Tony reported to the annual general meeting:
Although there have been disappointments, such as delays and cancellations and the continuing RMT strikes, several positive items have emerged during the last twelve months. The problems caused by the unreliability of the locomotive-hauled (LHCS) trains have been partially resolved by the substitution of a pair of Class 68 locos, one on both ends of the train, but at the cost of losing one carriage and the fact that southbound trains are unable to align with the Harrington humps at stations such as Whitehaven. This started on 12 March but, I am told,is to last only until September.
At long last, we now have an MP who is eager to improve our local train service and who is engaging with the various bodies involved to achieve this.
The major improvement is the announcement from Arriva Trains Northern on 22 March that from 20 May we are, after a long campaign, to have an improved service with later evening trains, and a Sunday service between Whitehaven and Barrow. Full details will not be available until 7 April.
Along with other members of the Committee, I have attended Community Rail meetings on 14 September 2017 and 5 December at Whitehaven and 2 February 2018 at Carlisle.
Carrol Johnson and I attended the Transport for the North (TfN) meeting at Whitehaven’s Beacon on 27 February. I expressed concerns that TfN’s major partners would wield more power than peripheral areas such as ours, but was assured that minimum standards would apply to all. There is a consultation on this to which replies are invited.
There have been two TravelWatch North West meetings on 12 October at Salford and 8 February. At both these and the Furness Line Action Group AGM on 22 April I lost no opportunity to make our case with the Northern representatives.
On 26 February I was interviewed by Daniel Puddlecombe, a freelance journalist who submits articles to RAIL magazine. I travelled with him from Barrow in Furness to Carlisle telling him about us and giving him one of our leaflets plus one from the Cumbrian Railways Association. He expects the interview to appear in RAIL soon.
An organisation such as ours cannot exist without the support of its members, so I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to those officers who carry out their duties faithfully and to all who regularly attend our monthly meetings, especially those who come along to the Community Rail and other meetings. My grateful thanks to you all.