The service cuts recently announced by the Strategic Rail Authority have alarmed rail campaigners.

The 104 trains per day withdrawn in the May timetable may not on the surface appear that significant, but they bring back memories of Ribblehead and Barmouth Viaduct where cuts were part of a dishonest longer term plan to undermine the entire service.

If public opinion is not mobilised against train cuts, the SRA may believe that further reductions will be acceptable.

The lengthening of journey times by the loss of through trains, poor connections (because stopping patterns may not be conducive to using alternative trains), and the failure to adopt cross-platform interchange will all be disincentives to rail users.

Perhaps the worst decision was to cut the Bristol-Oxford trains because these were the spring-board for extension of services on to the East-West rail link.

The SRA must explain why they jeopardised the East-west consortium's first-stage plans to reopen from Bicester to Bletchley.

Road congestion is already a major problem in areas where these trains are being cut.

Last year the SRA allowed Anglia's Crosslink service from Norwich to Basingstoke to be axed.

It appears that the SRA now has a preponderantly negative side, shutting its mind to projects which will guarantee rail a proper place in a future public transport system.

It has shelved grants to improve both passenger and freight services.

Currently the SRA looks like a dinosaur with a large staff that cannot act both tactically and strategically. It needs to do both.

Railfuture will be considering how to respond, respond, either direct or via Rail Passengers Council, to the service reductions announced by the SRA.