This edition of Snippets
focuses mainly on the future of the St.Ives line. Please write to
the district and county councillors who will be influencing the
regional planning body to support the rail reopening.
Cambridgeshire County Councillors
can be found on http://www.camcnty.gov.uk/sub/cg/loc.htm.
- FUTURE OF THE ST.IVES LINE
guided busway companies join forces to promote Cambridge Area Metro
The two guided busway schemes for Cambridge - Cambridge
Rapid Transit System on Cambridge-Trumpington and the Stagecoach
venture with Gallagher Estates on the St.Ives line - have come
together to form the "Cambridge Area Metro" - a pun on the
City's famous River Cam.
The consortium claim that their
"trams on tyres" could travel between Cambridge and
St.Ives in only 25 minutes. They are careful not to say whether this
means the outskirts of the St.Ives and Cambridge or the town/city
Details of the scheme were revealed
in the Cambridge Evening News on 18th July.
Gallagher Estates, which hopes to
obtain planning permission to build a major housing development at
Oakington Barracks beside the railway line, have set-up a web-site
to promote the idea. Their web-site is focused around the housing
development, and gives the impression that the guided busway will
only be funded if the hours are built.
Gallagher Estates web-site:
Conservative MP holds public meetings to discuss A14
Nick Dibben represented Railfuture at the public meeting in St Ives Corn
Exchange on 20th July chaired by Conservative MP Jonathan Djanogly [email@example.com]
with Councillor Ian Bates [Ian.Bates@cambridgeshire.gov.uk].
Much of the meeting concentrated on
the merits or otherwise of road based solutions. Various people
spoke in favour of the St.Ives line reopening, but not a single
person voiced approval of the guided busway plan.
Hunts Post by John Souter criticising guided busway plan for St.Ives
The Hunts Post
newspaper is printing six articles about the Cambridge to Huntingdon
Multi-Modal Study. The first, by John Souter, former Liberal
Democrat councillor for St.Ives South, (working from notes by
Fenstanton parish councillor Mark Rainer) explained why the busway
Article can be found on-line: http://www.huntspost.co.uk/News/27_07_01/souter.asp.
backlash against guided busway proposals continues
Cambridge Evening News [firstname.lastname@example.org]
and Hunts Post [email@example.com]
have published more letters favouring rail over the proposed busway,
apart from one writer who wanted to turn the railway line into a
board baffled by busway
line was mentioned at Railtrack's AGM in York on 24th July when
Railfuture member Jerry Alderson asked question 34: "Why does
Railtrack, a rail company, want to become a bus company, by ripping
up the Cambridge to St.Ives line, concreting it over, and building a
guided busway?". Despite Railtrack's involvement with this
project appearing in the 2000 and 2001 Network Management
Statements, all of the 12-strong Railtrack board denied any
knowledge of it!
City Council unlikely to refuse planning permission for Trumpington
believed to be unlikely that Cambridge City Council will refuse
planning permission for the Trumpington guided busway application
submitted by CRTS earlier this year, as there appear to be no valid
grounds for refusing it.
reaffirm commitment to Cambridge-St.Ives-Huntingdon rail routeTransport 2000
(Cambs) July Newsletter: http://www.nenie.org/t2000cam/newsletter76.html
and West Suffolk branch of Transport 2000 believe that the CHUMMS
conclusions are "very unsatisfactory". They particularly
object to the guided busway proposal on the St.Ives line, and
believe that the line should be used for the East-West Rail Link to
the ECML, with a more direct busway built adjacent to the proposed
local road and using one carriageway of the section of existing A14.
A letter by co-ordinator Simon Norton proposing this appeared in the
Cambridge Evening News.
meeting held in Cambridge
||The Rail Passenger Council for Eastern England
met on Tuesday 24 July at Queens College Cambridge (in a building which
Nick Dibben helped to design!). It was attended by members of the
rail industry, councillors, rail pressure groups (including
Railfuture) but few members of the public, who were unaware of it
because time constraints had prevented the committee publicising the
meeting at stations. Poor attendance was not helped by the Cambridge
Evening News giving the wrong date!
Recent train performance [http://www.sra.gov.uk/news/releases/2001/July/20010727_ppmfigures.htm]
and quality of service for each TOC were discussed in the morning
* WAGN - Current time keeping on
outer suburban routes is grim (West Anglia route - 76%, Great Northern
Route - 85%). There are problems with many speed restrictions. WAGN
have 50 drivers short with 25 sick!. 75 new drivers are being
trained, the first batch will have completed their training in
September. WAGN are also looking at part time drivers, who would
work limited hours, to help fill requirements for the peak periods.
Items raised with WAGN include poor visibility
of display screens at Cambridge, and the need to promote bus/rail
* Central Trains - Major concern on trespass
and vandals. This applies not just to the West Midlands but also to
places like Boston where trains were being attacked. All the class
158s are now fitted with TPWS, fitting to class 150 to start in
Items raised with Central - Poor timekeeping
to Stansted where only 77% trains arrive within 10 minutes, 90% in
40 minutes, 6% over an hour late. CT would like to replace the long
distance train fleet with something similar to Virgin's
cross-country fleet but all depends on franchise replacement.
* c2c - 44 of 46 new trains now available
for service. Failure rate improved from every 300 miles!!! to every
9000 miles. The target is every 60000 miles. Problems with RMT union
who have broken their agreements on driver only operation.
