West of Lancashire CRP met on Friday 18th January in Preston to discuss a wide range of issues affecting the Preston to Ormskirk and Wigan to Southport lines. Here are some headlines from the meeting:
* The meeting welcomed Katie Musgrove, Community Rail Lancashire; Kate Burke, Network Rail and Denis O’Connell, OPSTA (Ormskirk, Preston, Southport Travellers’ Association) to their first meeting.
* The partnership learnt that ComREG, Northern’s Community Rail Executive Group, has confirmed that the CRP will receive a grant of £25k per annum for the next three financial years, 2019/20 to 2021/22. The grant is index linked from the start of the franchise so will be slightly more! The Partnership also receives a grant of £10k from Merseytravel.
* Community Rail Lancashire (CRL) reported that it is to shortly appoint a new Community Rail Education Development Officer who will develop educational initiatives for the South Fylde and West of Lancashire CRPs.
* Katie Musgrove is helping develop CRL’s award winning Railway Confidence Programme (RCP) and On Track to Train programmes which involves schools in the West Lancashire area.
* Northern reported that it has a standby unit at Preston that can be used to cover unit failures on the Preston to Ormskirk branch. It is also good news that all bus replacements on the line have been removed and a full train service is now operating albeit only on Mondays to Fridays at the moment. Despite poor reliability on the Preston to Ormskirk line in recent months Northern reported that recent trends showed considerable improvement.
* The partnership learnt that station partnerships have been active at Croston, Rufford, Burscough Junction and Bridge stations as well as at Meols Cop and Parbold.
* Marketing has been on hold due to the on-going industrial action but it is hoped to launch the ‘Make a Bee Line for the Station’ initiative in the run up to the summer holidays. If you want a taster then use this link to the video on YouTube:
* The CRP agreed to look at producing a credit card sized timetable for the Preston to Ormskirk line to coincide with the introduction of the May timetable.
* Network Rail reported that platforms were being lengthened at New Lane and Bescar Lane as part of an on-going programme to enable longer trains to be operated.
Many other topics were discussed but the above gives a hint of the wide ranging overview the CRP takes of both lines.