Report on FOHS Meeting of 29 January 2015

Station improvements:

It was explained that following the last meeting a lengthy letter had been written to Paul Henry covering earlier issues raised e.g. see through bins, platform edging. A reply had been received from Paul which apologised for his and Marie’s absence, outlining the managerial changes and his increased responsibility geographically that precluded his attendance and the changes to Marie’s scheduled days of work and the difficulty now of also obtaining the necessary cover to enable her attendance.

He said that the platform edging had been logged and passed on to Network Rail for action. He would again raise the issue of the bins but if the Head of Security’s response was negative then he was unable to revisit this suggestion or take it further.

He was not in a position to attend the TCG meeting personally but insisted he would pass on the invite to his colleagues.

It was observed from Friends that the issue of bags had been the longest running problem but that the platform edging was the most pressing and hazardous concern. It would be a serious situation if, in the event of any accident, Northern were seen to have been neglectful.

A recent circular was confirmed as a Level One circular not intended for us as a Level Two Adopters although it did contain useful information.It was accepted that Level One Adopters have a very important role in that they are responsible for looking after unstaffed stations.

GC and Northern had been contacted in relation to the lack of heating in the waiting room for passengers from Saturday 6.00p.m.until Monday at 7.00a.m.and although the suggestion of a timer had been accepted positively, nothing as yet had transpired and it would perhaps be prudent to follow this through with Paul.

Station Cleaning and Cleaning Rota:

It was confirmed that the cleaning rota was operating without problems although some exchanges of duty had, and would, be taking place.

Grand Central Ambassadors:

Whilst there was little of concern regarding GC for this meeting it was revealed that a certain Miss Lena Bahm from Deutsche Bahn would be accompanying Celia Knott and joining us at the GC meeting to follow.

TCG Meeting:

The title of the meeting was Rail and Buses but was actually devoted in the main to Rail with two Northern Rail representatives present in the form of Pete Myers Stakeholder Manager and Steve Curry, the Customer Services Delivery Manager and Celia Knott representing Grand Central, as well as Ian Fotherby of Connect Tees Valley

Concern was expressed by Mike Blair at the poor attendance at all recent meetings which of course had been introduced to disseminate information and enable discussion regarding transport matters to a host of organisations at the same time. However only the same few stalwarts such as ourselves appeared at each session. He speculated that perhaps a monthly newssheet might be an alternative way forward but he suggested some thought should be given to the future direction of the meetings and that time would be devoted at the next meeting to a discussion of the problem and decisions taken on possibly a different format or some other form of communication.

Three Friends members each spoke for four or five minutes giving a brief but complete outlines of the development  and function of FOHS, Coastliners and GC explaining how they interacted and the overlap of the personnel in each of the groups. Copies of the Aims and Aspirations of Coastliners and a document prepared by Peter Walker of a recent presentation he had made at a rail meeting in Middlesbrough were distributed.

The offerings were all very well received by those present with many seemingly totally unaware of the input and work of each of our individual groups and in particular of the work of FOHS on the station.

The issue of the second platform was raised and discussed.

Pete Myers gave a power point presentation which was similar to and built on the one given recently by John O’Grady but with a more current, up to date slant.

50% more people were carried than in 2004 on 30% more trains. He emphasised the reliability of their trains in terms of servicing requirements which had increased from 4000 miles to 8000 miles before requiring mechanical assistance. Same trains, 10 yrs older. Satisfaction ratings had flatlined and he was looking to his colleague present at the meeting, Steve Curry, the Customer Services Delivery Manager, to assist him in tackling this problem.

Subsidy from Government was £632 million over the Award period and Northern now carry all the revenue risk for their franchise having now moved from revenue share to profit share. He referred to the introduction of mobile ticketing checked on trains, advance tickets to be introduced, cardboard tickets to disappear.

Abellio/Arriva/Govia were the bidders on the shortlist

Invitation to tender will be released by DfT in February. They then have two and a half months to submit their bids and the winner will be announced in October

North West electrification, Northern Hub, TransPennine electrification are committed projects which will happen and result in release of diesels for use elsewhere.

Platforms 15+16 will be introduced at Manchester Piccadilly and

Manchester Airport will increase from 2 platforms to four.

Whilst currently an electrification taskforce was going around looking for where next to electrify, the lack of rolling stock meant Pacers will still be required.


Celia Knott acknowledged the appreciation of GC for the work Ambassadors undertake and welcomed the extension of the scheme into the West Riding.

GC has a fleet of 8 trains, 3 HST’s( now 40 yrs old) + 5 180’s

They run 18 Services per day of which 10 between Hartlepool and London and use Northern for train maintenance.

In existence from 2007 with Track Access agreement until 2026.

Arriva took over in 2011

Total workforce = 130 employees with 90% of workforce from this area

with 105 actually on board the trains

Occasional maintenance problems

HST refurbishment was to take place in 2014and 180’s refurbished in 2015

2017  HST’s to be replaced by 180’s (5?)

Concern was expressed at the confusion over Rail North and the Board of Transport group and it was suggested that we miss out in comparison to Metropolitan areas as we do not have a unified voice. Whilst a less than thorough answer from Mike Blair was received he promised a more thorough response through Tees Valley to be included in the minutes when published.Alistair Smith was our Hartlepool Council representative on TVU and was perhaps not sufficiently proactive butSteve Payne represented us on TVU and beyond


Despite some requests buses would not be rerouted along Wiltshire Way.

It was noted that the Timetable at the interchange for National Express was out of date and it was agreed it would have a costly and damaging effect on passenger numbers if incorrect timings were not rectified.

Website Update:

Website and Funding ( Agenda item(f) ) were dealt with together.

The Website had progressed to the point where it was hoped to finally go live it this coming month after a few rough edges were ironed out and a further degree of refinement introduced. But all of the main areas were virtually complete and it will always presumably be a work in progress anyway.

Organising of the photo gallery was now the only remaining area for completion along with the insertion of minutes, a fairly straightforward task so hopefully at long last soon in the public domain.

The website itself was designed  by Smoothlines



There had been an excellent joint meeting with Slug in Middlesbrough station refreshment room organised by Mike Drewery of TPE at which short presentations of substantial quality and quantity had been given by various organisations.

There was to be a Coastliners Committee meeting on12 February and a combined open meeting and AGM on19 February with input from John O’Grady. Both meetings were scheduled for 7.15p.m.

A reminder was given of the meeting the following week with Govia, one of the bidders for the Northern franchise.

It was confirmed that the Coastliners website had been converted to WordPress.

Any Other Business:

The GC passes were due to expire and and it was expected that Celia would bring replacements to the meeting.

Peter Gowland retirement on 31 March was aired and his massive contribution to both to both FOHS and GC was acknowledged. He was to be invited to our next meeting.

The clock on Hartlepool station and also on Eaglescliffe was recognised as being fast. It had been reported at the station but sadly a reflection of the times when something as straightforward as this couldn’t be undertaken.

The purchase of Fairtrade tea/coffee for the meetings was agreed meaning, in turn, our organisation could be included on the new Fairtrade leaflet about to be printed.

The dates were supplied of the first future Model Railway Display as 16/17 May at Middlesbrough and volunteers were required.

The dates of the future GC Ambassadors meeting were discussed and a suggestion made for 29 May although it was pointed out this was the day before the Whit Bank Holiday and the holiday week for schools and as such may not be ideal. This date was to be confirmed later

Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting of FOHS will take place at 9-13 Scarborough Street, Hartlepool, on Friday 27 March 2015 at 10.00 a.m.

Leave a Comment