Railwatch

The Sidings

Reopenings conference

Each year since 1992, RDS has organised a national conference on Rail Reopenings, usually at a venue which has seen the benefit of a reopening scheme.

For 1999 we have chosen Walsall, a West Midlands town that was for many years the terminus of a suburban branch line, but is now once more a busy junction, with trains to Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Rugeley.

The conference will be in St Pauls Centre, Walsall, from 11.00 to 17.00 on Saturday 26 June.

Unfair competition

Save Our Railways has warned the Rail Franchise Director that his encouragement of Stagecoach-Virgin coach links could threaten existing and potential rail services like East-West links.

"Coach links are fine when there is no rail alternative," said campaign director Jonathan Bray. "But not when they duplicate existing or potential rail services."

Birthday bash

RDS officers were joined by invited guests for a buffet lunch on 1 October to celebrate the 20th birthday of the Railway Development Society.

The birthday party at the Old Sessions House, Clerkenwell Green, London, also saw the launch of our book Developing Rail.

National Chairman Steve Wilkinson paid tribute to all members who had contributed to the society's work over the past two decades and to many who would take part in its campaigning in the future.

Guests included representatives of train operating companies, the Rail Regulator's Office, Rail Users' Consultative Committee, RDS Vice-Presidents, the Local Government Association, the railway industry, transport consultants and specialist media.

Wrong track

3,599 people were killed, 42,967 were seriously injured and 327,544 people were slightly injured on Britain's roads in 1997

Meanwhile in Calcutta

Public protests halted plans to dismantle Calcutta's tramways this year but the network is crying out for investment and good management even though it holds the clue to solving the city's appalling transport problems.

Reviving the tram network would cost only 20million. So far the management has not even asked for the funds but has merely bought 300 buses to replace tram services. This will of course make the chronic air pollution - particulate matter is 15 times higher than World Health Organisation recommended levels - even worse.

In Delhi, where 44% of trips are by bicycle , 25% by bus and 20% on foot, there are virtually no facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. Now the city is at last considering providing a pilot cycle lane project.

Interested in working for RDS?

The society is reorganising its administrative team and is considering employing an additional salaried officer. This means that some paid work is likely to be available in 1999.

Such work could include sales and other activity involving finance, as well as general administrative tasks. When decisions are finalised, the jobs will be advertised. If, however, you are interested in receiving details when available, please write to general secretary Trevor Garrod at 15 Clapham Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR32 1RQ. 01502 581721.

Freight boosted

Rail freight increased by 12% last year (in freight tonne kilometres).

New users group

As RDScelebrated its 20th birthday, a new rail users group was formed. COASTLINERS will represent rail users on the Sunderland-Hartlepool-Stockton-Middlesbrough line. North East branch chairman. Peter Wood attended one of the inaugural meetings - in Hartlepool.

The group will lobby for trains every half hour, and better publicity for the line, including possibly a credit card sized timetable.

Monthly lottery

The winners of the RDSmonthly lottery for August were: Alan Everett, London N16 71.60, Philip Ralph, Leeds 44.75, K Gascoigne, Lapworth, Warwicks 26.85, Ray King, London E9 17.90, Stanley Sims, Walsall 8.95, HRFMills, Cheshunt 8.95.

September: Martin Meredith, Kidderminster 70.20, JWard, Newark 43,89, FHRussel, Solihull 26.32, WRCairns, Edinburgh 17.55, Mr and Mrs PSmith, Chorley 8.77, IMHallack, Altrincham 8.77.

October: GTFlowers, Grantham 69.60, TLancastle, Bristol 43.50, Dr WLoyn, Aberystwyth 26.10, Stephen Beresford, Tamworth 17.40, AJGould, London SE13 8.70, William Reynolds, Bristol 8.70.


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