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Cuttings

David Harby's Cuttings

Activists Briefing

Issue 45 – 28th May 2009


IN THE NEWS

Last March's story about Eurostar ticket problems was picked up by the Paisley Express:
http://www.paisleydailyexpress.co.uk/renfrewshire-news/local-news-in-renfrewshire/paisley-news/2009/04/27/looking-for-paris-how-about-paisley-instead-87085-23476447/

Railfuture media spokesman, Bruce Williamson, was quoted in an article in the Times of 6th May about the increase in some Advance Purchase fares: “If the Government is serious about a green agenda then it has to make rail travel more affordable.”
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/transport/article6237516.ece

Bruce has had a lot of queries on the rumours of financial difficulties with National Express East Coast franchise but they have not resulted in any story being published. Five Live asked Bruce to do an interview on their breakfast programme one morning but didn't use him in the end.

In the Times on 21st May Bruce was quoted as follows in an article about First Great Western abolishing cheap First Class upgrades at weekends.

Bruce Williamson, spokesman for Railfuture, which lobbies on behalf of passengers, said: “First Great Western have shot themselves in the foot by pricing people out of first class at weekends. The train companies have a moral duty to maximise the use of these carriages, which were paid for partly by the taxpayer.

“It makes no sense to have packed standard class carriages but empty first class ones.”

Mr Williamson said that passengers could expect more hidden extra costs as train companies sought to protect their profits in the recession.

“As well as raising basic fares, the companies are trying to squeeze more money out of people in other ways. The Government should be encouraging more people to travel by train and cheap weekend first upgrades are a good tool to attract passengers.”
Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6336269.ece

And in the Times of 27th May Bruce was quoted as follows in a story about more trains running on time. “It’s a step in the right direction but a lot more needs to be done,” said Bruce Williamson, a spokesman for the action group Railfuture. “We continue to lag behind Europe in terms of both cost of tickets and punctuality because of the ongoing lack of investment in rail.”
Source: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/transport/article6365839.ece

Quite a few letters from Railfuture members have recently been published in Local Transport Today. Among these were a letter from Norman Bradbury giving a detailed rebuttal of anti rail claims made in a previous letter by Paul Withrington and letters on policy issues from Railfuture chairman, Mike Crowhurst.

NEWS FROM RAILFUTURE BRANCHES AND COMMITTEES

On 6th May a delegation from Railfuture had a 40-minute meeting with DfT Minister Lord Andrew Adonis. Topics covered included fares and ticketing, capacity and overcrowding, rolling stock issues, train design issues, funding and finance, NATA refresh issues, light rail and cost cutting and the recession. Lord Adonis appeared throughout to be attentive and receptive to many of our points. There had been insufficient time to discuss all the points we wished to raise so a number of papers were left with him for future consideration.

For an electronic copy of the latest Railfuture Yorkshire Newsletter please email briefingeditor at railfuture.org.uk.

Railfuture East Midlands are celebrating the start of the full Corby to London service on Monday 27th April. After a special ceremony at Corby Station Railfuture East Midlands member and former national membership secretary, Elisabeth Jordan, took advantage of the offer of a free ticket on the special train to St Pancras. It is just about 25 years since we ran our first chartered train in our campaign for the re-opening of the route.

At the East Midlands branch 2009 AGM held at Ratcliffe on Soar church on 4th April David Shaw was elected as vice chairman to replace Graham Nalty who decided to stand down, although Graham remains on the committee. The chairman Terry Holt, secretary Roger Bacon and treasurer Chris Precey were all re-elected for 2009/10.

The following meeting dates are confirmed for the freight committee. 25th July 2009 Peterborough, 18th September 2009 Tees Dock site visit (invitation required) 14th November 2009 Sheffield.

Paul Whitelam from Lincolnshire Echo interviewed Railfuture Lincolnshire chairman, David Harby, for a story about the increase in APEX fares. David also did two BBC Radio Lincolnshire interviews. One about East Midlands Trains drivers not volunteering for Sunday rosters and the other about the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee report on rail fares (see below for more on this report). The discussion about EMT drivers was especially delicate given the subject. David concentrated on the uncertainty passengers are suffering not knowing if their train will run on Sundays and avoided commenting on the rights and wrongs of the dispute itself.

AGM UPDATE

After a lively discussion four policy motions were passed overwhelmingly at the AGM. In brief the motions covered the following topics:

Rolling stock design - a call for ideally 50% of seating to be provided in facing bays grouped together to facilitate family groups and tourists travelling together; for every seat to be provided with an unobstructed view through a window in all new and refurbished trains, and for the tables in airline style seating to be large enough for a laptop.

Refund Policy during "bustitution" - this urged ATOC member companies to explore all alternatives to bus substitution, including diversionary routes, and to offer part refunds to cover sections of journeys where buses or coaches were substituted for rail travel.

Christmas and New Year holiday trains – a motion calling for the reinstatement of rail services over the Christmas, and in Scotland New Year, holiday.

Cost cutting by Train Operators – a motion regretting recent measures which could discourage rail travel in favour of road or air alternatives, such as: ticket office opening hours, reductions in out-of-town railhead access to Inter City services (such as at Watford Junction and Stockport) and reductions in restaurant car services, whilst both fares and parking charges, even on Sundays, continue to rise.

RDS LTD ELECTION RESULTS FOR 2009

There was only one nomination for chairman so Mike Crowhurst was returned without a vote. For the board 438 voting forms were received with 4 being declared void. Votes cast were as follows:

To serve for 3 years
Clara Zilahi 338 votes
Colin Elliffe 315 votes
Roger Blake 313 votes

To serve for 1 year
Ian McDonald 306 votes
H Trevor Jones 297 votes

Not elected
Rowland Pittard 236 votes
David Redgewell 102 votes

CONFERENCE UPDATE

A reminder that the final date for receipt of bookings for the Northallerton conference is 15th June. If you intend to take advantage of the discounted Grand Central travel offer your conference booking will need to arrive sooner than this as you need to have your confirmation of booking with you when you book and travel on the Grand Central service.

The autumn conference is being held in Corby on 14th November. Corby was chosen as an appropriate venue following the reopening of the station a few weeks ago. Speakers are currently being booked in advance of a flyer and booking form to be despatched with the next Railwatch.

EURO ELECTIONS

The Railfuture Policy, Lobbying and Campaigns committee has asked me to suggest that after the Euro elections branches and activists contact/get-to-know their new MEP(s) and specifically make two points. First MEPs should keep up pressure on the Commission to end tax exemption on aviation fuel. (we believe this has wide support, but will no doubt be fought by industry on the grounds that traffic is falling – not before time many may say!). Second the Parliament should dissuade the Commission from pressurising member states to allow larger lorries.

NEW EDITION OF A-Z OF RAIL REOPENINGS

Progress is being made with the new A-Z and it is hoped we will be publishing it this coming autumn. In the absence of a Sales Officer the sales operation will however be less than ideal. We have a volunteer to deal with sales to individuals but he has additional Railfuture responsibilities so does not have any spare time to take on the full Sales Officer role. We are still looking for someone to look after bulk sales to bookshops etc. If you think you could do this (or even better would consider taking on the Sales Officer role) or would like more details of what is involved please contact David Harby briefingeditor at railfuture.org.uk.

COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS REPORT: LETTING RAIL FRANCHISES 2005-07

The Committee's 21st Report, Session 2008-09, was published on 19TH May 2009. The report found that since 2005 the Department for Transport has protected taxpayers' interests when letting of rail franchises. It has been less good in considering damaging side effects for passengers. Specifically mentioned is a failure to measure the impact of rising car parking charges, complex fare structures and overcrowding.

Among other comments Edward Leigh MP, Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, said: "It is unacceptable that you have to have access to the Internet to get the cheapest fares. Those without such access, without time to search or who travel at short notice are stuck with paying through the nose. Fare structures should be easy to understand and the cheapest fare for a journey should be publicised and readily available at station ticket offices.

The report can be downloaded from http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmpubacc.htm

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT NEWS

The diary of Lord Andrew Adonis's much publicised rail tour during the Easter Holidays was published in full in Today's Railways UK issue 90. For anyone who has not seen this or heard enough on the radio you can read the diary in full at http://www.dft.gov.uk/press/speechesstatements/speeches/railtourdiary

ORR NEWS

The latest Signals passed at danger (SPAD) report Q1 2009 was published on 30th April. See
http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1170

PASSENGER FOCUS NEWS

The various editions of Passenger Voice Winter 2009 stakeholder bulletin are available on the Passenger Focus website at www.passengerfocus.org.uk. Also on the Passenger Focus website is a new section which highlights Passenger Focus’s bus and coach work: http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/what-we-are-doing/bus-and-coach/ and a video which explains Passenger Focus’s role online http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/about-us/our-role-and-history.asp#a01

On 30th April, in advance of another period of bank holiday of disruption on the national rail network, Passenger Focus issued a press release calling on train companies to use rail replacement services as a last resort. PF also said that passengers should not be charged more for using longer alternative rail routes instead of the rail replacement bus services
Source: http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2704

NETWORK RAIL NEWS

If you are interested in becoming a Public Member of Network Rail, the recruitment campaign for 2009 began on Sunday 10 May and will close on Friday 12 June. Further information regarding the role of, and information needed for applying to become a Public Member can be found at: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/721.aspx

Network rail have released their draft electrification strategy as part of the Network RUS. It has been issued as a 60-day consultation document. Ian McDonald will be leading the Railfuture response. All comments to him at ianfsmcdonald at blueyonder.co.uk

The consultation document can be found at
http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/rus%20documents/route%20utilisation%20strategies/network/working%2group%204%20–%20electrification%20strategy/network%20rus%20electrification.pdf
Or read a summary at railnews http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/business/2009/05/18-nr-electrification-programe.html

The full May 2009 - December 2009 National Rail Timetable can be found at.
http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/3828.aspx

SNIPPETS

In a Report and Position Paper on the Development of Tidal Energy in the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel the Liberal Democrat Severn Tidal Forum say that:
“The Shoots Barrage offers the potential for a high speed rail link to relieve the ageing Severn Tunnel and to permit the electrification of the London – South Wales mainline. Combined with an investigation into the potential for a series of slim-line wind turbines to be located along the barrage to boost power generation, we believe this will make the most effective use of the barrage, helping to reduce our carbon emissions from transport as well as increasing the renewable energy capacity of this area.”

The full report can be found at http://welshlibdems.org.uk/documents/files/A%20Tidal%20Solution%20-%20The%20Way%20Forward.pdf


Activists Briefing

Issue 44 – 17th April 2009


IN THE NEWS

Paris? Do you mean Paisley?. Readers will no doubt recall the item in the latest edition of Railwatch giving some details of the Railfuture International committee investigation into the difficulties passengers face when they try to book rail tickets to mainland Europe. This has been followed up with a press release.

Railfuture chairman, Mike Crowhurst, has a letter in Local Transport Today this week responding to various previous items about intermodal policy issues. Mike was also quoted in a RAIL article about high-speed rail.

In a Times article by Ben Webster on 30th March which said that the Government had quietly cancelled plans for more than 300 additional carriages Railfuture media spokesman, Bruce Wiiliamson, was quoted as follows:

“It is ludicrous for the Government to cut back on what it promised. Rail carriages are a long-term investment and it would be shortsighted to argue that the current reduction in the rate of passenger growth means these carriages are not needed. By the time these trains are delivered, the recession will probably be over and high rates of growth will have resumed.”
Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5997781.ece

On 16th March Bruce was telephoned from John Ingham of the Daily Express who was doing a story about trainspotters being banned from National Express-run stations. Bruce gave him a quote and pointed him to a petition on the 10 Downing St website: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/railenthusiasts/. In the article on 17th March Bruce was quoted as saying, “Of all leisure activities, train spotting has to be one of the most harmless.” Here's the story
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/89672/Train-spotters-banned-from-platforms

Railfuture were asked by More4 news to provide a spokesman for an interview about National Express East Coast withdrawing restaurant provision. Norman Bradbury spent almost an hour doing an interview with them at Kings Cross station. When the item was transmitted on 20th March less than a minute of the interview was used and even this was taken out of context!

NEWS FROM RAILFUTURE BRANCHES AND COMMITTEES

Readers may recall the item in Briefing 42 about the campaign to get Northern Rail to staff Wakefield Kirkgate station. On 3rd April after a woman had been attacked on the station BBC Look North interviewed Railfuture Yorkshire chairman, Chris Hyomes, on the station. Chris told them it was time staff were reintroduced to the station.

Railfuture North West chairman, Brian Grey, was quoted in a RAIL magazine article about the Merseyside RUS

Some Railfuture Yorkshire members are planning to join campaigners from Campaign for Better Transport to greet Lord Adonis when he reaches the end of his 5-day national rail tour on Saturday 18th April. Lord Adonis has a diary of his trip on the DfT website at http://www.dft.gov.uk/press/speechesstatements/speeches/railtourdiary. His comments about his ticket, a 7-day “all line rail rover”, indicate he may know more about our railways than most of his departmental mandarins. “This is a ticket no-one I meet has ever heard of, perhaps because it is so poorly advertised (alongside the 14 day rover at £565). It prompts the thought that we should be marketing these tickets more widely, not least to young people (who can buy the 7 day ticket for just £245) so that they can get to know their own country in the same way that they and their predecessors (me included) got to know Europe by inter-railing for a summer holiday.”

There were some committee changes at the Railfuture Lincolnshire AGM. David Harby was elected chairman and Philip Mason was unopposed as vice chairman to replace David.

After their meeting on 4th April the Railfuture Freight committee had a dinner to celebrate the committees 30th anniversary.

Railfuture Wessex branch has a stand at the Eastleigh 100 (centenary) event over the second May holiday weekend 23-25 May 2009. Further information and offers of help to branch chairman John Friedberger.

AGM UPDATE

A guest speaker at the AGM will be David Mallender, PR and Stakeholder Manager for First Transpennine. Subject to final confirmation the other guest speaker will be Steve Butcher from Northern Rail.

The first deadline for returning papers for the AGM is not far away so here is a reminder of the final dates:
Motions for discussion at the AGM must reach the Chairman by Saturday 25th April.
Voting papers must be returned no later than 1st post on Thursday April 30th.
If you wish to book a buffet lunch your booking form and payment must be received by Friday 1st May.
Proxy voting forms must be received by 13.30 on Thursday 7th May.

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT NEWS

DfT are consulting on the Government's plans to amend the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (RVAR) to take account of changes to legislation and the experience of passengers and operators since RVAR came into force. This includes setting an end date by which time metro and light rail vehicles must be accessible and proposals on technical changes; older vehicle refurbishment; compliance certification; exemptions; and enforcement issues. Closing date 3rd July 2009. See #http://www.dft.gov.uk/results?view=Filter&h=m&m=4552&pg=1

A suite of documents consists of seven reports produced in the development of the Government’s policy on new lines for the 2007 rail white paper have now been placed on the DfT website http://www.dft.gov.uk/results?view=Filter&h=m&m=4552&pg=1

An update to the TSGB 2008 Chapter 3: Energy and the environment is available. This includes tables for CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.
http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/energyenvironment/tsgbchapter3energyenvi1862.xls

Some new UK Transport and Climate Change data - Factsheets were published on 26th March 2009.
http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/energyenvironment/climatechangefactsheets.pdf

An updated list of email contacts for rail enquiries was published on 23rd March 2009.
http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/emailcontacts

A report on the consultation run between 3 March and 23 May 2008 on the proposed revision of the 2002 Strategic Rail Authority document “Train and Station Design for Disabled Passengers: A Code of Practice". was published on 16th March 2009
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/closed/cop/consultationreport.pdf

ORR NEWS

On 19th March National Rail Trends Chapter 3: Freight was published covering Freight moved and lifted up to and including Q3 2008-09

On 3rd April ORR issued a press release telling everyone they must observe level crossing rules, or face the consequences. This followed a case at South Lakeland Magistrates Court in Kendal on 23 March 2009 when the driver of a van was fined £650, banned from driving for 30 days and ordered to pay £60 costs. The van, which was towing another vehicle, approached the crossing but the driver ignored the warning lights and narrowly missed an oncoming train in an incident at Wraysholme level crossing, Cumbria in December 2008. Source http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9621

On 7th April ORR issued a press release welcoming the publication by the Competition Commission of its final report at the end of its rolling stock leasing market investigation and urged the Department for Transport to seriously consider the CC's recommendations. “A more competitive rolling stock market will bring about benefits for both passengers and the funders of the railway.”

National Rail Trends Chapter 2: Rail performance was published on 9th April. This covers public performance measure, complaints, passengers in excess of capacity, and National Rail Enquiry Service up to and including Q2 2008-09

PASSENGER FOCUS NEWS

On 27th March Passenger Focus issued a press release criticising the rail industry for forcing many passengers onto bus replacement services over Easter rather than promote alternative rail routes. They argue that passengers should be able to travel on the most convenient rail route without penalty and train companies should offer compensation to passengers that have no choice but to travel by bus. They gave as an example London to Manchester on Easter Saturday morning where, because of engineering works, the quickest route is via Doncaster. Because of rail industry rules on permitted routes, instead of £66 return, this will cost almost £90 return. This was picked up by some of the national media.
Source. http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2582

In his presentation to the Railway Community Safety Forum 2009 Passenger Focus chief executive, Anthony Smith, presented Passenger Focus’s latest document ‘Passenger perceptions of personal security on the railways, which explores the idea of reducing crime on Britain’s railways. The report notes that passenger satisfaction with security has increased over recent years but highlighted the importance of staff at stations. Source and link to the presentation http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2573

On 17th March Passenger Focus arch into published their research into employers' business travel needs from rail. This revealed there is potential for the industry to attract greater numbers of business travellers onto the train and improve use of off-peak services. See http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2565 for the research

NETWORK RAIL NEWS

The Merseyside RUS was launched on 27th March. Passenger numbers are predicted to rise by 40% by 2020. The RUS sets out the rail industry’s preferred plan to meet this demand. Principal recommendations centre on longer trains to provide more seats for passengers, and improving links on key routes into Liverpool from Chester, North Wales, Southport, Ormskirk, Preston and Wigan. A copy of the Merseyside RUS can be found on the Network Rail website at http://www.networkrail.co.uk
Source: http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/Content/Detail.asp?ReleaseID=4232&NewsAreaID=2&SearchCategoryID=5

There were more than 5,000 recorded incidents of railway crime involving young people last year so on 6th April Network Rail launched its annual No Messin’ campaign to reduce railway crime and promote positive activities for young people. Boxing champion Amir Khan fronts the campaign. See http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/Content/Detail.asp?ReleaseID=4274&NewsAreaID=2&SearchCategoryID=2

SNIPPETS

A new file of "Station Usage" figures from Delta Rail has been published by the ORR - two months earlier than expected.
The latest file covers the financial year from April 2007 to March 2008 so still shows strong growth at most stations. See http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk for a download.

The Mid Anglia Rail Passenger's Associaton's AGM. is on the 25th of April in Bury St. Edmunds Central Library, in Sergeant's Walk at 2.30p.m.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) have produced a DVD about their role and work. This can be viewed at http://www.raib.gov.uk/about_us/raib_dvd.cfm

At a meeting, instigated by Wansbeck MP Denis Murphy, Railfuture member and Chairman of local rail user group SENRUG was invited to meet Transport Minister Geoff Hoon on Thursday 26th March, to discuss SENRUG's campaign to re-open the Ashington Blyth & Tyne railway line. Also at the reception was Jeff Reid, leader of the new Northumberland unitary council, and senior representatives from Association of North East Councils, One North East, North East Assembly, Wansbeck District Council and Northern Rail. At the Woodhorn reception, SENRUG Chairman Dennis Fancett gave a 10 minute illustrated presentation to Mr Hoon on the case for re-opening the line. Wansbeck Council officer Susan Smith also gave a shorter 5 minute presentation on the Wansbeck area.

The visit had a write up in two local newspapers.
http://www.newspostleader.co.uk/latest/Hoon-views-Ashington-Blyth-and.5117342.jp http://bedlington.journallive.co.uk/2009/03/minister-lukewarm-on-bedlingto.html#more
View these short videos of the campaign:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/politics_show/regions/north_east_and_cumbria/7444010.stm http://www.newspostleader.co.uk/audio-video/First-passenger-train-for-over.4165849.jp

Next year's EPF Conference and AGM will be on Saturday March 20th 2010 in Malmö, Sweden.

Activists Briefing

Issue 43 – 18th March 2009


IN THE NEWS

On 19th February Railfuture media spokesman, Bruce Williamson, appeared on the Nicky Campbell phone-in on BBC Radio FIve Live putting the case for rail investment. Bruce has an mp3 recording available. Keith Dyall then appeared on BBC news 24 at 20.15 approx.

The Telegraph on 23rd February covered the opening of Corby station. Bruce commented on the lack of rolling stock.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/4787477/The-17million-train-station-with-only-one-service-a-day.html

The Times on 7th March carried an article on buffet cars including a quote from Bruce, available at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/news/article5860568.ece
This was written by Ben Webster, who previously had swallowed Cambridgeshire's guided busway propaganda whole:
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/transport/article5586560.ece

NEWS FROM RAILFUTURE BRANCHES AND COMMITTEES

After ORR announced their final decision on ECML paths Radio Lincolnshire rang Railfuture Lincs vice chairman, David Harby, for an interview. He was out walking a 3-year-old girl plus scooter and a boisterous young spaniel so the interview was not done in the most desirable of circumstances. David told them that Railfuture were pleased to see the paths awarded but were still somewhat cautious until we know how the conflicts with EMT services had been resolved.

Following reports that East Midlands Trains may close Lincoln station Travel Centre Railfuture Lincs chairman, Alan Waddington, was reported in the Lincolnshire Echo as saying that any move to close the Travel Centre was "as bad as closing the tourist information centres"."I think tourism is as important to Lincolnshire, if not more so, than agriculture, and often people need information face-to- face," he said.

Radio Lincolnshire then telephoned Railfuture Vice chairman, David Harby, for an interview. David said that closures and cutbacks were not unexpected as Stagecoach had done he same with South West Trains last year. He was especially concerned at the possibility that there would not be enough staff in the booking office to ensure that a long queue of passengers trying to buy tickets for a train leaving in a few minutes did not build up whilst a tourist with poor command of English was dealt with. Long queues whilst foreign tourists have ticket options explained to them is something that often happens now in the Travel Centre.

On 5th March Railfuture London & South East Chairman, Keith Dyall, had a telephone interview with the London Paper (An evening freebie) about the fact that trains are in chaos due to there having been a bit of frost. Keith said that disruption in those circumstances was to say the least is disappointing.

The speaker prior to the Railfuture Scotland AGM on March 21st will be Robert Samson of Passenger Focus.

The “Yorkshire Rail Campaigner” from the Railfuture Yorkshire takes the form of an expertly produced, 4-page brochure, devoid of jargon, that can be handed out to decision-makers and the general public. The lead article summarises the Branch response to the Yorks & Humberside RUS and stresses that only rail, with its independent routes direct to city centres such as Leeds, can meet the challenge of a growing demand for commuting on already-congested corridors. Mentioned on page 2 is the group’s successful visit to Neville Hill Train Care Depot, and on page 3 the Chairman expresses his opinion that the widened remit for Passenger Focus, as it takes on bus and tram issues, leaves Railfuture as “the one true voice of the rail passenger”. Electronic copies of the newsletter can be obtained from briefingeditor at railfuture.org.uk.

AGM AND CONFERENCE NEWS

All members should by now have received their booking forms for the AGM together with the annual reports from committees, candidate’s profiles and voting papers. The Report and Financial Statements booklet is currently being printed and will be despatched around the end of March. With these will be proxy voting forms for the AGM and a booking form for the conference in Northallerton on 4th July 2009. Railfuture has negotiated a 34% discount to travel to/from the conference on Grand Central train services. This offer comes with some special terms and conditions that will be on the offer leaflet.

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT NEWS

DfT is conducting a consultation on the transposition of Directive 2008/57/EC on the interoperability of the rail system. The Government is required to transpose the new Directive's provisions into UK implementing measures by 19 July 2010. This is a UK-wide public consultation covering England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the British half of the Channel Tunnel system. The consultation document sets out the Government’s policy proposals for implementing Directive 2008/57/EC (“the new Directive”) on the interoperability of the rail system within the European Community (published on 18 July 2008). Closing date for the consultation is 29th May 2009.

Details of the consultation together with impact assessment etc can be found on the DfT website http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/interoperability/

On 26th February 2009 DfT published a report summarising people's attitudes to climate change in relation to transport. It is based on a survey module included in the Office for National Statistics' Omnibus Survey in August 2006, April 2007, August 2007, February 2008 and August 2008. The report covers:
 levels of concern about the environment and climate change;
 knowledge about the causes of climate change, including the contribution of transport;
 knowledge about the consequences of climate change and views on the potential for behavioural change to reduce the impacts;
 levels of support for a range of policy options to reduce transport emissions and the extent to which concern about climate change has the potential to influence travel behaviour.

A set of factsheets on UK Transport and Climate Change data will be published by Transport Statistics by the end of March 2009. These will provide a useful guide to the sources of UK climate change data available on transport. TSGB table 3.7 relating to carbon dioxide emissions from UK transport will also be updated.

Source http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/trsnstatsatt/climatechngeandtranport1
This webpage also provides links to related documents, pages and Internet links.

Thameslink Train Control Specification was published on 23rd February 2009. It is the specification for the train control systems required to deliver the key outputs for the Thameslink Programme. See http://www.dft.gov.uk/results?view=Filter&w=What%27s+new&df=15%2F02%2F09&dt=15%2F03%2F09&pg=5

DfT are consulting on a European Commission proposal for a European rail network for competitive freight. Closing date for responses is 2nd April 2009. Source: #http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/competitivefreight/

ORR NEWS

ORR announced the final decision on ECML paths on 27th February. NXEC have got permission to run the Lincoln services as set out in their franchise. DfT have told ORR that it will facilitate the resolution of specific conflicts if that is necessary to enable the operation of “core” SLC2 services. Decision letter is at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/ecml-finaldec_270209.pdf. All the response letters since the ORR draft decision last month are worth a read. In their letter DfT have an appendix explaining how the EMT conflicts can be resolved. http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9242

A new file of "Station Usage" figures from Delta Rail was published by the ORR last week - two months earlier than expected. The latest file covers the financial year from April 2007 to March 2008 so should still shows strong growth at most stations. See http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk for a download.

Chapters 1, 8 and 9 of National Rail Trends were updated on 19th February 2009. These can be found at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.2026.
Chapter 1: Rail usage - Passenger kilometres, journeys and revenue up to and including Q3 2008-09
Chapter 8: Train operating companies - Train operating companies (TOCs) data including Public Performance measure, National passenger survey results and complaints data
Chapter 9: Sustainable development - GB passenger and freight train operator traction energy consumption and CO2 emission.

The National rail review and Network Rail monitor covering the third quarter of 2008-09 (broadly October to December 2008) were published on 25th February 2009.

Train punctuality continues to improve (the public performance measure (PPM) at the end of Q3 was 90.8% and delay minutes are 11.6% lower than at the same point last year), passenger satisfaction are at their highest levels and levels of complaints continue to decline. The growth in passenger numbers is slowing along with a small reduction in the number of passenger journeys. Rail freight is taking the brunt of the recession.

Much of the increase in signalling system and telecoms failures is due to the post-commissioning system problems at the West of Scotland signalling centre at Glasgow Central.

National rail review is available at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/390.pdf
Network Rail monitor is available at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/391.pdf
Source ORR website http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9444

The ORR, the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission held a joint seminar on 30th January 2009 to bring together stakeholders to participate in discussions and provide contributions to the review. The report of the seminar together with the relevant links can be accessed from the ORR website. http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1566

PASSENGER FOCUS NEWS

On 25th February 2009 Passenger Focus welcomed the clarification from Lord Adonis that if inflation is below zero in July 2009 fares will drop accordingly. They look forward to working with the Department and the rail companies on their recommendations for other changes to the fares system set out in their recent report.
http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2538

To provide an evidence based response to the Merseyside Route Utilisation Strategy, Passenger Focus asked more than 2000 passengers for their view on rail services in Merseyside. The survey showed that although getting a seat, improving frequency and new trains was top of passengers’ wish list, enhancing Merseyside’s station facilities was essential. Passengers in Merseyside are calling for better stations and more car parking to be central to the industry’s future plans for the region’s railway.

Passenger Focus’s research looked specifically at how passengers get to the station. The majority said they walked (63%), 22% said they drove and 6% caught the bus. However, 14% of passengers said they would like to drive more often but not being able to get a space, no car parking facilities and security were reasons given for not driving. In Merseyside, only 57% of passengers said they were satisfied with car parking.

Source PF press release http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2551

On 9th March PF welcomed the announcement about the consultation on extending its role to cover air passenger issues. See http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2554

On 5th March 2009 the Office of Fair Trading launched a market study into the supply of local bus services. This sector has become increasingly concentrated by take-overs, with nearly two-thirds of services now controlled by five large operators. The study will consider whether concentration in the market has a positive or negative impact on the prices consumers’ pay and the services they receive, and whether or not there is competition between operators bidding for tendered services. The OFT will be contacting key parties directly. Other interested parties can submit written views, by 8 May 2009 to localbus at oft.gsi.gov.uk.

Passenger Focus released a press statement saying that they will help feed the passenger view on bus services in England into the review.

Sources: http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2553 and http://www.oft.gov.uk/news/press/2009/24-09

NETWORK RAIL NEWS

A Network Rail trial will see around 20 tonnes of waste material recycled to form the new sleepers which will replace timber ones along some of the rural lines on the network. During the trial, Network Rail will test whether they can withstand the rigours of a running railway, and, once proven, will look to progressively roll them out across parts of the network. The sleepers are being developed and supplied by i-plas, a plastic waste recycling company, based in Halifax.
Source Network Rail news releases http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/Content/Detail.asp?ReleaseID=4176&NewsAreaID=2&SearchCategoryID=2

WANTED: PHOTOS OF CLOSED LINES

Have you any photographs of closed lines or stations? Campaign for Better Transport would like to use some good photos on its website that help make the point that some rail lines need to be re-opened. Please visit the group’s website and send them some photos if you have any: http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/public_transport/rail/lines_that_should_reopen

SNIPPETS

In an interview on the website of the European campaign alliance NO MEGA TRUCKS, European Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani explained that it would be 2010 before a final decision on introducing mega trucks will be made on a European level. In addition, the salami tactics approved by high-ranking EU officials, which would initially involve a few EU member states allowing cross-border journeys by mega trucks measuring up to 25 metres and weighing as much as 60 tonnes, are neither compatible with current EU legislation nor desirable, according to Tajani.
Read the whole story here: http://www.nomegatrucks.eu/news/tajani-stops-mega-truck-supporters/
Read the interview here: http://www.nomegatrucks.eu/news/tajani-interview-on-mega-trucks/

The Scottish Parliament's report on high-speed rail was published recently. The report highlights the likely economic, social and environmental benefits associated with the introduction of a high-speed rail service and calls on the Scottish Government to lobby the UK Government to ensure that Scottish interests are taken into account from the earliest planning stages of any network development. The press release 2 pages is at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/nmCentre/news/news-comm-09/cticc09-s3-002.htm the full proceedings lots of pages! at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/ticc/reports-09/trr09-01.htm

The Scottish Association for Public Transport AGM is in the Ramada Hotel, Ingram Street, Glasgow on Saturday 28th March 2009 from 1000 - 1300 This venue is within easy reach of Queen Street, Argyle Street and Central stations - it's the street heading east from the Gallery of Museum of Modern Art in Royal Exchange Square (the classical building on Queen Street with the equestrian statue in front sporting an almost permanent traffic cone on top of the rider's head!). There will be a Powerpoint presentation from Frank von Meissner, General Manager of the Hohenzollerische Landesbahn AG (www.hzl-online.de) in Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany - followed by a presentation by Mike Connelly, Stakeholder Relationship Manager of tie. The business part of the AGM for SAPT members will run from 1200 - 1300.

Activists Briefing

Issue 42 – 22nd February 2009


IN THE NEWS

The major news item has been the release on 19th February of a report by Passenger Focus into value for money and European Fares comparisons. Railfuture media spokesman, Bruce Williamson, was interviewed in the morning by Nicky Campbell on Radio 5 live. In the evening Railfuture London & South East Chairman, Keith Dyall, was interviewed on BBC News 24.

NEWS FROM RAILFUTURE BRANCHES AND COMMITTEES

After a long gestation the final version of our Electrification Paper, produced by Network Development Committee is now on the website, and can be found at www.railfuture.org.uk/tiki-index.php?page=Campaigns with Electrification headlined in Blue.

The announcement by ORR of their proposed allocation of paths on the ECML generated a lot of interest from the media in Lincolnshire. The media were confused as to whether the planned Lincoln to Kings Cross services were approved and, if so, when they would start. Railfuture Lincs Vice Chairman had detailed discussions with journalists from Lincolnshire Echo and Radio Lincolnshire trying to explain the intricacies of the decision. This was not easy given that ORR have effectively passed the Lincoln services decision back to DfT for them to sort out the mess they created by awarding franchises to EMT and NXEC which have conflicting SLC2 service requirements.

The highlight of the Railfuture Lincs AGM on 21st March will be a presentation from Network Rail outlining their Joint Line upgrade plans. The upgrade is to provide much needed extra capacity to enable freight to be diverted away from the ECML. All welcome.

Wakefield Kirkgate Train Station is a notorious no-go area. In October 2008 a young woman was raped and the Wakefield Express (Wakefield 's local paper) has reported countless other assaults and robberies. The Wakefield Express have had a massive amount of feedback from people who say they are too scared to use the station and fear for their own safety. But Northern Rail have said crimes were so few people should not be worried and has refused to put staff on the station. The Wakefield Express supported by Railfuture Yorkshire have now started a S.O.S (Staff Our Station) campaign.

Railfuture Yorkshire are urging every member of Railfuture to follow the link and sign the papers' on line petition and forward this request to every one you know that feels the station should be staffed. http://www2.wakefieldtoday.co.uk/kirkgatestation.htm
If any members are members of the facebook site please join the face book group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=48902326434

Dates and venues for 2009 Railfuture Freight Committee meetings are 4th April at Reading, 25th July at Peterborough, 18th September at Middlesborough (provisional) and 14th November at Sheffield. The next International & EU committee meeting will be in Derby on Saturday 18th July.

Branch AGMs are now underway and most of the ones still to be held are listed in Forthcoming Events. If enough branches send David Harby copies of their Chairman, secretary reports etc he will put them together into a single document and make it available to members via a later issue of this briefing.

Tony Smale, Railfuture Rail User Group Liaison Officer, now has a Railfuture email address ruglink at railfuture.org.uk

EAST - WEST RAIL

With the start of a New Year has come renewed activity in favour of the Oxford to Cambridge rail link. Following the distribution of a leaflet with Railwatch 118, Railfuture Press Officer Bruce Williamson issued a press release on 26th January. This appeared on internet BBC News Channel at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7851976.stm also on BBC East text pages. Following this press release, Cambridge Evening News and BBC Three Counties Radio, Bruce and Railfuture President, Peter Lawrence, were telephoned for comment. Peter was interviewed the following morning on the BBC Three Counties Breakfast Show. Bruce reports that the story was also picked up by Business Weekly but he has yet to see a copy of the article.

Peter Lawrence has sent copies of the leaflet to MPs with constituencies along the route and has had some very positive replies. Peter would be pleased to hear from any member who has had responses to the East West Rail Campaign.

Coincidentally, a news story headed “Tracks cleared for East-West Rail - A disused railway is being cleared so that engineers and surveyors can begin design work on the East West Rail” appeared at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/7851922.stm

There is also a very positive story headed “An investment in middle England” on the Environmental Transport Association website at http://www.eta.co.uk/node/11759. This describes the benefits that could come from the route and gives a link to the Railfuture web page www.railfuture.org.uk/ox-cam

The East-West Consortium have put some new documents up, one is a discussion paper prepared by Steer Davies Gleave covering the central section debate which is still unclear. The intention is to try to reach a consensus on a preferred routing strategy which can be fed into the East of England Plan review later this year. Source:
http://www.eastwestrail.org/reports/documents/CentralSectionReport-February2009.pdf

ELECTION FOR RDS LTD BOARD

There are 7 candidates for the 5 available places on the Board as from the 2009 AGM. Voting papers will be despatched in early March with Railwatch 119.

