11 December 2017
Present were Richard Wheeler (in the Chair), Michael Chyriwsky, Nigel Hall, Paul Hutchinson (from 8.15pm), Chris Lawson, and Martin Lloyd.
Also in attendance as observers were Bill Dobson, Colin Foxton and Roy Marshall.
Apologies for Absence were received from John Hunt (who had to turn back on his way to the meeting because of heavy snow on the road) and Richard Pearson. There were no declarations of interest.
As the meeting was not quorate until the arrival of Paul Hutchinson, those present discussed an update from Nigel Hall on the EU General Data Protection Data Regulations (EUGDPR) and its possible impact on methods of sharing data in the Group, including the ICE card arrangements. The EUGDPR Sub Committee had not yet met, but thought had been given to a number of issues – shared storage and how this might be implemented, use of personal devices and the need for up to date security software, antivirus and password control (including for smart phones), and sharing data with third parties such as PTS information with WCRC. A possible method of holding personal ICE data in ‘wallets’, used by cycling organisations, was demonstrated and welcomed as a practical solution. It was agreed that ROs should turn away volunteer workers without ICE ‘wallets’, although disclosure of the details by the individual could be an acceptable alternative. In addition, it was pointed out that there were some volunteers (including JVs), for whom the RO would need to be advised of potential health or other conditions which could affect their ability to work safely.
Signing in for work at any of the Group’s sites implies that the individual confirms his/her fitness to work. This would need to be made explicit as part of the induction of new working members. Individuals would need to indicate they were competent to operate particular equipment and be initially assessed wherever possible.
With Paul Hutchinson’s arrival, the minutes of the previous meeting were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman. Under matters arising the Secretary reported that he had not yet circulated information on the role of the Fundraising Regulator as he could not find a simple summary, but would continue his search. The draft response to the VAMOS meeting issues was also still outstanding.
The Monthly Finance Report noted that some further payments had been received from the Wensleydale Railway but the September/October invoice was still outstanding. Invoices from the NYMR had been received for the Q6 axlebox repairs and the flue tube removal work. 60% of the cost of the elements work being carried out by Mathew Storey had also been paid and the new small tubes ordered. Some £62K had been spent or committed, but Bill Dobson advised there was still sufficient funding left to cover the cost of the remaining work. Some outstanding issues relating to Jacobite Support Crew expenses were also considered. Trustees were reminded that as long as VAT invoices were received for our purchases, the related VAT could be reclaimed. Only the VAT liable on sales by the Group (the difference between material costs and sales price) was not reclaimable.
The Treasurer had circulated a proposed simplified financial reporting approach following the striking off of Enterprises Ltd. Expenditure would be grouped under three headings and income under four, with the original individual locomotive DMF approach replaced by a single Locomotive Maintenance Fund figure, although this would still allow individual locomotive net total earnings to be reported. The current Legacy fund could be invested for the long term and regarded as our reserve. He requested any comments on the proposed approach so that final decisions could be taken at the January meeting to enable preparation of the 2017 accounts.
He had also circulated a 5 year financial projection for the Group, inspired by work done by Nick Stringer for the Fundraising Sub Committee. This was in the form of an Excel spreadsheet with formulae so that the individual income and expenditure figures could be modified to show the effect of alternative predictions. Committee members were invited to play with the figures to see how the projections changed, and comment back to the Treasurer with their 5 year projections so that an agreed version can be prepared as part of the Group’s forward strategy.
There was an extensive Locomotive Update in which Bill Dobson reported he had spoken to Terry Newman about a first meeting of the Locomotive Sub Committee, and had agreed it would be held at Hopetown on the first Monday in 2018.
A number of Committee members had now commented on the first draft of the Locomotive Overhaul and Maintenance Strategy. It was suggested that whilst the draft covered the short term requirements, for the longer term we needed to address finance and resource availability (particularly people numbers, age and skills) and consider what the Group’s position might be in 5 years time. In practice the NYMR had effectively been running the Q6 over its last operating season: that might be the model for all our locomotives in the future. How the CME role would be undertaken in future also needed to be considered – through partnership or consultancy perhaps?
On the locomotives, it was reported that dismantling of the K1 at Carnforth was under way and some parts had already been refurbished, although, overall, there was a surprising lack of wear. WCRC would be replacing some small tubes at the side of the flues and also turning the tyres on their newly commissioned wheel lathe. The overall winter maintenance cost was likely to be within £35K. It continued to be reported that the B1 No 61264 was going to be running the Scottish leg of the 2018 GB railtour. If so, that could give until late April to complete the K1 maintenance programme. The current set of tyres were likely to last another two years but it could be economic to purchase them in advance, as with those for the Q6, to avoid further cost inflation. Quotes would be sought for consideration at the January Committee meeting.
