This was one of four joint board meetings a year with Trustees from the ELR Preservation Society attending.
Memorial Plaque – The ELR Board and the ELR Preservation Society wanted to mark, in some way, the achievements of past and present working Members as a permanent acknowledgement of their efforts in not only reopening the railway but making it what it is today.
Following consultation between both groups a form of wording has been agreed. A plaque will be erected at Bolton Street Station jointly paid for by the Company and Society.
Board received mixed reports on revenues for July, down 22% on the previous year. Normally July is a good month for revenues, but several factors came together. There was no steam for 15 days, very hot weather (excluding pubs income); summer diesel gala where attendance was down 33% with the lowest attendance for many years. The reduced number of visitors also had a negative impact on shops and buffets.The loss of 13065 the Crab, has resulted in higher running costs for guest locomotives.
On the plus side, diners and pub revenues were on target.
Health and Safety
Safety Audit – This review is ongoing and working in unison with the RAIB and ORR investigations following runaway trolley incident. Changes in operational structures will be necessary as one of the actions from these reviews.
Safety Training – Board agreed to a comprehesive and long term health and safety training strategy programme, starting with IOSH training for Supervisors followed shortly after for Managers.
A training matrix has also been updated and agreed for all T&RS staff.
Ultimately, all training records will be digitised and held in a central respository and be easily accessible for key managers and administration staff.
First Aiders – Board agreed to increase the number of front-line staff at stations and pubs to be competent as a stage 1 First Aider.
Guards – Board were advised of ongoing challenges in securing sufficient numbers of rostered Guards. More guards are urgently required to be trained to fill the gaps created of those who have left the service. Several services recently have had to be cancelled because no guard was available. This not only impacts on passengers wishing to travel on the ELR but also the ELR’s reputation for reliability.
Board agreed to a proposal from the General Manager to fast track up to 8 volunteer trainee guards by an external trainer. This proposal is currently the subject of consultation with the Guard’s Training Team.
Steam locomotive availability remains tight with 6990 and 34092 currenting running.
13065 The Crab – see earlier blog posting.
GWR 2-8-0 Tank – due to arrive later in September.
L&Y Rly A Class 52322 – due back late September.
October Steam Gala line up:
- LMS Duchess Class 6233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland, courtesy of the Princess Royal Locomotive Trust.
- GWR 2-8-0 Tender loco 2857, courtesy of the 2857 Society and Seven Valley Railway. This loco is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2018.
- GWT 2-8-0 Tank 4270, courtesy of Jeremy Hoskins and the Gloucester & Warwickshire Ralway.
D5054 – Traction motors fitted and loco lowered back onto bogies. The Loco might be available to take part in the September Diesel Gala.
Carriage and Wagon
- 35455 – Exterior paint work all lined out and transfers added, awaiting final glazing and then exterior varnishing. Interior now 85% completed, bogies are being repaired and these will require swapping before entry into service. – October 2018.
- 4917 – TSO – Exterior steel work repairs now completed, gangways being rebuilt and body work prep for painting well underway, upholstery away for recovering – expected back in-service October 2018 for Halloween trains.
- 3144 – Once 35455 is completed work will recommence on next diner coach as a priority for expected release of April 2019.
- 1669 on release of 35455 and 4917.
- The Kitchen car that arrived from the DFR back in December 2017, will be brought in the works for refurb for use on cream tea specials in April 2019, and hopefully hot meal services on event weekends which should increase catering revenues on big event days.
Future Proofing – Coaching Stock Fleet
The Mark 1 coach fleet are nearing 60 years of age and a strategy is being drawn up to bring these carriages up to a standard that will serve the railway for the next 20 years. This will require significant levels of ongoing investment.
Currently the costing of this full overhaul programme is being worked through.