Railfuture in the news 2014

Later news: 2015


31st December - Fare rises

Our press release is picked up by the Guardian, Daily Mail, and about 600 other newspapers.

30th December - BBC Radio Five Live

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson was interviewed about Network Rail bonuses. Listen here.

29th December - LBC Radio

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed about the Kings Cross fiasco. Listen here.

29th December - Cambridge News

Peter Wakefield, chairman of East Anglia branch is quoted in a story about overhead wire problems:

“You can understand to some degree there can be problems but it’s a lack of management on the ground where things go wrong. Maybe they were trying to do to much in a short time but we won’t know that until the end of the week when they promise a report. It’s very frustrating at the time but when it’s all over we hope we’ve got a better railway at the end of it.”

27th December - BBC Radio Five Live

Former Network Rail executive Phil Marsh and Railfuture's Bruce Williamson discuss the Kings Cross fiasco. Listen here

27th December - Sky News

Bruce Williamson is interviewed about the over-running engineering works causing disruption to services in and out of Kings Cross.

26th December - LBC Radio

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed about Boxing Day trains and many other topics. Listen here.

24th December - Daily Mail

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted in a story headlined: "Travel chaos on Boxing Day as almost all rail lines remain shut for a second day forcing millions to take to the roads"

19th December - South Wales Echo

There are renewed calls for rail infrastructure powers to be devolved to Wales. John Rogers, of South Wales branch, said: “We have the franchise powers for 2018, and all being well there’ll be a decent government-owned not-for-profit train operator. It would be odd if we didn’t control the infrastructure. It needs addressing as quickly as possible.”

17th December - Northants Telegraph

"Passenger numbers up at Corby train station; down at Kettering and Wellingborough" reads the headline. David Fursdon, from Railfuture East Midlands, said: “The recent increase in passenger numbers at Corby is proof a better service is deserving – and take into account Corby is the fastest-growing town in the UK.”

7th December - South Wales Echo

John Rogers, chairman of South Wales branch, is quoted in an article comparing fuel prices to increases in public transport fares.
“The cost of running a car has gone down, so why hasn’t the cost of travelling on a clapped-out Pacer train gone down also?”

1st December - BBC Radio Devon

Following the announcement of road building plans, Railfuture's Bruce Williamson argues that the money would be better spent on rail projects. Listen here.

30th November - Milngavie Herald

"A new Allander train stop has come a step closer after a rail pressure group submitted plans into the feasibility.

Railfuture Scotland have sent in detailed submissions to transport consultants AECOM in support of East Dunbartonshire Council’s request for the new rail halt between Milngavie and Hillfoot station, Bearsden."

27th November - Western Mail

"Will devolved rail in Wales lead to better trains?" Railfuture's Bruce Williamson comments on the availability of rolling stock.

26th November - New Civil Engineer

"A campaign to reopen the rail line between Wisbech and March is firmly on track after leaders from Anglian Water and some of the region’s biggest businesses joined forces." Railfuture is one of them.

25th November - Bridgwater Mercury

"Representatives from First Great Western, Sedgemoor District Council, RailFuture and TravelWatch South West have been invited to speak at the meeting with the chance for people to ask questions and comment on the vision for future Bridgwater rail travel." says the article, along with a picture of an electric train at a different station.

22nd November - Portsmouth News

Charles Burns, secretary of Wessex branch, has a letter published commenting on transport policy in the region. This followed a recent visit to Portsmouth (by train) of transport minister John Hayes

18th November - The Scotsman

Railfuture has an ambitious plan for expanding Scotland's rail network. "The plans coincide with what transport minister Keith Brown has hailed as a new “golden age” for rail in Scotland, and a “can do” attitude among Network Rail chiefs". The story is also covered by the Inverness Courier, and Fife Today and the Dunfirmline Press give it a regional spin.

18th November - Brighton Argus

Following poor performance figures, Southern Railway and Network Rail have launched a 30-point rail performance improvement plan. Railfuture's Chris Page comments: "One of the most important things Southern and Network Rail want to focus on is keeping people informed when there are delays – and making sure staff have their information to hand to pass to passengers."

