Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Excellent

Posted in Commuter, Customer service, Great Britain, Infrastructure, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 14 September 2010

There are many instances occuring of heritage railways getting close to providing connections directly with the National Rail network – the Spa Valley Railway is announcing that it will be ready to start its preview services from Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge (interchanging with Southern) late this year; the Bluebell Railway is continuing the work to clear Imberhorne cutting and allow the line to be extended to East Grinstead (also interchanging with Southern); while the Swanage Railway have been given £3m from Purbeck District Council to complete the work to reconnect their line to the network at Wareham (interchanging with South West Trains). These will be in addition to such operations as the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and the West Somerset Railway. So, the news today that Peak Rail will be extending their route to interchange with East Midlands Trains at Matlock, which will connect the town of Darley Dale (pop 6,000) back to the rest of the rail network. This is excellent news, as it restores the railways to great swathes of the country at little to no cost to the taxpayer (directly). The thing to ensure now though is that these connections are used to get people off the road, at least during the peak periods. ATOC should be negotiating with the various heritage railways to provide commuter services in morning and evening rush hours that are timetabled to connect with the various National Rail operators. The preponderence of first generation DMUs at the heritage railways, as well as those that remain in service on the national network (but will be withdrawn fairly soon), means that there is sufficient rolling stock around to provide these types of service. So it’s time to get rolling on extending commuter rail to the heritage sector.

“Swanage railway reconnection to network to go ahead”
“Derbyshire steam railway to extend service to Matlock”

Class 117 DMU at Swanage - this is the kind of unit that would be ideal for running commuter services on heritage railways

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