Venue: Y Ganolfan (ger yr Harbwr), Porthmadog, Gwynedd
Contact: Glynda O'Brien (01341) 424301
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Councillor Owain Williams, Mr Tudur Williams (Head teacher of Ysgol Ardudwy), Mr Alun Wyn Evans (Meirionnydd Representative One Voice Wales), PC Rob Newman (British Transport Police), Cllr. Trevor Roberts (Shrewsbury-Aberystwyth Railway Liaison Committee), Mr Neil Hamilton (AM for Mid and West Wales), Tracy Parkinson (Talyllyn Railway).
DECLARATION OF PERSONAL INTEREST
To receive any declaration of personal interest.
No declaration of personal interest were received from any member present.
To consider any business which the Chairman decides is urgent.
No urgent matters were received by the Chairman.
To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting held on 20 May 2016.
Submitted: Minutes of the meeting of the conference held on the 20 May 2016.
Resolved: To accept and approve the minutes.
To receive a report by Mr Sam Hadley and Mr Mark Peters, Network Rail.
Mr Sam Hadley, Wales Route Public Affairs Manager, and Mr Mark Peters, Asset Engineer, were welcomed to the meeting.
Mr Mark Peters had prepared a presentation on Barmouth Viaduct, in the form of slides, but unfortunately due to equipment not being available, he promised to send the presentation to the Members’ Support Officer for onward transmission to members of the Committee.
He went on to state that trains have now been running since the recent fire on Barmouth Viaduct and hopefully only a small amount of remedial works need to be completed which will be done soon as possible.
The Cambrian Partnership Railway Officer stated that the 150th celebration anniversary of the viaduct is to be held next year and was anxious to know as to the work programme of the development work to be undertaken on the viaduct and the timescale as to how long would it be out of use. He also requested that Network Rail be mindful in order to minimise disruption during the busiest tourist season since the area relies hugely on the tourism economy.
A suggestion was made as part of the celebrations to the showing of the famous Ghost Train thriller film to which Mr Ben Davies, Arriva Trains Wales, further suggested that half of one of the trains could be used as a cinema for the showing.
In response to the above, Mr Sam Hadley stated that Sian Lewis, who was present at the last meeting, is no longer the sponsoring officer of the Commercial Scheme Sponsor (Network Rail) and there will be a new sponsor. He also added that Network Rail will want to participate in the celebrations and will contribute. Mr Hadley promised that as soon as information is available he would pass it on to the Members’ Support Officer in order to inform members of this Committee.
A member stated that he was aware that the 150th celebration would take place in October so as not to clash with the Three Peaks Race which is held annually in June.
In response to concerns expressed, Mr Hadley reassured Members of the Committee:
· that Network Rail had no intention of closing the line, despite local people being fearful that it would be closed, and was aware of how valued it is for the community
· that there would be no disruption to the 150th celebrations in terms of sea defence works
· That the additional rock face work at Llanaber will not affect the railway line at all and it was reassured that the necessary machines would be accessing the work from the beach
In response to the Dwyfor/Meirionnydd Member of Parliament’s request for further information as regards planning applications, design, etc, on the Barmouth Viaduct, Mr Hadley stated that there was no clarity on this matter but he would write to up-date the MP and members of this Committee as soon as information is to hand.
Members also noted that when the work is carried out:
REPORT BY ARRIVA TRAINS WALES LTD
To receive a report by Mr Ben Davies, Arriva Trains Wales.
(Copy to be circulated at the meeting)
The Chairman welcomed Mr Ben Davies, Arriva Trains Wales, to submit his report on Arriva Trains Wales’ activities to date.
Members’ had received via e-mail the autumn newsletter.
Mr Davies stated that it had not been a particularly good summer for Arriva Trains Wales in terms of operational problems on the line due to:
However, it was hopeful that the situation will improve.
The Cambrian Partnership Railway Officer was congratulated and thanked for his work in promoting the line. It was further noted that Ysgol Ardudwy had been excellent and co-operative in view of the problems encountered on the Barmouth viaduct.
In response to comments made by members, Mr Davies replied as follows:
During the ensuing discussion it was noted by individual Members:
(a) That there is a sub-committee of 4 members namely:
Cllr. Trevor Roberts
Cllr. J. Michael Williams
Mr Robert Robinson
Mr Rhydian Mason
who are in contact with Mr Ken Skates, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, and if there are any issues of concern that these be brought up at the joint meeting with the Shrewsbury-Aberystwyth Railway Committee to be held on the 25 November 2016.
(b) With regard to the problem of insufficient train drivers, it was suggested why not recruit part-time drivers
Resolved - To receive, note and thank Mr Ben Davies for his report.
To receive a report by the Cambrian Railway Partnership Officer.
Submitted - A written report by Mr Rhydian Mason, the Cambrian Partnership Railway Officer outlining activities undertaken since the previous meeting which included;
Mr Mason referred to the recent passing of Cllr. Mansel Williams in July and that there will be a commemorative memorial on Platform 3 in the Shrewsbury Railway Station in memory of the late Cllr. Williams. Mr Mason had arranged for a Welsh couplet to be inscribed thereon.
