ELR Open Forum – A date for all ELRPS members diary. Wednesday the 12th October at the Elizabethan Suite commencing at 7pm. All ELRPS Members are welcome to come along to hear a short presentation from myself on current and future opportunities and challenges for our railway. Following that there will be an open ended Q & A session for Members.
Rawtenstall Vision – A visioning paper was presented to Board for the development of the station’s facilities. For some time now we have been keen to build on the success of the Buffer Stops starting with a canopy.
The proposals include:
- Canopy to provide external cover for the Buffer Stops
- Relocation of toilets from station building
- Expansion of Buffer Stops into existing toilet & Booking Hall areas
- Develop Station Forecourt area
- Canopy to Platform – length to be determined
The next step will be to meet with local planning department to get their views before submitting a full planning application.
Funding for the scheme will be sought through public donations, similar to how the canopy at Bolton Street was funded.
ICT/Comms – A report was presented which proposed the creation of an ICT/Comms Department. This was needed because the ELR have a number of business critical challenges which require a full and continuous focus on developing a robust ICT/Comms infrastructure and maintenance regime which is capable of supporting all the various communication demands both internally and externally.
How will we do this? – A team of ICT volunteer specialists will be recruited from ELRPS members who would develop an ICT Strategy and draw up an action plan to build a resilient infrastructure structure covering the next five years. In addition, we want to develop customer facing solutions such as Wi-Fi at all stations, PA improvements, live train running information. Revenue from the Flying Scotsman will fund these new developments.
Trackside Works – Whilst the main works are all but finished, the Board have now agreed to install new toilets and drainage to bring these up to modern standards
Carriage & Wagon – It was reported that the Sleeper was in poor condition externally and internally with the toilet areas needing major improvements, where none of which enhanced the reputation of the ELR to visitors who use this facility. The Board agreed to fund the installation of a new toilet block and some general repairs to the sleeper.
Visitor Numbers – Cumulative visitor numbers up to June were running at 60,000 compared to 44,000 for 2015, a rise of around 36%. These figures exclude BTM, Groups, Educational visits, Dining, Rail Ale Trail and Charters.
Diner bookings are soaring, so much so there are very few seats left for the remainder of the year. To increase capacity an extra dining car has been brought in.
Heywood – Catering Coach
Funding from the revenue of the Flying Scotsman’s visit in October will be used to upgrade the on site catering coach to create a Vintage Tea room theme.
This work is likely to take place during next winter.
Play Area – Funding has been identified by Rochdale Council for a new play area located on the station site, with some equipment having a railway theme. This project is being lead by the Heywood Township and Rochdale Council.