Activist Briefing Issue 44

Activists Briefing

Issue 44 – 17th April 2009


Paris? Do you mean Paisley?. Readers will no doubt recall the item in the latest edition of Railwatch giving some details of the Railfuture International committee investigation into the difficulties passengers face when they try to book rail tickets to mainland Europe. This has been followed up with a press release.

Railfuture chairman, Mike Crowhurst, has a letter in Local Transport Today this week responding to various previous items about intermodal policy issues. Mike was also quoted in a RAIL article about high-speed rail.

In a Times article by Ben Webster on 30th March which said that the Government had quietly cancelled plans for more than 300 additional carriages Railfuture media spokesman, Bruce Wiiliamson, was quoted as follows:

“It is ludicrous for the Government to cut back on what it promised. Rail carriages are a long-term investment and it would be shortsighted to argue that the current reduction in the rate of passenger growth means these carriages are not needed. By the time these trains are delivered, the recession will probably be over and high rates of growth will have resumed.”
Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5997781.ece

On 16th March Bruce was telephoned from John Ingham of the Daily Express who was doing a story about trainspotters being banned from National Express-run stations. Bruce gave him a quote and pointed him to a petition on the 10 Downing St website: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/railenthusiasts/. In the article on 17th March Bruce was quoted as saying, “Of all leisure activities, train spotting has to be one of the most harmless.” Here's the story

Railfuture were asked by More4 news to provide a spokesman for an interview about National Express East Coast withdrawing restaurant provision. Norman Bradbury spent almost an hour doing an interview with them at Kings Cross station. When the item was transmitted on 20th March less than a minute of the interview was used and even this was taken out of context!


Readers may recall the item in Briefing 42 about the campaign to get Northern Rail to staff Wakefield Kirkgate station. On 3rd April after a woman had been attacked on the station BBC Look North interviewed Railfuture Yorkshire chairman, Chris Hyomes, on the station. Chris told them it was time staff were reintroduced to the station.

Railfuture North West chairman, Brian Grey, was quoted in a RAIL magazine article about the Merseyside RUS

Some Railfuture Yorkshire members are planning to join campaigners from Campaign for Better Transport to greet Lord Adonis when he reaches the end of his 5-day national rail tour on Saturday 18th April. Lord Adonis has a diary of his trip on the DfT website at http://www.dft.gov.uk/press/speechesstatements/speeches/railtourdiary. His comments about his ticket, a 7-day “all line rail rover”, indicate he may know more about our railways than most of his departmental mandarins. “This is a ticket no-one I meet has ever heard of, perhaps because it is so poorly advertised (alongside the 14 day rover at £565). It prompts the thought that we should be marketing these tickets more widely, not least to young people (who can buy the 7 day ticket for just £245) so that they can get to know their own country in the same way that they and their predecessors (me included) got to know Europe by inter-railing for a summer holiday.”

There were some committee changes at the Railfuture Lincolnshire AGM. David Harby was elected chairman and Philip Mason was unopposed as vice chairman to replace David.

After their meeting on 4th April the Railfuture Freight committee had a dinner to celebrate the committees 30th anniversary.

Railfuture Wessex branch has a stand at the Eastleigh 100 (centenary) event over the second May holiday weekend 23-25 May 2009. Further information and offers of help to branch chairman John Friedberger.


A guest speaker at the AGM will be David Mallender, PR and Stakeholder Manager for First Transpennine. Subject to final confirmation the other guest speaker will be Steve Butcher from Northern Rail.

The first deadline for returning papers for the AGM is not far away so here is a reminder of the final dates:
Motions for discussion at the AGM must reach the Chairman by Saturday 25th April.
Voting papers must be returned no later than 1st post on Thursday April 30th.
If you wish to book a buffet lunch your booking form and payment must be received by Friday 1st May.
Proxy voting forms must be received by 13.30 on Thursday 7th May.


DfT are consulting on the Government's plans to amend the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (RVAR) to take account of changes to legislation and the experience of passengers and operators since RVAR came into force. This includes setting an end date by which time metro and light rail vehicles must be accessible and proposals on technical changes; older vehicle refurbishment; compliance certification; exemptions; and enforcement issues. Closing date 3rd July 2009. See #http://www.dft.gov.uk/results?view=Filter&h=m&m=4552&pg=1

A suite of documents consists of seven reports produced in the development of the Government’s policy on new lines for the 2007 rail white paper have now been placed on the DfT website http://www.dft.gov.uk/results?view=Filter&h=m&m=4552&pg=1

An update to the TSGB 2008 Chapter 3: Energy and the environment is available. This includes tables for CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

Some new UK Transport and Climate Change data - Factsheets were published on 26th March 2009.

An updated list of email contacts for rail enquiries was published on 23rd March 2009.

