Tony Potts writes:
On 17 April I caught the 1608 train from Corkickle to collect my car from Workington. All went well, until, on the single line between Parton and Harrington, the loco lost power and came to a halt. The driver tried to reset matters but to no avail. As the electricity was off, the toilets wouldn’t flush. After several announcements, one of which said that a rescue loco would push us back to Parton, then another saying we would be towed to Workington, the loco arrived at 1846, but, due to difficulties with the brakes etc didn’t start us off until 1927. We arrived at Workington at 1943, 3 hours 9 minutes late. Throughout the delay, the young conductress kept us all advised as cheerfully as she could.
On 21 April I attended the Furness Line Action Group AGM at Carnforth. Some details of the new timetable were shown, but not in a state which could be reproduced easily. It was mentioned that Northern’s Regional Director, Sharon Keith, is moving to another position.
However, we welcome the promised introduction of Sunday trains south of Whitehaven from 20 May. Details were given in the Whitehaven News of 3 May. In addition, I am able to reveal that Whitehaven’s booking office is to be open on Sundays from 20 May from 0930 until 1630 for a trial period of eight weeks. It occurs to me that these times might be useful for booking advance tickets.
On 9 May the RMT staged yet another strike over the guards on trains issue. During the morning they had a picket outside Workington station. This sort of thing is compounding the poor reliability issue, and it is no wonder that people are preferring to drive to West Coast main line or Furness line stations rather than go for a local train which might be cancelled or so late that they miss their connections.
The announcement that the Rail Delivery Group is carrying out a public consultation on the simplification of the ticketing system has excited interest. Why they can’t introduce a system where, when a passenger asks about a rail ticket, the booking clerk asks the computer for the fare from point A to point B and can obtain the lowest practical fare, with alternatives if available?
According to Transport Minister Jo Johnson, a hydrogen-powered train is on trial in the Lake District. Perhaps we should look out for this, even though there isn’t one!
West Cumbria Mining is holding open days at the Haig Pit on 17 May (1400-1900), 18 May (1000-1600) and 19 May (0900-1500).
On 14th June I shall be attending the TravelWatch North West meeting at Blackpool on behalf of the group.
Trudy Harrison MP’s article in the evening Mail on timetable changes paid tribute to CRUG along with Northern and Network Rail.
There was a passenger survey on the train today.
In Cumbria reports that there will be a free shuttle bus from Carlisle station to the airport.