Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 2

A.  BRITAIN NEEDS A NATIONAL RAIL POLICY

  1.  The Railway Development Society is an independent lobby group promoting the Railfuture campaign for better rail services. Railfuture wants to see a greater modal switch of passengers and freight traffic from road to rail, and a programme of improvements to the UK rail network to accommodate this growth.

  2.  Railfuture backs rail because it offers a safer, more efficient and environmentally sustainable alternative to the uncontrolled growth of motorised road transport. As a consumer organisation Railfuture is an independent voice for rail users. Railfuture also influences decision-makers to fund and provide better rail services, and promote and encourage greater use of railways.

  3.  Railfuture is promoting major investment in and improvements to the national and local rail networks to provide for the needs of inter-city, regional, local and commuter passenger services, and also freight services. Railfuture believes the greater use of rail is an important way to reduce air pollutin, conserve fuel, reduce noise, tackle congestion and achieve a better quality of life for many communities.

  4.  Railfuture wants improved access to the rail network, through more efficient services serving new stations and new routes. Trains can then carry more passengers and freight faster and more safely, be accessible to all and able to provide good, convenient services for a wide range of journeys.

  5.  Railfuture works to promote expansion of the rail network and capacity for passenger and freight services through re-opening disused or abandoned railway lines, restoring stations and constructing new rail links where these are needed to provide greater capacity and flexibility in the network.

  6.  Railfuture works to promote sustainable land-use transport and planning policies at national, regional and local levels that encourage the greater use of rail and public transport, discourage unnecessary car or heavy goods vehicle use and promote public transport, walking and cycling wherever possible and practical.

B.  RAILWAY INVESTMENT POLICY

  1.  Railfuture believes that the Government Transport Policy should prioritise investment in public transport networks. Improving rail and complementary bus services will help promote more sustainable transport modes and so reduce society's reliance on cars. Investment in, and the co-ordination of, public transport networks will bring about actual and perceived benefits for the economy and bus and train passengers.

  2.  This additional investment sought from both Government and the private sector operators should deliver better services for all public transport users (rail and bus passengers) also pedestrians and cyclists.

C.  RAILWAYS AND THE PLANNING PROCESS

  1.  Railfuture works to promote integration of rail services with all other transport modes, a fundamental element in developing sustainable transport policies. National, regional and Local Authority (LA) planning policies must anticipate the need for, and promote, improved facilities for all sustainable transport modes.

  2.  Railfuture believes planning policy must promote changes in working practices and identify locations where new development will minimise the need to travel, moving away from the growth in low-density dispersed settlements in outer-suburban or rural locations, often taking green-field sites, towards re-cycling of "brown-field" sites, preferably close to existing, or sites for potential new, railway stations.

  3.  A new approach to land-use and transport planning policies is needed to ensure development is not focused on road based locations, such as edge of town or motorway intersection sites and so reduce the need for car travel. Development should be guided towards rail served locations and higher density clusters closer to town centres served by existing public transport networks wherever possible.

  4.  Wherever possible both business and housing developments should be subject to "green" travel plans, with Section 106 developer contributions directed towards public transport schemes, particularly those enhancing rail facilities and services, and supporting feeder bus services rather than simply road based access schemes.

D.  DEVELOPING RAIL

  1.  Railfuture wants to see the most appropriate and effective use of railway resources, taking into consideration demographic trends and planning needs, the environmental benefits of freight on rail over road, public safety and commercial issues.

  2.  Access to the rail network must be improved, not only through higher service frequencies on existing routes, but also through the reopening of stations, freight only or abandoned routes and, where appropriate, the construction of new stations, freight depots and rail links.

  3.  Planning policy must measure and evaluate the extent of long distance commuting by road—particularly on motorways—and identify those trips where modal switch may be encouraged and achieved, or whether the journey needs to be made at all.

  4.  The planning process must influence retail distribution logistics operations where centralisation has led to many unnecessary road-freight transits, when even local produce must go through central depots. As road and air freight movement is relatively cheap, overseas products can often undercut home produced goods.

  5.  Demand management is one tool that must be considered, but limitations of the "is that journey really necessary?" methodology is recognised. The Government must review its plans to expand capacity on motorways and trunk roads which should not proceed without first programming and funding significantly higher levels of investment in rail and local bus networks to increase their capacity.

E.  CARS, NEW ROADS AND BYPASSES

  1.  Railfuture recognises the role cars play in maintaining personal mobility, especially in rural communities where public transport is often inadequate and distances travelled may preclude cycling and walking.

  2.  Railfuture wants Government to promote the sensible use of cars so that rail and public transport use is at the heart of everyday life for most people living in urban areas. Railfuture actively discourages long distance commuting by road and, in particular, those trips where modal switch could be achieved or the need for making the journey at all can be reasonably questioned.

  3.  Railfuture is concerned at the prospect of any significant increase in new road construction. Where there may be a case for improving road access or construction of a local bypass, this must be part of a package that includes improved access to local public transport and provision of better rail and bus services.

