The branch meeting in Norwich on 26th September 2009 heard the personal views of Steven Ashling, who is Operations
Manager (East anglia) ar Network rail and also a director of the North Norfolk Railway. He had just come from a NNR
board meeting and was able to reveal that the directors had agreed to go ahead with the level crossing for a 2010
opening date subject to the remaining £30k (approx.) funding being found. Railfuture East Anglia hads agreed to ask its
members to support this project, which is vital for Sheringham. One of many fascinating things revealed by Steve was that
Network Rail is considering implementing Britain's first automatic barrier level crossing with radar-based obstacle detection.
If approved, it will be on the A1075 at Croxton, 8km east of Harling Road on the Ely-Norwich route.
The branch counted around 1,250 passengers boarding and alighting during the all-day station counts at Downham
Market on Thursday 17th September. numbers may have been slightly suppressed by an incident that morning when a digger
working on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway project severed cables that affected signalling south of Cambridge and
caused disruption to trains. The station counts at Attleborough have been rescheduled (owing to the earlier threat
of industrial action affecting NXEA) to Thursday 15th October.
On 1st October National Express East Anglia announced that its Cambridge-Norwich service, which was launched in
2002, is now carrying 800,000 passengers per year. The service is considered a major success.
The Tourist Information Centre in Felixstowe, which is based at 91 Undercliff Road West, is now selling a selection
of train tickets.
NXEA is offering an 'kids go free' deal on Stansted Express trains until 31st October. This applies only to children
accompanied by a fare-paying adult booking online.
ESTA will hold its next meeting on Saturday 24th October in St Marks Church Hall, Bridge Rd, Oulton Broad. The guest
speaker will be Mitchell Bradshaw, Public Transport Manager at Suffolk County Council.
ESTA Felixstowe will be holding its next meeting at 14:30 on Tuesday 29th October at St.Andrew's Church, Felixstowe,
as usual. FirstBus will be providng three speakers: Managing Director Alan Pilbeam, Commercial Manager Iain Rankine and
Ipswich Operations Manager Shaun Daw. ESA Felixstowe is eager to increase the proportion of its members who are commuters
and is looking at a name change. The commitee welcomes views on this.
As predicted in Snippets 195, Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed to recommend that the government approve
Network Rail's plans to build a recycling centre at Whitemoor Yard in March.
On Friday 23rd October at 20:30 John Yellowlees, the External Relations Manager for ScotRail, will be speaking to
the Cambridge University Railway Club about ScotRail's reopened stations (such as Laurencekirk), new services (such
as Stirling to Alloa), promotions (such as Club 55 and Kids Go Free) and other service improvements. The venue is
William Thatcher room, Fitzwilliam College (enter from Storey's Way, through the gatehouse then turn right).
Non-members are welcome.
The Mid-Norfolk Railway will be operating a Hallowe'en train on Saturday 31st October departing Dereham at 18:00. Book
in advance by calling the Dereham Ticket Office on 01362-851723, on Wed. or Sat. between 10.00am and 1.00pm. The MNR will
also be organising a Burns Night Supper at 19:30 on 23rd January 2010 at Dereham Station. The main course will be haggis,
heaps and tatties with trifle to follow - £8.00 per person; diners to provide own drinks.
Network Rail submits Transport and Works Act order application for Hitchin flyover
In late September Network Rail formally applied to the Department for Transport for a TWA Order to build the Hitchin rail
link, which would allow trains from King's Cross destined to Letchworth, Royston, Cambridge, Ely and King's Lynn to avoid
crossing the London-bound tracks at Cambridge Junction, just north of Hitchin station. Network Rail hopes that permission
will be granted by early 2011, allowing work to start later that year, although all distruptive work would have to be stopped
during the Olympics and Paralympics. Trains would be running on the new line in early 2014. The cost is now estimated at £60+
million, compared to the £55 million mentioned during the consultation exercise in April 2009 (see Snippets 189).
The flyover will solve problems caused by the current track layout and help meet growing demand on the railway by increasing
capacity. During the past decade the number of passengers travelling between Peterborough and London has increased by 35% with
an 18% increase in journeys between London and Cambridge. This growth is expected to continue.
