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ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
To elect a Chairman for this Committee for 2017/18.
Resolved: To elect Councillor E. Selwyn Griffiths as Chairman of this Committee for 2017-18.
The Chairman took the opportunity of:
(a) Thanking members for electing him as Chairman.
(b) Congratulating Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas, on his recent appointment as Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Welsh Government.
(c) Welcoming Bedwyr Gwilym to his first meeting on behalf of the Dwyfor Meirionnydd Member of Parliament.
ELECTION OF VICE CHAIRMAN
To elect a Vice Chairman for this Committee for 2017/18.
Resolved: To elect Councillor Eryl Jones-Williams as Vice-chairman of this Committee for 2017-18.
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Councillors John Brynmor Hughes, Gethin Williams Owain Williams (Gwynedd Council), Cllr. Trevor Roberts (Shrewsbury-Aberyswyth Railway Liaison Committee), Mr Tudur Williams (Head teacher of Ysgol Ardudwy), PC Rob Newman (British Transport Police), Mrs Liz Saville Roberts (MP for Dwyfor/Meirionnydd), Cllr. Freya Bentham (Snowdonia National Park), Mr Neil Hamilton (AM for Mid and West Wales), Mr Stuart Williams (Talyllyn Railway), Mr Aled Jones-Griffith (Assistant Head, Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor), Ms. Claire Williams (Cambrian Railways Partnership Officer), Ms. Ann Elias (GMW).
DECLARATION OF PERSONAL INTEREST
To receive any declaration of personal interest.
No declaration of personal interest was 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 3 March 2017.
Submitted: Minutes of the meeting of the conference held on the 3 March 2017.
Resolved: To accept and approve the minutes.
REPORT BY NETWORK RAIL
To receive a verbal report by Mr Sam Hadley, Network Rail.
Mr Sam Hadley, Wales Route Public Affairs Manager, and Mr George Collins were welcomed to the meeting.
Mr Hadley reported as follows:
(a) Barmouth Viaduct 150th Celebrations
That the above celebration in Barmouth had been a great success. Mr Andy Thomas, the Wales Route Manager, had met with the Member of Parliament, Assembly Member and county and local members during the weekend of the celebrations.
It was noted that there is commitment to invest in the above structure in order to make it viable for the next 150 years.
(b) River Artro Blockade
The Penhelig Station will be closed for 3 months from 3 January to allow delivery of a major platform renewal. Letters had been sent out to local residents and a drop-in session will be held in December.
It was further reported that rock netting work will be delivered in the local area.
Members made the following observations:
(i) In response to a question by the local member of Aberdyfi with regard to taking equipment to undertake the work at Penhelyg, Mr Hadley promised to find out the details and contact the member with the information.
(ii) Network Rail engineers / contractors were thanked for the work carried out on
the River Artro blockade, and it was noted that they did not impair on the residents nearby.
(iii) With regard to the latest situation regarding the installation of barriers at
Talwrn Bach crossing, Llanbedr, Mr Hadley stated that this work has been scheduled for 2018.
(iv) No update was given with regard to the Dyffryn Ardudwy Station Car Park but
Mr Hadley promised to contact the local member when information comes to hand.
Resolved: To receive, note and thank Mr Sam Hadley for the above report.
REPORT BY ARRIVA TRAINS WALES LTD
To receive a verbal report by a representative of Arriva Trains Wales.
The Chairman welcomed Mr Ben Davies and Mr Lewis Brencher to the meeting.
Ms Claire Williams, the newly appointed Cambrian Railway Partnership Officer, had apologised for her inability to be present at the meeting but had sent a report to Mr Davies which he presented as follows:
The report referred to activities prior to Claire’s appointment and activities since that time. Prior to joining the world of Community Rail, she spent 5 years working as a Neighbourhood Partnership Officer with Cardiff Council where her role covered all aspects of Community Safety, Health and Well Being, Environmental Issues and Education and Employment so with a background in community engagement she brings with her a wealth of experience.
During this short time Claire has met with a number of partners, both funding and strategic to introduce herself and to discuss how she can continue working together in collaboration to ensure that work isn’t duplicated work and that the best vale is received for public monies.
Rail Franchising and Welsh Government support
Ms Claire Williams has recently attended a meeting with Arriva Trains Wales where the future of CRPs was discussed and how they might fit in with the next franchise and is due to meet KeolisAmey and MTR Corporation (Cymru) Ltd in the next few weeks.
