Tyne & Wear Public

Transport Users Group


Great North Eastern Railways, We hope - a blog by Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor


Time to stop the rail fare rise! #nofarerise


Message from Dennis Fancett, Chair of The South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG). Sent: 27 August 2019:

Northumberland County Council is now undertaking a public consultation on the Ashington re-opening (which the Council now call The Northumberland Line) at different locations along the route. Details are in the attached link: https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/News/2019/Aug/Public-s-view-sought-on-rail-line-plans.aspx, and I believe the Council are also taking other steps to advise affected residents. It would be great to get along to one of the events and express your strong support for the proposals, both phase 1 and phase 2, and beyond that Seghill, Woodhorn & Newbiggin and the further possibilities SENRUG has articulated.


Please don’t forget our public meeting on Thursday 12th September, 19.30 at Morpeth Town Hall – guest speaker Chris Cunningham from LNER. I look forward to seeing you all there.


Eco-friendly train firm creates new jobs ahead of schedule | Bdaily News


Tracking passengers who need assistance | Transport Network


Transport Select Committee inquiry launched into trains fit for the future


Click here to view South East Northumberland Rail Users Group (SENRUG) newletters.


Railfuture Conference 2019 - click here for details.


Metro frequency 'will not be compromised', Newcastle Chronicle article, 4th February 2019. Opens as a PDF.


£3.5m for next steps of major rail project in south-east Northumberland.


Metro struggling to keep drivers due to attractive salaries at larger rail firms.


2nd January 2019 Joint RMT and Labour Rail Campaign Day demo, protesting the 3.1% fare increases after one of the worst years in Rail History. See our Facebook event page for details.


Intercity East Coast franchise report to be published 12 September 2018.


Labour launches rare bid to dock Transport Secretary Chris Grayling's wages by £2,400 over East Coast line franchise fiasco.


Alstom makes hydrogen trains pledge


The Great British Train Robbery - a video by Renegade Inc, featuring the director of We Own It, Cat Hobbs, and Nicole Badstuber, a transport policy researcher at University College London (running time 28 minutes).


A 'Thank you' to the British people for privatising our railways - a short TSSA video.


South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG) are holding a public meeting on Tuesday 17th April 2018, 7.30 pm at Morpeth Town Hall, Market Place, Morpeth, NE61 1LZ. Guest Speaker Graham Jellett, a TWPTUG and SENRUG member, will give an illustrated talk on "New French Light Systems in the 21st Century". Click here for further details.


Email sent to TWPTUG from We Own It (29/12/2017):

This week, we’re excited that the Guardian and the Mirror covered our campaign to bring the East Coast railway line into public ownership!


We also discussed the campaign on Radio 4’s PM programme (listen from 12:52) – although the government and the train companies declined to join us...


We made the news because we've got YOU behind us! So far, nearly 14,000 of you have signed the petition calling on Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to make East Coast public, instead of repeating the failures of privatisation.


If you haven't signed the petition yet - please sign here.


If you have signed the petition, thank you! Please consider making a donation to support the campaign in 2018. Your support will give us the power we need to challenge this ideological government.


We’ll be back in the New Year with the next steps for the campaign.


Thanks for taking action to put passengers and the public before shareholders. See you in 2018!


Cat, Ellen, Biba and the We Own It team


PS We believe public services are the best thing humans have ever invented. Check out Cat’s speech to 1500 people (!) at the Labour rally alongside Corbyn a few weeks ago (Click on You Tube video on the right or on the link below).




Copyright © 2017 We Own It, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:


We Own It

The Old Music Hall

106-108 Cowley Road

Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 1JE

United Kingdom


Next year's rail fares rise has been announced. Join the campaign to make rail fares fair!


RAILFUTURES vice-president Peter Rayner is calling for a compromise in the current disputes over the future role of train guards and drivers:




Please note our next branch meeting will take place on Thursday 27th April at 7pm, Shakespeare Hall, North Road, Durham City, DH1 4SQ. Guest speaker will be Graham Meiklejohn, Regional Development Manager from Transpennine Express explaining the exciting new plans that TPE have for the region with new trains and new travel opportunities. Click here for map.



