Minutes of the High Peak and Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership meeting held on the evening of 13th September 2011 at the Mechanics Institute Whaley Bridge

Present:

Cllr Jean Wharmby (DCC) (Chair)

Mike Rose (Project Officer)

Martin Smith

Mark Barker (Northern)

John Brook (Chapel Parish Council)

Keith Walker (FoCS)

Stephen Briscoe (HVRUG)

Theo McLauchlan (Northern Rail)

Cllr John Pritchard (HP parishes)

Alan Jackson (High Peak Access)

Carol Evans (New Mills Vol. Centre)

John Eaton (Friends of New Mills Stations)

Beth Atkins (FoNMS)

David Waite (Northern Rail)

Dwayne Wells (Northern Rail)

Emily Davies (PDNPA)

Robin Wignall (FoWBS)

Neil Williams (FoGS)

Simon Denvers (FoGS)    

John Benson (Chinley and Buxworth Transport Group)

John Kenny (Stockport MBC)

Anne Winter (WBTC and FoWBS)

Linda Watson (Disley Parish Council)

Margaret Meynell (Folk Train)

Anthony Meynell (Folk Train)

Charles Gorst (Poynton Town Council)

Don Coffey (Northern/FoCS)

 

 

 

The following members of the public were present:

 

Graham Sutton (Chinley Commuter)

Neil Robinson (Chinley Commuter)

Julian Perkins (Chinley Commuter)

Chris Orme (Chinley Commuter)

E H Bradbury

R N Bradbury

                                              
42/11  Apologies
Apologies were received from: Cllr Tony Favell (PDNPA), Cllr Chris Furness (Bradwell PC), Becky Pennyfather (DCC), Kevin Williams (DCC), Gill Westall (Chinley & Buxworth Transport Group), Mike Crompton, Neil Barthorpe (Network Rail), Kath Aspinwall (HVRUG), Mark James (HPBC), Gerry Bates (Sheffield Folk Train), John Barrett (FoBS), Mike Hayward (Transpeak Walks) and Steve Magner (TfGM).

43/11 Public Participation
Graham Sutton asked why the motion he submitted had not been put to the last meeting.  It was explained that the Partnership allowed public participation, but any motions were expected to be accompanied by the proposer.  His submission had been discussed at the meeting, but following discussion, the motion was not put to the meeting.

44/11  Declarations of interest
A declaration of interest was received from Neil Williams with regards to a bid to the Small Projects Fund for a Map at Glossop station.

45/11  Minutes of Partnership Meeting on 16th June 2011
The minutes of the Partnership AGM held on 16th June 2011 were approved as a correct record.

46/11  Matters arising not otherwise on the agenda
Concessionary Fares
Alan Jackson raised the issue of the withdrawal of the Gold Card local train travel concession which took effect from 1st August 2011.  He suggested that as there are 225,000 Gold Cards in use (including Derby) and the Derbyshire subsidy was £220,000, users might be prepared to pay a supplement for a card to include the rail travel subsidy.  It was pointed out that many (probably a large majority) of Gold Card users never used the rail travel concession, so the cost per card holder might be high. 
It was suggested the Mr Jackson take this up with Simon Spencer, the Derbyshire Cabinet member responsible for Transport.

47/11  To receive the minutes of the Partnership Management Group Meeting on 16th June 2011
The minutes were received

48/11  Outcome of Hope Valley Line timetable issues
The Project Officer reported that the Partnership had been working closely with Northern over a long period to introduce an additional evening peak stopping train each way between Manchester and Sheffield, and particularly to provide an 1814 departure from Sheffield.  This has now been agreed and will operate from December 2011.  This is a major achievement for the Partnership.

