Tony Potts writes:
The introduction of the new timetable on 20 May last has not caused as many problems locally as elsewhere. The emergency timetable from 4 June has not seen us lose any trains.
I travelled on the first (0947) train from Whitehaven to Barrow on 20 May and wrote a report -for our newsletter. Contrary to fears expressed locally that there might not be enough staff for all the trains, the services ran on time, with most stations affording one or more passengers.
On 19 May I had been interviewed on the subject by Richard Corrie from BBC Radio Cumbria. The interview was broadcast on 21 May. CRUG was also mentioned on BBC TV’s text page under the heading, ‘Cumbria rail service back after 40 years’, saying that it was an end to isolation for rural communities.
On 4 June Arriva Rail North’s Managing Director David Brown was interviewed on BBC TV Breakfast about the problems caused by the new timetable. Unfortunately, he couldn’t answer the interviewer’s question as to why there were still short-notice cancellations even after the emergency timetable had been instituted, simply saying that it would take two or three days to “bed in”.
Also that day, I saw on Look North that the new Maryport transport hub (car park and steps to the platform) was to be officially opened in the afternoon. I rang Dawn McGough to ask why we had not been invited. Her reply was that she was not responsible for issuing the invitations, but she would ask them to include us in any future such events. On arrival at Maryport by train, I noticed that both shelters were strewn with litter which had been caused by large birds such as seagulls and jackdaws pecking the bottoms of the polythene litter bags, causing the contents to fall out and be scattered. Dawn appeared and photographed the sight, and Warren Birch and I picked up the litter and put it into three shopping bags which were lying around. Joining the others in the car park, I noticed Chris Cutts, who is now the Deputy Chairman of the Community Rail Partnership, along with the Mayor of Maryport, a Maryport Councillor and Flimby Councillor Keith Little who holds the transport portfolio for the county. Also in attendance were County Council staff, representatives of the builders, local media and Border TV. The broadcast, however, was a little disappointing as they showed only the interview with Cllr Little.
On 6 June at 0715 I was interviewed by Radio Cumbria again on the matter, and on 7 June I was interviewed on the train between Maryport and Carlisle by BBC News Political Correspondent Luke Walton for Sunday Politics, to be shown on 10 June. Co-incidentally, Warren was on the same train, but was going only as far as Workington.
At the time of writing, although printed timetables were promised from 1 June, they were not yet available. Northern is issuing leaflets encouraging passengers to download the details onto their smartphones instead.