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, 27 May, 2006. Thurso

Present: Mike Lunan (ML), Richard Ardern (RA), Iain MacDonald (IM), Gavin Sinclair (GS), Ron Stevenson (RS)

Apologies: Roger Piercy (RP), Angus Stewart (AS)

Minutes of last committee meeting, 21 April, 2006, were agreed.

ML advised of the letter response from Ron McAulay (Network Rail Director Scotland) on various issues about the Far North Line - speed restrictions, level crossings and the points 'plunger' at Dingwall. There was however no positive progress in the immediate term other than a life extension of RETB.

RA and RP will attend Creich Community Council meeting.

A commuter from Tain has expressed an interest of being a FoFNL Committee member representing the interests of commuter passengers. ML will write to offer a position on the committee.

A joint meeting with Friends of the Kyle Line and Friends of the West Highland Line with FoFNL was discussed and will be arranged, possibly a date in August.

ML to speak to Andy Mellors (Engineering Director First ScotRail) and Ian Mylroi (Transport Scotland) to discuss rolling stock issues.

ML to write to MSPs Maureen Macmillan, Jamie Stone and Rob Gibson to ask Parliamentary Questions regarding free travel for pensioners on trains, rolling stock improvements and the introduction of a 4th train from Inverness to Wick.

AGM originally planned for Thurso has been changed to Brora after discussion. All invited guests can accommodate Brora instead of Thurso so there will be no change to the speakers.

As a result - and to make Thurso attractive venue for next year's AGM, with a view of FoFNL members travelling to Caithness and the Far North for a long weekend break in summer instead of November - it is proposed that from 2007 AGMs should take place in the summer months.

A constitution reform is required thus and will be voted at the 2006 AGM:

1   Article 8 (General Meetings): delete and replace by "The Annual General Meeting of FoFNL shall be held during the months of May, June or July, and shall be called by 21 clear days notice in writing given by the Secretary to all members." If this Amendment is carried then a second Amendment will be proposed.

2   Article 19 (Finances): delete and replace by "The FoFNL financial year shall be from 1 January to 31 December."

(Note that Article 25 requires that, as well as promulgating the proposed changes, reasons must also be given: "The Committee intended to hold the 2006 AGM in Thurso, and announced this informally to members. However, when plans were made it became apparent that it would be impossible for any members from south of Inverness to attend the AGM without incurring the expense of an overnight stay, or without making the proceedings unacceptably short. This was felt to place an unfair restriction on many members from central Scotland and England. Accordingly the venue of the 2006 AGM was changed to Brora, making it possible to travel from further south and back in one day while allowing sufficient time for the business to be conducted without undue haste. Nevertheless the Committee believes that the AGM should be held in Caithness periodically. In order to make this a more attractive proposition for members from the south the Committee believes it would be in the interests of members if the AGM were to be held during months of longer daylight, allowing members perhaps to combine the AGM with a short break in the Far North. The second Amendment allows time to prepare audited accounts for adoption at an earlier AGM. This Amendment will not be put to the AGM if the first Amendment fails to be carried.)"

ML advised that Mr John Moore's membership renewal has been rejected.

GS discussed the summer timetable changes and will write a paper discussing the introduction of a 4th service to Wick departing Inverness at 1400.

RS presented the financial statement which was agreed.

RA briefed the Committee on forthcoming consultation and reports: "Room For Growth" (Scott Wilson) and "Demand Study" (Halcrow).

The committee was advised prior to the meeting of membership numbers. 4 new members have joined FoFNL since April primarily due to FoFNL literature being available on the special charter service from London, the Blue Pullman.

Discussion continued on the wording of the FoFNL "Aims" paper which was agreed and will be included in the May/June newsletter.

The Rolling Stock paper which has a number of revisions was finalised and included in the newsletter. This paper is 'general' and the wider views of the membership, politicians and industry partners will be encouraged prior to making it formal policy.

Gavin Sinclair, Secretary