- Mathew Britten started on 29th October with Bury Transport Museum as Museum & Education Manager (Maternity Leave Cover for Sarah Kerrison who departed on 12th October). Congratulations to Sarah Kerrison who has given birth to a baby girl.
- RAIB published final report into Ramsbottom Runaway on the 12th November. A written update on the ELR’s action plan will be sent to the ORR by mid December.
- A short Armistice ceremony took place on the overbridge at Bury Station, the General Manager laid a wreath and read a few words. Robert Bulman stood in on behalf of the Chairman to do the same at the Bury Cenotaph service.
- Wendy Anderson has been appointed Head of Carriage and Wagon and started with ELR on 28 November.
- Guards training completed with 7 new entrants now undertaking training turns prior to final assessment.
- Training for Assessors and trainers to be finalised for January.
It is always pleasing to be recognised for the great services the ELR provides. Through the Marketing Lancashire Awards, the ELR picked up a top award in the ‘Large Visitor Attraction’ category. Similary, the ELR won in the Made in Bury Awards for the fifth year in a row.
Winning these awards don’t just happen. A lot of hard work goes into applying for awards. These start with a written submission with lots of statistics etc. Then there are judging panels who conduct face to face interviews to come up with a shortlist.
Here, I want to pay tribute to Kate Walker our Marketing Manager (far right in first photo) who puts in a huge amount of work behind the scenes to showcase the very best of the ELR. I was very pleased Kate was there to deservidly pick up this prestigouis award and beat the big organisations in Blackpool to be crowned the No1 attraction in Lancashire. That has a nice ring to it!
- Our thanks to Deryk Simpson who has volunteered to produce a comprehensive manual of the standards that we apply to track and permanent way. Working in collaboration with Phil Bailey, John Whitaker and Richard Law. Completion due by the end of January 2019.
- Safety Management System document review is in the consultation phase. Safeguarding – Review of current policy underway and revised text for leaflet has been completed by the end of November.
- A new Training Budget to be managed centrally has been agreed.
Bury Transport Museum
CCTV – Board agreed to the installation of new CCTV cameras and recording equipment for Castlecroft at £3,100.
New Visitor figures for January to October 2018 are 41150 compared to 42,300 for the same period in 2017.
Armistice Display moves to Bury Transport Museum
Over 2,000 photographs were displayed of soldiers from the Borough who did not return from the First World War. These photographs have now moved from the station to the museum and are displayed along the museum platforms.
The Transport Museum hosted a three-day course for the Office of Road and Rail. The course was led by Ian Skinner, Richard Thomas and colleagues, for trainee Track Inspectors. John Whittaker and Malcolm Ridgeway led an afternoon’s practical session at Bury South curve and in the sidings at Castlecroft.
The ORR team were very pleased with the facilities the ELR could offer – especially the safe access to a variety of track – and all feedback from both organisers and attendees was very positive, with a promise from ORR for a return visit.
In 2018 a total to 76 schools visiting the museum for education sessions. That amounts to 3,482 pupils/teachers. Schools including Bury have come from:
The first successful loan of handling items for a local primary school has taken place to display in their classroom. The Education Steering Group are aspiring to create a series of loan boxes that schools can hire for a small fee.
Signalling and Telecommunications
Ramsbottom Gate Stops
The overhaul of the river side gate stop was completed in the workshop at Bury on Saturday 10th November, and it was installed at Ramsbottom on Tuesday 19th November under a half road closure. Alterations to the pedestrian walkway between the wicket gates by the P Way on the up side have prevented its commissioning. Further work to rearrange the walkway and its support will be necessary to enable the gate stop to be connected to the auto gate stop raising gear opposite the box. This will be progressed in the next few weeks as the weather allows, in association with the renewal of the timbers supporting the auto gate stop raising gear.
Bury North Engineering Works
During January and February next year P-Way are undertaking work to 58B points, which require switch replacement, located at the north end of Bury Tunnel. This will involve removal of the points and digging out of the ballast to allow drainage work to take place at the same time.
