Tony Potts writes:
Once again our train service has been disrupted by strike action, this time on two days, 3 and 5 October. An e-mail from Sharon Keith, Northern’s Regional Director, gave some information about what services they planned to run, and expressed disappointment at the fact that the RMT aren’t entering into “meaningful discussions” on the subject. Northern’s improvements so far include 30 updated trains on their network, 60 new Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) and a figure of 111 stations to have new and upgraded facilities by this December.
It might help if Northern assured us that lines such as ours which are unsuitable for driver only operation trains would still have guards, then reports such as that in the Times and Star wouldn’t happen.
On 14 September David, Lynette, Nigel, Terry and I met Community Rail Manager Dawn McGough and Northern’s Station Manager, Cumbria, Chris Cutts, Regional Communities and Sustainability Manager, Martin Keating, and Regional Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Kyle Murray for the Community Rail Liaison Meeting. Another meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 5 December.
New ticket barriers have been installed at Barrow.
Because of the amount of misuse of the car park at Whitehaven, passengers parking there now have to show their ticket(s) and leave their registration numbers at the booking office. Anyone not so doing is liable to a fine.
According to reports, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has decided to spend £80m on introducing paperless ticketing, using mobile phones, barcodes and smartcards. He says that it is what passengers want(!).
There has been some controversy over what rolling stock is likely to be used on this line, as Muncaster Parish Council seem to be under the impression that the ex-District Line D72 trains, currently being converted to diesel operation, are to be used, but battery powered. This confusion may have arisen as old Thameslink Class 319 electrics have been refurbished for use in the north-west and some are being converted to bimodal use between Manchester Airport and Windermere. In view of the fact that the promised electrification has been cancelled, these trains (Class 769) seem to be a means of maintaining through services whilst still using electric traction for most of the journey.
The Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been in touch with the Secretary of State for Transport asking for more investment in Cumbria’s rail infrastructure. Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that £400m is to be spent on northern infrastructure, but so far no details have been forthcoming. Cumbria LEP board member for infrastructure Jim Jackson is eager to see such matters as the upgrading of our local line, according to reports.