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 25 August 2007, Helmsdale

Present: Mike Lunan (ML), Iain MacDonald (IM), Bob Barnes-Watts (BBW), Richard Ardern (RA), Anne Sutherland (AS), Roger Piercy (RP), Gavin Sinclair (GS).

Apologies: Angus Stewart, Janice Stewart.

  1. Minutes of Committee Meeting of 26 May agreed.
  2. There were no matters arising.
  3. Minutes of the AGM agreed for final draft for adoption
  4. Matters arising from AGM - ML circulated a letter of congratulation from Mrs Parrott.
  5. Financial Statement - provided in advance by the Treasurer. Agreed satisfactory. The auditors, Tenon, have not accepted as yet to audit our accounts.
  6. 2008 AGM - GS advised a date of Monday 30 June in Inverness with a social event (Strathspey Railway). ML advised after a meeting with David Simpson that a visit to Inverness signal box may be possible for members. RP to add to September newsletter. ML to write to Ian Coucher (NR Chief Executive) inviting him as guest speaker. ML will also write to John Thurso MP.
  7. A winter social event was discussed after a correspondence from a member. BBW advised that Callum MacLeod, former ScotRail manager at Inverness, may be willing. BBW to contact Callum MacLeod. Other speakers, either for the winter meeting and/or AGM, who might be approached include GNER steward Alex Elliott and volunteers from the Strathspey Railway.
  8. Tain/Easter Ross commuter group - the potential for such a new group was discussed but felt that FoFNL represents the whole line satisfactorily. AS, as a Tain commuter, can keep the Committee briefed on matters of concern with the train service.
  9. BBW to write to FSR Head of Revenue protection about station and passenger management in times of service disruption at Inverness.
  10. ML briefed the Committee on the Sutherland Partnership Transport Group's Transport Vision for Sutherland report.
  11. Fares - RA and BBW led the discussion on fares and the fare structure. The blanket 0915 restriction on Saver tickets should not be applicable on the FNL as neither the trains require "crowding off" nor is it appropriate as two departures from Wick are before 0915 but do not arrive into Edinburgh until as late as 1420. RA to draft letter to Bill Reeve at Transport Scotland.
  12. The Committee agreed to donate £250 to HRP.
  13. Marketing - discussion about marketing the FNL (i) to include hotels, restaurants, pubs to allow discounts for rail passengers; (ii) tourist attraction literature often omits "getting there" by train. In the first instance, ML to look at tourist literature; (iii) FSR route guides - why are these not prominently displayed on the catering trolleys? (iv) FOFNL literature to be displayed at Dingwall, Thurso and Wick booking offices.
  14. Community Councils not a priority at this time.
  15. Thurso Adopt a Station. No action after ML investigations found that the spare rooms are being leased for storage.
  16. ML briefed the Committee on his meetings with Transport Scotland, Network Rail and First ScotRail on 20 August.
  17. RP circulated a draft September newsletter for comment.
  18. Website - ideas discussed for improvement and will be advised to Ian Budd, webmaster.
  19. BBW reported to the Committee his attendance at the Rail Future meeting.
  20. RA reported to the Committee HRP matters.