The cost of materials will be around £10,000.
Traction and Rolling Stock
80080 – delayed again, on finishing most of the rebuild it has been discovered that the piston rods are loose in both cross heads, piston rods are also scrap size, new piston rods will need to be made and fitted before loco returns to ELR.
80097 – following its first 14 monthly boiler inspection some light engine test runs were undertaken on the Heywood section last Thursday, unfortunately the left-hand centre driving wheel axle box ran hot, work is ongoing to lift the loco off its wheels to examine the offending axle box and the others will be re-checked at the same time.
13065 – Work continues on the boiler, with side sheets now ready for removal, the back boiler barrel has been removed and a new rolled steel barrel is on order, the new front tubeplate has been drilled and holes reamed for tubes.
47324 – Work has re-commenced on the Jinty, both frames and boiler, work on the boiler at present is centred around removing grooved lower outer fire box sections and foundation ring, boiler has been turned upside down to allow easier access to foundation ring and put at floor level off the wagon to make working conditions safer.
34092 – the plan is to stop it in January and February and blitz any jobs that want doing on it as its going to be the main loco in 2019. On the jobs list the grate needs surgery and quite a few new castings are needed to put it right, among a list of around another 20-30 minor jobs. As well as the 14-monthly exam.
4270 – will be going home the 1st week in January and is on washout as it stands.
47324 – the boiler is progressing well; the frame and horn alignment is at an advanced stage and the axle boxes are progressing nicely. If no more unexpected work is required, the engine should emerge mid to late 2019.
Carriage and Wagon
Kitchen car 1665 – work has commenced on the body and gangway ends on this vehicle, a recent initial inspection has been undertaken by a gas safe engineer, the engineer is seeking advice on whether ELR would need to a fit better ventilation hood internally for use of gas appliances.
Diner car – 3144 work is ongoing with the repair of ETH heaters and repanelling the interior of the coach, work on the exterior paintwork will start again soon after 4917 has been out-shopped.
4880 – work has stopped on this vehicle for the time being, due to the size of the job and other pressing vehicles.
Hiab Wagon – is due to go in C&W in December for decking repair and exam for use by S&T, the Hiab still requires certification by ELR insurers.
New diner/ carriage shed – a few meetings have been held with the T&RS senior team, General Manager, Development Director, and the architects to try to finalise requirements for this important facility, concluding a working layout for this building is imminent.
New mess facilities for Carriage & Wagon agreed.
Class 24 D5054 – has been test run twice, without any real issues, there are some snags to complete and then loco is due to go in C&W for painting, expected to return to service during the Sulzer theme day in February 2019.
08 479 – requires radiator elements removing and de-scaling due to engine overheating issues, waiting on resource to undertake this work.
Class 110 DMU following efforts of both the owner and DMU group, the Class 110 was repaired following its failure during the October Thomas to take part in the DMU event.
Thomas Event – Apart from the problems with the failure of the 110 unit, the event ran smoothly.
Autumn Steam Event – The errors in the Sunday Time Table have been corrected for future events.
Halloween Trains – Record occupancy levels with another successful event.
Santa Specials – All seat sold out. For the first time ever there is now a waiting list.
Year-to-date, the East Lancashire Railway has welcomed 146,909 visitors, this is a 16% increase compared to the same time in 2017.
Dining with Distinction services are currently running at 97% occupancy and on Trip Advisor service is still No.1 Best Restaurant in Bury out of 390 restaurants and remains the No. 1 Best Restaurant in Greater Manchester out of 5,552 restaurants.
Operations Department Restructure
Following a review of operations, Board agreed to a new structure with the creation of a Head of Operations (new post) supported by four existing volunteers but with new titles:
- Signal Ops Manager
- Guards Manager
- Diesel Ops Manager
- Steam Ops Manager
Note: Look out for my next blog which will publish the Q and A session from the recent 3rd Annual ELR Forum.