South Wales Metro

Author: Peter Kingsbury - Published Thu 28 of Sep, 2017 11:33 BST - (8896 Reads)
The Welsh Government is seeking visionary proposals for a South Wales Metro from bidders for the Wales and Borders rail franchise. The new operator is expected to also take responsibility for the infrastructure on the core Valley Lines, on which services may no longer use pure diesel traction. The map shows the integrated services for which the operator may take responsibility, which may be provided by rail, light rail or bus.

Subtle sound of silence

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published Mon 25 of Sep, 2017 13:21 BST - (3861 Reads)
Railfuture is pro-rail rather than being anti-road. However, many imagine what life might be like if roads did not dominate people’s lives as they currently do. Whilst on a business trip to Brussels, Jerry Alderson had a chance to experience what a world with far fewer cars would feel like and how the public might make use of their new freedom to walk, cycle and play in relative safety. All photos by the author.

Why wiring went wrong

Author: Jerry Alderson (Source: Phil Smart) - Published Sat 09 of Sep, 2017 20:40 BST - (6424 Reads)
Railfuture has long campaigned for much of Britain’s railway to be electrified, not as an end in itself but because of the benefits it can bring to passengers (and also freight users). Electrification fell out of favour in the early 1990s but came back around 2009 partly thanks to the lobbying of Railfuture’s distinguished Vice President Adrian Shooter. However, Network Rail’s inability to deliver the government’s challenging programme of electrification, not least because vital skills and experience including project management had been lost, is a major set-back. Electrifying the Gospel Oak to Barking line has been a Railfuture aspiration for a long time. Pictured above is a stanchion minus overhead wires at South Tottenham station on the GOBLIN line, where the electrification work overran. Photo by Jerry Alderson.

Electric plug

Author: Ray King - Published Fri 08 of Sep, 2017 22:20 BST - (3597 Reads)
Ray King presents the Derbyshire Times report on a stunt by 10:10 and Campaign for Better Transport calling on the Transport Secretary to reverse his decision to cancel Midland Main Line electrification. Railfuture supports electrification but sees the way forward differently; our article Why electrify shows how this can be achieved.

Why electrify?

Author: Chris Page - Published Thu 31 of Aug, 2017 18:58 BST - (6872 Reads)
On 20 July 2017, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling shocked rail campaigners and stakeholders by announcing that planned electrification of the Midland Main Line north of Kettering, the Great Western Main Line west of Cardiff, and Oxenholme to Windermere is cancelled. Photo Network Rail.

Crossing Europe by train

Author: Bernard Marriott. Editing/additional material Jerry Alderson - Published Tue 15 of Aug, 2017 08:58 BST - (3706 Reads)
In spring 2017 a group of Railfuture members travelled by rail across Europe to Innsbruck in Austria. Their experience showed how easy and enjoyable rail travel can be, allowing tourists to visit several countries in one holiday, unlike many who rely upon airlines. It is noticeable how other countries have heavily invested in their railway to support tourism, which is more concerned with views from the window, comfort and ambience: characteristics not seen as a priority on enough of Britain’s railway. Top two photos by Colin Milsom. Salzburger FestungsBahn (bottom left) is a publicity photo. Bottom right photo, showing Salzburg trolley bus wires and fortress in the background, and all other photos in article by Jerry Alderson.

Levenmouth Rail Campaign

Author: Allen Armstrong - Published Sun 13 of Aug, 2017 17:50 BST - (6775 Reads)
Allen Armstrong, secretary of the Levenmouth Rail Campaign, explains why reopening the Thornton to Leven rail line is essential to improve the life opportunities of the local population. Campaign activists presented a 12,500 signature petition demanding the reinstatement of rail services to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf on 1st June 2017 outside the Scottish parliament, witnessed by MSPs of all parties.

Expanding the Railways

Author: Chris Austin and Chris Page - Published Wed 05 of Jul, 2017 18:34 BST - (10122 Reads)
This new guide was launched today. ‘Expanding the Railways’ will help local authorities, developers and communities develop plans for adding new stations and lines to the network.

Southern could be buzzin'

Author: Chris Page - Published Sun 25 of Jun, 2017 19:11 BST - (7395 Reads)
Chris Gibb’s independent report to the DfT on how the performance of the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise might be improved was published on 23 June 2017. Its recommendations include proposals that Railfuture already campaigns for, such as electrifying the Uckfield line. If these are implemented, then passengers could see an unprecedented improvement in rail services. This diagram, taken from the report, depicts the Southern system. At its heart are the passengers, who depend on all the other elements in the diagram for their train service. The light blue elements are the key ingredients that make the system work; the relationship between them is critical.

Swanage back on the map

Author: Chris Austin - Published Sat 17 of Jun, 2017 17:31 BST - (5416 Reads)
Chris Austin was lucky enough to travel on the first public passenger train from Swanage to Wareham for 45 years, at the start of an experimental service running until September. The first public through train from Swanage at Wareham on 13 June 2017. From London, same platform interchange makes for an easy journey - photo Peter Milford.

Our brief to aspiring MPs

Author: Ian Brown CBE, Railfuture Policy Director - Published Sat 13 of May, 2017 19:03 BST - (5350 Reads)
Railfuture wants a bigger better railway. The railways were built to create economic wealth, and our message to parliamentary candidates is that a continued high level of investment in rail is essential to promote economic growth. Passengers will start using the Crossrail tunnels under London in 2018, making their life easier - photo courtesy Crossrail Ltd.

Transport hustings

Author: Steve Wright - Published Mon 17 of Apr, 2017 19:49 BST - (4549 Reads)
The West Midlands is desperately underfunded for transport - that was the overwhelming consensus of the mayoral candidates who met on Thursday 6th April 2017 to debate the region's transport needs. The five major parties were represented at a public debate organised by Railfuture and Friends of the Earth.

New approach to Uckfield

Author: Chris Page - Published Wed 22 of Mar, 2017 18:36 GMT - (9823 Reads)
On 2 March 2017 the government published the long-awaited London and South Coast Rail Corridor study report. News headlines portrayed this as the death knell of a second main line to London, but in fact the study points the way forward for reopening between Uckfield and Lewes, and a new route between Stratford and East Croydon via Docklands. The diagram, taken from the report, shows the new approach recommended to justify re-opening Uckfield – Lewes.

Guarding passengers

Author: Ray King - Published Mon 13 of Mar, 2017 13:35 GMT - (8848 Reads)
A personal view from Railfuture vice-president Peter Rayner.Photo: A crowded train at Gretna Green in August 2016.

Clearer not simpler fares

Author: Chris Page - Published Wed 22 of Feb, 2017 18:20 GMT - (6752 Reads)
Radical fare changes proposed by the Rail Delivery Group risk reducing choice and flexibility for passengers. What is needed are clearly explained fares which offer choice, not simplistic ticketing which removes flexibility. In London, the adjacent termini of St Pancras and King’s Cross offer alternative routes to Sheffield, giving holders of ‘any permitted route’ tickets the flexibility to choose either.

Never-never railways

Author: Chris Page - Published Wed 28 of Dec, 2016 18:34 GMT - (12515 Reads)
Investment in new rail infrastructure is essential to provide extra capacity to deal with increasing passenger numbers and promote economic growth. However Network Rail has maxed out its capacity and budget for rail enhancements because the lack of skilled and experienced rail engineers has driven up NR costs, so the government is looking for innovative ways to finance, resource and share risk on more new rail infrastructure projects than Network Rail can handle. The government has given East West Rail the green light, whilst two other potential privately-financed projects, Heathrow Southern Railway and London and Southern Counties Railway, are also vying for government attention.