MINUTES OF MEETING ON 20th August 2018
PRESENT D Dixon (Chairman), D Bathurst, R Hartley, R Hockney, A Hutchinson, D James, R Rathbone, P Sheridan, J Sykes, T Thompson, V Wasdell, J Woodcock
APOLOGIES from J Adams, I Jackson, P Bates
MINUTES of July meeting had been circulated and were approved.
TRENT VALLEY STATION – Richard Rathbone reported on meeting with recently-appointed Station Manager for northern Cross-City, Dave Harris, on 15 August (Chairman also present). This followed months of fruitless correspondence with WMT about unsatisfactory walking route from Trent Valley Road to the station building. Mr Harris proposed (subject to agreement of colleagues) to install extra speed bumps nearer Trent Valley Road, and would consider a new walkway behind the fence by the pinch-point. WMT’s contractors did monitor illegal parking; penalty tickets were observed on some vehicles later that day. Asked when work on the new lifts (promised by March 2019 to our MP by the Department for Transport’s then junior Minister) would begin, he professed ignorance, but would investigate if LRPG provided evidence (done by email later in the day).
CROSS COUNTRY FRANCHISE CONSULTATION – Chairman’s draft response from the group discussed and amendments agreed. Chairman will submit.
GROUP STRATEGY – Chairman thanked members who had written thoughtful comments. Agreed that any rebirth of the Walsall line would depend on initiative from the other end (West Midlands Mayor in particular); we would keep a “watching brief”, in particular towards continued safeguarding of the route in Local Plans. Reopening towards Burton showed more promise, but few members were able to offer significant practical help towards campaigning. Chairman would write to Jonathan Roberts to report our views following his visit in June, asking whether he would be able to help to progress our aspirations and if so, at what cost; would then see whether Railfuture would offer finance towards this.
DELAY TO DECEMBER TIMETABLE REVISION – Chairman had written to WMT expressing our disappointment and asked why this should effect all promised changes. No reply so far.
WCML – Chairman had written to our MP about new Blackpool service not calling at Lichfield; he had written on to Virgin. Reply awaited.
CROSS CITY LINE – Members reported that guards continued to hide rather than check tickets, which was common on other routes.
CAR PARKING –at Shenstone, remained free; station and local streets crowded with parkers, residents getting unhappier about this.
ACCESS TO LICHFIELD FROM CITY STATION – Following abandonment of the Friarsgate Development across the road, pedestrian access remained awful. Chairman would write to District Council leader expressing our continued concern, copying it to Lichfield District Tourism Association (whose Chair and Vice-Chair are LRPG members).
NEXT MEETING – 17th September, possibly with WMT manager (not sure who these days), as members disappointed at lack of improvements following change of operator last December.