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Railwatch 084 - June 2000

London and SE

By Richard Pout

Outer circle campaign. This was launched three years ago in the run-up to the 1996 London local elections and a series of pamphlets issued jointly with Transport 2000 local groups. The concept goes back to the early 1970s with the RingRail plan and the London Rail Study of 1974. One element of the scheme was completed, the extension of the North London Line from Dalston to Stratford and North Woolwich funded by the Ken Livingstone-led GLC. The outer circle plan brings trains back to a new station at Bishopsgate where it joins the East London Line from Whitechapel. A Government Office for London study on the North Circular Road includes our full briefing and Railtrack, London Underground and Silverlink have offered some support. Energetic local lobbying by the Barking-Gospel Oak Line group secured several improvements including a full Easter weekend service. All of the mayoral candidates supported the concept, along with many of the assembly candidates, and this will be the prominent feature of our planned Rail Manifesto for London.

Users campaignsThe Chingford Line Commuters Association was re-launched in November. A very successful inaugural meeting was addressed by Walthamstow MP Neil Gerrard, local councillors and management representatives from West Anglia Great Northern who were given a rather hard time! WAGN's performance on the Chingford line has been poor. Also the Cambridge Heath and London Fields RUG, with support from Hackney Council, is chipping away to improve services and facilities. Both groups are working with the London Lea Valley Partnership which actively supports our campaign to restore services at Lea Bridge and reinstate the Stratford to Chingford route.

The West Brompton Station User Group has had three meetings and established a good dialogue with the operators over the West London Line. It represents local residents, two local authorities and business interests including Earls Court, local hotels and the London Tourist Board. Like RDS it wants a quarter-hourly local service, and supports Hammersmith council's initiative for stations at Shepherds Bush-White City and Chelsea Harbour.

Move over Eurostar Paths on the West London line are scarce because they are booked, but not necessarily used by Eurostar and freight operators. This prevents better local passenger services, an issue that RDS also needs to take up with the Rail Regulator and SRA.

Thameslink RDS London & SE will be having an input into the Thameslink 2000 Public Inquiry which starts in June. While we endorse the project, there are certain concerns and omissions which the London branch feels should be aired. Insufficient provision is being made for improving London area local services, such as restoring stations at Walworth and Camberwell, additional capacity through Herne Hill, and an enhanced quarter-hourly service in each direction over the Streatham, Wimbledon, Sutton loop. We are supporting the retention of Kings Cross Thameslink station, suitably renamed, as land owned by Railtrack is available to extend platforms to the east. There are many spin-off benefits for passengers changing to the Victoria and Piccadilly lines, and who live or work locally in the Clerkenwell area. We are working with adjacent local authorities and other user groups.

Uncertain ground The Coastway division has continued its useful work with several multi-modal studies, promoting rail improvements in the Access to Hastings study, such as upgrading Ashford - Hastings and restoration of Uckfield - Lewes. Local authorities are supportive of rail improvements but frustrated by the still uncertain role of the SRA in promoting and funding non-commercial rail investment.

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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