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 7th December 2013, Edinburgh

Meeting opened 12:10.

In attendance: John Brandon (JB), John Melling (JM),David Start (DS), Angus Stewart (AS), Sandy Colley (AC), Richard Ardern (RA), Iain MacDonald (IM), Bob Barnes-Watts (BBW - from item 10).

(1) Apologies
Gavin Sinclair (GS), Stewart Campbell (SC).

(2) Approval of Minutes
Minutes of 7th September meeting agreed with the addition of InvAb and A96 to item 9 and correction of Jerry Farquharson spelling.

(3) Matters arising
We should hear from Transform Scotland in early January re HML and InvAb upgrade paper.

(4) FoFNL wish list
Agreed that we concentrate on ITT framework and include only salient points in our submissions to bidders.

(5) 2013 AGM minutes
No further changes required; will be presented to AGM.

(6) 2014 AGM and Conference
Jerry Farquharson cannot speak as in purdah. Agreed that JB invite Simon Constable from Network Rail. Only one main speaker apart from Frank Roach. Agreed that JM will ask Angela McLean to speak. IM asked whether FoFNL could have paid secretary for meetings but nothing in budget for it. JB reminded meeting that he is carrying out post of Editor as he feels it his duty as Convener to ensure all committee duties are covered; this will cease after 2014 AGM. RA said that, if the post is unfilled, the committee might produce September issue whilst urgently seeking permanent Editor. Nothing in budget to pay an editor and prefer that the post is filled by someone from inside the society. Agreed that the AGM will be open but members must show their cards to vote.

(7) Membership Secretary's report
169 members including 5 Community Councils. 3 members have not renewed.

(8) Treasurer's report
DS has spent some considerable time researching where to put our Bond money as the two we have with Halifax have matured and are now discontinued. General Bond (£3,773.23) has been paid into current account along with Keith Tyler bequest (£4,925). Oakley bequest (£6,100+) has allegedly been transferred but DS has yet to receive it. DS has investigated where the money could go. His local Credit Union does not accept non-domestic deposits. Other institutions investigated. Most pay no interest except where shown: Nationwide (0.25%), Barclays, HSBC, Scottish Building Society (0.1%) and Santander. Those banks either in partial public ownership or in the news over financial stability not considered, nor those that are dividing onto separate institutions. Consideration to be given to ease of banking if England and Scotland separate. Thought that Nationwide might be best as it would be unlikely to pull out of Scotland. In view of the bureaucracy involved in changing signatories, agreed that nothing would be done until after 2014 AGM. Membership fees payable after 1/1/14: Transform Scotland £30, RailFuture £21.

(9) Caledonian Sleepers new franchise
Bid closes at end of week. Franchisee must serve present destinations; permitted to run more than 2 trains but TS will only pay for two. Maintenance does not have to be at Inverness but, if it is, the franchisee must enter into agreement with new ScotRail franchisee. All three bidders advised on FoFNL's views re how to reduce costs and replace mark 2 vehicles with mark 3, also ideas on fitting in en suite toilets but not showers. First Group solicited views from stakeholders; other two did not. "Contact us" facility used on both companies' websites. Arriva made contact and met JB. Serco did not return email so letter sent by Royal Mail.

(10) ScotRail new franchise
5 bidders. Draft ITT published. Very little for FNL except general point about improving journey times throughout system and specifications for improving rolling stock. This includes possibility of separate tourist stock for Kyle and West Highland lines. FoFNL intends to contact all bidders. ITT contains details about InvAb and HML improvements. InvAb GRIP 3 to be publically available in early 2014 and HML in summer. Both upgrades to be completed by 31/3/19.

(11) ICEC Franchise
Details becoming available; as much as possible will be included in next FNE. Predicated on IEPs on all trains; they have no fixed catering in standard class. Seems that power supply north of Newcastle will not permit better than 20 minute frequency. RA and BBW to meet East Coast catering manager for Scotland on 11/12/13.

(12) Gordon Pettitt's Articles
Decided not to progress further.

(13) Enhancements to present train service
TS has turned down our proposals for extra services to Tain. FSR has advised them that it requires additional traincrews although our calculations suggested otherwise. We've not been told what could be done "free." All ScotRail franchise bidders will be advised of our proposals.

(14) Hourly Train Service
No progress but will be advised to bidders. Will be pointed out that journey times need to be reduced to allow hourly all stations service.

(15) Newsletter
Email from Roger Piercy discussed; not to be published. JB will outline vacancies arising at next AGM.

(16) Attendance at other organisations' meetings
BBW and RA Passenger Focus; IM Network Rail drop-in meeting re Delny LX; RA stakeholder meeting with Steve Montgomery on 14th October.

(17) Any other business
Haymarket units continue to operate on HML and FNL; RA has raised with Steve Montgomery. Inner Moray Firth Development Plan received; response will be sent. Community Rail Partnerships: Jim Wilkin is planning another meeting for the north, possibly Aviemore; ACoRP person for southern Scotland has resigned. Transform Scotland's InterCity Express plan for speeding up Edinburgh - Perth is in course of production; planned for publication early in 2014. Muir of Ord LX speed restriction raising has not happened; awaiting product approval. 11.12 Tain - Inverness took 68 vice 70 min on Sunday, 1st December. Compulsory stop at Kildonan: JB has tried to obtain copy of Act but it has to be paid for; to contact Keith Fenwick to see if he can help. Network Rail wishes Highland Council to unadopt the road. Understand that Wick depot is to be made up to eight drivers. CRP meeting Stirling 5th February.

(18) Next meeting
Saturday, 29th March, Crown Church, Inverness. Room booked 12.00 - 17.00; lunch 12.30; meeting when lunch complete.

There being no other business, meeting closed at 15:54.

Minutes agreed 29th March, 2014.