Officers and volunteers from Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (CRP) have committed over 250 hours to a multitude of tasks as a result of the freight derailment incident at Carlisle.
When the derailment incident occurred, the route into Carlisle for the Tyne Valley and Settle-Carlisle routes was closed for seven weeks. With trains terminating at the un-staffed Haltwhistle Railway Station, many passengers were unsure about onward travel arrangements whilst others had issues with rail replacement buses.
Members of the Tyne Valley CRP realised that their local knowledge and presence were needed to help those impacted by the disruption. CRP volunteers, helped by members of the Haltwhistle Station Adoption team, provided a prompt response to support passengers, be they local residents or longer-distance travellers.
Tyne Valley CRP volunteers made the decision to open up the Old Booking Hall at Haltwhistle to provide a warm space, hot drinks, toilet facilities and information for passengers on the days when a bus coordinator was not available. Volunteers also provided daily updates on the Tyne Valley CRP website and social media channels.
Key learning points, particularly in relation to effective communications and rail replacement buses, have been identified, and reports prepared by the CRP have been circulated to Northern and other rail industry partners, local authorities and MPs. It is hoped that the lessons learnt during this incident can be used in response to incidents in the future.
Volunteer Colin Moore, who spent many hours assisting passengers at Haltwhistle Station, said: “We were more than happy to support passengers who were uncertain about travel during this disruption.”
A full report detailing the diverse range of tasks undertaken by the CRP during the disruption as well as the positive learning outcomes can be found on the Tyne Valley CRP website.