Rail stations under the spotlight

RAILWAY stations on the East Suffolk line came under the scrutiny of a passenger watchdog in a bid to improve conditions for the travelling public.Members of the Rail Passengers Committee of Eastern England (RPC) visited stations at Halesworth, Saxmundham and Woodbridge as part of a region-wide project involving 50 railway stations.

RAILWAY stations on the East Suffolk line came under the scrutiny of a passenger watchdog in a bid to improve conditions for the travelling public.

Members of the Rail Passengers Committee of Eastern England (RPC) visited stations at Halesworth, Saxmundham and Woodbridge as part of a region-wide project involving 50 railway stations.

Richard Bartlam, an external stakeholders executive with the RPC, said a wide variety of stations of all sizes will be involved in the survey which will cover are area from northern Lincolnshire to the outskirts of London in Essex.

"Obviously we do not expect smaller stations to have the same facilities as the larger stations on main lines but we do expect to see an appropriate standard.


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"Overall we have been impressed by what we have seen on the East Suffolk Line and we believe a lot of credit should go not just to the railway companies but to local groups such as the East Coast Travellers Association who do such a good job," said Mr Bartlam.

The purpose of the survey is to try and find ways of making things easier for passengers that will not put the various companies to a great expense.

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"We are looking at simple everyday problems that can be overcome relatively simply," said Mr Bartlam.

The RPC will be contacting Anglia Railways and Network Rail in a bid to get their suggested improvements carried out.

One of the points they will be making about the stations visited yesterday is a need for improved signs both on and off the stations.

"The railway stations can be difficult to find for visitors or people new to the area and better direction signs would be appropriate.

"There is also a need for clearer signs on the stations advising members of the public about what services and bus links are available," said Mr Bartlam.

The RPC was formerly known as the Rail Users' Consultative Committee and was set up to champion the interests of rail passengers.

Committee secretary Guy Dangerfield said: "Our purpose in inspecting 50 stations in eastern England this year is to identify quick win improvements for passengers _ things like getting a new bench put in a waiting shelter, repairs to vandalism damage, or getting signage improved.

"We are also looking out for examples of best practice that can be copied at other stations."

RPC Eastern England represents the interests of passengers in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, the greater part of Essex and Lincolnshire, and parts of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

"Following the visits the RPC will work with train operators and Network Rail to make sure that any improvements for passengers we identify go ahead as soon as possible," said Mr Dangerfield.

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