YEAR END AND OTHER FINANCIAL MATTERS

Thank you to all branch treasurers and other account holders for ensuring that all the appropriate paperwork was sent to David Harby by 31st January. This has enabled him to make good progress with the year end accounts. At the time of writing the accounts are already with our Reporting Accountant for his inspection. All 2009 branch subventions have been paid except for one where some information is awaited from the branch treasurer.

Would all branches please take any opportunity you have to remind your members of the membership renewal arrangements that were introduced last year. The master copy of the membership database is now held by Deltic Design (Lloyd Butler). All renewal payments and requests for branch membership lists should now be sent to him at renewals at railfuture.org.uk. David Harby is still receiving some renewal cheques and requests for mailing labels etc. As he does not have up to date lists all he can do is pass correspondence on to Lloyd which costs Railfuture extra postage and delays any response.

ARE RAIL CONNECTIONS BEING IGNORED BY YOUR LOCAL TOURIST VENUE?

With Easter not far away leaflets advertising tourist venues will soon be appearing. In their 'How to find us' section it is not unusual to find that rail is not mentioned even if there is a rail station nearby. Even some local authorities, who should know better, sometimes fail to even show rail routes on maps in their tourist booklets. The Railfuture Publicity Group have asked me to urge all branches to look for leaflets which ignore rail and to take the opportunity to educate the miscreants on the error of their ways.

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT NEWS

On February 5th DfT announced another batch of schemes which will receive Small Schemes. Most of these are close to London. The full list can be found at http://www.dft.gov.uk/transportforyou/access/rail/railstations/ssf/smallschemes09.xls

Other potentially useful new documents on the DfT website are:

 The travel choices and needs of low income households: the role of the car - a qualitative study exploring the role of the car in the travel choices and needs of low income households. http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/scienceresearch/social/theroleofthecar/
 Exploring public attitudes to climate change and travel choices: - a report presenting the findings from an 18 month deliberative study that has explored public attitudes to climate change and how this relates to their personal travel choices. http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/scienceresearch/social/climatechange/
 Regional transport statistics: 2008 edition - http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/regionaldata/rts/regtranstats2008
 SSWT franchise Agreement - 2009 http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/passenger/publicregister/current/sswt/sswt.pdf
 Update on the Thames Gateway Transport Project - http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/strategy/growthareas/thamesgatwayupdate.pdf
 Revised policy for funding local and regional rail services promoted by local authorities and PTEs promises some local authority funding for new or enhanced rail services from 2014 – http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/strategyfinance/revisedpolicyfunding and http://www.dft.gov.uk/press/speechesstatements/statements/railservices
 Transport Trends: 2008 Edition - Introduction and complete pdf download. http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/trends/current/transporttrends2008

ORR NEWS

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) proposed decision on applications for track access rights for passenger services on the East Coast Main Line (ECML). can be found at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9430

National Rail Trends Chapter 1: Rail usage, including: Passenger kilometres, journeys and revenue up to and including Q2 2008-09 was issued on 29th January - http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/rolling-c1-railusage.pdf

National Rail Trends Chapter 2: Rail performance, including Public performance measure, complaints, passengers in excess of capacity, and National Rail Enquiry Service up to and including Q2 2008-09 was issued on 15th January - http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9304

The latest SPAD (Signals passed at danger) report covering Q4 2008 can be found at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1170

PASSENGER FOCUS NEWS

Passenger Focus have published their Passenger Voice Winter 2009 stakeholder bulletins which can be found on the PF website at www.passengerfocus.org.uk. Also on the PF website www.passengerfocus.org.uk/nps is the Autumn 2008 National Passenger Survey. In the full report is a lot of detail for individual areas/routes that can be used by local campaigners as well as the overall national results.

Examples are evidence being used by Railfuture Wessex that on the main line from Portsmouth to London the suburban-style 3x2 seating on class 450 ‘Desiro’ trains is unpopular with passengers and plenty of evidence that the current Liverpool to Norwich services are totally inadequate and disliked by passengers who are fed up with overcrowded and unreliable trains.

Passenger Focus surveyed passengers in Yorkshire and Humber to provide evidence for their response to the Yorks and Humber RUS. Passengers said that solving overcrowding should be the top priority. Passenger Focus continues to research passenger needs on the railway in the Yorkshire and Humber region and will be presenting findings to Network Rail before it finalises the Route Utilisation Study later this year. Source and more details from http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2109

Readers will recall that there are many objections to National Express East Coast plans to install automatic ticket gates at York. There is a very direct and to the point letter on the PF website from the PF Passenger Link Manager to National Express setting out PF views on the proposals. With regard to the NXEC intention to require Grand Central passengers to buy a ticket before boarding PF say that “It would be quite wrong for a station operator to dictate that a train company may not offer passengers a simple turn up and go railway.” “when a train company elects to offer the facility to simply get on board and worry about paying during the journey it is a good thing from a passenger perspective. After all, what could be simpler?” The letter can be found at http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/document-search/document.asp?dsid=2093

With regard to South West Trains plans to make even more job cuts Passenger Focus manager Jocelyn Pearson said: "With fares going up and passenger numbers rising year on year it is very worrying to hear of job losses. Passengers need staff for advice and information and to feel safe while travelling. It is a tough economic climate but cutting passenger facing staff on public transport is not the answer and will be met with utter disbelief by those travelling tomorrow." Source: http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2356

As mentioned earlier in this Briefing Passenger Focus’s Fares and Ticketing Study was published on 19th February. Some of the conclusions and recommendations are:

 The price of commuting to London is high in comparison with other European countries and these commuters rate value for money lower than in other parts of England, Wales and Scotland.
 The price of commuting to other major cities in Great Britain is lower than to London, but in most cases is still more expensive than commuting to the principal city in other European countries.
 Passengers see the key issues as punctuality, reliability, being able to get a seat and good information during service disruption.
 The long distance fares structure needs to be (and needs to be seen to be) fairer to passengers. It requires greater transparency and needs to be simpler.
 Develop discounted travel for frequent commuters for whom a traditional season ticket is not cost-effective (e.g. 10 single journeys for the price of eight carnet books)
 The long distance fares structure must be simpler. Existing simplification was about presentation only – the underlying structure is still seen as complicated and not logical (e.g. two singles may or may not be cheaper than a return, return £1 more than a single).
 The price of flexibility is too high – passengers are baffled by the huge gap between the cheapest and the most expensive fares on the same train (the fact of which is confirmed in the PF European research).
 Increase flexibility by allowing passengers to pay the difference between what they have paid already for an Advance ticket and the appropriate new ticket if they miss their train or need to change their plans. Flexibility at an affordable price was highlighted in the employer’s research.

Source: Press release http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2530

NETWORK RAIL NEWS

On 9th February Network Rail called for tough sentences when they announced that the number of people breaking the law at level crossings is at a five year high.

During the last year the cost to Network Rail of level crossing misuse has been estimated at £1.8 million. This was from over 55 days of delays to trains and passengers. Network Rail went on to point out that the real cost to the industry far exceeds this, as it does not include actual damage to trains or tracks or staffing time and cost. Nor does it include extra costs incurred by passengers whose journeys are disrupted.

Last year, there were more than 3400 incidents of misuse at level crossings. On average, more than three motorists a week were involved in a near miss, where a train narrowly avoided missing them because they ignored warning signs and lights or weaved round barriers. There were 20 collisions between trains and motor vehicles for those that didn’t beat the lights.

Pedestrians were also putting themselves at risk with more than five a week involved in near misses. If a train hits a person at high speed, there is almost always only one tragic outcome. Sadly, 15 people lost their lives at level crossings in 2008.

Recorded level crossing offences for the last 6 years were in 2003 – 2158, 2004 – 2348, 2005 – 2839, 2006 – 3221, 2007 – 2896, 2008 – 3479.

The press release pointed out that:
 Level crossings are safe if used correctly
 95% of accidents at level crossings are caused by misuse or error– i.e. drivers ignoring red signals, barriers and klaxons.
 There are over 7,600 level crossings both on public and private land that cut across the UK railway network.
 British deaths at level crossings are low by international standards – amongst the lowest in Europe and worldwide

Source - press release http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/Content/Detail.asp?ReleaseID=4149&NewsAreaID=2&SearchCategoryID=2

On 10th February Network Rail issued a press release “Cotswold rail scheme hits new milestone”. The scheme to bring restores 20 miles of track between Evesham – Moreton-in-Marsh and Ascott-under-Wychwood - Charlbury, has entered the final stages of design. Source Network Rail press release http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/content/detail.asp?ReleaseID=4164&NewsAreaID=2&HUserID=878,776,885,850,779,865,881,845,765,674,677,767,684,762,718,674,708,683,706,718,674

CONSERVATIVE PARTY PUBLISH RAIL REVIEW AND LOOK AT TRANSPORT IN THE NORTH

The Conservative Party has been very active on transport issues recently. On 3rd February they launched a Commission on Transport in the North to identify the transport priorities for the North of England of a Conservative Government. Everyone is invited to have their say on what they think is good and bad via the Commission's website so whether you are a party member or not now is the time to let them know what you think.
See http://www.conservatives.com/News/News_stories/2009/02/Hague_launches_Commission_on_Transport_in_the_North.aspx

On 11th February The Shadow Transport Secretary, Theresa Villiers, outlined the conclusions of our rail review in an eight-point plan designed to reform Britain’s rail network and provide a long-term vision for Britain’s railways. The eight points listed on their website are:

 A high speed line linking London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds
 Putting passengers first by introducing a Passenger Champion to hold Network Rail and train franchise operators to account when they fail
 A reformed Network Rail
 Better co-operation between track and train
 Longer, better franchises for train operators so they can invest in longer trains and longer platforms
 Improving innovation in rail improvements
 An end to Whitehall meddling in areas like timetabling and buying new rolling stock
 A moratorium on building on disused rail paths

Source: Conservative Party website http://www.conservatives.com/News/News_stories/2009/02/Getting_the_best_for_rail_passengers.aspx


Activists Briefing Issue 41

17th January 2009


IN THE NEWS

The major news item this month has been a press release about the inflation busting fares increases and urging the government to invest in rail projects. We said that "The time is right, and passengers deserve more now in return for their inflation busting fare increases. Gordon Brown is promising 'green' projects as part of his recovery plan, and these must include rail projects such as electrification. if the government is serious about its green agenda, it needs to be investing heavily in rail, not expanding airports. A few extra coaches are not enough to cure present overcrowding, let alone provide us with a decent railway for the future."

Pressure is also coming from the European Passengers Federation. In a letter to the Prime Minister, they call for "substantial investment in improving public transport" arguing that this will retain and create skilled jobs in the rail industry, and "making greater contribution to tackling environmental problems"
EPF chairman Trevor Garrod said "We are working with MEPS to improve public transport across Europe. There is a real need for better rail infrastructure and increased capacity, especially in the UK. "

On the 2nd Jan Railfuture media spokesman, Bruce Williamson, was interviewed for Radio Five Live about fare increases, and clips of the interview were used in a couple of news bulletins.

On the same day Norman Bradbury spoke for Railfuture in an interview on BBC News Channel (formerly News 24) about fare increases. Norman pointed out that along with the money government spend on rail they also receive substantial sums from the rail industry (Corporation Tax and VAT for example).

Bruce Williamson was interviewed on BBC News Channel (formerly News 24) and on BBC 3 Counties Radio regarding the WCML upgrade.

NEWS FROM RAILFUTURE BRANCHES AND COMMITTEES

Railfuture Wales have submitted a response to the Arriva Trains Wales Consultation on the May- December 2009 timetable. They have also submitted a response to the DfT Minor Modifications consultation.

Ian Jenkins, Railfuture West Midlands Chair, was on ITV Central News on November 26th when he was interviewed by Keith Wilkinson re the closure of the Walsall-W'ton Railway link. Keith is also interested in other ideas by Railfuture, across the Midlands Region.

Nigel Bray, Railfuture Severnside secretary, had two interviews with Gloucestershire Newspapers Group about the fares increase. This resulted in articles in two local papers, which included comments from Nigel. They also had detailed editorials on the intricacies of rail funding which were mainly based on information provided by Nigel. Nigle has also had letters printed in both Gloucestershire Standard and Stroud News and Journal about the ORR refusal to authorise doubling of Kemble to Swindon. Nigel pointed out that this is an essential diversionary route when the Severn Tunnel is closed and that with plans for major housing developments along the route the decision shows a lack of joined up thinking between government bodies.

David Eldridge, Secretary Railfuture Thames Valley, had a letter published in Oxford /times on 15th January pointing out that the plan to link Oxford and Heathrow by rail in 10 years time, via a £4.5 billion station north of the airport is very short on detail. He went on to say “Remember the Oxford-Milton Keynes rail link? Over the past 20 years, 26 consultancies costing £millions have recommended reopening this existing line - enough money to have restarted the trains!”

ELECTION FOR RDS LTD BOARD

Have you thought about standing for election as a director of The Railway Development Society Ltd? The Board meets 4 times a year. In addition directors are expected to take an active interest in some other aspect of the organisation such as committees etc. In the 2009 election the 3 candidates with the highest number of votes will serve for 3 years and the 4th and 5th placed candidates for 1 year. As from the 2009 election all ties will be resolved at the AGM by drawing lots. Nomination forms are available for download from the Railfuture website or by post from Railfuture Returning Officer, P.O.Box 7690, Hinckley, Leicester LE10 9WJ. Completed forms must be returned to the Returning Officer to arrive by 1st February 2009.

YEAR END AND OTHER FINANCIAL MATTERS

David Harby thanks those branches who have already sent him their accounts. The remainder are reminded that your deadline for submission of branch accounts is 31st January 2009. Branch subventions will be paid in late January provided that your branch accounts have been submitted.

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT NEWS

Plans by South West Trains to reduce the opening hours of ticket offices have in large part been rejected by Ministers following public consultation. The rail company had wanted to make radical cuts in its ticket office opening hours at 114 stations.

Transport Minister Andrew Adonis said: "We have acted to protect passengers from unacceptable cuts, ensuring that tickets continue to be easily available and that ticket offices are staffed during busy periods. We have rejected many of the proposed cutbacks in opening hours because we were not convinced they were in passengers' interests. We have also sought an assurance from South West Trains that, where ticket office hours are reduced in periods of very low demand, passengers can still buy a wide range of tickets from machines, with easy helpline support where necessary. In addition we have agreed that there will be no charges for tickets purchased in advance over the internet or phone. I now expect SWT to staff their ticket offices to the agreed level."

South West Trains had wanted to reduce ticket office opening hours at 114 stations across the network, including in many cases over week days, as well as weekends. The Government has rejected proposals by the rail company to reduce hours at offices during times when on average 12 or more tickets are issued hourly. This includes the rejection of around 80% of changes that would have seen no Saturday openings and around 65% of changes that would have seen no Sunday openings.

South West Trains had also proposed altering hours at 105 stations during the midweek period - 53 of these proposals were rejected by Ministers, 14 wholly and 39 in part. Source: http://nds.coi.gov.uk/Content/Detail.asp?ReleaseID=389455&NewsAreaID=2

However on 16th January the BBC were reporting that 251 ticket office and platform jobs are to go at SWT. Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7834665.stm

There are some new documents on the DfT website. The following can all be found at http://www.dft.gov.uk/results?view=Filter&h=m&m=4552&pg=1 pages 1-5

The container freight end-to-end journey: Analysis of freight through UK international gateways (5 Mb). This analysis illustrates the end-to-end journey of container freight from origin to destination through UK international networks. The report lays out some of the qualitative and quantitative data collected by the Department for Transport and its strategic partners. Published: 22 December 2008

Roll-on roll-off freight end-to-end journey: An analysis of freight through the UK Int gateways (2 Mb). This analysis illustrates the end-to-end journey of roll-on roll-off freight from origin to destination through UK international networks. The report lays out some of the qualitative and quantitative data collected by the Department for Transport and its strategic partners. Published: 22 December 2008

Transposition to the Channel Tunnel of the EU Passenger Rail Liberalisation Directive. This consultation presents and seeks views on a draft Statutory Instrument to implement Directive 2007/58/EC on the liberalisation of international passenger rail services in the Channel Tunnel. Closing date: 17 March 2009

Delivering a sustainable transport system: the logistics perspective (1 Mb). This document follows on from the departments Delivering a Sustainable Transport System. It looks in more detail at the issues concerning the movement of freight within Great Britain. Published: 16 December 2008

Details of the funding and governance arrangements for the Crossrail Project.

There are also numerous documents about the Thameslink project.

ORR NEWS

The ORR website has more copy letters about ECML service revision. Some recent letters have important points about ECML services and how they impact on other services over a wide area (Liverpool – Norwich, Cross Country etc). All branches with an interest in any service which uses or crosses the ECML are recommended to look at the late 2008 and 2009 letters. http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9242

PASSENGER FOCUS NEWS

Passenger Focus issued a press release saying that the 2009 rail fare rises were unacceptable and unjustified. A copy is on the PF website. Other recent additions to the website are letters regarding installation of ticket gates at Sheffield and York. See http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/

PF are currently running a poll on their website to find out if you claim compensation when your train is significantly delayed. To take part please follow this link http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/research/polls-and-surveys/?dsid=2094

HOUSE OF COMMONS TRANSPORT COMMITTEE

On 18th December 2008 the House of Commons Transport Committee announced that it will conduct an inquiry into the future of aviation. This will be a strategic inquiry that focuses on the economic, environmental and infrastructure issues. One of the issues they will be addressing is to what extent can rail provide an alternative to short-haul flights. Interested parties are invited to submit evidence by Monday 23 February 2009.

