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Apologies were received from Councillors Dylan Bullard, Anne Lloyd Jones, Gethin Williams Owain Williams (Gwynedd Council), Mr Tudur Williams (Head teacher of Ysgol Ardudwy), PC Rob Newman (British Transport Police), Liz Saville Roberts (MP for Dwyfor/Meirionnydd), Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas (Assembly Member Dwyfor/Meirionnydd), Cllr. Delwyn Evans (Meirionnydd Access Group
Mr Alun Wyn Evans (Meirionnydd Representative One Voice Wales), Ann Elias (GMW).
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 10 November 2017.
Submitted: Minutes of the meeting of the conference held on the 10 November 2017.
Resolved: To accept and approve the minutes.
REPORT BY NETWORK RAIL
To receive a report by Mr Samuel Hadley, Network Rail.
Mr Sam Hadley, Wales Route Public Affairs Manager, was welcomed to the meeting and he reported on the following matters:
(a) Extreme weather – it was highlighted the exceptionally quick recovery from the severe weather experienced across Wales last week, compounded by an issue which saw the temporary withdrawal of the 175/ 1758 fleet due to wheel damage. The Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales’ teams worked heroically across Wales tackling a range of different weather impacts from 8ft high snow drifts to giant icicles in the Ffestiniog tunnel and frozen points and signals across the network.
Particular tribute was extended to the track and off-track teams based out of the Machynlleth Depot. They worked tirelessly on Thursday / Friday and then over the weekend inspecting points, proving the route and helping to clear the access path to Machynlleth Station and elsewhere.
It was further noted that there were 25 fallen trees on the route between Dyfi Junction and Pwllheli alone. Network Rail received fantastic feedback from the public over the course of the bad weather.
The officers and members of the Conference paid particular tribute and thanked frontline staff for their incredible efforts and hard work in the toughest of circumstances.
(b) Strategic Business Plan
Members’ attention was drawn to the fact that Network Rail had published its first strategic business plan for the devolved Wales and Borders route last month, which is a key document in terms of funding for the next contract period. It focuses entirely on operations, maintenance and renewals – “the steady state” railway as enhancements will now be considered separately. In terms of local interest, the plan does include the £20m+ refurbishment of Barmouth Viaduct, as part of a £1.3b total funding package. This is the first time the devolved Wales Route will receive its own regulated financial settlement and Network Rail believe that it has developed a robust plan. The last of a series of formal meetings with the regulator, The Office of Rail and Road, have recently been completed and hopefully a full settlement of the bid submitted will be received as part of the plan.
It has also been important to have the strong support of the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales who have been closely involved with the development of the above plan throughout. By standing together with the key workers and stakeholders Network Rail believe that they have a fantastic settlement for Wales and Borders.
A copy of the summary had been sent to the Members’ Support Officer who would in turn forward the copy onto members of this Committee.
(c) Up-date on key local projects
REPORT BY ARRIVA TRAINS WALES LTD
To receive a report by Mr Ben Davies, Arriva Trains Wales.
The Chairman welcomed Mr Ben Davies, Arriva Trains Wales, to submit his report on Arriva Trains Wales’ activities to date.
Mr Davies stated that by now there were only two companies bidding to run the rail services in Wales from 2018.
As regards puplic performance measure, it was noted that Arriva Trains Wales were sixth out of 26 within the UK which meant that trains were on time. Discussions were ongoing with the Traws-Cymru buses in order to arrange better connections with the trains. Also, Mr Davies was in contact with officers from CADW regarding two for one offers for passengers who visit the area.
In conclusion, Mr Davies stated that the canopy had been repaired on the Borth Station and was up and running since the past two days.
Resolved - To receive, note and thank Mr Ben Davies for his report.
REPORT BY THE CAMBRIAN PARTNERSHIP RAILWAY OFFICER
To receive a report by the Cambrian Partnership Railway Officer.
The Chairman welcomed Claire Williams, Cambrian Partnership Railway Officer, to her first meeting of this committee.
She outlined activities undertaken since the previous meeting as follows:
(a) Improving links with local communities and their railway
Community and engagement work was continuing with Arriva Trains Wales and Network Rail. A level crossing safety competition was held recently with Ysgol Maenofferen, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Ysgol y Traeth, Barmouth and Ysgol Tan y Castell, Harlech, as part of the partnership with Network Rail to change the historical mindset of how level crossings are not important to young people and to show them the dangers of not using them correctly. The winner and two runners up received free family tickets to see Santa on the Highlands and Ffestiniog Railway and book tokens courtesy of the Cambrian Railway Partnership and the Welsh Books Council.
(b) Continual improvement and development of existing rail services and infrastructure
Strategic stakeholder meetings take place on a monthly basis for the development of Bow Street with the chair of the SARLC also attending these meetings. The Cambrian Partnership Railway Officer has recently been asked by Welsh Government and Network Rail to be the lead on the Equality and Diversity element of the project. The plans are shortly going out to consultation and are currently working with a substantial number of disability and equality groups to ensure that the plans do not have a detrimental effect on service users.
(c) Local line-specific timetable production
The December 2017- May 2018 pocket timetable has now been produced and distributed to relevant TIC’s, stations and other relevant outlets. The Cambrian Partnership Railway Officer will also be working closely with ATW on any amendments to the May 2018-December 2018 timetable.
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 the 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 were presented to Gareth Evans, Rail Economist for Welsh Government along with other WG officials by the Committee November 17th 2017 at a meeting in Cathays Park. WG then disseminated this information to the franchise bidders as supporting information for their final bid, which had to be submitted to WG and TfW in December 2017.
(e) 2018/2019 Promotional Campaign
The RDO has also agreed with the partnership that to make the best of the Visit Wales “2018 Year of the Sea” thematic year and its potential for increasing tourism to the regions that it would be best to issue an invitation to tender for the creation and management of a complete Year of the Sea social media campaign along with continued management and maintenance of the new Wales on rails website. The invitation was sent out in December with responses to be received by Mid-January. The contract was awarded to ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To receive responses to the questions enclosed herewith received since the previous meeting.
Formal written questions had been submitted by various Community Councils which were addressed as follows:
(a) Criccieth Town Council – Is there an up-date regarding signs for the train station in Criccieth?
The Public Transport Co-ordinator had made enquiries and sent an e-mail to the Members’ Support Officer stating that the land is owned by Gwynedd Council but due to the lack of parking capacity and also as the road is not very suitable for many vehicles, the Traffic Department is not keen to direct vehicles there. However, they would be happy to look at more signs for pedestrians. Should the Town Council wish to discuss the matter further, an application should be made to the attention of Dylan Wynn Jones, Traffic Manager.
(b) Llanbedr Communtiy Council – Enquiring as to the exact date of the installation of the barrier at Talwrn Bach Crossing. It was understood that the work would be undertaken this year in 2018.
Mr Sam Hadley reported that there was no good news with regard to the above. The work was supposed to start in 2018 but unfortunately due to Carillion Construction going to financial difficulties, Network Rail would have to go through a process of re-tendering the work and therefore it is anticipated that the work would be undertaken in 2019.
Resolved: To express appreciation for the questions and for the favourable response given by the officers.