Tony Potts writes:
After a very successful AGM we are now back to more prosaic matters. These last 14 days have seen yet more disruption to the service due to failures not only of loco hauled trains (LHCS) but units and infrastructure. As an example, the failure of an LHCS train on 1 April led to the substitution of a single Class 153, which was so overcrowded that, I was told, no-one else could board after Parton. As if all these were not enough, the threatened strike for 8 April is doing even more damage. The strike service is similar to the last one, viz a few trains between Workington and Barrow, with buses to and from Carlisle.
An interesting point from Nigel Harris’ talk at the AGM was that the matter in dispute, driver only operation, has been forced on the train operating companies (TOCc) by the Department for Transport, yet the government’s response to the e-petition on this point is that it is a matter for Arriva Trains North (ATN). I wonder just who is passing the buck on this. A report in the Evening News and Star on 4 April says that last-ditch talks to avoid the strike are under way, but at the time of writing I hadn’t heard anything.
The standby locomotive for the LHCS trains does not yet seem to be here, although on one occasion one was sent from Sellafield to assist a breakdown.
ATN’s Sharon Keith has given an update on the current situation, as well as inviting us to a stakeholders’ meeting on 3 May at Preston. This will be attended by Craig Harrop and Martin Keating, ATN’s Community Rail Stakeholder Manager, and is an all-day meeting. Unfortunately I am unable to attend, but Sharon Keith’s PA, Sharon Jones, can be contacted about matters.
A letter has been received from the Furness Line Action Group (FLAG) thanking us for inviting them to our AGM and inviting us to theirs at Carnforth Station on 22 April at 1330.
In addition to becoming Friends of Workington station, the Workington Transport Heritage Trust has started to tend the floral displays at Whitehaven Bransty.