MEGA TRUCKS - THE QUIET BEFORE THE STORM

The No Mega Trucks Campaign newsletter advises that silence from the Europaen Commisiion on the mega trucks issue is a false impression. They say that “The EU-Commission wants to assign another study concerning the admission of mega trucks in Europe. This study shall be available in the second half of 2009 - after the elections in the European Union and during the Swedish EU council presidency. The Swedish government has already announced to use its presidency for an approach in favour of longer and heavier trucks.”

The use of even longer and heavier Gigaliners has recently started in Sweden. The mega trucks, which are used for timber transports, are 90 tons heavy and 30 meters long. Denmark is another European country that sets the Gigaliners free. Since 24 November 2008 the 60 tones heavy and 25 meters long mega trucks are driving across the country. The road transport association Dansk Transport og Logistik (DTL) is expecting 1000 participating longer and heavier trucks. Switzerland and Austria have rejected Gigaliners.

You can subscribe to the No Mega Trucks newsletter from their website. Source: www.nomegatrucks.eu

SNIPPETS

ATOC have a website outlining the National Pilot Programme for Station Travel Plans. On the website, in the News and Resources section, are the results of the surveys at the pilot stations and a copy of the survey form that was used. See http://www.stationtravelplans.com/

Transport Times the UK’s leading magazine for the transport professional will hold their “Time for High Speed Rail?” conference on 25th March 2009 at the CBI Conference Centre, London. Featuring Lord Andrew Adonis, Minister of State for Transport this event could not be timelier as the Government prepares its proposal for a high-speed rail network. This event will provide delegates with the perfect opportunity to discuss and debate the Government’s thinking on this critical area. If you would like to attend please contact Jane Wilson at Transport Times Events on 0131 556 1500 or to view the full conference programme go to www.transporttimes.co.uk

The RAIB has released its Annual Report which covers the operational period of 2007. This can be found on their website at http://www.raib.gov.uk/publications/annual_report/annual_report_published_in_2008.cfm

A group of Liberal Democrat councillors is urging Lancashire County Council to buy some disused trackbed before it is too late. British Rail residual property company offered the track between Colne and the former county boundary, near New Hague, to the County Council in July 2008. Source: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/pendle/4010645.Council_urged_to_buy_disused_railway/

7th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the European Passengers' Federation will be in Berne, Switzerland on March 14th 2009, The conference in “Integrated transport for passengers”. Details and booking form on the EPF website http://www.epf.eu/

The launch of the Cambridge Misgiuded Bus has been delayed until late summer. Source: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/cn_news_home/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=380357

"Spain's High-Speed Trains Win Over Fed-Up Flyers" A headline from the reliably sympathetic Giles Tremlett in Guardian newspaper on 13th January. The Spanish Prime Minister wants to beat the slump by spending on rail. Policy is that 90% of the population should be within 30 miles of a High Speed Rail Station. While the British recently tied themselves in self-defeating knots about whether modal split between Manchester and London is the business of government, the Spaniards are getting on with returning the long distance (300mile +) passenger market to rail.


Activists Briefing Issue 40

December 2008


IN THE NEWS

Our national media spokesman has issued a press release about the Radstock Line issue. Basically, developers want to build on railway land in Radstock, blocking the line. Norton-Radstock is one of the largest urban settlements in the South West without any form of connection to the national rail network. A planning inspector had previously recommended 80 homes on the site, which would allow future rail use. The current proposals under consideration are for 210 homes. The press release resulted in Bruce being interviewed on GWR fm. It now seems a decision won't be taken until January.

Following the press interest a letter appeared in Somerset Guardian on 27th November from Cate Le Grice·Mack, chairman of Norton-Radstack Regeneration Company saying that “The NRR/Bellway development plans for Radstock do not block off the rail line or access to it. As a company we are committed to the wider transport use of the old line to Frome and beyond.”

This letter provoked George Bailey, a Director of North Somerset Railway Company Ltd to write that “I was pleased to read last week in the letters column that Norton Radstock Regeneration Company finally support the concept of a full railway link from Frome to Radstock: as they say, it will significantly aid the regeneration of Radstock as well as contribute to the environmental well-being of the area. There are a few points which should be remembered when applauding this apparent change of heart.”

These points included “Why have our previous submissions been ignored?” and “A more specific commitment would be welcomed, such as more openness and the plans and to remind Cate that we have attempted to work with her and NRR in the past to no avail: will this time be better? In the meantime, our petition continues to attract strong support (if anyone has not yet signed it can found at http://www.northsomersetrailway.com/) and reminds Bath & North East Somerset Council that there is very great emotion among local, former residents and regular visitors about the potential loss of the link.

There's been activity on the Portishead line campaign. On Sunday 26th October, BBC TV showed a programme featuring Travel journalist Simon Calder putting forward the strong case for reopening the line. FOSBR have been organising a postcard campaign to persuade the West Of England Partnership to bid for government funding for the project. This attracted some TV coverage, and there has since been more activity, but Bruce does not have all the details. It may be just coincidence, but on 4th December Bruce received a mailshot from First Group promoting their new improved bus service to ......... Portishead!

Bruce has also issued a press release condemning the decision by the Office of Rail Regulation not to authorise doubling of the line between Kemble and Swindon. He believe that this was covered by at least one local paper.

NEWS FROM RAILFUTURE BRANCHES AND COMMITTEES

Railfuture Wales have submitted a response to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into Provision of Cross- Border Services. A copy of the submission is available from Railfuture South Wales secretary, Rowland Pittard. rowlandpittard1 at yahoo.co.uk

Following the announcement that that National Express East Anglia are to withdraw Restaurant Cars from the Norwich to London service and close the Norwich Call Centre. The Eastern Daily Press telephoned Peter Lawrence for Railfuture East Anglia Branch comments. Peters comments published in the EDP were: “Peter Lawrence, Norfolk-based president of pressure group Railfuture,
said: "The axing of the restaurant cars is a backward step. We've enjoyed a very good intercity service up to now and I hope this is not a foretaste of what might come. We are meeting with National Express in a couple of weeks and the proposed cuts will be one of the subjects that we raise. We will be lobbying hard against these proposals. "

The EDP also phoned Peter for comment on the fares increase. He was quoted as follows: "Peter Lawrence, president of Norwich-based pressure group Railfuture, said that an increase of 6pc was of "great concern". "Fuel costs are coming down and we should be seeing the same reduction in rail prices," he said. "While it may be to late to alter this situation for this year we would be looking to the government to take action in terms of some sort of fare freeze next year."

Railfuture Lincolnshire chairman, Alan Waddington, has also been quoted in the press deploring the above average fares increase. This was in a letter to the Lincolnshire Echo.

The next Railfuture London & South East Kent Divisional Meeting will be on Saturday 21st February at 2pm, in the ‘Elephant’, The Mall, Faversham. Going downstairs from platforms turn left along subway to leave by back of station. Continue direction and pub is 5 mins away. Sorry no food served in pub, but plenty of places to eat in town centre, which can be accessed from main exit of station, then along Preston St opposite

Travel Watch South West is organising a stand at Bournemouth Station on Thursday 8 January and Railfuture Wessex plan to be well represented. Our aim will be to publicise plans for the further development of rail services in the Wessex area, with a by-product of recruiting new members to Railfuture.

The latest issue of the Railfuture Yorkshire newsletter, Yorkshire Rail Campaigner, has just been published and is on the way to all Yorkshire branch members. If anyone would like an electronic version please email briefingeditor at railfuture.org.uk.

Lincolnshire Echo contacted Railfuture Lincolnshire president, Brian Hastings, on 4th December for Railfuture comments on the omissions from the December East Midlands Trains pocket timetable for Lincolnshire. The main destination for many passengers, Newark Northgate, is only mentioned as a footnote in small print with no arrival or departure times shown. Brian was generous to EMT in saying he thought it was just an error, not a deliberate policy to omit Newark Northgate connections now EMT run a direct service from Lincoln to St Pancras. This was in contrast to the views of other correspondents to the paper who considered the omission was deliberate. Railfuture Lincs vice chairman, David Harby, was interviewed by Radio Lincolnshire and made similar comments to Brian.

Railfuture Thames Valley Branch has a stall at the Oxford Green Fair on Saturday 13th December (http://www.greenoxford.com/content/view/123/1/). The stand is being organised by Hugh Jaegar who can be contacted by email at hugh_jaeger@hotmail.com or contact briefingeditor at railfuture.org.uk for phone numbers.

CONFERENCES

The 2009 conference in Northallerton will now probably take place in July. It is anticipated that a date will be finalised before the next briefing. The Board hopes to follow this with another conference in the autumn, probably November, but nothing has yet been finalised. Suggested locations are still being investigated.

2009 AGMS

Railfuture North East AGM is at 7pm on Thursday 15th January 2009. The venue will be Brunswick Methodist Church, Brunswick Place (off Northumberland Street) Central Newcastle. The speaker will be Warwick Dent of Network Rail. He will focus on capacity enhancements within the North East region. The Railfuture East Anglia AGM will be in Bury St Edmunds on 28th February 2009. Railfuture Wessex AGM will again be held in the United Reformed Church Hall near Bournemouth Station on Saturday 21 March 2009. Railfuture Lincolnshire and Railfuture Yorkshire AGMs will also be held on 21st March. When other branches arrange their AGMs please notify briefingeditor at railfuture.org.uk

ANNUAL REPORTS

A reminder that all Committee and sub-committee Chairmen should send their contribution for the Annual Report to Lloyd Butler (lloyd@deltic.net) before 21st January 2009. As in previous years reports should be 500 words maximum, preferably nearer 300.

ELECTION FOR RDS LTD BOARD

Have you thought about standing for election as a director of The Railway Development Society Ltd? The Board meets 4 times a year. In addition directors are expected to take an active interest in some other aspect of the organisation such as committees etc. Recent meetings have been in London, Birmingham, Derby and Peterborough to try to give all directors venues that are not too difficult to reach. Other venues could be considered depending on the make up of the next Board. Directors are entitled to claim out of pocket expenses incurred in connection with their directorship. Nomination forms are available for download from the Railfuture website or by post from Railfuture Returning Officer, P.O.Box 7690, Hinckley, Leicester LE10 9WJ. Completed forms must be returned to the Returning Officer to arrive by 1st February 2009.

Following the tie in the 2008 elections the Directors at their meeting on 29th November agreed that to resolve the problem of who served for one or two years all those who tied for 5th, 6th and 7th place would be asked to resign after one year. Therefore in the 2009 election the 3 candidates with the highest number of votes will serve for 3 years and the 4th and 5th placed candidates for 1 year. As from the 2009 election all ties will be resolved at the AGM by drawing lots.

YEAR END AND OTHER FINANCIAL MATTERS

Would all budget holders and other committee members please note that our financial year ends on 31st December 2008. All expense claims and other invoices for payment should reach David Harby by that date. If you are responsible for expenditure incurred during 2008 but where the invoice will not be received until after the year end details should be notified to David Harby at the year end. Branch officers are reminded that your treasurer has a deadline of 31st January 2009 for submission of branch accounts to David Harby so if you have unclaimed expenses you should ensure they are with your treasurer before 31st December.

A revised Railfuture expenses form will soon be available with an additional note as follows:
The Finance Officer will endeavour to make payments by BACS within 3 days of receipt of the claim. Payments by cheque will be made at approximately 2-week intervals.

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT NEWS

Railfuture have responded to the consultation on proposed new categories for minor modifications under the Railways Act 2005 which was mentioned in the last Briefing.

Included in the announcement on 25th November of £1bn to accelerate key transport projects was the delivery of 200 new carriages earlier than originally expected for rail passengers in the Thames Valley, around Bristol and on longer distance inter-urban services in Northern England and an extra £54m to help enhance the North London rail line to increase the long-term freight capacity of this vital cross-London rail route. The full package of improvements, delivered by Network Rail and building on investment by TfL, will restore four tracks from Dalston Junction to west of Camden Road, alleviate current bottlenecks, improve signalling and other infrastructure in order to provide new capacity for freight and rail trains. Barking-Gospel Oak Line User Group have pointed out that this scheme is still not planned to start until after the 2012 Olympics. “If the scheme were to start during 2009 as it was originally planned, and shown on Network Rail plans dating back to 2006, this could bring up to £40m worth of work to the steel fabricators and engineers of South Wales or the North East, to help these local economies out of depression.”

DfT press releases:
http://nds.coi.gov.uk/environment/fullDetail.asp?ReleaseID=385408&NewsAreaID=2&NavigatedFromDepartment=False
http://nds.coi.gov.uk/environment/fullDetail.asp?ReleaseID=385423&NewsAreaID=2&NavigatedFromDepartment=False

The follow up to Towards a Sustainable Transport Strategy, Delivering a Sustainable Transport System was published in late November. The Executive Summary “outlines our five goals for transport, focusing on the challenge of delivering strong economic growth while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It outlines the key components of our national infrastructure. It discusses the difficulties of planning over the long term in the context of uncertain future demand and describes the substantial investments we are making to tackle congestion and crowding on our transport networks. It sets out how we are approaching this through the new National Networks Strategy Group, which we illustrate with the conclusions from our analysis of the London-Manchester transport corridor and container freight. It covers our approach domestically and internationally to tackling greenhouse gas emissions from transport. Finally, it sets out the first steps of our future plans for investment to 2014 and beyond.”

Railfuture will be responding to the Consultation (Closing date 27 February 2009) If anyone would like to contribute to the Railfuture response please contact briefingeditor at railfuture.org.uk. The DfT document can be found at http://www.dft.gov.uk/about/strategy/transportstrategy/dasts/

Transposition of EU Rail Passengers Liberalisation Directive and amendment of regulation of HS1 - This consultation presents and seeks views on a draft Statutory Instrument to implement Directive 2007/58/EC on the liberalisation of international passenger rail services in Great Britain, and transfer some regulatory responsibilities in relation to rail link facilities from the Secretary of State to the Office of Rail Regulation. Closing date: 04 February 2009 See http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/

ORR NEWS

There has been plenty of activity on the ORR website in the last month. A selection is as follows:

30 October – confirmation of the 2008 periodic review that sets out what Network Rail will need to deliver in the five years from April 2009. Much of this has been extensively discussed in the railway press but if you want to read the full document it is at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/383.pdf.

1 December - ORR's national rail review Q2 2008-09. This is summed up in the press release as follows: “In its national rail review published today, the regulator highlights the magnitude of works required to get the west coast main line project completed, as well as the extensive plan of works over the Christmas and New Year period. It also reminds the company of its obligation to comply with the order issued earlier in the year to address the failings in the way it carries out engineering projects.” http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/385.pdf

1 December - ORR's Network Rail monitor setting out performance figures for Q2 (22 June to 13 September). http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/384.pdf

Updates to the page with the latest available National rail trends spreadsheets are produced in MS Excel format. These have a considerable amount of background data, current and historic, on rail usage, rail performance, fares, freight, National Passenger Survey, regional usage profiles, sustainable development, TOC’s, miscellaneous (rolling stock age, investment etc). There is also links to the current NRT and archived stuff from ORR and SRA. See http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1540

31 October - Signals passed at danger (SPADs) report for 3rd Quarter 2008 http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1170

17 October - Responses to PR08: Consultation on network availability and the seven day railway http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9337

4 December - Promoting safety and value in Britain's railways: ORR's strategy for 2009-14. A new strategy to promote safety and value in Britain's railways was published today by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), the independent safety and economic rail regulator. http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/388.pdf

PASSENGER FOCUS NEWS

The latest examples of Passenger Voice bulletins have recently been issued. They will give you a snapshot of the work PF are undertaking on behalf of passengers across Great Britain. The national version together with regional, Scotland and Wales bulletins can be be downloaded from the Passenger Focus website.

On 21st November Passenger Focus issued a press release entitled “Passengers warned: No new year sale on rail fares”. This criticised fare increases in tough economic times, forcing passengers to dig deep in their pockets come the new year. See http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2000

New research revealing what passengers like and dislike about using ticket machines to pay their fare was released on 14th October. This research, conducted by South West Trains and Passenger Focus, showed passengers are still queuing at ticket offices despite knowing that ticket machines are available. Although 78% of people questioned in the survey said they had used ticket vending machines, a variety of reasons were highlighted for those who had not tried them including wanting a more personal service, being unable to get the ticket they required and not being sure how to use the machine. The report can be found at www.passengerfocus.org.uk

ROUTE UTILISATION STRATEGIES

The Draft for Consultation of the Merseyside RUS was published on 28th November 2008. Consultation closes on 20th February 2009. The draft identifies capacity concerns for peak traffic, both weekday commuters and, increasingly, Saturday shoppers. The RUS also considers the case for improvements on services to Chester, North Wales, Southport, Wigan, Ormskirk, Preston and Warrington.

See: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browseDirectory.aspx?dir=\RUS%20Documents\Route%20Utilisation%20Strategies\Merseyside&pageid=4449&root=\RUS%20Documents\Route%20Utilisation%20Strategies

The Wales RUS has also recently been released. The Wales area covers some 900 route miles of railway. The RUS identifies a number of gaps, many of which reflect the desire for more train services. Principally this is in south Wales, where capacity use is at its highest. See: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browseDirectory.aspx?dir=\RUS%20Documents\Route%20Utilisation%20Strategies\Wales&pageid=4449&root=\RUS%20Documents\Route%20Utilisation%20Strategies

IS CAMBRIDGE MISGUIDED BUS RUNNING OUT OF MONEY BEFORE IT EVEN OPENS?

On 4th December Cambridge News Online reported that Cambridgeshire County Council chiefs have reassessed the financial risks of the Guided Bus scheme and are now classifying it as high risk. Developers were supposed to be contributing £23.7 million towards the scheme costs but only £12.7 million has been agreed. Because of the credit crunch some of the development schemes which were supposed to provide finance have been delayed and no cash has yet been paid to Cambridgeshire County Council. The full article about the latest problems for this misguided scheme can be read at:
http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/cn_news_home/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=371383

SNIPPETS

A PowerPoint projector has been purchased from national and is available for use by branches. Branches who borrow the projector will be responsible for transportation and paying for any damage. Contact Jerry Alderson for details.

Readers who would like to see what passengers have to put up with on Liverpool – Norwich services are recommended to look at www.trainsardine.org

Railfuture Rail User Group Liaison Officer, Tony Smale, has moved to 63 Church Lane, Wool, Wareham, Dorset BH20 6DD. Tel: 01929 462116 Tony's email address is unaltered.

