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  RAIL NEWS SNIPPETS   Issue 109 - 24th February 2003  
  News from the East Anglian Branch of Railfuture   Edited by Martin Thorne and Jerry Alderson  

The branch had a very successful AGM on Saturday 22nd February, when over 40 people came to see Christian Wolmar talk about the current state of the railways and his fears for the future. Several non-members were present, and at least four promised to join Railfuture. The branch expects to have one or more railfreight speakers at the next meeting which will be on 7th June.

One of the activities suggested for the Branch this year is to carry out detailed surveys at some stations. We would look at issues such as information, disabled access, litter, access to the town, security. Please send ideas for stations to be surveyed (especially those that do not have a user group to support them) to nick.dibben@ukgateway.net. Please do not send comments by hitting the "Reply All" button with this Snippets, as it tends to annoy people when they get loads of unwanted e-mails. Thanks.

GB Railways, Anglia Railways' parent company, are hosting a series of question and answer sessions about what the Greater Anglia franchise could mean to passengers. Each event is at a different location, to focus on local issues, and consists of:
15 min - Tim Clarke, MD Anglia Railways
15 min - Jeremy Long, Chief Exec, GB Railways
30 min - questions and feedback from the floor
30 min - further questions and feedback over tea and coffee
The locations are:
3rd March - Cambridge (University Arms Hotel): 12:00-14:00, Stansted (Stansted Hilton hotel): 17:00-19:00
6th March - Norwich (Swallow Nelson Hotel): 12:00-14:00, Colchester (Marks Tey Hotel): 17:00-19:00
20th March - Ipswich (Galleria Room, Ipswich Town F.C): 12:00-14:00
21st March - Chelmsford (County Hotel): 12:00-14:00
28th March - Southend (Westcliff Hotel): 12:00-14:00
3rd April - Stratford (West Ham Town Hall): 12:00-14:00
7th April - Lowestoft (Hotel Victoria): 12:00-14:00, Gt Yarmouth (Imperial Hotel): 15:00-17:00
Please contact Laura Wentworth Stanley beforehand on 020 7861 2414 (which has voice mail if needed) to reserve a place.

John Smith, managing director of GB Railfreight, will be speaking at the Cambridge University Railway Club (CURC) meeting on Thursday 27th February at 20:30. It is in Supervision Room 2 at Magdelene College, Bridge Street, Cambridge. Directions from the Porter's Lodge. Non-members are welcome.

BBC Radio 4 are broadcasting a two-part documentary programme entitled "Back to Beeching", which marks the 40th Anniversary of the "Reshaping of Britain's Railways" report at 8pm on Thursday 27th February, with the final part a week later.


Comments on St Edmundsbury Borough Council's plans for Bury St Edmunds station area required by 7th March
St Edmundsbury Borough Council has issued a new development plan showing areas for new housing and industry. Part of the plan includes development on the existing station goods yard. The Borough say that they will look for alternative rail freight facilities in the area, such as the sugar factory, before building on the site.

Railfuture members who live in the area are asked to send in comments on the plan. The Branch intends to support this development as long as alternative freight facilities are provided in the area, and will also support better rail bus interchange at the station plus improved access between the rail station and town centre.

The new Plan is available on the Borough Council's website http://www.stedmundsbury.gov.uk. Comments are required by 7th March.

Huntingdon and Godmanchester draft transport plan currently on public display
The draft Huntingdon and Godmanchester Transport Plan is out for public consultation and is on display at Hunts DC offices.

The transport plan has three main objectives: 1) make travel safer, 2) promote integrated and sustainable transport and 3) manage effective transport networks. The total estimated cost of the plan is around 9.4m over 8-10 years.

The safety improvements involve measures on the main roads leading into the town. They aim to reduce traffic speeds and make more space for cyclists and pedestrians. These plans should help discourage through traffic into the town centre by increasing journey times, adding further benefits. Extra town centre cycle parking will be provided with a new cycle route across the A14 to Hinchingbrooke. Street lighting will be enhanced in many areas and extra CCTV coverage provided, including around the railway station.

