Minutes of the meeting of NELPG Ltd
7.30 pm, 12 November 2018
Middlesbrough Municipal Golf Centre
Present: Bill Dobson, Colin Foxton, Nigel Hall, Paul Hutchinson, John Hunt, Chris Lawson, Martin Lloyd, Roy Marshall, Richard Pearson and Richard Wheeler. Nigel Bill attended as an observer and was welcomed to the meeting by the Chairman.
The Chairman urged all Committee members to refrain from personal comments in emails, just as would be expected face to face and at meetings, no matter what diverse opinions on Group matters were received.
Before the meeting got under way, Richard Wheeler circulated the necessary papers for signature to allow the opening of an account with the Co-op Bank. One Trustee had been advised that the personal details requested were excessive and that he should not complete the relevant form. Others shared his concerns. The Treasurer was asked to get the Bank to state its position on GDPR and use/retention of personal data. Action: Treasurer.
1. Apologies for Absence –There were no apologies for absence.
2. Declarations of Interest – John Hunt declared an interest as an employee of WCRC and Richard Pearson as an employee of the RM Locomotion Shildon.
3. Minutes of Previous Meeting – The minutes of the 8 October meeting were agreed, signed off by the Chairman and authorised for publication on the website.
4. Matters Arising Not Covered Elsewhere
4.1 Richard Pearson had spoken to Fred Ramshaw very recently and raised Fred’s concern over decisions being made without his having been consulted.
5.1 The Monthly Finance Report, Movement in Funds and the 2019 Budget had been circulated by the Treasurer. The following points were noted:
5.1.1 There was discussion of bills for work on the Q6 and of the replacement springs and boiler washout for the J27 (we would pay for one spring found broken on return to NYMR). The Wensleydale Railway would pay the NYMR directly for two springs and the washout. Any variation from this position in invoices received would be queried. Action: Treasurer.
5.1.2 John Hunt reported income of £1740 from the photo charter. It was agreed that the monies should be divided equally between the Group, the NYMR and the NYMR Wagon Group (who had made the goods vehicles available). Action: John Hunt.
5.1.3 The 2019 Budget showed that Hopetown electricity costs would be met by the Group in future, because credits from previous overcharged bills had been exhausted.
5.2 Nigel Hall had prepared a spreadsheet to show historical net earnings by our locomotives over the last 7 years. It had been collated from annual accounts in the AGM Supplements. Nigel agreed to present this material at the Open Meeting on 16 November. Action: Nigel Hall.
5.3 Nigel had also prepared a 10-year forward projection, based on a number of assumptions on costs and income timing. Despite recent attempts to stagger them, locomotive overhauls were still clustered (7/10-year overhauls coming together for the K1, Q6 and J27 in 2028/9) – they needed to be spread out to ease financial demands and a build-up of funds would be needed around 2026/7. Some other major components and repairs need to be factored in (e.g. £50K for K1 tyres in 2022?). The spreadsheet also showed what work was planned to occupy Hopetown. Trustees were asked to consider whether the assumptions used by Nigel were sound and to identify any others which needed to be added. Action: All.
5.4 There was some discussion of possible work on the Support Coach, which was thought to be mainly bodywork repairs. The installation of retention tanks for such stock had been reported in the heritage railway press as likely to be funded by Network Rail.
5.5 Nigel had also circulated a wider and more in-depth analysis of Group finances from 1988 to 2017, with a view to understanding the ebb and flow of those finances. It was recognised that this document needed further study, given the level of detail and the lack of time to absorb, prior to the meeting, but it was felt to be a valuable piece of work. A vote of thanks was offered to Nigel for this useful study of NELPG finances.
5.6 In response to a question, Nigel suggested that additional income of some £40K per year appeared be necessary to subsidise our locomotives over and above normal income.
5.9 Discussion followed on the rate of the Jacobite hire fees and on the relationship between the NYMR mileage rate and hourly rate for contracted work. The latter was to be discussed shortly with NYMR (see next item).