16th November - Lincolnshire Echo

David Harby of Lincolnshire branch writes enthusiastically about future rail improvements in the area.

13th November - Gainsborough Standard

"Campaign group recognised for their hard work" - the paper reports on The Friends of Brigg and Lincoln Lines winning Railfuture's RUG award for best new group.

9th November - Star On Sunday

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted in an article about engineering works over Christmas: “The amount of investment and work on railways is clearly greater than 10 years ago - but that means more knock-on effects and disruption. Main lines are very heavily used, the west coast in particular, and these works will cause inconvenience to people travelling over Christmas."

4th November - Kent Online

Our Rail User Group awards are reported: "Sevenoaks Rail Travelllers Association website wins Gold award for best website in Railfuture Awards" with an extra L in "travellers".

1st November - Sussex Express

A letter from Lewes resident Victor S Ient compares BML2 with Railfuture's "Bridge The Gap" campaign, arguing that our scheme is cheaper and likely to be completed sooner. There's a response here.

31st October - BBC Radio 2

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson and Chiltern Railways's Thomas Ableman discuss whether ticket machines are offering us cheap fares. He manages to include a plug for the London conference. Click here to listen.

30th October - Daily Telegraph

"Rail ticket 'rip-off': passengers routinely denied cheapest fares" is the headline. The story continues:

"The campaign group Railfuture said that passengers were being forced to “jump through hoops” to get a reasonable fare. Bruce Williamson, a spokesman for the organisation, said it was “clearly wrong” that the cheapest fares were sometimes “buried” behind a number of option menus while the more expensive ones were promoted on the main default screens.

“Cheaper options have to be readily obvious and easy to find, not hidden from customers,” he said."

The same story appears in the Daily Mail, Metro, MSN and Bitterwallet, where strangely, Bruce was a little more assertive:

“Cheaper options have to be readily obvious and easy to find, not hidden from customers,” he stated, firmly.

29th October - Huddersfield Daily Examiner

"HS3 should be completed before HS2 reaches Yorkshire, says Railfuture campaign" is the headline of an article extensively quoting Nina Smith of Yorkshire branch.

19th October - Wales On Sunday

John Rogers of Railfuture Wales is quoted regarding plans to close Cardiff's new Queen Street station on match days.

15th October - BBC Radio Lincolnshire

David Harby responds to comments made by Pete Waterman about rail services in Lincolnshire. Listen here.

9th October - Rail Technology Magazine

"HS2 hub in East Midlands to be relocated" is the headline. Bruce Williamson is quoted: “We welcome the news of a rethink on Toton. Out of town stations are unsatisfactory - passengers want to get to city centres, not to an out of town car park - and we believe that one of the weaknesses of HS2's plans is the poor integration with existing lines. "

8th October - Western Mail

John Rogers of Railfuture Cymru has a letter published welcoming the transfer to Wales of Whitehall's remaining powers over rail transport.

7th October - Cambridge News

Peter Wakefield, chairman of East Anglia branch, welcomes Nick Clegg's support for reopening the Varsity Line.

29th September - South Wales Echo

Railfuture's Phil Inskip is quoted in an article entitled "Key Welsh train routes falling behind on investment despite soaring demand, Railfuture campaigners warn"

19th September - Northamptonshire Telegraph

Railfuture's David Fursdon is extensively quoted in an article about staff shortages potentially forcing the closure of Corby station.

15th September - BBC News website

Railfuture welcomes free wifi for South West Train passengers, but warns that train companies should not lose sight of other passenger complaints, primarily over-crowding and the level of fares.

10th September - Bicester Advertiser

After George Osborne retreats from his proposed RPI+1% fare rises, Andrew McCallum of Thames Valley branch is quoted: “Rail travel in and from Oxfordshire has grown considerably in recent years and this announcement benefits existing commuters and should also encourage others to travel by rail."

6th September - Herald series (Oxfordshire)

An article about the growth of railways in Oxfordshire mentions the Varsity Line. "Campaigners, including the Thames Valley branch of RailFuture, are now hoping to see the line reopened. "

28th August - Ely Standard

"Delight as study finds that rail link between East Anglia and Oxfordshire will create economic and social benefits" - the paper prints a letter from Peter Wakefield of East Anglia branch.

