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News and Views

Brexit and the Railway

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Sun 26 of Jun, 2016 21:21 BST - (4500 Reads)

When 51.9% of those who voted in the UK’s referendum (37.4% of the electorate) opted for ‘Brexit’ the media focused on little other news for days on end. The decision could lead to a huge change for people in the UK but will there be any noticeable day-to-day impact for passengers on Britain’s railway?

Big Apple vs Orange

Author: Ian Brown - Published At: Tue 14 of Jun, 2016 22:37 BST - (6278 Reads)
International
New York, like London, has a complex metro system as well as an expanding network of suburban and main line rail routes.

Railfuture Policy Director, Ian Brown CBE spent time in New York in May on various jobs which included invitations to visit depots, control centres, rail projects and stations. It was a great opportunity to use the system quite intensively and to compare it with London’s rail transport network.

Photo: The "Oculus" Is this a station or a work of art? You can build a fine station for 4 billion dollars. This is the exterior of the new World Trade Centre station still partially under wraps which opened in April this year. The bird like design is a statement rather than a practical station roof. As expected it has become very controversial, but the station has potential for growth and is expected to rival Grand Central station as a destination in its own right. An artist’s impression of the completed structure is also shown.

SUAWOOX campaign

Author: Fraser Pithie - Published At: Mon 13 of Jun, 2016 17:51 BST - (4944 Reads)
Network
Fraser Pithie, the Secretary of the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group, explains why the Stratford-Worcester-Oxford (SWO) campaign deserves public and political support.

GOBLIN gets Flying visit

Author: Roger Blake - Published At: Mon 13 of Jun, 2016 14:38 BST - (3971 Reads)
Campaigns
While the west end of Gospel Oak-Barking line remains open during weekdays, Flying Scotsman passes Gospel Oak station on Friday 10 June 2016.

Updating train passengers

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Fri 10 of Jun, 2016 20:56 BST - (3516 Reads)
The worst passenger experience is surely when there is a complete lack of information and they have no idea what is happening. This is a frequent complaint that Railfuture hears from passengers and passes on to train operator management. It is pleasing when operators such as Eurostar, which has faced lots of criticism in the past (including from Railfuture), seems to be rectifying its failings - and it is not alone. The graphic above shows how Eurostar made good use of Twitter to inform passengers of severe delays to a service and the options available but was it at the expense of face-to-face communications?

Railfuture gives evidence

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Tue 07 of Jun, 2016 18:56 BST - (3491 Reads)
In June 2016 Railfuture appeared before Parliament’s Transport Select Committee to give evidence about Improving the Rail Passenger Experience. Railfuture was represented by the head of its Passenger Group, Chris Fribbins (pictured).

Metro reaches New Street

Author: Michael Tombs - Published At: Fri 03 of Jun, 2016 19:28 BST - (3749 Reads)
Light Rail
As a proud Brummie, Railfuture member Michael Tombs has always been disappointed to see the city lagging behind others in the country in terms of transport planning. However, Monday 30th May 2016 was a rare occasion to hang out the bunting, to collect the promotional ‘goodie bag’, and celebrate the long awaited trams, much delayed, running to New Street station – better late than never!? Photo: New CAF-built tram leaves New Street station for Wolverhampton.

Rail Week 2016

Author: Chris Page - Published At: Thu 26 of May, 2016 18:55 BST - (3436 Reads)
Miscellany
Young Rail Professionals is a voluntary organisation which promotes the rail industry as an exciting career choice for young people. Rail Week 2016 will provide an opportunity for the rail sector to engage with young people, and with those who influence young people’s career choice too. It will run from Monday 27th June to Sunday 3rd July.

Prague compared

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Sun 22 of May, 2016 21:40 BST - (5835 Reads)
International
Prague has a reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe (even if graffiti appears to be everywhere) but arriving in Prague on a long-distance train doesn’t give a good first impression of the Czech Republic’s capital city, especially if doing so at night. The above photo shows the view on a very dimly-lit platform.

Nice to see you

Author: By Trevor Garrod (additional material by Jerry Alderson) - Published At: Mon 09 of May, 2016 17:28 BST - (3027 Reads)
International
In April 2016 a group of Railfuture members visited Nice in the south of France, having taken a train from London. Place Garibaldi (centre photo, above) has been pedestrianised since the introduction of the initial 8.7km Nice tram system in 2007. At this point the tram lowers its pantograph and is powered by batteries. Birmingham Victoria Square will also be catenary-free when Midland Metro opens its extension to Centenary Square in 2019. All photos taken from Wikipedia.

Washington DC compared

Author: Ian Brown - Published At: Tue 03 of May, 2016 21:34 BST - (7090 Reads)
International
Washington DC has a developing network of Metro routes and suburban and long distance rail routes. Railfuture’s Policy Director, Ian Brown CBE spent a week working in Washington in April and took the opportunity to examine the Metro network, visit Washington Union main line station also travel on the two suburban rail systems as well as Amtrak’s Regional main line service to New York.
Photo: Restored glory in the form of the concourse at Washington Union station. The station serves as a hub for long distance and commuter services serving the City with good interchange on to the Washington Metro.

Cambridge North progress

Author: Peter Wakefield - Published At: Thu 14 of Apr, 2016 17:26 BST - (8400 Reads)
Network
Cambridge North station is well underway to completion. It is due to open in May 2017.
Photos courtesy Network Rail

Moscow compared

Author: Ian Brown - Published At: Wed 06 of Apr, 2016 17:50 BST - (7523 Reads)
International
Moscow is served by a huge system of long distance and suburban rail, an efficient Metro and tram system. Railfuture’s Policy Director, Ian Brown CBE, gives his impressions of using the system over a few days in April 2016 and visiting four of the main line stations.
Photo: Best practice station design. Many Moscow metro stations are extremely ornate. Here is an example of one which is not but shows best practice in terms of station design. Total access to the length of the train. No clutter. Escalators at each end.

East-West double boost

Author: Phil Smart - Published At: Tue 05 of Apr, 2016 16:09 BST - (5784 Reads)
Campaigns
Phil Smart, a member of Railfuture and a councillor on Ipswich Borough Council (one of the founders of the ‘East-West Rail Consortium’ of local authorities) welcomes the announcement by Network Rail of the preferred corridor for the East West Rail Central Section, and the support of the National Infrastructure Commission. Photo: the new Addenbrookes station site, the only common point on the various route options.

Hopping to catch a train

Author: Jerry Alderson - Published At: Mon 28 of Mar, 2016 20:16 BST - (5299 Reads)
International
Many railway passengers spend time nervously hoping to catch a train. However, Railfuture director Jerry Alderson spent a day in Vienna hopping to catch a train thanks to an accident that left him with a cast (bottom right photo) and hobbling around on crutches. Becoming a person of restricted mobility, albeit only for a couple of months, opened his eyes to how transport systems fail to cater properly for all their customers. His experience will certainly influence Railfuture’s campaigns to improve the rail-based systems in Britain.

In highly respected and advanced countries such as Austria the trams dating from the 1960s (top left photo from “Wiener Linien Blog” – all others by the author) are already being scrapped and modern trains are replacing the high-floor 1980s ones (bottom row) but passengers must still “mind the gap”.

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