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 16th March 2013, Edinburgh

Meeting opened 11.56.

In attendance: John Brandon (JB), Iain MacDonald (IM - acting Secretary), Richard Ardern (RA), Bob Barnes-Watts (BBW), Angus Stewart (AS), Sandy Colley (AC), Stewart Campbell (SC).

(1) Apologies
Gavin Sinclair (GS), David Start (DS), John Melling (JM).

(2) Approval of Minutes
Minutes of 8th December meeting agreed.

(3) Matters Arising

(4) Conon Bridge
Opened as planned on Friday, 8th February. Several committee members attended. Footpath still to be completed. On second day, RA noted Haymarket unit with dirty windows and seats; FSR advised. On day 4, a passenger was unable to get his bike on owing to another Haymarket unit. He asked FSR for a refund who tried to charge him 10&percent; admin fee. Incident made the media. Report of a passenger being ejected at Invergordon owing to flexipass date missing. FSR replied that it was making efforts to keep Inverness units on FNL. These occurrences to be in newsletter. SC asked if all units should be to FNL standards? Probably not, because Haymarket units do a different job in the Central Belt.

(5) Constitutional Changes
Wording agreed and will go out with April newsletter.

(6) 2012 AGM Minutes
Agreed by the committee for circulation at 2013 AGM.

(7) 2013 AGM and Conference
Wording of Notice agreed and will go out with April newsletter on the back of the constitutional changes. Buffet lunch rather than soup and sandwiches. GS to confirm the cost of £5.50 is still correct. SC said he would not be at Thurso but would be willing to be co-opted. Gordon Pettitt may speak if he is available but will not be advertised.

(8) 2014 AGM and Conference
Agreed Conon Bridge, either Hotel or Community Hall. GS has contacted the Hotel: £30 but can't find contact details for the Hall. JB to ask Angela McLean for assistance. GS suggested 4th May but this was felt to be too early. Members to be asked whether they prefer Mondays or a reversion to Saturdays.

(9) President and Vice-President
Four-year terms are up. JM has already agreed to continue. JB to ask John Thurso. (Subsequently agreed.)

(10) Membership Secretary's Report
153 members. 63 paid by Banker's Order, 89 cash or cheque and 18 still to pay.

(11) Treasurer's Report
All invoices paid that have been received. Committee members please forward any outstanding sums. 2012 accounts - completed but do not agree with BoS figures. £2,000+ in current account as of 14/03/13. Account Examiner confirms our figures and will advise on course of action if we are unable to reconcile with BoS. Advised officially by BoS on 11/03/13 that matured Bond facility account is being withdrawn. Unable to move to a building society until constitutional changes made at AGM.

(12) Newsletter
JB reports around 9 - 10 pages. Gordon Pettitt's third part will be sent when he returns from China. Dr. Christopher Watford has sent an article of around 8 pages which may have to be condensed or split over two issues. Photo of crane incident at Portgower to be published once copyright ascertained. It is the intention to have a middle page spread of the opening day at Conon Bridge. RA has sent in an April spoof of the Black Isle Metro. Also suggested that he sends the editor a selection of his published letters to the media.

(13) Caledonian Sleeper
Scottish Government has stated Caledonian Sleeper will shortly go out to tender. Committee continued to express concern over future of Inverness depot. Government has said that sleepers will be maintained there but what will the "daytime" franchisee do?

(14) ICEC Franchise
No progress at time of meeting. However, subsequently, Westminster Government announced it would be let some time in 2015. Reported that fridges are still failing on Highland Chieftain at Inverness overnight but not as frequently as before.

(15) Heritage Study and Leaflet
No further progress and not within our resources. Will not be on agenda again.

(16) Enhancements to Present Train Service
Negative response from Frank Roach discussed, particularly in light of his previous success re Alness, Beauly, Invernet, etc.. Agreed that JB and any others available will ask to meet him. (Arranged for Wednesday, 10/04/13 at Lairg station.) Seems that TS is now hiving off decisions rather than deal with matters themselves. If enhancements introduced, would 16.07 require strengthening rather than 17.15?

(17) Hourly Train Service
Little progress. Will raise with Frank if time available at meeting above.

(18) Revision of FoFNL Policies
RA and AC had been discussing it. Suggestions passed around and discussed. Four headings:

  1. What can be done by us without support?
  2. What can be done by us with support?
  3. What can be done by others with our support?
  4. What might be done by others with our support? Could Visit Scotland fund some services? Could we involve Frank in this?

BBW to contact FSR and Stagecoach.

(19) Attendance at Other Organisations' Meetings
BBW attended HITRANS user group at Arisaig. Report?

(20) Any Other Business
Rail Ale Trail. SC suggested new laws but committee felt that existing laws suffice but are not being enforced. AC mentioned the temperature of the 06.50 INV - EDB: Suggested he write to FSR.

(21) Next Meeting
Saturday, 7th September in Inverness. Same day as Inverness Model Railway Exhibition.

Meeting ended 15.15.

Minutes agreed 7th September, 2013.