Transport for Wales Minutes and Actions - 23 April 2020

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Mid and West Wales Regional Forum

Date: 23 April 2020

Time: 10:00 – 12:00

Location: Microsoft Teams

Attendees

Amanda Philips, Officer, Neath Port Talbot Council, Ann Elias, Mid Wales Regional Engagement Team – Strategic Transport, “Growing Mid Wales Partnership” Ceredigion Council, Ben George, Officer, Swansea Council, Ceri Rees, Officer, Pembrokeshire Council, Ceri Stephens, South Wales Chamber of Commerce, Chris PeakePort Manager, Irish Ferries, David Beer Senior Manager Wales, Transport Focus, Dr Jonathan Burnes, Programme Director, Swansea Bay City Deal, Dr. Rhian Hayward MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus Ltd, Aberystwyth University, Liz Williams, Projects Officer & Office Manager, Pembrokeshire Tourism, Owen Williams, Commercial Manager, First Cymru Buses Ltd, Peter Austin, Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Swansea Bay City Deal, Samara Hicks, TBC, Carmarthenshire Council, Sharon Adams Director of Membership, South Wales Chamber of Commerce, Simon Charles, Officer, Carmarthenshire Council, Val Hawkins, Chief Executive, Mid Wales Tourism, Vincent Goodwin, Travel Officer, Powys Council & Zoe Antrobus, Managing Director, 4theregion

TfW attendees

Andrew Gainsbury, Rolling Stock Manager, Ben Clifford, Road Transport Manager, David Clark, Train Planner, Geraint Morgan, Community Rail Manager, Gethin Jones, Business Support Manager, Hugh Evans, Head of Community Rail, Katie Powis (Chair), Stakeholder Manager, Lowri Joyce, Stakeholder Manager, Nichole Sarra, Stakeholder Manager & Tom Parker, Rail Performance Analyst

Apologies

Julian Atkins, Chief Executive, Brecon Beacon Park Authority, Carl Milne, Stena Line (Fishguard), Michelle Roles, Stakeholder Manager, Transport Focus & Bruce Roberts, Secretary, Swansea Bay Business Club

 

Item no. 1

Introductions & Apologies – Katie Powis (KP) Transport for Wales

Introductions were made between all attendees.

KP explained the basic housekeeping guidelines for the meeting along with the opportunity to raise questions throughout via the chat function or at the end of each presentation. KP also gave a brief outline of the Forum’s purpose.

 

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 and their placement within the Architecture.

No questions were raised on this item.

 

Item no. 3

December 2020 timetable - David Clark (DC) Transport for Wales

DC presented the December 2020 timetable changes and train planning principles.

Ben George (BG) enquired about the programme of completion of the retaining wall at Swansea train station. KP agreed to research the programme and progression of works and report back.

David Beer (DB) raised a question regarding the provision of rolling stock and the timescales around units being in place, refurbished and any contingency for these timescales.

Andrew Gainsbury (AG) confirmed that there are some ongoing risks for the fleet programme although the rolling stock refurbishment suppliers are still working through Covid-19 and are doing well to stay on programme. Contingency plans are being drawn up in case there are significant delays. More to come on Rolling Stock in the next agenda item.

DB requested that when the works take place at Swansea Stations that signage and communications be considered.

DC stated that any disruption at Swansea would be minimal and that the CIS would display the most up to date information provided by Network Rail (NR) to assist passengers.

Action: KP to gather information from NR on the planned work to Swansea Station retaining wall.

 

Item no. 4

Rolling Stock Update – Andrew Gainsbury (AG) Transport for Wales

AG presented an update on the current refurbishments programme of the TfW fleet along with the new rolling stock set for the future.

DB enquired about passenger input to the designs along with stating that Transport Focus would be happy to help to aid any potential onboard features.

AG stated that the train set mock-ups would assist in design input from passengers. These were due to arrive from Spain this spring but are delayed due to the current Covd-19 outbreak. AG confirmed that we hope to now receive these in the Summer. AG also stated the passenger accessibility panel had already visited the mock-ups and were happy that they comply. AG hopes to receive updated computer-generated images on the new rolling stock soon.

Ceri Stephens (CS) enquired about Welsh suppliers being part of CAF’s supply chain.

AG confirmed CAF is a Spanish company so much of the supply chain would be in Spain but believes there will be some local opportunities. Action for AG to check detail of Welsh supply chain with CAF.

Ann Elias (AE) enquired about the potential for refurbished Class 175s to run on the Heart of Wales Line.

AG stated that Class 153s are currently being operated on the Heart of Wales Line along with some Class 150s. In the future this will switch to refurbished Class 153s moving the Class 150s to the Core Valleys Lines as the pacers are removed from service.

AE also asked about the capacity for additional luggage and cycles.

AG also stated that the refurbished 153s would offer some extra capacity for bicycles and luggage with a long-term solution of extra space being looked at to address active travel objectives.

Vincent Goodwin (VG) also raised the opportunity for additional bicycle and luggage space on new rolling stock for Swansea – Manchester services.

AG stated that the new fleet would deliver on the provision of extra capacity along with being fully Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRM) compliant.

