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Railwatch 075 - April 1998

The Sidings

Rail route protection

Labour is considering protecting disused rail routes and other land for reopening, freight depots or cycle tracks. But it seems to have turned a blind eye to some recent sales. RDS continues to press for legal protection for rail land.

WAGN improvements

Train operator WAGN is planning not just to re-paint its trains but to improve them for passengers. WAGN is switching relatively old 317 units to its Stansted Express service but is improving them - by replacing cramped five-a-side seating with four-a-side seats which will all have tables. On its inner-suburban 313 trains it is converting sliding doors from driver-operation to passenger-operation to reduce heat loss when doors are opened at stations. WAGN is also introducing bus links to Sandringham and Hunstanton in Norfolk, as well as re-introducing off-peak trains to Cambridge Heath and London Fields stations in East London. WAGN also plans to instal help points and train information telephones at its unstaffed and semi-staffed stations. Well done WAGN!

Luton losers

A busway is still being considered for the disused rail line between Luton and Dunstable even though a quality rail service could easily be reinstated. Campaigners held up a bus mock-up in January to show how it is too wide for a single track rail line. See our feature Don't rip up railtracks for busways.

More members

Congratulations to RDS executive officer Nat Taplin whose recruitment campaign has attracted between 300 and 400 new members to the society. Please persuade friends, colleagues and relatives to join. Recruitment leaflets are avalaible from Alan Crowhurst, 2 Clematis Cottage, Cleobury Mortimer, DY14 0HF.

Rail users conference

Our 20th National Conference is on Saturday 26 September in the Scientific Societies Lecture Theatre, New Burlington Place, London. Details in next Railwatch.

Annual meeting

Our annual meeting will be in Shrewsbury on Saturday 2 May and, after a welcome by the Mayor, Councillor Peter Dunham, we shall be addressed by David Weir, the managing director of Wales & West Railway.

Picture request

Colour photographs are required for a book to mark the society's 20th anniversary in October this year. New trains, electrification, reopenings or other improvements are welcome. Please send slides or prints to Nick Lewis, 36 Common Road, Stotfold, Hitchin, Herts SG5 4DB by early May.

Car-free day

The second Car-Free Conference is at Ventnor, Isle of Wight on Saturday 16 May. Registration costs £5. Full details from A to B magazine, 19 West Park, Castle Cary, Somerset BA7 7DB

Stagecoach in credit

RDS computer officer Trevor Jones attended an integrated transport conference organised by Stagecoach and South West Trains in Winchester in January. His verdict: "A worthwhile event that did credit to Stagecoach."

Bus links

One benefit of bus companies being involved in rail operations is this new booklet from Great Western about bus links from its stations and combined bus-rail tickets. This is an excellent idea which was probably prompted by the fact that FirstBus owns 25% of Great Western. The booklet points out that posters are displayed at all GW stations giving bus information. Phone numbers and other details of the local bus companies are also included.

Lottery winners

RDS lottery winners for November were William Pilsbury, Kempston, Beds £69.60, C J Lindley, Sutton Coldfield £43.50, John Cowell, Leominster £26.10, I Rushton, Nelson £17.40, Donald Bulmer, Weston-super-Mare £8.70, Stanley Simms, Walsall £8.70.

December: C A Jones, Spalding £69.20, T Jolley, Wigan £43.35, Alan Berson, London WC1 £25.95, S J Vatcher, Teddington £17.30, Brian Hastings, Scunthorpe £8.65, R L Davies, London WC1 £8.65.

January: P H Spencer, Ewell £69.40, Andrew Davies, Leeds £43.37, R J Williams, Plympton £26.03, Eileen Ritson, Edinburgh £17.34, John Lewis, Callington, Cornwall £8.68, Norman Campbell, Loughborough £8.68.

If you would like to join the lottery, send a cheque for £12 (made payable to RDS) to Dave Finch, 105 Meadow Hill Close, Kidderminster DY11 6JX. Include your RDS number if possible.

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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