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Railwatch 074 - December 1997

East Anglia

By Trevor Garrod and Nick Dibben

Michael Palin Writer, broadcaster and RDS member Michael Palin visited one of his old haunts, Darsham on the East Suffolk Line, on 19 September to name a Class 153 sprinter train after himself. RDS General Secretary Trevor Garrod was among the invited guests at a very well-organised event which helped raise the railway's profile in the area.

Use your line The East Suffolk Travellers' Association, one of the largest RDS-affiliated local rail users' groups, has launched a special report Local Trains - the Future in which it examines ways of increasing usage of the Ipswich-Lowestoft line over the next five years. The report has been produced in the knowledge that Anglia Railways (like other franchisees) has to increase its revenue if it is to meet the targets set by the previous Government. It looks at such issues as increased service frequencies, better cross-country and London connections at Ipswich and the ways in which a through service to London (withdrawn in 1984) could be reintroduced on this line which, 30 years ago, Dr. Beeching tried to close. The report was launched at a public meeting in Saxmundham on 29 November and is obtainable at £2 (post free) from Trevor Garrod, 15 Clapham Road, Lowestoft NR32 1RQ.

Future Vision The Norwich to Peterborough Rail User Group has issued a strategy report. The report suggests ways to improve the already good service. These include increasing capacity at Peterborough, minor changes to stopping patterns and improvements to station facilities.

St Ives line The branch has been meeting some of the new ruling Conservative county councillors to explain why they should back the rail option. The Conservatives have generally backed the guided busway. The branch considers the railway is the only way to provide cross-city services linking the Science Park in the north to Addenbrookes Hospital in the south. There is also the prospect of freight on the reopened line. The busway would simply duplicate existing bus services. Key questions regarding the busway, such as the route into the city and congestion around the bus station remain unanswered, so the full costs and journey times are unknown. It is even possible the busway would take longer than the existing bus. Hardly the best way to get people out of their cars!

Talk to the RDS This was the message given by Rail Regulator John Swift when he attended the Eastern England RUCC meeting in Peterborough. He said RDS and rail user groups had a big contribution to make in improving services.

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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