Sunday, 9 December 2018

Help save the trackbed of the March-Spalding rail link

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject:RE: H01-0871-18 at Former Station Yard & Croft House Nursery, Mill Drove South, Cowbit
Date:Fri, 7 Dec 2018 14:51:34 +0000
From:Polly Harris-Gorf <>
To:'Simon Barber' <>

Dear Mr Barber

I have received your objection and have prĂ©cised this in to my report. Some of your objections seem to cover broader issues than those that could be addressed by this application and I would direct you to more strategic documents such as the emerging South East Lincolnshire Local Plan which can be viewed on the Council’s website, and the Lincs County Council Strategic Transport officers. If you wish to make representations  to these and to the Local Enterprise Partnership I suggest that this is undertaken separately of your objection to this application.

Yours sincerely

Polly Harris Gorf Principal Planning Officer| South Holland District Council
Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding, PE11 2XE
DDI: 01775 764504

Please note that any informal officer opinion expressed by this email is without prejudice and is not binding on the Council during the consideration of any formal application.


Comments have been received on the above application via the website and have been
transferred to Ocella.

The comments are as follows:

Consultee Name:               Simon Barber

Address:                               Flat 20, Fitzherbert House Kingsmead

Date Transferred:               7th Dec 2018

Planning Officer:                Polly Harris-Gorf

Response Type:                 Objection


I am a member of the English Regional Transport Association(ERTA),which is a voluntary membership-based,pro-public transport improvement association with its main projects initially in the Bedfordshire and surrounding regional areas but its remit has since increased since several of its projects have a nation-wide positive benefit and impact. .I am writing as a member of that organisation to mention a few concerns in relation to the above-mentioned planning application. The English Regional Transport Association has a web-site that could provide useful information: I do hereby lodge an objection to this development since these new dwellings will encourage more cars which will in turn increase the congestion on the local roads. Indeed a certain number of the new occupants could be car commuters accessing employment in Spalding or perhaps places such as Peterborough which suffers from severe traffic congestion. The site also appears to encroach the old trackbed of the March - Spalding railway line which we wish to see re-opened. I call upon the Council, Strategic Planning and Transport offices including Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to support, study, protect lands for a reopenedMarch-Spalding rail link.See The reopened rail link will enable more paths on East Coast Main Line, freeing up Peterborough for other trains, cutting Fenland traffic and linking York and Cambridge directly as a cross country Eastern England spinal route both ways including M11/A1 rail choice for more freight by rail. See Yours faithfully, Simon Barber 

Write to South Holland District Council, Priory Road, Spalding, PE11 2XE and your local MP and join ERTA and strengthen our campaign.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Help Save the Woodhead Line from National Grid power-line intrusions

Our delegated Executive Committee Member Mr Tony Bush gave the following report to a meeting near Sheffield recently:

Contact for further support and liaison:

Please write to your MP c/o House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA and urge them to support reopening the Woodhead Railway as a matter of urgency and to call National Grid's plan in for further scrutiny and seek alternative solutions so that the integrity of the railway route is retained for future rail reopening use for passenger and freight - taking traffic off local roads, cutting congestion, lowering emissions and giving people fast choices which cost a fraction of HS3 for example. Woodhead is not just an isolated piece of railway but would link Hull/Sheffield with Manchester/Liverpool as a North Sea-Atlantic 'land bridge' helping UK be competitive on timings, transport and logistics, cutting costs and ensuring speedy deliveries. 

