On 1 May I attended a meeting at Helmsdale organised by ScotRail and Mike Willmot, who was responsible for the extremely successful project to restore the former station building at Helmsdale in which we met.
ScotRail is very keen to set up a Community Rail Partnership for the FNL. Our view is that, although CRPs do excellent work in motivating local support and activities for their railways, the FNL is simply far too long for a single voluntary group to manage, and possibly a kind of 'umbrella' linking the various local groups, existing and new, is what would work best.
The main difference between a CRP and FoFNL is that we are a totally independent body, self-funded and, as such, we can talk to anyone in the rail industry and the Government, about any aspect of the FNL, complaining and criticising if necessary. We do not get involved in individual "community projects" although we think they are very important and useful.
It was agreed that it is worth exploring the practical options for establishing a kind of CRP for the line and a further meeting will be held in the near future. Whatever the final form, FoFNL will keep in close touch and establish what was described to me by Graham Atkins, Chair of the Borders Rail Community Partnership as a "symbiotic relationship".