Overcrowding on Trains ?

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Lets sort this first !

The report from the Public Accounts Committee on Increasing Passenger Rail Capacity is available for download.  It’s interesting reading, if you like that sort of thing.  But just in case you don’t, we read it for you.

It raises many issues, but one of them is about the railway industry and growth.

It’s item 6 of the Conclusions and Recommendations:

“The unique and complex structure of the rail industry makes it inherently cumbersome and expensive, and provides little external challenge to its vested interest in its own growth. The Department should conduct a fundamental review of the rail industry’s structure, to ensure better accountability and value for money, with the aim of reducing conflicts of interest, aligning efforts on maximising efficiency, and restraining the tendency to seek solutions through growth.”

In other words, rather then trying to solve existing problems by building a brand new railway across open countryside, maybe the DfT should think of some alternatives ways of solving the problems – like perhaps giving one of the ministers a remit for non-travel.  Oh, they already have, that’s part of Norman Baker’s job.

Does the report have anything to say which is relevant to non-travel?

Tucked away in the answer to q42 is a factor which effects the decisions of commuters:

“Right at the moment, if an individual has the theoretical choice from their employer to do a day’s work from home, there is no cash consequence in terms of their travel costs if they are on an annual season ticket. If you were in a world in which the choice of when you travelled and the choice of whether you travelled fell straight through into the idea of ‘there is some financial incentive in this’, I think that would make a difference.”

Maybe season tickets will change over the next decade.  Maybe the Oyster card scheme, in use in London, will be somehow extended so that when a commuter is thinking about working from home for a day he or she will really be saving their own money.

What will that have done to rail passenger demand in 15 years time?

Typewriters ready !

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A 1000 letters carry more weight than a 1000 emails, or 1000 petition signatures because it is harder to deal with them, you can’t just delete it or file it easily and in many cases they have to be responded to.


To help get the ball rolling we have created a standard letter format with all the key points covered for you to “top and tail” with your information, you can find this template in the “Letter Templates” tab.

In addition to this we have added a “Contacts for Complaint” tab to give you the relevant individuals you should address your letters to.

Simply copy and paste the letter content into your word processors and update the information highlighted in red.

It will take you 20 minutes, tops, to produce the letters to the 5 contacts and you will even have time for a cuppa, virtual biscuits not included.

Please feel free to pen your own version and express your feelings and circumstances, the template is for guidance.

Take a little time and make a difference


High Speed Rail at Mile Oak

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There is a proposal to put the High Speed Rail line (HS2) at Mile Oak on the


The proposal will see the line at least 40 ft above the brook between Bourne nursery and Mile Oak.

It would continue towards  Hopwas on a massive embankment until reaching Hopwas Woods which it will damage.

It would then go to Whittington.

This will be a highly visible and noisy rail line and it will scar the Tamworth landscape. It would be a massive intrusion due to crossing the high ground over Hopwas Hill.

If this happens:

  •         Your property will be blighted
  •         You will probably not be able to sell it until after HS2 is completed
  •         It will be worth less money
  •         You will probably not get full compensation until 2024-26
  •         You will see it
  •         You will definitely HEAR it
  • The route decision will be made before Christmas. If you want to be kept informed or to get more information register by email at: stop.hs2.tamworthroute.co.uk  

    If you want to object please send emails/letters to your MP : Christopherpincher.mp@parliament.co.uk

    Christopher Pincher MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

    And to Philip Hammond MP , Secretary of State for Transport: Philip.hammond@dft.gsi.gov.uk

    Philip Hammond MP , Secretary of State for Transport,Department of Transport,Great Minster House,76 Marsham Street, London,SW1P 4DR

    If you want to object or make a difference you must act now before the final route decision is made.

