NELPG publishes its own bi-monthly newsletter NELPG NEWS, which is posted free to all of the group's members. The history of the group is chronicled in its pages.
It was flattering for the Group to be shortlisted for the Heritage Railway Association’s large group award and even better to actually win it, although sharing it with the North Norfolk Railway.
The Committee has agreed to make Maurice Burns an Honorary Vice President in recognition of his contribution to the NELPG. With the sad passing of two of our former stalwarts – Peter Proud and Dave Martin – there are two fulsome and most fitting obituaries.
The 50th anniversary celebrations were a splendid way to end the year! In this issue there are plenty of pictures and some glowing reports to illustrate what went on over the four days of the anniversary weekend. It all started off in some style with no less than six of the 19 who attended the very first meeting able to turn up again, a quite remarkable achievement. The Editor offers no excuses for the size of this bumper issue, which should serve as a lasting reminder of the unforgettable 50th anniversary celebrations.
It is October 2016 and it is a sobering thought that the NELPG’s history goes back 50 years. What better way than to mark this special milestone in the Group’s history with a picture of those three “young men of vision” – Kevin Hudspith, Kevin Gould and Peter Proud – on the cover of the NEWS. They conjured up the idea of saving examples of NER steam locomotives, and that was the catalyst for the formation of the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group. NELPG members, past, present and future, in particular, and the heritage steam movement in general, have much to thank them for.
It is with great sadness we have to report that three members have recently passed away. Valerie Bilton was, as our former Treasurer reported, ‘a dear old lady’ who was not only a patron, but a railtour participant and generous financial benefactor. Dave Holroyde, was involved from the very earliest days, not just with the NELPG, but the Severn Valley Railway and the Tanfield Railway, being a leading light on the narrow gauge and industrial railway scene. Richard Campbell will be sadly missed, too, as he did so much on our locomotives and possessed a vast technical knowledge and practical experience that he used to very good effect for the benefit of the steam railway movement in general but the NELPG in particular. They would have been impressed with the appearance of the J72 and Q6 at the Shildon Shed Bash, at the same time that the K1 was doing just what it says on the tin, in Scotland. In their different ways, they all helped to make this possible.
Whilst the K1 was on the return journey with the evening diner, in Northdale, the driver went to open the regulator and the handle fell off in his hands. The square on the end of the regulator rod had fractured right through. Fortunately no one was injured and no other damage to the K1 was sustained.With tremendous co-operation from staff at the Railway’s MPD, and some of our own volunteers, the K1 eventually made it to Fort William to take up its rostered duties on The Jacobite.
It is likely that the ORR’s prohibition notice on West Coast Railways will be lifted thus enabling the company to resume train operation from the end of March. All being well, our three operational locomotives should maximise their earning potential in 2016, culminating in the grand final, the end of season NELPG 50th anniversary gala on 29th and 30th October.
Welcome to 2016, our momentous fiftieth anniversary year! You will see from this issue just some of the anniversary activities that are in prospect and every issue of the NEWS this year will have space devoted to the 50th anniversary.
Reading the reports of recent Committee meetings, members will see that we are changing the way that we deliver our annual financial reports. This is primarily to comply with present requirements of both Companies House and the Charity Commissioners. There is nothing alarming about this and whilst we have had to change our practices, members will still need to approve the accounts at the AGM, though they will be presented in a slightly different way. Attention to these requirements has helped focus our attention on the Group’s financial position. As we enter our fiftieth year, we have come a long way from those early days when we turned up at meetings in avid anticipation of what the fund totaled. Now we are a business and with that comes responsibilities that we never dreamt of back in 1966.