9th May 2013

SHREWSBURY & ABERYSTWYTH RAIL LIAISON COMMITTEE 

MINUTES Of a meeting held on

Thursday 9th May 2013 at 11am in the

Council Chamber of Welshpool Town Hall, Broad Street, Welshpool

 

Present were:

Cllr Mansel Williams Chair (Shropshire Council)

Trevor Roberts Vice Chair (WCR250)

Ben Davies (Arriva Trains)

Cllr Eryl Jones-Williams (Gwynedd County Council)

Cllr Ray Quant (Ceredigion County Council)

Chris Wilson (TraCC)

Angus Eickhoff (SARPA)

Cllr Michael Williams (Powys County Council & Machynlleth Town Council)

Cllr Frank Torrens (Newtown Town Council)

Cllr Simon Jones (Shropshire Council)

Matt Johnson (Shropshire Council)

Mike Horne (5AT Group)

 

1.         Apologies for absence

Apologies for absence were received from Roger Goodhew and

Cllr A Wallbank.

 

2.         Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the last meeting were accepted as a correct record.

Angus Eickhoff asked if the action section of the Minutes could be extended to include all actions agreed so that those who volunteered action are accountable.

 

3.         Presentation on Steam Engines

A presentation was given by Mike Horne on Modern Steam Engines with the following points of note:

 

i)                    5AT are a design and research group.

ii)                  Modern Steam engines are more efficient in all aspects.

iii)                Cost of and engine is probably around £3m new.

iv)                Engines would be oil fired to stop lineside fires.

v)                  ETRMS could be included in any new engine.

vi)                Full information can be gained from the new web site at

www.5AT.co.uk

There were some questions for Mike Horne.
It was pointed out that the lack of the steam service on the Cambrian Line has affected tourism.

 

4.         Actions taken since the last meeting

The Secretary confirmed the actions that  had been taken since the last meeting as follows:

 

4.1     Consideration to be given to the buffet lunch provision.

The Chair and Secretary had discussed the buffet lunch and it was felt

that it should continue but with just sandwiches and orange juice.

 

4.2    Secretary to speak to Mark Fitch on the Welshpool Footbridge.

The Secretary gave a report on the bridge repairs which are still

unsatisfactory and works are still to be done. The Secretary is continuing

discussions with PCC to gain a good result

 

4.3    Chair & Secretary to consider WAG position on the hourly service.

This item is included on the agenda.

 

4.4    Chair & Secretary to consider combining mtgs of interest groups.

The Chair is still considering this item which will no doubt take its course.

 

4.5     Vice Chair to be considered at next meeting.

This item has been added to the agenda.

 

4.6     Agenda and minutes to be sent out by post next time.

The agenda and minutes have been sent out by post and email.  It is proposed that this shall continue to be the practice.

 

4.7     Letters seeking funding from three County Councils to be sent.

Letters seeking funding from the 3 County Councils for the year to 31.3.2014 have been sent.  The payment from PCC for the year to 31.3.2013 is still awaited

although an invoice was asked for by them in March.

 

4.8     Letter to each Town and Community Council on the route to see

  what station enhancements might be needed with an improved

  service.

The letters were sent to each Council with replies received from Caersws, Machynlleth and Welshpool.  These have been included with the agenda papers.

 

4.9       Machynlleth Disabled Access

Chris Wilson updated the meeting on the progress with regard to the works to improve disabled access to Machynlleth Station.  Works are due to be completed

by March 2014.  Funding is in place with the slight shortfall being met via WAG funds.

 

4.10    Information on the ETRMS

At the last meeting Angus Eickhoff promised to pass information to the Chair on the ETRMS system and it was confirmed that this was done.

 

5.         Election fo a Vice Chair

The meeting elected Trevor Roberts as the Vice Chair.

 

6.         Financial Report

The meeting was presented with the annual accounts which show a balance at the end of the year of £507 after taking into account the PCC years contribution.

A copy is attached to the minutes of this meeting.

The Secretary asked if the meeting wanted the accounts audited, the meeting confirmed that there was no need for such actions at this time.

 

7.         TraCC Report

The TraCC Report was presented by Chris Wilson as follows:

 

7.1             Machynlleth Station

The disabled access works are being completed.

The extension to car parking has been considered but is subject to funding.

 

7.2             Carno and Bow Street Stations

Subject to funding and support from the rail industry these stations could re-open. However there is no dates set for any such re-opening.

