Minutes of the meeting of NELPG Ltd
7.30 pm, 11th November 2019
Middlesbrough Motor Club
Present: Nigel Bill, Bill Dobson, Colin Foxton, Nigel Hall, Paul Hutchinson, Chris Lawson, Roy Marshall and Richard Pearson.
Mike Crawshaw and Ian Thompson of Darlington Borough Council (DBC) were welcomed to the meeting as guests for item 3 on the agenda.
A minute’s silence was held in memory of John Richardson and of the Fallen.
1. Apologies for Absence –Apologies for absence were received from John Hunt, Richard Wheeler and Ian Storey.
2. Declarations of Interest – The Chairman declared an interest as a Trustee of the NERA and Richard Pearson as an employee of the A1 Trust.
3. Darlington Railway Heritage Quarter
3.1 Mike Crawshaw and Ian Thompson attended as part of a second round of consultations with organisations involved in the scope of the proposed plans. The overall aim is the regeneration of a part of Darlington which is recognised as one of the most deprived areas in the country, through giving greater emphasis to Darlington’s railway heritage and attracting visitors. Mike and Ian outlined the scope and timing of the planned work, though it was emphasised that nothing was completely settled at this stage
3.2 Mike assured the Board that, along with all the existing tenants, the Group was seen as an integral part of the site, and there was no intention for NELPG, or any of the other organisations, to be evicted. NELPG would be fully involved in the consultations as the concepts were developed into firm plans. The move of the A1 Trust out of the Carriage Works, to a new 2-road shed on the opposite side of the line to Bishop Auckland, opened up options for other organisations to move elsewhere on the site. The DBC representatives’ assumption was that NELPG might want to take advantage of a move into the other half of the building, when vacated by the A1 Trust. They asked, however, if we could let them have our own thoughts on our future at Hopetown and where we would like to be located. Mike confirmed that there was no embargo on the information provided.
3.3 The Board needed to consider the future of NELPG at Hopetown (or elsewhere in the Railway Heritage Quarter) and a meeting had been arranged on 19th November, at Middlesbrough Motor Club, to explore our own future intentions. Ian Storey, Fred Ramshaw, Terry Newman, Neal Woods and Arthur Jenkins had been invited.
4. Minutes of Previous Meeting – The minutes of the 14th October meeting were approved.
5. Matters Arising Not Covered Elsewhere
5.1 John Hunt had confirmed that he would not be seeking reappointment to the Board next April, because of health problems, and was unlikely to attend further meetings. He had offered, however, to continue to edit NELPG News and to manage the production of calendars etc. an offer which the Board gladly accepted. A response, expressing disappointment but understanding of the reason for his decision, would be drafted on behalf of the Board. Action: Chairman. Colin Foxton had agreed to stand down and seek re-election next April so as to even out the sequence for the rotation of Trustees. Bill Dobson said he planned to continue until the completion of the T2’s 2020/21 Winter maintenance and expected boiler lift. Planned Board changes would be finalised in December, in preparation for the AGM.
5.2 A date of 24th April was tentatively agreed for the AGM, taking account of the likely date (early May) for the K1’s move to Scotland. Potential venues (the Motor Club, Hopetown, North Road Museum and the RA Club included) were discussed, as was the possibility of moving to a Saturday event. Nigel Hall offered to sound out opinion from a selection of members. Action: Nigel Hall.
5.3 Nigel Hall said he planned to look at the display boards stored upstairs at Hopetown to see whether they could be used to refresh the current display in the workshop area.
5.4 The Secretary said that a date for the proposed SGM needed to be set. The SGM would deal with the proposal to retain the T2 livery until the end of the current boiler ticket (which could potentially be dealt with by ballot in advance) and the proposals to vary the identity of the K1 over the next 2 Jacobite seasons. A motion to deal with expected expenditure on the J72 overhaul would have to await the 2020 AGM. It was agreed to schedule the SGM immediately before the 14th February Social Meeting. Action: Secretary to alert John Midcalf and arrange meeting.
