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Updated Monday 5th October 2015

September 2015 Round-up

Autumn Steam Gala:

I have had nothing but very positive comments regarding this Autumn’s Steam Gala. The Gala committee this year, managed to arrange a super line up of locomotives and somehow decent weather as well. The number crunching has given a result of 7,300 passengers over the Preview day and three days of Gala, a fantastic result.

I do not underestimate the planning and operational demands on all staff to stage a Gala of this size, thank you for the magnificent show. It’s great to know it was appreciated by all those who visited. I must also acknowledge and thank the visiting locomotive owners who allowed their locos to come to the SVR, they all performed admirably over four days of intense running.

You will also have seen the recent NBI announcing the visit of Flying Scotsman in 2016. The office at Kidderminster has already received many calls and requests to pre-book seats for Flying Scotsman trains. The Gala committee will be giving consideration in how to deal with Flying Scotsman’s visit to the Gala to prevent overcrowding and passenger discomfort.


The Railway's Bye-laws:

Holdings Director Peter Pearson has reviewed the bye-laws of the Railway to bring them up to date, for example the introduction of e-cigarettes has been included. The revised document will be submitted to the Department of Transport for ratification and a short training video will be made and uploaded on to SVROnline which will explain what the major changes to the bye-laws are.


Working at Height:

In reference to the Working at Height NBI, a short training ‘toolbox talk’ video will be made following advice given by Steve Turner of the Office of Rail Regulation. The video will be made in reference to operational requirements to work at height as a guard or loco crew. It will be short and to the point and uploaded on the SVROnline. The system will require you to record your name and department so that we have a record of viewers.


Eardington Bank track relay:

The relay is scheduled to take place in the New Year, the rail is being purchased in this financial year to allow preparation to be undertaken by Chris Bagley and the permanent way team ready to begin the drainage improvement, ballasting and track relay on this section early in January 2016.


Permanent Way:

Keith Brown will present to the October Board a comprehensive review of track condition along the Railway. The report will be based upon measurements undertaken by Keith and his team, using the Abtus trolley and measuring equipment that has been on test on the Railway. The five year capital expenditure programme for SVR (H) will be adjusted to reflect the findings of the survey.


Working Timetables 2016:

The calendar and working timetables for 2016 have been completed and will be made available on SVROnline for download.


Safety Advisor Role:

Following advertising, volunteers Mel Cook and Ray Stilgoe have agreed to undertake this role between them. Ray Stilgoe is a health and safety professional recently retired and Mel Cook is our Head of Train Crew and Fire Safety Advisor. They need more help, and a separate NBI will give more details as to the nature of this volunteer support.


Apley Estate Land Purchase:

The Board were informed that the purchase of the land will be completed on the 29th September 2015, contract and land transfer documents have been signed by Holdings Directors and Apley Estate Trustees. This purchase secures ten acres of land to the west of Bridgnorth Station and is part of the Bridgnorth Masterplan. See Bridgnorth Development Project.


Bridgnorth Development Project:

David Postle submitted an update to the Holdings Board. David and the team have been collating all of the necessary surveys and reports needed to submit a full and comprehensive Bridgnorth application to Shropshire County Council. The Development team will meet once more to check all documentation before submission, which it is believed will be in the next two weeks.


Nick Ralls General Manager

ESMP Update 11/08/15

The development of Engineering Services Motive Power (ESMP) over the last three years has seen considerable improvements:
 - We have moved from a cluttered dirty working environment towards facilities the Railway can be proud of.
 - There has been significant investment in equipment, facilities, storage and more staff.
 - We set the target of a locomotive being outshopped by ESMP on average every 200 days within five years.

The management team at the ESMP have taken the initiative on much of this development, for example seeing the potential for the investment in CNC and semi-automatic lathes, renewal of unreliable air compressors and the removal of ‘Tranter Towers’ to increase the workshop area in the main shed.
The increased workload at ESMP required to maintain records, organise contract and maintenance work, and improve overhaul and maintenance output, means that there is a strain on the leadership team of the department, a problem that needs to be addressed. To meet the needs of the Railway the department needs to look to increase its output through the introduction of better processes and project management.

A programme is now in place which will provide the following for ESMP:
1. A clear strategy for ESMP up to 2020.
2. A plan for growth with milestones and actions to deliver on the strategy.
3. Training in leadership for ESMP staff to ensure that they can lead their teams in the delivery of this project.

Andy Wilkins of Perspectiv is facilitating this programme. This programme will address the fundamental issue that improvement is required within the ESMP team in leadership and skills with all staff taking on responsibility for their part in overhauling and maintaining locomotives. If this is not addressed there is a very real concern that the advances made in recent years would falter and ultimately see stagnation in the delivery of improvements. The team working on this project includes ESMP managers, and volunteer representatives.
This project will not underestimate the considerable input that continues to be made during the week and at weekends by both volunteers and paid staff in to the overhaul and maintenance of the locomotive fleet along with improvements to facilities. In fact it is vitally important that volunteer representatives are involved in developing this project if it is to succeed.
Ian Walker Works Manager
Nick Ralls General Manager

Purchase of 'Rudd' wagons

Following the storm damage of 2007, EWS (now DB Schenker), through the auspices of Gwyn Reese, loaned the SVR 15 RUDD wagons for use during the repair work. They were used extensively for this repair project and have been employed on many other projects on the Railway since this time.

DB Schenker contacted the SVR this year to inform us that the wagons were available for purchase, and following negotiation I can announce that they have been bought for a competitive price. I would like to thank the two individuals who have provided finances to assist with the cost of their purchase.

Nick Ralls General Manager