Railfuture in the news

Railfuture is frequently quoted by the media in newspapers, transport magazines, online and on radio and television.

Below are some recent examples of Railfuture being reported. If you know of any we've missed, then email media at railfuture.org.uk with details.


12th October - Western Mail

The paper picks up on a couple of letters in the Rail Wales branch newsletter, where campaigners are opposing the introduction of new diesel trains.

"Rail-user Thomas Wheeler said TfW should hang on to the ex­ist­ing trains, which he claimed “are far su­pe­rior for long-dis­tance work”. In a let­ter in pas­sen­ger group Rail­fu­ture Cymru’s mag­a­zine, he said he hoped pro­duc­tion of the coach bod­ies in Spain could be stopped be­fore ex­ceed­ing 40. Fel­low Rail­fu­ture mem­ber Jim Maggs said TfW thought it knew what’s best for pas­sen­gers, with­out ask­ing for opin­ions. He also crit­i­cised politi­cians for ac­cept­ing what­ever of­fi­cials and aca­demics told them."

The issues are that these new trains have hard seats, not enough toilets and are diesel-powered, at a time when Network Rail is talking about decarbonising the network.

1st October - Glasgow Times

The paper reports on a "Boost for bid to restore historic rail link from Glasgow to Dunfermline". Jane Ann Liston, secretary of Railfuture Scotland, is quoted: “Railfuture Scotland backs a direct line from Glasgow to Dunfermline via Alloa which would clearly benefit travellers at both ends of the journey by cutting out the extra time spent going in and out of Edinburgh, and taking passengers away from the very busy lines through Haymarket into Waverley would be a great advantage. It would also benefit the towns of Clackmannan and Kincardine by restoring rail services which they have not enjoyed since 1930.”

30th September - Uckfield News

There's local coverage of proposals to electrify the line to Uckfield, something Railfuture has been pushing for. "Campaign group Railfuture has been seeking to have what it calls the “diesel island” of the Uckfield branch electrified since 2014. Writing on the group’s website, Chris Page said: “The need for ten-coach trains during the peak makes battery operation unfeasible, and a sensible choice would be to extend the third rail electrification from Hurst Green.”" Our chairman even gets a photo too.

29th September - New civil Engineer

"Rail campaign group Railfuture has called for key electrification projects to be approved before those currently underway are completed" reads the article, quoting from our website and linking it to Network Rail’s Traction Decarbonisation Strategy.

26th September - BBC News website

Fewer than 0.1% of those caught by British Transport Police for not wearing masks have been fined. "Rail campaign group Railfuture said it was difficult to strike a balance but said BTP had got it "about right"."

Spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: "We want a safe railway. We do not want to deter people from travelling. It looks like British Transport Police are doing this right. If fines are a last resort, it's good, they are not being heavy-handed."

19th September - BBC Radio Bristol

The DfT seems to be dragging its feet over the introduction of flexible season tickets. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on the breakfast show to give his thoughts. Listen here or download here.

16th September - talkRADIO

The rail industry has "delayed the publication of advanced timetables until at least 2022" - whatever that means. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited on to Julia Hartley-Brewer's breakfast show to discuss. Listen here or download here.

15th September - The Herald

"A landslide has shut part of a world-renowned Scottish rail line - a day after another slip has lead to the closure of an iconic Highlands road." reports the paper, with the Stonehaven rail crash still fresh in people's minds. Railfuture gets a mention:

"It raised concerns from Railfuture, the better rail services campaign group that the issues illustrated "the lack of resilience of the rail network" and how the nation is able to cope with climate change. "

7th September - BBC Radio Oxford

As rail services increase to near pre-Covid levels, how safe is rail travel and how well is it being managed? Thames Valley branch's Dave Richardson appears on the breakfast show. Listen here or download here.

22nd August - LBC

Following yet more delays and cost overruns on Crossrail, Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson answers questions on whether rail projects are worth the money, and indeed whether rail has a future at all. Listen here or download here.

