scotland (4K)
The Friends of the Far North Line
Cairdean Na Loine Tuath
the campaign group for rail north of Inverness - lobbying for improved services for the local user, tourist and freight operator

Minutes of Committee meeting on 8 December 2007, Tain

Mike Lunan (ML)
Iain MacDonald (IM)
Bob Barnes-Watts (BBW)
Richard Ardern (RA)
Anne Sutherland (AS)
Roger Piercy (RP)

Apologies: Janice Stewart, Angus Stewart, Gavin Sinclair

1.  Minutes of Committee meeting 25th August 2007:

2.  Matters arising:
Revenue protection and Passenger management: still on-going (BBW)
Marketing; ML reported that he had collected tourist brochures and had met with North Highland Tourism to discuss a higher profile being given to the access to the area by train. RP reported that the Iron Roads to the Far North was out of print. The First ScotRail "See the Sights" leaflets are available but should be more prominent on the catering trolleys.

Far North Community Councils:
ML maintaining contact, and RP will make contact with the various Ward Managers north of Dingwall & Seaforth.

3.  Finances:
The Treasurer had circulated a financial statement that was accepted. The next Bond to be renewed will be renewed for 2 years. The Treasurer will be instructed to appoint a new Auditor due to Tenon re-organising its policy towards 'charitable' organisations.

4.  Membership:
Currently stands at 169.

5.  ML reported on his activities that included discussions with Thurso Community Council, meeting with First ScotRail which necessitated a follow-up email to ensure our questions were dealt with. As part of the Caithness Transport Forum he met with the Transport Minister, had one of the presentation slots and accompanied the Minister to Georgemas Junction and the former Halkirk Station. ML has taken several opportunities of speaking to the Press and has entered into correspondence with Tesco re freight on rail to the far north.

6.  Fares:
A lot of work is still to be done on this issue which BBW will handle. We are pursuing First ScotRail over the Club 55 promotion, the lack of a triangular ticket, Inverness, Edinburgh, Glasgow. We are in correspondence with Transport Scotland and drawing attention to the anomaly of the 9.15 am rule as being totally inappropriate when applied to travellers above the line Dundee to Oban. An aspiration would be to have the benefits of the Highland Rail Card applied to travel on the Highland Main Line.

7.  Highland Rail Partnership:
RA gave a report on his activities with regard to HRP. The unknown future for HITRANS and HRP is influencing day to day activities, such as the future for Conon Station, Dalcross Station and its associated loop.

8.  Newsletter:
RP reported that there are plenty of empty pages available for material. It will be a nostalgic issue with plenty of looking back. He hoped to include an article on mega trucks and some safety issues. The aim will be to publish and distribute to members at the end of January.

9.  AGM and its supporting events and spring evening talk:
BBW and RA will liaise on these and ML will maintain contact with speakers etc for the AGM which will be held in Inverness on Monday 30th June with Iain Coucher, Network Rail and Nigel Harris, Managing Editor, RAIL magazine as our speakers. It is hoped to organise a trip to the Strathspey Railway on the Sunday afternoon and there is a possibility of other rail-related visits on the Saturday or Sunday morning.

10.  AOCB:
Brief discussion on the new timetable, concern was expressed at the disappointing trend in timetabling the Invernet early morning service start ever earlier. Freight; likelihood of some interesting developments in the future.

11.  Next meeting will be 29th March 2008 in Kirkcaldy with a tour of railway facilities during the afternoon.

The meeting closed with thanks being offered to Anne Sutherland for her hospitality.