6.1 The Monthly Finance Report had been circulated by the Treasurer. In his absence, the following points were discussed:
6.1.1 There was still one week outstanding in hire payments from the Wensleydale Railway.
6.1.2 The cost of the T2 cylinder repair had not yet been repaid by the NYMR. Action: Bill Dobson.
6.1.3 The Diner had paid for itself, the Chairman confirmed.
6.1.4 Nigel Bill had identified a suitable short wheelbase vehicle with crew cab to replace the company car. It was agreed to purchase the vehicle at a cost of £7,000, and to authorise Mike Bloomfield to dispose of the current Mondeo. He would contact the Chairman (as Insurance Coordinator) for details of where to send the invoice and other documentation for the new vehicle. Action: Nigel Bill.
6.1.5 The Financial Strategy Committee had requested a view from the Board on a number of matters. The Secretary had circulated these with his responses. In most cases these issues had already been addressed by the Board. It was noted that an appeal would be launched for the J72 overhaul – this would need a global expenditure estimate and a broad breakdown of costs. Nigel Hall would contact William Nutbrown about his offer to assist with the website. Action: Nigel Hall.
7. Locomotive Hire Policy
7.1 The SRPS request for the K1 next October was discussed. NELPG’s involvement with a repeat NELPG Day as a formal part of the NYMR Autumn Gala next September 2020 was agreed. The NYMR would need to be advised, to enable appropriate advertising of the event. Action: Chairman. Accordingly, it was also agreed that the K1 should return from Scotland in mid-September as per this year. Hopefully, an earlier arrival at Fort William in the Spring, would enable a full season’s equivalent running to be achieved. In spite of this, Paul Hutchinson suggested that it could still be possible to accommodate the SRPS request after the NYMR Autumn Gala, along with possibly a joint NELPG/SRPS railtour, before moving to Carnforth for 2020/21 Winter maintenance. Action: Paul Hutchinson to contact SRPS.
7.2 The Secretary asked about progress on gauging the K1. Paul Hutchinson said that he would arrange to take physical measurements for gauging during the Winter – this was still accepted by Network Rail and would be avoid the expense of using Balfour Beatty for laser scanning. Action: Paul Hutchinson.
7.3 It was noted that the Wensleydale Railway had made approaches for Number 29, B1 1264 and an S160 for 2020 steam. To date, no enquiry had been made about the J27, and, in spite of the Chairman’s doubts over a possible return because of financial and safety issues, it was agreed to wait and see how things develop.
7.4 The West Somerset, North Norfolk and Kent and East Sussex Railways had all expressed an interest in hiring NELPG locomotives in 2020. Potentially moves could be agreed as exchanges to bring guest locomotives to NYMR. It was agreed that any such hires should only be for short period events, rather than long term, since it would be difficult to provide an Owner’s Representative for any longer period. No firm view in favour of any particular hire was taken, and there was a need to discuss locomotive availability with the NYMR before any decisions were made. Action: Chairman (as Locomotive Hire Coordinator).
7.5 Richard Pearson said he would have to stand down as the Caretaker for 65894. Other potential candidates were discussed. Action: Paul Hutchinson.
8. J72 Overhaul
8.1 Fred Ramshaw had confirmed to the Chairman that he would like to continue being involved and informed as Caretaker for 69023. This was agreed. He was content to work with the rest of the engineering team and to accept the Board’s decision on the replacement of the cylinder block.
8.2 A meeting of the engineering team would be arranged to agree how matters might best be taken forward, inviting Fred Ramshaw, Nigel Hall, Ian Storey, Paul Hutchinson, Richard Pearson, Neal Woods and Bill Dobson. Action: Richard Pearson. A later meeting would be convened with Dave Pennock, once the engineering input had been resolved.
9. Articles of Association
9.1 The Vice Chairman again apologised that his work demands prevented any update.
10. Health and Safety
10.1 The Secretary had circulated a set of recommendations resulting from a meeting of the Chairman, Secretary and H&S Officer about the Steve Hyman accident. Comments were required by 17th December. Action: All.
11. Any Other Business
11.1 It was noted that the additional meeting, arranged for 19th November, would be to discuss the future of NELPG at Hopetown and our reaction to the plans for Darlington Railway Heritage Quarter.
Date of Next Meeting – 17th December 2019
The meeting closed at 10.10pm.
Signed (Chairman) Date
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