One of the consequences of this is that there will no longer be 1718 from Manchester through the Hope Valley, this will be replaced by 1645 and 1748 departures, both existing trains which will be extended to Sheffield.  An unintended consequence is that the 1720 fast from Manchester will no longer call at Chinley – this is to accommodate a freight, 6E04/6E66. The freight operator has historic rights to operate this freight service through the Hope Valley in the evening peak, and to retime it is not a simple process.  6E04/6E66 has already been slightly retimed to make the 1814 departure possible. The 1720 from Manchester to Cleethorpes is so overcrowded that the Chinley call on this service must have been in doubt without these changes.   In order to provide a service from Manchester and Stockport to Chinley around 1720, Northern are extending the 1723 from Manchester to Hazel Grove, which will in future run to Chinley non-stop from Hazel Grove.  This train will be formed of four coaches.  The Partnership is most disappointed that Chinley passengers are losing the call on the 1720 service.

The new 1814 from Sheffield would not call at Bamford.  Northern hope that this call can be introduced once the service had settled down.
Transpennine had announced that they intended to remove the Chinley stop on the 1810 from Sheffield. This was a commercial decision by Transpennine. 

Northern had involved all stakeholders in the discussions, including the Partnership, the Hope Valley Rail User Group and the Chinley and Buxworth TG.   It was noted that Transpennine had not communicated with any stakeholders despite a number of approaches.
Steven Briscoe endorsed the Project Officer’s report.   He thanked Northern, the Partnership and the Quarry operators who had all worked hard to make this train possible. He was dismayed that Chinley would get a poorer service.

Graham Sutton said that he felt the worsening of service for Chinley commuters was disgraceful.

The Project Officer explained that the main underlying problem was the single track stretch of track at Dore station.  The Northern Hub report proposed the redoubling of this section, but this was expensive and unlikely to happen in the near future.

Mark Barker explained the process for approving capital schemes such as the Dore redoubling:

  • Network Rail would produce their Interim Plan for 2014-19 autumn 2011.
  • This is a shopping list and the government will then weigh up what it wishes to purchase from this list.  
  • There would be a debate over 12-18 months.
  • Then the Office of Rail Regulation would determine Network Rail’s budget for 2014-19, so that by April 2014 Network Rail would know their position.

49/11  Finance report
2011/12 Income and Expenditure

Expenditure

Income

 

Year est.

To date

 

Year est.

To date

Salary

17945

7917

Cheshire East Council

2000

0

Travel/subsistence

1000

104

Derbyshire CC

14000

0

Survey

 

 

GMITE

3250

0

Printing, marketing, publicity, stationery

3000

1267

Transfer of funds from previous year (i)

37268

37268

Edale car park maintenance

500

501

PDNPA

4000

0

Small projects fund

6000

1022

Northern

6750

6750

Mobile Phones

51

25

Edale car park

4000

2686

Website

350

0

Other

0

0

ACoRP

750

0

 

 

 

Room Hire

120

0

 

 

 

Sub total

29716

10836

 

 

 

Transferred to 2012/13

41552

 

 

 

 

Total

71268

 

 

71268

46704

(i)  This includes £20145 transferred from the previous Partnership.

50/11  Capital Schemes Report
SEMMMS capital schemes.
Work is now under way on the various capital schemes for the 2010/11 financial year.  The schemes involved are as follows:

Table 1: Capital schemes 2010/11 (DCC capital only)

 

Location

Estimate

Railway projects

Whaley Bridge station refurbishment/platform raising

50000

 

Glossop station booking hall and waiting facilities

50000

 

Chinley station waiting facility

 15000

 

Buxton station refurbishment

85000

 

 

 

 

Cycle Rack at Chinley Station

     5000

Design costs

This includes design costs for the above schemes at 12½% of works costs.

25875

Total SEMMMS Rail

capital spend

230875

Whaley Bridge.
Work on the major refurbishment is complete.  The raising of the Buxton bound platform and some work to the bridge have still to take place.  The “Harrington hump” has been installed on the Manchester bound platform. There are some changes to the stop boards for the hump which had not been completed last time the station was visited.
Glossop.
The work on Glossop station is essentially complete
Chinley
Work on the shelter is complete.  A review has been requested into the tendency for rainwater to collect in one area of the shelter.
Buxton
It is hoped that work on the improvements to Buxton Station will start late in 2011 or early in 2012.

