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have long queues in front of them and, to add to the misery, Norwich’s new barrier system now seems to be only half- working. It’s impossible to make

a spontaneous decision to just hop on a train and go somewhere because buying the tickets is a nightmare. I’d like to know why the

cutbacks in staff and services were made – National Express East Anglia has made Norwich station into a thoroughly miserable place.

Mark Cooper


On the buses

I am with you on your comments in your opinion column (May 2010 issue). Personally, I think the

London Buses system of franchising is best. The

organisation stipulates standards, fares and services and then franchises out the routes. The operator puts a small(ish) logo on the buses it runs. Standardisation on rail

is needed – just look at the difference between first class on Southern, SWT, FGW and GNER, for example. With a British Rail equivalent of LBL, passengers could be more assured of a standard service offered throughout the network. I suggest lines be called such

regional or other appropriate names as Southern, South Western, East Coast and Midland consistently, and the franchisees then run them as such, again just putting a smallish branding or statement such as ‘This Southern train is operated by Deutsche Bahn/ First/Arriva’ (or whatever) as and when the franchisee

changes. Save these crazy re- brandings. I suppose, if the company

wishes, they could be allowed to put up a poster saying ‘This railway is now under new management’ if it was felt appropriate! So the ScotRail idea seems a good ’un…

Eric Stuart


Any colour you want, as long as it’s red

Congratulations to Katie Silvester on the Rail Professional opinion (May 2010 issue) on the idiocy of spending tax- payers money on continual re-branding, especially as she exposes the long-held suspicion of most of us in the industry of the general public’s continuing belief in the existence of ‘British Rail’, especially when used in a derisory context.

When London bus routes

were being franchised, Mayor Ken Livingstone insisted that the livery should remain consistently red, irrespective of the franchisee, as the red ‘bus was as synonymous with London as Big Ben’; and so it has proved. Perhaps the DfT should

follow the example and insist on a ‘Britain’s Railways’ livery with the franchisee being identified by a name and address just above the sole- bar at each end of the unit/ locomotive. Consistency of route names

could then be maintained avoiding sillies like ‘First Capital Connect’ providing the majority of services at City Thameslink!

Jim Gibbons FCILT FIRO,

Sanderstead Surrey

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