24th August - Sussex Express

The paper reports widespread support for Railfuture’s “Bridge the gap” campaign to re-open the rail link between Lewes and Uckfield. The same story is picked up by The Argus and Bright FM

22nd August - Halifax Courier

"Rail campaigners aim to save services in the north" is the headline, as the paper prints our press release.

21st August - Bedford Times & Citizen

The rail link from Bedford to Cambridge is a step closer to being built after a report showed it would boost the economy. Rail campaign group Railfuture welcomes the news and hopes the route could be opened by 2022. Spokesman Peter Wakefield said: “What some once regarded as a ‘pipe dream’ in 1995 when Railfuture wrote the original paper that led to local authorities across the region setting up of the East West Rail Consortium, will soon be a vital economic artery serving every part of the region.”

19th August - Cambridge News

Rail fares are set to rise by 3.5% in Cambridge region. Peter Wakefield, chairman of East Anglia branch said the Government might need to take action to rein in increases.

He said: “This is something which has been going on for a long time and has brought up fare levels to the point where the railways are now breaking even.

“It’s a bit of a blunt instrument to whack up fares year-on-year and it’s probably gone too far – it needs to be a bit more delicately applied."

19th August - Fare rises

July's inflation figures prompted much interest in the likely fare rises next January. Chris Hyomes was interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Radio York, and David Harby is interviewed on BBC Radio Lincolnshire.

19th August - Daily Express

The Express publishes a story about January's fare rises. Bruce Williamson from Railfuture is quoted: "Some fares could go up by as much as 5.5%. Compare that to people's real incomes, which are virtually stagnant, and you'll see how unfair these rises are. With an election on the horizon, I think it's likely that the Government will sweeten the pill with a smaller increase, but we need a longer-term fairer-fares policy." The same story appears in the Daily Mail, Shropshire Star and the Harborourgh Mail and many other local papers.

18th August - Bedfordshire on Sunday

The East West Rail link between Bedford and Cambridge could be open within 10 years. "Potential routes from Cambridge to Bedford are yet to be identified, but campaign group Railfuture has already suggested a number of options."

15th August - BBC Radio Lincolnshire

David Harby is interviewed about improvements to rail services in Lincolnshire. Listen here.

24th July - Harborough Mail

Industrial action is affecting East Midlands Trains. David Fursdon of East Midlands Branch is quoted: “Some rail services may not be affected at all but I would advise passengers to check in advance. Do please plan well in advance to help your travel plans go as best they can during the industrial action.”

22nd July - Northamptonshire Telegraph

A short piece about cash machines at Corby station quotes David Fursdon of East Midlands branch:

“This will be a benefit to the increasing number of passengers using the station.”

18th July - Sussex Express

"Anger at risk to longer Uckfield trains" is the headline as the paper picks up on our press release..

17th July - BBC Radio Berkshire

Hugh Jaeger of Thames Valley branch joins Paul Prentice of Rail magazine to discuss future growth of the railways on the day that the new Reading station is opened. Listen here.

7th July - BBC Radio Oxford

Hugh Jaeger of Thames Valley branch is interviewed about Network Rail's record fine for unreliability.

2nd July - Witney Gazette

Hugh Jaeger of Thames Valley branch gets a letter published, arguing that investment in public transport would be better than dualling the A40.

21st June - Cambridge News

Our Cambridge conference gets a plug, and organiser Chris Burton is quoted: “The fact that the MD of Britain’s largest train operator has chosen to speak at a conference organised entirely for the public, by the passengers’ champion, Railfuture, shows how seriously the rail industry listens to the concerns of passengers.”

2nd June - BBC Radio Oxford

Hugh Jaeger of Thames Valley branch is interviewed about East West Rail. Listen here.

28th May - The Independent

Bruce Williamson gives a cautious welcome to news that Serco has won the Caledonian sleeper service. “Serco has of course had some difficulties in other areas where it provides public services, but the promise of new trains with improved facilities is very welcome. I trust that the standard of accommodation will be less spartan than in some of its prisons,” he said.

