· Network Rail
· Transport for Wales
· British Transport Police
Mr Sam Hadley, Wales Route Public Affairs Manager, was welcomed to the meeting
Update on upgrading Barmouth viaduct
Key images and facts were presented on the work completed on the viaduct between September 2021 and December 2021. It was noted that the work had been challenging and physically difficult for the workers as the work was dependent on the weather.
In response to a question if there was any of the original bridge left, it was noted that every effort had been made to retain as much as possible of the original features and any replacement was 'like for like'. It was added that the bridge was listed (Grade II) and every effort had been made to ensure that the features were safeguarded.
ETCS (European Train Control System)
It was reported that the ETCS System used to control train signals and speed would be upgraded for the Class CAF 197 Civity fleet that would be used on the Cambrian in the near future.
In response to a question if the Cambrian line would close over the period to upgrade the ETCS system, it was noted that the work was likely to be undertaken over the weekend and/or during another planned closure period to avoid any inconvenience.
Glandulas Project (Black Bridge) near Machynlleth
That erecting the bridge over afon Dulas had been very successful. The bridge had been erected one metre higher to reduce the impact of flooding (the river level rose during heavy rain and the Cambrian line had to close). Bearing in mind that it was a fairly small investment, the impact was substantial - during recent rough weather it was noted that the usual flooding had not stopped the Cambrian services.
Access for all Programme
It was highlighted that the programme improved access to stations and that stations across the country were being considered for improvements. For the first time this year, it was highlighted that two Cambrian stations had been included on the possible work schedule - this was something that had not been seen before and was encouraging news.
TRANSPORT FOR WALES
Gail Jones, Transport for Wales, was welcomed to the meeting to present an update on the activities of Transport for Wales.
Information about the new Class CAF 197 Civity trains was presented
In response to a question regarding seeing a model of the new carriages that an invitation to visit the new trains had been organised in April 2022 with a test run to Llandudno Junction. In response, it was highlighted that the visit dates in April were during the period prior to the election and therefore it was likely that these would need to be re-scheduled.
Reference was made to SGWRS, namely the Transport for Wales on-line research community to share views on transport in Wales with an opportunity to participate in surveys, on-line discussions and discussion fora to improve the service.
Concern was highlighted that the new carriages had fewer seats with only one toilet for two carriages. It was added that the Cambrian was one of the busiest routes in Wales and the use increased year on year. It was considered that offering fewer seats did not respond to the demand and therefore it was formally proposed that consideration needed to be given to having 4 permanent carriages for a journey.
In response to a comment regarding the lack of toilets on the new trains and a reduction in the number of seats, it was noted that it had to be ensured that every element was considered such as sufficient space for prams, wheelchairs, bags, bicycles and the number of toilets.
Other matters raised during the discussion
· Llandecwyn station bins - was it proposed to re-install these? Was this a matter for the Council or for TFC? GJ to look into this
· Litter on the railway highlighted untidiness - there was a need for cooperation to improve the image
· There was a need for better cooperation between bus and train time-tables to promote public transport
· There was a need to consider the re-introduction of freight trains - in response it was noted that the Mid Wales Transport League had discussed the possibilities and the Senior NR Freight Manager had mentioned a pilot scheme to look at this possibility - the Cambrian was suitable for this purpose. It was suggested that Jess Lippitt (Senior Freight Routes Manager - Network Rail) should be invited to a future meeting to discuss general freight issues.
BRITISH TRANSPORT POLICE
No representative from the British Transport Police was present to submit a report It was highlighted that no response had been received from Inspector Karl Anderson. SH noted that only a very small team now worked for the Railway Transport Police. SH to send a new contact to LHE.
The officers were thanked for the updates.