The branch is considering setting up a web-site, and is looking for ideas of what to include. As well as news,
details of campaigns and travellers associations there could be photos of rail routes, letters pages,
discussion forums and polls. If you have ideas, please e-mail branch secretary Nick Dibben (see
Branch Contacts). Thanks to Ivan Ivanovic for much of the news this issue.
Please note Steve Hewitt, East Norfolk Travellers Association, Publicity Officer and contact has changed
his telephone number to 01493 304717.
GB Railways and EWRC select preferred bidder to develop missing link
GB Railways Group Plc and the East West Rail Consortium (EWRC) announced on 26th March that they have
selected Rickmansworth-based Skanska Construction UK Limited as preferred bidder to develop the £200 million missing
link in the East West Rail scheme.
Skanska is one of Britain's largest railway civil engineering companies with a strong portfolio of railway
projects. It will develop the project to allow the submission management and funding for the preparation of a
Transport & Works Order, and will, if public approval is forthcoming, construct a new railway line linking
Bedford to the ECML which will close the gap in the existing network of track between East Anglia and Oxford.
Upon completion, expected in 2006, it is anticipated that the line will be operated as part of Railtrack's
GB Railways press release: http://www.gbrailways.com/pr26mar01ewr01.htm.
CAMBRIDGESHIRE IS CHOKING ON TRAFFIC
Traffic on Cambs roads has increased by 25% in a decade
According to Cambridgeshire County Council's annual traffic monitoring report (as reported in the Cambridge
Evening News), Cambridgeshire has suffered one of the largest traffic increases in the UK, rising by 25% against
the national average of 14%.
Ironically, traffic increases are worst at locations where railway stations could have easily been reopened.
At the A14 in Swavesey the number of vehicles shot up by 44 per cent and 45 per cent more drivers are using the
A1123 linking Huntingdon to Soham. Around 170,000 vehicles enter and leave Cambridge over a 12-hour period every
day, while 73,000 drive in and out of Huntingdon, 46,000 through St. Neots, 43,500 in St. Ives and 34,000 at Ely.
Counillor Shona Johnstone, chairman of the county council's Environment and Transport Committee is quoted
as saying that the council needed to put pressure on the Government to pump extra cash into the county's road network./P>
LONDON RIVER CROSSINGS
Report for London Development Agency says London river crossings are essential
Three new river crossings in East London are critical for further economic growth according to a report
commissioned by the London Development Agency and published with mayoral support. The study looks at two road
crossings at Becton and Silvertown and a rail crossing at Woolwich. The Woolwich Rail Crossing could be used to
link existing suburban rail lines or for extending the Docklands Light Railway.
The report says that public transport services will need cross-subsidy from road tolls. Transport for London
is planning to carry out local consultations on the crossings. They could be included in the Mayor's final version
of the Transport Strategy - due out in summer 2001.
Further information can be obtained from Sally Ingham at the LDA 0207 680 2050.
Freight Multiple Units to undergo full scale commercial trials
The DETR announced last year that Freight Multiple Unit (FMU) trials will be undertaken. It is hoped that these
lighter, more flexible formations will enable rail to penetrate the largest and fastest growing part of the freight
market - FMCG (fast moving consumer goods).
During 2001 full scale commercial trials under 'real life' conditions will be undertaken. Customers wishing to
trial the train will be invited to run services along a route of their choosing for a period of four weeks. Both
Marks & Spencer and Bulmers have signed up for trials for 2001/2002.
The train, which is based on a German design called the Cargosprinter, will have a number of unique features:
* Volvo Diesel Engines drive four axles.
* Carries up to five 13.6m Intermodal units.
* Payload of 160 tonnes can be transported at speeds of up to 120 km/h.
* Good acceleration enables the Freight Multiple Unit (FMU) to interface with passenger services.
* No need for large platforms -the entire unit is only 90m in length.
* No need for shunting - can be driven from either end.
* Engineering can take place 'off line' as both axles and engines can be quickly removed and replaced.
* Sets of up to seven units can be connected for full train volume needs.
* Isotrak command and control service provides GPS based train location, key vehicle data, performance measurements
and consignment management.
* In-cab communications provide two-way messaging between driver and control office.
* Low emission economic engines.
Details on Windhoff AG web site: http://www.windhoff.de/main_e/bahn/schienen/cargo.htm.
WAGN to remain on emergency table after 21st May
WAGN is one of just two companies not expected to meet the 21st May deadline for ending their emergency timetables.
According to the Cambridge Evening News "rail insiders fear it could be February 2002, before services from both
Cambridge and Huntingdon to King's Cross finally return to normal". Railtrack says the disruption to WAGN trains
is due to track problems between Finsbury Park and Moorgate stations as they have identified gauge corner
cracking in the tunnels at Moorgate. How this can affect the Cambridge trains, which do not use the Finsbury Park to
Moorgate spur line, is unclear.
Road safety barriers to be reviewed after Great Heck accident
Transport Minister Keith Hill has announced that the Highways Agency is to review its standards for safety barriers
following the accident at Great Heck. Hill said the health and Safety Executive will lead a working group to examine
the circumstances where road vehicles have blocked railway lines.
LOCAL TRANSPORT PLANS
Survey of local authorities reveals lack of staff is holding back implementation - not lack of money
A recent survey by consultants Steer Davies Gleave of 113 Councils showed that the main problem holding them back
in implementing Local Transport Plan measures was a shortage of sufficient staff. Eighty eight per cent of respondents
cited this reason.
Other reasons were: public opposition to tougher policies - 55%; lack of in-house expertise - 46%; lack of local
political will - 34%; lack of money - 31%. When asked if the public was in tune with the strategy, 54% councils
responded "partly" and only 28% "mostly".
North Norfolk Railway to be filmed for TV documentary
A crew from Wall to Wall productions will be visiting the NNR on Saturday 5th May to film a 30 minute documentary
for the Discovery Channel which will form part of a series on preserved railways.