Friday, 30 November 2018

Guildford-Horsham is a strategic missing rail link needing rebuilding

Dear Richard and Simon,
I thought you would welcome feedback on the Redhill meeting.
There were getting on for 40 people at the meeting.
The basic reason of the Railfure meeting was to give Network Rail's 
representative, Andrew Brown, the oppotunity to give updates on  the 
progress so far and future (closure) plans for the line south of Three 
Bridges over weekends and one 9 day blockade during the February half 
term 2019.
Andrew also gave an update on the planned improvements to the North 
Downs line to achieve 3 trains per hour.
Andrew Brown gave a very good presentation, and Railfure will be 
e-mailing me with the contents of the presentation plus the notes made 
by one of their members, which I can forward if required.
I think Railfuture is different from the ERTA in that they seem to be 
keen on getting short term improvements to the network with no longer 
term plans- certainly not for re-openings.
At the end of the presentation there was the oppotunity to ask questions.
Most questions supported my view mentioned above, in that there were 
moans about inadequate bustitution, poor connecting services, badly 
informed staff, short trains, lack of fast trains to London,- the usual 
regular rail user points of view. Andrew deflected a lot of this as the 
responsibility of the train operationg companies.
There was one question asked about Network Rail's view on the BM2 line 
and re-opening Lewes to Uckfield.
Andrew commented that the business case for BM2 had not been proved and 
the re-opening of Lewes to Ukfield represented poor value for money, so 
Network Rail were not involved in that idea at the moment. He did say 
that had that link already existed, it would make managing the Brighton 
main line upgrade a lot easier as would the Arundel curve if it existed. 
This curve would mean the train diversion would not have to go down the 
Arun valley line through Horsham to Littlehampton and the back east 
along the coastal route to Brighton.( I notice the Arundel curve is not 
listed in the 33 schemes on the re-opening pamphlet.)
When my turn came to ask a question I intoduced myself as a member of 
the ERTA and took the oppotunity to outline the aims of ERTA- especially 
improving rail transport by supporting and promoting rail re-openings. I 
said the Guildford- Horsham- Shoreham re-opening long term was one of 
the ERTA aims and said to Andrew that had it never been closed it would 
have given him a double track main line from Three Brigdes to Shorehan 
via Horsham to play with in planing the engineering closures and the 
Arundel chord would not be needed. After my short speech I thought I had 
better ask my question to Andrew which was "Why is electrification of 
the Reigate- Guildford section not part of the North Downs Line upgrade 
Andrews answer was that third rail electrification, apart from short 
sections in new depots, was considered to be a serious health and safety 
risk these days and therefore unlikely to be approved. He also said 
electricification in general was now under review due improvements in 
bi-mode and battery technology and escalating costs.
Others at the meeting chipped in with comments in support of the 
Reigate- Guildford idea and the general feeling was that it was good 
idea. The Railfuture chairman said he thought the idea made 
absolutelcommon sense, with the remark that when did common sense ever 
have an influence on rail investment decisions?
I was invited to respond to Andrew's answer but I didn't want to take up 
more time as there were several others waiting to put their questions.
However my follow on comments would have been.
1/ Vast areas of the SE and lines into the West Country and north of 
London and the Underground are already third rail so why would say 15 
miles of additional third rail swing the fatalities statistcs significantly.
2/ What actually are the fatality statistics for the last year /10 years 
and does Ian Prosser's rail saftey executive have a published report on 
third rail risks?
3/ Additional journey oppotunies would be created if the Thameslink 
service planned to Reigate (the plan is for a third  platform there to 
handle the fixed formation 12 car trains) went on to Guildford. No new 
bi-mode or battery stock would be required.
It was a good and enjoyable meeting.
After the meeting finished I was askes about what the ERTA was.
I guided those interested in finding out more the the ERTA website.
Although I had all of Richard's recent attachments with me- GCR 
re-opening, the list of 33 rail re-openings, maps of connections from 
East-West south to Heathrow etc, I felt to bring this up was not right 
for the aims of Railfuture in calling the meeting.
Went from Horsham to Redhill and back on the train. No problems. The 
return journey was my first ride on the new Thameslink 12 car rolling 
stock on the new Peterborough to Horsham service.  Warm, fast but 
undoubtably designed to shift a lot of passengers at the same time.