Ysgol Ardudwy Head Teacher and pupils were to be commended for their work as station adoptees. There will be an event to celebrate the work undertaken on 16 December 2016 when the Ysgol Ardudwy Band will be playing.
It is hopeful that Mr Mason will be able to invite Mr Ken Skates and Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas to visit some of the activities to be undertaken.
With regard to the Helping Hand orange cards, it was hoped that a special function may be arranged with the Dwyfor/Meirionnydd Member of Parliament and the Dwyfor/Meirionnydd Assembly Member in Westminster before the end of the year. It was further noted that the orange card could be used by any individual who required aid on the train. In response to an invitation to attend the Meirionnydd Access Group in order to promote the orange cards, Mr Mason agreed to liaise with Councillor Delwyn Evans with regard to arranging a suitable date.
With regard to applications for the Welsh Government Community Rail Capital Fund Grant, a bid had been submitted for shelters at Welshpool, Dovey Junction and Llanaber, and it was hopeful that one of these three bids would be successful.
In response to the above, members made the following points:
· That a bid be made to upgrade the parking in Fairbourne
· If the bid for Llanaber was successful that it be ensured that the seating should not face the sea
· What is the situation with regard to having steam engines on the Cambrian Coast Railway Line?
· Whether the orange cards could be made available on all public transport i.e. buses, taxis.
· Whether the Pwllheli Station could be tidied up
(a) Mr Sam Hadley replied stating that he had written a detailed response to the Dwyfor/Meirionnydd Member of Parliament with regard to the steam trains and that this information be passed on to members of this Committee via the Members support Officer.
(b) Mr Rhydian Mason agreed to draft a letter on behalf of this Committee to Mr Ken Skates with regard to the orange wallets being mandatory on all public transport
Resolved - To receive, note and thank the Cambrian Partnership Railway Officer for the report.
To receive a report by the British Transport Police.
In the absence of PC Rob Newman, British Transport Police, his written report was submitted to the Committee for information, and members were asked if there were any matters of concern within the report.
(a) Councillor Annwen Hughes was concerned regarding the offences at Talwrn Bach level crossing at Llanbedr, and in view of the fact that work on the installation of barriers would not commence until 2018, she was anxious that an accident could occur at this location.
(b) In response, Mr Sam Hadley noted the observation made and would arrange for his colleagues to attend the next meeting of this Committee to up-date members regarding the level crossing renewals programme as well as the Community Safety aspect.
Resolved: (i) To receive and note the report by the British Transport Police.
(ii) To ask Mr Sam Hadley to invite his colleagues to the next meeting of this Committee to up-date members as outlined in (b) above.
To receive responses to the questions enclosed herewith received since the previous meeting.
(a) Appendix A – Question from Mr Roger Goodhew
(b) Appendix B – Question from Porthmadog Town Council
(c) Appendix C – Letter from Llannor Community Council regarding concern about rubbish on the line between Pwllheli and Penychain.
Formal written questions had been submitted by Members of the Committee which were addressed as follows:
(i) The provision of sufficient rolling stock to meet passenger demands during the period of the new franchise had been addressed in item 5 above and Mr Ben Davies added that he would forward further information to members of the Committee via the Members Support Officer
(ii) The need for Welsh or bilingual announcements in all stations along the railway line. Mr Ben Davies responded by stating that he was meeting with officers from the Welsh Language Board fairly soon in order to ensure that all announcements were bilingual through Wales, and would up-date members following his meeting.
It was further added by a member that the announcements in the lifts in Machynlleth Station should also be bilingual.
(iii) Members of Llannor Community Council’s concerns that not all the rubbish is accruing from the Recycling Centre Pwllhelli since it is all the way from Pwllheli to Penychain. Mr Sam Hadley had responded to Llannor Community Council’s concerns by stating that he had raised the matter with a member of Network Rail’s maintenance team who was aware of the problem and believed the problem stemmed from a containment issue at the local authority site and had been liaising with them to try and resolve the matter. However, Mr Hadley apologised that the matter was still unresolved and promised to raise the matter again with the maintenance team. He also informed the Committee if members / organisations are aware of any hotspots along the line that need clearing up, that they report the matter immediately by calling the communities team on 03457 114141 or by e-mailing email@example.com
(iv) Late correspondence had been received via Councillor Gethin Williams which had been sent to Barmouth Town Council regarding the construction of a new fence along the boundary of the rail track and Gwynedd Council’s main car park boundary. Whilst appreciating that safety is of paramount importance, it was felt that the size and nature of the fence was unsympathetic to its surroundings and also an over-development as to its purpose. In response, Mr Sam Hadley promised to look into the matter further and to contact Councillor Gethin Williams directly. He also stated that he was aware that one of his colleagues was intending to visit Barmouth to talk to the Town Council.
Resolved: To express appreciation for the questions and for the favourable response given by the officers.
To discuss a request received from the Regional officer for Strategic Transport, representing Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Powys Councils, to attend the Cambrian Coast Railway Committee.
Submitted - A request from the Regional Officer for Strategic Transport, representing Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Powys Councils, to attend the Cambrian Coast Railway Committee.
Resolved: That the request be approved.