Chinley Cycle Rack
Work will start shortly on installing the cycle rack at Chinley station car park.

The financial year 2011/12 marks the start of a new LTP period.  There will be no SEMMMS funding for rail schemes and in the current financial climate it is highly likely that local authorities will concentrate their capital expenditure on their core activities.  For county councils, as far as transport is concerned, this means a concentration on highway maintenance and improvement, rather than investment in railway infrastructure.  For PTE’s the situation is rather different as they have responsibilities for railways.

Derbyshire.
It was noted that the project officer had put forward the following projects for consideration.

Improving accessibility to stations and trains

  • Provision of DDA compliant footbridge at Chinley. Works contribution £100k.  (It was noted that the steps on the Chinley station bridge were degrading again).
  • Provision of DDA compliant footbridge (or equivalent) at Hope station.  Works contribution £100k

(Both the Chinley and Hope projects require a thorough investigation before any accurate costings can be established.  This could (should) be done in 2011/12 with a view to implementation in 2012/13 or 2013/14. It is suggested that the Partnership may wish to contribute towards such investigations).

51/11  Small Project Fund Report
SPF Approved contributions outstanding or ongoing

Organisation

Project

SPF(£)

Paid 2011/12

Approval date

Manchester folk train organisers

i) Publicity and marketing (£70 quarterly until March 31st 2011)
ii) Payment of band expenses in emergency £30 per band 

280

 

120

 

 

£22

December 08

TransPeak Walks

Leaders’ expenses (quarterly claim)

960

£600

December 09

Chinley and Buxworth Transport Group

Covered cycle rack at Chinley

2000

 

December 10

Friends of Chapel Station

Running in Boards at Chapel Station

800

£400

December 10

Transport for Greater Manchester

Investigation into possible additional Sunday service from Manchester to Chinley from December 2012

2000

 

December 10

GM&SYPTE DCC and Northern

Investigation into extra a.m. peak hour train Manchester-Sheffield

2000

 

March 11

GMPTE, DCC and Northern

Investigation into half-hourly service on Buxton line

2000

 

March 11

Stockport MBC

Signing improvements Strines station

Up to 2000

 

March 11

DCC

Contribution to Derbyshire train timetable booklet

Up to 2000

 

March 11

Friends of Glossop Station

Enhancements to the tannoy system

Up to 2000

 

March 11

Hadfield and Padfield Heritage Group (HPHG)

New sign at Hadfield Station

975

 

June 11

Northern

Contribution to Easy Access Area at Grindleford station

2000

 

June 11

Total

 

£19,135

£1,022

 

Easy Access Area at Grindleford Station
Northern has submitted a £1M bid to the DfT Access For All Fund for Easy Access areas at a number of stations including Grindleford.  The Small Projects Fund has agreed to contribute £2,000 to this project.  The outcome of the bid should be know at the end of September.
Glossop
Neil Williams bid for £1000 for a map on the wall at Glossop station.  There is no detailed map of Glossop currently displayed at the station, and this would be of considerable assistance to passengers arriving at the station.   The Project Officer would speak to High Peak Council about a proposed Tourist Information Display.
Chapel-en-le Frith 
The first of the running-in boards has now be erected.
Resolved
That the bid from the Friends of Glossop Station of £1000 from the Small Projects Fund for a map at Glossop station be approved.

52/11  Glossop Station Opening           
The meeting agreed that Northern had done a terrific job at Glossop station.  As well as providing two waiting rooms, a toilet and booking office, the project had opened up that part of the station.  The Chair thanked Mark Barker and Theo McLauchlan, and also Simon Denvers who had set up excellent displays of historic information and photographs in the waiting rooms.