The Cambrian Railways Partnership was delighted to work with the Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth Rail Liaison Committee and to commission a survey that was undertaken in spring 2017 as part of a grant from the Welsh Government. The surveys follow on from the success of the 2013 and 2015 surveys which resulted in improved services on the Cambrian Lines. The results of this survey are being presented to Gareth Evans, Rail Economist for Welsh Government by the Committee November 17th 2017 at a meeting in Cathays Park.
201/2018 Promotional Campaign
The partnership received additional funding which allowed to prepare a brand new tourist-focussed website which is now live, the web address is www.walesonrails.com and to produce further short films which will be released February/March until early summer this year. The campaign will be exclusively based on social media platforms and based on the 2018 “Year of the Sea”.
2018 is “Year of the Sea” and in conjunction with Visit Wales, ATW, and various other key partners a number of community engagement events will be put together throughout the year based on the various themes of each season with all events taking place within the Cambrian Coast, with some taking place on the train. More details will be available at the next meeting.
Mr Ben Davies added that Arriva Trains Wales will be working closely in partnership with the Cambrian Railways Partnership Officer and were keen to link communities together with promotions to travel by train. One event suggested was turning a train into a carnival during the summer months, holding a massive sandcastle competition in Cricieth to bring in more people, working in partnership with Haven, Pwllheli, Visit Wales, Ffestiniog Railway, etc.
Bow Street Re-opening ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
REPORT BY THE CAMBRIAN RAILWAY PARTNERSHIP OFFICER
To meet Claire Williams, the newly appointed Cambrian Railway Partnership Officer, and to receive an update of events.
Please refer to Item 8 above.
To receive responses to the questions enclosed herewith received since the previous meeting:
(i) Appendix 1 – Question by Shrewsbury/Aberystwyth Passenger Association
(ii) Appendix 2 – Question by Llangelynnin Community Council
(iii) Appendix 3 – Question by Llangelynnin Community Council
(iv) Appendix 4 – Question by Criccieth Town Council
(v) Appendix 5 – Letter from Porthmadog Town Council
Formal written questions had been submitted by Members of this Committee / Community Councils / and individuals which were addressed as follows:
(i) As sponsors of ERTMS signalling used on the Cambrian, it behoves Network Rail to press for all converted passenger vehicles to be used thereon. This means that Network Rail takes their responsibility for the non-availability of non Class 158 stock on the Cambrian. Either all 24 units of Class 158 are properly allocated or Network Rail funds conversion of other vehicles to meet demand.
In response, Mr Sam Hadley stated that he had discussed this matter with Cllr. Trevor Roberts when he met him in Barmouth, in relation to the steam train. In terms of the wider issue, he was not at all certain with whom the responsibility lies. The UK Government are looking at expanding digital enhancement. Mr Lewis Brencher went on to say that less use of 158 outside of the Cambrian Line, the more potential is to use them on other lines. 24 (158 units) out of Machynlleth is an ideal number and quite a formidable fleet.
Discussions were ongoing with the Member of Parliament for Dwyfor / Meirionnydd and Mr Hadley stated that he would update this Committee when further information was to hand.
(ii) Crash barriers/boundary wall – Main Road (A493) – between Llwyngwril and Friog
Mr Hadley stated that following the last meeting of this Committee this matter was raised with the Route Asset Manager. A site meeting was held between officers of Network Rail and Gwynedd Consultancy when it was agreed that Network Rail send a remit to Dylan Davies, Senior Engineer with Gwynedd Consultancy to carry out the work. At present there is no known commencement date for the works, but Mr Hadley promised to keep this Committee informed of developments.
(iii) Lack of Lighting in Llwyngwril Station Car Park
Mr Hadley stated that Network Rail are not funded to deliver enhancements but was pleased to report that they were looking into a lighting scheme at the car park as an opportunity has arisen. There is no known date for the work but Mr Hadley will update Committee members of developments.
(iv) Is Arriva Trains Wales able to assure that they offer a bilingual service?
Mr Ben Davies stated that Arriva Trains Wales do reply bilingually to correspondence but they do have difficulty in terms of a bilingual service on the trains due to lack of funding. Hopefully the successful company of the new franchise would be able to offer a bilingual announcement service on the stations and trains.
The Chairman also referred to the letter received by Porthmadog Town Council regarding the lack of use and priority for the Welsh language. He also stated that the above matter had been discussed at this Committee for many years without any success and that it was a priority to ensure the use of the Welsh language, and proper pronunciation of Welsh names during announcements on trains, and ... view the full minutes text for item 10.