Wales and Borders Regional Forum
Attendees: Christian Schmidt, Tom Painter, Sean Croshaw, Heather Bolton, Matt Johnson, Jeremy Callard, Michelle Roles, Rhiannon-Jane Raftery, Sarah Spink, Adam Graham, Lee Robinson, Gethin Jones, Andrew Gainsbury, David Clark, Ben Clifford, Geraint Morgan, Hugh Evans, Melanie Lawton, Lois Park, Nichole Sarra, Lowri Joyce, Ceri Taylor, Katie Powis.
Apologies: Gerard Rhodes
Date: 01 April 2020
Time: 10:00 – 12:00
Location: Microsoft Teams
Item no. 1
Introductions & Apologies – Nichole Sarra (NS)
Transport for Wales
Introductions were made between all attendees and apologies were given by Gerard Rhodes from Cheshire West and Chester Council.
NS explained the basic housekeeping guidelines for the meeting along with the opportunity to raise questions throughout.
Item no. 2
Purpose & Remit of the Transport for Wales Advisory Architecture - Gethin Jones (GJ) Transport for Wales
GJ gave an overview of the development and establishment of TfW’s Advisory Architecture, along with the remit and purpose for the regional Forums.
Tom Painter (TP) inquired about the relationship of the UK Cross Borders Forum that is already established as part of the wider governance framework along with the relationship with the Network Rail supervisory board. Assurances around both points were given by GJ, Lois Park (LP) and NS.
Action: GJ to provide further details of conversation with Network Rail.
Item no. 3
December 2020 timetable - David Clark (DC) Transport for Wales
DC presented the December 2020 timetable changes and train planning principles.
TP inquired about the current situation regarding Covid-19 and the May 2020 timetable. DC explained the uncertain nature of the current proposals and that discussion are ongoing in introducing the May 2020 timetable. Christian Schmidt (CS) enquired about how timetable proposals could be submitted and reviewed. DC agreed the proposals would be looked at and considered and could be submitted via LP and NS.
Sean Croshaw (SC) enquired about liaison Central Manchester Recovery Taskforce regarding the Castlefield corridor. DC explained that they are working with the relevant partners and collaboratively with stakeholders. CS also enquired about collaborative working with other TOCs e.g South Wales Mainline where there are multiple train operators. DC explained that TfW will work cooperatively with other train operators and provided a brief explanation of the bidding process with Network Rail around timetable changes.
Actions: NS to forward proposals submitted by CS to DC. JC requested an update on the delivery of any new stations on the Wales and Marches line-update to follow.
Item no. 4
Rail Replacement Service – Ben Clifford (BC) Transport for Wales
BC presented an update on the rail replacement scheme with much detail in the presentation provided.
CS enquired if there was pre-planning for ad-hoc operations. BC confirmed there are pre-written contingency plans that can be deployed to TfW teams. He added that they do require some level of ‘tweaking’ as every incident is slightly different however there are base plans that the team use.
Item no. 5
Rolling Stock Update – Andrew Gainsbury (AG) Transport for Wales
AG presented an update on rolling stock. He emphasised that as many of the suppliers are seeing reduced workforces due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and that this may have an effect on the programme timescales.
SC enquired on the option to add additional units to the current orders, along with a query as to how stakeholders can help the case to support further investment.
AG stated that there are options in the purchase contract for additional units, if demand required. Furthermore, demand would probably dictate any additional need for units and that capacity overall will be increased. NS agreed to provide more detail to SC and AG on points raised.
A question was also raised on the design of the fleet. AG explained that several inputs, consultation and research was done to provide the compliant and user led design for the new fleet. Mock-up’s of the units, which are due to arrive soon, will aid the visualisation and overall feel of the new units.
SC enquired regarding MK4 carriages and the viability of using them as an interim increase on certain sections of the network. AG confirmed this is a point currently being looked at.
Action: NS to provide details of how stakeholders can present a business case, for example capacity increases on lines.
Item no. 6
Community Rail – Melanie Lawton (ML) Transport for Wales
ML presented an update on the community rail programme.
CS raised a question over the ownership and lease of disused buildings at Chepstow station. He explained that a working group does exist, to look at Chepstow, that has representation from Network Rail and a process is in place to get a transfer of lease in due course.
AG enquired about the representation of the North Cheshire Community Partnership and proposals to work with new CRPs. ML explained that that currently isn’t a CRP that we fund but are actively promoting conversations on the possibility of joint projects that could utilise the challenge fund.
Item no. 7
Future Forum Items / AOB
NS asked the Forum whether any attendees had suggestions for future agenda items.
The Forum are welcome to send proposals via email to NS following the meeting. The audio recording of this meeting will also be shared.
NS thanked all participants and closed the meeting.