A reminder that the next branch meeting is on Saturday 13th July at the County Library in Ipswich - same
venue as last year.
TRAIN OPERATING COMPANIES
Anglia Railways' parent GB Railways PLC announces positive interim results
GB Railways PLC produced its preliminary financial report on 18th June. It says that more passengers were
taking its trains now than before Hatfield, although the 4% intercity and 15% local rate of growth is lower
than the 15-20 percent annual growth experienced at that time.
It reported a £1.2m pre-tax loss in the year to 31st March 2002, down from £3.3m largely thanks to the
funding package negotiated with the SRA, and Chief Executive Jeremy Long forecast that the group would break
even in 2002/2003.
Hull Trains was expected to move into an operating profit in the near future and the Anglia Railways
franchise was expected to break even this year. Track access rights to 2010 and 125mph service have now
been agreed. In addition, GB Railfreight is profitable and trading above expectations.
Incidentally, GB Railways PLC are clearly looking at changing the name of Anglia Railways if they win the new
franchise, as they have already acquired the company names: Great Anglia Railways Limited, Greater Anglia Railways Limited,
Great Anglian Railways Limited and Greater Anglian Railways Limited.
GB Railways preliminary results: http://www.gbrailways.com/prelim31-mar-02.htm
New touch-screen Journey Planner information system launched in Suffolk
Train and bus travellers now have a new on-street touch-screen "Journey Planner", which has been pioneered by
Suffolk County Council. There are kiosks in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft which give information on
the quickest and best route, changes and journey times on trains and buses across Suffolk and beyond. Longer
term, the kiosks will contain public transport information across the region.
At the launch, Joan Girling, executive committee member for public transport at Suffolk County Council,
said: "Journey Planner is an excellent way of getting top quality journey information to people, and will
hopefully encourage many more travellers to use public transport."
GREATER [EAST] ANGLIA FRANCHISE
ESTA (Felixstowe) presents SRA with large list of demands for new train operator
The Felixstowe branch of the East Suffolk Travellers Association has included a list of minimum standards
that should be demanded of the Greater [East] Anglia franchise winner.
Chairman Bryan Frost said there should be InterCity standard rolling stock introduced on services every
15 minutes between London and Ipswich, and that Anglia Railways' current InterCity trains should be replaced
"by trains of comparable standard, with specified minimum levels of first class seating, during the first two
years of the franchise.
Mr Frost also called for a commitment to reduce the average journey time between Ipswich and Peterborough
via Bury St Edmunds to 95 minutes, hourly services on all local and inter-urban lines, an early start on
feasibility study for capacity improvement between Liverpool Street and Colchester, and the construction of
a rail link between Braintree and Stansted Airport.
The association also wants better connections with Central Trains services at Peterborough/Norwich and
improved connections between Felixstowe services, plus replacement of the current local Sprinter train fleet
with 'state of the art' trains by 2014. At stations, improved shelters and CCTV was demanded.
Anglia Railways' Crosslink service axed from end of Summer timetable
Anglia Railways has announced that the slow, little-used and heavily subsidised Anglia Railways' six
trains-a-day Crosslink service to Basingstoke, which began in May 2000, will cease at the end of the Summer
timetable, following the SRA's decision not to continue financial support. An SRA spokesperson said: "We
carried out a cost-benefit analysis, and the simple fact is not enough people were using the Crosslink
service to make it viable. It failed to meet the expectations we all had when it was launched."
The muddle of services arriving/departing from Norwich/Ipswich/Colchester/Witham/Chelmsford or Stratford
and lack of 'clockface' departures did not encourage patronage. Anglia had hoped to increase the service to
hourly but the SRA could not guarantee future train paths due to track capacity. This problem also prevented
the service being extended to Southampton. It is not known what Anglia will do with their surplus 170 units.
Railfuture national chairman was interviewed by BBC Look East on Thursday 25th June at Norwich station
about the axing, for an item which was broadcast the next day.
SRA press release: http://www.sra.gov.uk/sra/news/releases/speech/20020626_future_of_crosslink_service.html
Anglia Railways statement: http://www.angliarailways.co.uk/latest-information/news-detail.asp?id=315.