 

7.3             Aberystwyth Station

The works to the bus station area have been completed and the remaining works to improve the station are due to commence soon.

 

7.4             Network Rail consultation

There is a Network Rail consultation which can been found on their web site.  It was suggested that any such consultations should involve the local councils much more.

 

8.         Arriva Trains Report

The Arriva Trains Report was published in March.

Other items of interest were presented by Ben Davies as follows:

 

8.1.      Performance figures

The performance figures for March were poor down to 89% but this was mainly due to poor weather conditions.  The figures improved in April to 96%.

 

8.2       Passenger numbers

The passenger numbers along the line have increased overall.

The numbers for annual use for each station are:

 

Shrewsbury              1,738,104

Welshpool                    117.492

Newtown                      124,132

Caersws                         46,687

Machynlleth                 124,077

Aberystwyth                 316,597
It was also reported by the WAG that passenger numbers on the line had increased 100% over the past 10 years.

 

8.3       Ticket machines

It was confirmed that there will be ticket machines installed on the platforms at Welshpool and Caersws by July 2013.

 

8.4       Wrexham track work

During August there will be works to improve the single track section between Chirk and Wrexham with some double track.

This work will mean the line being blocked for 14 days.

 

8.5       London Service from Shrewsbury

It was confirmed that from 16th December 2013 there will be a Virgin train service from Shrewsbury to London via Wellington,

Telford, Stafford and Rugby leaving Shrewsbury at 07.05.  The Welshpool service will link and to aid this the 06.40 may run slightly earlier.

 

8.6       Borth Station 150 year celebrations

There is to be a celebration at the station and Arriva Trains have contributed funds to aid this event.

 

9.         Hourly Train Service

The enhanced service was considered again with the following matters of note:

 

i)          The works to complete the line ready for an hourly service is expected by the summer of 2013.

ii)         To train extra drivers and conductors will need a 12 month time period.

iii)        There is no spare rolling stock and new stock would take around

3 years to gain.

iv)        It was confirmed that any train set with the ETRMS system fitted could operate on the line.

v)         An hourly service implemented in the next two years would be run on the basis of 2 car units which may lead to crowding issues.

vi)        Arriva Trains are working with Network Rail on an hourly service timetable.

vii)       Hourly service was envisaged for 2015 by the WAG.

 

9.1       Aspirations of the Committee:

The aspirations of the Committee with regard to the hourly service is to be:

 

i)          An hourly train service on both the main line and the coast line

ii)         A four carriage service on all main line trains

iii)        Such services to be in place as soon as practically possible with

WAG funding

IV)       To see the re-introduction of the Cambrian Steam service

 

 

 

 

9.2       Action to be taken forward:

The Committee agreed that the following actions be taken forward:

 

The Aspirations to be communicated to the Minister & Others

A meeting is sought with both Edwin Hart & Dafydd Ellis-Thomas

The meeting to take place in Cardiff if necessary

 

10.       Network Rail Report

The report has been issued in March and was received.

 

11.       British Transport Police Report

The report has been issued in March and was received.

 

12.       Other matters discussed

The following items were also discussed at the meeting:

 

12.01  Bus Service to Welshpool Station

The Secretary confirmed that discussions were being finalised with the Old Station so that the bus could turn around in their

car park. Once this has been finalised the bus can stop there as a matter of course to pick up and drop off passengers.

 

12.2    Web Site

The meeting considered the preparation of a new web site separate from the Welshpool Town Council web site.

It was AGREED that Welshpool should continue to host the site and that the matter be re-visited in 2 years time.

 

13.       Date of the next meeting:

The date of the next meetings are to be:

Friday 5th July 2013 at 11.15am Town Hall Welshpool.

Friday 25th October 2013 at 11.15am Town Hall Welshpool.

 

14.       Actions to be taken forward form the meeting:

The following actions are to be taken forward from the meeting:

 

a)         Meetings with Edwina Hart and Dyffad Ellis-Thomas to be sought asap in Cardiff.

b)         Agenda and Minutes to be sent out in both email and paper form.

c)         Follow up bridge works at Welshpool Station.

d)         Follow up bus service at Welshpool Station.

e)         Network Rail, the British Transport Police and the Aberystwyth University are to be reminded of the importance of this meeting.

f)          Chase up invoices from the County Councils and in particular

PCC for the year to 31.3.2013.

g)                 Circulate a copy of the Town and Community Council letters to all relevant parties.