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News and Views

Southern comfort

Author: Roger Blake - Published At: Sun 24 of Jul, 2016 20:54 BST - (3934 Reads)
Passengers
A capacity boost was provided for hard-pressed Southern commuters on 25 July 2016 when the first 10-car train ran on the Uckfield line. Network Rail has been performing a series of enhancemrnts on the route including platform extensions. Edenbridge Town, for example, has an extended platform, new passenger shelters and customer information screens (photo above by Roger Blake).

Danish tram revival

Author: Jerry Alderson (info from Erland Ekefors) - Published At: Wed 20 of Jul, 2016 16:41 BST - (4377 Reads)
Light Rail
Thanks to a tramway building spree that has ended, Britain now has seven tram systems, all of which have substantial populations (apart from Blackpool – the only one that had never closed). Whilst extensions are being planned there are no new ones. In Denmark, where all of its tram system had closed (the last was Copenhagen, in 1972), it is now building it first new one, in Aarhus (tram vehicle and new tram bridge pictured – photos by Erland Egefors) for a population far smaller than the new systems in Britain. Is there a lesson here?

Letter to Chris Grayling

Author: Chris Page - Published At: Mon 18 of Jul, 2016 09:58 BST - (5708 Reads)
Lobbying
Railfuture has written an open letter to Chris Grayling, the new Secretary of State for Transport, welcoming him to his new role with our top ten recommendations for the future of rail.

Go and Compare Berlin

Author: Ian Brown - Published At: Wed 06 of Jul, 2016 11:56 BST - (7046 Reads)
International
Railfuture’s Director of Policy, Ian Brown CBE was invited to visit Berlin for a few days in June, travelling out on the day of the Brexit referendum announcement. His first visit to Berlin saw the Berlin Wall come down, this visit ironically saw the barriers begin to rise. He took the opportunity to have a good look at the transport system, take photographs of good practice and compare the system with London.
Photo: Berlin's new Hauptbahnhof, a practical symbol of Germany's modern railway.

Brexit rail economics

Author: Chris Page - Published At: Fri 01 of Jul, 2016 17:31 BST - (5839 Reads)
Miscellany
This is where we find out what membership of the EU was really worth – at least to Britain’s railways and rail users. Passenger numbers may fall, fares may increase, rail development projects may be cancelled or delayed and old trains may not be replaced. Already, the announcement of the winner of the Greater Anglia franchise has been delayed.

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

Train staff duties

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Mon 27 of Jun, 2016 19:13 BST - (13250 Reads)
Passengers

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

Brexit and the Railway

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Sun 26 of Jun, 2016 21:21 BST - (4365 Reads)

When 51.9% of those who voted in the UK’s referendum (37.4% of the electorate) opted for ‘Brexit’ the media focused on little other news for days on end. The decision could lead to a huge change for people in the UK but will there be any noticeable day-to-day impact for passengers on Britain’s railway?

Big Apple vs Orange

Author: Ian Brown - Published At: Tue 14 of Jun, 2016 22:37 BST - (5916 Reads)
International
New York, like London, has a complex metro system as well as an expanding network of suburban and main line rail routes.

Railfuture Policy Director, Ian Brown CBE spent time in New York in May on various jobs which included invitations to visit depots, control centres, rail projects and stations. It was a great opportunity to use the system quite intensively and to compare it with London’s rail transport network.

Photo: The "Oculus" Is this a station or a work of art? You can build a fine station for 4 billion dollars. This is the exterior of the new World Trade Centre station still partially under wraps which opened in April this year. The bird like design is a statement rather than a practical station roof. As expected it has become very controversial, but the station has potential for growth and is expected to rival Grand Central station as a destination in its own right. An artist’s impression of the completed structure is also shown.

SUAWOOX campaign

Author: Fraser Pithie - Published At: Mon 13 of Jun, 2016 17:51 BST - (4819 Reads)
Network
Fraser Pithie, the Secretary of the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group, explains why the Stratford-Worcester-Oxford (SWO) campaign deserves public and political support.

GOBLIN gets Flying visit

Author: Roger Blake - Published At: Mon 13 of Jun, 2016 14:38 BST - (3743 Reads)
Campaigns
While the west end of Gospel Oak-Barking line remains open during weekdays, Flying Scotsman passes Gospel Oak station on Friday 10 June 2016.

Updating train passengers

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Fri 10 of Jun, 2016 20:56 BST - (3366 Reads)
The worst passenger experience is surely when there is a complete lack of information and they have no idea what is happening. This is a frequent complaint that Railfuture hears from passengers and passes on to train operator management. It is pleasing when operators such as Eurostar, which has faced lots of criticism in the past (including from Railfuture), seems to be rectifying its failings - and it is not alone. The graphic above shows how Eurostar made good use of Twitter to inform passengers of severe delays to a service and the options available but was it at the expense of face-to-face communications?

Metro reaches New Street

Author: Michael Tombs - Published At: Fri 03 of Jun, 2016 19:28 BST - (3531 Reads)
Light Rail
As a proud Brummie, Railfuture member Michael Tombs has always been disappointed to see the city lagging behind others in the country in terms of transport planning. However, Monday 30th May 2016 was a rare occasion to hang out the bunting, to collect the promotional ‘goodie bag’, and celebrate the long awaited trams, much delayed, running to New Street station – better late than never!? Photo: New CAF-built tram leaves New Street station for Wolverhampton.

Prague compared

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Sun 22 of May, 2016 21:40 BST - (5428 Reads)
International
Prague has a reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe (even if graffiti appears to be everywhere) but arriving in Prague on a long-distance train doesn’t give a good first impression of the Czech Republic’s capital city, especially if doing so at night. The above photo shows the view on a very dimly-lit platform.

Washington DC compared

Author: Ian Brown - Published At: Tue 03 of May, 2016 21:34 BST - (6657 Reads)
International
Washington DC has a developing network of Metro routes and suburban and long distance rail routes. Railfuture’s Policy Director, Ian Brown CBE spent a week working in Washington in April and took the opportunity to examine the Metro network, visit Washington Union main line station also travel on the two suburban rail systems as well as Amtrak’s Regional main line service to New York.
Photo: Restored glory in the form of the concourse at Washington Union station. The station serves as a hub for long distance and commuter services serving the City with good interchange on to the Washington Metro.

Cambridge North progress

Author: Peter Wakefield - Published At: Thu 14 of Apr, 2016 17:26 BST - (8151 Reads)
Network
Cambridge North station is well underway to completion. It is due to open in May 2017.
Photos courtesy Network Rail
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