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European Passenger Group

Railfuture campaigns for better services over a bigger railway network in Britain, and this covers both passenger and freight trains.

Of course, Britain’s railway also sees cross-border passenger and freight trains through the Channel Tunnel and although most Eurostar rail passengers do not travel beyond France, Belgium or the Netherlands, a few do and welcome good, seamless, easy-to-use connections with the railways on the European mainland. Moreover, passengers going abroad should have access to good rail services in Britain to travel to airports and ports. Likewise, visitors to Britain should have easy access to rail services once they arrive.

Railfuture has a small European Passenger Group (EPG) to advise its Passenger Group on how to improve cross-border passenger services and encourage visitors to Britain to use our railway. Activity and membership of the group is relevant and directly contributes to the objectives of Railfuture and is seen as of value to Railfuture members.

In addition, Railfuture is eager to understand how Britain's railways can adopt best practice from the railways across the world (including Europe, Asia and North America), a project we call Go and Compare.

View or download the 2018 briefing paper on the European Passenger Group. The briefing paper includes the two full meetings of the group in 2018 on 14 July and 5 October and meetings with Eurail and Eurostar. Other topics covered: European Passengers Federation, Interrail, the Alliance of Passenger Rail New Entrants in Europe.

The group includes a Chair, secretary, a member to liaise with TOCs and Eurostar, another to liaise with the European Passenger Federation (EPF) and co-opted members. It provides continuity from the former International Group and its activity is targeted to support the Passenger Group and hence Railfuture’s branches and members. Membership and roles are:
  • Ian Brown CBE FCILT (Chairman), Railfuture Vice President, Policy Advisor to the Railfuture Board and International Railway Consultant
  • Jerry Alderson (TOC liaison and Eurostar), also Railfuture Board member, who travels frequently by Eurostar on business
  • Dennis Fancett (European Passenger Federation liaison) also chair of SENRUG
  • Chris Irwin (Railuture Vice President) also Chairman of TravelWatch SouthWest and a respected specialist in European Transport legislation.
  • Trevor Jones (Secretary of EPG, former member of Railfuture’s former International Group)
  • Nina Smith
All of the above have travelled on rail-based systems in many countries.

Go and compare

Railfuture’s role is to campaign for a bigger, better railway in Britain. We want to equip our members and branches with strong arguments based on best practice worldwide.

We are building a knowledge bank by capturing impressions of systems in other countries from the viewpoint of a user, possibly unused to the system or the language, particularly in areas where we see the job as not being done in Britain.

Key areas of interest where we want to see improvements here are: information, wayfinding, ease of use of ticketing and fares, how operators are tackling disability access and how rail and light rail are integrated into city transport systems. Go and compare gives examples of best practice that Railfuture has identified.

Some highlights from Railfuture's International Best Practice Twitter account can be viewed or downloaded.

If you have information to share about railway international best practice, whether or not you are a Railfuture member, please submit your views to our feedback at railfuture.org.uk email account. It would help us if you could take photos (using your camera or phone or tablet) of good and bad practice and sending your impressions to feedback at railfuture.org.uk

Eurostar

Eurostar is awaking from a rather overlong slumber with a range of new developments in preparation. We intend to strengthen our direct representation on many issues that concern Railfuture members about booking and using Eurostar and its onward connections. Railfuture was represented at a presentation by M. Mouly, Chief Operating Officer, Eurostar in Cambridge on 7th March and also had the opportunity for discussion on the background to Eurostar’s approach including the new Amsterdam services, security issues and general service development and constraints. Jerry Alderson is following this up in direct correspondence with Eurostar.

Our last Eurostar survey ended in June 2015 after a full year in order that we could get evidence of who uses Eurostar and why. This was Railfuture's third survey of travel using Eurostar services and this time looked in more detail at why people use Eurostar, how they booked their ticket and their experience of travel on board and onward connections. The survey was open to everyone, not just Railfuture members. The article Eurostar snapshot survey describes the survey results and includes a personal experience.

Railfuture conducted a previous survey during 2011 among Eurostar passengers to see what they thought about the service. You can view or download a 14-page report. 610kB

European Passengers' Federation

Railfuture is an active member of the European Passengers' Federation (EPF), an association of passenger organisations across Europe promoting sustainable mobility committed to improving standards on public transport and long distance international rail services in Europe.

This year’s EPF Annual Conference is in Stockholm on 7-8th June and the themes are possibilities and risks of a liberalized public transport market from the passenger’s perspective (day 1) and the future generation’s demand for public transport - both urban and long-distance journeys (day 2). Railfuture members qualify for discounted conference rates. The conference promises to be an interesting and thought-provoking event as well as offering the chance to meet public transport campaigners from elsewhere in Europe and we urge those Railfuture members that are interested to book in and support EPF. For more details and to register here.

You can also sign up to receive EPF's Newsletter giving more information on their activities. Over the last 12 months EPF have been particularly active in campaigning for passenger rights in the event of delayed journeys or other catastrophes to be enshrined into EU law. Sign up for their Newsletter here.

Discussions have taken place in London with EPF's Management Board designed to improve how we work with EPF so that membership represents value for money to Railfuture members. Similarly EPF and partner organisations have requested that our input to EPF should be well-informed contributions to their deliberations as there is a lot of interest in the British rail scene.

View or download Railfuture's national report to the EPF meeting in London in March 2019.
View or download Railfuture's national report to the EPF meeting in Barcelona in January 2019.

In May 2018 Railfuture produced a PowerPoint presentation about Britain's Delay Repay system for the EPF annual Conference which was held in Aachen. We were asked constructive questions after the presentation and built relationships with some of the speakers, which will be used to further Railfuture's campaigning work.

In 2016 a new EPF President was appointed – Michel Quidort - from a similar French organisation. He has indicated a strong willingness to work with Railfuture. Similarly we have nominated Dennis Fancett to represent Railfuture and he represented Railfuture at the EPF AGM in 2018. The EPF President has requested briefing on the British rail industry process as background to giving advice on the current French industrial relations crisis.

Going abroad

Experienced travellers in Railfuture have compiled tips on planning a trip abroad - check the Going abroad page of our online Rail User Help guide.

Rail integration with sea and air travel

Railfuture does not oppose development of other travel modes but where for example airport development is proposed we campaign for enhanced rail links to minimise congestion and pollution. We have published the following reports on rail links to British ports and airports.

Public Transport Links to UK Airports 2012

Railfuture jointly with Bus Users UK carried out a survey during 2012 examining Public Transport Links to UK Airports and how they were publicised. You can view or download the 11-page report on the survey. 613kB

Public Transport Links to Ferry Ports 2013

In 2013 Railfuture completed a survey of ferry passengers to gather information about how easy or difficult it is, and to provide objective evidence to support our case. We asked for information about any journey you made by ferry to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Continent, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Wight, the Scilly Isles or the Scottish islands, between October 1st 2012 and September 30th 2013. What really happens to passengers who travel by train and/or bus to catch a ferry, or who wish to take their bicycle with them on a sea crossing? You can view or download a 16-page report on the survey. 465kB


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