19th August - BBC Radio Humberside

The station picks up our call for a fare freeze and interviews Railfuture spokesman "Barry" Williamson. Listen here or download here.

18th August - The Guardian

Picking up on our press release, the paper quotes Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson: “It’s very important that the government sends a signal that they want people to use trains. If it can find money for me to get £10 off at Burger King, then it can afford to freeze rail fares.”

A longer quote appears in The Times.

18th August - talkRADIO

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed about a possible fares freeze. Listen here or download here.

13th August - Daily Mail

"Ministers face calls to freeze rail fares amid fears people will stay working from home if prices increase" says the headline, going on to say: "Bruce Williamson, of campaign group Railfuture, criticised the decision to raise fares while fuel duty has been frozen since March 2011. He said: ‘We want to encourage environmentally-friendly transport, not encourage people into their cars.’ "

12th August - Evening Standard

Railfuture director Ian Brown has a letter published in the paper, under the title "Rail can spur London’s return as a world leader". He argues for continued investment in rail, saying "London needs to put itself back on the map as a world centre of commerce, particularly post-Brexit. To do this it must be the centre of a properly co-ordinated, integrated transport network connecting London to the rest of the country, benefiting from HS2, and also to mainland Europe."

12 August - Express & Star

The paper anticipates July's RPI figures being released in an article on rail fares, writing: "Bruce Williamson, of campaign group Railfuture, claimed the decision to raise fares while fuel duty has been frozen since March 2011 shows there is a discrepancy between how the Government treats motorists and train travellers."

He is quoted: “They’re sweetening the deal for motorists whilst they’re punishing the poor old rail passenger. We want to encourage environmentally-friendly transport, not encourage people into their cars and having congestion. With social distancing, people are already incentivised to get in their cars. We fear that longer term it’s going to take quite an effort to get people back into the rail habit.”

11th August - The Guardian

Alan Whitehouse, honorary president of Yorkshire branch, has a letter published. He was responding to an article published the day before entitled "It would be a tragedy if coronavirus costs us the joys of train travel".

He writes: "Why it should be acceptable to travel by air, where passengers breathe filtered, partly recirculated air in an enclosed compartment, but not acceptable to travel by train is a complete mystery... Urging people to stay away from public transport will harm the long-term goal of railways replacing roads as a safer and greener form of transport. "

31st July - BBC Surrey

Stephen Rolph, Surrey organiser from London & South East branch, is interviewed alongside Anthony Simm, chairman of Railfuture affiliate group Reigate, Redhill & District Rail Users Association on the breakfast show. How is commuting changing, and what do we want ticketing to offer in the future? Listen here or download here.

28th July - BBC One West

After GWR announced its intention to offer three-days-a-week season tickets, Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on BBC Points West to advocate even more flexible ticketing.

23rd July - BBC Radio York

The government has announced over £600 million for investment in rail in the North. As ever, the devil is in the detail, and Yorkshire branch chair Nina Smith offers her analysis. Listen here or download here.

1st July - talkRADIO

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed about the list of 50 prospective reopening schemes announced by the government. Listen here or download here.

30th June - talkRADIO

There is talk of dropping the eastern leg of HS2 and continuing the Western leg from Manchester eastwards across the Pennines. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson offers his thoughts. Listen here or download here.

19th June - Halifax Courier

"Campaigners in Calderdale fear direct line to London could be lost" reads the headline. Those campaigners include Railfuture's Yorkshire branch, who are running a joint campaign of five rail pressure groups. In a joint letter to the Secretary State for Transport they call for Government action to ensure the survival of the Grand Central Service to London from Bradford, Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Pontefract and Doncaster; and the Hull Trains service from Beverley, Hull, Brough, Selby and Doncaster.

Railfuture Yorkshire branch chair Nina Smith is quoted: “These have become vital services to business and leisure travellers in the areas they serve. It would be a damaging blow to the local economies in many areas of Yorkshire if these services are not resumed once the pandemic is over and normal rail travel is safe again.”

