Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Baron Beeching of East Grinstead -whose's name is to this day
associated with the mass closure of railways
Friends Of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR)
Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) invite you to join us on Saturday 23 March to celebrate 50 years since the Beeching Report.
Rail Future and FOSBR will subsidise train tickets, hire a meeting room and provide refreshments at Halo Bar, 141, Gloucester Road, BS7 8BA. . If you live in Exmouth, Falmouth, Barnstable, Dawlish or near a station in Wales, your challenge is to find a train which arrives in time to catch the 13.16 from Bristol Temple Meads Station.
We hope you will join us on the scenic round trip from Bristol Temple Meads on Bristol’s only surviving branch line (which is also in Thomas Cook’s wonderful rail journeys) to Severn Beach and back to Montpelier Station. There we will stage a public demonstration on the platform with banners, placards and enlarged maps of the Bristol Metro and the Great Western Franchise areas. From there we will walk to the Halo Bar.
This celebration is an opportunity to show the world that local lines, such as AVOCET, Tarka, the Falmouth and Ebbw Vale, have flourished with community and local authority support. Travelling on the train and meeting at the Halo in a spacious room will give each group a chance to talk about their campaigns and future opportunities. We hope to finish by issuing a joint statement for the media.
Train times 13.16 depart Bristol Temple Meads Station / 14.21 alight at Montpelier Station / 16.50 depart from Montpelier Station/ 17.07 arrive at Temple Meads Station
Train tickets  Group save tickets - four for the price of two –from the same station make train travel more affordable. Please reply to Julie and Tina asap to let us know how you would like to be involved and how many tickets we need to budget for so that we can plan at the FOSBR committee meeting on 20 February. 
Invited:- rail groups, rail unions Bristol RMT,  ASLEF, TSSA, Devon & Cornwall Rail Future, Friends of Bridgwater Station, Portishead Rail Group, Severn Tunnel Action Group, Saltford Rail Group, MPs and councillors near stations, the Mayor of Bristol, Bristol Youth Mayors, Bristol Civic Society, representatives of political parties, Way out West,, Pints West Bristol Pubs Group, Ramblers Wessex Walks'
FOSBR campaigns organiser       Julie Boston
FOSBR secretary                             Tina Biggs
Bristol’s only surviving branch line celebrated 50 years of avoiding the Beeching cuts at its AGM on Saturday 26 January 2013.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

RMT-'Rail Cuts potentially lethal consequences'

RAIL UNION RMT released a shocking new picture which shows six inches of rail head crumbled away to nothing leaving a potentially lethal gap in the track on the InterCity East Coast Mainline at Hambleton South Junction near Selby where normal running speeds are 125mph. The picture, taken last Friday (1st February), follows the publication by RMT of a similar damning photo taken at Colton Junction on the ECML just a few miles away back in December last year.

RMT believes that due to renewals and staffing cuts, an initial crack had crumbled away to a six inch gap in the rail head over a period of two weeks in a mirror image of the incident at Colton Junction, leaving trains, passengers and staff at risk of a serious and potentially lethal incident.
A train could have derailed, jumped the tracks and collided with an on-coming service. Fortunately, the gap was spotted by on-track teams and the section of track has since been replaced but it raises serious questions about the impact of wear and tear on rail infrastructure, with high-speed trains running on tracks that should have been renewed, in a climate of cuts and sub-contracting.

'Potentially lethal consequences'

RMT understands that there is massive pressure to keep the ECML running from the government and the Department of Transport as they look to re-privatise the service. There are also persistent demands on Network Rail from the budget-holder, the Office of Rail Regulation, to cut back on rail renewals work despite the potentially-lethal consequences as exposed in graphic detail by RMT today.

However, pressure from RMT and a high-profile media campaign by the union, has forced RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Branch) to now launch a full investigation into the condition of the track on the ECML, the latest shocking RMT pictures will fuel the urgency of that investigation which the union says must focus in on the impact of cuts to staffing and renewals and the consequences of sub-contracting core functions.

                                                 Reverse the Cuts!
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

"This shocking new picture highlights the reality on Britain's railways today - staffing, inspections and track renewals have been cut in the dash to save money and there is massive pressure right from the top of Government to keep services running at all costs regardless of the potential human cost. If we don’t reverse the cuts on Britain’s railways another major tragedy is inevitable.

"We are now facing exactly the same set of poisonous conditions that led us to the Hatfield disaster and as this picture, following on from similar evidence exposed by RMT late last year, shows we are dicing with death and risking another major rail tragedy. RMT is demanding action before it is too late and the RAIB investigation must look at the poisonous impact of cuts to staffing and renewals work and the sub-contracting of jobs that should be undertaken in-house.

"RMT has made it crystal clear that we want all cuts to staffing, maintenance and renewals reversed and all track works brought back in house rather than subbed-out to contractors. The current contractor staff should be transferred over to direct Network Rail employment. We also want the pressure from the centre to run services at any costs lifted to enable safety-critical works to take place immediately.

"Finally, we want an end to the further cuts proposed by the Government in its McNulty Rail Review before we end up with another rail tragedy on Britain's tracks with ministers paraded on our screens with blood on their hands. Those ministers have to take responsibility right now for the rail scandal that is unfolding on their watch".

Friday, 1 February 2013

Next Trades Council Meeting set for Monday 11th February

Bridgwater Trades Union Council will be holding their monthly meeting for February at the Railway Club, Wellington Road Bridgwater on  Monday 11th at 7.30.

The AGM was held in January and we are looking for affiliations for 2013.

We will also be holding regular surgeries for workplace issues before each meeting. Contact us for further details