Posted By CRUG

March Blog

Tony Potts wrote for the annual general meeting:

Yet another year when we have seen variations in the situation. The much-heralded introduction of Sunday services south of Whitehaven, promised as part of the new franchise for December next, is now delayed until May 2018 due to the slowing down of the Great Western electrification scheme. This has meant that diesel units (DMU) which were meant to come north to supplement services are to be kept down south pro tem. This doesn’t ameliorate the disappointment felt when, after years of campaigning, Sunday trains south of Whitehaven are being put back again.

The performance of the locomotive hauled trains (LHCS) has fluctuated somewhat, with the award of Modern Railways’ “Silver Spanner” to DRS at Carlisle for them prompting letters from FLAG and us giving the true picture.

The difficulties experienced were compounded on 13 March by RMT conductor guards striking for a day over the matter of driver only trains (DOO). I was rung at home by Radio Cumbria about this, but was at work. I left a message on their (Barrow) answering machine, saying that while we are opposed to DOO, we deplore the fact that strike action has been taken. After all the work we do to promote the use of our local line, it is disheartening to have the rug pulled from under our feet by a strike.

At the TravelWatch North West meeting at Warrington on 9 February, Arriva Trains North’s (ATN) managing director Alex Hynes promised inter alia more Harrington humps throughout the area. I notice that Whitehaven’s has been extended to cater for LHCS trains and to allow passengers to board and alight from two doors of a DMU. ATN have appointed Sharon Keith as their Regional Director North. I have been in contact with her and am hoping for a meeting.

West Cumbria Mining are to apply in May or June for planning permission for their mine, which would necessitate a long siding between Mirehouse junction and St Bees to accommodate the trains of coal (northwards) and waste (southward).

At a hustings meeting for the Copeland by-election, I said that of all the literature on the topic which had come through my door, only one had mentioned our local train service. I asked the candidates to give their views on the matter. Their replies showed that their perceptions were based on media reports and hearsay. The report in the Whitehaven News called me Mr Fox so I called in and gave my real name.

We were saddened to hear of the death of Keith Bradshaw, one of our founder members, who edited our newsletter.

In April 2016, our local line featured in Paul Merton’s programme Secret stations, which showed Braystones.

Nugen have been asking St Bees residents if they can put equipment in gardens to measure vibrations.

A group such as ours cannot operate without the help of officers and those members who attend meetings regularly and undertake the tasks necessary to keep matters going. I give them my grateful thanks and hope that they will continue.

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