25th June - Modern Railways

The magazine report on new trains for Wales, and Railfuture gets a mention: "Rail passenger groups have expressed concern about the 77 CAF Civity DMUs, including the provision of only one toilet per two-coach unit (p84 May issue). Responding to concerns from Railfuture, TfW Chief Executive James Price said capacity requirements had dictated seat pitch and table numbers (six in most of the standard class vehicles).'We are pleased to have been able to achieve a seat pitch of just 1cm less than the Class 175 train and 4cm greater than the Class 158' he said. He said a universal access toilet occupied the space of about 12 seats, six more than a non-wheelchair-accessible toilet. Railfuture had suggested the second toilet for two-coach units could be non-universal access, as will be fitted to centre vehicles in the 26 three-car units."

9th June - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

The reopening of the line from Wisbech to March took a step forward as the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority decided to progress the scheme. Peter Wakefield, chair of East Anglia branch, is interviewed on the breakfast show. Listen here or download here.

23rd May - York Press

York Council is consulting on the possibility of reopening Haxby station. Railfuture Yorkshire branch chair Nina Smith is quoted: “About time too. It is extraordinary that Haxby does not already have a railway station. A station in Haxby would serve one of the most populated residential areas in Yorkshire currently without a station. A station would considerably reduce car commuting from Haxby into York, thus easing congestion and contributing to lower carbon emissions and better air quality. It would make leisure travel much easier, whether to go shopping in York or to connect with a train service to destinations further afield."

21st May - Modern Railways

Railfuture director Roger Blake makes two appearances in this issue. He has a letter published detailing the success of the "Eastbourne overlap", a scheme supported by Railfuture and which has resulted in a significant jump in passenger footfall.

A six-page article in the same edition reports on the work of the Sussex Community Rail Partnership. Roger Blake is again quoted, reassuring travellers that their trains aren't about to disappear: "Users should not be concerned: unless Southern gets something else in the meantime, when the lease expires these trains will be subleased back to Southern"

10th May - Rail Professional

"Reducing car use in the West of England - can rail do the job?" is the title of an opinion piece by transport campaigner Christina Biggs. After listing the rail schemes being considered by the local authority, she writes: "Each of these schemes has been promoted for tens of years by the ceaseless work of many national and local rail campaign groups and individuals – Railfuture, Severnside Community Rail Partnership, Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FoSBR), Portishead Rail Group, Pilning Station Group, Transport for Greater Bristol Alliance, the rail columnist David Wood and the tireless David Redgewell"

27th April - Railstaff

The rail industry magazine publishes an article entitled "Reversing Beeching", giving a cautious and realistic analysis of prospects for reopenings. Railfuture gets a mention for its work: "Another useful resource for rail campaigners is the booklet jointly published by the DfT, Railfuture and the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT): “Expanding the Railways – how to develop and deliver a proposal”, which is available on the CBT website."

23rd April - Modern Railways

The magazine reports on new class 197 trains being introduced in Wales, and Railfuture gets two mentions:

"Railfuture Wales said one toilet per unit was not suitable for the nature of the routes the units will operate, including Manchester to Milford Haven" and

"However, Railfuture Wales and SARPA have concerns the seat chosen by TfW, without seeking any passenger feedback, may be unsuitable for long journeys."

23rd March - Rail Professional

Railfuture's Phil Smart writes an article for the magazine entitled "Our friends in the south". In an article focussing on freight, he argues that investment in the South of England benefits the North too, and that southern ports such as Felixstowe and Southampton will continue to be the preferred routes for freight companies to access the North.

23rd March - BBC Radio Bristol

Rail companies across Britain are running a reduced timetable in the light of reduced demand and lower staff availability. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson appears on the drive time show to discuss. Listen here or download here.

19th March - News Post Leader

"Rail campaigners have hit out at a decision to leave Northumberland off a panel to lead the Northern Trains franchise....The North East Branch of Railfuture, the independent voluntary group that campaigns for a bigger and better railway, says that it is not right that virtually every area across the Northern railway network is represented, apart from the areas that are managed by the North East Joint Transport Committee" reads the article.

