FoSBR AGM 2020: A brief report

FoSBR AGM 2020 - medley of images

This is a brief report of the FoSBR AGM, on 14th Feb 2020.

Chair Rob Dixon summarised another busy year. FoSBR has had much to celebrate, including the completion of four-tracking on Filton Bank, and the inclusion of an expanded local rail network in the latest Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP).

Another busy year

FoSBR has engaged with communities at Coalpit Heath, Portishead, Thornbury and Lockleaze, and with passengers at Filton Abbey Wood. We’ve taken part in Bristol Clean Air Day, the Severn Vale Festival and the ZeroWest Winter Conference. We have responded to several consultations, including the Joint Spacial Plan, JLTP, the Williams Review and GWR timetable reviews.

The MetroWest project is progressing, although it is frustrating that delivery dates continue to slip, the latest target being 2024 for the Portishead Line. Half-hourly services between Bristol Temple Meads and Yate are due by 2022, with possible extension to Gloucester. We continue to campaign for local trains every 30 minutes and the FoSBR Plan for Rail.

This year we have also updated our website, so you can now find out about what we do much more easily – including the formal minutes of the AGM, and a full roundup of our activities for the year. Please note that this post is not the minutes; these are here!

Cardiff Metro

Our main speaker was Prof Stuart Cole, who gave us a fascinating insight into the Cardiff Metro Project. Devolution, freight use and a more favourable political structure have conspired to make Cardiff well-placed to develop its suburban rail network.

Regional updates

Don Davies (Chair of North Somerset Council) updated us on the progress of the Portishead line. The Development Consent Order has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, but there is concern that hourly services for Portishead and Henbury are insufficient and will not achieve modal shift.

Nigel Bray of Railfuture spoke of the need to improve shelter at stations, and presented Tony Lloyd with a gift to thank him for his work as Railfuture treasurer.

Keith Walton (Severnside Community Rail Partnership) highlighted Incredible Edible‘s work at Avonmouth Station, and remarked on how quickly traffic has rebounded on the Severn Beach line following the Filton Bank blockade. A full update is on the SCRP website.

Bernard Kennedy (ASLEF), who has recently celebrated 40 years of train driving, mentioned the need to for capacity improvements around Weston-super-Mare. Bernard kindly presented a cheque from ASLEF as recognition of the work done in promoting local rail.

Formal business

The Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Campaigns organiser were all re-elected, and the co-opted committee members were agreed. FoSBR’s updated constitution was also accepted, as was the financial report.

25 years!

In the discussion, Julie Boston pointed out that in 2020 FoSBR celebrates its 25th anniversary! Surely a celebration is called for? Watch this space…

The new website was complimented, and some suggestions for improvement were noted.

To sum up

At its AGM FoSBR looked back on a busy year, but we have much to do in 2020 and beyond.

Society’s great challenges are climate change and air quality. Local rail can play a very positive role in helping to solve both problems, and we will continue to work tirelessly to promote it.