    What is the HS2

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    On 11th March 2010, the outgoing Labour Government announced plans for a High Speed Rail (HS2) link from London Euston to Birmingham. It was reported then that it would cost £11bn, but that figure was 6 years out of date. On the same day you could have got information from the Department for Transport which put the cost at £17.4bn or from HS2 Ltd, which put it at £25.5bn, or 2.8% of our generational national debt (based on a total national debt estimate of £916.6bn).

    Despite all the cuts we will face as a nation, and the fact the new Prime Minister has stated that “things are worse than we thought”, the Coalition Government still want to go ahead with HS2 and even extend it to link with Heathrow and HS1, meaning it will cost even more than the current £160 million per mile.

    The business case assumes three times the number of passengers carried by the West Coast Mainline (45,000 increasing to 146,000 per day), despite there has been no increase in long-distance train travel since 1995 and the only increase has been on discounted fares.

    This also ignores the fact that in 15 years time when it is scheduled to be ready, people will need to travel for work less, as who knows what we will have in terms of internet connections and video conferencing.

    When announcing the sale of HS1 in Kent, Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond said; “High Speed One is a national success story.” This is despite the fact half the trains have been cut to stem the losses. HS1, like HS2, was meant to be great for business and was going to carry 21 million people per year. It has managed 7.5 million. HS1 is being sold for £1.5bn, about a quarter of the £5.8bn it cost to build.

    Just to make sure people will use it, as in Kent, current services will be cut. Commuters from Coventry currently enjoy three London trains per hour. If HS2 goes ahead, the two express trains will be cut, meaning even if people go up to Birmingham International to use HS2, it will take them longer to reach their destination. 

    Supporters and politicians are quick to say HS2 will be good for the environment, however when you read the actual plans, you find out this is not the case. HS1 passengers are responsible for 35% more CO2 emissions than car passengers, but HS2 will go faster, so the CO2 emissions will be higher, but we don’t know how much higher as there is no passenger train in the world that travels at the proposed 250mph to compare it with. It will also lead to more flights, not less, as Birmingham International Airport is being extended and it will be about 40 minutes on the train from Euston and now will be directly linked to Heathrow. Birmingham will provide Heathrows third runway. 

    The HS2 report admits that the plan may lead to an increase in CO2 emissions, but in those calculations they ignore the seven years of construction and roadworks that will mean and the fact that in some places a 75 metre (83 yard) wide strip of ‘green stuff’ will be turned to concrete, due to 25 metre ‘no vegetation zones’ on either side. 

    Yes, 75 metres! The pitch at Wembley is only 69 metres wide. The plans state that where the trains will travel at top speed, the tracks will have to be 25 metres to stop passing trains blowing each other other the rails, and there will have to be a 25 metre ‘No vegetation zone’ on either side. 

    HS2 will cut right through the heart of the countryside at a noise level of 95 decibels. The noise level at which sustained exposure could cause permanent hearing damage is 90-95dB. It’s not planned to go next to motorways (existing transport corridors) as that would cost even more and to travel at ‘high speed’, the line has to be very straight. 

    This will create massive social damage to towns and villages along the line. While the government say it is ‘good for business’, HS1 and the M6 Toll were justified for the same reasons, but have not devilvered the promised benefits. All they have delivered is large losses. The business case takes no account of businesses which will be destroyed, and businesses will only get land value when it comes to compensation. 

    HS2 will of course lead to the filling in of greenbelts, as once they are blighted by the fact upto 40 trains per hour (1 per 90 seconds), a quarter of a mile long, going past at 250mph, creating 95dB, it’s not going to be a green belt any more. There is also the chance of extensive development around the Birmingham International station as a result of this plan. 

    The thing is with HS2 is it sounds like a good idea, but when you look at the details, you find that most parts of the plans are bad, unjustified ideas. The main thing is that it is going to be a collosal waste of money that will help bankrupt the country even more than it is now. 

    Just think of what would not need to be cut if it wasn’t for committing to at least 25.5 billion pounds on one train line, connecting two cities, when there are already two train lines doing the job.