14th May - Witney Gazette

Hugh Jaeger of Thames Valley branch has a letter published calling for a rail-based mode for rapid transit between Oxford and Witney.

12th May - BBC New Magazine

An article entitled "The ubiquity of the modern beep" bemoans the constant barrage of electronic noises, including on trains. Telephone beeps of others can be most annoying in confined spaces such as trains, says Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson. "When passengers sit in a carriage they feel a little bit stuck."

10th May - Sheffield Telegraph

"Rail campaign fight to be aired at meeting" is the headline of an article plugging Railfuture's AGM and listing some of the speakers.

The same story also appears in the Sheffield Star.

9th May - The Scotsman

Railfuture spokesman Bruce Williamson is quoted in a story about Scottish banknotes not being accepted by ticket machines in London: “If Scottish banknotes are legal tender in London, and traders are legally obliged to accept them in a face-to-face transaction, it seems reasonable that the same rules should apply to machine transactions if it’s technically possible. "

6th May - Yorkshire Post

"Inaction stations as electrification heralded by silence" is the title of a piece contrasting Railfuture's AGM with a lack of electrification.

4th May - The Scotsman

Ken Sutherland of Railfuture Scotland comments on Michael Portillo's suggestion of glass roofed trains: “Providing front/rear end views would probably have greater priority benefits in delivering an improved ‘passenger experience’ on trains operating over Scotland’s scenic/tourist lines. The panoramic front/rear end window views offered from the trains operating on Strathclyde’s electrified lines in the 1960s were a major selling point for many passengers, but ­regrettably ended with later ­refurbishment.”

28th April - BBC Radio Oxford

Chris Austin is interviewed about HS2 as 30 or so Tory MPs plan to rebel against government legislation. Listen here.

22nd April - East Anglian Daily Times

Railfuture is spearheading a campaign to reopen the Colchester to Cambridge line. Railfuture East Anglia’s Peter Wakefield said: “The new railway will be well positioned to provide a high quality service from the important centres on this corridor. There will be a two-way flow to make the provision of such a high-quality link financially viable".

17th April - Cambridge News

Peter Wakefield, chair of the East Anglian branch spoke at a meeting to discuss reopening the line between Haverhill and Cambridge. He said that the A1307 is “over capacity” and hailed it as a “high casualty” route from Cambridge to Haverhill. “An alternative route to the road is also required,” he said. “That can only be provided be a high quality railway reinstatement."

16th April - BBC Radio Solent

Charles Burns of Wessex branch is interviewed about the news that South West Trains is one of the few franchises not to need a subsidy. The discussion moves onto fares and the complexity of ticket pricing. Listen here.

15th April - BBC London 94.9

Bruce Williamson is interviewed about fare dodging, in the light of a commuter agreeing to pay back £42,550 after being caught exploiting a loophole. Listen here.

14th April - RAIL magazine

In his column, Christian Wolmar gives Railfuture much of the credit for the success in getting improvements to the Marshlink line in Kent. Chris Page of Railfuture is quoted: "We took things slowly, arguing for incremental change rather than demanding everything at once. And we always saw ourselves as a partnership, keeping communications open with other organisations such as the local council, which are times were not supportive. Now they are."

11th April - Hastings and St Leonards Observer

A letter from Simon Stoddart of St Leonards questions why it will take so long to link Hastings to High Speed 1. He goes on to say "Check out the Railfuture website www.railfuture.org.uk/Marshlink to see a well-constructed set of proposals for local rail enhancements."

9th April - BBC Radio Oxford

Hugh Jaeger of Thames Valley branch appears on the breakfast show to discuss the options for improving level crossing safety. Click here to listen.

3rd April - Oxford Monorail?

Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth's vision for future public transport in Oxford - including a monorail as one possibility - generates much press interest. Railfuture Thames Valley chair Richard Stow is interviewed by Heart Thames Valley, and Hugh Jaeger is interviewed by BBC Radio Oxford, Jack FM, the Oxford Mail and the Oxford Guardian.