Most December 2017 timetable changes are being deferred until May 2018 due to the lack of cascaded units caused by over-running electrification, which has also exacerbated Northern’s rolling stock shortage. The phased withdrawal of Class 158 Sprinter units for “as new” refurbishment will compound the problem. Two are in service on the Calder Valley line; future units will address unsatisfactory aspects of these prototypes, eg with brand new seating. A refurbished Class 150 unit also proved unsatisfactory, and has been returned to the works.


In consultation with industry and the trades union, the Office of Rail and Road, the rail regulator has published six high-level safety principles it expects train companies to follow when rolling out and managing Driver Controlled Operation (DCO):


• Trains need to be compatible with the platforms that they use and the method of operation at these platforms.


• Station platforms need to be compatible with the trains using them and they must support the methods of operation.


• The nature of the operation with the train and platform need to be assessed. This includes consideration of passenger needs and behaviour.


• Staff should be trained and competent.


• The implementation should be planned.


• The system should be managed through its whole life, with improvements adopted.


RMT members vote for action on Arriva Rail North over failure to give assurances on guards - union confirms strike date. Further information can be found at



What has rail franchising achieved?

Transport journalist CHRISTIAN WOLMAR continues the Railway Study Association’s theme for the year as he puts forward his view on privatisation (opens as a PDF.)



The latest and recent editions of  Rail User Express can be found at www.railfuture.org.uk/Rail%20User%20Express



Please note our next branch meeting will take place on Thursday 16th February at 7pm, CastleGate, Melbourne Street, Newcastle, NE1 2JQ. Guests will be Nigel Harris Managing editor of Rail magazine and transport journalist Christian Wolmar.



The GRIP 2 report on the re-introduction of passenger trains to Ashington envisages heavy rail (not Metro) services from Newcastle running half-hourly in the peak, and hourly or half-hourly off-peak. SENRUG would like to see a station at Seghill, but that is not critical. The £191M cost estimate includes a 40% contingency, and a signalling upgrade that would be required whether or not there was a passenger service. The NCC hopes to commission GRIP 3 by December and GRIP 4 by October 2018, with trains running in 2021


The dispute between Scotrail and the RMT union has been resolved: drivers will open train doors; conductors will close them. Also, conductors will continue to be paid and trained to full train and trackside safety competency. However, the agreement does not read across to Southern, as the Scotrail franchise specifies two staff members on every train.


On the East Coast line, catering services at weekends are poor: often there is no trolley service, and even in first class only sandwiches are available; proper meals have never appeared. It seems that VTEC are not recruiting sufficient staff, and RF North East wonder if VTEC have promised more than they can deliver.

Posted 21 November 2016


RAILRail regulator approves new East Coast Mainline services:


Applications made by Virgin Trains East Coast and FirstGroup to run new train services between Edinburgh and London on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) have been approved.


The Office of Rail and Road (ORR), which gave the operations the green light, said they would benefit passengers travelling to Middlesbrough, York, Newcastle, Morpeth, Lincoln, Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Stevenage. (4 May 2016, RMT Press Office)

Posted 15 May 2016


Cheap train trips from North East to London on way after First Group win service approval


RMT warns of new threat to UK rail jobs and services as Deutsche Bahn opens door to speculators.

Posted 6 May 2016


Rail User Express Newsletter, March 2016 (opens a PDF)


Protect Northern rail services and Northern jobs!


Rail services, jobs and passenger safety in Northern England are under threat by a new Northern Rail franchise beginning on 1 April.


The TUC and rail unions’ Action for Rail campaign is calling for a decent and properly staffed railway for the North.


Come along to our rally on 31 March in Manchester and make your voice heard!



NEXUS lobby

Metro Futures Parliamentary Promotion with TWPTUG Chair, Vicki Gilbert, and NECA South Tyneside Transport Committee members, Cllrs Alan Smith and Gladys Hobson.