The meeting was called to provide feedback on various meetings and consultations which committee members had attended.
Arriva Cross Country new franchise (Hartlepool 13th Nov) – We met with a representative from Arriva to consider Coastliners’ aspirations for the next Cross Country Franchise. These were basically
- To reroute a limited number of trains along the Coastline, so providing a direct service from Sunderland, Hartlepool and Stockton /Eaglescliffe to Leeds/Doncaster , Sheffield, Birmingham and beyond, and
- To operate some others via Eaglescliffe/Stockton and Durham rather than Darlington/Durham, so serving a larger population base.
Rail North (Leeds 28th Nov) & Transport for the North (Newcastle 30th Nov) – A Strategic Transport Plan was being developed for consultation with the expectation that letting of the Northern & Transpennine franchises would be wholly devolved to Transport for the North by 2024.
Mike Hill MP (Hartlepool 5th Jan)- A useful interchange of information had taken place with the Hartlepool MP. We had been able to acquaint him with our aspirations and concerns and update him with Coastline developments. He would use us as a first point of call for information on railway matters.
Northern Railway CRP meeting (Middlesbrough 11th Jan) – This was an update on current thinking and progress towards a Tees Valley Community Rail Partnership covering Sunderland – Middlesbrough, Saltburn – Darlington and the existing Darlington – Bishop Auckland CRP. Whilst becoming a single CRP it was envisaged that there would be individual paid officers for each of the three lines. Funding would come from a combination of the DfT, relevant Local Authorities, the Tees Valley Combined Authority, Northern Rail and ACoRP. The existing Esk Valley CRP was yet to decide whether or not to join this regional scheme. Ian Davis ACoRP’s Operations Officer will be our guest speaker on March 8th. Meanwhile we were encouraged to participate in the DfT online consultation on ‘The future of community rail strategy’ which closes on 28th January.