3rd April - Sheffield Star

Nina Smith of Railfuture Yorkshire says that the £38billion investment in improving the rail network is too little and the north remains underfunded. Government should be investing improving and expanding train services and the rail network.

2nd April - Kent Online

High speed Javelin services are to run between Ashford and Hastings. Roger Blake of Railfuture said: “This is a phenomenal success which will stimulate economic growth in Hastings.”

30th March - LBC

National spokesman Bruce Williamson is interviewed about Network Rail's impending £70m fine for inadequate punctuality. He argues that that money should be spent on the railways, not given back to George Osbourne. Listen here.

28th March - Western Daily Press

A front page article on transport in the West gave a plug for Railfuture Severnside's AGM in Highbridge.

28th March - Lincolnshire Echo

Lincoln looks unlikely to get any more trains to London in the next franchise. David Harby, chairman of Railfuture Lincolnshire, said: "The prospects for any extra direct services to London are dim before 2020 and maybe 50/50 from then."

27th March - BBC local radio

The news that Crossrail is being extended to Reading is picked up by two BBC stations who both interview Hugh Jaeger of Thames Valley branch. Click to listen to the interviews on BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Radio Berkshire.

27th March - Loughborough Echo

An event is being held to discuss Midland Mainline electrification. "The event organised by Railfuture – which is a campaign group to promote railways in the UK – will explain the East Midlands rail investment, which will see the introduction of electric rolling stock and higher line speeds connecting the region with London and the north."

27th March - Kent Online

A rail summit is being held to improve train services between Ashford and Hastings. "National group Railfuture and the St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement Programme are campaigning for electrification of the whole Marshlink line to Ashford International."

This story also appears in Rail Technology Magazine the next day.

18th March - Politics Home

"Rail campaigners, MPs and Peers gathered in parliament last week at a Railfuture event to celebrate the success of the railways" begins a very positive write-up of Railfuture's recent lobbying event at the House Of Commons.

10th March - BBC News

Railfuture welcomes extra carriages on services between London Waterloo and Windsor. Railfuture spokesman Hugh Jaeger said "Whether the capacity increase keeps pace with the demand is another matter."

10th March - Wales Online

Passenger numbers are falling at Newport's new £22m station. Phil Inskip of Railfuture Wales says: “If you have more than four people with cases, the lift can’t take them in one go. I’ve seen people miss the London train simply because of the problem of getting across.”

8th March - Daily Mail

"Your train is running late - and so is the refund". Railfuture's David Harby is paraphrased in an article on refunds for delayed trains: "He believes operators could do far more, such as explaining how people can claim in platform announcements."

7th March - BBC Radio Oxford

Hugh Jaeger is interviewed about the safety of level crossings, in the light of Network Rail's apology over its treatment of people affected by accidents - listen here.

6th March - Market Rasen News

Railfuture is holding a meeting to discuss the future of rail travel in Lincolnshire.

6th March - Southern Daily Echo

Passengers are urged to be patient over rail delays. Railfuture, described as a "leading passenger group", is mentioned as Charles Burns, Secretary of Wessex branch, said: “We welcome investment into rail infrastructure and sadly accept that without an easy alternative route to Bourne-mouth there has to be disruption in this instance and that is best done at weekends rather that during the week.”

28th February - House Magazine

Article by Chris Austin in the magazine for the Houses of Parliament, explaining our campaign for Rail as Britain's future strategic transport network, prior to our parliamentary reception on 12th March.

27th February - Camden New Journal

Railfuture's press release advocating Euston Cross is published in its entirety.

26th February - Cambridge News

Railfuture vice president Caroline Lucas is featured in an article about the Greens' transport policy. Peter Wakefield, chairman of the East Anglia branch of Railfuture, said the Government was already taking more control of the network as part of its franchise contracts – and that it was perhaps too easy to be nostalgic about British Rail. “The railways are incredibly different and better than they were, and it’s nothing to do with who runs them, it’s a different society with more people on the railway. But the railway is a public service and that’s very important.”

