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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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
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.