Branch secretary Nick Dibben will be appearing on the BBC2's "East at Westminster" on Sunday 19th May
at 13:00, when the region's railways will be discussed.
There will be a Rail Passengers Council public meeting on Wednesday 12th June between 10:30 and 16:00 at
the Queens Hilton hotel in Leeds which is next to the station. Speakers will include Sir Ian McAllister,
chairman of Network Rail. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Caroline Jones on 020 7713 2723 or via e-mail:
A reminder that you need to buy a Network Railcard by Saturday 18th May if you wish to get 15 months for
the price of 12, and avoid the £10 minimum fare until 19th August 2003. In a press release issued on 17th May,
the RPC has been advising cardholders to renew early. Jim Beale, RPC Deputy Chairman, said: "We remain strongly
opposed to the industry's decision to introduce a minimum fare as we believe that this effectively axes the
Network Card. Passengers want to use the railways as a single network with common benefits and the Network Card
has been the only railcard to cater for individual travellers in the 26-60 age range. The introduction of
weekday minimum fare of £10 seriously undermines the whole point of the card and will mean huge increases for
Fatal train accident at Potters Bar - Hertford Loop used for priority services
Snippets readers will be well aware of the much publicised fatal train accident on the 12.45 King's Cross
to King's Lynn service on Friday 10th May, which was caused by a points problem immediately to the south of
Potters Bar station.
All WAGN, GNER and Hull Trains services have been diverted via the Hertford Loop. Although the loop is only
1.5 miles longer, the track speed is much lower, causing delays of 15-30 minutes. Diverting traffic from a
4-track to 2-track route, which also has longer headways, forced some services to be cancelled, and all local
Hertford Loop trains were cancelled until Tuesday when the service was partially restored.
Many Hertford Loop commuters have complained about their service being displaced in favour of the longer
distance services, none of which stopped at their stations. All stations between Bowes Park and Watton-at-Stone
inclusive are 6-car long (with Hertford North being 8-car) which prevents 8-car trains stopping. Whilst some
Hertford North users switched to Hertford East (a considerable distance away), it has a half hourly 4-cars service
rather than the normal 6 trains per hour 6-car service. Enfield Chase travellers had a short walk to Enfield
The GNER Eurostar stock was affected by power supply limitations on the loop. Two such trains are also unable
to pass each other at one stretch of the line due to gauging problems.
The main line should be reopened - at least in part - on Monday 20th May.
HSE interim report on accident: http://www.hse.gov.uk/railway/pottersbar/interim1.htm.
Car Park to be extended at St.Neots station
According to the Hunts Post newspaper, WAGN has agreed to investigate possible extensions to the existing car
park at St Neots Railway Station. WAGN will look at land availability, costs and commercial viability and will
reports finding in June.
Possible land includes the old coal bunker area and the rail siding area close to the entrance to the
station. County Councillor Robert Clarke, who represents the Priory Park ward, said: "The station car park is
under pressure which has led to commuters parking in residential areas and on the footpath at the entrance to
Indian Restaurant to open at Great Shelford Station
The former station master's house at Great Shelford is to be turned into an Indian restaurant. Station House
in Hinton Way is currently boarded up, though a single storey extension to it serves as the station entrance and
New station for Bedfordshire looks likely
Elstow Garden Villages, a new settlement of 4,500 houses, is to be built on a brownfield site four miles south
of Bedford. The masterplan includes provision for a new station at the heart of the development which is likely
to be situated on the Thameslink line.
Cambridgeshire had largest increase in road traffic in Britain
Traffic levels on Cambridgeshire's roads rose by four times the national average in 2001: 5.5 per cent compared
to an average increase of 1.2 per cent across the country.
According to the county council figures, Cambridgeshire has experienced a 31 per cent growth in traffic in
the last 10 years, double the figure for the country as a whole. At Swavesey (on the St.Ives railway line) HGV
traffic volume has nearly doubled over the past decade and traffic as a whole has risen by 48 per cent. On the
A10 at Ely a 28 per cent rise was recorded.
