News from the Boardroom (Oct 2016)

Board Room 1

Decisions and updates from the October Board meeting.

Trackside Catering-It was agreed to re-open the kitchen to serve hot food for our volunteers and customers.

Trackside Toilets – The drains on the Trackside are still an issue. As part of the Phase 2 of the toilet refurbishment plan, these works need to be addressed first, starting early in the New Year. The project  is being managed by a Volunteer Civil Engineer and Project Manager, supported by Phil Bailey.

Flying Scotsman October Event – This was a hugely successful event and grossed around £300,000 before costs.

Flying Scotsman Shop – It was reported the shop had been very successful in supporting the Flying Scotsman events. The income taken was over £6,000 and more than covered the cost of purchasing the building at £2,500.

Horncliffe – Progress has slowed owing a change of plan from the Environment Agency and the trout spawning season which prevents any restoration works to rebuild the embankment.

HR Contracts Management – The Chair briefed the Board that a full review all contracts of employment, processes, protocols, and policies was being reviewed. This is necessary to ensure there is a ‘fit for purpose’ paper and electronic data base to protect all personnel data. This review is being overseen by a Volunteer HR Specialist.

Business Management Support – The Chair briefed the Board that a full review of its back office ‘business support’ systems was being carried to make them ‘fit for purpose’ to cope with ongoing growth of the business and meet the need for a central data repository going forward. In addition, a scanning programme will also be introduced to protect all Company data. This review is being overseen by a Volunteer Business Systems Specialist.

Finance – Revenue – September Year on Year

  • Revenue + 19%
  • Fares +35%
  • Shop +25%
  • Buffets +121%
  • Diners +37.5%
  • FXP +16%
  • Pubs -5% – (no kitchen and delays in re-opening).
  • Loss of Riley Rental revenue.

Costs – Year on Year

  • Additional steaming fees – extended down time of the Crab.
  • Lots of small one off purchases/investments – platform shop; machine tools; wheel lathe transport; led lights; tyre turning; batteries; extra radios (Santa’s);
  • 18 months supply of lube oil.

Traction & Rolling Stock Restructure – The T&R Director, Josh Bowmaker presented proposals to restructure the new combined department.

The T&R departments have been merged with a view to improving performance, and achieving greater efficiency of available resources in order to:

  • Maintain rolling stock to a standard of reliability and availability to meet the needs of the business.
  • Develop a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for Heritage railway traction and rolling stock.
  • Plan manpower resources to ensure their cost effect use.
  • Introduce Training and development programmes to develop ‘in house’ skills and capacity to protect heritage engineering skills.

Board Agreed:

  • Revised Department Structure.
  • New Budget Management controls.
  • Clarify and revise (where necessary job descriptions).
  • New software for a Fleet Maintenance Management System.
  • New Software Project Management system.
  • Bespoke management training and mentoring.
  • Ongoing Commitment to apprenticeships.



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