6. Meeting with NYMR – The Chairman outlined arrangements for the meeting on 19 November. Our attendees would be Bill Dobson, John Hunt, Paul Hutchinson, Chris Lawson and Richard Pearson. NYMR attendees would be Chris Price, Paul Middleton and John Bailey (the latter by speaker phone). Items for the agenda included: contracts for the J27 and Q6; mileage rates; hourly rates for work done by NYMR staff; available mileage for Group locomotives in 2019; opportunities for hire of the Q6 and J27 to other heritage railways during the operating season; long term relationship; Q6 Centenary Launch; K1 use at the Autumn Gala and arrangements for the Diner in October.
7. Open Meeting 16 November – Arrangements were briefly discussed. Bryan Orange would open the meeting with a JV presentation; Nigel Hall would present the long-term locomotive earnings information; Paul Hutchinson would give the latest update on the K1; Bill Dobson similarly for the Q6 and Richard Pearson for the J27 (he noted in passing a number of issues for attention during Winter Maintenance: the ashpan sprinkler; the injectors; and he would also look at what had been recorded on the driver’s defect cards to identify any trends). Nigel Hall agreed to present the J72 position and would speak to Fred Ramshaw in advance. Action: Nigel Hall.
8. Dates for 2019 Meetings – The Secretary reported that alternative venues in the area had quoted charges greater than the Golf Centre, except for the Hub in Middlesbrough, which had unfortunately advised that meetings would have to end by 21.00. The Chairman suggested that the meeting time could be advanced to 19.00 to allow a finish time of 21.30, but this made attendance difficult for several Trustees. It was therefore agreed that meetings in 2019 should continue at 19.30 on the 2nd Monday of each month and that the current venue should be retained. Action: Secretary to book venue and circulate dates. The Chairman also suggested that the AGM might be moved to early May and, potentially, to a different day, perhaps Saturday mornings. This would be explored. Action: Chairman.
Richard Pearson left the meeting at this point.
9. Locomotive Update
9.1 Locomotive Sub Committee – Ian Storey had confirmed his willingness to chair the meetings of the Sub Committee. Bill Dobson said that he was trying to organise the first meeting around Richard Pearson’s availability in particular. In response to a question, Bill said that Caretaker deputies/understudies would be invited later, when a pattern of meetings had been established. The initial meeting would be arranged. Action: Bill Dobson.
9.2 K1 – The boiler was off and had been needle-gunned externally. NDT and ultrasonic testing were planned for 15 November. All of the elements were out and would be tested to 1.5 times boiler pressure. Some of the clips on the elements were broken and would be repaired or replaced. Some 61 stays would be replaced (less than estimated). The Secretary reminded the meeting of Mathew Storey’s interest in quoting for the stays – Paul Hutchinson would speak to Ian Storey. Action: Paul Hutchinson. Additionally, 14 rivets on the door plate needed renewing. The throatplate had been inspected and it appeared that the double-radius curve, normally pressed out of a single piece, had been cut and pieces welded in. There was also some additional work around the smokebox door ring. Paul said he and Steve Gibson would tackle the ashpan, thus reducing costs. The work was on time against plan and the estimated costs of the work were reducing.
9.3 Paul raised the issue of the direct employment by the Group of (say) one individual to further reduced costs for repairs. Some of the administrative tasks of such employment could be sub-contracted to 3rd party organisations at a cost. After some discussion, including the consideration of the possible impact on volunteers, Paul was asked to put his proposals on paper for consideration at a future meeting. Action: Paul Hutchinson.
10. Any Other Business
10.1 It was confirmed that HRA membership would be renewed. Action: Treasurer.
10.2 Chris Lawson suggested that the invaluable free PAT testing carried out by Tony and Glynis Frith should be recognised through granting renewed honorary membership of the Group. This was agreed. Action: Chairman.
10.3 Martin Lloyd had received a quote for bump caps and Hi-Vis waistcoats/jackets. Details were circulated and Trustees were asked to confirm requirements for these items. Action: All.
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