Present: Mike Lunan (ML); Richard Ardern (RA); Bob Barnes-Watts (BBW); Stewart Campbell (SC); Angus Stewart (AS); Malcolm Wood (MW). Apologies for Absence: Ian Budd (IB); David Start (DS).
Minutes of the last committee meeting held on 13.04.2015 were approved.
ML had had a meeting last week in Westminster with Paul Monaghan and had brought him up to speed about CP5 and CP6. Also Paul would talk to Frank Roach. ML had attended the meeting of the Caithness Transport Forum on 4 September. He had made contact with Lindley Kirkpatrick, Community Liaison Executive at Scotrail, and would be having a detailed telephone conversation with him on 26.10.2015.
Finance Report. A statement had been received from the Treasurer which was noted and filed. We have around £1200 over and above the bequest reserve.
Membership Report. There are currently 170 members.
Matters had been raised by Ian Budd regarding publicity and a request by Dave Felstead of Railtrail Tours to use our window gazer. It was agreed that IB should proceed to obtain flyers up to a cost of £60. FoFNL is happy that Railtrail Tours may use the text in the FNE insert. IB and Railtrain should liaise to deal with any copyright issues about the pictures.
New photos of FNL. BBW agreed to contact Sandy Colley regarding taking some new photographs for our use. (BBW)
Station Survey. A reply had been received from Phil Verster detailing the work that ScotRail would carry out following the submission to him of our recent Station Survey.
Proposed arrangements for bus replacements during the eight consecutive days of engineering works north of Dingwall, commencing 01-11-2015, were thought to be significantly different from the usual. Longer journey times to Thurso would ensue. Once the work had finished TS would be contacted to discuss the bus arrangements. (ML)
Arrangements made so far by ML have narrowed down the most suitable dates to 20 May, 10 June, or 17 June - all Fridays. Venue would be Tain - in the soon-to-be-opened "Platform 1864".
FNE 67 will include a full report of the Station Survey. (ML) All members were urged to continue to monitor stations while they were out and about and to make note of any lighting defects, which it had not been possible to do during August.
Railfuture. A Membership Renewal Form had arrived from Railfuture. It was agreed that MW would post it to DS with instructions to pay. (MW)
Phil Verster will be visiting Caithness on 20 November and ML has been scheduled to private discussion with him for part of the journey.
Re-timing of the 10:38 ex Inverness. After a detailed discussion it was decided that the 10:38 could leave at 10:40 without delaying the following train to Kyle of Lochalsh. However no action was proposed at present.
Train Catering. Abellio have seemingly reneged on the business of providing catering on all through trains between Inverness and Aberdeen. Transport Scotland have apparently acquiesced. TS would be contacted to discover whether there had in fact been a derogation, and to ascertain whether there were any other changes to the Franchise Agreement. (ML)
RA suggested the possible holding next spring of a joint function with other rail bodies. He would progress this. (RA)
November Eight-Day Closure
BBW to contact Alex Sharkey (Route Director East, Network Rail Scotland) to ask what engineering work was being done on the FNL during the November eight-day closure and what was planned for the next two years.
Thanks were made to Stewart Campbell for making the arrangements in Alness and providing the hospitality.