SERUG meets MPs at the House of Commons

SERUG’s Chair Bruce Duncan and Secretary Nick Hurrell, attended the HOC in late February to present the Railfuture/SERUG Proposals for long term investment. Our proposals are realistic (given budget constraints) and will provide major passenger benefits, including better reliability, capacity and time savings. These can be seen  in full, tagged below, as 1) the Presentation and 2) the Proposal. Those documents include all the detail of our research and aims.

Sir Oliver Letwin coordinated the group of MP’s and all stations on the Salisbury to Exeter section were represented. Our proposals, were well received. They covered SERUG’s aims as outlined on this web site, with track doubling from Dinton into a new platform at Tisbury, plus Whimple/Cranbrook loop as the main priorities. A further loop between Yeovil Junction and Crewkerne would also help resilience for GWR diversionary trains. Finally, allowing trains to split and join at Yeovil junction (which would improve journey opportunities) requires minimal investment but does need the will from Network Rail. The need for new trains was also highlighted.

Sir Oliver, after consulting with his colleagues, has written to the Transport Minister, Jo Johnson, requesting support for funding to allow Network Rail to cost these improvements. We await a response, but are very hopeful that our continuing lobbying with stakeholder Network Rail, will finally start to see some real plans to improve services on this line.

The presentation  –   HOC-21-Feb-pres-2-final.pptx (40 downloads)

The Proposal  –   21-Feb-2018-mtg-Proposal-final.docx (46 downloads)

Concerns – The new operator and Railfuture Proposals

SERUG  expressed serious concerns about the working of the line after  reports about the new First/MTR franchise award, to start in August 2017. They wrote to the Dft (Peter Wilkinson ) expressing  views about lack of any improvement in services, capacity increases, passenger benefit and standards, continuing with the existing 25 year old trains, lack of more car parking, and a serious concern about unregulated fares and car parking charges.  The response from the Dft gave no help.

In August 2017 Railfuture and SERUG delivered a paper “Salisbury to Exeter Route Capacity Enhancements which can be read in full in the Publications section of this web site. It suggests the way forward to improve capacity, services, and passenger benefits. This is with all 8 MP’s on the route plus the Minster. Our lobbying for improvements with your help gives this paper critical importance. We will continue to improve our strategy as SWR working continues. You will see that we were successful in seeing and presenting to the MP’s – see separate item.

New Committee Members required…

We urgently require  additional Committee members:

  1. Someone to take responsibility for Communications (currently this role is divided between 2 existing committee members, but now requires a person with marketing and social media skills).
  2. Someone to lead Axminster  station.
  3. Membership and program secretary
  4. A railway engineer to help with our GRIP analysis.

Please  email  if you’re interested in either of these roles…. 

Competition and Markets Authority CMA decision

Railfuture’s  (Rf) complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority has j resulted in First/MTR proposing a fares cap on the two routes between London and Exeter so that travelers are not disadvantaged by the company’s new monopoly position.
SERUG worked with Rf to make this application to ensure passengers are not disadvantaged. However the CMA decided only to consider London Waterloo and Exeter stations as the comparisons – intermediate stations are not considered – we think that a cop out and will continue to check the details as the franchise moves forward.