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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

Committee Meeting, Tain, 13 December 2008

Present, Richard Ardern (RA), Iain MacDonald, Roger Piercy, Mike Lunan (ML), Gavin Sinclair, Bob Barnes-Watts (BBW), Anne Sutherland (AS), David Start (DS).

(1) Apologies
Angus Stewart

(2) Minutes from last Committee Meeting
Agreed and adopted.

(3) Matters Arising

(4) Membership Secretary Update
Membership total is 173. Thurso, Helmsdale, Caithness West, Castletown, Halkirk, Nigg and Shandwick Community Councils are members.

(5) Treasurer Report
DS updated the Committee

(6) HITRANS Report
BBW attended recent HITRANS meeting in Arisaig. 'Friends' groups from the Kyle, West Highland and also Dorlag attended along with Robert Samson from Passenger Focus and Frank Roach from HITRANS. BB-W gave a brief description of the FoFNL modus operandi and informed the meeting that the organisation would be 'taking a breather' for a couple of months as the new timetable was given a chance to bed down.

(7) Winter Meeting
Callum MacLeod, 21 November. Meeting was successful and a report will appear in the next newsletter.

(8) 2009 AGM Arrangements
Helmsdale, 27 July 2009. John Swinney MSP has been invited and details will appear in January newsletter. GS to arrange venue. Timings will be between 1000 and 1300 to fit middle day trains. BB-W to approach James Abbot of Modern Railways with a view to speaking at the AGM.

(9) Legacy
The Committee discussed the legacy letter from Mr Oakley and examined the voluminous correspondence about it, in particular letters dated 2 February 2002 and 31 October 2002 from John Chamney, the Executor of Mr Oakley's Estate. Guided by these, the Committee resolved:

  1. that the capital should be maintained in an identifiable account and held in reserve against a possible threat of closure of the Far North Line or the Kyle Line.
  2. If no other 'emergency' arises the money should remain where it is.
  3. If any other emergency arises the Committee has the absolute discretion to spend all or any of the £5000 if it judges that "the well-being of the enterprise" is under threat. (The Committee interprets "the enterprise" to mean FoFNL, in line with the tone of the letter of 31 October 2002.)

(10) Newsletter
Articles and reports for the January newsletter were discussed for inclusion.

(11) December 08 Timetable Change
Some FoFNL related changes have been included in the December timetable.

(12) Police Presence in the Highlands
RA raised concerns about the number of BTP officers based at Inverness.

(13) Name Change & Geographical Responsibilities
Discussion about our name and inclusion of work on the Inverness to Aberdeen and Perth lines to reflect wider benefits to Far North Lines.

(14) Strategic Transport Projects Review
STPR has been published and a conference will be held on 17 January.

(15) Dr Yellow
Network Rail measurement train will be working on the FNL in January and FoFNL Committee members have been invited to ride on this train.

(16) Next Meeting
18 April, Inverness

(17) A motion of thanks was given to Anne Sutherland for her hospitality.