Three subjects this month; A summary of last week’s committee meeting by Ted Hand, the outcomes from our ‘GRIP reports’ review with Network Rail (yesterday) and some excellent news from Railfuture . . .
1. Meeting Summary
2. GRIP Reports Review
Members of the MAGOR group met with Network Rail, Mott MacDonald and Monmouthshire County Council at Network Rail’s offices in Cardiff yesterday (23/5/16). The reports identified that at this stage there were no major obstacles that would prevent a station being built, indeed the reports were very positive on most technical aspects. The issue was how to maintain momentum when there has been a change of Government in Wales, the METRO plans are still being developed. the Mainline Electrification project is still underway and Rail Franchises are due to be changed in the near future. After a good deal of discussion we agreed 3 main actions –
a) Christian Schmidt (MCC) would ask Paul Matthews (MCC CEO) to write to the new Minister for Transport, thanking Welsh Government for funding the GRIP studies, informing him of the favourable outcome and what MCC and MAGOR hope to achieve.
b) Andy Scogings (Network Rail) offered to write to the Head of Rail Operations (Welsh Government) with a view to introducing MAGOR to him so that we can explain progress to date and share recently obtained passenger forecasting. We would also like to take the opportunity to discuss options for progressing the third stage of the GRIP Process (“option selection”) either as a group or preferably by collaborating with Welsh Government/Transport for Wales within the wider rail and METRO planning framework.
c) Will Wootten (Mott MacDonald) agreed that working with Welsh Government would be the better option for progressing GRIP 3 for Magor and Undy station but would produce cost estimates for both approaches.
3. Railfuture Support
We have recently received a letter from Railfuture confirming that they intend tohelp us fund the GRIP 3 study.The lettersuggests that they can support us with match funding of between £5,000 and £10,000. This is great news and will help us with future negotiations with MCC and Welsh Government. Railfuture is the UK’s leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for passengers and freight. This offer of funding comes from their ‘Fighting Fund’ and with many projects on their books competing for funding, the MAGOR group is especially grateful and particularly to the Railfuture Wales.