The number of vehicles entering Cambridge in 2001 was unchanged, as bus passengers rose by 18 per cent from
1999, and cyclists by 10 per cent between 1997 and 2001.
Shona Johnstone, cabinet member for environment and transport at Cambridgeshire County Council, called for
Government investment to "make sure the transport network can keep up with the massive growth in Cambridgeshire."
The Cambridge Evening News article reporting this did not make clear the type of transport investment required,
but rail did not get a mention!
LOCAL AUTHORITY STRATEGIC RAIL PLANS
Suffolk County Council issues Rail Passenger Strategy
In April 2002 Suffolk County Council issued a Strategic Rail Plan for Suffolk (passenger services). The report
starts by noting the recent improvements to rail services in the county especially improved frequencies on most
routes. The report then evaluates various improvements to services. The main recommendations are:
* Low cost measures to improve access and facilities at stations
* Provision of an hourly service on Ipswich to Cambridge/Peterborough/Lowestoft routes by 2005
* Half hourly frequencies on routes by 2010
* New stations at Morton Hall and Great Cornard as part of new development
* New stations on the main line would be expensive due to the need to provide loops and will therefore not be pursued
* Dedicated bus links unlikely to be viable, but scope for better integration with existing buses
* All local and regional organisations need to work together to progress improvements.
STANSTED AIRPORT EXPANSION
Public meeting about Stansted Airport expansion plans
A public meeting about Stansted Airport's plans to expand to 25 million passengers a year was held at Saffron
Walden Town Hall at 8pm on Thursday 16th May. It was organised by Saffron Walden and District Friends of the
Anglia Railways organised special train to Cardiff for Norwich City football play-off final
Anglia Railways ran a special train for Norwich City supporters travelling by train to the Division One Play-Off
Final in Cardiff on Sunday 12th May for £60 return (standard class), and £80 return (first class). Unfortunately
the service was in doubt until a few days before the match because Railtrack were unable to confirm train paths
between Norwich and Cardiff.
SRA launch details of Rail Performance Fund
The SRA has formally announced its new Rail Performance Fund which is designed to co-fund small scale
investments aimed at providing shorter-term and lasting improvements to the performance of passenger and
freight services. It has a total budget of £400 million over ten years.
Bidding guidance is being distributed to train companies - which currently must sponsor the bid - and
councils for both quick-win projects that can be completed within a year, and also longer term development
projects. The fund is designed to part fund rolling stock modifications, track and signalling infrastructure,
enhanced IT processes and data logging services.
SRA press release: http://www.sra.gov.uk/news/releases/2002/may/
Road Transport Union claims that railfreight is no greener than lorries on roads
The trucking lobby has claimed that a report commissioned by the International Road Transport Union (IRU)
shows that transferring freight from road to rail is only slightly better for the environment. The IRU hopes
the evidence will help combat a political trend to boost the amount of “combined transport” where road freight
is transferred to rail or waterways for a large part of its journey in an effort to reduce congestion and
They say that road distances to rail terminals, less than full train loads and wasted space on trains meant
energy savings compared to road were often marginal. The study by German consultancies IFEU and SGKV compared
the energy consumption of 14 European long-distance combined transport routes with the equivalent journeys by
Energy consumption could be halved on certain routes, such as Antwerp to Milan, when containers only were
put on to trains. But savings were far less when semi-trailers were used and often non-existent when whole
trucks were put on trains, it found. The Community of European Railways estimates that rail transport uses one
quarter the amount of energy that equivalent road journeys, with corresponding reductions in greenhouse gas
emissions blamed for global warming.
The study summary did not highlight how often lorries travel empty, or consider more efficient railfreight
vehicles, such as freight multiple units.
Royal opening for North Norfolk Railway's Weybourne carriage works
On Thursday 27th June 27th, the Earl and Countess of Wessex (a.k.a. Edward and Sophie) are scheduled to visit
the North Norfolk Railway, to officially open the new carriage works. It will not be the first royal visit, as
Princes Harry and William made an unannounced visit to the line several years ago.