CRL - Community Rail Lancashire

WoLCRP Quarterly Meeting January 2024

The West of Lancashire Community Rail Partnership held its quarterly Management Group meeting on Wednesday 31st January 2024. The meeting was held online and attended by representatives from Community Rail Lancashire, Northern Railways, Lancashire County Council, West Lancashire Borough Council, Sefton Council, Network Rail, Community Rail Network, Ormskirk, Preston & Southport Travellers Association (OPSTA), British Transport Police and Friends of Stations.

After introductions and approval of the last meeting’s minutes Secretary of the CRPs Richard Watts spoke about updates on the Activity Plan.

The updates included:

+  Noted that the West of Lancashire  Community Rail Partnership (WoLCRP) along with the other CRPs and CRL had been successfully reaccredited by the Community Rail Network (see image above).

+  Invited all to review the Activity Plan and feedback any additions or corrections.

+  Spoke about the CRL Guided Walks Programme and thanked the Lancashire Rail Ramblers for their continued support and noted that the programme now covers all of the CRP lines.

+  Noted that a new station history poster is to be unveiled in the waiting room on platforms 3 & 4 at Preston.

+  Congratulations were given to Marion Atkinson on becoming Leader of Sefton Council. Marion also chairs Women in Community Rail.

+  Noted that Community Rail Week 2024 (#CRW24) will be taking place 20th to 26th May 2024.

+  Noted that a new film in the Explore Lancashire by Rail project is to be launched and features a walk from Burscough to Martin Mere.

To see the full Activity Plan click on this link: Activity Plan Update Jan ’24

Next Owain Roberts, Regional Stakeholder Manager, Northern Trains, showed a presentation covering points including the recent performance issues, ongoing negotiations with the RMT Union around Sunday working and ‘Stations as a Place’ a new Northern initiative. Owain also spoke about Community Rail and in particular about the need to recruit more station volunteers. The Full presentation can be seen on this link: West of Lancs CRP presentation January 2024

Next was a report from Lancashire County Council’s Rail Development Manager, Mike Cliffe who spoke about the following:

+  The Skelmersdale Train Bus Link was working well. Discussions with Merseyrail are ongoing to offer integrated ticketing.

+  On step free access at Burscough Bridge decisions awaited from DfT.

+  Bus Service Improvement Plans – a range of reduced fares have been introduced including flat fare £1, buy Sat get Sun free, new and the national £2 fare has been extended until end of 2024.

+  Network North: As a result of cancellation of HS2 the Council is waiting on guidance on ‘new’ funding and are reviewing local priorities so that they can be ready to bid into possible funding.

+  Combined Authority processes is continuing which would offer more local powers and flexibility on how money can be spent. The public consultation that has now closed

+  The scrapping of HS2 has led to some funding being released via Network North: more details awaited from DfT

+  Plans are underway to create a Combined Authority which will include LCC, Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool Council.

A number of other updates followed from West Lancashire Borough Council, Network Rail, the Community Rail Network, OPSTA, the British Transport Police and from the Friends of Stations groups.

The next meeting will be the Annual General Meeting and will take place as a live meeting in Southport Town Hall on Thursday April 18th 2024