As many of you know, the December 2008 timetable brings many changes to the National Rail Network. The full national timetable is available for download from the Network Rail website at www.networkrail.co.uk. The National Rail website have the facility to download a customised timetable for specific journeys. There is also a link to individual TOCs where you can download their pocket timetables etc. See http://www.nationalrail.co.uk


Activists Briefing Issue 39

24th October 2008


IN THE NEWS

Railfuture Chairman, Mike Crowhurst, has had a letter published in Local Transport Today recommending that now is the time to apply Keynesian economic theory where the public sector invests to help recovery. This letter was published before the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggested bringing forward public spending to stimulate growth. Does he read LTT?

Our new Railfuture national media spokesman, Bruce Williamson, has had a busy start to his term in office. He has been interviewed twice on BBC Three Counties Radio, once to talk about new high-speed rail lines, and once to comment on the news that the Dunstable to Bedford busway had been approved. Of course he argued that it was a bad idea. BBC Radio Five Live wake up to money interviewed him at some ridiculous early hour in the morning to ask for comment on a report about customer satisfaction with rail fares.

Locally he issued a press release regarding the Portishead line reopening, claiming that funds were available via the Southwest Regional Development Agency. This was picked up by the Western Daily Press and local station Original 106 who interviewed Bruce.

Bruce also had an amusing experience after the fire in the Channel Tunnel a few weeks back. He was phoned by Independent Radio News who asked him to comment. Bruce said he was happy to talk to them, but could only give them fairly bland general answers because he wasn't an expert on either the Channel Tunnel or rail safety. They interviewed him and he duly gave them some fairly bland general answers. Bruce then tuned in to the news bulletin to hear: "there's been a fire in the Channel tunnel... blah, blah, blah..... Rail safety expert Bruce Williamson said....."!

NEWS FROM RAILFUTURE BRANCHES AND COMMITTEES

The next Railfuture North West meeting will be on 15th November at the Brockley Arms Weatherspoon’s pub in Wigan starting at 1300.

Railfuture North East will be meeting on Thursday 6th November at Eastbourne Methodist Church, Yarm Road, Darlington (about 5mins walk from the main railway station) starting.at 7pm. The speaker will Phil Bustard, the Marketing & External Affairs Manager from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. He is going to talk about their future aspirations.

Following a Railfuture East Anglia Press Release on their forthcoming Branch Meeting in Norwich on Saturday 27 September 2008 the Eastern Daily Press contacted Peter Lawrence for branch views on what we would like to hear from John Hillman, Stakeholder Development Manager at East Midlands Trains. Extra rolling stock, increased capacity and the restoration of some through summer trains to Great Yarmouth were the key issues. On Friday 26 September 2008 the Eastern Daily Press gave us a half page feature on East Midlands Trains service from Norwich to Liverpool. Mr Hillman said that there was low business use on this service and the replacement of the three car class 170 units by two car class 158's has reduced their service capacity. As class 158 units are refurbished seating capacity will increase from 138 to 157 seats but at the moment they are unable to promote the service simply because they need more units and none are available.

It is with much sadness that we have to report that Douglas Smart (past Hon Secretary to RDS Scotland) passed away on October 5, 2008. Railfuture Scotland chairman, Donald Macphee comments:

“Douglas will be remembered for the vigour of his campaigning as well as being an efficient Secretary to our committee. His activity did not diminish when he stood down as a committee member. He was very active in promoting the policies of the Green Party. He often wrote letters to newspapers across the UK (including Railwatch) and was frequently heard on radio phone in programmes. In his RDS Scotland days he famously got a mention in Hansard because of an exchange of correspondence with Sir N. Fairbairn MP where they both shared concerns about what was then the impending privatisation of the railways. In more recent times Douglas gave evidence and got involved in submitting petitions to Scottish Parliament committees. He was also a keen follower of the fortunes of Falkirk Football Club and had long association with the Church of Scotland.

The October 2008 edition of Railondon will be despatched to Railfuture London & South East members with Railwatch 117 which is due out very shortly. If anyone else would like an electronic copy of Railondon 101 please email briefingeditor at railfuture.org.uk.

Railfuture London & South East chairman, Keith Dyall, was interviewed on BC local radio to discuss the forthcoming 'Javelin' services on HS1 from Kent to London St Pancras. Keith pointed out that even though the trains will be faster than current commuter services from Kent the actual journey time to work for most commuters will not be much quicker as St Pancras is not so convenient for the City as current stations.

Railfuture Lincolnshire vice chairman, David Harby, was quoted in the Lincolnshire Echo on 21st October in a story about the new East Midlands Trains direct service from Lincoln to St Pancras which starts in December. David pointed out that the journey time by National Express East Coast from Newark Northgate to Kings Cross is much quicker so business users are unlikely to use the new service. However it will be useful for leisure travellers who want a service with no change of train provided the fares are reasonable. David was also contacted by BBC Look North TV for an interview but he was out of Lincoln that day so unable to take part.

CONFERENCES

Bookings for the conference on 15th November 2008 have reached the maximum capacity for the venue so no further bookings can be accepted. As there are often members who turn up on the day without having previously booked please note that if you do so this time we will not be able to let you in. The conference programme has been finalised and all bookings received by 10th October will shortly be receiving a copy of the programme and directions to the venue.

In 2009 a Reopenings Conference is being planned for Northallerton, probably in September. No summer conference has yet been 'pencilled in'. If any branch would like to host a summer conference please contact Mike Crowhurst.

2009 AGMS

Railfuture North West have arranged their AGM for February 7th 2009 at the Stretton Hotel, Blackpool. Contact Chairman Brian Grey for details, Tel: 0151 648 3070. When other branches fix their AGM please notify david.harby at ntlworld.com so that details can be listed in the Briefing. On request Railfuture chairman, Mike Crowhurst, will try to arrange for a director to attend branch AGMs subject to the meeting date not clashing with a board meeting and suitable advance notice being given.

The Railway Development Society Ltd 2009 AGM will be held in Leeds on 9th May 2009.

ANNUAL REPORTS

As per last year Lloyd Butler is to collate reports from all Committees etc and put together the Annual Report. Would all Committee and sub-committee Chairmen please send their report to Lloyd (lloyd@deltic.net) before 21st January 2009. As in previous years reports should be 500 words maximum, preferably nearer 300."

ELECTION FOR RDS LTD BOARD

Have you thought about standing for election as a director of The Railway Development Society Ltd? The Board meets 4 times a year. In addition directors are expected to take an active interest in some other aspect of the organisation such as committees etc. Recent meetings have been in London, Birmingham, Derby and Peterborough to try to give all directors venues that are not to difficult to reach. Other venues could be considered depending on the make up of the next Board. Directors are entitled to claim out of pocket expenses incurred in connection with their directorship. Nomination forms are available for download from the Railfuture website or by post from Railfuture Returning Officer, P.O.Box 7690, Hinckley, Leicester LE10 9WJ. Completed forms must be returned to the Returning Officer to arrive by 1st February 2009.

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT NEWS

Readers will no doubt be aware of the latest round of musical chairs among the Government Ministers. Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP has replaced Ruth Kelly MP as Secretary of State for Transport. Lord Andrew Adonis has replaced Tom Harris MP as Minister of State for Transport with responsibility for rail.

Proposed Revised Safeguarding of the Abbey Wood to Gravesend and Hoo Junction Route 2008 - This consultation sets out the Government’s proposals to revise the safeguarding of the Abbey Wood to Gravesend and Hoo Junction route as a replacement for the Direction issued by the Secretary of State on the 24 February 2005. The aim of the Safeguarding is to ensure that developments along this rail corridor do not impact on the ability to extend Crossrail in the future. Closing date 19 December 2008
http://www.dft.gov.uk/results?view=Filter&w=What%27s+new&df=17%2F09%2F08&dt=17%2F10%2F08&pg=6

Bus and light rail statistics Great Britain: Apr-Jun 08 - This bulletin contains the latest quarterly data on passenger satisfaction, bus reliability, bus and light rail patronage and concessionary fare patronage. Published 25 September 2008
http://www.dft.gov.uk/results?view=Filter&w=What%27s+new&df=17%2F09%2F08&dt=17%2F10%2F08&pg=6

Public Transport Statistics Bulletin GB: 2008 edition - Introduction and complete PDF document published 18 September 2008
http://www.dft.gov.uk/results?view=Filter&w=What%27s+new&df=17%2F09%2F08&dt=17%2F10%2F08&pg=7

Experiences and perceptions of anti-social behaviour and crime on public transport - Introduction and complete PDF download, with Excel tables published 18 September 2008
http://www.dft.gov.uk/results?view=Filter&w=What%27s+new&df=17%2F09%2F08&dt=17%2F10%2F08&pg=7

A lot of new franchise documentation was published in August 2008 and can be found at http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/passenger/publicregister/current/. This includes Service Level Commitment 2 (SLC2) for Arriva Cross Country, London Midland, East Midlands Trains, NXEC. SLC2s are very important as they set out the minimum service level that the franchisee is required to operate and for Arriva Cross Country, London Midland and East Midlands Trains form the basis of the timetables which start in December 2008. SLC2s are specified by DfT and are a part of the franchise bid documents given to bidders and have been kept secret from passengers until it is too late to object to them.

Consultation on proposed new categories for minor modifications under the Railways Act 2005 - This consultation is seeking views on a proposal to make an Order under Section 35(6) of the Railways Act 2005 to make two descriptions of Closure eligible to be treated as minor modification because of their limited effect on the provision of railway passenger services. Closing date 05 December 2008. There are some dangers hidden within these seemingly innocuous changes. The first 'description' would allow a station to be moved (as happened at Morecambe and could happen at Lowestoft) without full closure procedure. The second implies that tracks within a station could be removed under the 'Minor Proceedure' rules. Examples are in the various West Coast plans promoted by DfT which suggest that time could be saved on southbound services at Stoke-on-Trent by building out the Up platform over the present loop; effectivly removing any chance of through trains passing a stationary passenger service. There is only one through track now. They also have plans to do the same at Stafford, where there are two through tracks, despite the fact that only an hourly Pendolino (The Liverpool service) is expected to stop from December.
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/minormodificationsrailways/

ORR NEWS

The long awaited ECML Capacity Assessment, dated 26 September 2008, is on the ORR website at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/ecml_NR_caprep.pdf. It is quite lengthy but does cover important points. It gives detailed explanations of which of the competing applications for ECML paths can or cannot be accommodated and why. Appendix F looks at Newark Crossing and shows the constraints here and how changing ECML paths have consequences to services over a wide area including MML. The report underlines the amount of effort going into achieving the impossible by fiddling the timetable, rather than building infrastructure required to meet the level of service that should be offered to customers. Not immediately obvious from the report is the lack of very fast paths. Alas these gobble up capacity, so any attempt to offer very fast trains from Edinburgh - Newcastle - London to compete with air are abandoned and a compromise spread of fastish and not semi-fast trains is the best on offer. Most of the companies affected by the Assessment have since responded. These are at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.00100b00j00c

Annual assessment of Network Rail 2007-08 was published on 17 September 2008. This fifth annual assessment covers the financial year from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008. It follows monitoring and analysis by ORR of Network Rail’s performance throughout the year and covers health and safety; management of the condition of the network and its impact on train performance; progress with major investment projects; expenditure and efficiency; and forward planning and train operations.
Source: ORR website http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/378.pdf

New guidance for the heritage railway and tramway sectors was published on 1 October 2008. This guidance is to help the tramway and heritage sectors with the Safety verification (SV) requirements of the Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006 (ROGS). These requirements came into force on 1 October 2008 and bring both sectors into line with all other sectors of the rail industry who have been applying SV since October 2006. The guides are primarily aimed at operators of heritage railways and operators/promoters of tramways. They concentrate on the requirements in ROGS for controlling the risks arising from introducing new or altered vehicles or infrastructure. ORR estimate the safety verification process will only be applied around five times a year in the tramway sector, and around 20 times a year in the heritage railway sector.
Source ORR website http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/342-ROGS_gdnce_nov07.pdf

PASSENGER FOCUS NEWS

Recent press releases from Passenger Focus include:
Passenger watchdog comments on Auditor’s train franchise conclusions (15.10.2008)
Rail watchdog and train company release ticket machine research (14.10.2008)
Passenger Focus welcomes extra trains for West Coast Main Line (19.09.2008)
Disabled passengers too often let down by rail companies’ failure to provide assistance (17.09.2008)
See http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-releases.asp for more details.

Recent publications:
Buying a ticket at the station (14.10.2008)
Passenger Focus structure chart October 2008 (10.10.2008)
Passenger Focus response to the Department for Transport consultation on the South Central franchise (23.09.2008)
Passenger Focus response to ORR draft determination (19.09.2008)
Assisted Passenger Reservation Service Best Practice Guidelines - a check list (17.09.2008)
Assisted Passenger Reservation Service: Mystery Shop (17.09.2008)
See http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/document-search/default.asp?keywords=&topic=&year=2008&type=&sdocsearch.x=45&sdocsearch.y=12

ROUTE UTILISATION STRATEGIES

The draft Yorkshire and Humberside RUS for consultation was published on 26 September 2008. Consultation closes on 18 December 2008. The RUS covers services operating throughout the Yorkshire and Humber Region. The RUS draft for consultation identifies a number of gaps, the most significant of which concern overcrowding on peak time passenger services into the major conurbations of Leeds and Sheffield, along with continues freight growth. The Draft proposes a number of options to address these capacity issues including train lengthening and additional services. These interventions would deliver a step change in capacity and are designed to meet the expected demand for both passenger and freight traffic over the next decade.

Source: Network Rail website: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browseDirectory.aspx?dir=\RUS%20Documents\Route%20Utilisation%20Strategies\Yorkshire%20and%20Humber&pageid=4449&root=\RUS%20Documents\Route%20Utilisation%20StrategiesYorkshire and Humber

REGIONAL TRANSPORT FUNDING

Government funding for large projects (significant transport, skills and education, housing and economic development projects) in the English Regions from 2009 – 2012 is currently being determined. This process, known as Regional Funding Allocation (RFA), also includes aspirations up to 2019. The Treasury and DfT guidance was published in July 2008. Regions have to put forward their wish lists in February 2009. Compared to previous funding processes this one has significant changes, the most important one to rail campaigners being that rail schemes can now be included (only road schemes in previous funding rounds).

The funding can only be for capital spending so if a rail scheme, such as a reopening, would need revenue support this would have to come from other sources. Projects need to be well thought out and take into account CO2 and climate change. It is very unlikely that a new road scheme would be funded if there were cheaper and more climate change compliant ways of achieving the same ends (eg bus lanes and a park and ride scheme).

There are plenty of Councillors who will be fighting for their local road scheme and Council Officers who think that the answer to all their traffic and economic problems is to build more roads so it is vital that the case for rail is put by Railfuture and allied organisations. In your editors' region (East Midlands) the draft list does include some rail schemes thanks to pressure from some enlightened local authorities and campaigning by EMTAR (which has representatives on it from Railfuture EM and Lincs branches). Draft lists are not usually published by Regional Assemblies but can often be discovered by looking at committee minutes etc in Regional Assembly and Regional Development Agency websites.

There is a much more detailed explanation of Regional Funding Allocation and links to Treasury and DfT guidance on the Campaign for Better Transport website. See
http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/local_campaigning/online_guides/regional_transport_funding/understand_process
http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/local_campaigning/online_guides/regional_transport_funding

SNIPPETS

Plans were announced on 15th October of proposals for a new 3,400 home eco-town on the site of the former USAF air base at Rackheath, North of Norwich. The man behind the scheme is Paul Knowles, chairman of Building Partnerships together with Barratt Homes and carbon reduction and climate change experts from the University of East Anglia. The scheme would include a new railway station south of existing Salhouse station, a rail link into the site and provision for a rail freight depot. There would also be dedicated bus and train services. For further details visit www.rackheatheco-community.com

A reminder that Rail Accident Investigation Branch reports can be found at http://www.raib.gov.uk/publications/investigation_reports.cfm
Recently added to the list is an investigation into the Collision of a train with a demolished footbridge, Barrow upon Soar on 01 February 2008 and a report on the accident at Greyrigg.


Activists Briefing Issue 38

12th September 2008


NEW RAILFUTURE MEDIA SPOKESMAN AND COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN

For anyone who has not read the minutiae of the 2008/9 Who's Who there are some important changes to responsibilities. Bruce Williamson has taken over from Peter Lawrence as our national Media spokesman. Bruce has wide experience of working in the media and acting as spokesman for other organisations. He gave a wide ranging presentation on the role of a media spokesman at the Salisbury conference. Ian McDonald has replaced Jerry Alderson as Chairman of Network Development committee with Colin Lingard as the new committee secretary.

IN THE NEWS

Railfuture are celebrating a small but significant victory with the announcement that from December, Ashford International will again have a train to and from Brussels each day. Unfortunately it will not be suitable for day visitors from the Continent - but we must promote what we have and use that as a lever to get more in 2009. As a weekly commuter last year Railfuture Vice chairman, Jerry Alderson, did his own counts of people boarding and alighting at Ashford, and during a half-term week counted more than 170 people get off at Ashford on a Thursday evening. Jerry's figures were published in Rail Management Online,

Railfuture Chairman, Mike Crowhurst, has had two letters published in Local Transport Today.

NEWS FROM RAILFUTURE BRANCHES AND COMMITTEES

Railfuture branches have been busy exhibiting at various events recently. West Midlands had a stand at Tyseley Open Day and Lincolnshire exhibited again this year at the 2 day Grantham Rail Show last weekend. North East will have a stand at the Community Open Day at Heaton Depot on 14th September.

Bernard Garner, Director General of Nexus, will be the speaker at the next Railfuture North East branch meeting on Thursday 18th September. The presentation entitled 'Tomorrow's Railway' will look at planned enhancements to both light and heavy rail within the North East region. It starts at 19.00 at Brunswick Methodist Church (off Northumberland Street) in Central Newcastle. All are welcome to attend.