53/11  Line Survey
The Project Officer reported that the line survey of the Hope Valley and Buxton lines was now complete.  The data had been received for the Hope Valley, and the Buxton line and Chinley data was expected shortly.  An initial report was circulated showing passengers views on the Hope Valley stations.  Further reports will be circulated by email or uploaded to the Partnership website.

54/11  Hope Valley and Chinley Surveys
Steven Briscoe reported that the Hope Valley household survey would be starting in the near future.
The Chinley survey was complete.  The analysis was being carried out by Ray Wightman, who would be out of the area for some time.  It was hoped to get an analysis in the near future.

55/11  Buxton Line Issues

a)         Two trains per hour to Buxton
Derbyshire CC, Northern Rail and TfGM have long had an aspiration to double the off-peak passenger frequency on the Manchester-Buxton route to match the peak frequency of every 30 minutes. The Northern Hub also supports 2 trains per hour to/from Buxton. This would be provided by the extension of a local service from Liverpool, via Warrington Central, to Buxton.

A 2 trains per hour services would tap into the growth on the route, and provide a much quicker journey opportunity by a limited stop service than the current 61 minute all stops hourly service for a 25 mile journey. In turn this should generate more patronage. Buxton is an attractive tourism and leisure destination in its own right, so there are two-way opportunities here.

Therefore, the issue of 2tph to/from Buxton requires further investigation. The Northern Rail report of July 2010 showed that a timetable for a semi-fast second train could be operated by extending the existing Preston to Hazel Grove service. At the time there was a shortage of funds to take the idea forward. Also, the implementation of the NW electrification to Blackpool will see the Preston – Hazel Grove service become electric after December 2016.

Resolved:
The Partnership write to Network Rail and TfGM, supporting the service development proposals included in the Northern Hub.
The Partnership engage in discussions with Northern Rail to try to introduce incremental improvements to the Buxton line timetable from December 2012.

Resolved
The Partnership strongly believes that weekday trains to/from Buxton should cease to call at Levenshulme and Heaton Chapel and should enter into discussions with Northern Rail to achieve this objective as soon as possible. 

 

BUXTON LINE PATRONAGE 2010

 

Davenport

208,580

Woodsmoor

142,858

Hazel Grove

541,690

Middlewood

21,770

Disley

115,552

New Mills Newtown

190,402

Furness Vale

16,372

Whaley Bridge

89,476

Chapel-en-le-Frith

48,148

Dove Holes

5,866

Buxton

301,320

d)         Extension of Sunday – Southport – Stockport to Hazel Grove
At present the hourly service from Southport, either (alternatively) terminates at Stockport or runs through to Chester (via Northwich). Rather than stand at Stockport, TfGM have asked Northern Rail to investigate operational efficiencies by using spare capacity of that train crew and unit to operate an additional service to Hazel Grove, calling at Davenport and Woodsmoor.
With the extension of the Southport – Stockport service to Hazel Grove, the opportunity arises for the Southport trains to call at Woodsmoor and Davenport, in place of Buxton services, thereby speeding up the Buxton services.  

The Partnership write to Northern Rail and TfGM supporting the extension of the Southport – Stockport Sunday service to Hazel Grove, calling at Woodsmoor and Davenport, and also taking out the Woodsmoor and Davenport calls from the corresponding Buxton services.

e)         Leaf fall timetable
The leaf fall timetable has trains leaving Buxton 5 minutes ahead of the normal timetable and waiting for some time at Hazel Grove.  At the very least, it should be possible to reduce that to around 2 minutes. However, the Partnership wishes to discuss this issue with Northern Rail, and therefore, would like to see a WEBTAG analysis to justify the Leaf Fall timetable and the CBA.
Don Coffey, as a driver manager on the Buxton line felt that there was scope for reviewing the leaf fall allowance.
The Partnership open discussions with Northern Rail to discuss the leaf fall timetable, and ascertain to review the WEBTAG analysis to justify the proposed Leaf Fall timetable.

