PRESENT: T Thompson (Chair) J Adams, P Martin, R Patching, D James, A Hutchinson,
J Woodcock, D Dundas (Zoom host), D Bathurst, R Henshaw, V Wasdell, I Clark
Apologies: M Frayn, I Jackson, R Hartley
GUESTS: P Borg-Bartolo (Lunar Society), K Kendall S Guy
PRESENTATION by David Dundas on hydrogen and cell powered locomotives demonstrated how alternative fuels are already used on railways in Germany Austria Netherlands. Development in UK is led by Birmingham University, West Midlands mayor is strongly supportive, even Severn Valley are involved with the conversion of a shunter to hydrogen power. Testing has been passed, there will be a display at COP 26 in November. All part of commitment by Network Rail to decarbonise by 2040; most appropriate for commuter and local lines; electrification better for main line services Funding for roll-out still to be identified but we should see some usage by 2024. Given the Midlands development base we are hopeful that WMRE bid for feasibility funding will be successful and this will permit trials between Lichfield and Burton. Slides sent to members separately 20.01.21
CHAIRMAN’s REPORT – distributed before meeting. Copied overleaf.
Chairman and Secretary are meeting Economic Development Officer from Lichfield DC (19th May) – we hope to encourage greater support from Council for railway travel, station adoption at City and LTV, and will reinforce the message that the line between Lichfield and Anglesey Sidings remains open.
WM RAILFUTURE Paddy Martin attended. Main message was for railways to attract more leisure travel to make up for reduction in commuter business. PM reminded the meeting that reliability was key in attracting and retaining leisure business. They remain committed to supporting re-opening of L/F to Burton and L/F to Walsall.
TRANSPORT for BRITAIN Chairman attended. (i) Special Charter train from Lichfield to Buxton via Hope Valley line is now scheduled for 18th July. (ii) Consultants have been instructed to assess feasibility of underpass of for pedestrians and cyclists to/from Alrewas.
WM TRAINS D James will attend Stakeholders meeting on 19th May. Secretary has sent items for discussion
HS2 Community Engagement officer will address June meeting. Chairman noted the vast preparatory works around east and north of Lichfield where money appears not to be a constraint! We seek encouragement that there will be some left for environment and community schemes
FUTURE MEETINGS D Bathurst asked if we will be returning to a real live venue. Licensee of Kings Head has changed. JA to enquire
LRPG Chairman’s Report for May 2021 Meeting
Our next meeting is at 1930 on Monday 17 May courtesy of David Dundas’s ZOOM when our speaker will be David Dundas to talk on hydrogen powered trains. For myself I’m relaxed about hydrogen, but if it gets the line to Burton opened sooner I’m all for it.
Since the last meeting the WM AGM of RailFuture has happened. I couldn’t go unfortunately.
Polling day was 6 May. The important election for us was the County Council, where the Conservatives were returned with an increased majority and little change locally.
This afternoon I ZOOMed the Lichfield U3A Science group to listen to a talk on the 1955 Sutton Coldfield rail disaster. Fascinating even if irrelevant to LRPG. Thanks to David Dundas for arranging it.
Tomorrow is the more relevant Arboretum Line Steering Group meeting.
We have been pursuing Community Rail Partnerships following Fay Easton’s comments at the last meeting and meet with the District Council on Wed 19th. By chance this follows the West Midlands Trains Stakeholder Briefing that morning.
Our next meeting will be on 21st June when HS2 will attend.
Tony Thompson 10 May 2021