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 with some relief that the suspension of West Coast Railway’s Network Rail Track Access Agreement was lifted on 8th May, in time for the start of the planned Jacobite season. As reported elsewhere, it was possible to move the K1 up to Fort William in time to embark on its first rostered week commencing on 18th May. Furthermore, the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR), after a 28 day consultation period, decided against revoking WCR’s licence. The recommendations of NR and the ORR do have an impact on the Group in general and support crew members in particular insofar as the safety implications of operating the K1 on the main line are concerned.
An unfortunate and unforeseen failure to the J72 whilst at the Epping and Ongar Railway has resulted in an appeal in this issue to cover the repairs, to which, it is hoped, members will respond generously, so that the locomotive can soon resume revenue earning work.
The K1 made it and arrived on the NYMR on Wednesday 4th March, together with the K4, enabling the two locomotives to work the re-enactment of the Whitby Moors railtour of 6th March 1965 exactly 50 years later. The occasion was used to formally open Maurice Burn’s exhibition ‘Last Train to York’ in the Learning Centre, platform 2 at Pickering station, which runs until 1st October. Excellent progress is being made on the Q6 at Grosmont under the guidance of Darrin Crone but, as from Monday 16th March he has taken up the full time role of Engineer for the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust. We must take this opportunity to thank him for all his work on the Q6, the Committee and the Group in general, and wish him well in his new role.
The 6th March 2015 sees the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Whitby – Scarborough and Grosmont – Rillington Junction lines which, of course, led to the formation of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Preservation Society, and eventually the NYMR as we know it today. To mark that sad day, the Whitby Moors railtour, originating in Sheffield, traversed the lines from Scarborough to Whitby and Malton. From Driffield to Filey, Scarborough Londesborough Road, Robin Hoods Bay, Whitby, Pickering, Malton and York, the train was double headed by the K4 3442 The Great Marquess and the K1 62005.
Recording that final day of operation was an intrepid 18 year old, Maurice Burns, who had the foresight to record what happened that day on film. His account of the events on 6th March 1965, lavishly illustrated, appears in this issue. Significantly, Maurice goes on to explain how 62005 survived to became the pride of the NELPG locomotive fleet.
We are pleased to let members know Albert Hawman celebrated his 102nd birthday on 25th November.
We are approaching the end of the running season in good shape. Our three operational locomotives are all in full working order and putting in sterling performances on their respective lines: the K1 on the Jacobite, the Q6 on the NYMR and the J72 on the Wensleydale Railway. As a consequence the Group’s income is healthy. Work on the J27 at Hopetown and Crewe is progressing well too.
Somewhat later than we had originally envisaged – and a greater cost, because of the additional work carried out – the Q6 has re-entered service on the NYMR.
It is with very great sadness we announce that our very good friend Chris Davies passed away on the afternoon of 25th June.
The K1 has embarked on its first rostered week on The Jacobite having already covered over 1,500 miles on The Wansbeck and five days in conjunction with the Railway Touring Company’s Great Britain VII tour, as well as the first week of The Jacobite, deputising for 45231.
With the J72 and K1’s winter maintenance now complete, and cold and insteam tests satisfactorily carried out for the regulatory bodies, both locomotives are ready to once again start earning revenue, the former on the Wensleydale Railway and the latter on the Jacobite, though with a few pre season charters thrown in for good measure!
This issue is much about communication, to the extent that members should be left in no doubt about what is going on within the Group! Members have expressed concerns about communication, the Committee believes that these have been taken on board. However, channels of communication have been in existence for some time – the NEWS itself, the Group’s website, the monthly social meetings, working parties and the annual open meeting. We are conscious that there is always room for improvement in communications, particularly with the increasing costs of traditional methods and the continuing changes in technology that are occurring. The Committee will be considering this over the next few months, but wants that discussion to be informed by members’ views. They are important to us. So please read the article on page 28 and let us have your thoughts on the issues that have been identified, and any others that you think we should be looking at.
It has been a year of mixed fortunes for the Group. Thanks to the earnings of the K1 and the J72, superbly augmented by the incredibly successful Patron scheme, the Group’s finances are once again holding up well, which means that we have been able to absorb the costs of the unexpected repairs to the K1 and the additional spend on the Q6. Looking forward to 2014, we expect the K1 to again be available for hire on the main line as well as on heritage lines, the J72 to again strengthen out ties with the Wensleydale Railway, the Q6 to make its long awaited return to active service on the NYMR, and the J27 boiler overhaul to commence in earnest.