F.  PARK AND RIDE

  1.  Railfuture recognises that Park-and-Ride schemes can play an important role in encouraging motorists to switch to rail. Rail-based park and ride should be prioritised over bus-based park and ride if possible. Schemes must be carefully evaluated to ensure they support rather than undermine the efficacy of existing local public transport services.

  2.  Park-and-Ride has a particularly important role at both outer-suburban and rural stations that serve smaller towns or dispersed communities. Park-and-Ride can be complemented by demand based local bus or community transport networks as part of rail-focussed local transport plans.

G.  LIGHT RAIL

  1.  Railfuture supports the development light rail schemes particularly where they complement existing rail services. Light rail is clearly an effective way to encourage motorists out of their cars. Where new light rail schemes are promoted they should be fully integrated with the existing railway system and other public transport networks, offering through ticketing and timetabled connections.

  2.  Railfuture prefers retention of existing railways, suitably electrified and controlled with modern management systems rather than conversion to light rail. Where major benefits can be shown, Railfuture does support light rail schemes that replace lightly used conventional rail services, as demonstrated in Croydon.

  3.  New light rail routes should be built notionally to track gauge and structural dimensions to permit later conversion to conventional rail operation if traffic should warrant conversion to a Metro type network.

  4.  Similarly the technology to permit light rail on the Railtrack network should be developed to enable smaller centres to work up light rail schemes using existing lightly trafficked rail routes. This will allow light rail services to penetrate town centres without requiring fully segregated operation from conventional trains, following the German Karlsruhe model.

  5.  Where an existing route is converted to light rail the capability for "through-running" from the Railtrack network should be considered to maintain facilities for freight movement, even if at limited times.

H.  RAILWAYS AND BUSES

  1.  Railfuture recognises that buses are a very important part of our public transport system. Buses should be integrated wherever possible with rail services to provide a "seamless" journey for public transport users.

  2.  Buses should "feed" into rail services, over routes which will enable bus services to exploit effective on-street bus priority measures. Bus and coach stations, bus interchanges or stops should be conveniently located next to railway stations. Train and bus timetables should be harmonised wherever possible.

  3.  Rail is a more effective mode for many urban and suburban journeys and should be the preferred mode for longer distances. Buses are not as successful as trains or trams in tempting motorists out of their cars.

  4.  Railfuture campaigns against the permanent replacement of trains with buses. Bus services should not be substituted for rail as part of any planning or management policy.

  5.  When buses or coaches are substituted for trains in exceptional circumstances, vehicles should have as many of the qualities of trains as possible, such as facilities for carrying cycles, and for longer journeys basic refreshment facilities and lavatories.

  6.  Cross-Country coach services should be routed wherever possible to maximise interchange with passenger trains at railway stations, as well as other local bus services.

I.  AREA-WIDE TRAVELCARDS, THROUGH TICKETS AND INFORMATION

  1.  Railfuture supports Travelcard, Carnet and Rover tickets that can be used on buses and trains within local areas or regions over a time-span. Like through tickets, these encourage greater use of public transport.

  2.  These multi-use tickets should be marketed widely because of their flexibility, and also offer value for money with significant discounts to passengers. All operators must issue and accept through tickets.

  3.  Information about services, timetables and fares must be readily available. Train and bus operators and LAs must ensure timetables are easy to read and understand, and displayed at stations and bus stops. Operators and LAs must also ensure booklets are readily available, and web-sites regularly updated.

J.  A COMPREHENSIBLE AFFORDABLE FARES POLICY

  1.  Railfuture campaigns for a simple, understandable, easy-to-use national fares structure that encourages people to use trains as a regular part of their daily lives.

  2.  Railfuture wants affordable fares for walk-on passengers that are comparable with other networks in Western Europe, demonstrating good value for money. Fares that are as low as possible with generously discounted off-peak and book-ahead tickets, will give rail a favourable image and encourage more travel.

  3.  Through tickets for journeys between all stations of all rail systems, and between all modes and operators should be readily available as part of an integrated network. Supplementary or add-on fares should include all available discounts.

K.  GUIDED BUSWAYS

  1.  Railfuture supports bus priority measures, and busway schemes on existing roads or new routes, that provide better public transport services to complement existing rail and bus services. Guided busways on roads should only be considered if rail or light rail schemes were not viable.

  2.  Railfuture does not support the conversion of existing or former rail routes to busways. Rail must be given prime consideration as the most effective means of achieving modal switch from cars in the medium to longer term. Busway conversions would also prevent further access for railfreight to the area served.

L.  RAILWAY ELECTRIFICATION

  1.  Railfuture believes further electrification of main lines and urban networks throughout the UK will bring major improvements to services and the environment, as well as a more modern image for railways.

  2.  Railfuture supports electrification as in comparison to diesel, electric trains can provide an improved passenger environment at stations and on trains, and a more pleasant journey. Electric trains can be less polluting, lowering emissions at the point of use, and are cheaper to operate in the longer term.