The Q6 flue tubes had now arrived and the new small tubes were expected before the end of the year. The boiler inspector was due in the first week of January to carry out his internal inspection. Subject to the outcome, the work was still expected to be completed on time and to budget. Bill Dobson reported difficulty in finding the post 2003 records for the boiler and it was suggested that he speak to Richard Pearson, John Graham and Ian Storey to see if they could help. Mark O’Brien had now removed all the damaged copper ferrules: new tube to make replacements was being sought. Mathew Storey was welding the bends on the elements which would be required by the end of January.
After a brief discussion, it was agreed that, whilst respecting and acting on the outcome of the recent livery ballot, a motion should be put to the 2018 AGM seeking approval to temporarily repaint the Q6 in its 1918 as built NER livery next winter, to be carried in 2019 only, to mark the centenary of its construction.
The J27 front tubeplate had now been successfully fitted to the cylinder block. Paul Hutchinson had agreed to take the lead for the remedial work for the smokebox and had agreed the approach to be taken at a meeting with Terry Newman and Richard Pearson at Hopetown earlier that evening – hence his late arrival at the Committee meeting. The front sheet and barrel would be separated by removing the existing rivets. The front sheet existing lap material would then be trimmed back to the front of the existing rivet holes and a new extended lapping piece welded into place. The correct relative front sheet to barrel position would then be established and the front sheet refitted to the barrel using round headed bolts rather than rivets. Similarly, the smokebox would be fitted to the boiler with round headed bolts rather than rivets. Mathew Storey would be asked to quote for the suitably rolled lap extension material. It was anticipated that much, if not all, of the necessary removal and welding and refitting work could be undertaken by the Group's volunteers at Hopetown.. In the meantime there was still much other work that could be done although completion was now thought unlikely before May or June. There was enough contingency in the funds available to cover what was required, though concern was expressed at the likely cost of Ian Matthews having to paint the locomotive as well as the tender.
The overhaul continued to suffer though from the lack of a dedicated caretaker. Paul Mason had written to the Chairman in September applying to take on the job, and a reply was still outstanding. After due consideration, the Committee concluded that Paul’s lack of operational experience and his reliance on public transport would prevent him from filling the role effectively.
The recent J72 steam test had found 7 leaking tubes (one significant) when pressure was increased above 130psi. This was extremely disappointing, and although Fred Ramshaw would discuss the position with Ian Storey and John Graham, it was most unlikely that the J72 would be available for the Wensleydale Railway Santa services. The Railway would be notified of the position. The Committee agreed that limited expenditure on a partial retube could be justified if it kept the locomotive running and earning another season’s income. Fred Ramshaw would seek the boiler inspector’s views on the consequences for any new tubes from either a partial or full retube in advance of the end of the boiler ticket in August 2018, and what impact there might be on the duration/extension of the current ticket. It was confirmed that WCRC would be unable to take on any work on the J72 this winter.
The Secretary reported on the recent discussions with Steve Davies and Nigel Park of the Wensleydale Railway which covered their future steam locomotive requirements. They were disappointed to learn that the J27 would be going to the NYMR, whilst recognising it could still be available for Wensleydale peak season services. The Railway confirmed that work was pressing ahead on the locomotive shed, the basic structure of which was planned to be completed by January. This could mean winter maintenance for the J72 being carried out at Leeming Bar, saving the Railway the transport costs to Darlington. A commitment was given to pay the Railway’s outstanding hire charges immediately, and, in requesting the J72 for the 2018 season, it was agreed that the hire contract needed revising to recognise the Group’s operational role and clarify responsibilities, even though this was likely to lead to an increase in hire charges.
Paul Hutchinson reported that there would be little maintenance undertaken on the Support Coach this winter. The NELPG car however, had now clocked up some 200,000 miles and was becoming increasingly costly to maintain. It was agreed a possible replacement should be considered.
The Secretary reported that there had been four bids so far for the hire of Group locomotives in 2018, and it was concluded that three would have to be declined for a variety of reasons, whilst further information was required in respect of the fourth.
In the absence of the Chairman the review of the SGM and Open Meeting was deferred.
Colin Foxton distributed a note of his proposals for the way forward with the revision of the
Articles of Association. The new Articles would be based on the John Hall draft (which had not progressed simply because of other priorities), which had in turn been based on that recently prepared for the KWVR. Because of its very different organisation and operation however, this was not felt strictly relevant, and there was much redundancy in the material. The intention therefore was to be guided by the Charity Commission template and produce a governance document focussing on the Group’s objectives, resulting in a shorter document based on legal terminology, but supported by a separate policies document in plain English which would be easier to understand and maintain. The Committee agreed Colin should consult those who had originally supplied comments to John Hall.
Under Health and Safety, in the time available, it was only possible to review the report of Roy Marshall’s recent accident at Grosmont. Whilst a minor incident (he had been able to resume work after attention from an NYMR First Aider and a brief rest), it was recognised that it could have been avoided if a bump cap had been worn. The Committee therefore agreed that bump caps should be worn by volunteers as part of the required PPE.
The meeting closed at 10.05pm
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