To be on our free no obligation loop please send email requests to
To join our campaign, please join ERTA:

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Relieve the Brighton Main Line by reopening Guildford-Horsham-Shoreham lines

Guildford's existing bus and rail situation: The town suffers from chronic traffic congestion and that investment in more public transport was necessary to reduce this problem. However, a new bus station is being planned at Guildford which is expected to be close to the railway station.
Guildford-Cranleigh-Horsham re-opening: There are very few blockages on the route; apart from problems at Cranleigh, but only in that the route would need a deviation. Several new housing developments are taking place or could soon take place along the route corridor, including Broadbridge Heath (near Horsham) and some in or around Cranleigh. Consequently, there will be strong pressure to get the railway line re-opened between Guildford and Cranleigh, and in fact the Guildford Councillor who came is pressing for the whole line to be re-opened to Horsham since re-opening to Horsham gave Cranleigh to Gatwick journey opportunities as well as to Shoreham and Brighton. Additional services on new through routes could be done by re-timetabling, using for the main, existing rolling stock. A tram-train link from Dunsfold to a re-opened Cranleigh station could be useful as taking pressure of local car journeys.
Christ's Hospital Station is about 400 metres from the A24 Horsham by-pass and was also the point where the Guildford-Horsham line had forked off the main line from London - Horsham - Bognor Regis/Littlehampton. There consequently seemed to be a strong feeling for a Park-and-Ride at that station.
Gatwick- Redhill -Tonbridge curve: The conclusion was reached that the existing rail service involved a change/reversal at Redhill worked, in that Redhill was an important rail junction and that a rail service that missed out Redhill would require more rolling stock and finding additional train timetable paths on the Brighton main line, already with capacity problems. The journey time savings would not be that significant. However, the curve could produce some possible freight opportunities. North Downs Line: Strong pressure for North Downs Line to be fully electrified (at present only Reading-Wokingham; Guildford-Ash; Reigate-Redhill-Tonbridge).
Ed. A High Speed (HS) Link proposes curve via Gatwick and Heathrow to Tonbridge/Channel Tunnel for their purposes too.
Further enquiries welcome: Mr Simon Barber ERTA 6HT T. 0208 940 4399, E.

See our excellent diagrams!

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

ERTA Produces Great Central Rail Reopening Report – Give it your support!

06 November 2018
Press Release

ERTA produces report calling for partial reopening of the Great Central Main Line Railway

The English Regional Transport Association (ERTA) have produced a report calling for a partial rebuilding of the former Great Central railway from a new chord off the Leicester-Nuneaton line to Rugby and Calvert for links with East-West Rail, Aylesbury/Heathrow and Oxford/Reading and further afield.

ERTA cites the capacity issues existing road and rail have and suggests that the nation would benefit by investing in the rebuild to provide the necessary capacity the railway could offer on a sustainable and environmentally friendly basis.

The report calls for realignments where blockages have been allowed to encroach the old formation such as at places like Brackley and Lutterworth and pulls no punches over the fact this is a rebuild but is also an investment in all our futures. There is a need to act now and protect the remaining formation and deviation corridors to enable a joined up rebuild to be as robust as possible.

The 32-page report is available as a download priced £3.50 from the ERTA Website or hard copy at £4.90 includes Postage and Packing UK. Make payable to ERTA and send payment to ERTA, 24c St Michael’s Road, Bedford, MK40 2LT. Enquiries Tel. 01234 330090.

End Press Release

Further comment: Mr Richard Pill 01234 330090 or E.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Say no to the Proposed Expressway Road Scheme between Oxford and Cambridge

