MPs, Peers and Railfuture Vice Presidents gathered at a reception in the Houses of Parliament hosted by MP and Railfuture Vice President Caroline Lucas on 12th March.

The purpose of the event was to highlight the vital role the rail network plays in contributing to economic growth as part of an integrated transport system, and therefore the need for continued investment to increase the capacity and resilience of the network and to reduce unit costs, so that fares do not have to increase so fast. The meeting was designed to contact MPs in relation to local rail campaigns benefitting their constituencies and to listen to the concerns and priorities expressed.

Caroline Lucas said "our objectives are a bigger better railway both in terms of passengers and freight to meet more of Britain’s transport needs. From my perspective, there is a very strong environmental argument for growing the network. To achieve this, sustained levels of investment are needed and Railfuture absolutely campaigns and lobbies for that. It’s been pretty successful in recent years and has played a key role in the opening and re-opening of 370 stations and 500 miles of railway line in the past 50 years”.

Railfuture president Christian Wolmar said “it’s great to celebrate the success of the railways”.

“It is quite extraordinary the difference between then and now,” he added, referring to the 20 years since privatisation. "Everybody accepts that the railway is a vital industry that needs to grow, there is a real political consensus and Railfuture has played its part."

29 parliamentarians attended the reception, raising issues which included a Bristol - Oxford service linked with East - West Rail, reopening Stonehouse Bristol Road station on the Gloucester - Bristol line, a rail link to Skelmersdale, Cheltenham – Stratford reopening, and the diesel unit shortage.

Dods report