Area: North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire
Interests: Bus, Rail, Traffic
Contact: Ray Wilkes
Send them a message
Tel: 01274 403540
News for July 2017
We welcome people sharing our concerns and interests.
To contact us: Call Ray Wilkes on 01274 403540 or send us an online message.
You can also turn up at one of our free meetings advertised below.
Tuesday, 22 August 2017 - Walk to Kirkstall for a meal or drink
Meet outside Leeds Railway Station concourse Starbucks at 18:00.
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 - Bus 18 Progress Report
Paul Matthew, First West Yorkshire Managing Director
Methodist Mission, Oxford Place, Leeds LS1 3AX; from 19:30 hours
Tuesday, 14 November 2017 - West Yorkshire Combined Authority Plans for the Future
Ben Still, Managing Director, West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Joint "imeche" meeting
The Institute of Mechanical Engineers and our group held a joint meeting on 14th March 2017. This came about because Ben Still had to cancel his arranged presentation, which we had advertised. We thank Donald Townsley for arranging this alternative. Richard MacClean was introduced as a 'topical double bill' and gave two stand-alone talks at 18:00 and 19.15 hours entitled 'Pacergeddon'. As the franchise bid leader for Northern (Arriva) and the Managing Director of Grand Central, his talks generated much interest, resulting in an audience of nearly fifty. The first talk was about how the Pacers came into being and what is planned in the new franchise. The second part concentrated on the details of the vehicles in the bid. An entire new fleet is envisaged, although, as he said, the definition of 'new' is not fixed. However, 30% of the fleet will be actual new builds. These units (281 in all) are being built to a new design by the company "CAF" of Spain, and the prototype will be tested next year in the Czech Republic. The job had gone to Spain as no British firms would take orders for Diesel Multiple Units due to 'the flip-flopping government policy' towards electrification. The first units should be in operation by the end of 2018, with Pacers totally replaced by 2020. It had become clear that like-for-like replacement did not 'cut it', and the design had considered both passenger and engineering needs to get optimum benefit from investment. Questions followed where it was emphasised that there was still a 'conversation' to be had in each locality of the franchise as to exactly how the vehicles would be run. The new classes of trains will be class 195 for diesels and 331 for electric multiple units.
Bus 18 Event
Several members attended this event held in Bradford City Hall on 24 March 2017. Bus 18 is a project to speed up the implementation of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority's Transport Strategy by the end of 2018. Indeed by 2020, Leeds may become a mandatory clean air zone requiring many improvements. John Croxford from ARRIVA explained how they were focussing on 5 of their bus corridors to eliminate delays. Paul Matthews of First said the new buses for Leeds would be Euro 6 diesels issuing at least 95% LESS pollution. Our member Graham Mitchell stressed the need to counter the public misconception about dirty buses. Our co-ordinator Ray Wilkes asked for increases in parking charges and the introduction of road charges to help reduce car use. Paul Matthews responded by saying Bus 18 was the carrot, any sticks would only be politically acceptable when introduced after the carrots. Our chair, Colin Speakman thanked the Combined Authority and the Bus operators for their support for "Dalesbus", which runs subsidised buses giving access to the Dales. He also made a plea for continued support. David Sidebottom of Transport Focus, said the bus driver makes a huge difference to the journey and that more training is needed.
Annual General Meeting
Our new constitution was approved. All existing officers were re-elected onto the Executive Committee as follows:
- Chair: Colin Speakman
- Co-ordinator: Ray Wilkes
- Bus Group Chair: Mark Parry
- Rail Group Chair: Tony Plumbe
- Treasurer: Jackie Wilkes
'Investing in Enhancements for our Customers on the East Coast Main Line'
Our group organised an interesting talk on this topic on 6th April in Leeds by Aidan Talbot, Principal Programme Sponsor East Coast Main Line, Network Rail. Aidan outlined the planned enhancements - most of which were aimed at delivering an 8 trains per hour frequency into Kings Cross by the May 2021 timetable. He also gave details of the enabling projects being carried out to allow the new Azuma trains to run from Autumn 2018. Unfortunately, this talk went ahead on a different date to that advertised. We apologise for this change.
Rail and Bus Meetings
Our Rail Group will meet at 19:30 on the following Mondays: 21 August "Veritas" 43-47 Great George St, Leeds, LS1 3BB. 25 September "The Grove". 30 October “Veritas”. 11 December “The Grove”.
Our bus group will in future meet in Nero's on Bond Street, Leeds (next to Tesco). Please note this new venue. We start at 17:30 so you can join us for a coffee and food. Our next meetings are on 19 September and 21 November 2017. If you want to join us and don't know what we look like, call Mark on 07941 642349.