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
ERTA supports an East-West Railway but not an Expressway Road. The reasons for this is that a. the closure of the origional railway made a deficit of rail east-west which throws all subsequent land movements onto roads fuelling demand for more roads. Only the railway can dent this vicious cycle. b. These trunk roads fill up with traffic and then what? Build yet more bypasses to bypass and bypass. It is all a great land take when we need land for food production, conservation, housing and employment - striking the balance. c. The road way will heap traffic up at urban areas and junctions with other road-ways like M1 and cause long tailbacks as volume exceeds capacity. Only our programme of local reopenings can again dent this trend and it is a need for public and Government will to change to foster modal shift through more and better choices.
ERTA supports the east-west rail scheme but whereas Oxford-Bedford is more or less a straight forward rebuild and relay trajectory along a former trackbed, East of Bedford is more problematic. We want a reopening utilising more of the old route with modest deviations where blockages exist like at Blunham and Gamlingay and to enter Cambridge to link with the proposed new Addenbrookes Station/alias Cambridge South. Alas one scheme proposed bypassing Bedford via Wixams to Shepreth and onother suggests arcing via a second station for St Neots to Cambourne and enter Cambridge via Chesterton Junction. This ill-conceived idea is a great way round and has many issues which delay a to b of rail travel than assist it. NIMBYISM is a problem, but a clear defined route to discuss and work with in planning terms is what the theatre of Bedford-Cambridge needs and allay fears uncessarily whipped up in the absence of definiton..
Please sign the petition and stop this horrible road scheme as a starter for more of what we wish for!
Please sign and share this petition with all your friends and family . If only 15% of Oxfordshire’s 650,000 population signed this petition we might at last get some proper debate in parliament and full disclosure of all the costs that will be associated with this proposed Road and Rail construction, the doubling of housing numbers and residents and all the costs of providing the extra schools, hospitals, surgeries and infrastructure that will be required and which has not yet been revealed. Most people who love living in Oxfordshire believe that the proposed £4.5 Billions of Government spending should be directed to improving and modernising existing roads and railways, concentrating on measures to reduce noise and air pollution and improve traffic flows and road junctions.

Disastrous plans for an expressway and 1,000,000 new homes across our Home Counties cannot be allowed to happen. How can Oxfordshire absorb double the amount of houses it currently has? Similar proposals exist for Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, and Cambridge. Totally unsustainable project.
Yours sincerely,

Richard Pill
ERTA Officer.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Musings on global to local in action terms to tackle climate change and air pollution

12 years left to avert climate change! That is the dramatic picture painted by teams of climate change researchers and scientific scrutiny. Yet the reality is that it coincides with reports of catastrophic consequences impacting lives and communities of air pollution from congestion, emissions and from Sulphur and Nitrogen-Dioxides to particles from chemical spraying, braking and rubber. Taking the long-term view, we can see the closures locked into our whole way of doing things to roads for majority of passenger and goods mobility; globalism has boosted aviation to a top strata of masse usage/demand. As far as land-based transport goes – a key element is a rolling programme of local line rebuilds/reopenings/new builds for passenger and freight with start up capital funds by Government indicating leadership for modal shift through more choice and capacity, which would be a step in the right direction. Our ERTA Reopenings Pamphlet – available off our website – calls for a modest 33 such schemes to be considered for the English Regions; Wales and Scotland have their own already. If the principal road artery between London and Birmingham along the M1 and M6 is 25mph due to volume/capacity, a railway at 125mph seems quite fast enough to be competitive on time, if not price? So why are we wasting £100 billion + on HS2 which cannot even cater for freight whereas a partial rebuilt Great Central railway could? Government stalls on the announcement for a preferred route for a Bedford-Cambridge rail link, which means a ribbon could be cut for opening in 12 years’ time when it will be too little, too late and many areas will still be locked into road reliance. What of technology turning our planes and shipping ‘greener’ using renewable energy? Sounds far off and many are insistent that time is critical. ERTA continues to sow seeds and interject ideas, but relies on the public to yes vote with their feet where they can like walking, cycling, using bus and train, but also joining and giving of their time to help usher our projects along. In short there is something we can all do, without costing the earth! If Government cannot determine the direction and rolling out of schemes like Bedford-Cambridge, the strategic infrastructure for accommodating growth and denting trends to damaging effects, then there is intransigence at play. The old route was the most direct route. Some needs modest deviations but end to end it should be recoverable if we get on with directing intent of purpose and actions commensurate now. Alternative routes are National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) direct line via Wixams to Shepreth which avoids Bedford or another idea which is a South Cambs ‘no railway here’ back door suggestion to have a railway well away from Gamlingay and surrounds. Leadership is required, not paralysis and when route is finalised/published, then consultation, then Inquiry and Transport and Works Act, a 12-year delivery period seems about right! It should never have been closed by stealth by Government and local areas should be compensated for the subsequent damage its absence has informed beit road congestion and costs or pollution, health and quality of life erosion.
Further reading and sources: