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FOSBR - "Rail industry is growing and needs investment" - 8175/13237
Written by Lee on Saturday, 12th June 2010
From the Bristol Evening Post:
[quote="Rob Dixon"]Rail industry is growing and needs investment
I am writing on behalf of Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) in response to the announcement by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond that the Government is to review the provision of new carriages.
FOSBR is concerned about this and the likelihood that cuts to the transport budget are likely to fall disproportionately on rail, which is a more environmentally-friendly form of transport.
The Government has said it does not offer value for money because costs have increased and that new carriages may no longer be needed because of the recession.
The point about value for money has some basis in fact. Ever since the rail network was privatised, train companies have had to hire carriages at great expense from rolling stock companies. Our rail network costs more to run and maintain than those of other European countries because of the structures imposed by privatisation.
Under the previous government, the Department for Transport told train companies like First Great Western how many and what type of carriages they could hire. The Conservatives said before the election they would stop the department interfering with such details. We hope this review is not a sign this interference is continuing.
FOSBR understands the government is reviewing its spending in view of the financial crisis but believes it is vital that they invest for the future. FOSBR is concerned that Bristol needs investment in our railway and cuts will stop this from happening. For too long Bristol has been the poor relation when it comes to spending on the railways, and investment such as re-signalling has been repeatedly postponed. We are also concerned that cuts will lead to cuts in services, with fewer trains stopping at local stations.
Network Rail recently produced their 10-year strategy for our region. In this they said that demand in the Bristol area has not been affected by the recession.
Instead, demand is still rising at faster levels than expected. From 1994 to 2005, passenger numbers at Bristol area stations more than doubled and they have increased by a third again since then. It is predicted that they will increase by at least another 30 per cent in the next 10 years.
First Great Western are already short of trains. Network Rail said it is vital trains are lengthened on the routes through Bristol from Cardiff to Portsmouth and from Gloucester to Weymouth as these are already crowded.
FOSBR asks that our councillors and MPs put pressure on the government to ensure Bristol gets what it already needs and does not stay the poor relation in terms of transport.
Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways,
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Save the Train was the campaign to bring an approriate train service back to and through Melksham.
Most big contributors are still around writing at the Coffee shop forum where new members are very welcome.
The train has been saved - sort of - we have stepped back up from an unusable service to a poorish one but it's doing very well. We did that through setting up the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. That fulfilled its early objectives; it has been taken over by local and regional government types who are now doing medium and long term work. The team from this forun can also be found at the Melksham Rail User Group (which was the Melksham Rail Development Group at the time these articles were written and we had no users.
We mustn't loose sight, though, that the train service remains poor and needs our community support in marketing and campaigning to keep it going in a positive direction ... and all the more so when we're expecting to find a different normallity once we get out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and head for zero carbon via the climate crisis. Yes, it's saved ... it's now a key community facility ... the need for enhancement and the strong and near-universal local support remain, and the rail industry and goverment remain slow to move and provide the enhancements even to level us up with other towns. Please support the Melksham Rail User Group - now very much in partnership rather than protest with the rail industry and local government, including GWR, TransWilts and unitary and town councils. And please use the trains and buses, and cycle and walk when you can.
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