24th February - Global Rail News

George Osborne wants to demolish Euston. Railfuture wants to go further and advocates the "Euston Cross" proposal. Bruce Williamson from Railfuture is quoted: "Crucially, the Euston Cross proposal means that we won’t have to demolish half of Camden, because some of the high-speed trains will be approaching in tunnel from Old Oak Common, as well as giving us the ability to project through trains to the southeast. With the addition of subterranean pedestrian connections, we can create a fully integrated Euston-St Pancras-King’s Cross International super hub.”

24th February - Wales Online

Railfuture Wales argues that fares should be cut for passengers affected by recent severe disruption. Glyn Jones, chair of Cambrian branch, said: “Every part of the country should be treated in the same way. They should be offering the same discount on fares across the country.”

17th February - BBC Somerset

A Which? report finds that First Great Western and South West Trains score amongst the lowest for customer satisfaction. Bruce Williamson is interviewed on the morning show for Railfuture's view - listen here

17th February - BBC Kent

Chris Fribbins appears on the morning show to talk about South East Trains performance in the light of a Which? report - listen here

13th February - Bath Chronicle

Nigel Bray of Severnside branch gets a letter published about the Saltford reopening and gets in a plug for the forthcoming branch meeting.

11th February - Western Daily Press
Two separate articles, (the other one is here) mention Railfuture's meeting with Minister Baroness Kramer.

6th February - Northamptonshire Telegraph

David Fursdon, of Railfuture East Midlands breaks the news that the line from Corby to Kettering will be doubled. He said: "We are expecting work on a second line to start in the summer. It will increase capacity. It will also reduce the bottleneck between Kettering and Corby.”

31st January - Cambridge News

New Class 700 trains will improve conditions for passengers travelling to London. Peter Wakefield, Chairman of Railfuture East Anglia, said: “They will be a much better travelling environment, especially in the peak hours because there’s much more room.

“Each coach will be joined without a sliding door so you can just walk through and find a seat. It’s one long tube.”

29th January - Somerset Guardian

Nigel Bray of Railfuture Severnside is mentioned in an article about a meeting calling for the return of rail to Radstock.

20th January - Isle of Wight County Press

Railfuture welcomes the return of Island Line services. The story is also featured in On The Wight: "Charles Burns, Acting Secretary for Rail Campaign group Railfuture Wessex said it was good for passengers to have trains serving Ryde Pier Head again. Whilst the rail services were suspended it was not easy to find the taxis which linked with the replacement coach service to Shanklin."

26th January - Edinburgh Evening News

An unnamed spokesman for Railfuture (actually Bruce Williamson) is quoted in a story about crime levels at stations. He said: “Commuters feel a lot safer with more staff and their presence at train stations has a sure impact on crime.”

22nd January - RAIL magazine

RAIL reports on the winners of our RUG awards, and Christian Wolmar in his regular column mentions Railfuture's response to the HS2 second phase consultation.

13th Jamuary - Oxford Mail

Hugh Jaeger of Thames Valley branch is pictured in a story about congestion on the A40. Railfuture is one of the founder members of the Witney Oxford Transport Group. Hugh said: “There’s an acute problem with traffic on the A40 and something needs to be done. We want a feasibility study to look at what the best options are to tackle the problem.”

This story is also featured in the Oxford Times on the 18th January.

9th January - New Post Leader

SENRUG finally receives its Railfuture RUG award at a ceremony at Morpeth station. The same story appears 2 days later in the Morpeth Herald. SENRUG has been campaigning to see passenger rail services re-introduced on the old Ashington Blyth & Tyne line. There's an older BBC video clip about the campaign here.

2nd January - Fare Rises

Our press release is picked up by the Guardian, the London Evening Standard, Daily Star, ITV News, Sky, Key 103, MSN, the Birmingham Mail and the North Devon Journal. The website Link2 quotes us extensively and includes the link to our fares guide.

David Harby is interviewed on BBC Radio Lincolnshire about fare rises and other issues - click here to listen.

Click HERE for next page.

Media - For more information please contact:
Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
Tel: 0117 927 2954
Mobile: 07759 557389
Email: media at railfuture.org.uk

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