Minutes of meeting with Michael Fabricant – MP on 2nd Feb 18

Minutes of Meeting in Kings Head, Bird Street, on Friday 2nd February 2018@ 8pm

Present: M Fabricant MP, Chairman-A Thompson, J Adams, R Henshaw, R Hockney, D Bathurst, P Cousins, K Fitch (Chase Group), D James, I Jackson, Fr A Dykes (new member),G Wilcox, P Bates, R Rathbone, V Wasdell, A Yip (guest).

Apologies for Absence:
D Dixon, G Hudson, R Hartley, P Martin, G Lusher, M Frayn, R Patching

Mr Fabricant advised that he had met Jan Choudry Van der Velde, Chief Executive, West Midlands Trains and raised with him the issues that he had previously raised with the Chief Exec of London Midland and which are very similar to our issues;

1. Installation of lifts at LTV is reasonably on schedule with work planned to start in summer 2018 and completion in 2019
2. Toilets: WM Trains looking at providing external access (which might include CCTV) when the ticket office is closed
3. Ramp for access from new car park. LM did not apply for a grant because it leases rather than owns the site. WM will put forward a case for funding for this essential improvement. (NB it needs to be available by the time the lifts are operational, ideally before)

1. Re-opening of the line from Lichfield to Burton for passenger services. MF has discussed with Midlands Connect who are now keen to see the line opened with a stop at NMA.
2. Has met the Chairman of the NMA Board who advised that annual visitor number now total 400,000 – all of whom travel by road. The implication is that the Board would be happy to see a railway station to serve the site.
3. Has discussed with Network Rail who advise that the line is licensed only for slow speeds at present and will need improved tracking and signalling; but this not perceived to be a major stumbling block
At Last – it appears that we might be pushing at an opening door

1. WM CEO recognises that toilets should be available. Possible reinstatement with access from waiting room, possibly with UV lighting.
2. CEO in discussion with Lichfield DC to improve station appearance as part of Friarsgate development
3. MF suggested that our group might wish to follow the example of Glossop Group in taking responsibility for station and platform appearance. Discuss at next meeting

We have asked for clarification about extension of existing franchise and lack of consultation for its renewal even though HS2 will be launched before a new WCML franchise.
MF understand that there are already 3 potential bidders but there will be no bidding before 2024 but he will seek confirmation from DfT . In the meantime he will continue to press for improved services and to protect existing services beyond HS2.
MF surprised to hear that Abellio is considering seeking to extend services beyond Crewe to Manchester Airport.

We believe that the demand for a re-opening of this service (and to make it part of a Wolverhampton to Derby service) has many benefits – avoiding New Street congestion for Black Country journeys to and from the north east, improving commuter services to Birmingham from Burntwood and Brownhills, to offset congestion on A5, A38 corridor and urban traffic flow between Lichfield and Wolverhampton. MF has offered to facilitate discussion with West Midlands Head of Transport (and others as appropriate)

See MF’s contribution to parliamentary debate re Phase 2A and existing route (attached below)

we expressed concern that rail fares continue to rise but there is no additional tax on vehicle fuel. Little sympathy from our MP who re-affirmed the policy that the user will be the main source of income for rail services.
The benefits (or anomalies) that “split ticketing” is used to obtain the cheapest price was discussed. WILL MEMBERS PLEASE ADVISE SECRETARY NO LATER THAN THE NEXT MEETING OF ACCURATE EXAMPLES WHERE SPLIT TICKETING IS USED TO OBTAIN A CHEAPER FARE – MF will take this issue to the DfT.

“BRIDGE BASHING” yet another instance reported in this week’s Lichfield Mercury. The disruption to rail passengers is generally longer than that suffered by road users and the bulk of the restoration costs are suffered by Network Rail with only a small proportion covered by the offender. Suggested that stiffer penalties for the hauliers needed. Mr F will take up with DfT

Pedestrian safety needs to be improved in the northbound car park, in particular better lighting and possible re-alignment of the parking spaces. Mr F will take up with WM Trains. Dear Michael

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