PRESENT T Thompson (Acting Chairman), R Henshaw, J Adams, , I Jackson, C Melloy, P Cousins, D James, R Hartley, V Wasdell, R Patching. Guest – D Whitley West Midlands Trains)
APOLOGIES from D Dixon, G Hudson, D Bathurst, P Bates, B Pretty, R Rathbone M Frayn,
A Hutchinson, P Martin
MINUTES of March meeting and AGM had been circulated. Matters arising covered by Press Officer’s (PO) report (in his absence) as follows:
- Chairman’s Annual Report to AGM had been sent to Lichfield Mercury, Express & Star, Burton Mail and Railfuture.
- PO and Chairman had met with Back the Track group who are working with Sustrans to maintain the former railway between Pelsall and Brownhills as a cycle track and greenway, and who are generally supportive of our aspiration to resurrect the route as a railway line.
- PO is trying to negotiate with West Midlands Trains for safety improvements to pedestrian access to LTV, and is trying to get a site meeting with the new Head of Stations for Cross City North stations.
DAVID WHITLEY provided details of the new franchise management team. There is no Head of Route but a variety of other jobs including his which is Customer Experience, Strategy and Innovation. The following topics were covered:
- PUNCTUALITY is in the low 80% the worst for 10 years
- TASK FORCE established with Network Rail about service issues because there is no allowance in the franchise agreement for an Autumn timetable. To prepare for this tree felling around Sutton Coldfield was started but then stopped.
- SUNDAY service will soon be doubled with 3 car trains
- SOCIAL MEDIA will be available from end of May to provide 24 hour cover.
- PENALTIES for performance failure(s) are demanding and could be as much as £2.3m pa
- PARKING – WMT own the car parks, Indigo Parking is their chosen service contractor, NR is responsible for maintenance – and have quoted £250k for a ramp between carpark and LTV southbound platform. This figure had been received by DW with absolute incredulity with which the meeting concurred!
- BIKE & GO – Lichfield identified as a possible outlet for this service
- NUMBER PLATE recognition to be available at both Lichfield car parks
- NEW TRAINS – will have 196 seats and 200 standing spaces and some tables. DW is working closely with Bombardier about on-train amenities and comfort.
- ELECTRONIC TICKETING using Smartphones will be developed during the period of the franchise.
- CITY STATION TOILETS – a plan is in place for these to be accessed by railway passengers. DW believes this will be introduced very soon and will keep us informed.
WEST COAST MAIN LINE
- David James had examined the Invitation to Tender (ITT). We believe that services to/from LTV will be protected but there is a loophole that the new operator can stay within a specific timeband but alter the current timings, which might detract from the present services. We should seek to meet the three bidders to make our views known. DJ/JA to prepare individual to each bidder
- Meeting on 7th June in Carlisle will hear from the three chosen bidders. It would be useful if we could attend but none of Committee is available. Lunch is provided and the group will pay the cost of travel – any member wishing to attend should contact Secretary for details.
WEST MIDLANDS TRANSPORT STRATEGY – Roger Hartley has reviewed what is a 10 year delivery plan with a proposed investment of £6.3bn. Staffordshire is not a partner to this and Lichfield only appears in a chart for rail services from Walsall to NMA. Unclear from the document how the various aspirations will be fulfilled or who will deliver. We will review the report ahead of a meeting on 12th June with the Committee and Jonathan Roberts, a consultant in new rail service projects.
HS2 – not usually a topic but the meeting asked for an approach to our MP to ascertain expenditure to date, budget management (and new forecasts) and a likely timetable for development work in our area. Secretary to prepare letter
DATA PROTECTION – following AGM Secretary had written asking members to confirm that they are happy for us to continue to retain their e-mail records and to send them information by e-mail. So far we have 18 replies so those members who have yet to reply are urged to do so.
NEXT MEETING 18th June