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From The Chair

Following the trend away from “working from home” and lockdowns, the rail
industry has been working to attract passengers back to rail travel with promotions
and media advertising. Throughout that earlier period, rail travel understandably fell
dramatically.

The Ribble Valley service fared better than some others and retained
its hourly frequency throughout whilst others had much reduced services or, in a few
cases, were withdrawn entirely.

The national statistics for the past year have now
been published and passenger footfall at Ribble Valley stations is reported at around
70% less in 2020-21 than in 2019-20, being comparable with national statistics. Service
performance has been in the high 90%s in the last three months on our line and has
shown a welcome improvement over past years with very few cancellations and
good punctuality.

Passengers, including students, appear to have returned in healthy
numbers.

The overnight railhead-cleaning train has continued to operate each night
since October, which blasts the slippery dead leaf material from the rails using highpressure
water jets. Together with a new wheel lathe at the Newton Heath train
depot this has resulted in a disappearance of the noisy “flat wheels” phenomenon
which is now only heard from some passing freight trains.

Contiued in Newsletter 132.

Peter Eastham