Press release 31st October 2015

Rail Resurgence in the West of England

Transport industry bigwigs and politicians will be meeting in Bristol next weekend to talk about the rail resurgence in the West of England.  The conference, which initially sold out and has had to find a bigger venue, is being organised by transport campaign group Railfuture, and will also include the announcement of the winners of the 2015 Rail User Group Awards .

"Bristol and the West of England are on the brink of tremendous opportunities to expand rail services, with electrification and the MetroWest projects in the pipeline, which will bring us new inter-city trains and updated better trains for local and regional services" said Nigel Bray, one of the conference organisers.  "There's huge demand for improved services, but also huge frustration with how long it takes to make these things happen.  People in congested Bristol want the improvements to happen more quickly, so we'll be hearing from both politicians and the industry about what they're doing to speed things up"

Speakers include local MP Charlotte Leslie, assistant Bristol mayor Simon Cook, Matthew Golton from Great Western Railway and James Freeman from FirstBus.

"We hope to show how consistent campaigning and dialogue can drive progress between councils and the industry, and the lessons learned from successful campaigns in other parts of the country will bring success in the West of England. Rail improvements seem to take ages, so can we find a way to speed it up?  Will devolution of management of trains services lead to improvements?  What's going to happen in the near future?  Hopefully we'll be able to answer some of those questions."

Also at the conference, rail writer and transport campaigner Christian Wolmar will announce the winners of this year's Rail User Group Awards.  Now in their fourth year, these awards aim to recognise and reward local volunteers working to improve rail services in their area.  Portishead Railway Group is a local example of a previous winner, and in the running this year are Saltford Station Campaign, Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, and TransWilts Community Rail Partnership.

The full list of speakers is:

  •     Matthew Golton, Bid Director, Great Western Railway (talking about plans for the franchise Direct Award)
  •     James White, Transport and Rail Co-ordinator, West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (talking about the MetroWest project)
  •     James Freeman, FirstBus (talking about Bus/Rail integration)
  •     Charlotte Leslie MP, Bristol North West constituency (talking about local campaigns including the Henbury loop)
  •     John Parry, Parry People Movers (talking about the intermediate mode - the gap between heavy rail and bus)
  •     Peter Wakefield, Chairman, East Anglia branch, Railfuture (talking about how a consistent voice can drive progress between councils, LEPs etc.)
  •     Gerard Duddridge, Chairman, Devon & Cornwall branch, Railfuture (talking about speed and resilience in the South West)
  •     Simon Cook, assistant Bristol mayor, is welcoming  delegates  to  Bristol  and  declaring  the  conference  open.

The conference is on Saturday the 7th of November at the Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel and Spa, Redcliff Hill, Bristol, BS1 6SQ, just a short walk from Temple Meads station.
Tickets are £30, £20 for16-25 Railcard holders or £55 for 2 people, and include welcome refreshments and buffet lunch.
The conference begins at 10:45, registration from 10:00, finishes by 17:00
For further details about the conference please email bristol2015 at railfuture.org.uk.
Places are still available - but bookings for this conference will close on 05/11/2015

Notes to editors:

Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk

Further information about the Rail User Group Awards: www.railfuture.org.uk/RUG%20Awards

Follow Railfuture on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Railfuture

For further information and comment please contact:

Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954 Mobile: 07759 557389
media at railfuture.org.uk