our European neighbours. It is certainly helpful that some of these hidden fares will be unearthed and made available to the public, and hopefully there will be some wider savings for commuters. But the proof is in the pudding so we will have to wait and see how this experiment pans out.”

1st February - talkRADIO

An overhaul of the ticket pricing structure is planned, to make cheaper tickets (such as split tickets) automatically available when they are purchased. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed on national digital station talkRADIO. Listen here or download here.

The interview is featured in a story on talkRADIO's website with the headline "Train ticket revamp could actually hurt customers, says Rail Future"

The same topic came up on the breakfast show on BBC WM. Listen here or download here.

31st January - Cambrian News

Railfuture Wales's AGM at the Owain Glyndwr Centre on Saturday, 28 January gets a detailed write up in the community news section.

27th January - Ely Standard

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has agreed to put up £9 million to help fund three projects: Ely North, track doubling and a new station at Soham, and the next stage of the Wisbech to March reopening.

MP Steve Barclay said that Railfuture had challenged the high costs of re instigating the Wisbech to March line.

He said: “Railfuture also appear to agree both with the Secretary of State for Transport and myself that a third party contractor (firms like Skanska) could be commissioned directly to build the railway without the need for Network Rail to do so. It makes sense to look for other firms alongside the option of Network Rail which is already struggling to cover all the work it has agreed to do and is therefore resistant to taking on new work. Railfuture further add that Greater Anglia plan to make the Norwich to Cambridge service a through one to Stansted Airport, and therefore this could free platform 5 all day long for a Wisbech service.”

24th January - South Wales Echo

The latest National Rail Passenger Survey shows that Arriva Trains Wales passengers’ satisfaction with their service has fallen across a number of measures – including ticket-buying facilities and the trains themselves.

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: “I am disappointed there has been no improvement generally. I think there is dissatisfaction across the board. The issues which came up were overcrowding and ticket pricing. The train operating companies have little room for manoeuvre when it comes to rail stock. That is something that is out of Arriva Train Wales’ hands.”

18th January - Bury Free Press

Lakenheath station is one of the least used in the UK, with fewer than 500 passengers using it per year.

The article says: "Rail Future, which is campaigning for better passenger and freight rail services in the UK, if RAF Mildenhall is used for housing when the USAF leave, Lakenheath station could provide valuable park and ride services to Cambridge, just 25 minutes away."

10th January - talkRADIO

With the Southern strike grinding on, and strikes on the Underground and Northerm, Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson talks to Julia Hartley-Brewer to discuss the strikes and the issue of staffing on the railways.
Listen here or download here.

8th January - Cambridge News

Cambridge station passenger numbers have grown to 11 million a year, further boosting the case for a new station, Cambridge North, which opens in May.

Railfuture director "Jerry Alderton" (Alderson) is quoted: "A station in the area was first proposed around 1987, which Railfuture supported and included it its 1990s proposal for a cross-city rail link including the St Ives railway line. Clearly 30 years is far too long to wait for any station. The main benefit it will bring is that people will not have to travel through Cambridge to access the railway."

He goes on to criticise the minimal facilities planned for the new station.

6th January - Independent

Passengers wanting to buy season tickets online might not be getting the best possible deal. The article reads: "The official Season Ticket Calculator tool on the National Rail Enquiries website only compares the average price per journey on an annual pass compared to a weekly ticket, ignoring other options that may be more suitable for passengers."

Railfuture vice president Barry Doe is quoted as saying: “When it comes to seasons people ought to be told clearly of the week, month, annual differences and ratios and the advantages of annuals.”

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted too: “We're concerned that this looks like another example of passengers being directed towards the most expensive option rather than the one which is best for them,”

3rd January - Cambridge News

The paper's coverage of the fares protests includes quotes from Railfuture director Jerry Alderson. Amongst other things, he says: "Few would consider peak-time rail travel on weekdays to be value for money, although the time-saving into cities at that time is highest. However, off-peak journeys can be good value depending on where you are travelling, and can still be cheaper than two or more people in a car."

3rd January - BBC Radio York

Railfuture director Chris Hyomes is interviewed on the morning show about rail fares in the light of the protests happening around the country. Listen here or download here.

3rd January - BBC Radio Five Live

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on Five Live on the Morning Reports programme and in news bulletins, commenting on the day's rail fare protests. The interview is used on BBC local radio and even gets a mention on Riviera Radio in the south of France. Listen here or download here.

The rail fare protests give a second bite of the cherry to our press release, with Railfuture again quoted in the Daily Mail, Guardian, Scotsman, London Evening Standard, Herald, BT.com, Huffington Post, BBC News and many other newspapers and websites.

2nd January - Fare rises

Our press release on annual fare rises is picked up by many news outlets including the Mirror, Telegraph, BBC website, Daily Mail, Sun, Metro, South Wales Echo, Yorkshire Post, Bristol Post, Birmingham Mail, Plymouth Herald, and many more news outlets.

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on Sky News and talkRADIO - listen here or download here.

The itv.com website said:

Bruce Williamson, of independent campaign group Railfuture, said: "With the chaos on Southern, lacklustre performance in Scotland and stalled electrification on the Great Western main line, passengers are going to wonder what they are getting for their increased ticket price.

"Our walk-on rail fares are already the most eye-watering in Europe, and with fuel duty frozen for motorists for the fifth year on the trot, it can't be denied that people are being priced off the railways."



Click HERE for previous examples of Railfuture in the media.

Media - For more information please contact:
Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954
Mobile: 07759 557389
Email: media at railfuture.org.uk

Apply to join Railfuture now - click HERE.



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