It then goes on to extensively quote Railfuture North East branch chair Keith Simpson.

8th March - inews

"Britain's most-cancelled train revealed, and it's a Northern Rail service" - inews then quotes The Times, which in turn quotes Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson: “There has been a perfect storm of things going wrong on the railway, with poor management, flooding and faulty trains. It means disappointment and frustration for commuters.”

29th February - GWR commemorative leaflet

GWR published a leaflet for a special anniversary train to commemorate Henry Wicks, who died in a train accident on leap day 1892. Many rail industry bigwigs past and present were invited to travel. The leaflet reads: "This event was conceived by Roger Blake of Railfuture and put together by GWR, Network Rail and Sussex Community Rail Partnership".

27th February - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

There are reports of cost overruns on the Ely area junction upgrade. Peter Wakefield of East Anglia branch is interviewed on the drive time show. Listen here or download here.

20th February - RailFreight.com

"UK needs terminal policy to stimulate growth" is the title of an article which reports on Railfuture's policy document for freight terminal development. "Railfuture makes a case for a modern network, and their policy document tackles the issues from the environmental angle, which is also playing an increasing part in the planning process, particularly in British urban centres" it reads.

16th February - BBC Radio Scotland.

The station dedicates half an hour to the topic of Beeching and reopenings in Scotland, with guests including Railfuture's honorary president Christian Wolmar and Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson. Listen here or download here.

14th February - Herald

The "Barnett formula" may mean that Scotland is in line for a windfall of up to £10 billion as a result of the HS2 rail project. Some of this money could be spent on other rail projects in Scotland. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted:

“Scotland has done much better than England in reopening lines. It’s not just the Borders Railway, there are a few others. They have all exceeded expectations. So you’ve got the proof of concept, that if you build it they will come. And rail is a much more environmentally-friendly form of transport. With the climate crisis, we need to reduce our carbon emissions and rail is a very good way of doing that.”

12th February - Iltalehti (Finnish newspaper)

Railfuture's reputation goes international as the Finnish paper reports on approval for HS2. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson's Finnish is a bit rusty, so his comments were made in English and then translated into Finnish. Translating back into English, it reads:

"British Railfuture - according to Bruce Williamson , a spokesman for the organization, it is primarily a matter of increasing rail capacity, but secondarily of speed. British railways are mainly built in the 1800s - century, and no matter how much we repair, we also need completely new rail connections, he tells Bristol by telephone to Iltalehti. New high-speed train lines must be much more direct than the routes on the old lines are planned, he continues."

11th February - The Gazette

Yet another Scottish newspaper reports on Railfuture Scotland's proposals for expanding Scotland's rail network. The headline is: "Experts at think tank call for Renfrewshire railway line to be resurrected", continuing: "A fresh call has been made to bring a “much-needed” rail line back to Renfrewshire. Think tank Railfuture Scotland has developed a map of service improvements across the country, which includes the restoration of a line through Elderslie, Bridge of Weir and Kilmacolm."

5th February - Falkirk Herald

The paper picks up on Railfuture Scotland's proposals for expanding Scotland's rail network: "Pressure is building to bring a railway station back to the town of Grangemouth and its local MSP is more than chuffed about recently announced plans to do just that. Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald welcomed a report from Railfuture Scotland about having a Scottish rail network fit for the 21st century which identifies a new rail station in Grangemouth as a key priority."

3rd February - Daily Record

The headline is "Scotland's rail network needs 90 new stations to keep it on track say transport experts" - those transport experts are of course Railfuture Scotland, as the paper reports on Railfuture's plans to expand and invest in Scotland's railways.

2nd February - Herald on Sunday

Railfuture Scotland gets major coverage in the paper for its proposals to expand Scotland’s rail network. An article entitled "Scotland's railway roadmap: think tank reveals wish-list for our train network" gives a detailed explanation of Railfuture's plans, and Jane Ann Liston of Scotland branch writes an opinion piece: "Bold vision for our railways is the only way to transform transport network". In addition, the paper prints a leader under the title "Revolutionary thinking that's long overdue", praising Railfuture's plans and saying "If we are to have a practical network that people actually want to leave their cars at home for, this kind of thinking is exactly what's needed."

