Railfuture branch members will be pleased to know that Chris Hayward of Ipswich Borough Council, who is the
project officer for the East West Rail Link, has recovered and is back at work. He hopes to be updating the
EWRL web-site [http://www.eastwestrail.org] in the next few weeks
with the latest news.
Railfuture representatives have been invited to rail industry events. Nick Dibben, Railfuture East Anglia
Branch Secretary, will represent Railfuture at the roll-out First Great Eastern's fleet of trains at the Siemens
test track at Wildenrath, Germany on Wednesday 16 October 2002. Peter Lawrence will represent Railfuture at the
naming of "Colchester Castle", a Class 86 locomotive by Anglia Railways on Friday 18 October 2002 at Colchester
Histon and Impington parish councils are holding a public meeting at Histon Junior school (on the green) at
7.30 on Tuesday 15th October to discuss the guided busway proposal for the St.Ives line. County councillor Shona
Johnstone and two officers are attending to give a presentation on the latest proposals, followed by questions
from the audience on the rapid transit. Details will be added on http://www.hisimp.net.
The Railfuture organised National conference of Rail Users on Saturday 5th October in London was very successful.
Over 160 attendees heard presentations from Chris Green (Virgin Trains Chief Executive), Anthony Smith (Rail
Passengers Council National Director) and Steve Thompson (London Lines Director of Customer Services). BBC News
24 had live interviews with Chris Green, Anthony Smith and Railfuture chairman Peter Lawrence. Chris Green was
also interviewed live on BBC Radio 4. Joanna Walters, Transport Editor of the Observer was present, and wrote a
piece for the next day's Observer. Railfuture president Dr Michael Caton described the conference as "the largest
gathering for many years" and possibly the largest in his 40+ years with Railfuture, in its various guises.
Anglia's Norwich-Cambridge service has successful launch
Anglia Railways' new Norwich-Cambridge service has experienced fantastic passenger volumes. One the first day of
operation,. Sunday 29th September, the inaugural train leaving Norwich at 9.30am had 115 passengers, with around
60 travelling on the first train in the reverse direction. Corporate Affairs director Jonathan Denby said: "It
was incredibly busy. We were very impressed. The numbers were far higher than expected."
Railfuture members have reported high loadings on other services, e.g. 53 passengers leaving Cambridge at
19:23 on Saturday evening.
SRA sends back Anglia Railways RPP bid for revision
The RPP bid by Anglia Railways for an increased frequency on the Ipswich-Cambridge/Peterborough routes and also
Great Yarmouth/Norwich has been returned by the SRA for refinement. It has asked for the bid to be separated into
services for east Norfolk and Suffolk.
ST.IVES LINE GUIDED BUSWAY
Parish Councils submit scathing report about guided busway in Structure Plan consultation
The parish councils for Histon and Impington villages, which would be served by trains on the St.Ives line, have
jointly produced a scathing 6-page document about the guided busway. This is part of their submission to the
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Structure Plan 2006-2016 "Examination in Public" (EIP reference 383/4B).
* CHUMMS methodology employed and conclusions were flawed - no practical validation or technical feasibility
* Busway would be experimental: no operational experience in UK of inter-urban high speed guided buses
* No reference to the "many guided bus schemes in UK which have failed with legal or financial problems"
* Major technical and land assembly problems have been identified, with Railtrack rejecting mainline railway route
* Difficult to envisage government money for single monopoly operator or to confide investment risk solely within
the public sector.
River Cam widening scheme proposes to help widen railway line for running guided buses
The "CamToo" £15m scheme to 'dual the River Cam between Cambridge and Fen Ditton to curb waterborne traffic jams
has suggested that the earth that is removed can be used to widen the railway embankment between Chesterton and
Newmarket Road, Cambridge. The wider embankment would enable guided buses (or even local shuttle trains) to
operate between the Science Park and the city centre. Project manager Richard Moseley said: "We met Railtrack in
August and they agreed what we are proposing is definitely feasible."
REGIONAL PLANNING GUIDANCE
Public consultancy begins as first stage for producing RPG14 in 2004
It has produced a consultation document called "The East of England: Your Region, Your Choice, Your Future" -
available on http://www.eelgc.gov.uk to look at 10 issues that will be
important to the development of the region in the next 20 years:
The East of England Local Government Conference, which covers 54 county, borough, district and unitary local
authorities in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk, wants to hear people's
views on key issues such as housing, transport (e.g. east-west links), waste management and the environment.
