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. Membership and program secretary
  3. A railway engineer to help with our rail/track cost analysis.

Please  email contact@serug.co.uk  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  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.

Our Launch event at Yeovil Railway Centre

Our launch event at Yeovil Railway Centre was a great success, with 60 people present, to hear Chris Austin famed Author and Chris Loder of South West Trains.

We outlined our priorities for this line, which are to concentrate on lobbying for the passing loops at Dinton and Whimple, to enable half-hourly services from Exeter and from Yeovil Junction to Waterloo, resilience for GWR services and ours and increased capacity..

We shall shortly be meeting the new franchisees First and MTR to reinforce our priorities and to have preliminary discussions about the relationship with community and user groups.   There was also a lot of discussion about parking space at many of the stations.

                   SERUG  –  Salisbury to Exeter Rail User’s Group

South Western Railway

From the 20th August 2017 First/MTR will call our line part of the South Western Railway. The Waterloo station works phase one are complete and we look forward to better running and efficient services. Andy Mellors is the Chief Executive.