* Railtrack - There are currently 15
gauge corner cracking sites and 40 other temporary speed
restrictions in the EA zone. Railtrack and contractors are short
staffed. There is a £2.2m budget to clear trackside rubbish,
several teams have been set up to do each route. Over 6 tonnes of
junk is being removed each day.
West Anglia resignalling is on target -
Seven Sisters route should be done November 2001, Lea Valley route June
2002, up to Bishops Stortford by November 2003.
The afternoon saw an open discussion on the future of rail services in the
Railtrack are looking at a new island
platform at Cambridge. Cost is £15-20m (up from £10m) but the
timescale will depend on train operator expansion. WAGN noted
that unless other capacity issues were addressed the extra platform
at Cambridge would not allow more trains to be run. Plans for
redeveloping the area around the station were reviewed. The idea is
for a new multi-storey car park, extra cycle spaces and better bus
interchange, there will also be new offices and shops to pay for it
Brain Smith of Cambs County Council reaffirmed
the county's wish list for new stations at Addenbrooke's and
Chesterton. Roger Cutting, planning officer at Addenbrooke's noted
their plans would increase the number of workers on the site from
10,000 to 15,000. The new station could (would?) be part of those
A number of members of the public called for
the St Ives line to be reopened and questioned the benefits of
The next RPC meeting is on Tuesday 4th
December in Newark.Cambridge Evening
News report: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/archives/2001/07/25/lead9.html.
Railways spends £100,000 to improve performance on
Norwich-Ipswich-Liverpool Street routeAnglia Railways
press release: http://www.angliarailways.co.uk/latest-information/news-detail.asp?id=201
Railways is spending £100,000 (with Railtrack) to operate an 11th
train set on the Norwich-London route. This will increase the
‘turn-round’ time for trains operating Anglia’s half-hourly
mainline service at Norwich from 15-20 minutes to either 40 minutes
or one hour. Extending the lay-over time at Norwich increases the
time available for minor servicing and cleaning of the trains, and
enables the service to recover following a delay. The week of 22
July has been designated a performance week with extra managers
looking at causes of delays.
abandons new 20-year ECML franchise and offers 2-year extension to
Stephen Byers announced on 18th July that the government will not
a 20-year London to Scotland ECML franchise. Instead he has told the Strategic Rail Authority
to negotiate a 2-year
extension (from April 2003 to April 2005) to GNER's franchise in return for new trains and an improved service between
London and Leeds plus station refurbishments on the Kings Cross to Edinburgh line.
"The passengers have to come first and the changes we are
announcing will secure the interests of the travelling public"
he said. However, it has been claimed that Chancellor Gordon Brown
would not sanction the investment required for a 20 year franchise until
projected costs of all other franchises were known.
||A Virgin Trains spokesman said:
"After an 18-month process, we are disappointed that there has
not been a clear commitment to the replacement plans of either
bidder... We remain confident that our medium/long-term plans are
the best way forward for East Coast."
ATOC director general George Muir
said: "We understand there are practical difficulties, but on
the face of it this looks like a return to the stop-go investment
decisions which have caused so much damage and which we thought had
been ended with the publication of the government's 10-year
BBC News story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/scotland/newsid_1445000/1445398.stm.
calls for greater care for customers following MORI survey showing
Commission for Integrated Transport has invited public transport
operators to a seminar on customer care later this year.
In a large survey by MORI, 2,200 people, said
that service on buses and trains was worse than in banks, supermarkets
and garages. Supermarkets received an 83% satisfied score, buses 56%
and rail bottom at 46%. Dissatisfaction scores at 25% for bus and rail
were five times higher than supermarkets. Approximately 20% of
travellers rated front line staff as poor. A full copy of the survey
can be found at http://www.cfit.gov.uk.
CAN DO THE BUSINESS
Parkway proves that rail can produce modal shift away from car use
study carried out by independent consultants Halcrow, has revealed
that Warwick Parkway station opened last year has produced a 15%
modal shift from car to rail. This will mean a reduction of some
1.75 vehicle Km a year and 30,000 new train trips. Fifteen per cent
of weekday trips from the station were previously made by car and
30% were new to rail.
Ivan Ivanovic says: "It just goes to
show rail can do the business. Its tried and tested, unlike a
certain other technology...".
plans street-level trams to extend Metro
& Wear passenger transport Executive, NEXUS, has launched a public
consultation exercise on proposals to run trams on streets in the
city. The plan is for a network of street level trams serving 13
residential areas in and close to Tyne and Wear and linking them into
the Metro network.
"Project Orpheous" envisages
low-floor trams travelling on-street on dedicated road space along
with track sharing with the Metro system where practical. A business
case will be prepared and presented to DTLR probably in 2003.
NEXUS is currently building the first example
of a Light Rail/Heavy Rail track sharing arrangement in the UK as part
of the Metro's extension to Sunderland. The present Tyneside Metro
runs on former rail alignments, with no on-street running, and the
vehicles used although classified as light rail are more akin to
conventional rolling stock.
Ivan Ivanovic suggests that three of the four
rail routes leading into Cambridge are relatively lightly used. The
opportunity to track-share light rail with heavy rail might provide
the type frequent local public transport service which the Cambridge
sub-region badly needs, without the necessity to build an entirely new
infrastructure for the entire length of routes. Similar arrangements
could be introduced on a re-built Huntingdon St Ives Cambridge