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Railwatch 069 - October 1996

The Sidings

Rail users conference

Bookings are coming in steadily for this major RDS event, to be held on Saturday 28 September at the Camden Centre, London. Full details were enclosed with the last Railwatch.

Principle guest speaker is Brian Scott, managing director of Great Western Trains, and we will have guests leading workshops on European lobbying, access to stations and the work of the Rail Regulator's office.

Last-minute bookings: David Soames, 158 Atherstone Avenue, Peterborough PE3 9UN Tel: 01733 263018

Annual meeting 97

This will be held on Saturday 3 May at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich, from 1100 until 1700. The hotel is in the historic centre of Norwich, not far from the station.

This will be the first time since 1984 that a national RDS event has been held in East Anglia. Some members may like to take the opportunity to spend a weekend in Norfolk.

But for those doing the return trip in a day, there are through trains to Norwich from Liverpool via Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham, while York, Birmingham, Leeds and other major centres are only one change of train away. There is an hourly InterCity service from London.

Bien venue

Members of our French sister organisation will be coming to London by Eurostar in October. It is hoped to have an informal meeting with the Federation National des Usagers des Transports (FNAUT) with suitable English refreshments on the afternoon of 5 October. If you would like to attend, please contact the general secretary.

Cycle ride 96 to 97

The 1996 ride was held in Shakespeare country on 8 June, writes Trevor Garrod. We cycled from Stratford-upon-Avon to Honeybourne. We were "flagged off" from the station by Councillor Tom Baxter, after speaking to the local press about the case for restoring the nine-mile rail link which would give Stratford a more direct route to Oxford and London.

Between us we raised nearly £100 for the RDS Rail Defence Fund and money for a variety of other causes.

Next year's ride could be Preston to Southport, to highlight the lack of rail links between the county town of Lancashire and this major seaside resort. Reinstating one of the curves at Burscough would enable trains to run between the two. It has also been suggested that a second ride could be held in the south of England, on the same day.

If you would like to take part in either please contact our new Cycling Officer, Rob Cope, 9D Barnes High Street, London, SW13 9LW.

Charter cheats

The RDS passenger committee is checking up on travel centres to see if they are giving the right answers to rail enquiries, writes chairman Paul Clark. We are also investigating reports that train operators are slowing down timetables to comply with charter requirements and so avoid paying compensation. Please forward any information you may have to Peter Cannon, 6 Garrett Crescent, Leiston, Suffolk IP16 4LB

Labour Party

National executive member Simon Martin is urging all RDS members who are also Labour Party members to turn up to their local "Road to the Manifesto" meetings and plug the case for railways. He urges members to take the last chance to influence the party and urges people to apply now for tickets for the regional meetings.

RDS winners

The £400 first prize in the RDS annual draw went to Robert Cummings of Hyde, Cheshire. The other prizes included £200 (J Carrick, Norwich), £100 (K Hubbard, Diss), £50 (Dr I M Hallack, Altrincham).

Keighley and Worth Valley rover tickets went to P Martin, D Phillips, and Mrs S B Cotton, North Yorkshire Moors tickets (Mrs J Barton), Manchester Museum of Science and Industry tickets (P E Mercer), Kirklees Light Railway family tickets (T Bruce and J M Golan), Swindon GWR Museum family ticket (T R Daw), Severn Valley Railway vouchers (P W Johnstone), North Norfolk Railway family ticket (E J Iggulden), Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway family passes (R Szymkowiak and P Desmet) and Railways of the World book donated by Rapid Transit Publications (H Hollington). RDS books and sales items went to E Ashley, C Palmer, David Cargill and J Wheleman. Many thanks to the donors of the prizes and to people who bought tickets.

Help wanted

Calling student, pensioner and other unwaged members. People in these categories are often able to help RDS in various ways partly because they are available in normal working hours.

This can include helping with stalls and exhibitions, attending daytime meetings and conferences or assisting with administrative or research tasks.

We have made some progress in building up a register of such members, and what they would be prepared to do; but we need someone to take charge of it, expand it and make it easily accessible.

If you could help in any way, please contact the General Secretary. Expenses would be available for this work. Our student liaison officer Martin Thorne is also keen to hear from any student members interested in organising meetings at colleges or universities, for which RDS could provide a speaker; and willing to help recruit more students to our ranks. Please contact him at 29 Cherry Close, Milton, Cambridge, CB4 6BZ (Tel: 01223-515828). He will be contacting student members and university student unions.

Full time action

The National Executive has appointed a staff sub-committee to draw up detailed guidelines and a contract for the RDS full-time officer for whom we hope to advertise at the end of the year, with a view to making an appointment to start in May 1997. The members of the sub-committee are David Bigg, John Bigny, Steve Rackett, Simon Martin and Mary Acland-Hood, with powers to co-opt one other. The sub-committee will report to each meeting of the national executive which will, on a recorded vote, make decisions on its recommendations.

Lottery winners

RDS lottery winners for May: D Stock, Lytham £59.80, Gordon Ford, Bolton-le-Sands £37.37, C Skinner, Birmingham £22.43, Giles Angell, Kidderminster £14,94, G P Bolam, Birmingham £7.48, Patrick Brooks, Edinburgh £7.48.

June: Andrew Bull, Macclesfield £58.60, C A Jones, Spalding £36.62, Brian Beeley, Tunbridge Wells £21.98, W G Pilsbury, Kempston £14.64, W Emmerson, Belfast £7.33, Brian Hastings, Scunthorpe £7.33.

July: D Barr, Harrogate £58, David Stocks, Sheffield £36.25, Miss B Esater, London £21.75, Roger Dewhurst, Hythe £14.50, I Rushton, Nelson £7.25, Philip Allen, Burntwood £7.35.

Shareholders unite

Members who hold shares in companies have access to information about those companies, can attend their annual meetings and exert some influence over them.

RDS shareholder liaison officer C Oley is compiling a list of members with shares, who might be prepared to help RDS. Obviously Railtrack and Eurotunnel are key companies for us, and RDS holds shares in both, as do a considerable number of our individual members.

Companies involved in running, or bidding for, passenger franchises such as Stagecoach and FirstBus are also very relevant, as are those involved in manufacturing railway rolling stock or equipment.

Finally, there are companies sending freight by rail, or those with the potential to do so.

If you hold shares in a company relevant to our work, please send brief details to Mr. Oley at 37 New Road, Ormskirk, Lancs., L40 1SR. Mr Oley has also donated to the society a Guinness share and would be pleased to advise any other member wishing to donate shares to RDS.

John Busler

It is with sadness that we record the death in April of John Busler, after a short illness. John had been a member of RDS and its predecessor for some 20 years and a founder member of RDS Wales.

In recent years he served as secretary of our Reopenings & New Railways Committee. A letter of condolence has been sent to his widow and a donation in his memory has been made to a local charity close to his Cheshire home.

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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