Public transport improvements will comprise a bus/rail interchange at the station. More buses would serve the station throughout the day. Bus stops and information will be improved.

Huntingdon town centre has the highest levels of road traffic in Cambridgeshire after Cambridge with around 74,000 vehicles per day, despite being a compact town with the 21,000 population living within 3km of the centre.


Freight use could be saviour for East West Rail Link phase 1
The East-West Consortium had a meeting with Jim Steer at the SRA in mid-February. Despite expecting a negative response from the SRA, the SRA now appear to be quite keen on the western part, which is mentioned in the SRA's recent Strategy (unlike 2002's one) on page 109 of the main text and in the Chiltern Section of the route strategies. The SRA has asked the consortium to produce another business case for the western link, this time incorporating freight traffic.

Transport 2000 calls for reopening of Great Barford bypass inquiry to consider railway line beside road
Simon Norton, Transport 2000 local co-ordinator says: Given that the London to South Midlands Multi-Modal Study recommended that the Cambridge to Bedford railway should follow the road, it is important that the Great Barford By-pass is designed to facilitate the later addition of a railway. He suggests that the bypass public inquiry, which closed soon after the Multi-Modal Study reported, should be reopened, and that rail campaigners support him by writing to their MP with a copy to Rt Hon Alastair Darling at the Department for Transport, 76 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DR.

Proposals for the dualling of the A428 east of Caxton Gibbet have only just been published. Exhibitions are at Dry Drayton Village Hall (7th March 13.00-20.00) and Bourn Village Hall (8th March 10.00-16.00). Comments should be sent to the Highways Agency Operations Directorate, Heron House, 49-53 Goldington Road, Bedford MK40 3LL, or e-mailed to paul.undrell@highways.gsi.gov.uk. Simon [mailto:S.Norton@dpmms.cam.ac.uk] is willing to offer advice on commenting on this proposal.


"OakingStanton" super-village backed by inspectors plus support for second new settlement at Waterbeach
The panel of inspectors from the six-week Examination-in-Public (EIP) inquiry in 2002 into the Cambridgeshire Structure Plan, have backed plans for a new town with 8,000-10,000 homes beside the St.Ives line between Oakington and Longstanton, and say that transport settlements are essential. This is effectively backing the guided busway proposal. The report includes the comment: "Nothing we heard at the EIP persuaded us that the choice of a guided bus system along the former railway line was wrong and we can see no value in revisiting the decision at this advanced stage."

The inspectors also supported a second new settlement at Waterbeach, whose promoters, RLW, wish to run a shuttle rail service into Cambridge and beyond to Addenbrooke's Hospital.

The county council, which passionately supports the guided busway, must now respond to the panel's views in May-June, and the final go-ahead still rests with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
EIP panel report:


Everyone has a car, don't they?
This remark is a frequent comment from MPs and Councillors when transport is discussed. However, recent results from the 2001 Census shows that this is not the case. Within the East Anglia branch area, the districts with the most households without a car are: Norwich 35.5%, Cambridge 31.8%, Great Yarmouth 29.6% and Ipswich 29.3%. Even in more rural areas, there are still many households without a car. For example: Fenland 19.5%, North Norfolk 18.1%, Breckland 16.9%. The area with the fewest car-less homes is South Cambridgeshire with 11.8%.
Census statistics: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001.


Transport Design International web-site features variety of modern rolling stock used around the world
Anyone interested in rolling stock for railways, underground systems, light rail and even buses, might like to visit the web-site of Transport Design International [http://www.tdi.uk.com] which is one of the world's leading transport design consultancies, and has been involved in designing trains used in the UK and around the world in the last few years.



  Railfuture  is the campaigning name for
the Railway Development Society Ltd (RDS)


Snippets 109


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