Tony Potts writes:
On 5 December David, Lynette, Nigel, Terry and I attended the Community Rail Liaison Meeting at Blencathra House, Whitehaven.
In an attempt to encourage more employees to travel to Sellafield by train, Sellafield Ltd is to give interest-free loans to buy season tickets. An annual season will give the employee 12 weeks’ free travel, compared with the usual annual season. The installation of a free car park at Workington and that under construction at Maryport has given them the thought that more employees will use them for access to the trains. However, reliability has to be resolved first.
At a Cumbria Better Connected Campaign meeting at Ulverston on 20 October, Sharon Keith, Northern’s Regional Director West, said that Cumbria takes up a huge amount of her time, adding that this line is not her worst performing line, Liverpool is, but the difference is that Liverpudlians have other means of public transport, but Cumbria largely doesn’t. She also said that Northern are in talks with DRS about using more modern locomotives on the loco-hauled trains.
On 6 December I attended the public event held by West Cumbria Mining (WCM) which detailed the latest developments. Insofar as the rail aspect is concerned, they are now saying that six trains daily will be used, Mondays to Saturdays, during daylight hours, with none on Sundays. Destinations include Redcar, Port Talbot and Scunthorpe. The original idea of one train of waste per week to a disposal site near Barrow has been changed to using the old anhydrite workings, then when they are full, using exhausted coal workings, meaning that waste won’t leave the site. Although the line can currently accommodate only four additional train paths, which will be sufficient for the first three years of mining operations, the proposed changes to signalling between Maryport and Wigton will enable an extra train path per hour to be created, which is enough for WCM. The siding is to be accessed by a single point connection. A planning decision is expected in the new year. The chosen freight operator is Freightliner, who are to use Class 70 diesel-electric locos which are much quieter and have lower emissions.
My Class 37/40 diesel driving experience was cancelled at short notice, but has been rearranged for January. This will mean I shall be unable to attend our January meeting.