DB enquired about the new rolling stock test facilities at Ystradgynlais along with rail gauging and testing timescales. AG is not fully aware of the most up to date plans for the site in Ystradgynlais. AG did confirm that CAF intends to use track for testing near to the Newport facility and most testing would happen on the mainline. This would also allow to start driver training quite early. AG confirmed that testing would start in the next 15-18 months and could not imagine the Ystradgynlais test track being ready within those timescales due to the complexity of the infrastructure. AG confirmed that gauging is ongoing and is part of the CAF agreement. Various meetings are being held to identify areas that require gauging on the network.

Action: AG to gather and share updated computergenerated images of new rolling stock once received.

AG to check supplier data with CAF.

AG to make enquiries regarding plans to test CAF new rolling stock.

 

Item no. 5

Rail Replacement Service (RRS) – Ben Clifford (BC) Transport for Wales

BC presented an update on the rail replacement scheme with much detail presented within the slide deck.

Simon Charles (SC) raised details of representations received regarding the use of minibuses on RRS and whether there is a lack of Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant vehicles available. SC also raised if there were plans to use higher specification vehicles in the future. DB also requested details of the timescales for compliance with Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR).

BC explained the geography of South West Wales along with the nature of the network in the area which can cause difficulty in operating full-length vehicles. Minibuses compliant with PSVAR are less available than compliant coaches. Minibuses are also outside of the scope of the PSVAR legislation, but compliant minibuses are deployed where possible.

BC stated that compliance is challenging to the industry as a whole as we are reliant on the coach and bus operators to have PSVAR complaint fleet available. Has no specific timeline regarding full compliance but stated that pre-planned replacement can be compliant within two years and adhoc 8 to 10 years. There are discussions taking place at a higher level with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to speed up this process.

DB expressed concern at these timescales and understands this is an industry issue. DB explained that the industry has had 15 years to get the regulation in place and has only recently woken up to this issue. Dates have been moved and derogation extended to allow time for compliance. Once derogation expires it would be a criminal offence to supply a non-compliant vehicle. GWR are looking at postponing engineering works until they have compliant RRS in place. DB suggested that this is a risk that needs to be taken seriously and offered assistance to support compliance with the bus and coach industry.

BC confirmed an 8 month extension to the derogation date. The executive team within TfW are meeting regularly on this subject who are receiving regular updates regarding compliance from the RRS team. This is then shared with wider Boards within the RDG around PSVAR.

There are limited coaches available which are PSVAR compliant and station and bus pick up point infrastructure enhancements are required for compliance also. Work is ongoing on these elements.

For pre-planned PSVAR compliance we delivered a 80% compliance rate in March 2020 compared with a 20% compliance rate in October 2019 so improvements are already being made.

 

Item no. 6

Community Rail – Hugh Evans (HE) Transport for Wales

HE presented an update on the community rail programme.

Ceri Rees (CR) shared details of the successful MyTrain Wales regional project led by Pembrokeshire targeting primary and secondary schools across the four local authority areas in SWW. This scheme is GWR funded which allows a colleague of CR to deliver a number of messages including railway safety using various media. CR is interested to hear about the CRP in the region and the planned work to target loneliness and mental health but asked if there were plans to work with young people in schools.

HE agreed that there is potential for TfW to be involved in education and that the Community Rail Ambassadors would further facilitate the potential of the scheme alongside TfW, the British Transport Police and Network Rail.

 

Item no. 7

Future Forum Items / AOB

KP asked if there was AOB.

CR offered to assist BC in any future event of sourcing DDA compliant vehicles in the area. KP agreed to share contact details.

KP highlighted the communication TfW have had with health boards in Wales due to the Covid-19 pandemic and invited any known feedback stakeholders may have to further improve the key worker timetable.

DB enquired about the uptake of services post covid19 and discussions around ramping services post covid-19. It was confirmed that work is ongoing to achieve the best possible solution for services following the ease of travel restrictions.

Tom Parker (TP) it is worth noting that data is being collated about the number of passengers travelling. Conductors are counting passengers and this data is and will be used to plan the ramping up of services. We are also looking at how social distancing will be implemented on trains once lockdown is relaxed.

SC requested detail of the station audit undertaken by ARUP and the data collated. Suggestions were made around improvements to access and public realm for stations and large-scale improvements work to take place at Llanelli Station in 2022.

LJ stated the station improvement plan is in place to achieve outcome of the station audits. There is a multi-organisation working group working on the plan who are eager to take suggestions from stakeholders.

SC would like to see the detail for Llanelli Station as there is a significant regeneration and housing project in the direct vicinity and is keen to tie them both in. KP agreed to discuss with SC following the meeting.

Zoe Antrobus (ZA) shared her contact detail in chat regarding the CRP. Email is [redacted].

KP confirmed that a follow up email will be sent which will include an attendee list, as well as the recording and minutes. KP also encouraged attendees to complete the feedback survey which will be included in the email.

KP requested suggestions for future agenda items and for recommendations for additional members to the Forum. The next Forums are planned for July.

KP thanked all participants and closed the meeting.

Action: KP to share contact details BC & CR

KP to liaise with SC on Llanelli Station.