July blog

Tony Potts writes:

The Community Rail Fair at Carlisle on 8 June did not produce any new members for us, but I was able to talk to other groups, such as the Lakes Line. In addition, my wife brought two of our grandchildren who enjoyed the opportunity to sit in the driving seat of the DRS loco on show.
given by Gary Brogan, Director, Rail North Partnership and Jim Bamford, Head of Investment Planning, Transport for the North (TfN). Most of Mr Brogan’s talk was about the problems encountered in the Manchester area with the timetable change in May 2018, although he did mention the possibility of battery-powered trains on the Windermere branch.
Mr Bamford’s talk was about investment in the existing rail network. This is to bring about a standard in the whole of the North West of England. This is to be done in a cost-effective manner, the cheapest way possible. The key words are Connectivity, Capacity, Customer,
I attended the Travel Watch North West meeting at Preston on 13 June to hear a talk on communication and cost-effectiveness. There has been very strong growth.
The aim is to have two trains per hour on all routes for most of the day, but local conditions may apply. Barrow to Whitehaven cannot justify two trains per hour. To give two trains per hour between Whitehaven and Carlisle would need an extra train set, as a total of six vehicles plus 48 staff would be required. In addition, line speeds would need to be increased. The revenue would be only 3% of costs. However, if the Carlisle – Newcastle trains were to be sped up, a unit could be released for this line. When I asked about future investment on our line, I was referred to the Cumbrian Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP).
The plan put forward by the CLEP is being fully supported by Transport for the North Even so, this would not address decades of under-investment.
Subsequently, it was announced on 3 July that the Government is to give £7.5m of funding, with another £835,000 from the CLEP. I was interviewed about this by BBC Radio Cumbria on that day, but as I didn’t know the exact details of the plan, could only say that we need to have bottlenecks, such as single-line sections, removed, platforms raised and signalling improved. The representative from CLEP, who was also being interviewed, broadly agreed.

The Penalty Fares scheme came into effect, but on 30 June the ticket machines had not had the appropriate software for permission to travel tickets, which was supposed to be installed in the early hours of that day/

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