Anglia Railways launch Cambridge-Norwich service with a series of roadshows
Anglia railways have launched the promotion for their new Cambridge-Norwich service, which will cost just £9
return (significantly cheaper than a cheap day return on the Central Trains service) if using the Anglia Plus
ticket. There will be a trolley service on all Monday to Saturday trains, except the last two trains in each
direction, but no trolley on Sunday. The new Turbostar trains will have nine first class seats and 118 in
standard accommodation. The timetable will be available from the end of June.
There will be two sets of roadshows along each of the towns and cities served. They are scheduled for:
Anglia Railways press release: http://www.angliarailways.co.uk/latest-information/news-detail.asp?id=314.
* Attleborough (Queen's Square) - 18th July and 19th September
* Cambridge (Market Square) - 19th-21st July and 27th-29th September
* Ely (Market Place) - 17th July and 25th September
* Norwich (Hayhill) - 28th-29th June and 20th-21st September
* Thetford - 16th July and a date in September which is still to be confirmed.
* Wymondham (Market Place) - 15th July and 24th September
FGE run late trains again for 16th Chappel Beer Festival
There will be late trains from Chappel to Sudbury, and also to to Marks Tey, Colchester, Manningtree and
Ipswich each night between Tuesday 3rd and Saturday 7th September for the 16th Chappel Beer Festival.
East Anglia Railway Museum notice: http://www.earm.co.uk/beerfestival.htm.
Railtrack accused of using safety to exploit local business for access to premises
A Lowestoft businessman has claimed that Railtrack asked for more than £3000 to let him have access to the
wall of his warehouse, which borders Railtrack land, for five days in order to paint it and carry out minor
Railtrack says it needs the money to employ safety staff to monitor the work on the eight-metre wide
access road borders disused track and is 30 metres from the Lowestoft-to-Norwich line. The man has called in
Waveney MP Bob Blizzard who has written to Railtrack asking managers "to be reasonable".
Campaign to reinstate clock outside Cambridge station
The Cambridge Evening News has been covering the attempt by locals to reinstate the clock on the roundabout
in front of Cambridge station, after it had been removed following collision by a car earlier this year.
Joanna Gordon Clark, a rail traveller, wrote to WAGN who said that a decision had been taken not to repair
it, because of cost, and also because the station looked better without it, as several "members of the public"
had commented. To make matters worse, the clock inside the ticket hall has also been removed.
Cambridgeshire Cub Scouts charter train to London
Usually organisations hire coaches for trips because the railways are too expensive or too painful to use. Not so with
the Cub Scouts from Cambridgeshire. On Saturday 29th June they chartered two trains (one from Cambridge, Ely, Waterbeach,
and the other from Huntingdon and St Neots) to take over a thousand of them to London for visits to the London Eye,
London Zoo and Buckingham Palace.
Mid-Norfolk Railway to be used for Anglia Railways driver training and Balfour Beatty tamper training
Anglia Railways have approached the Mid-Norfolk Railway to use the line for driver training. The MNR has been granted
temporary permission to run at 40mph. There could be Class 153, 150, or even 170 units working the line this autumn.
Agreement has also been reached with Balfour Beatty to use the line for tamper training. This will see the whole
line tamped and lined to 40mph standard. This will not be the first preserved railway that Balfour Beatty have used.
Recently they have been instrumental in helping to reopen the Duffield-Wirksworth branch in Derbyshire.
RAIL PASSENGER PARTNERSHIPS
East Anglian rail partnerships receive funding from Association of Community-Rail Partnerships
The Association of Community-Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) has awarded nearly the Wherry Line Partnership (Norwich to Lowestoft
and Great Yarmouth) £500 for help with publicity materials. It has also given £1000 to the Bittern Line Partnership
towards its jazz boat trains which run every Thursday in July and August 2002 (£10 adult, £5 child).
Jazz Boat Trains: http://www.bitternline.com/JazzBoat.htm.
Another road vehicle leaves road and lands on railway line
On 1st July, just after 5pm, a lorry crashed into a bridge and landed on the railway line near Ardleigh
(between Manningtree and Colchester). It was hit by an Ipswich Freightliner train on its way to Birmingham,
causing the line to be closed until mid-afternoon seriously disrupting FGE and Anglia services.
Newspaper report: http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/Story/0,2763,747293,00.html.