31st January - Metro

"Soaring train fares ‘good value’, says rail minister, Chris Heaton-Harris" is the headline, as he is widely mocked for trying to claim that British rail fares aren't too high. "Bruce Williamson, of advocacy group Railfuture, said many tickets were ‘outrageously expensive’."

30th January - BBC Radio Five Live

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited on to the breakfast show to talk about the nationalisation of Northern. Listen here or download here.

30th January - Railway Technology

Under the headline "Sewage on the train tracks: will the rail industry clean up after itself?", there's analysis of the rail industry's failure to end the practice of dumping raw sewage onto the tracks. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted: “Quite clearly it’s a hideous, outmoded way of disposing of sewage and it should have been stopped years ago. Where a delay has happened in either electrification or upgrading procurement or testing or whatever for new rolling stock, then the old rolling stock still has to be used. And there’s no choice really, because obviously it’s better to run a train than to not run it at all even if it’s slightly unsatisfactory."

29th January - talkRADIO

Railfuture chairman Chris Page appears on James Whale's evening programme for a detailed discussion of the Northern situation. Listen here or download here.

29th January - Lincolnshire Echo

The paper reports on the impact of renationalising the Northern franchise. David Harby, chairman of Lincolnshire branch, said that Northern's problems stem from even before the current franchise was agreed.

"Bringing Northern under public control will mean absolutely nothing. It won't make a blind bit of difference at the moment to passengers in this area, for whom nothing will change."

29th January - BBC1

Nina Smith of Yorkshire branch is featured on BBC News at Ten in a report on the nationalisation of the Northern franchise, and she later reappears on the BBC News Channel. She is also included in a report on BBC Radio 4's 6 o'clock news. Listen here or download here.

Chris Hyomes of Yorkshire branch appears on Look North.

28th January - talkRADIO

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed by Matthew Wright about the £500 million fund for reversing some of the Beeching cuts. Listen here or download here.

28th January - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Peter Wakefield of East Anglia branch is interviewed about the prospects for reopening lines in Cambridgeshire, in the light of the government's announcement of the £500 million fund for reversing some of the Beeching cuts. Listen here or download here.

28th January - talkRADIO

Railfuture director Roger Blake is interviewed about the £500 million fund for reversing some of the Beeching cuts. Listen here or download here.

27th January - talkRADIO

The troubled Northern franchise is strongly rumoured to be up for nationalisation. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is invited on to James Max's business breakfast programme for his analysis. Listen here or download here.

23rd January - Love Sport Radio

Kelvin MacKenzie interviews Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson about the ongoing question mark over HS2 and the situation on South Western. Listen here or download here.

23rd January - Modern Railways

The magazine picks up on our argument abut using CPI instead of RPI: "Campaigning group Railfuture and others say this is not playing cricket: they argue that the more commonly-used Consumer Price Index is a fairer index to use. Indeed, Railfuture says that if CPI had been used as the index since 2003, a £100 fare back then would be just £145.33 today. With the Government policy in England of RPI+1% from 2004 to 2013 and RPI thereafter, that fare of £100 in 2003 has gone to £181.33 now - leaving the customer £36 out of pocket....Railfuture reminds us that the Government has frozen petrol duty for almost 10 years now". They then quote Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson: ”The Government seems to be running scared of the motoring lobby but is happy to punish rail travellers”

22nd January - BBC1

Nina Smith, chair of Yorkshire branch, is interviewed about overcrowding on Northern. The same clip was later broadcast on Look North.

20th January - LBC

HS2 cost forecasts are now up to £106 billion. Should the project go ahead? Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed alongside Penny Gaines from the Stop HS2 campaign. Listen here or download here.

