The Quarterly Management Group Meeting of the West of Lancashire Community Rail Partnership (WoLCRP) took place on Thursday 6th July 2023. The meeting was held as an online meeting and attend by representatives from Community Rail Lancashire, Northern Railways, Lancashire County Council, West of Lancashire Borough Council, Sefton Council, the Community Rail Network and Friends of Stations Groups.
Chair of the group Stephen Benge welcomed everyone to the meeting and it was agreed that the minutes from the last meeting were a true and accurate record.
Secretary Richard Watts then gave an Activity Plan update and highlighted the following points:
- Noted that Team Arlo (Dave Savage, Karen Bennett, Emily Dawson & Bessie Matthews) had successfully completed the Three Peaks Challenge for the Railway Children Charity. (https://communityraillancashire.co.uk/news/karen-dave-summit-the-national-3-peaks/ ).
+ Noted that CRL has received the Autism Friendly Award from the National Autistic Society. (https://communityraillancashire.co.uk/news/autism-friendly-award-success/ )
+ Noted that Community Rail Week 2023 had been a success with 13 events over the week some taking place along the West Lancashire Line. (https://communityraillancashire.co.uk/cr-week-2023/ )
+ That the Croston GeoCache project has been launched and encouraged members to promote this and to try it out. (https://communityraillancashire.co.uk/croston-geocache/)
+ Noted that the Friends of Hoscar Station have received the two new poster panels and the Hoscar history poster. David Pryer from the friends group noted that they were planning to launch the poster in September.
+ Noted that new art work had been installed at Gathurst. SB welcomed the artwork which he had seen on a recent trip along the line.
+ RW thanked the station volunteers for distributing the mini timetables and reminded everyone about the various publicity leaflets that are available on line and as hard copies (see: https://communityraillancashire.co.uk/make-a-beeline-for-the-west-lancashire-line/ ). Hard copies available from RW – firstname.lastname@example.org .
+ Noted that the Partnership had sponsored the WIMIN Festival at Bootle that took place on 29th July.
You can download the full Activity Plan Update on this link: WoLCRP Activity Plan Update July 2023
Although a representative from the Omskirk, Preston & Southport Transport Association was not at the meeting the following was noted regarding a recent passenger survey:
+ Passenger numbers were at least equal to those in 2019.
+ Philip Benzie noted that usage of Burscough Junction was improving especially in the Ormskirk direction.
+ Denis O’Connell (OPSTA) noted (by email) that usage of Croston was ‘flat’ and suggested that some passengers lacked the confidence to use the ticket vending machine (TVM) and might incur a penalty fare if they purchased the wrong ticket.
Owain Roberts & Simon Abbott from Northern Railways gave a business update via a presentation which included the latest on the ongoing industrial action, performance on the two lines and a community rail update. The full presentation can be seen on this link: West of Lancs Northern Presentation July 2023
Other reports followed from LCC’s Mike Cliffe, the Community Rail Network’s Ian Davis, West of Lancashire Borough Council’s Stephen Benge and by Friends of Burscough’s Stations Philip Benzie.
Other reports followed from LCC’s Mike Cliffe, the Community Rail Network’s Ian Davis, Ribble Valley Rail’s Peter Eastham and although not present at the meeting Peter Wilcock from the British Transport Police supplied a report.
The next meeting of the group is to be on Thursday 12th October 2023 and will again be an online meeting.