A report on the consultation run between 3 March and 23 May 2008 on the proposed revision of the 2002 Strategic Rail Authority document “Train and Station Design for Disabled Passengers: A Code of Practice". was published on 16th March 2009


On 19th March National Rail Trends Chapter 3: Freight was published covering Freight moved and lifted up to and including Q3 2008-09

On 3rd April ORR issued a press release telling everyone they must observe level crossing rules, or face the consequences. This followed a case at South Lakeland Magistrates Court in Kendal on 23 March 2009 when the driver of a van was fined £650, banned from driving for 30 days and ordered to pay £60 costs. The van, which was towing another vehicle, approached the crossing but the driver ignored the warning lights and narrowly missed an oncoming train in an incident at Wraysholme level crossing, Cumbria in December 2008. Source http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.9621

On 7th April ORR issued a press release welcoming the publication by the Competition Commission of its final report at the end of its rolling stock leasing market investigation and urged the Department for Transport to seriously consider the CC's recommendations. “A more competitive rolling stock market will bring about benefits for both passengers and the funders of the railway.”

National Rail Trends Chapter 2: Rail performance was published on 9th April. This covers public performance measure, complaints, passengers in excess of capacity, and National Rail Enquiry Service up to and including Q2 2008-09


On 27th March Passenger Focus issued a press release criticising the rail industry for forcing many passengers onto bus replacement services over Easter rather than promote alternative rail routes. They argue that passengers should be able to travel on the most convenient rail route without penalty and train companies should offer compensation to passengers that have no choice but to travel by bus. They gave as an example London to Manchester on Easter Saturday morning where, because of engineering works, the quickest route is via Doncaster. Because of rail industry rules on permitted routes, instead of £66 return, this will cost almost £90 return. This was picked up by some of the national media.
Source. http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2582

In his presentation to the Railway Community Safety Forum 2009 Passenger Focus chief executive, Anthony Smith, presented Passenger Focus’s latest document ‘Passenger perceptions of personal security on the railways, which explores the idea of reducing crime on Britain’s railways. The report notes that passenger satisfaction with security has increased over recent years but highlighted the importance of staff at stations. Source and link to the presentation http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2573

On 17th March Passenger Focus arch into published their research into employers' business travel needs from rail. This revealed there is potential for the industry to attract greater numbers of business travellers onto the train and improve use of off-peak services. See http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/news-and-publications/press-release.asp?dsid=2565 for the research


The Merseyside RUS was launched on 27th March. Passenger numbers are predicted to rise by 40% by 2020. The RUS sets out the rail industry’s preferred plan to meet this demand. Principal recommendations centre on longer trains to provide more seats for passengers, and improving links on key routes into Liverpool from Chester, North Wales, Southport, Ormskirk, Preston and Wigan. A copy of the Merseyside RUS can be found on the Network Rail website at http://www.networkrail.co.uk
Source: http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/Content/Detail.asp?ReleaseID=4232&NewsAreaID=2&SearchCategoryID=5

There were more than 5,000 recorded incidents of railway crime involving young people last year so on 6th April Network Rail launched its annual No Messin’ campaign to reduce railway crime and promote positive activities for young people. Boxing champion Amir Khan fronts the campaign. See http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/Content/Detail.asp?ReleaseID=4274&NewsAreaID=2&SearchCategoryID=2


A new file of "Station Usage" figures from Delta Rail has been published by the ORR - two months earlier than expected.
The latest file covers the financial year from April 2007 to March 2008 so still shows strong growth at most stations. See http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk for a download.

The Mid Anglia Rail Passenger's Associaton's AGM. is on the 25th of April in Bury St. Edmunds Central Library, in Sergeant's Walk at 2.30p.m.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) have produced a DVD about their role and work. This can be viewed at http://www.raib.gov.uk/about_us/raib_dvd.cfm

At a meeting, instigated by Wansbeck MP Denis Murphy, Railfuture member and Chairman of local rail user group SENRUG was invited to meet Transport Minister Geoff Hoon on Thursday 26th March, to discuss SENRUG's campaign to re-open the Ashington Blyth & Tyne railway line. Also at the reception was Jeff Reid, leader of the new Northumberland unitary council, and senior representatives from Association of North East Councils, One North East, North East Assembly, Wansbeck District Council and Northern Rail. At the Woodhorn reception, SENRUG Chairman Dennis Fancett gave a 10 minute illustrated presentation to Mr Hoon on the case for re-opening the line. Wansbeck Council officer Susan Smith also gave a shorter 5 minute presentation on the Wansbeck area.

The visit had a write up in two local newspapers.
http://www.newspostleader.co.uk/latest/Hoon-views-Ashington-Blyth-and.5117342.jp http://bedlington.journallive.co.uk/2009/03/minister-lukewarm-on-bedlingto.html#more
View these short videos of the campaign:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/politics_show/regions/north_east_and_cumbria/7444010.stm http://www.newspostleader.co.uk/audio-video/First-passenger-train-for-over.4165849.jp

Next year's EPF Conference and AGM will be on Saturday March 20th 2010 in Malmö, Sweden.

Rail User Express Rail Action