Tony Potts writes:
On 2 February David and I attended the Community Rail drop-in meeting at Carlisle. We were able to speak to Christopher Winfield from Network Rail, who told us that the May timetable change would be delayed for some eight weeks as the delays to the Manchester-Bolton-Preston electrification have meant that the introduction of electric trains will be thus delayed and diesel units not be released for the extra trains planned. The West Cumbria Mining scheme is going before the planners in March, and the Nugen scheme is “moving”. Network Rail are hoping to know what is to be done to resolve the flooding problem at Aspatria by March, and the track between Parton and Harrington is to be relaid in August. The collapse of Carillion has caused some problems, but they are being addressed.
.We also met Warren Birch, the new Community Rail Officer replacing Laurence Hilland who is retiring. Warren is coming to our next Community Rail meeting so others will have a chance to meet him.
On 8 February I attended the TravelWatch North West meeting in Lancaster. There I asked Craig Harrop about the promised introduction of the Sunday service in May. The shortage of units referred to above should not apply here on Sundays. As these are mentioned in the current timetable and in Trudy Harrison MP’s article on the Cumbrian Railways Association newsletter, they have to happen! He replied that they were to have a meeting on 8 March to decide what they could and couldn’t do from May, and he will let me know as soon as possible.
In his talk, he mentioned that Arriva are paying the receivers weekly in advance so that the work being done by Carillion can continue. The problems with the Class 37 trains are being discussed.
We have been asked to meet Daniel Puddicombe, a freelance journalist who is writing an article for Rail magazine on our local line. As David is likely to be away, I have told Daniel I shall meet him at Barrow and accompany him on the train to Carlisle. Let us hope that there are no problems with the Class 37 trains on that day.
Most of the scaffolding used for the roof replacement at Carlisle has now been removed.