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  RAIL NEWS SNIPPETS   Issue 77 - 12th November 2001  
  News from the East Anglian Branch of Railfuture   Edited by Martin Thorne and Jerry Alderson  

The Railfuture branch meeting in Cambridge on Saturday 17 November, starting at 2pm, is billed as "CHUMMS...a discussion and branch action" plus "Railfuture matters etc.". Little St. Mary's Church Hall is near Little St. Mary's Lane off Trumpington Street. This is a crucial time for the St.Ives line, so Nick and Peter would like as many branch members to attend as possible.

On the same day, ESTA - the body for train and bus passengers in the area from Ipswich to Lowestoft - is holding a public meeting at the United Reformed Church, Quay Street, Halesworth, starting at 2.15pm.

The next RPC Eastern meeting is in Newark on 4th December 2001. Telephone RPC on 01733 312188 for details.


Anglia Plus ticket is now available on Cambridge and Ely routes
According to Anglia Railways publicity their Anglia Plus ticket is now available to Cambridge and Ely on routes from Ipswich (but not, at least as yet, Norwich), but Ely to Cambridge is not included. A ticket covering all their services except the main line south of Ipswich (and Hull Trains), and also valid between Norwich and Thetford, costs 9. Valid after 08.45 Mon-Fri and all day at weekends.


ESTA survey of passengers finds train staff helpful and courteous
According to the Evening Star on 31st October, in a survey of members of the East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA) in August 88% of those responding found train staff "helpful and courteous" though the figure for bus drivers was 95%. Members also reported that occasionally not all tickets were inspected or fares collected because the trains were so full.

The survey also revealed considerable criticism about timekeeping on buses and trains with around half of all journeys either starting late or arriving late at their destination.

There was a high level of satisfaction with the information provided at railway stations (86%) but there was criticism of bus stops where 48% complained of lack of timetables or out-of-date information. Whilst both trains and buses scored well on comfort and cleanliness there is still a significant problem with litter at rail and bus stations.

Former Railfuture General Secretary, Trevor Garrod, who is chairman of ESTA, said: "Complaints about dirty trains are fewer than when we did a similar survey in 1999 but litter on trains and stations remains a problem.

Anglia Railways publish Annual Report
Anglia Railways have published a glossy 12-page Annual Report to customers covering the last 12 months and future plans. A 1160k PDF file can be downloaded from the web on: http://www.anglia-railways.com/brochures/ann-rep2001.pdf.
Anglia Railways press release: http://www.angliarailways.co.uk/latest-information/news-detail.asp?id=239.


Skanska to identify Cambridge-Bedford route by early 2002
A two-page article about the East West Rail Link was featured in Rail Magazine issue 421 (31st October - 13th November). It says that Skanska [http://www.skanska.co.uk] is now evaluating the precise route for the "missing link" between Cambridge and Bedford and that a route should be known by early 2002. It claimed that Skanska will "concentrate on long term costs rather than the cheapest first option", but did not explain what this meant.

The article failed to mention the Cambridge to St.Ives line, which would be a shorter route than the dog leg from Cambridge to Sandy via Hitchin. Railfuture members may wish to lobby Skanska; e-mail: skanska.construction@skanska.co.uk.


Mid-Norfolk Railway launch bearer bond issue

  On Wednesday 31st October the Mid Norfolk Railway launched its Unsecured Bearer Bond with the aim of raising 300,010. There are 1290 bonds in denominations of 100, 150, 250, 1,000 and ten bonds at 2,001, to mark the year. Interest is paid at 4% each year, and the bond is refunded in full after ten years.
The money raised will be largely be used to improve the buildings at Dereham Station and to provide the infrastructure to allow steam operation. This will include engine release facilities at Wymondham, servicing facilities at Dereham, the commissioning of Dereham central signal box, passing and run round loops and other improvements both south and north of Dereham.

The MNR planned a small ceremony at Dereham Station on 31st October to officially handover a bond to an investor.
Download prospectus (PDF document): http://www.mnr.org.uk/membership/prospectus.pdf.


SRA introduces fast track for rail passenger partnership finance
Following significant criticism of its failure to distribute RPP funds - only 31 awards since 1999, totalling 35m of the 105m available - and the length of time required to make decisions, the SRA has announced that requests for funding up to 250,000 will be assessed within six weeks. RPP funding will now also be available for capital costs, in addition to revenue support. Funding will also be used to support local transport plans and recommendations from multi-modal studies.
SRA web-site press release (including list of schemes approved to date): http://www.sra.gov.uk/news/releases/2001/oct/


Branch writes to Anne Campbell MP following publication of minutes from Cambridge transport summit
Peter Wakefield, branch chairman, has written to Anne Campbell MP following publication of the minutes of her transport summit, to which Railfuture was not invited. Peter says that "yet again the main proponents in the debate had nothing to say more than what they would LIKE to do. Little seems to have been said of anything that WILL happen."

Peter informed Mrs Campbell [info@annecampbell.org.uk] that the branch "reject much of the conclusions of CHUMMS. There was NOT a proper assessment of all the modes and there was not full and proper consultation. The full range of the rail industry were not invited for comment, especially the freight industry".

Level crossing gate on Milton Road, Cambridge removed following damage by car
The level crossing gate on the eastern side of Milton Road in Cambridge was removed in early November and replaced with a wire fence. Nothing else appears to have been changed.

The gate was hit a few weeks earlier by a car that skidded in wet weather and damaged it - an article in the "Evening News" about the incident referred to the Milton Road "railway bridge" being hit. 


TR&IN On-Line newsletter launched
TR&IN (Transport Research and Information Network) and ACoRP (Association of Community Rail Partnerships) have published the first issue of TR&IN On-line, a new newsletter. They are looking for regular news from community rail partnerships. Details available from train@platform8.demon.co.uk.

  The November 2001 issue includes news from the Wherry and Bittern lines. Ian Dinmore, Partnership Officer, mentioned the new bus links (featured in Snippets) and the waiting shelter, seats and gardens which have appeared at Gunton station. The Gunton Station Users Group now wish to see more trains stop at their station.

Also mentioned are the new cycle racks at Wroxham and Aylesham on the Bure Valley line, which were partially funded by the Bittern Line partnership.


New web-site for Wherry Lines
The Norwich to Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft Wherry Line now has a web-site: http://www.wherrylines.org.uk. This has been designed by Ben Coulson, a train driver with Anglia Railways, in association with Ian Dinmore of Norfolk County Council, which help to promote the Wherry Line.

  Fellow Bittern Line web-site http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/transport/public/bittern.htm has been "broadcasting a test card" for the past six months, though this hasn't stopped Norfolk County Council winning a National Transport Award for its work with the Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership.
Anglia Railways press release: http://www.angliarailways.co.uk/latest-information/news-detail.asp?id=237.

New timetable web-site from Failtrack
A humorous new on-line train timetable from "Failtrack" has been launched - http://www.thebrainstrust.co.uk/trains.



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


Snippets 77


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