Monday, 25 February 2019

General Musings from Mr Simon Barber

The ERTA Central London Forum took place on Monday,14 January 2019 at the St.Pancras Wetherspoons and six people came altogether; the only non-ERTA member present was my
 friend Simon Pitt (from Bromley). The other ERTA members were Michael Hustwait, David Ferguson, Colin Crawford and Tony Bush.

Anyway, the main things we had discussed were as follows:
1.   Woodhead Route: As you may recall, Tony attended a meeting with National Grid shortly before Christmas in regard to its plans to build cables under one of the Woodhead Route's tunnels. That meeting apparently went very well and in fact National Grid accepted our proposals and are now 'on our side’. Other groups attended that meeting too, including Railfuture, Sustrans and the Don Valley Railway Association; Tony was particularly impressed with the last-named! Apparently heritage railways are a good way of ensuring that disused trackbeds are protected, as long as the new services do not jeopardise the heritage services.
2.   East-West Central Section: We had all agreed that as regards the route between Bedford and Sandy, we should follow the old trackbed as much as possible. As you know, the trackbed has been built on around Sandy so the route will have to go slightly to the north of Sandy. However; we all insist that the East-West should connect with the East Coast Main Line as close to the north of Sandy as possible.
3.   Rail Re-openings Brochure: We discussed Richard’s idea of revising this brochure prior to our forthcoming Conference. Colin felt that all the re-openings listed in it have 'top priority’. However, in practice this would be very difficult to achieve due to the lack of Government funds, which seem to be chiefly directed to roads and aviation! Anyway, we all felt at this stage that the following schemes listed are particularly vital: 
Great Central*
Lewes-Uckfield (apparently trains used to reverse at Lewes but that should again be possible with electric multiple units)
Long Marston-Stratford.on.Avon
Taunton-Barnstaple -Bideford/Ilfracombe
           *ERTA's original top priorities
We also agreed with Richard’s idea to amend the North Atlantic Coast to supporting specifically Okehampton-Bude and Bere Alston for Plymouth (i.e. to include Okehampton-Bere Alston). Another possibility (which is not listed in the brochure) is Malton - Pickering, which would connect the North York Moors Railway with the National Rail.
For further discussion and liaison please contact Mr Simon Barber T. 0208 940 4399, E.

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