YEARS OF “POSITIVE CHANGE FOR BRITAIN’S RAILWAYS” SAYS ATOC
IN marking the
10th anniversary of the first passenger train services to run in the
private sector (See Notes to Editors), the Association of Train
Operating Companies (ATOC) says that over the past ten years,
Britain’s railway has changed for the better in ten key areas,
making the period one of “positive change for Britain’s
Thousands of new trains, many more passenger journeys, increased
numbers of train services and much greater choice are just some of
the main improvements which have greatly benefited passengers across
the country. With in excess of 40% growth in journeys made on the
network since 1996, Britain now has the fastest growing passenger
railway in Europe. What’s more, freight continues to grow.
The ten key areas of improvement are:-
1. Growth:- Britain now has the fastest growing railway network in
Europe, with passenger kilometres rising by 41.3% in 2004/05
compared to ten years earlier (42.4 billion compared to 30.0
billion) and journeys by 42.3% (from 761 million to 1083 million).
Freight tonne kilometres have increased by 58.4% over the same
2. New trains:- More than 4,800 passenger train vehicles costing
£4.7 billion have been delivered since 1996 in one of the world’s
biggest train fleet replacement and modernisation programmes. Many
others have been refurbished. Britain now has one of the youngest
passenger rolling stock fleets in Europe (average age 13 years at
the end of 2005).
3. More services:- There are a total of 19,636 passenger train
services operated every weekday – an increase of around 20% on 1995.
They carry 2.93 million passengers per day now compared to 2.08
4. New stations:- 19 new sections of passenger line (totalling 157
miles) and 51 new stations have been added to the rail network since
5. Passenger information (NRES):- National Rail Enquiries have
presided over a dramatic improvement in the quality of train service
information for the customer. It provides a full telephone train
enquiries service together with real-time timetable and train
running information, handling over 600,000 calls per week. The
website offers journey
planning, timetable and fares information and provides links to
individual train company web site pages.
6. Passenger satisfaction/complaints:- The latest National Passenger
Survey research shows that 80% of passengers are satisfied with
their journey overall – the highest ever. This compares with 70% in
2001. In addition, a series of service areas recorded the highest
ever levels of satisfaction, including punctuality/reliability
(77%), train cleanliness (72%), general repair and upkeep of the
trains (71%) and seat comfort (68%).
7. Safety:- The downward trend achieved by British Rail in the
number of accidents per train kilometres in all the main classes of
accident up to 1993 has been improved upon since then, according to
a study undertaken in 2004 by Professor Andrew Evans (Lloyds
Register Professor of Transport Risk Management, Imperial College,
London). The £500 million Train Protection Warning System has been
successfully installed across the network.
8. Station facilities, info systems, CCTV, ticketing/retail
systems:- There has been major investment in modernisation and
refurbishment at stations and ticketing/retail systems have improved
dramatically. Train operators have also improved journey information
facilities by providing new Customer Information Systems and Help
Points. The number of CCTV cameras has also greatly increased. In
2003/4 alone, more than £675 million was spent on maintaining,
cleaning and improving Britain’s railway stations.
9. Bus/Rail Links:- Over 250 stations have PLUS BUS schemes enabling
a bus add-on fare to be added to a rail ticket for onward travel by
bus. Also 43 dedicated Rail/Bus links are now promoted in the
National Rail timetable, serving a total of 92 places.
10. Community Rail Partnerships:- In the last ten years the number
of Community Rail Partnerships has grown from just one to over
sixty. By working closely with community groups and local
authorities, train operators have grown passenger numbers on rural
and secondary lines significantly. For instance, the Bittern Line
partnership between Norwich and Sheringham has seen a 192% increase
since 1995/96; the East Sussex Partnership on the Uckfield to Oxted
branch line has had a 50% increase in passengers since 2004, while
the Chester – Shrewsbury Partnership has seen a 300% increase in
passengers since 1999.
George Muir, Director General of ATOC said:- “We have seen
positive change for Britain’s railways. The initial structural
problems have been overcome and we have made many strides towards
giving Britain a railway fit for the 21st century. People are voting
with their feet as ridership has increased significantly in the last
ten years. More and more people are attracted to using rail and this
is reflected in the increasing level of passenger satisfaction with
To ensure this positive momentum is maintained, passengers will
demand that investment is maintained in the coming years to relieve
overcrowding and to grow capacity on the network.”
BOOK REVIEW:- "THE COBLER'S KIDS"
ANOTHER book by Cardiff
born Rosie Harris, who lived for some years in Merseyside, the
setting for this book.
It concerns Vera Quinn, 14
years of age at the outset for the tale who, with the rest of her
family,lives under the iron rule of her domineering and selfish
father. Various tragedies and tribulations ensue, with poor Vera
assuming even more responsibilities trying to maintain the household
and care for her clever younger brother as well as her father's
cobbler's shop. Salvation from drudgery seems destined to be
snatched away, but eventually some relief is offered, but will it
An interesting yarn,
especially to Merseysiders, rather repetative of details in places,
but still very readable; a good Easter present.
Publisher:- Arrow Books Ltd. ISBN:- 0099481774
UK Price (rrp):- £5.99 Our Rating = 4 out of 5
Review by:- JB
Merseytram - Judicial Review (UPDATE)
IT was a sad
week last week as Judge rules against Merseytravel High Court tram
bid. In a statement issued form Merseytravel on the 1 February 2006
Mr Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel,
told us that:- "We're very disappointed with the outcome of
this case. We will be taking it to the Court of Appeal. It's worth
one last throw of the dice for a £311 million transport and
regeneration scheme. We don't regret having to take this action
although it is more in sorrow than in anger. But there is an
important point of law at stake, which affects not just Merseytravel
but every PTA in the country. For this reason alone we must appeal.
But more importantly the people of Merseyside deserve their tram."
Arson Attack on Refrigeration Truck Park
Fire Service and Merseyside Police were called to McBurney
Refrigeration Ltd on the Wellington's Employment Park next to
Sandhills Station, after a fire was started by suspected arson.
Several refrigeration trailer units were set alight. The fire spread
quickly after it caught hold, at around 2pm on Sunday, 29 January
damaging one unit extensively. Several other trailer units were
badly damaged in the blaze. If you have any information, please call
Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
EASY STREET BIG BAND
FEBRUARY 2006 at Blackbrook Rugby Club, off Boardman's Lane,
Blackbrook, St Helens.
The Easy Street Big
Band present an evening of Big Band Music from the classic song
books of Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Darin
and Sarah Vaughan to the new - Michael Buble, Pussycat Dolls.
Doors open at 8.30
pm, tickets £3.00 available at the Club or pay on the door.
For more information
telephone 07890 312692.