January blog

Tony Potts writes:

A happy New Year to all our members.

Things have been busy since our December meeting. The continued RMT strikes and the annual fares increase have sparked local media interest to the point of my being interviewed twice by BBC Radio Cumbria, having a request for a statement from the News and Star and from in-Cumbria for a brief article on how to make commuting more attractive. 

One interview on Radio Cumbria was jointly with Craig Johnson of the RMT, who said that he agreed with most of what I said. We have been led to believe that guards will still be kept on our local trains, as stated by Trudy Harrison in Prime Minister’s Questions, yet It is reported that when Mr Johnson was addressing a trades council in Lancashire he said that only the Whitby line would keep its guards.  

We need clarification on this, so should raise it at our next Cumbria Community Rail Partnership meeting in February. 

After learning that the Class 37 loco-hauled trains were to be withdrawn after 28 December, I decided not to risk cancellations on that day and travel on the day before from Whitehaven to Barrow-in-Furness and back. The outward journey was quiet, but the return train was remarkable in that the passengers were nearly all enthusiasts who were taking the same opportunity as I. 

I have been told about a group in Greater Manchester called Northern Resist. Its 3900 members send in reports of how poor Northern’s services are, and who would like British Rail to be brought back. 

Northern ran a farewell to the Class 37 trains on 11 January. This was run from Carlisle to Carnforth and back for £37 and used one of the trains top ‘n’ tailed with two Class 37s.  I saw this train at Whitehaven, meeting Iain Aldred and Jane Murray who alighted during the token stop.

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