From The Chair
In 2021 and 2022 the Summer Sundays DalesRail service between Blackpool North and Carlisle, via the Settle & Carlisle route, was plagued with cancellations, sometimes at short notice, and had such an appalling performance record that a decision was made to cancel it for this summer. This decision was imposed on Northern Railway by the DfT after issues were identified which Northern was instructed to improve before DalesRail could run again.
These included the fact that a Sunday voluntary working agreement remains in place for train crews, so the service depended on the goodwill and willingness of crews to staff the service. Blackpool depot had, by then, few staff left who were qualified to operate trains over the route, due to retirement or employment moves, and replacements had not been trained. All this came at a time of industrial dispute when weekend strike days were becoming more frequent. In an attempt to resolve the situation,various meetings involving the Ramblers Group and RVR, within our Community Rail Partnership, and in communication with other groups along the S&C route, resulted in correspondence with MPs, national transport groups and, eventually, reached ministerial level and the DfT.
More (on Dalesrail, an update on Restoring Your Railways, the nationwide station ticket office debate, and how the Rail Rambler excursions started in the 1970s) in Newsletter 137