Railfuture conducts station count at Downham Market
On Thursday 17th September Railfuture East Anglia branch members were present at Downham Market station to count
the number of people using he trains. A total of 1,254 people boading or alighting were identified.
Unfortunately the nmuber of passengers may heve been slghtly lower than usual because a power cable feeding the signalling
was severed (presumably by guided busway contractors) in the Cambridge area at around 07:30. This lead to severe disruption to
both up and down traffic through Downham Market. Services were either cancelled; turned back at Downham or were very late.
Counters observed that quite a few potential users either obtained refunds when the situation became clearer or did not
attempt to wait and made alternative arrangements. However, Railfuture was impressed with the clarity of information
given by the local staff and with the way that the 'whole' railway dealt with the incident.
Greengauge 21's "Fast Forward: A High Speed Rail Strategy for Britain" report wants to put Cambridge on the route
On 16th September Greengauge 21, the high-speed rail lobby group, published a report calling for a 1,550km network
of 350km/h high speed lines in Great Britain cositng £69,000m over 25 years. Its director Jim Steer said "what Britain needs
today is a high-speed network, not a single line", and proposes an initial 385km line from London to Manchester via Birmingham
costing £19,000m (which includes 66% 'optimism bias'). The route would be extended in stages with a branch serving Liverpool,
whilst the 'High Speed North East' route would run from London via Cambridge, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle and
potentially Edinburgh. This route could reduce the train time between Cambridge and London from 45 minutes to around 20 minutes,
however, it is not clear whether the high-speed trains would go through Cambrdge station or a parkway station outside the city.
The decision to go via Cambridge echos Chancellor Alistair Darling, who said that Cambridge's innovation centres will be
the driving force behind the future British economy with Jim Steer saying at the report's launch "Cambridge is at the heart
of the science industry and will be at the vanguard of future prosperity." Asked whether it would ever be built, he claimed
that "For every £1 spent on the high-speed rail network in Britain, our economy gets £3.50 back."
News item: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/cn_news_home/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=449990
Guided bus timetable published ahead of planned opening show that new service will be no faster!
According to the Hunts Post (Thursday 8th October 2009) bus journeys between Huntingdonshire and Cambridge will be not
one second quicker on the £116.7 million concrete guideway between St Ives and Cambridge Science Park when ("if" according
to some observers) it opens at the end of November. The busway's champion Councillor Shona Johnstone tells the Hunts Post
that she "can't explain" why the Guided Bus schedules (which are now published) are no faster than the existing timetable.
Tim Phillips, chairman of CAST.IRON, which tried to reopen the railway as a private venture, explained that the bus has to
go 2-3 miles north-east – unguided and on congested roads – before it can access the 'congestion-free' guideway heading
west-by-north-west, thereby wiping out the speed advantage of the guideway itself. "Any child with a map could have worked
that out" he said. On an online newsgroup one writer commented on the claims that the busway will be "Fast and Reliable" by
saying "Yes, you can rely upon it being stuck fast in traffic."
MNR appeals for people to Sponsor a Sleeper as British Sugar agrees to match funding deal
Following successful negotations the Mid-Norfolk Railway has secured up to £2,000 of from British Sugar
for the reopening of the Northern Section to Hoe. It has agreed to match fund all donations to the 'Sponsor
a Sleeper' fund for the remainder of 2009 up to a maximum of £2,000. A couple of recent generous donations
means that that MNR has just over £1,000 of this already, leaving thenm three months to raise the remainder.
For informaiton see: http://www.mnr.org.uk/help/sleeper/.
Volunteers have replaced two batches in 2009 already and plan to change just over 200 in 2010 with the
remainder in 2011.
Wisbech-March Bramley Line group gives its web-site a makeover to appear more professional
The Bramley Line's http://www.bramleyline.org.uk web-site has been
completely revamped and enhanced to appear more professional.
New web-site for those researching the British Rail network around 1960
The new http://www.britishrailways1960.co.uk web-site
is an ideal research tool for anyone who wishes to understand the rail network in the 1960s. As it develops
the intention is to list every signal box and station that existed on British Railways in 1960, along with
the number of running lines and point to point mileages. It is hoped to include opening and closing dates of
every station and line.