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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

Minutes of Committee Meeting on 21st July 2014, Inverness

In attendance: Malcolm Wood (MGW), Iain MacDonald (IM), Richard Ardern (RJA), Bob Barnes-Watts (BBW), Sandy Colley (AC), Stewart Campbell (SC), David Start (DS). Apologies: Angus Stewart.

RJA chaired the meeting, which began at 2:00pm.

(1) There was a comprehensive discussion re shortage of rolling stock because of maintenance. Five people recently left standing for three hours at Plockton before a taxi arrived.

(2) Informal discussion with all those around the table invited to say where they thought we are and what we can positively do next. RJA determined to produce a (hard-copy) newsletter and to try for September.

(3) It was agreed on RJA's suggestion that Mike Lunan be asked to help with a draft bid for CP6. Maximum of three ideas. Mike to be asked whether he would like to be on the committee during this spell.

(4) The Committee expressed grave concern at the late running of trains on the line and will pursue this after the Commonwealth Games are over.

(5) It has been suggested that we lobby again for local management in Inverness. The Committee will take this up once the new franchisee has been announced.

(6) AC lamented the continually increasing afforestation of the lineside which hinders magnificent views.

(7) DS suggested that we spend some money on recruiting new members. Also on a small payment to get help with producing the newsletter. The newsletter is crucial. It was decided that RJA would produce a September newsletter with AC's help on the photography side of things.

(8) DS also proposed a Re-affirmation of what FoFNL have achieved so far and there was discussion about decent advertising boards at main stations. Alness already has this.

Information at stations should include (a) info on FoFNL and (b) info on integration of trains and buses.

(9) BBW asked whether this was a basis for a Community Rail Partnership - to be discussed further. We shouldn't be doing anything "for free" when it there were others whose responsibility these things fell under. SC and BBW to discuss further.

(10) It was suggested that we ask our membership about signage at their local station.

(11) Tea and delicious buttered fruit loaf were served at this point.

(12) Finances
A one-off payment had already been made to Transform Scotland of £200.00 as our contribution to the Scottish Inter-City Express Campaign and this was homologated. Payment of the £30.00 annual subscription was agreed.

MGW and BBW agreed to become signatories for a new Bank Account which will provide some interest and it was agreed to transfer £9,000.00 from the Members Fund into this new account. MGW and BBW also to be signatories for the cheque account.

(13) RJA suggested that we make a trip to Altnabreac and invite John Thurso along to reminisce about his childhood days spent playing there with the station equipment. RJA to contact John Thurso.

(14) RJA has drafted a letter laying out the need for a Newsletter Editor. Expenses and an honorarium are to be offered. He will spell out what the job actually involves.

(15) Next Meeting
to be on Monday 27th October at 11.30am in The Heritage Centre, Alness. SC to book venue.

(16) A vote of thanks was recorded for the catering.