Venue: Y Ganolfan, Porthmadog, Gwynedd. LL49 9LU. View directions
Contact: Sion Owen
Councillor Eryl Jones-Williams was elected Chair for 2019-20.
ELECT VICE CHAIR
Delwyn Evans was elected Vice-chair for 2019/20.
Apologies were receied from:
Liz Saville Roberts (MP Dwyfor Meirionnydd),
Mrs Claire Williams (Cambrian Railways Partnership Officer),
Cllr. Annwen Hughes, (Gwynedd Council)
Cllr. Freya Bentham, (Gwynedd Council)
Trefor Jones, (Dwyfor Representative Unllais Cymru),
Ann Elias (GMW)
Mr Stuart Williams, (Talyllyn Railway)
DECLARATION OF PERSONAL INTEREST
No declarations of personal interest were received from any members present.
To consider any business which the Chairman decides is urgent.
The Chair had not received any urgent items.
To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting held on 30 November 2018
Submitted: Minutes of the conference meeting held on 30 November 2018.
Resolved: To accept and approve the minutes.
REPORT BY NETWORK RAIL
To receive a report by Sam Hadley, Network Rail.
Mr Sam Hadley, Wales Route Public Affairs Manager, was welcomed to the meeting and he reported on the following matters:
o Performance on the railways had not been good enough over the summer, and an intermittent problem had been discovered with the signals system, however, this had now been resolved.
o He suggested the possibility of having a visit for a small group to see the signals centre at Machynlleth, or to organise a presentation for a future Conference meeting.
o The rough weather had been a problem, and difficulties in other areas had an impact on the Cambrian Coast Railway services. He recognised the frustration of railway users, and noted that Network Rail was monitoring problematic areas carefully, and was working on long-term solutions.
o Performance monitoring arrangements were now monitoring in greater detail and focused on arrival times at individual stations rather than the start and end of the journey.
o This change had led to minor changes locally in order to improve efficiency.
o That a new business model had been developed, which gave more flexibility to target expenditure in the areas required.
o That the improvements made following October 2018 had borne fruit, leading to less damage to wheels and keeping more vehicles in operation. In turn this meant that vehicles would not be taken from the Cambrian Railway and diverted to alleviate a shortage in other areas.
o The Williams Review was likely to report following the election, with a presumption of significant changes to the railways.
o Friog Wall - An officer from Network Rail had been to a community meeting, that plans had been developed jointly with the Council to undertake the work. No date had been set thus far.
o Talwrn Bach level crossing - Work had been planned for year 3 of the existing funding period, namely 2021-22. There was also be a need to cooperate with local landowners.
o Afon Artro bridge - Photographs of the work were shown, that had caused the line to close temporarily. He noted that there were a high number of wooden bridges on the Cambrian Coast Railway and that Network Rail used the maintenance work to develop techniques to be used on Barmouth Bridge.
o He apologised that information had been sent out recently in English only to stakeholders, and expressed amazement that this had happened in such a Welsh speaking area.
Questions and observations arising from the discussion:
o Regarding Arto Bridge, would it not have been beneficial to undertake work on Tŷ Gwyn and Llandanwg bridges at the same time?
In response, Sam Hadley noted that it was a sensible suggestion and he assumed that there was a sensible reason for undertaking work only on this bridge. Network Rail had seen when undertaking work on the Conwy Valley line that it was cost effective to undertake as many pieces ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
REPORT BY TRANSPORT FOR WALES
To receive a report by Lowri Joyce, Transport for Wales.
The Chair welcomed Lowri Joyce, Transport for Wales, to introduce herself and report on Transport for Wales' activity to date. She reported on the following matters:
o She had been appointed by Transport for Wales in April 2019, after years of working in the Nuclear industry.
o A route had been re-opened to enable trains to travel from Wrexham to Liverpool direct.
o Transport for Wales was looking to increase capacity, including the return of trains pulled by a locomotive
o That the ‘delay repay’ scheme had commenced and refunded tickets if a train was late by 15 minutes or more.
o It was intended to work closely with communities to improve community cooperation and encourage residents to help.
o Performance was now being measured differently, and in greater detail.
o There were now 120 new jobs, with a strong representation from the north that would advocate to improve provision.
o They had learnt from the experience of users with the change in the free travel passes. No passenger would be turned away once the new passes were operational therefore pass holders did not have to worry.
o Good work had been undertaken in partnership with the Council by attending libraries to assist residents with applications for a new card.
o A scheme to the value of £195 million had been launched to give customers a better experience, including installation of CCTV, wi-fi, shelters and cycle stores in every station.
o The scheme would commence in the stations of Machynlleth and Dyfi Junction on the Cambrian Railway, with Machynlleth station also being a pilot dementia friendly station.
o That it was proposed to look at dormant buildings to encourage their use.
Questions and observations arising from the discussion:
o When trains are replaced by buses, a bus that is too small is provided and this means that passengers are left behind, especially those with bicycles and wheelchairs.
o That providing plenty of room for bicycles was important as there was an obvious demand on the Cambrian Coast Railway. It was hoped that the necessary space would be provided in the new vehicles that would be provided.
In response, Lowri Joyce noted that Transport for Wales was aware on the problems with buses, and an effort would be made to mitigate the problems in the future.
o It was noted that there was not enough time sometimes to transfer from the train to a bus to continue the journey, in addition to gaps in provision in other places.
In response, Lowri Joyce noted that an effort was being made to integrate transport services better, and stakeholders were welcome to contact her with any problems.
o Whilst the cleaning of stations was welcomed, why had an overseas company been contracted to undertake the work?
In response, it was noted that it was a Welsh company who had won ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
REPORT BY BRITISH TRANSPORT POLICE
To receive a report by a representative of the British Transport Police.
The Chair welcomed PC Andy Greaves of British Transport Police.
He noted that the Cambrian Railway was one of the safest routes on the Transport for Wales system. The only times when problems arose was when trains were cancelled at short notice, but he was aware that there were efforts being made to resolve any problems.
To receive responses to the questions enclosed herewith received since the previous meeting.
Formal written questions had been submitted by various Community Councils, and the following responses were received: