Railwatch

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Railwatch 081 - October 1999

The Sidings

Berlin calling

An RDS trip to Berlin is being planned for April or May next year.. We shall go by Eurostar to Brussels, hopefully Thalys train from there to Cologne, and then by German high speed train, using the upgraded route through Wolfsburg and Rathenau, to the capital.

It is planned to have an overnight stay in Cologne in each direction, and three or four nights in Berlin. Several members have already expressed interest. It is hoped to have clearer proposals later this autumn. Please send an SAE to Trevor Garrod, 15 Clapham Road, Lowestoft NR32 1RQ if you are interested.

High-fare Britain

You have heard a lot of motorists moaning about high petrol prices. TV and radio stations jump to attention to listen to the AA - with its "proud" history of undermining law enforcement - whining on. The real scandal however is high public transport fares. The Observer however distinguished itself by revealing that Britain has the highest walk-on train fares in the world.

East-West Rail

An East-West rail project officer is being appointed by Ipswich Borough Council which is the lead authority of the East-West Rail Consortium. Meanwhile rail campaigners are seeing red and have accused Bedford Borough Council of trying to slant its public consultation on East-West rail to favour the outer rail route through Bedford. Any sensible person would choose the inner route which provides a proper interchange at Bedford with Thameslink, Silverlink and Midland Mainline services.

Road runners

Work starts about now on a £92 million "bypass" linking Chelmsford towards Basildon and Southend, Essex. It has been branded an M25 bypass. Rail alternatives were not even considered.

Entente cordiale

Deputy prime minister John Prescott signed an agreement at St Malo with French ministers in August to improve co-operation on integrated transport policies. They agreed to try to boost rail freight through the Channel Tunnel. They agreed to monitor rail traffic between the two countries. Let's hope they will also wonder why there are no local trains through the tunnel, linking, for instance Canterbury with Amiens.

People before cars

The Government has agreed to allow nine home zones where the needs of people will come before traffic! The nine pilot schemes are in Ealing and Lambeth (London), The Methleys (Leeds), Northmoor (Manchester), Magor village (Monmouthshire), Nobel Road (Nottingham), New England (Peterborough), Morice Town (Plymouth) and Cavel Way (Sittingbourne). Everywhere else we all have to take second place to cars and traffic as usual.

The Government has however given all local councils powers to create 20mph zones. Why don't you start asking for one down your street?

Blind spots

  • Norfolk County Council has carried out an aerial survey of all closed rail lines in Norfolk with a view to protecting the routes. The survey did not however include the two lines running east from King's Lynn across North Norfolk.
  • Many car drivers have no idea how to find out about public transport services, according to the Lex Report on Motoring.
  • While the safest form of transport - rail - is subjected to continuous and rigorous scrutiny, the murderous mayhem continues on the roads. Speeding is common. In towns, more than 70% of drivers exceed the 30 mph limit. On dual carriageways, 90% of lorry drivers exceed the speed limits. The Department of Transport is congratulating itself because "only" 3,421 people were killed on the roads in 1998. That's in addition to the 40,834 people "seriously injured" and the 280,957 "slightly injured".

Treasurer needed

RDS is still urgently looking for a treasurer. If you can help or you know someone who might be willing to fill this key role, please contact chairman Steve Wilkinson on 01223 563672

Railway Development Trust

Thank you to members who responded to the appeal in the last Railwatch. The money will go towards publication of a report on new and reopened station costings.

RDS lottery winners

May N J Woollan, Felixstowe £68.80, Robert Kenney, Cannock £43, P J Lugg, Bourne End, Bucks £25.80, I Rushton, Nelson £17.20, D J Barr, Harrogate £8.60, Harry Cook, Reading £8.60.

June Chris Rose, Perton, Staffs £69.40, Neil Barlow, Cambridge £43.37, M P Thorne, Cambridge £26.03, R L Davies, London WC1 £17.34, G Davies, Sully, Glamorgan £8.68, Mrs J Powell, Leeds £8.68.

July Andrew Wett, Oxford £68.20, John Page, Cambridge £42.62, R K E Weaver, Weymouth £25.57, R C Vincent, King's Lynn £17.05, Paul Wilson, Flackwell Heath £8.53, Mark Edgell, Rotherham £8.53.

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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