Today I went to the Northern Conference for Community Rail Partnerships (CRPs) in Manchester at the Midland Hotel, a hotel known for having many party conferences. Its impressive size meant it was very easy to get lost and we probably would’ve lost our way numerous times if it weren’t for some very helpful hotel employees showing us the way.
The first presentation of the day was an update from Northern about their progress for the past year. They informed us that there would be 98 new Northern trains running throughout the Northern network. What excited people even more was the prospect these new trains would be in action by the end of 2019. However exciting this was, it did mean the end of the pacer, which in many eyes was way over due (by about 30 years) but there was a sense of strange disappointment on some people’s faces. This gave Colin a potential idea surrounding a potential ‘the last pacer’ trip.
The rest of the day was a mixture of presentations which were either ideas for potential CRPs to take on board, or things directed at all of us, such as a code of conduct talk. My favorite presentation for the day was by Sam, a Scottish singer who loved singing in Train station waiting rooms. Her talk was very impressive and her voice was lovely. The highlight of the presentation was seeing on her video that one of her destinations was Hebden Bridge station, as this station is very close to my hometown of Halifax.
During the day, I enjoyed a buffet lunch which included many tasty things such as a chicken in sauce dish with rice which was particularly enjoyable, I just wish I knew what it was! The final talk of the day was presented by Kul Basi from the department of transport. This was surrounding future government backing and funding for CRPs, it was good to see his reassurance of the importance of CRPs for the community and the promise of continued backing from him and the department for the future.