East Anglia branch were sorry to hear of the death on August 10th of Charles Taylor aged 91. He was a long-standing stalwart of the branch serving as Vice-Chairman of the Branch for very many years as well as Chairman of the Felixstowe Branch of the User Group ESTA. He could chair even a difficult meeting with exceptional skill. He was also a fascinating speaker, sometimes stepping into the breach when no outside speaker was available. He will be sorely missed. Trevor Garrod comments “Characteristic of Charles was the occasion when a railway manager at an East Anglia Branch meeting was accused of presiding over untidy and neglected stations. He tried to respond by impressing us with his and his colleagues' elaborate system of form-filling and report-filing; to be told by Charles, "But surely, sir, all that you have to do is to clean it!"

David Eldridge, Secretary Railfuture Thames Valley Branch, has had two letters published in the Oxford Times. One warmly welcomed Chiltern Railways' plans for a direct rail link from Oxford to London via Bicester. The inclusion of a new station at Water Eaton park-and-ride will also be of great benefit. With completion of the project in time for the London Olympics, direct rail access to Wembley from Oxford will also be possible. A further benefit of this rail link will be as an alternative to the Oxford-Reading-London route, which will be affected by the redevelopment works at Reading in the years to come. Furthermore, this new Oxford-Bicester-London route gives undoubted impetus to the reopening of the existing Bicester-Milton Keynes railway line itself. This new facility is to take 4 years to implement; another correspondent noted this, saying that the original line from Bletchley to Oxford took the same length of time to build!

The second letter commented on reports that Network Rail is to conduct feasibility studies into two new railway lines in Oxfordshire by 2025. David noted that Network Rail's current plans to improve capacity on the Oxford-Didcot-Reading-London Paddington route have not been approved by the Office of the Rail Regulator, because of inadequate costings. He went on to say that the existing East-West rail link from Oxford to Milton Keynes should be reopened; the extensive studies of this already recommended reopening of this route and do not need any eco-town proposals to make their case.

Railfuture Lincolnshire Chairman, Alan Waddington, was quoted in Lincolnshire Echo welcoming the reopening of Lincoln station after a 6 week blockade whilst the track was upgraded and a new signalling system installed.

Railfuture Wales have contributed to the Wales Spatial Plan 2008 Update which was presented the to the plenary on 8 July by the Minister for Public Service Delivery, Andrew Davies, and formally adopted by the Assembly Members. The Wales Spatial Plan 2008 Update is available at www.wales.gov.uk/walesspatialplan.

The Railfuture Kent Divisional autumn Meeting will now be held one week later, on Saturday November 22nd at 2pm, in the Vauxhall Room, Angel Centre, Tonbridge, 1400.

David Fursden of Railfuture East Midlands is quoted in Corby Evening Telegraph on 24 July welcoming the news that the new Corby to St Pancras link, due to start in December, could be extended to Oakham.

In the September 2008 edition of Railfuture NorthEast newsletter 'OnTrack' the branch report that they are continuing to work on pursuing the Leamside Line agenda and that they have also contributed to an approach from Northumberland County Council to look at their Local Transport Plan. If anyone would like an electronic copy of this newsletter please email david.harby at ntlworld.com.

The August edition of Yorkshire Rail Campaigner, the Railfuture Yorkshire newsletter, gives details of a meeting they are organising to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of James Towler. To quote from the newsletter “Unlike politicians we do have long memories, and recognise that the thriving railway of today owes much to the determination, resolve and vision of James Towler 25 years ago, when he stood firm against British Rail at the time of the closure proposals for the Settle-Carlisle and Huddersfield-Sheffield lines. In the dark days of the 1980s, James shone like a beacon and can be truly regarded as the most influential figure in railway circles of that decade. Make no mistake, James helped to shape the railway network of 2008.” Details of the event to be held at Stocksmoor Village Hall on 15 November are in Yorkshire Rail Campaigner. An electronic copy can be obtained from Graham Collett graham@collettgh.plus.com.

In their autumn newsletter 'Rail Wales' the Railfuture South Wales secretary, Roland Pittard, reports that reading and responding to the steady stream of official documents constitutes a significant workload for the branch. He mentions 14 documents that have merited a response during the last 12 months.

‘A VISION FOR SUSSEX RAIL’

Coastway Division of Railfuture London & SE organised a meeting in Lewes on 6 September. Around 50 representatives from the major local rail user groups and those responsible for planning, and developing the East and West Coastway and Marshlink railway and its branches and links presented – and discussed – a vision of how the rail map of Sussex could develop in the next 20 years. The meeting was considered a great success and generated new ideas for the planners and for groups on how to work together so as to get things done.

The major speakers were:
Sharon Hedges, Passenger Link Manager, Passenger Focus - Sussex rail in the current context and the ‘re-franchising’ process
Paul Best, Route Planner for Sussex, Network Rail - The ‘Route Utilisation Strategy’ for Sussex (and Kent)
Ivor Hueting, Railfuture Coastway - Developing Coastway to 2016 and beyond: - starting with Railfuture (Coastway) ‘s refranchising and development proposals to the DfT
Brian Hart, Wealden Line Campaign / Railfuture - The Wealden Link – a 21st century rail solution
Tony Crooks, Railfuture Coastway - Eastbourne: a case for Light Rail

A lively discussion involving all the participants included all the issues raised by the presenters and a more detailed look at how to integrate transport, capacity of the network and environmental issues

The meeting was funded by individual Railfuture Coastway members, national / London branch Railfuture, and by Passenger Focus.

A few copies of a complete audio recording of the meeting on CDs together with a printed copy of the re-franchise submission documents and (e-mailed) Railfuture presentations are available for £10. E–mail ivor at impax.org.uk for more information.

A report of the meeting was sent to the Eastbourne Herald and published on 12 September.

Ivor Hueting had ten minutes on Southern Counties Radio on Friday morning 5th September discussing the issues raised by the forthcoming meeting and the Railfuture submission for the new South Central franchise and the overwhelming case for reopening the Uckfield - Lewes link, which the East Sussex Council had just rejected. It seemed to be well received.

RAILWAYS IN THE FUTURE CONFERENCE - 15th NOVEMBER 2008

Booking forms for this conference were sent out with the Report and Accounts. To attract the speakers that we were looking for it was necessary to hold the conference in London. We were also cognisant of the fact that many members incur considerable transport costs to attend our conferences so we wished to keep the conference fee low. Finding a venue in London where the hire and food charges were low enough to enable us to stand a chance of breaking even with an attendance fee of £20 was difficult. The venue we eventually settled on is a good venue with easy access to Underground and main line stations but it comes with a strict capacity limit. Members are therefore encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.

SALISBURY CONFERENCE FEEDBACK

The Conference report will soon be ready for despatch. There will be a few spare copies for sale at the London Conference in November.

An analysis of travel responses to a questionnaire at the conference disclosed that of the 69 people who completed the form, 58 came to Salisbury principally by train. These 58 train travellers, who between them took about 100 separate trains (including some by London Underground), reported all trains were on time, or within 2 minutes, except a points failure outside Reading which delayed one FGW train to Basingstoke by 15 minutes. 30 respondents rated the most important concern as overcrowding. This is a major change from a few years ago when ‘reliability’ or ‘punctuality’ would surely have been the majority concern.

HAVE YOU JOINED THE RAILFUTURE YAHOO GROUP YET?

The Railfuture Yahoo Group is a lively on-line discussion group for Railfuture members. A typical contribution is the following from Railfuture Lincolnshire member, Brynley Heaven, which is reproduced in full with his permission:

“Tom Harris, Rail Minister, has written a letter explaining the experiment with tram trains between Huddersfield, Penistone, Barnsley, and Sheffield (Rail Mag p30).

It is also signed by Northern Rail, Community Rail and Network Rail so we can assume this is the authorised version. It is not signed by Stagecoach who run the trams in those parts.

Why the experiment? Is it to cut costs on rural lines or to follow the Germans with improved urban networks?

Not so fast. We are advised that our rainy island home has "differing passenger expectation, a lack of tradition of trams and differences in facilities in stations".

So that's as clear as mud. Apparently we have no tradition of trams in this country. Really? (Has Tom Harris never been to a Labour Party conference in Blackpool? - Ed)

The Rail Minister continues "We were clear in our planning and specification that Phase 1 of the trial was not to try and prove the whole concept but only certain parts".

Certain Parts. More mud. Anyway don't expect any proper tram train running in phase two either, he says. They are "looking at whether we could run tram trains on the Sheffield Supertram for a short period after the main part of the trial"

Mud up to neck at this point.

And the outcome of successful trials? "We have carefully planned this in order to get the answers we need and to potentially pave the way, should the case exist, for the wider use of tram trains elsewhere in the UK."

So there it is. The Penistone - Sheffield trials will include no true tram train working. The follow on phase will include no true tram train working. But, cynics beware, Tom Harris has a plan. And the plan is that after Phases one and two we could be potentially paving the way, should the case exist, for a tram train experiment.

And where would that experiment be? Tom is quite specific. It's going to be in the UK. Thanks, Tom.”

To register for Railfuture Yahoo group and take part in discussions go to: http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/railfuture/

RAILFUTURE MEET ATOC

A delegation from Railfuture has recently met with a group from ATOC. Discussions mainly concerned future rail expansion.

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT NEWS

Here is a summary of the DfT announcements since early July. A full list of the press releases can be found at http://nds.coi.gov.uk/environment/dft/

On 11 September Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick announced a £67m boost to the Sustainable Distribution Fund that will help the freight industry reduce costs and cut emissions. The money will be targeted at increasing the use of rail and water transport where current schemes support the removal of over one million lorry journeys each year. It will also be used to help hauliers and freight operators cut costs and be more fuel efficient, reduce emissions and cut road congestion.
Source: http://nds.coi.gov.uk/environment/fullDetail.asp?ReleaseID=378678&NewsAreaID=2&NavigatedFromDepartment=False

On 20 August DfT announced that passengers on one of the UK's busiest rail networks are set to benefit from new carriages, longer and more frequent trains as well as a greater choice of destinations due to changes to franchise agreements agreed between the Department for Transport and the train operating companies Southeastern, First Capital Connect and Southern Railways. This was in reality not an announcement of new rolling stock but just another publication of the Thameslink modernisation programme.
Source: http://nds.coi.gov.uk/environment/fullDetail.asp?ReleaseID=377178&NewsAreaID=2&NavigatedFromDepartment=False

Also on 20 August the bidders for South Central franchise were announced. DfT has recently consulted on proposals for the franchise, which included plans to increase capacity by around 10% overall. The consultation also stated that the winner must help facilitate the East London Line Extension from 2010 and the £5.5bn Thameslink Programme, both of which will provide a significant increase in capacity in and through London, once operational. Other proposed improvements include smartcards rolled out throughout the franchise area, safer stations, later running services, improved reliability and better environmental performance. Passenger Focus have also advised the Department on key priorities for the new franchise. The bidders are NedRailways South Central Limited (NedRailways Limited), NXSC Trains Limited (National Express Group plc), Southern Railway Limited (Govia Limited), Southern Trains Limited (Stagecoach Group plc).
Source: http://nds.coi.gov.uk/environment/fullDetail.asp?ReleaseID=377149&NewsAreaID=2&NavigatedFromDepartment=False

7 August: Road Traffic and Congestion in Great Britain: Q2 2008

31 July: Agreement has been reached with Virgin Rail Projects Ltd to support the Department for Transport's plans to introduce longer 'Pendolino' trains on the West Coast Main Line.
31 July: £400m Government investment in North East transport. Major renewals on the Tyne and Wear Metro and plans for a new river crossing in Sunderland have been given the green light today, after Transport Minister Rosie Winterton announced a new funding package of around £400 million for these important North East schemes.

24 July: Road Statistics 2007: Traffic, Speeds and Congestion

23 July: Crossrail given go ahead by Parliament

7 July an update of major road schemes costs was released. Source: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/ltp/major/majorscheme.pdf

The remaining Parliamentary stages for the Local Transport Bill are anticipated after Parliament is scheduled to resume in early October. The summer period provides a good opportunity for the Bill Team to progress its plans for implementation of the Bill - including the preparation of draft guidance and draft secondary legislation. To this end, three consultations have been published for which and full details are available at www.dft.gov.uk/localtransportbill.
The consultations cover:
(1) draft Regulations to support the Community Transport provisions in the Bill England, Scotland and Wales
(2) draft Regulations and guidance relating to quality partnership schemes and voluntary partnership agreements England and, in part, Wales
(3) draft guidance on the application of competition law in the bus market (published jointly with the Office of Fair Trading) England and Wales
Source: email from DfT

The DfT is seeking views on creating new categories of Minor Modification that can be used for two types of closure that would currently be required to follow the full closure process where there is limited effect on the provision of railway passenger services. These affect moving stations and reducing the number of tracks through stations. Details can be found at:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/minormodificationsrailways/maindocument?page=2#a1002

ORR NEWS

On 26 June the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) published its railway safety statistical report for the calendar year 2007. The report shows that in 2007, railway safety continued to improve. Selected findings include:

  • the total number of train incidents fell by 5%, from 1061 in 2006 to 1006 in 2007 (this includes trespass, vandalism, and passenger accidents);
  • sadly there were five fatalities on the network: four vehicle occupants at level crossings (including one suspected suicide); and one passenger on the train involved in the derailment at Grayrigg in February 2007;
  • there were significant reductions in track buckles and rolling stock failures;
  • there were two rail employee fatalities, compared with four in 2006;
  • assaults on employees by members of the public fell by 25% (223 in 2006 to 168 in 2007) reaching its lowest level in five years;
  • 191 broken rails were reported on Network Rail-controlled infrastructure, representing a major improvement from 1999 when 939 were recorded; and
  • the total number of signals passed at danger (SPADs) fell from 349 in 2006 to 325 in 2007. However, there has been a slight increase in the number of ‘severe’ SPADS from 18 in 2006 to 21 in 2007.
The report is available on the website at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.6693
Source: ORR press notice http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9156

On 7 August the ORR issued a statement welcoming the publication by the Competition Commission of its provisional findings in its investigation of the leasing of rolling stock for franchised passenger services. As has been widely reported in the railway and financial media the CC found that the leasing companies were not making excessive profits. The decision document ‘Review of passenger rolling stock leasing markets’ is available from the ORR website at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/325.pdf The Competition Commission press notice is available from their website at http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/press_rel/2008/aug/pdf/22-08.pdf.
Source: ORR press notice http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9178

The 2008 periodic review (PR08) which will set Network Rail's outputs, revenue requirement and access charges for the five years from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2014 (control period 4) has been published. Various documents are available for download as PDF files. Consultant's reports that have been used in consideration of the determinations are also available. Source and links to documents: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.180

The National rail review and Network Rail monitor were published on 28 August. ORR comments on a positive set of indicators which show that train punctuality has exceeded 90% - its best level for more than 10 years. The regulator also highlights that Network Rail will need to reduce by more than a third the disruption caused to passengers by engineering work.
Network Rail monitor is available on ORR website at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/376.pdf.
National rail review is available on ORR website at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/377.pdf.
Source: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9188

Letters concerning both East and West Coast timetabling disputes have been posted on the ORR website.

The long planned new Trent Valley local service has hit a totally unexpected problem although the daytime trains, as specified in London Midland's SLC are not affected.

London Midland wanted to run a later evening service from Euston; but Virgin have said that this would abstract from their revenue at Rugby and are claiming 'Moderation of Competition' - a contractual right which is now unique to them. (Ed. - Funny how Virgin are complaining about a proposed BA/AA agreement for transatlantic flights which they say will reduce competition but they are attempting to suppress competition on rail)

The whole row is now played out in an exchange of letters on the Rail Regulator's website (under West Coast 6th SA). Letters from Warwickshire County Council, Passenger Focus and Hinckley and Bosworth Council express concerns about Moderation of Competition. You will also find strident objections to the Cross Country changes. Letters are at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9108

There are now more letters from TOCs etc concerning bids for paths on the ECML. Particularly interesting is a letter 19 August 2008 from ORR about their handling of potentially competing track access applications and Terms of Reference for the Consultants they are engaging to appraise the applications. There is also a letter 03 September 2008 from First Group disclosing that “ATOC in conjunction with the principal operators on ECML has produced a radically different timetable” “It does demonstrate that that seven long distance high speed services can operate every hour in the off-peak whilst still retaining one freight path in each direction.”

ECML letters at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.205#further

PASSENGER FOCUS NEWS

Passenger Focus has just published a new report titled "Passenger Information: A Vision". The 60 page report, funded jointly by Passenger Focus and National Rail Enquiries, has been prepared by MVA Consultancy. The work was informed by eight Focus Groups, based in London, Leeds, Cardiff and Glasgow; comprising at total of just 67 passengers. In addition, in depth interviews were conducted with a small sample of mobility, vision or hearing impaired passengers (5 in total).

No attempt appears to have been made to gather the views of Rail User Groups on this topic. There also do not appear to be any reference to previous work on this subject by the regional RPC's.

The report can be found in the Publications section of the Passenger Focus website http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/byentering “Passenger Information: A Vision” as Keywords.

The latest series of Passenger Focus bulletins, Passenger Voice, are available at http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/document-search/default.asp?keywords=passenger+voice&topic=&year=&type=&sdocsearch.x=0&sdocsearch.y=0. Enter “passenger voice” as the Keyword and a list of all the regional versions will be displayed.

The latest copy of the National Passenger Survey, the largest survey of rail passengers with 50,000 passengers giving their views about their rail journeys, is now available. To view the survey http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=1789

ROUTE UTILISATION STRATEGIES

Railfuture Wales have responded to the 2008 Wales RUS Consultation. The response incorporates detail from the recently updated Railway Development Plan for Wales ‘On Track for the 21st Century’ produced by Railfuture Wales. The revised plan has been presented to Assembly Government and the four Welsh transport consortia. A copy has been sent to the RUS Programme Manager and Railfuture Wales are pleased to note that many of their recommendations have been included in the Wales RUS.