20th January - Hastings and St. Leonards Observer

Ore station, in East Sussex on the Marshlink Line, has shown remarkable growth in passenger numbers. Roger Blake of London & South East branch is quoted: “The leap in usage is a vote of confidence by local residents and visitors around Ore in their local train service. It just goes to show what local activism can achieve when done in partnership with others, be it the train operator, Sussex CRP, Railfuture, and as a member of the Hastings & Rother Rail Users Alliance.”

16th January - Western Mail

Transport for Wales will pay almost £2m extra for more comfortable seats in its fleet of new trains.
Peter Kingsbury, chair of Railfuture Wales, is quoted: “The potential use of hard seats on the new trains running long distance services in Wales is wrong, and should not have occurred... Had interested parties been consulted on the design of the new trains, this issue could have been avoided... It is hoped that the seats align with windows to enable tourists using the new trains, which will operate on some of the most scenic Welsh routes, to enjoy the view.”

9th January - talkRADIO

Both South Western and Northern franchises look likely to end, but for different reasons. Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed on Mike Graham's morning show. Listen here or download here.

8th January - Yorkshire Post

Nina Smith, chair of Yorkshire branch, has a letter published about overcrowding on Cross Country trains. She writes:

"The use of four carriage Voyager trains on these long distance services is completely unacceptable. LNER and Great Western Railway have recently handed back to leasing companies many excellent, if older, seven to nine carriage High Speed Train sets. The Transport Secretary should require Cross Country Trains to lease some of these, and modify their doors and lavatories to meet access and hygiene requirements."

6th January - Birmingham Mail

Chiltern has increased car parking charges at some of its stations. Colin Major of West Midlands branch is quoted:

"We are not really happy with inhibiting people from travelling by train although we recognise it costs money to build and maintain car parking. There is a shortage of car parking spaces at every station."

6th January - City A.M.

Crossrail has been delayed yet again. Railfuture’s Bruce Williamson said it was unacceptable and that TfL had “serious questions to answer” about the delay.

He added: “Londoners will be only too aware that the tube is under a lot of strain, and across the UK rail network there is a shortage of capacity.”

3rd January - Western Mail

John Rogers of Railfuture Cymru Wales has a letter published under the title "Full devolution of rail transport is needed." He says: "Transport for Wales is to be praised for bucking the fares trend by reducing some fares or implementing only lower increases than in England. The Welsh Government has had to battle with Westminster to achieve the partial levels of control of Welsh railways that it now has. Only when we have full devolution of rail transport can we take further the process of having a Welsh rail network truly serving the nation."

3rd January - Yorkshire Post

The Department for Transport is reportedly considering splitting the Northern franchise into two. Nina Smith, chair of Yorkshire branch, argues that this is not the solution in a letter to the paper.

2nd January - Fare rises

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed on the breakfast shows of LBC (Listen here or download here) and talkRADIO (Listen here or download here). Some of his comments are included in a news item on the talkRADIO website.
He then appears on BBC Radio Tees to talk about some of the ways of getting cheaper tickets (listen here or download here) and then BBC Radio London to talk about fare rises and other wider rail issues. Listen here or download here.

Nina Smith of Yorkshire branch appears on BBC Radio Leeds Listen here or download here.

Railfuture director Roger Blake appeared on Sky News.

Dave Richardson of Thames Valley branch is interviewed on BBC South evening news and again on the late news.

Our press release is picked up by many media outlets, with Railfuture being quoted by Sky, Evening Standard, Telegraph, Mirror, Daily Star, Daily Mail, Daily Record, The Sun, Scotsman, Guardian, iNews and the front page of the Metro , as well as many local papers.

2nd January - LBC

Railfuture director Roger Blake is interviewed about the future of the Northern franchise. Listen here or download here.

2nd January - BBC Midlands Today

Steve Wright of West Midlands branch is interviewed about some of the problems facing rail operators in the region.

Click HERE for previous examples of Railfuture in the media.

Media - For more information please contact:
Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954
Mobile: 07759 557389
Email: media at railfuture.org.uk

Apply to join Railfuture now - click HERE.

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