A synopsis of activity and discussion within the Holdings Board and other items from October to December 2014.
October proved to be a successful month, with both the Diesel Gala and Ghost Trains taking place. In total we saw over 14,300 passengers on our trains, 2,000 ahead of budget for the month. November figures were to budget at 4,400 passengers and December figures, which consist mainly of Santa Services, are doing very well, with a near sell out of over 32,000 passengers. Let’s hope for a crisp and dry festive season to finish the year off well.
Heritage Skills Training Academy
The new cohort (5 in total) are now placed in the workshops across the Railway, including Bewdley Carriage & Wagon and Kidderminster Paintshop. You may have seen some recent press stories concerning the HSTA and the enrolment of Emma Harrison this year, please do welcome all of the new cohort to the Railway if you meet them in the workshops.
B&Q Tools Delivery
This event went very well. Thanks to all the crews, MPD and station staff involved on the day. The tools are very good quality and we have over £2,000 worth of vouchers to spend on Railway equipment at B&Q stores. We have also made some good contacts with the management team at Kidderminster store.
Carriage & Wagon
Good progress has been made on the Carriage Department project. A scaffold platform has been purchased which offers a semi-permanent structure in the carriage shed which allows roof and carriage painting during the summer without interrupting the paint programme in the paint shop. There is also a wood working shop being constructed on the ground floor of the Carriage Department.
Bridgnorth Car Break In
You will be aware of the terrible incident where 15 cars were broken in to. Thanks go to Tony Bending who has been working to provide support to those working members who were affected and Chris Thomas, who is coordinating the security improvement response.
Kidderminster Car Park
The pedestrian walkway round the Kidderminster car park barriers has now been completed and paid for by the adjacent developers in exchange for access to the car park to make half a dozen deliveries direct to their construction site.
Bridgnorth Car Park Repair work
The small slip at the edge of Bridgnorth car park sustained early in 2014 has now been fully repaired, financed through our insurance. Whilst this undoubtedly caused inconvenience for Station staff, drainage improvements were also undertaken to protect the embankment from water ingress during heavy sustained rainfall.
The budget for 2015 was presented to the Board at the October and November meetings. It has now been signed off together with the timetable for 2015. The budget is ‘low risk’ based on a low passenger threshold and a main fare increase of £1 on the headline fare which in 2015 will be: £19.00.
As you would expect the costs to the organisation have risen with increases in utilities and coal.
Knowlesands Trading Estate
The SVR is still in dispute with the owner of the Knowlesands Trading Estate at Oldbury. The area was subject to washouts during the 2007 rain events. The Railway is now looking to undertake improvements to the drainage and water capture on our neighbours land whilst recouping the costs for undertaking the work from the land owner.
Winter works 2014-2015
Chris Bond Infrastructure Manager will be managing a number of projects this winter including repair and maintenance work on Bewdley North (Wribbenhall) and Bewdley South (Sandbourne) viaducts. The civil engineering reports undertaken on a five year basis have illustrated the need to repoint brickwork, replace stonework where necessary and re-bond the arches to the main structures. Repairs to the skew arch on Wribbenhall viaduct will be undertaken with one of the arches of Sandbourne this winter. This work will involve achieving some form of traffic light system for controlling traffic under the skew arch whilst the work is undertaken. The total cost for the two arches will be £125,000.
The project to replace the Elan Valley Pipes under the Railway is still progressing and whilst contracts have not been signed all logistical issues have been resolved, it is anticipated that that work will take place in January. Please see NBI-H-204 issued on 18th December.
Hampton Loade Station House
There has been a desire to upgrade overnight volunteer accommodation and replace the dilapidated Great Western carriage used currently. At Hampton Loade the original intention was that this would be provided with a new appropriate building on the site. However the recent end of the tenancy for the Station House has offered a different opportunity and the Guarantee Company is working with the Station staff to allocate the Station House as messing and sleeping accommodation for the volunteers. The structure is sound and the building contains many historic features that will be retained. Agreement will be reached shortly for the volunteers to adopt the house on a long term basis.
Retirement of David Mee as Visitor Services Manager
David has provided a long and distinguished service to the Railway as a volunteer, Engine House Manager and latterly as Visitor Services Manager. Whilst David’s connection and involvement with the SVR will not end, he is standing down from his current position at the end of January.
With Lisa Smith currently on maternity leave this does leave the department without a number of personnel, further announcements on working arrangements will be made in the New Year.
New 2015 Timetable brochure and leaflets
Whilst a preview version of the timetable for 2015 was printed as a small run for the Warley Model show a full amended print run will now be undertaken, this will include an amended timetable A which includes a round trip for AS2 (the diesel/DMU path) in it and charter paths to use for bookings as well. Consideration has also been given to the length of the working day on some of the locomotive turns and where possible this has been shortened. Final checks will be made on other timetables as well.
The print run for the timetable is considerable and we are looking at providing a concise version that will be more accessible and smaller for racks away from the Railway, for example at Motorway Service Stations.
Filming on the Railway
Thanks go to staff at Bewdley Station, Kidderminster Station, loco, guards’ crews and Bill Griffiths for assisting with the filming of scenes on the SVR for the new feature film 'The Black Prince'.
Motive Power Department
Progress has been made on the following locomotives:
7714 - frame alignment is now complete, and axle box work is underway. The frames are being painted and the cross head and slide bar work is underway.
7802 - cladding is being painted and the tender is in the Works to allow the EMF to undertake repair.
34027 - has new cab fitting being machined, the chassis is being prepared to receive the boiler imminently.
42968 - volunteers have now removed valves to allow work to commence on the valve liners.
In the boilershop:
34027 - boiler is undergoing water testing and rectification work is taking place.
7802 - boiler is having holes reamed for new rivets to be fitted.
Catering buffet price changes:
Working members may have noticed that the menus have been adjusted in the buffets. The increase in some prices reflects Gavin Chances move to use more local and higher quality products in the menus.
Prices continue to be discounted by 35% for Working Members.
The Engine House:
The Engine House will be the venue for a Timeline exhibition in 2015 celebrating the first fifty years of the Railway. Weddings continue to be popular with six weddings booked for next year and three further enquiries.
The Signalling Engineering Department has occupation of a new shed on the Railway and work has commenced to install shelving to make best use of the space.
Nick Ralls (General Manager)