Don’t you believe it!
See below for examples of how the rail supporters use skewed statistics to show apparent support or to claim unrealistic benefits for the Stratford-upon-Avon to Honeybourne Line:
In an attempt to show support for the GRIP 4 study, the rail supporters polled the candidates in the Warwickshire Council elections of April 2017. Results obtained from their website were as follows:
Of the 42 candidates only 14 responded (including 3 late replies) or 33.3%
Out of these 14 responses, 13 supported the proposal and one was undecided
Thus, the support for a GRIP 4 Study was just 13 out of 42 or 30.9%
This clearly shows ambivalence towards a GRIP 4 study and the proposed railway. It is interesting that in a conversation with a member of SGG, one of the candidates admitted they only voted ‘yes’ because they considered the proposal so unrealistic that a study would stop it in its tracks. We wonder how many more had the same attitude?
There continue to be letters in the local press claiming, “The proposed rail link will therefore be good for all and has the declared support of 70% of residents.”
–This is stretching the facts too far as only 329 people voted in favour out of 470 replies, which is 70% of those who voted, but only 1.2% of Stratford’s population:.
Rail supporters carried out a survey during October 2011, asking Stratford-upon-Avon residents whether they were in favour of reinstating the Honeybourne Line.
11,062 questionnaires were delivered, thus polling 40.3% of Stratford’s resident population of 27,445 at the last count.
There were 470 responses, or 4.3% of those polled.
329 replied in favour, 70.0% of those who voted but only 1.2% of Stratford’s population.
It is reasonable to say that 470 responses is such a tiny figure that conclusions drawn from it carry no real weight in decision-making.–
UNREALISTIC BENEFIT CLAIMS
An article published by rail supporters, in support of the GRIP 4 Study, claimed reopening the railway would have two major benefits:
A Long Marston Parkway station would provide over 22,000 people with a home/work/direct rail service with Birmingham taking just 40 minutes.
The Stratford to Honeybourne Line would take 29,000 vehicles off local roads.
There was no explanation of how they arrived at these conclusions or the details of any calculation used. To say the least, these claims seem fanciful to us, particularly the second one.
There is a perception that building railways means a reduction in road traffic leading to less pollution, stemming from academic algorithms of passenger numbers based on population density. We would prefer to base our case on real-world experience of similar projects. Having undertaken extensive research over the last few years, we cannot find any firm evidence that reinstating a short branch line outside of an urban conurbation in the UK leads to substantially less road traffic. People like their cars and the convenience too much. Unless it can be demonstrated otherwise, this removes a major claimed benefit and we do not see how the Honeybourne Line can ever be financially viable. It is the wrong solution, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.