* Population growth and the impact on housing
* land use
* transport infrastructure
* airport expansion
* the region's "gateways" such as ports
* water resources
* green belts
* climate/rise in sea level
* the region's relationship to London
* a new Lower Thames Crossing
Comments can be entered on an online form, or e-mailed to email@example.com
by 16th December 2002. After the initial public consultation, a draft Regional Planning Guidance (RPG14) document
will be given to the Government in June 2003, followed by Examination in Public, leading to the final strategy
being adopted in 2004. That will guide the County and Unitary Authorities' Structure Plans and District Council's
Local Development Plans.
AIRPORT RAIL LINKS
Airport proposals exhibition in Huntingdon
Several Railfuture members attended a presentation about airport expansion on 3rd October at Huntingdon. The
exhibition was merely an idea of possible schemes in the South East, which could include a £734m passenger
airport at Alconbury Airbase - opening in 2011 with capacity for an eventual 5m passengers per year and one
million tonnes of freight.
The information available at the exhibition had minimal detail. Little analysis had been performed, with none of
the consultants or DfT representatives having any knowledge about rail services or infrastructure in the area,
despite proposing a new rail station (at Abbots Ripton) and freight spur. Both were merely 'possible' with little
commitment shown for anything other than road-based transport.
Comments need to be submitted by 30th November 2002. A White Paper, dealing with the provision of runway
capacity in the UK to meet increasing demand, is likely to be published in June 2003.
Anyone still reeling from John Major's botched rail privatisation may be interested to know that his house is
at the end of the proposed runway!
EAST WEST RAIL LINK
East West Rail Link progresses silently
Following a request by the SRA for a detailed commercial business case for rebuilding the 9-mile 'missing link'
between Sandy and Bedford, the East West Rail consortium has spent around £100,000 on a new proposal. This was
submitted to the SRA in mid-August and a formal response is expected in October 2002.
Railtrack has recently upgraded most of the single-track stretch of line between Oxford and Bicester, which
is used by both Thames Trains and freight trains, to eliminate speed limits. Unfortunately, in a depressing lack
of joined up thinking, it has moved the single track to the middle of the formation which means EWRL will face
higher costs of re-instating double track.
The Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes local authorities authorities have prepared
a unique joint Major Scheme Local Transport Plan (LTP) to fund new station buildings at Bicester Town, a new
station at Winslow and high level platforms at Bletchley, which will be connected to the existing footbridge.
The LTP bid was submitted to government in July with a decision anticipated in December 2002.
A joint SRA / Railtrack / Consortium infrastructure study will start in October, to define track and signalling
works needed to bring the line into full passenger and freight operation. The draft report should be complete by
December 2002. The consortium considers April 2004 to be a realistic start date for Bedford-Oxford services.
Man who abandoned van on level crossing faces jail term
The 18 year-old who abandoned a van on 29th August on the railway crossing at Baylham (near Needham Market),
which was subsequently hit by an empty Anglia Railways train, has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and
endangering safety. He is likely to be jailed, after the Ipswich magistrates opted to send him to Crown Court,
saying: "The bench feels our sentencing powers (maximum of 6 months jail) are not sufficient for a crime of this
British Transport Police said the number of railway offences reported has increased by more than 10% over the
past year, with endangering safety charges rising by 53% and obstruction offences going up by 46%. Route crime
costs over £250 million a year and causes delays of more than 700,000 minutes – which is 486 days. The London
North region, which covers East Anglia, had 658 route offences in 2001/02, up from 157. Obstruction offences more
than trebled, from 118 to 356.
Youths reported laying stones on rail lines near Shelford
A WAGN train was forced to stop for 15 minutes at Shelford station after children were seen trying to place
stones on the tracks. Police officers searched the area of track, but there was no sign of the culprits.
Railtrack figures for 2000/01 revealed that Cambridge area was one of the worst places in the country for
children trespassing on the railway.
Norfolk County Council re-issues Passenger Rail Strategy for Greater [East] Anglia franchise
Norfolk County Council has re-issued its Passenger Rail Strategy to take into account the re-franchising process
for the Greater Anglia rail franchise. Copies of this full colour pictorial booklet are available from:
Norfolk County Council, Planning & Transportation Dept, 3rd Floor Reception, County Hall, Norwich, NR1 2SG.
Anglia Railways parent shortlisted for 'all-Wales' franchise
GB Railways PLC, in a joint bid with Connex Transport UK Ltd, has made the SRA's short list of four bids for the
15-year long Wales and Borders franchise, along with Arriva, National Express and Serco/Netherlands Railways.