Present: Martin Lloyd, Michael Chyriwsky, John Hall, Nigel Hall, Paul Hutchinson, Chris Lawson, Richard Wheeler.
Bryan Orange and Tom Noble also attended as observers and were welcomed to the meeting.
In the absence of the Chairman and of an appointed Vice Chairman, Richard Wheeler took the Chair.
Richard Pearson declared an interest as an employee of NRM Locomotion, Shildon.
Whilst not a declaration of interest, the Secretary reported that he had been appointed a Trustee of the Bowers 957 Trust, the owners of the Worth Valley based ex L&Y Barton Wright 0-6-0 built at Horwich in 1886, and which appeared in the 1970 Railway Children film as the ‘Green Dragon’. This was noted.
Although the appointment of a Vice Chairman was not required by the Articles of Association, the meeting felt that it was appropriate to continue do so. Paul Hutchinson was accordingly nominated and duly appointed. He asked Richard Wheeler to continue in the Chair for the rest of this meeting.
Under matters arising, it was reported that there had been no response to the appeal for information about the status of our GWR Mink G van at Grosmont following a request from the NYMR Wagon Group to take over its ownership. As it continued to appear in the NELPG asset register, and no evidence had come to light of its disposal elsewhere, the Committee concluded that it was still in our ownership. As we had no further use for it, and it did not form part of our historical collection, it was agreed that it should be transferred to the Wagon Group for restoration and their use as a store at Goathland.
It was confirmed that it was our responsibility to carry out analysis of the K1 OTMR data, and that, at present, unless we are told by WCRC that data is not being captured in the download correctly, we cannot be certain that the system is working and, therefore, that we are fulfilling our responsibilities. This was felt to be unsatisfactory and that we needed to be able to satisfy ourselves, independently, that everything was working properly. Paul Hutchinson agreed to speak to WCRC Carnforth about the possible use of their software, paying particular attention to their software licence and whether or not it permitted the use of the software by third parties, without which it would be wrong for it to be used.
The Monthly Financial Report was noted, but nothing had been received from the Wensleydale Railway, in spite of repeated attempts by the Treasurer to prompt payment action. It was agreed that the default payment of £250 should be applied for the latest Driver Experience day and that Fred Ramshaw should be asked by the Secretary to chase up their previous promises to make payment and set up a new regular Standing Order, without which the future running of the J72 would have to be considered. The latest Gift Aid payment had been received from HMRC, and donations of £1000 each from two members, one for the J27 and the other for the designated locomotive overhaul fund.
The K1 had suffered a regulator failure on the NYMR evening diner on 6 May. Repairs had involved a considerable input from the NYMR MPD staff, even though, once completed, the locomotive would be moving to Scotland and therefore be of no direct benefit to the NYMR. Some of this work would be paid for on a contract basis, but, without it, the K1 move to Scotland would have been significantly delayed and led to a greater loss of Jacobite revenue than had occurred. It was agreed that, to show our appreciation of the NYMR support, and recognising that it worked only one day of the Spring Gala first weekend, we should waive the hire charge for the 108 miles run that day. At the same time, it was agreed that the regulator repairs to the K1 were a classic ‘rainy day’ occurrence for which the Patron Fund was intended, and it should be used to meet the cost. It could also be used to meet any unexpected additional expenditure on the J27 overhaul that might arise.
Volunteer expense levels were reviewed. In the light of experience and the current rates of inflation, it was agreed that there should be no change in the rates for 2016. It was confirmed that with the use of the new form with a separate VAT column, the necessary VAT information was now being provided to enable it to be reclaimed.
The Secretary reported on the meeting with Ribchesters on 10 May, which he had attended with the Treasurer, and at which the future availability arrangements for the TAR and accounts, along with the 2016 reporting timetable, were agreed. The 2015 Enterprise accounts had subsequently been submitted by Ribchesters to Companies House, and the TAR and charity accounts to the Charity Commission and Companies House by the Secretary. Neither the 2016 or 2017 SORP were considered to raise any problems. Discussion of the new legislative requirement to identify People with Significant Control (PSC) centred on the share held in NELPG Enterprises by the Charity. The second share held by the then Chairman (as nominee) had been purchased, by Enterprises, back in 2003, and the documentation located confirming this action. In the light of this Ribchesters had advised that no further action was necessary, that only one share was held by the charity, and that we therefore had no PSC. Finally, Ribchesters had advised that where money was donated for specific projects, it should be correctly identified as restricted funds. In future however, locomotive hire earnings from NELPG Enterprises under the licence agreement should go into a designated locomotive overhaul fund in NELPG Ltd so it could be used for any of the locomotives – but not for anything else. Equally, NELPG Enterprises should only hold 3-6 months worth of running costs as reserves: any more would be regarded as excessive and unjustified. These conclusions were accepted.
