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Borders Railway failings

Author: Jerry Alderson (Source: David Spaven) - Published At: Fri 23 of Sep, 2016 19:15 BST - (6181 Reads)
Scotland
Railfuture had campaigned for decades for the Borders Railway (or at least part of it) to be rebuilt. It was not alone. The reopening was a popular campaign, supported by many, including David Spaven who is a consultant and writer on railways. Very welcome as the half-hourly service is, there have been foreseeable problems with the service and Mr Spaven described these in an article published in The Scotsman on 5 September 2016. All photos by Jerry Alderson.

On-train ticket sales

Author: Jerry Alderson (Research by Phil Smart) - Published At: Thu 22 of Sep, 2016 17:08 BST - (4440 Reads)
Passengers
Where there is no ticket machine or station staff selling tickets passengers should be able to buy any ticket or group of tickets they require from on-board staff. Railfuture believes it is unacceptable for a passenger to regularly have to queue up at their destination to buy a ticket a ticket, yet it happens all too often. Photo: Phil Smart

D-Train is coming

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Wed 21 of Sep, 2016 18:52 BST - (4279 Reads)
Railfuture has campaigned for decades for a bigger and better railway so that more people are encouraged to use it. Although rail patronage has doubled in the last 20 years the amount of rail infrastructure and the number of carriages has not. This has inevitably led to higher levels of overcrowding that must be solved. The D-Train is one small part of the solution.

North Sea Coast service

Author: Chris Page - Published At: Tue 20 of Sep, 2016 12:26 BST - (4023 Reads)
Passengers
Could local trains soon be running over the Royal Borders Bridge? On 12th September 2016 SENRUG, the Railfuture-affiliated group that campaigns for better rail services in South East Northumberland, unveiled its new campaign for a local rail service running north of Morpeth, every hour of the day. Photo Clive Nicholson / Steve Miller adapted.

Edinburgh's new Gateway

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Thu 15 of Sep, 2016 20:53 BST - (7064 Reads)
Scotland
Railfuture has spent decades campaigning for new railway stations to open and for closed ones to reopen. If proof were needed that Railfuture is effective, more than 400 stations have (re)opened in that time. Of course, it’s also important that the stations are ‘up to scratch’. Edinburgh Gateway Interchange station will open in December 2016 and a video (screenshot from it) shows what to expect.

Eurostar's new trains

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Thu 01 of Sep, 2016 20:53 BST - (10640 Reads)
Passengers
Since November 2015 Eurostar has been operating its new 320km/h 'e320' trains (left), initially only on the London-Paris route before being rolled out onto the Brussels service as well. They were purchased to allow Eurostar to operate new services including to Amsterdam. Passengers should notice an improvement in the on-board experience compared to the old Class 373 TMST (“transmanche super train”) trains (right) dating back to 1994.

Carlisle sets example

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Wed 31 of Aug, 2016 18:14 BST - (5089 Reads)
Passengers
Rail users may feel that London gets the majority of the investment and other parts of Britain are poorly served but some of the most passenger-focused stations are far from London. Carlisle station, on the West Coast Main Line, sets an example that other parts of the country should follow, particularly when it comes to providing adequate seating (including cushioned seats on platforms – a rare sight) and canopies to the end of a platform.

Day Ranger day out

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Wed 27 of Jul, 2016 20:54 BST - (5379 Reads)
Passengers
The vast majority of rail tickets sold in Britain are singles, returns and seasons. Few passengers are aware of ranger (single day) and rover (multiple days, either contiguous or X out of Y days) tickets that allow unlimited travel within a geographic area, or the entire British network in the case of the All-Line Rover. They can be good value for money and are often an ideal way to get to know a region. Felixstowe is one of five East Anglian seaside towns that can be visited with an Anglia Plus Day Ranger. The others are Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Cromer and Sheringham. This view of Felixstowe seafront is just ten minutes’ walk from the platform at Felixstowe station.

Southern comfort

Author: Roger Blake - Published At: Sun 24 of Jul, 2016 20:54 BST - (4284 Reads)
Passengers
A capacity boost was provided for hard-pressed Southern commuters on 25 July 2016 when the first 10-car train ran on the Uckfield line. Network Rail has been performing a series of enhancemrnts on the route including platform extensions. Edenbridge Town, for example, has an extended platform, new passenger shelters and customer information screens (photo above by Roger Blake).

Danish tram revival

Author: Jerry Alderson (info from Erland Ekefors) - Published At: Wed 20 of Jul, 2016 16:41 BST - (4757 Reads)
Light Rail
Thanks to a tramway building spree that has ended, Britain now has seven tram systems, all of which have substantial populations (apart from Blackpool – the only one that had never closed). Whilst extensions are being planned there are no new ones. In Denmark, where all of its tram system had closed (the last was Copenhagen, in 1972), it is now building it first new one, in Aarhus (tram vehicle and new tram bridge pictured – photos by Erland Egefors) for a population far smaller than the new systems in Britain. Is there a lesson here?

Brexit and Railfreight

Author: Peter Wakefield - Published At: Tue 19 of Jul, 2016 16:17 BST - (3722 Reads)
Railfuture’s Freight Group head, Peter Wakefield, looks at the possible impact on the fragile and volatile railfreight market following the decision on 23 June 2016 by 51.9% of those who voted (37.4% of the electorate) in the UK’s referendum to choose ‘Brexit’.


Letter to Chris Grayling

Author: Chris Page - Published At: Mon 18 of Jul, 2016 09:58 BST - (6079 Reads)
Lobbying
Railfuture has written an open letter to Chris Grayling, the new Secretary of State for Transport, welcoming him to his new role with our top ten recommendations for the future of rail.

Go and Compare Berlin

Author: Ian Brown - Published At: Wed 06 of Jul, 2016 11:56 BST - (7428 Reads)
International
Railfuture’s Director of Policy, Ian Brown CBE was invited to visit Berlin for a few days in June, travelling out on the day of the Brexit referendum announcement. His first visit to Berlin saw the Berlin Wall come down, this visit ironically saw the barriers begin to rise. He took the opportunity to have a good look at the transport system, take photographs of good practice and compare the system with London.
Photo: Berlin's new Hauptbahnhof, a practical symbol of Germany's modern railway.

Brexit rail economics

Author: Chris Page - Published At: Fri 01 of Jul, 2016 17:31 BST - (6214 Reads)
Miscellany
This is where we find out what membership of the EU was really worth – at least to Britain’s railways and rail users. Passenger numbers may fall, fares may increase, rail development projects may be cancelled or delayed and old trains may not be replaced. Already, the announcement of the winner of the Greater Anglia franchise has been delayed.

These are only the known unknowns. The law of unintended consequences applies to the Brexit decision, and the unknown unknowns will only become apparent as events unfold.

Train staff duties

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Mon 27 of Jun, 2016 19:13 BST - (13813 Reads)
Passengers

In 2016 there have been a series of strikes on Govia Thameslink Railway (which uses the Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Southern brands) because of a dispute about how on-board staff can be best utilised – see BBC tweet above. ScotRail trains have also been disrupted and, unless a network-wide agreement is reached or their franchise with the government is amended, Northern services will be in the future as well. Passengers are unclear why the disputes have arisen and what the issues are.

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