f)          Improving Line Speeds.
The Hazel Grove – Edgeley Line Speed Improvements (LSI) are recommended in North West RUS. From Hazel Grove West to Stockport line speed should be at least 60mph, as it may make stops at Chinley on selected services more achievable. However, it is regrettable that other LSI between Hazel Grove and Buxton are not to be pursued.  
With line speed uplifts more time could be saved, as: 

  • There is a 45 limit between Barmoor Clough and Eaves Tunnels - uplift to 60.
  • There is a 20 mph on the northbound inside Eaves tunnel and 45 on the southbound. Again these should be 60.  The 20pmh limit is due to a clearance problem, and will be difficult to resolve.
  • The maximum line speed for much of the line is only 45 mph. It needs to be 60 mph throughout between Hazel Grove East Jn and approaching Buxton.
  • The 40 mph through Hazel Grove could remain (as all Buxton trains stop and others must slow for the junction towards New Mills South.

The Partnership write to Network Rail supporting the proposed Line Speed improvement between Hazel Grove and Edgeley Junction, and request a meeting to discuss the development of a business case for selected Line Speed Improvements between Hazel Grove and Buxton. .

56/11  Website and Walks
The Project Officer reported that the line survey of the Hope Valley and Buxton lines was now complete.  The report was expected in the near future.

Martin Smith has written up a number of walks from stations in the Partnership area.  The walks from the Hope Valley line are available on the Partnership website, and it is planned to have the Buxton line walks online shortly. He hopes to complete the set of walks in the near future.

The meeting congratulated Martin on his research of walks and walking a complete set of station to station walks.

57/11  National Issues

  • Northern RUS

The Government has approved the Ordsall curve in Manchester, which is an expensive and key component of the Northern Hub proposals.   There is no word at present on the other components of the report, particularly the redoubling at Dore.
More details are now emerging of the train services which will be introduced following the opening of the Ordsall curve.

  • Transpennine Franchise

The First Transpennine Franchise has been extended and it is now expected that this franchise will finish in April 2014.   It is also expected that the Northern franchise will be extended from September 2013 to April 2014. This will allow for reorganisation of the two franchises.

  • Update on Additional Stock

It has been announced by the DfT that Northern will receive an additional four two-car units.  Mark Barker reported that the 1745 from Manchester to Sheffield and the 1914 return will be formed of four cars from December.  The 1914 is the Sheffield folk train, so that will resolve the overcrowding on the outward folk train.  Also one return working on the Buxton line in the morning peak will be strengthened from two to four cars from December 2011.  Some New Mills to Manchester workings will also be strengthened.
It has been known for some time that EMT are getting additional units, this should ensure the strengthening of the 1643 and 1743 from Piccadilly.
                                               
58/11  Ongoing Issues
Help Points
Northern’s new Telecoms contractor are making good progress on updating the help points in the Partnership area.
Station announcements
Many stations have poor announcements, with some such as New Mills not working at all.  The PA at Chapel recently started working and now often makes safety announcements to a deserted station.
The project officer agreed to report to the next meeting on the PA systems in the Partnership area.

59/11  Ticket Office Closures
The Daily Telegraph had printed a list of ticket offices which the McNulty report suggested should be considered for closure.  This is a confidential annexe which was not intended for publication, but appeared to represent a cut-off of stations with usage of less than 250,000 passengers pa.

The stations in the Partnership area listed for closure were:

Broadbottom

119,014

Buxton

301,320

Hadfield

315,338

New Mills Central

140,558

New Mills Newtown

180,210

Dinting

102,098

Whaley Bridge

89,476

Ridership has been increasing rapidly on all the lines in the Partnership area.
Of these, both Buxton and Hadfield have passenger numbers over 250,000 p.a., and so should be safe.

