The branch meeting at the Assembly House in Norwich at 2pm on Saturday 18th September has seven speakers:
* Jerry Alderson of CAST.IRON repeated a 10-minute speech given to the Rail Passengers Committee for Eastern
* Peter Downs, chairman of the March-Wisbech Bramley Line, revealed positive news from Network Rail and their
hopes to lease the northern most 1.5 miles of track very soon;
* Trevor Garrod of ESTA talked about the Beccles Loop, estimated to cost £6m. and called upon everyone to focus
on the loop and not get sidetracked by alternatives;
* Derek Monnery of Manningtree Users told how patronage on the Great Eastern line has grown massively with an
urgent need for infrastructure enhancements;
* John Smock of On-Track (Clacton/Walton users) expressed his serious concerns about the December 2004 timetable;
* Acting-chairman Peter Wakefield led a discussion about the Snoasis Project near Claydon on the GE Mainline;
* John Saunders of Peterborough-Norwich rail users, explained some of Central Trains' recent controversial actions,
including changes to fares.
It was felt that the format worked well and should be repeated at a meeting in 2005. Nick Dibben would like
member's views on this. The next branch meeting - Cambridge on 4th December - will have Lord Berkeley of the Rail
Freight Group as guest speaker.
Correction to RAIL EAST 124: the reference to ESTA's new booklet about "East Coast Walks" should have referred
to "East Suffolk Line Walks".
On Saturday 9th October at 14:00 the Mid-Anglia Rail Passengers Association (MARPA) will be holding a meeting at
Bury St.Edmunds Library. Their speaker will be Clive Morris, rural Business Director of 'one' He will also be
attending the ESTA (Felixstowe) autumn meeting on Tuesday 12th October at 19:30 held at St.Andrew's Hall. Anyone
wishing to join ESTA (Felixstowe) can do so by sending £2, payable to "ESTA (Felixstowe)" to Jean Tricker at 35
Westmorland Road, Felixstowe.
The next public meeting of the Rail Passengers Committee for Eastern England will be in Lincoln on 15th March
A 4-part history of Britain's railways starts on Channel 4, at 17:30 on Sunday 26th September. The presenter is
Pete Waterman. The series is new but was made more than a year ago.
The Health and Safety Executive has issued an 81-page bulletin that explains how Britain's railways are moving in the
right direction in terms of safety - see http://www.hse.gov.uk/railways/railpublic3.pdf.
If anyone wishes to comment about the format of Snippets, and whether it would be more readable in a slightly
different format (e.g. lighter background), please send an e-mail to Jerry Alderson (address at top) with your
Manningtree, Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze users very concerned about December 2004 timetable
The December 2004 timetable has been circulated to user groups for consultation, though not announced publicly.
The Clacton/Walton-on-Naze Rail Users (On-Track) is just one group that is pleased about improvements:
* Earlier first train from Walton-on-Naze on weekdays
* Faster journey times to/from Lowestoft
* Much improved services to/from Peterborough and regular hourly service Ipswich – Cambridge
* Cambridge arrival before 09.00 from Walton (was possible from Clacton).
However, for residents in the Clacton and Walton area there are major downsides:
* Extended journey times to/from London.
* Loss of morning and evening peak-hour through trains between Walton-on-Naze and London
* Poor late evening train service to Walton-on-Naze on weekdays, even worse on Saturdays
* Poor mid-evening connections at Thorpe-le-Soken when travelling from Walton-on-Naze towards London.
There are also extended journey times, partly owing to trains making additional calls at intermediate stations
and an increased looping of trains to allow fast trains to pass, notably at Witham and Colchester.
National Express Group cleared to run the 'one' franchise
National Express's monopoly of train services in East Anglia has been given the green light. The investigation by the
Competition Commission has provisionally cleared NEX's takeover of the Greater Anglia franchise ('one'). The CC
undertook two surveys of users and an analysis of the potential profit incentives of NEG after the merger. Because
rail fares are regulated it concluded that price competition on rail has not been reduced and it does not feel that
existing coach travellers will be forced onto trains. It is rumoured that National Express spent about £700,000 in
legal fees to state its case.
New offices for 'one' franchise
As suggested by Peter Meades at the branch meeting in Ipswich, 'one' is merging its Norwich and Ipswich offices into
a new centre in Colchester housing 70 people. In addition 50 staff in human resources, marketing, corporate affairs
and IT will move to a building near Liverpool Street station. Business route directors and customer service staff will
continue to be based at appropriate locations around the 'one' network.