  3.  An electrification policy is needed firstly to upgrade the "infill" routes, to link existing electric lines and complete networks, so that operational gains and passenger and environmental benefits may be quickly realised. Some minor lines should also be electrified to develop local and regional networks.

  4.  Railfuture argues that a policy to develop electric urban networks with metro-style services will benefit all users and make a major contribution towards traffic reduction strategies in larger cities and conurbations.

M.  RAIL FREIGHT POLICY

  1.  Railfuture works to promote the maximum use of rail (and where appropriate water) transport for bulk and long distance freight movement to reduce reliance on heavy lorries (HGVs). Freight policy must promote modal transfer of freight wagon or container loads from road haulage onto rail, or rail and water for bulky or non-perishable goods.

  2.  Government policy must ensure railfreight can play a fuller part in freight transportation and ensure a "level playing field" exists between rail and road. It is essential to identify and develop alternative approaches to road haulage for intermediate distance freight movement. Enhancing the existing, and providing additional, rail network capacity for freight traffic is essential.

  3.  Route modernisation or upgrading programmes must be versatile so that freight services can operate along with passenger trains. Where possible these should be to the W10 European standard, to accommodate international wagons, recommended by the Railfreight Group (Railtrack proposes the smaller W9 Gauge).

  4.  Railfuture believes routes for developing rail-borne Channel Tunnel traffic such as via Tonbridge, Redhill, Reading and Oxford to the Midlands and beyond should be upgraded at the earliest opportunity to expand capacity and achieve significant modal switch for international goods movement from road transport.

N.  RAIL FREIGHT VERSUS ROAD HAULAGE

  1.  Road haulage is a fundamental component of modern logistics but Railfuture believes that rail freight does not currently fulfil its potential in moving goods that are predominantly handled in lorry-loads.

  2.  Heavy lorry use is excessive and there is considerable potential to transfer goods traffic to rail. Increased investment in road-rail transfer facilities and the development of "piggy-pack" road-rail goods distribution systems could transfer more freight traffic to rail.

  3.  Railfuture believes the Government must actively promote better enforcement of regulations on road-worthiness and overloading of vehicles as well as speeding, drivers hours and other safety matters.

O.  DEVELOPING INTERNATIONAL RAIL LINKS

  1.  Railfuture supports policies to promote rail as a prime mover in international travel within Europe. Railfuture wants a fully integrated European rail network that competes effectively with air travel where international trains can serve both London and specific provincial centres.

  2.  European Governments should promote more sustainable alternatives to internal air services and short haul routes into Europe by promoting and developing the European High-speed rail network within the UK.

  3.  Railfuture believes journeys less than 500 kilometres should be made by rail wherever possible, rather than by air. This is because of the high environmental cost of short-haul air travel in relation to the distance covered. Railfuture supports the call for airline fuel costs to reflect more accurately the pollution aircraft causes.

  4.  Rail access to ports and airports should be improved, enabling growth in passenger numbers using these facilities to be accommodated on public transport.

  5.  Rail should be the main distribution network for international sea-borne container based traffic wherever possible and international wagon and trainload freight movement should be actively promoted.

P.  RAIL SAFETY

  1.  Railfuture believes Britain's railways can deliver high performance safely, as well as being the safest means of travel. Railfuture wants a high standard of protection for passengers both in terms of operational and personal safety and the prevention of accidents.

  2.  Railfuture supports measures to make the UK rail network safer for passengers at a realistic cost. Experience has shown modern trains with integrally constructed carriages are durable and robust. Any extra costs of implementing network-wide safety systems like Automatic Train Protection (ATP) and Train Protection Warning System (TPWS) should be met jointly by Government, Railtrack and train operators.

  3.  Railfuture believes potential for driver error should be minimised through effective staff training and industry regulations that ensure rail operators are fully accountable and co-operative when dealing with safety issues, and that procedures are coherent and transparent.

  4.  Any costs of implementing safety measures should not be passed on to fares, as increases would deter people from travelling by rail. Station safety with increased staffing, improved lighting and help points form an essential part of the secure station concept which demonstrably generates fare revenue.

Q.  ACCESS FOR ALL—BETTER FACILITIES FOR CYCLISTS, PEDESTRIANS AND MOBILITY IMPAIRED PASSENGERS

  1.  Railfuture believes the importance of safe and secure facilities for pedestrians and cyclists using rail cannot be underestimated. Safe facilities to improve access for passengers with mobility impairments also benefit all passengers. All stations should have secure storage for cycles, where possible under cover or monitored by CCTV.

  2.  Trains should provide sufficient space to meet the reasonable needs of all passengers, whether accompanied by luggage, a wheelchair or bicycle. Operators should provide improved facilities and wherever possible operate longer trains to meet the needs and demands of all customers.

  3.  Cyclists are an important business market for rail operators. Railfuture argues cyclists should not need to book a place for a cycle or pay an extra charge to take it on a train. People who need to take their cycles on trains regularly should be able to obtain a national or regional pass for carrying them at peak hours.



 
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