The Partnership has spent and is spending considerable sums of money on improving ticket offices at Buxton and New Mills Central, and Network Rail have spent a very large sum at Whaley Bridge on the ticket office there.   Facilities such as waiting rooms and toilets at stations such as New Mills Central are only open when the station is staffed.  It would be most unfortunate if the waiting room and toilet at New Mills Central was closed permanently because of a decision to close the ticket office.

It is well known that passengers feel safer when a station is staffed.  

There is a trend in rail travel for the use of tickets purchased on-line, but this is mainly confined to long-distance travel.  In the London area, the Oyster smartcard has been most successful, and reduced the demand for ticket purchase at stations.  Smartcards are being trialled between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and in the Brighton area. They are also being trialled by East Midlands Trains.  However this is very expensive to introduce, and are unlikely to reduce ticketless travel on lines with no barriers.

McNulty suggests that ticket offices should be allowed more innovative retail uses.

The status of ticket offices is essentially a matter for the franchisee.

Buxton, as a tourist centre and with many elderly passengers has a particularly strong case to retail a ticket office.  In fact the queues can be so long that a second window could be considered.  With the potential increase to four trains per hour on the Buxton line, the usage at Whaley Bridge, New Mills Newtown and Buxton will increase.

Mark Barker said that Northern were installing vending machines, and had starting selling tickets online. However Northern had no plans to close any ticket offices.

Resolved
That the Partnership ask Northern to retain the existing ticket offices, and seek to ensure that the new franchise(s) retain the existing ticket offices.

60/11  Any Other Business
Margaret Maynell reported that the Manchester Piccadilly ticket office had recently run out of Wayfarer tickets, and she asked whether the train guards could sell them.   Mark Barker explained that it was impractical for the train guards to carry the special stationery. The ticket office had to order the Wayfarers from TfGM, and then it was up to TfGM to supply them quickly.  This was outside Northern’s control.

It was also noted that TPE guards do not in practice sell tickets to passengers boarding at Chinley or Hope Valley stations.

61/11  Dates and times of the next meetings

  • Wednesday 30th November 10 am

Manchester

  • Wednesday 14 March 10 am

Sheffield

  • Wednesday 13 June AGM - evening

Chinley

Resolved
The proposed dates and venues were agreed.


Minutes of the High Peak and Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership Management Group meeting held on 13th September 2011, at the Mechanics Institute Whaley Bridge

Present:

Cllr Jean Wharmby (DCC), (Chair)                                

Mike Rose (Project Officer)

Mark Barker (Northern)  

Cllr John Pritchard (HP parishes)

Cllr Watson (Cheshire parishes)

Carol Evans (Voluntary sector rep)

Emily Davies (PDNPA)

Keith Walker (FoCS)

Neil Williams (FoGS)

John Eaton (Friends of New Mills Stations)

 

 

9/11    Apologies
Cllr Tony Favell (PDNPA) (Vice chair), Steve Briscoe (HVRUG), Gill Westall (Chinley & Buxworth Transport Group), Neil Barthorpe (Network Rail), Paul Griffiths (Cheshire East), Becky Pennyfather (DCC), Cllr Chris Furness (HV parishes)

10/11  Approval of Minutes of Partnership Meeting on 16th June 2011
The minutes of the Partnership Management Group Meeting held on 16th June 2011 were approved as a correct record,

11/11  High Peak
The Project Officer reported that High Peak Council had expressed interest in becoming a funding Partner with a contribution of £2,000pa. 
Resolved
The Management Group would welcome High Peak as a Funding Partner with a contribution of £2,000pa.

12/11  Dates and times of the next meetings

  • Wednesday 30th November 10 am

Manchester

  • Wednesday 14 March 10 am

Sheffield

  • Wednesday 13 June AGM - evening

Chinley

Resolved
The proposed dates and venues were agreed.