The Lancashire and Cumbria RUS which has recently been published can be found at http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse documents/rus documents.../lancashire and cumbria rus.pdf

PASSENGER NUMBERS SURGE BY AN UNPRECEDENTED 42% IN 12 MONTHS AT HUNMANBY RAILWAY STATION

We are pleased to highlight how enthusiastic involvement by local residents can dramatically increase station usage. Passenger numbers have increased from 13,399 in 2005-6 to 18,976 in 2006-7 (an extra 5,577 journeys) at Hunmanby Railway station. In 2005 Nick Harvey of Green Express Railtours, who lives in the village, realised that there was very little awareness of the unstaffed village station. In spring 2006 Nick obtained 500 rail timetables and distributed these to local shops, pubs, takeaways, libraries and post offices. He also personally funded and arranged printing of a combined bus and train timetable for the village listing both train times, bus departures as well as contact details for local taxi firms. These timetables have been delivered door to door twice a year since spring 2006 to over 2,000 households, including separate editions for outlying villages. At the same time the local 'Hunmanby In Bloom' have created a flower bed on the approach to the Scarborough bound platform.

A change of ownership of the old station house, a period Georgian building retaining many original features, saw the new owners develop the old waiting rooms into self catering accommodation and take on the role of voluntary station adopters. Each year they have extend the flower display and even installed Christmas Lights for the festive season, further enhancing the station environment as a pleasant place to await the train.

In promoting the station by the community, approaching 100 local people have been involved ranging from businesses premises displaying rail timetables to volunteers managing the flowers and distributing the door to door timetables. From this involvement a real sense of ‘community ownership’ has developed with the local residents and visitors alike aiming to use the train more and give support to the local rural rail service.

SNIPPETS

A website offering information about mega trucks and their negative effects on environment, road safety, modal split and the tax payer has been launched. The website NO MEGA TRUCKS can be found at www.nomegatrucks.eu. Railfuture have signed up. Source: press release http://www.nomegatrucks.eu/press-release-campaigns-launch/

The House of Commons Transport Committee published a report Freight Transport on 19 July. The report can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtran.htm

On July 24th and 25th, thousands of people went by rail to Lowestoft Airshow. The East Suffolk Travellers' Association (which is affiliated to Railfuture) wrote to the Train Operating Company appreciating the way in which it rose to the challenge with additional Norwich - Lowestoft trains and buses to supplement the very busy Ipswich - Lowestoft trains. However, ESTA's letter also expresses concern that many passengers had a free ride. ESTA hope that in 2009 more staff will be on duty to issue and check tickets and that perhaps a way of selling tickets in advance for the event can be devised as well. Airshow visitors were among the many people who appreciate the favourable position of Lowestoft station. ESTA has also produced a survey form that can be used as part of its campaign against any proposed moving of the station. It is seeking funding for this survey from a number of sources.

I have been told that on 26 October, Adam Hart-Davis will host a BBC1 programme on the Beeching cuts. Titled 'In Beeching's Tracks' we are led to believe it will focus on the Beverley to Market Weighton line. It's due for broadcast at 5pm.

The Guardian reported on 12 September that the BBC4 autumn schedule includes a Golden Age of Steam season which includes programmes where Ian Hislop Goes Off the Rails appraising the impact of the Beeching report.

Trevor Garrod is due to speak at the South East Regional TUC conference on October 4th. The conference at Congress House will be on the theme of rural and suburban public transport. Further details from Trevor Garrod trevorgarrod2000 at yahoo.co.uk

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

Saturday 20th September 2008
Railfuture Yorkshire Autumn meeting, All Saints' Parish Church Hall, Church Street, Ilkley at 14.00. Guest speaker on Transport in the Yorkshire Dales.

Saturday 27th September 2008
Railfuture Passenger committee, London

Saturday 18th October 2008
Railfuture Freight committee, Birmingham

Saturday 1st November 2008
Railfuture Policy, Lobby, Campaigns committee, London

Saturday 8th November 2008
Railfuture Network Development committee, Peterborough or London

Saturday 15th November 2008
Railfuture 'Railways in the future' Conference, London
Railfuture Yorkshire tribute to James Towler, Stocksmoor Village Hall (a short walk from Stocksmoor station on the Penistone Line)

Saturday 22nd November 22nd 2008
Railfuture Kent Divisional Meeting in the Vauxhall Room, Angel Centre, Tonbridge, 1400

Saturday 29th November 2008
RDS Ltd Board meeting, Derby

Activists Briefing Issue 37

2nd July 2008


IN THE NEWS

Following the sudden death of Gwyneth Dunwoody, MP for Crewe and Nantwich, Railfuture President, issued a media release saying that “her death had come as a great shock to the rail lobby. For many years she was an excellent chair of the powerful Commons Transport Committee and was the longest serving female Labour MP. She had great wisdom and was independently minded. A solid supporter of railways and not afraid to keep powers that be on their toes. She was a good back bencher and irreplaceable. Sadly she will be missed.”

The Press Association telephoned Railfuture President, Peter Lawrence, on 20th March and wanted the Railfuture views on the proposed 35 Easter Weekend rail shutdowns. This was followed on 29th March with an article in the Eastern Daily Press headed "Engineering works again this weekend." Railfuture had the lions share of the article with three paragraphs. Peter said he appreciated that work needed to be done but weekend travel was becoming a "nightmare". He said: Nobody can guarantee that work will be done on time. In view of the publicity over the Easter and Christmas works overrunning, I am sure they will do their best to complete this weekend's work on time."

In the Eastern Daily Press, Friday 11 April there was an article about National Express East Anglia wanting passengers to text a dedicated number if they spot anyone they think has deliberately avoided paying for a ticket. Peter Lawrence expressed scepticism about the scheme saying " I think the solution is more ticket inspectors, as has been suggested, more inspections on the train and more ticket barriers. This is a better way of dealing with it than relying on passengers to do their job for them. Whether this new method will bring results we will have to see. You will always find people who will cheat the system. As to whether passengers will report them, that's a difficult one. That will be up to the individual depending on the circumstances," he said.

The Daily Mail telephoned Peter on 15th April to seek Railfuture views on the plans for additional trains to operate from Harrogate and Lincoln to London. Peter welcomed the news and said that running these additional trains will bring more people on to the railways and give more travel opportunities.

On Sunday Morning, 8th June, Anglia Television telephoned Peter Lawrence regarding the staff problems on East Midlands trains. This resulted in a TV interview Sunday afternoon in his garden on the Railfuture views on Rail Replacement buses. Rail replacement buses are okay when maintenance is carried out but cannot match a fast rail services. Most replacement road services make the journey longer and luxury coaches are not always used and standard buses are often substituted.

A few days later Eastern Daily Press telephoned Peter concerning the problems on the overhead lines on the Norwich to London route. It is generally recognised that the overhead between Liverpool Street and Chelmsford is worn out and urgently needs replacing. Work is currently being carried out to replace the overhead current cables but delays and possible breakdowns are still likely for the next 2/3 years until the work is completed.

On 10th May Railfuture issued a media release announcing the results of the Eurostar snapshot survey we conducted between December 2007 and March 2008. this was the survey form distributed with Railwatch 114. The conclusions reached were:

The most frequently raised suggestion was for Ashford International to have more than four trains a day with the emphasis on some additional stops in Brussels trains.

Fares must be kept under review, particularly with regard to off—peak services. Eurostar may also observe and draw conclusions from the experience of domestic TOCs whose ticketing, on the initiative of ATOC, is being simplified.

Eurostar’s longer-term strategy should include the possibility of through services to other Continental destinations – for which the demand appears greater than that for Eurostars to operate from stations north and west of London.

There is a clear need for those TOCs not already offering through Eurostar tickets, or even advertising the service, to start doing so. This could be done in a relatively short time.

NEWS FROM RAILFUTURE BRANCHES AND COMMITTEES

A reporter from the Northampton Evening Telegraph attended the public meeting following the Railfuture East Midlands AGM but was really only interested in Kettering and Corby issues. Roger Bacon, Railfuture EM secretary, told her that we were also concerned about the poor rolling stock used on Connect Services that run in the other five East Midlands counties but he didn't think she'd ever heard of Connect or most of the places they go to.

Following the release of the ECML RUS, Nick Dibben, Railfuture East Anglia secretary was quoted in the Hunts Post on 12th March. Nick welcomed the extra platform at Peterborough but expressed doubts that enough capacity has been planned to cope with the growth in commuter traffic. Nick was disappointed that Network Rail seemed not to be addressing the bottleneck at Welwyn viaduct, believing the company may be pinning its hopes on a new high-speed line to the north to relieve congestion there.

Railfuture Lincolnshire Vice Chairman, David Harby, has had a number of discussions with reporters from the Lincolnshire Echo on the implications for Lincoln of the ECML RUS. David has also been quoted in the Echo welcoming the signalling and track upgrade which is to take place in Lincoln during a 6 week blockade in July and August 2008. David said that the 6 weeks of disruption was worthwhile as the new layout at Lincoln would result in a more reliable and robust service. David was also interviewed on BBC Radio Lincolnshire at 7.10 on 10th April about an incident at Scopwick the previous day where a DMU hit the level crossing gates. The interviewer was concerned about the safety of level crossings. David quoted some of the recently released figures from Network Rail on level crossing safety. These showed that the overwhelming majority of level crossing incidents are due to motorists breaking the law. The 7.10 interview is usually repeated at 8.10 but not on this day. David's view is that this has something to do with his refusal to follow the clamour from listeners for more manned level crossings.

Railfuture, London & South-east Branch, Kent Division have announced the dates of their final 2 quarterly meetings in 2008. On 16th August, they meet at Folkestone Methodist Church, Sandgate Road, Folkestone. The autumn meeting will be held on Saturday November 15th in the Vauxhall Room, Angel Centre, Tonbridge. Both start at 1400.

Railfuture Lincs Chairman, Alan Waddington, was interviewed recently on the BBC Radio programme ‘Open Country’. The programme was about the Nottingham - Skegness 'Poacher' Line. Alan mentioned the lack of late evening services from Skegness and the lack of Sunday morning services from Skegness except for a few weeks in mid summer.

RAILWAYS IN THE FUTURE CONFERENCE

The autumn Railfuture Conference will this year be held in London on Saturday 15th November. An attractive panel of speakers have accepted invitations to address the Conference. Acceptances include Chris Green (Railway Forum), Chris Austin (ATOC), Norman Baker MP (Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesman), Julie Mills (Greengauge), Lord Berkeley (Rail Freight Group) and Dr Lewis Lesley (Tram trains).

RAILFUTURE MEET LIBERAL DEMOCRAT SHADOW TRANSPORT SECRETARY

A Railfuture delegation has recently met Norman Baker MP, Lib Dem Shadow Transport Secretary. In a wide ranging discussion we agreed on most topics. Mr Baker handed us a copy of the Lib Dem draft transport plan “Fast Track Britain: Building a Transport System for the 21st Century”. This paper is very pro rail and in many aspects aligns closely with Railfuture policy.

CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS

Our Publicity Team has just published a very handy booklet on Corporate Communications – otherwise known as Public Relations.

It is full of advice on handling the media, producing newsletters and leaflets and generally presenting the case for rail. It thus compliments the Policy Folder produced last year.

A copy has already gone to each branch and committee contact. If you would also like a copy please contact Alan Waddington, Highfield, 25 Viking Way, Metheringham, Lincoln LN4 3DW. David Harby will also have some copies with him on the sales stand at the conference in Salisbury on 5th July.

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT NEWS

Powers under Section 26(1) of the Railways Act 1993 – On 20th March 2008 the Secretary of State for Transport (Ruth Kelly) laid before Parliament a policy statement on the exercise of her powers in relation to passenger rail franchising under section 26(1) of the Railways Act 1993. Amendments to that act made by the Railways Act 2005, which transferred certain franchising functions of the Strategic Rail Authority to the Secretary of State, require her to publish a statement of policy about how she proposes to exercise her powers under section 26(1).

The statement sets out how she intends to award rail franchises in future, which is by means of competitive tender wherever possible. The statement also sets out those circumstances in which it is likely that an invitation to tender will not be issued, and clarifies those circumstances where a franchise agreement may be extended.
See http://www.dft.gov.uk/press/speechesstatements/statements/sospowers

South Central Franchise Consultation was published on 22nd May. According to the DfT announcement “The South central franchise is due to commence on 20th September 2009. The consultation document aims to inform stakeholders of the award process, the aims and objectives for the franchise and the proposed base franchise specification.” The closing date is 14th August 2008. The consultation documents can be found on the DfT website at http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/southcentralfranchise/

Towards a Sustainable Transport System – A letter to update consultees on DfT progress on TaSTS so far and next steps to be taken was published on 1st July 2008 together with supporting documents. All are on DfT website at http://www.dft.gov.uk/about/strategy/transportstrategy/tasts/

ORR NEWS

On 5th June ORR announced its draft determinations on Network Rail's outputs and access charges for control period 4 (from April 2009 to March 2014). ORR say they “have set a challenging and achievable target for Network Rail to reduce operating, maintenance and renewals costs by 21% by 2014. It judges that Network Rail will need £26.5bn in income over the period to deliver significant improvements in reliability, capacity and safety.

Network Rail will need to deliver a major programme of projects across the network so that it can accommodate growth in passenger and freight traffic. Schemes in England & Wales include: increasing capacity on the Thameslink route by lengthening platforms and by other means such as relieving the track bottleneck at London Bridge; rebuilding Reading station and removing the track bottleneck in the area; rebuilding Birmingham New Street station; improvements in capacity in Cardiff; improving the line speed of the Midland Main line; and providing capacity relief to the east coast Main Line through development of the line from Peterborough to Doncaster. Schemes in Scotland include: a new Glasgow Airport Rail Link; and a new line from Airdrie to Bathgate. Network Rail will deliver many smaller scale schemes, including extensions to more than 500 platforms to accommodate longer trains. The scale of the enhancement programme is more than twice the level in the current control period.”

Periodic review 2008: Draft determinations is published by ORR and is available on the ORR website at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/368.pdf. To save you searching through all 374 pages for the ORR view on schemes in your area these are listed in Annex D: 'ORR assessment of enhancement schemes in Network Rail’s SBP update' pages 363 – 369
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On 11th June ORR issued a press statement welcoming the announcement by the Law Commission that the law governing level crossings will form part of their tenth programme of law reform. The law regulating the use, safety requirements, closure and other aspects of railway level crossings is antiquated and fragmented - much of it being in nineteenth century private legislation. The project will undertake a general review of the law with a view to providing a modern, accessible and balanced legal structure for their regulation. The programme of reform will run to April 2011.

More information about the Law Commission's programme of reform can be found at: http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/programmes.htm.
--
Station usage figures for 2006/7 are now on the ORR website at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1529. Thanks to Graham Larkby and Peter Cousins for their comments as follows.

“There are lots of useful info here, plus the annual fun of trying to find the least used station in the UK. Interestingly, the two served only by the weekly Stockport-Stalybridge Flyer are included for the first time – and aren't the least-used in the country. Though how Reddish South has logged 10 season-ticket journeys using its one train a week is a puzzle!”

“There are many detailed improvements this year, notably in the treatment of 'Group Station' destinations. However the large rise in passenger numbers at many Greater London stations is due to the inclusion of origins and estimated destinations from London Travel Card purchases which have been included for the first time.”

Your editor comments that some ex CT stations in the East Midlands have seen a fall in usage. During the 2006/7 period the Central Trains franchise was nearing the end and the weekend service at these stations was atrocious with many short notice cancellations and bus replacements.

Peter Cousins has produced a two page summary PDF of the Station Usage data comparing data for the past two years, grouped by Region and Local Authority. This can be obtained by email from david.harby at ntlworld.com.

The ORR annual report was published on 26th June 2008. The report describes ORR's activities and achievements during a busy and challenging year as the independent safety and economic regulator of Britain's railways. It is available on the website at:
http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.6693

Also on 26th June ORR published its railway safety statistical report 2007 providing information on the safety performance of the railway industry last year (January to December 2007). It covers the key safety risks in four sections: incidents involving passengers, staff and members of the public, level crossings, trespass and vandalism, train incidents and rolling stock and infrastructure failures. The report is available on the website at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.6693

RAIB ANNOUNCE AN INVESTIGATION INTO USER WORKED CROSSINGS

The Rail Accident Investigation Board is carrying out an investigation into user worked crossings on Network Rail’s system. On Network Rail there are 1060 such crossings which rely totally on the road user to operate the crossing, 1661 where the road user can telephone Network Rail’s signaller, and 93 fitted with miniature stop lights to warn the road user when a train is approaching.

The RAIB will make its findings available to the Law Commission, which is currently reviewing the legal framework for level crossings and will publish a report, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of its investigation. This report will be available on the RAIB website.

Source: http://www.raib.gov.uk/publications/current_investigations_register/080619_user_worked_crossings.cfm

ROUTE UTILISATION STRATEGIES

The East Midlands RUS process has started with meetings recently held to brief stakeholders.

As you have no doubt seen, the Wales RUS was released on 29th May. A copy is available for downloading from Network Rail’s website at: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browseDirectory.aspx?dir=\RUS%20Documents\Route%20Utilisation%20Strategies\Wales&pageid=4449&root=\RUS%20Documents\Route%20Utilisation%20Strategies
Comments to Roland Pittard rowlandpittard1@yahoo.co.uk for an integrated response from Railfuture.

ECO TOWNS

The Government has announced locations of 15 new eco-towns to be reduced to 10 later. In all 57 initial proposals were received from local authorities and developers across the country. The 15 shortlisted locations are:

Bordon, Hampshire - up to 8,000 homes
Coltishall, Norfolk - 5,000 homes
Curborough, Staffordshire - 5,000 homes
Elsenham, Essex - minimum of 5,000 homes
Ford, West Sussex - 5,000 homes
Hanley Grange, Cambridgeshire - 8,000 homes
Imerys, Cornwall - around 5,000 homes
Leeds city region, West Yorkshire - further review
Manby, Lincolnshire - 5,000 homes
Marston Vale and New Marston, Bedfordshire – up to 15,400 homes
Middle Quinton, Warwickshire - 6,000 homes
Pennbury, Leicestershire - up to 15,000 homes
Rossington, South Yorkshire - up to 15,000 homes
Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire - further review
Weston Otmoor, Oxfordshire - up to 15,000 homes

In summary: 4 have or could have stations, 7 are around 5 miles to the nearest station, 3 are a long way away and for 1 the location is unclear. 2 are on the East-West Rail Link, and Middle Quinton could be served if the railway is extended south of Stratford upon Avon.

