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

Committee Meeting, 30th October 2010, Inverness

Present: John Brandon (JB), Roger Piercy (RP), Angus Stewart (AS), Richard Ardern (RA), Bob Barnes-Watts (BBW), Iain MacDonald (IM), Stewart Campbell (SC), Gavin Sinclair (GS).

(1) Apologies

(2) Minutes from the previous meeting
Minutes were circulated and accepted by RP and seconded by BBW.

(3) Timetable

  1. Draft hourly Inverness - Tain timetable. JB met with Transport Scotland (TS) & HITRANS in September to discuss the detailed timetable work that provides for an hourly all day train service between Inverness & Tain. The Transport Scotland/FSR train planning meetings have been postponed whilst the situation of the class 380s is resolved, so we have had no formal feedback from TS at this time. TS have agreed to do a business case analysis on the timetable, which will demonstrate the value of each train. Discussion was had on the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed timetable. GS to write an article for the newsletter.
  2. Infrastructure. A paper by Gordon Pettitt was circulated and its contents relating to the disadvantages of a loop at Lentran noted. This paper will be modified and included in the next newsletter.
  3. Alness. For the current timetable, it was agreed that an Alness stop should be requested in the 0812 ex Wick to fill the current six hour gap. JB to email Alasdair Matheson at TS.
  4. Dunrobin Castle. Additional stops will be made at Dunrobin Castle in the 0812 ex Wick and 1359 ex Inverness during an extended summer opening from April to October.
  5. 1752 Inverness - Wick. The request to have the formation of the 1752 reversed such that the Wick portion is on the front has been agreed with TS. From December, the 1752 will be retimed and the Wick portion will be on the front thus reducing the journey time from Inverness to stations north of Dingwall.
  6. 0620 Wick - Inverness. Following requests from FoFNL, this service will be strengthened to four cars on Saturdays in December.
  7. Scotland RUS. RA & BBWPeter Smith will attend a meeting in Perth on 11 November. In relation to specific FNL issues at Bunchrew and additional Dingwall peak trains, JB & GS to write a note before 10 November.

(4) 2011 AGM
Booked for Saturday 18 June in Wick. Room booked at the MacKays Hotel. Kenny Scott, FSR Engineering Director has agreed to speak. Provisional timings are 1130 - 1300 lunch, 1330 - 1500 speakers & questions, 1500 - 1545 AGM. Close in order to return south on the 1600 train from Wick. Details to be circulated in the January newsletter. Email to be sent to Inverness station manager to post in staff rooms at Inverness depot, TMD and at Wick depot.

(5) Newsletter
A number of articles will be included in the January newsletter, using material from John Tilley, paper on Scotland RUS, Gordon Pettitt and new timetable issues. DS & SC to write an article on their commutes to work which should make for an interesting comparison.

(6) Membership update
Current membership stands at 179 members.

(7) Treasurer update
All finances are in order. A discussion was had about increasing the subscription fee to offset anticipated increase costs in newsletter production. DS to advise the next Ctte meeting on the proposed costs and options for increase. A decision will be made at the next Ctte meeting.

(8) Attendance at other organisations' meetings:

  1. RP - local Ward meeting on Transport & Development Plan
  2. IM - Caithness & Sutherland Transport Forum
  3. SC - Alness Community Council and THC Transport Forum
  4. RA - Dingwall Ward Forum on Kessock and Cromarty Bridge repairs. Pressed the case for extra trains and carriages. Spoke with Stewart Stevenson informally about Conon reopening. He will "find some money down the back of the sofa" to advance design work on the station
  5. JB - Transport Scotland re timetable matters (see 3 above) and at the DfT in London relating to proposed new franchise structures.

(9) Scottish Elections in May 2011
It was agreed in principle that we would publish an election 'manifesto' for candidates ahead of the election in May.

(10) Conon
JB has received no response from the SNP Chief Executive as to why FoFNL was excluded from a public meeting to discuss the new station.

(11) AOB
HITRANS Level Crossing study is now available on the HITRAINS website.

(12) Next Committee Meeting
Date provisionally scheduled for Saturday 26 March in Edinburgh.