North West Rail-Users urged to Text their frustration

16th April 2002
news
release

Text Message 07764 125125 to Send Your Rail Protest to the Heart of
Government!

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

Rail passengers in the north west are being urged to punch out their frustration at the
state of railways as part of a new campaign from Friends of the Earth. And travellers
using Manchester’s Victoria Station on Tuesday 16th April will be invited to hit out at
a giant punch bag to vent their anger at train delays – and they can also punch out a
text message to the Government to make sure politicians know how the feel.

Andrew Mcfarlane, Chair of the Greater Manchester Transport Consultative Rail Sub-
Committee will join Friends of the Earth at Manchester Victoria Station to call on
Chancellor Gordon Brown to invest more money in the country’s rail system.
Increased funding would mean that several urgently needed projects in the north west
could go ahead, as outlined by the Strategic Rail Authority’s (SRA) £1.5 billion strategy for improvements, and which the SRA say they currently cannot fund until after 2010.

These would include:
• 15 minute frequency services on the Manchester suburban network
• Further expansion of the Metrolink tram network onto other existing ‘heavy’ rail lines.
• More reliable passenger services by re-routing of freight trains to avoid the city centre
• Four trains per hour to major destinations like Birmingham, London and Sheffield
• At least 150million vehicle/km removed from the road network

Friends of the Earth is calling on rail travellers in the north west to back their
campaign by sending a text message to the Treasury on 07764 125 125 – or by
sending an email at www.stoptrainrobbery.com

Richard Dyer, Rail Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said:
“We want the Chancellor to put more money into this country’s railways – if he fails
to do this he will be robbing passengers of the rail services they deserve. We hope that
people in the north west will take up this campaign and let the Government know how
strongly they feel about the current state of the trains.

“Good public transport is essential if people are to be offered an alternative to using
the car. Travelling by train causes less environmental damage and relieves congestion
on the roads. A reliable, safe and efficient rail service would be good news for everyone.”

The inflatable punch bag will be in Manchester’s Victoria Station (Cross Street
entrance) on Tuesday 16th April from 7.30am – 9.30am. Friends of the Earth local
groups will also be leafleting passengers in Manchester stations over the week. Local
groups in North Lancashire, Burnley, Bolton, Blackburn, Hynburn & Ribble Valley,
Wirral, W.Cumbria & North Lakes, Southport, Preston and South Cheshire will also
be staging rail events as part of Friends of the Earth’s rail campaign. For more
information, please contact the press office on 020 75661649.

CONTACTS
Richard Dyer (rail campaigner, FOE) 0113 389 9960/ 07774 168 989
Graeme Sherriff (Manchester FOE) 0161 248 5958 (eves)/07905 790426 (mobile)
Tony Bosworth (rail campaigner, FOE) 0113 389 9958/ 07941 176642
Helen Burley (press office) 020 7566 1702 / 07778 069930

Notes for Editors:
• 35% of the public would travel less by car if train services were better (Commission
for Integrated Transport)

• Only 14% of the public think enough investment is being made in the railways to
meet the needs of passengers (55% think there isn’t enough investment and the rest
don’t know) (Commission for Integrated Transport)

• Only seven out of ten (71%) of trains ran on time in the last 3 months of 2001
compared with almost eight out of ten (79%) in the previous 3 months. ‘On time’
means not more than 5 minutes late for local and regional trains, and not more than 10
minutes late for inter-city. (Strategic Rail Authority)

• Trains pump out less carbon dioxide per passenger mile than other forms of
transport. For a trip from London – Manchester, a plane pumps out 7 times as much
CO2 per passenger as an electric train and a car pumps out 4 times as much
(Commission for Integrated Transport). Moving one tonne of freight by road produces
5 times as much CO2 as moving it by rail (Railway Forum).

• Text messages can be send from 07764 125 125 or emailed from
www.stoptrainrobbery.com The cost of sending a text message is less than 10p. The
messages will be converted to e-mails by communications company Textback – and
will then be deliverred by FOE to the Treasury, addressed to the Chancellor of the
Exchequer, Gordon Brown.