Lichfield Rail Promotion Group:
Minutes of Meeting in Wade Street Church on Monday 11th September 2017. 8pm
Present: D Dixon (chairman), J Adams, A Thompson, G Hudson, R Hartley, P Bates, A Hutchinson, P Cousins, R Rathbone, D James, P Keane, M Frayn, KV Wasdell, R Hockney, P Martin, G Wilcox. Guests: James Strong, Daniel Wilcox.
Apologies for Absence – B Pretty, D Bathurst, D Smith, I Jackson
Cross City and former LM Franchise Chairman summarised the new franchise details with Abellio who will take over in December. New trains are planned for Cross-City with more standing space but possibly fewer seats; they will have toilets. Trains will be similar to London Overground rolling stock. Stoke will no longer be reached direct from Lichfield Trent Valley but will require a change at Stafford to connect into trains from Birmingham.
London Midland Chairman and Tony Thompson met at City Station Rob Hornsey and Tawhida Yaacoub (i/c local stations) who advised that toilets should be available later this year but only when ticket office is open. This is unsatisfactory – we asked for staff to be on hand for assistance and to lock up at night. (Extended ticket office hours not requested).
Ticket Machine has been vandalised – would this have happened if staff present? We asked for more ticket office staffing if a replacement machine is not quickly procured. We asked again that the information screens at both stations should not scroll, and expressed again the concern of members at the incidence of ticketless travel.
Good News – i) pigeon netting under roofs at City station,
ii) Gate installed on down platform to car park at LTV.
To address – i) pedestrian safety at LTV; a proper footpath is needed
ii) Access for All – LM expressed doubts about the timetable for lifts to be installed at LTV – they would press Network Rail/DfT for confirmation that March 2019 is still the target date.
Lichfield City Partnership – aimed at enhancing Lichfield. DD had attended “getting here” subgroup on Friday; a useful exchange of ideas. With this in mind had hoped for a more attractive link from the station through to the core of the city with the Friarsgate development – instead it looks like being an obstacle course of shops etc.
East Midlands Franchise – Chairman had circulated draft response to the consultation proposing a Derby-Lichfield-Birmingham International service, and had received comments from several people. He and Peter Cousins had attended briefing meetings. We wish to emphasise (i) the demand for rail travel between Lichfield/Derby/Nottingham and the north; (ii) the need for better connections between East and West Midlands; this should be a key plank of the Midlands Connect strategy but they have proved unenthusiastic so far; (iii) A38 gets busier and more dangerous with a high number of accidents. The Group supported the basis of the document. DD will circulate revised draft for final comments and early completion and circulate to Councils etc who might be persuaded to support it.
Franchises and Tendering: Daniel Wilcox, until recently with Ernst Young acting as a financial consultant to the DfT in the tendering process, gave an informative insight into the opportunities and risks that face potential franchisees, and how their response and tenders are assessed by the Department for Transport.
Next meeting 9th October, probably same venue – to be confirmed.