Cyclists took to the roads of Norfolk in June to celebrate a successful rail reopening campaign. The sponsored cycle ride was in honour of the late Ron Callaby and other campaigners who fought to have Watlington station (formerly Magdalen Road) reopened.
Organised by Clara Zilahi, the riders hope to have raised enough money for a commemorative plaque and secure cycle racks at the station. "A lot of people ride to the station so this would be a fitting tribute to the campaigners," said Peter Harding of the Fen Line Users Association.
Meanwhile, other RDS members cycled to Southport to raise awareness of the need to reinstate two curves at Burscough (pictured below with RDS member David Scully) and make it possible to travel again by train from both Preston and Ormskirk. Riders were welcomed by local MP Ronnie Fearn.
Planners like to think of buses as flashy, futuristic and swish. All too often the reality is uncomfortable, smelly and unreliable. When given a choice, almost everyone would rather travel by train.
But officials have repeatedly held up plans to bring back trains by insisting on the failed bus option. The latest obsession is with guided busways which are more expensive than railways and have big safety questions hanging over them.
The former rail route between Walsall, Brownhills and Lichfield could be reopened for trains but consultants are to examine whether it should be heavy or light rail — or a busway. A Sustrans cycle path will open along part of the line by 2000.
Winners of the 1997 RDS national draw were C Howard, Hertford £400, Colin Bruce, Coventry £200, Mrs Morgan, Cardiff £100, Mrs Gold, Axminster £50.
Other prizes went to Zara Prosser, Brecon, Miss McLellan, London, Mr Savage, Tring, John Waller, Harrold, Beds, P Russell, Great Yarmouth, M Pilsbury, Kempston, Mrs Evans, Birmingham, Malcolm Todd, Dunstable, Miss Pond, Glendon, Northants, Paul Burton, Horsham, Mr Stephens, Bradford, Mrs Ingram, Cwmbach, John Horn, Haddington, Lothian, Brian McCarthy, Tonbridge.
The prizes were donated by the Great Central Railway, North Norfolk Railway, Scottish Railway Preservation Society, Swanage Railway, Embsay Steam Railway, Severn Valley Railway, Bluebell Railway, Ffestiniog Railway, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, The Great Western Railway Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry.
Approximately £2,000 was raised for RDS campaigning.
Keen photographers are being invited to help rail campaigning by contributing pictures and transparencies to the RDS picture library. Illustrations of reopenings, new stations, electrification, new trains, new sevices, or any other improvements are welcome.
Please send your photos to Nick Lewis, 36 Common Road, Stotfold, Hitchin, Herts SG5 4DB
Liberal Democrats in Cambridgeshire are keen to point out that they strongly support RDS plans to reopen the rail line from Cambridge to St Ives.
The Privatisation of British Rail is published by the Railway Consultancy Press, not by Ian Allan as stated in Railwatch 72.
The RDS monthly lottery winners for May were: H Parkes, Wells £73.80, Irfon Roberts, Lewes £46.12, P H Ludlow, Budleigh Salterton £27.68, Mary Redmond, Stock, Essex £18.46, Alan Williams. North Walsham £9.22, John White, Hadley Wood £9.22.
June: G N Badham, Tenby £73.80, D W G Davies, Ammanford £46.12, David Bushell, Leeds £27.68, Brian Hastings, Scunthorpe £18.46, Mark Edgell, Rotherham £9.22, D R Simpson, Cannock £9.22.
July: C T Palmer, Epsom £74.20, Austin White, Birmingham £46.40, Joan Rustrick, Whitehaven £27.81, J Ward, Newark £18.55, B Hollaway, Petersfield £9.27, Elaine Holland, Stoke £9.27.
The 1998 National annual general meeting of RDS will be on Saturday 2 May at the Gateway Centre, Shrewsbury, near the station. Historic Shrewsbury is the junction of five railway lines, with direct services to and from Birmingham, Manchester, Chester, Abersytwyth and Cardiff, and is ideal for a weekend break.
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