The Treasurer provided an update on each locomotive’s DMF since the beginning of the year. He also presented a first draft budget for 2016 which included an apportionment for life membership subscriptions received so far this year. Expenditure on the J27 had been included in locomotive repairs for 2015, but the budget figure for 2016 locomotive repairs still needed to be determined. It was important that the postponed meeting of locomotive caretakers and others was held as soon as practicable so that a first draft of a locomotive overhaul strategy could be put together for consideration by the Committee. As well as preparing a budget, it was important to issue to postholders their authority to commit expenditure on behalf of the Group. These levels had been agreed two years ago, and, with an increase in the Newsletter Editor authority to £1,500 and the PTS organiser to £750, it was agreed that these should now be issued.
The Secretary gave a further update on NELPG 50 events. The Darlington Exhibition continued and was due to close on 3 July. The next event would be the Shildon Shed Bash at the end of July with the Q6 (in light steam on the apron) and J72 (operating brake van trips on the running line) both present. NRM Locomotion had asked for a list of names of those who would be acting as explainers on the Q6 footplate (the J72 would be operated by Shildon crews), with someone there at all times who must be fireman competent. There would be no parking in Shildon, with a park and ride in operation, and access to onsite parking would only be for those notified in advance as volunteers. Arrangements were being made for moving the J72 on 18 July and then subsequently the Q6. The NYMR would need to be advised to move the Q6 to New Bridge in time and a call made for volunteers to help with loading and unloading. The equivalent arrangements for the NELPG stand in the Exhibition Hall would need to be pursued with Pam Porter.
The Railway Art Exhibition would be held at Hartlepool Central Library from 8 -12 August and it was hoped to arrange the formal hand over of Hartlepool Station clock during that week. Arrangements for the dinner on 29 October, along with a booking form, would be in the June issue of News. Work was continuing on the 50th Anniversary book, for which an order form would also be in the June issue of News. The order form would also be included on the website.
During discussion of a note circulated by John Hall about the possible approach to ex SSI workers with engineering expertise as part of succession planning, it was agreed that we needed to be properly organised to receive and look after any new volunteers and have a programme of work for them to do. If we were not confident we could do that, then we should not pursue any recruitment initiative until we were. It was agreed therefore that before making any approach to the SSI Task Force, the postponed meeting of caretakers and others to discuss the locomotive overhaul strategy should also consider the organisation of recruitment to ensure that any new volunteers are properly received and inducted.
The current version of the working members email circulation list, with a covering paper setting out recommendations for updating the list, had also been circulated, by Nigel Hall. During a brief discussion, Bryan Orange confirmed that he was happy to continue being responsible for ICE records. The remaining recommendations were all accepted for action by the webmaster.
The health and safety issues relating to recent expressions of interest in volunteering for the Group were discussed. For any volunteers, it was important that the induction process assessed individual competence and any safety risks, both to the individual and others working with them. Decisions on acceptability should not be based on informal, third party information, and should only take into account that gained as part of the assessment carried out during our induction process. With that in mind, those at Hopetown should be warned that any new volunteers should be asked to make an appointment for a proper induction, and not just be taken on when they first appeared.
Michael Chyriwsky had previously circulated a further revised Section 10 of the Locomotive Maintenance Policy and any comments were requested to be sent to him in time for the document to be finalised at the July Committee meeting.
The normal locomotive updates were provided, and the latest position is reported in the current issue of NELPG News. Concern was expressed however, over the apparent difficulty of making a claim against our breakdown insurance, and the Secretary was asked to contact our insurers to establish in what circumstances they would be prepared to accept a legitimate claim.
There were no locomotive hire issues additional to those previously discussed.
Under Any Other Business, the Committee gave its agreement to the use of Deviation Shed for an NYMR Beer and Music Festival on 11/12 November 2016. In addition, Bryan Orange reported that the Department for Education had indicated a willingness to revisit legislation that could be interpreted as preventing the involvement of Junior Volunteers in the heritage railway sector. Tom Noble gave a brief summary of recent NELPG JV activity, involving working on the 60007 overhaul at NRM York, and the continuing workshop training at Grosmont making toolmaker’s clamps under the supervision of Chris Parrish.
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