We are fed up with the frequent cancellations on the Line. So far (to 24th April) we have had 82 trains (yes, 42 Oxenholme - Windermere - Oxenholme trips) cancelled this month. We have complained to David Brown, MD at Northern, and the Secretary of State for Transport, but so far got nothing better than excuses and vague promises that things will get better.
The Spring Bulletin is now available, and includes an article giving the background to the present crisis in cancellations. If you'd like a copy and aren't yet a member, please download, fill in and send us your application form.
If you suffer because of a cancelled train, please let us know (email@example.com) and preferably send a copy to Community Rail Cumbria (https://www.communityrailcumbria.co.uk/contact-us/) who will make sure it reaches the Lakes Line CRP. If you also copy in Northern's Contact Centre (firstname.lastname@example.org) then it makes sure they know about the disruption being caused.
After disastrous days such as 24th April, when the last train was the 1650 from Windermere, and 26th (no trains between the 0850 from Windermere and the 2115 from Oxenholme) we urge all passengers to check their train is running before going to the station. You can text 'dep' + the name of your station to 84950, or go to Northern's website, or try Real Time Trains http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk and search from your station.
We very much regret having to give this advice.
The next committee meeting (members invited to attend) will be held on Wednesday 6th March, in Kendal, at 7.30 pm.
The Group was very disappointed to hear, on 17th July 2017, that the Department for Transport has abandoned plans to electrify the line between Oxenholme and Windermere. After hearing the Secretary Of State for Transport tell us in 2013 he was confident the scheme would be approved and up and running for December 2016, then one of his junior ministers confirm £16 million had been set aside for the job, it is a great let-down to learn the scheme has been pulled. Coming so soon after the news that the Lake District had been awarded World Heritage Site status, it is a real blow. We need a truly modern railway to match the expectations of visitors.
LLRUG continues to press for the electrification, and we are not alone. The CRP, Cumbria Tourism, County Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership and many other bodies want this too.
May 2018 timetable
To rewrite one of Northern's ad slogans: "We are disappointed". Great changes to the timetable were promised from May 2018, principally the introduction of four return services on weekdays between Windermere and Manchester Airport. It won't happen. Network Rail hasn't finished the necessary work on the Bolton route, throwing all Northern and TPE's plans into confusion, and also this means there won't be extra diesel trains available, freed up by electrics.
Instead of the promised four Airport services, we shall have two trains from Manchester Piccadilly to Windermere, and one in the other direction. Added to this, it's clear the class 769 bi-mode trains (electrics with diesel motors for operation where the wires don't reach) will not be ready either. The first ones may be ready in August.
Northern hope their timetables from 20th may will be available on their website from 7th May; printed copies from early June. Train timetable websites such as Northern's own journey planner have the new times, so if you are planning a journey for, say, June, the site should show you correct times.
The RMT and Northern have still not settled their dispute over the question of the role of the second member of the train crew. the next strike is set for Wednesday 9th May. Full details of revised timetables – together with rail replacement bus schedules – and supporting information for customers can be found on the Northern website.
"Information will also be displayed on posters at all stations across the Northern network and on customer information screens where available."
It's different dispute which is causing the most problems now. ASLEF has withdrawn its Rest Day Working Agreement, leading to a shortage of drivers. If you are affected, please let us know.
Bikes on trains
From 20th May, the date of the timetable change, TransPennine Express is changing its bike policy. "From this date forward, cyclists wishing to take their bicycle on board the train will need to have a cycle reservation. Reservations will be required for bicycles on all TransPennine Express trains, and can be made in several ways:
- By Phone: 0345 600 1671 (Option 3)
- Online: Cycle reservations can be requested when purchasing tickets online in advance at tpexpress.co.uk
- At the Booking Office: Cycle reservations can be requested by visiting any one of our station booking offices, or a booking office where our services call.
Cycle reservations are free, but customers are advised to book early to avoid disappointment, and not less than 24 hours before travel."
Again, we'd like to know how this works out, so do let us know if you use this service - both good and bad news welcome!
Updated 26th April 2018