Atkins Rail produces 74-page critique of CAST.IRON rail scheme for Cambridgeshire County Council
Atkins Rail are the consultants that Cambridgeshire County Council have used to discredit CAST.IRON's plan for a
rail service on the Cambridge-St.Ives line, which would ultimately extend to Huntingdon and link up to the East
Coast Main Line. The huge effort put into this exercise shows that the County sees a rail scheme as a serious
They have produced a 74-page critique from CAST.IRON's costed plans that it gave Cambs County a first look at
on 2nd December 2003. They have assessed the 20-minute timetable as unworkable, conveniently having got the
distances between stations wrong, and therefore costed additional infrastructure and train sets to provide the
commuter service. On top of this they added 57% for maximum "optimism bias" onto all of CAST.IRON's figures
despite CAST.IRON having received written quotations from rail infrastructure companies to perform much of
the work. In total, Atkins has claimed that it would cost £354.5m to reinstate a 19-mile Chesterton Junction to
Huntingdon ECML railway. The route mile cost is the same as the major West Coast Main Line upgrade, and is
twice the cost per track mile!
Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Inquiry extended by three weeks
It was intended for the CGB public inquiry to be complete in six weeks, however, owing to the number of individuals
who wish to speak, a schedule has been produced that sees the inquiry sit for 32 days, from 28th September to 2nd
November. This is likely to delay the inspectors report by at least six weeks.
Railfuture/St.Ives 'et al' have been allocated about a day, with CAST.IRON receiving more than two days. Both
organisations are among the five groups given a 10-minute allocation in the opening and closing speeches. The other
three are Save the Lakes, Trumpington Environmental Action Group and Histon/Impington Parish Councils.
Cambridgeshire County Council votes to spend £3m on guided busway even though scheme may be refused
Despite the risk, some would say probability, that the guided busway will not be given approval, Cambridgeshire
County Councillors have decided to risk £3m of the public's money - £1m from government and £2m from Section
106 funds - of progressing the guided busway scheme, so that if approval is given, its construction can take
place as soon as possible. The money may also be wasted if the scheme is approved but with substantial changes.
News item: http://w3.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge/story.asp?StoryID=61110.
Bedford-Bletchley modernisation completion is major stage in East West Rail Link
On Monday 6th September the Bedford-Bletchley "Marston Vale" line, which is a crucial part of the East West Link,
reopened after a 6-week blockade that saw the time-warp line move into the 21st century. All manual gated crossings
have been replaced by barriers, and all semaphores with coloured light signals. A new 24x7 operated control centre
behind the Bedford-direction platform at Ridgmont allows two signallers to control the whole line. Previously,
when there were four signal boxes and several gatekeepers, 9 people were required to keep the line open.
Freight lines operate on Sundays, but no passenger trains. Since there will be no additional line costs,
Silverlink or their successor may be able to introduce a Sunday and Bank Holiday service in the future. Line
speed is currently still at 40mph for DMUs and 20mph for freight. Network Rail intends to upgrade the line
to 60mph, as it was until the early 1980's.
The line was officially reopened on Friday 17th September, at an event jointly staged by Silverlink and
Network Rail. The Bedford-Bletchley Rail Users Association, and its chairman Richard Crane, were praised as
the saviours of the line, when it looked like closure was inevitable.
New autumn timetable sees launch of 'one's improved compensation policy
As part of its franchise, 'one' has been required to offer increased compensation to passengers whose trains are
delayed. From 26th a new 'one' passenger charter treats all ticket holders equally, whether single-journey or
season-ticket holders. Passengers delayed between 30 and 59 minutes will receive a 50% refund in the form of
travel vouchers, and those delayed over an hour get vouchers for 100%. How this will work for an Anglia Plus
ticket is unclear - it seems unfair that someone who has travelled on six trains and just one is delayed gets
free or half-price travel all day.
Half a million pound marketing campaign by 'one' promotes leisure travel to London
"Enjoy London" is the new TV, radio and bus side advertising marketing message from 'one', which is designed
to encourage people from to visit London. It reminds them of the reopening of the Great Eastern Mainline through
Ipswich and the ease of getting to London on its many frequent services.
Leaflets are being delivered to 500,000 houses near the railway, offering two-for-the-price-of-one entry into
London attractions, hotels and restaurants, effective from 1st October 2004.
Press release: http://www.oneanglia.com/latest-information/news-detail.asp?id=607.
North-Norfolk Railway extends its line a little towards the level crossing
North Norfolk District Council has agreed, subject to minor conditions, that the North Norfolk Railway can
use part of Ottendorf Green for its run-round facility. This will enable Sheringham station to handle
six-coach trains. Although it uses part of the land leading towards the road where a level crossing is
desired, this extension is purely to improve the NNR's operations, and track changes would be needed if
the level crossing were built. It is hoped that work will be completed by early-summer 2005.
The NNR has bought the entire green except for the Tourist Information Centre, the bus shelter and the
surrounding pavement. However it will still allow public access to the Green. Only the extension itself
will be fenced off..