The Ministry press release with more detail can be found at http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/housing/737728. The Eco-Towns Prospectus can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/ecotownsprospectus.

A copy of a letter sent to the Government from various groups regarding transport to the proposed eco-towns can be found at: http://www.carfree.org.uk/docs/Joint_Letter_Caroline_Flint_May_08.pdf

'Planning' magazine has published a letter on this subject from RDS Board member, Philip Bisatt, stressing the need for investment in rail links and stations to serve any new settlements.

RUTH KELLY REJECTS THE CASE FOR FULL LHVS BUT THERE IS A THREAT OF SOME BEING IMPOSED FROM EUROPE

On 3rd June the Transport Research Laboratory published a report, commissioned by Department for Transport, on the subject of longer and heavier goods vehicles (LHVs). The report highlights a number of issues that make the implementation of large 25.25 metre LHVs, sometimes referred to as 'super-lorries', impractical either on a permanent or trial basis. Ruth Kelly announced that she will therefore not be allowing them on UK roads for the foreseeable future.

“The report does show, however, that there could be worthwhile benefits from permitting a modest increase in the length of current articulated vehicles. The Department will consider these further in the context of its ongoing strategic work on freight, on which I expect to publish a summary of progress this summer.

The report will help inform Member States and the European Commission who are reviewing the rules on lorry sizes as part of the Logistics Action Plan to improve the efficiency of transport and logistics in the European Union.”

Copies of the report can be viewed at www.trl.co.uk. The statement by Ruth Kelly can be read in full at http://www.dft.gov.uk/press/speechesstatements/statements/lhvs

Freight on Rail have circulated an email thanking everyone for their support on the UK campaign against longer heavier lorries (LHVs). However, there is now a massive threat that LHVs will get the go-head at an EU level and be forced upon the UK. The European Commission is undertaking research to evaluate the benefits of adapting Directive 96/53 examining adapting weights and dimensions of lorries and we expect the recommendation in late July 2008 to allow longer heavier lorries, either harmonized across member states or with individual member states deciding. However, even with the latter option, pressure from road haulage industry on grounds of anti-competitive practice would mean that all countries would be forced to accept longer heavier lorries in the medium term. See www.rfg.org.uk

VIRGIN TRAINS CONCESSIONERY DISCOUNT FARES CLARIFICATION

A letter in Railwatch issue 116 suggested that the concessionary discount fares available to charity workers and railcard holders travelling on Virgin Trains services is to be withdrawn from September. A member has taken this up with Passenger Focus who were aware of the rumour. Passenger Focus had already contacted Virgin trains and received reassurance that the concession will NOT be withdrawn.

SNIPPETS

On 11th April many newspapers gave coverage to a report issued by ATOC – The Billion Passenger Railway.
The report can be found here: http://www.atoc-comms.org/admin/userfiles/Billion%20Passenger%20Railway%20090408.pdf
The map at the back showing the railway in they want in 2057 is well worth studying. In addition to the High Speed Routes and Oxford-Cambridge we have:
 A rail link to Ireland
 A second Channel Tunnel
 Stansted – Colchester
 Exeter – Plymouth avoiding sea wall
 Daventry to Market Harborough (freight)
 Leamside line
 Upgraded Cumbria Coast route and links for freight
 Second Seven Tunnel.
 Electrified networks in many cities

There is now a Railfuture group launched on Facebook. This should help widen appeal more to the younger generations. To sign up to the networking site visit www.facebook.com. The Link to Railfuture Campaigners is http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=12135242142

The Wealdon Line Campaign (Lewis-Uckfield) has a new very professional looking presentation which went live on 14th March. (http://www.wealdenlink.org.uk/). Out of all the non-London English schemes being proposed, this one probably has a good chance of happening first. It has a very professional site and support from councils and local politicians.


Activists Briefing Issue 36

17th March 2008


IN THE NEWS

Following the media release on travel agents stopping selling rail tickets Railfuture President, Peter Lawrence, received a telephone call from a researcher for the programme "Working Lunch" shown on BBC2. The item was also mentioned along with Railfuture in RAIL 586. In the April edition of Today's Railways a quote from Peter Lawrence is used in the introductory paragraph of an excellent article by Robin Sisson questioning TOCs rush into hi-tech ticket retailing without seeming to “spare a thought for elderly people, or for people of any age who have no access to the internet.”

On 29th February the Corby MP Phil Hope cut the first sod for the new station at Corby. Elisabeth Jordan from Railfuture East Midlands was there and was interviewed by BBC Look East and BBC Radio Northampton. She plugged Railfuture and told how hard we had worked for so many years to get to this day. She expressed her delight at this first big step forward and hoped that it would not be too long before the trains could run north as well as south to London.

In the February 2008 edition of the First Capital Connect magazine "your journey", an interview with our member Martin Thorne appears. He tells readers that in his spare time he is a member of several organisations including the Fen Line Users Association, Railfuture and the Mid-Norfolk Railway. He describes Railfuture as "an organisation that helps campaign for better railways" and explains that he commutes from Ely to Cambridge with a folding bike, on which to travel the mile-and-a-half to his usual destination, a local ironmonger.

The news announced by the Audit Office on the annual minutes lost on the railways has sparked interest from the media. The Eastern Daily Press telephoned Peter Lawrence for his comments and also BBC News rang but wanted him to travel to London for an interview. Peter could not do that so suggested an alternative contact in London. (See Snippets re the NAO report)

BBC "You and Yours" also contacted Peter about a spot on their programme the week commencing 24th March 2008. They are proposing an item on rail travel. No further news yet.

RAILFUTURE DELEGATION MEETS TOM HARRIS

On 19th February a Railfuture delegation met with Tom Harris MP, Under Secretary of State for Transport. The wide ranging discussion lasted for an hour. Among the issues we raised were:
  • Overcrowding
  • Protecting closed routes for future rail use
  • Electrification – we pointed out that DfT's assumption that oil prices will fall to $53 per barrel by 2030 was at variance with the majority of predictions and that if prices went up, we would be ill prepared to cope with it and that important investment decisions on electrification were being delayed by the assumption that oil prices would fall.
  • High Speed Rail
  • Light Rail
  • NATA refresh consultation (for more detail about NATA see Snippets below)
  • Heavier lorries – as well as our opposition to even heavier lorries we pointed out that road bridge strengthening for heavier lorries has been paid for out of local authority & rail budgets at no cost to road hauliers.
  • Road pricing
  • Fares – we expressed concern that 75% of investment was expected to come from fares and stressed that above inflation fare increases could not go on.
  • Concessionary fares – we drew attention to evidence that free bus fares were causing abstraction from rail services, even on long distance services in Scotland where road coaches are included in the scheme. We suggested that free fares should be extended to light rail.
  • Intercity Express Programme (IEP)

We had prepared short summaries of our views on some of the issues we planned to raise. These were left with the Minister. DfT have since come back to us with some questions about our IEP notes.

NEWS FROM RAILFUTURE BRANCHES AND COMMITTEES

Tom Clift MD of Grand Central was the speaker at a Railfuture North East Branch meeting on Wednesday 12th March.

Railfuture East Anglia Chairman, Peter Wakefield, spoke to a group of about 40 eminent Cam Uni retirees called Polynous (mostly retired anyway) in Sidney Sussex College on February 14th re Railfuture and the East West Rail Project. Peter advises that the “What we do” leaflet and inserted membership forms, were most useful. (The “What we do” leaflet has recently been updated. A pdf version can be obtained from membership at railfuture.org.uk.)

Railfuture have recently been successful in getting letters published. Severnside Secretary, Nigel Bray, had a letter published in Western Daily Press on 22nd February putting the case for reopening the Portishead branch. Thames Valley Branch Secretary, David Eldridge, had a letter published in the Oxford Times criticising the Office of the Rail Regulators' announcement that they consider the Network Rail scheme to expand capacity on the Oxford-Didcot line is "not needed to meet the requirements of the Department for Transport". The letter finishes off by saying that “For wide-ranging environmental reasons, our neglected rail capacity needs to be improved. It would be foolish to think otherwise.”

Railfuture Coastway Division chairman, Ivor Hueting, has had a letter published in Eastbourne Herald supporting a previous letter complaining about Eurostar reducing the number of stops at Ashford to three a day. Coastway have been involved in this campaign for months including a brief TV shot of presenting the a petition to 10 Downing street in July 2007, an interview on Southern Counties radio when the new St Pancras opened and numerous other actions.

Coastway Division of Railfuture London & South East have also produced a comprehensive 26 page submission for the Department for Transport setting out their proposals for re-franchise requirements for the area covered by the franchise currently operated by Southern (Go-Via) services. The focus is on the franchise term of 2009 to 2016, including proposals that should be realised later than the commencement date of September 2009 and that depend on specific actions or decisions from Network Rail or the Department for Transport. At a meeting in Eastbourne on March 6th, where reactions on all Railfuture points for the refranchising requirements were discussed, Coastway met two people from GoVia including the Communications Director. An electronic copy of the submission can be obtained from david.harby at ntlworld.com.

In an article in the local free newspaper about the introduction of automatic ticket gates at St Neots Railfuture East Anglia secretary, Nick Dibben, was quoted. Nick, who lives in St Ives and commutes to London from Huntingdon, which had automatic gates installed last year, said: "I think the gates are a good thing. They do reduce crime on the trains and in the station because experience shows it's people who don't buy tickets who are responsible for the vandalism. By making it more difficult to come into the station it does make a difference. There should also be more members of staff present as they need people to help people through the gates."
For the article see: http://www.towncriertoday.co.uk/news/Automatic-ticket-gate-plan-for.3807971.jp

At the Railfuture Yorkshire AGM Chris Hyomes was appointed chairman with Nina Smith taking over from Chris as secretary. Thanks were expressed to Peter Davies for the hard work he had put in during his tenure as chairman. The next branch meeting in Hull on Saturday 21st June will be addressed by George McManus, chairman of the Minsters Rail Campaign (York - Beverley re-opening). The campaign has a website www.minstersrail.org.uk. Further details from chrishyomes at supanet.com.

On behalf of Railfuture East Anglia Peter Lawrence and Chris Milnes attended the Norfolk Railway Society Open Day on 8th March. They were able to sell some books and hand out Railfuture leaflets and rail timetables.

On 12th March the Lincolnshire Echo carried an article about the ECML RUS together with a comment from Railfuture Lincs Vice chairman, David Harby, warmly welcoming the proposals to spend £225 million upgrading the Joint Line from Peterborough to Doncaster via Sleaford and Lincoln. Before the article was written David had sent the Echo reporter a synopsis of the ECML RUS as far as it concerns the East Midlands.

Railfuture Wessex have organised a visit to the Isle of Wight on 26th April. There will be presentations about the IoW CRP and Brading station renovation followed by buffet lunch. After the meal there will be an opportunity to look around the station and travel to Sandown to see the work being done there. Further details from Tony Smale, tony_smale at lineone.net. Bookings must be made by 12th April.

BRANCH AGMs

Due to illness the Cambrian branch AGM due to take place on Saturday March 8th has been postponed until Saturday March 29th at the Owain Glyndwr Centre, Machynlleth, Powys. The meeting will commence at 2.30pm.

Railfuture Scotland Spring Meeting & AGM is at 14:00 on Saturday 5th April in the Royal Overseas League, 100 Princes Street, Edinburgh. Speaker: Tom Curry of DRS first followed by AGM

NATIONAL AGM

We are pleased to report that in addition to Jim Morgan, Chairman of the ATOC Rail Planning Forum, who will outline some of the work that ATOC has been doing recently and their future proposals for the rail industry, Ian Walmsley of Porterbrook Leasing has also agreed to come speak at our AGM. He has said that as we have probably read all about seating in his articles in Modern Railways already he will probably talk about ways of reducing Co2 emissions. He has his own website www.whamart.co.uk.

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT NEWS

A written statement to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly about the First Great Western Franchise is on the DfT website. Delivered 26 February 2008

On 21st February DfT Shipping Minister Jim Fitzpatrick announced that he had approved applications by PD Teesport to allow expansion of container terminal facilities at Teesport to go ahead. This is good news for rail freight in the North East as the port's capacity will increase from around 250,000 TEU a year to around 1.5 million TEU a year. Further details of the decision are set out in a Decision Letter available on the DfT website, at http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/shippingports/ports/dl/teesportrevord

ORR NEWS

In connection with the New Year engineering over-runs ORR has reviewed the planning and management of the works, and assessed Network Rail’s project planning, its management and resourcing of the projects, and its dialogue with train operators. It has also looked into Network's Rail's general approach to major projects on the railways.

The whole suite of documents is available in the Enforcement of the network licence section of the ORR website.

Also on the ORR website at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.001007 are
28 February - National Rail Review - Q3 2007-08
28 February - Network Rail Monitor Q3 2007-08
28 February - Letter from Bill Emery to Iain Coucher about New Year engineering overruns
21 February - Updated policy on the exclusion of commercially sensitive material in station access agreements from the public register

The ORR's draft decision on paths for Crossrail trains has been announced. They propose to restrict the number of off-peak Crossrail paths so as to make space for future freight growth. The decision document and responses from the rail industry can be found at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.28

NETWORK RAIL

The ECML RUS was published on 27th February. See: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browseDirectory.aspx?dir=\RUS%20Documents\Route%20Utilisation%20Strategies\East%20Coast%20Main%20Line&pageid=4449&root=\RUS%20Documents\Route%20Utilisation%20Strategies

SAVE THE WOODHEAD TUNNEL CAMPAIGN

There are signs of a U-turn over plans to prevent the Woodhead Tunnel being available for future rail use. The Yorkshire Post reported that Sheffield Hillsborough MP Angela Smith has secured the personal intervention of Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly to help persuade National Grid that a new rail line is still a viable option.
See: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/Boost-for-campaign-to-save.3819871.jp

Campaigners are still asking for members to contact their MP and to request they sign Early Day Motion EDM 459 which calls upon the Government to investigate and intervene on this issue as a matter of urgency to prevent this strategic rail route being lost forever. The EDM can be found at: http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=34592&SESSION=891

On 11th Mar 2008 Ms Angela C. Smith (Sheffield, Hillsborough) (Lab) initiated a Westminster Hall debate on Woodhead Rail Route. She was supported by a series of other Northern MPs who put forward a strong case for a “Crossrail for the north”. Whilst discussing existing Trans-Pennine routes she said “The existing Hope Valley line is exactly that—much of the time, those who use it do so more in the hope than the expectation of getting to their destination”.

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Ms Rosie Winterton) replied to the motion. She gave an assurance that “National Grid’s plans will not jeopardise the possibility that the Woodhead tunnel route will reopen to rail traffic at some future date” and said that she proposes to meet National Grid to confirm that the Government wish to explore further the option of continuing the inspection and maintenance regime for the Victorian tunnels once National Grid has vacated them.

Ms Winterton tried to justify Government reluctance to support Woodhead by saying that a need for additional rail capacity across the Pennines that would require the reopening of the Woodhead route has not been identified. She said additional capacity on North Trans-Pennine would be met by longer trains and reduced journey times. “On the south trans-Pennine route between Sheffield and Manchester, the East Midlands Trains franchise will deliver longer trains on the route between Liverpool and Nottingham via Sheffield.” (Ed. The miserly three extra carriages promised to East Midlands Trains by 2014 will go a long way to meet this promise!)

The Hansard report of the debates can be read at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmhansrd.htm Column 62WH to Column 70WH.

SNIPPETS

The Government assesses proposed transport schemes through a framework called NATA (New Approach to Appraisal). It is currently reviewing this process. Campaign for Better Transport and Green Alliance have produced a report challenging the basis of this cost-benefit model. It finds that the transport appraisal process favours schemes that lead to increased fuel use; Cyclists and bus users are given a lower value than drivers, one minute of a driver's time is valued at 44p, a minute of a bus-user's time is valued at 34p while a cyclist's minute is worth just 28p and the process assigns a monetary value to CO2 emissions, noise pollution and even the lives lost in road accidents.

A summary report, Getting transport right and the full report, Planning for sustainable transport are available to download from the Green Alliance website: http://www.green-alliance.org.uk/grea1.aspx?id=2664.

The Institute for Public Policy Research North thinktank have released a report, Moving On: A Progressive Transport Policy for the North of England, which calls for changes in the way transport networks in Yorkshire and Humberside are run. It supports many of the changes proposed in the Local Transport Bill but is concerned about some of the funding proposals, worries about the speed of reform and that “areas of England outside PTAs aren't left with dysfunctional transport arrangements.” The report recommends the reversal of DfT’s decision to remove PTAs as signatories to rail franchise documents. The IPPR report can be downloaded from their website at: http://www.ippr.org.uk/ipprnorth/pressreleases/?id=3021
See also article in Yorkshire Post http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/opinion/Howard-Reed-North-needs-fair.3824811.jp

Atkins have published a plan for £31bn high speed rail network which they say could deliver more than £60bn worth of benefits to the UK economy. They think a new network could be operational before 2026, but says for that to happen the planning process would have to start in the very near future. Source: Atkins press release
http://www.atkinsglobal.com/media_centre/press_releases/a_high_speed_route_regeneration.aspx

In Westminster Hall on 11th March there were two short debates on rail issues. Mr. Patrick McLoughlin (West Derbyshire) (Con) opened at debate on East Midlands Trains. This concentrated on the poor Sunday services that passengers in the East Midlands have inflicted on them. Leaflets advertise Derby to Paris in six hours but on Sunday 2nd March it took almost six hours to go from Derby to London! Mr. Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) talked about overcrowding and was less than impressed with the allocation to the East Midlands of just 3 carriages in the Rolling Stock Plan. This was followed by the Woodhead debate mentioned above. The Hansard report of the debates can be read at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmhansrd.htm Column 52WH to Column 70WH.

The National Audit Office have published a report “Reducing passenger rail delays by better management of incidents” For the report see http://www.nao.org.uk/pn/07-08/0708308.htm. Passenger Focus have backed the conclusions of the report in this press notice http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=1578


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