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Railwatch 070 - December 1996

The Sidings

Campaigners miss bus

The famous red London Routemaster bus proved elusive when transport campaigners from France visited London in October. They found out that most weekend London services are operated by the unpopular one-person bus.

But with help from RDS members, the group from the Fèdèration des Usagers des Transports did eventually find a Routemaster - in the Covent Garden transport museum!

Politicians are at last waking up to the fact that if they want people to travel by public transport, it should be user friendly. The Routemaster bus is a perfect example.

RDS members passing through Paris are welcome to use a spare bedroom at FNAUT headquarters. Contact Jean Macheras, 32 rue Raymond Losserand, F75014 Paris (tel 00 33 1 43 35 22 23)

Election quiz

Politicians can be questioned about their transport policies at an RDS-organised election forum in London on 15 February. The debate, starting at 10.00 at the Society of Friends, 52 St Martins Lane, Westminster (near Trafalgar Square), will be led by Christian Wolmar, transport correspondent of The Independent. Entry is free but, if possible, inform Paul Krebs, 24 Bartok House, 30 Lansdowne Walk, London W11 3LT if you plan to attend.

In co-operation with Transport 2000, a similar session is being planned for Birmingham on 25 January.

New lease of life

Loughborough Junction station, a one-time Cinderella station in London was given a new lease of life with the introduction of the Thameslink service. In September the station was "graced" by the attendance of Transport Secretary Sir George Young who praised a refurbishment partly funded by taxpayers' money. Sir George also named a Thameslink unit Brixton Challenge.

There was more good news for South London when for the first time in 20 years, Sunday trains returned on 29 September to the South London Link from Victoria to London Bridge via Denmark Hill. On the first day people flooded to use the service despite poor publicity. One of the trains was in the new yellow and white Connex livery. Small children were baffled by the appearance three months early of Father Christmas who handed out timetables. The South London Link now boasts a metro service during the week of six trains an hour compared to a miserly three trains an hour provided by North London Railways on the Richmond-North Woolwich line.

Executive Officer

The Railway Development Society invites applications for the post of Executive Officer. Approximately 18.5 hours per week. Salary based on full-time equivalent of £17,500 per annum.

This is a new post offering an exciting opportunity for a talented and energetic person to increase the profile of the society and support the work of local volunteers. Candidates should have a minimum of three years campaign or public relations experience, and a good knowledge of transport and/or environmental issues. The ability to work from home would be a distinct advantage.

To request an application pack, please write to: The Chairman, Railway Development Society, 52 Manor Park, Histon, Cambridge CB4 4JT, quoting ref: RW1. Please note: It is likely that application packs will not be issued until the first week of January. Closing date - February 1, 1997.


Next year's RDS reopenings conference will be held at the White Swan Hotel, Halifax, on 25 June from 11.30 to 17.00. It is hoped to learn from Yorkshire reopenings and to boost the local campaign for a restored train service between Halifax and Huddersfield via Brighouse.

The cost of reopening the Uckfield-Lewes line is likely to be £12 million, not £2 million as reported in Railwatch 69. The scheme would also not give a "clear line from Brighton to North Kent" as passengers would have to change at Lewes.

Piggyback plans

Guest speaker at the RDS annual meeting in Norwich on 3 May will be Lord Berkeley of the Piggyback Consortium. He played a key role in Eurotunnel. The meeting at the Maids Head Hotel starts at 11.00.

Dossier of bias

Malcolm Conway of the RDS passenger committee has sent examples of passengers not being given unbiased information by station and enquiry bureau staff to the Rail Regulator. He would welcome further examples. Please write to him at 58 Greengate Lane, Kirkbarrow Estate, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 5LL. The passenger committee will also be monitoring the new national train inquiry number 0345 484950 (local rate).

Share action

Thanks to members who gave our shareholder liaison officer, Mr C. Oley, details of shares which they hold in Railtrack or other rail-related companies. This helps us to add an extra dimension to our work. Mr Oley will be pleased to hear from other shareholder members, who should write to him at 37 New Rd., Ormskirk, Lancs, L40 1SR.

Riding for rail

RDS is planning another sponsored cycle ride during National Bike Week from 7-15 June. In the North, the ride will probably include Preston and Southport to highlight the need for the reinstatement of Burscough Curves.

Another ride in the South will probably be in Sussex. If you have ideas or are interested in riding, please contact, before January, our Cycling Officer Rob Cope, 9D Barnes High Street, London, SW13 9LW.

Charade exposed

The Government's attempt to portray its Transport Policies and Programme as a way to help rail, pedestrians and cyclists has been exposed by a new report Investing in Sustainable Local Transport commissioned by voluntary groups. The report shows that the lion's share is still going to road building. Only 3% of the cash went to major public transport schemes!

It urges the Government to set targets for traffic reduction, cut further into the trunk road building programme and local authorities to stop calling for more road building.

Lottery winners

RDS lottery winners for August: G T Flowers, Grantham £58.40, R Burrows, Hassocks £36.50, Betty Loyn, Aberystwyth £21.90, M J Breslin, Liverpool £14.60, D Pippard, Yeovil £7.30, Julian Langston, Llandaff £7.30.

September: John Gayler, Chandler's Ford £67, N K Upton, Sutton Coldfield £41.88, H R Mills, Cheshunt £25.12, R Burrows, Hassocks £16.76, F H Russell, Solihull £8.37, Bob Cummings, Hyde £8.37.

October: J A D Lewis, Callington, Cornwall £75.40, Peter Kearney, Tewkesbury £47.13, Mrs V Humphreys, London NW3 £28.28, Mrs Eileen Noakes, Kingsbridge £18.85, Nancy Denley, Bromsgrove £9.42, R C Vincent, King's Lynn £9.42.

Drawing ahead

Our 1996 Draw made a splendid £2,162. Thanks to all who bought tickets and sold them to friends and relatives. Thanks also to Alan Crowhurst for masterminding the operation. Over £3,000 worth of bids for the proceeds were received from our branches and affiliated local groups.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

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