NYMR 2013 Daily Running comes to an end
Last Sunday, 4th November, saw daily running for the 2013 season draw to a close. Services continue at weekends through November between Pickering and Goathland with 4 round trips each day. The Santa Specials start on Sunday November 30th and run on the 4 weekends before Christmas. From Friday December 27th there will be a daily service of 4 round trips between Pickering and Grosmont until January 5th 2014.
Last Wednesday an Open Forum was held in the Memorial Hall in Pickering for both volunteer and employed staff. Philip Benham, General Manager, reported on the season just completed and looked at the prospects for 2014. After the dire results for 2012 it was encouraging to hear that 2013 has been much better and we are likely to achieve a near 'break-even' position on the ordinary trading account - the first time this has happened for a number of years. There was much discussion about how the 2014 timetable should look and the discontent amongst locomotive cleaners at the MPD was raised.
Trust Board Meeting
Friday evening 8th November saw a special meeting of the Trust Board in the Learning Centre at Pickering Station. The meeting was called primarily to discuss the 2014 timetable and fare structure. Unfortunately for a variety of reasons the work to finalise these documents couldn't quite be completed in time so the Chairman, Murray Brown, agreed to a further Special Board meeting being arranged for Friday 22nd November to deal with these items specifically.
The 2014 timetable will be a complete recast of what has gone before because of the station enhancement works that are to be carried out at Whitby Station to allow us to run a more intensive service. At the time of writing the completion date of these works is uncertain but is expected by the end of June. This will mean that there will have to be a two-stage timetable to take account of the step-up from three daily Whitby departures to five. The works at Whitby comprise the rebuilding of platform 2 and associated track and signalling works to give access to the new platform. In addition, re-signalling at the north end of Grosmont Station will make it possible to arrive and depart for Whitby from both platforms 2 and 3 allowing Whitby trains to cross at Grosmont for the first time since the 1960s.
There has been much speculation amongst volunteer and paid staff as to the level of fares for 2014. Some people think we are too cheap whilst others take the opposite view. Some Board members would like to see a £2 rise to the Whitby adult return and pro-rata for other fares. Those who face the public and have to collect these fares think a rise to cover inflation is all that can be expected with some adjustment to the rather generous family fares that we have had this year. Whatever fare level we eventually agree I think it would be prudent to curb our current enthusiasm for discounting fares in the peak season and think more about targeting discounts towards encouraging travel on poorly loaded services in the off-peak and shoulder periods.
Without the main focus of the time and fare tables the Board meeting was a low-key affair. There was some tidying up of loose ends from the previous meeting covering code of conduct, sub-committees and standing orders. The Museum Collections Policy 2013 - 2018 was agreed and an invite to become a Vice President is to be issued to an individual with an impeccable railway pedigree.
The most exciting part of the meeting turned out to be a discussion on the standards of maintenance of our BR Mk1 carriages. There was some debate as to whether these might be viewed as 'heritage' vehicles and need to be maintained in as original a condition as possible, with the contrary view being that they are everyday service vehicles and it matters not if some of the equipment used on them is not original. The particular point at issue was the standard of lighting (i.e. working or not working) and whether it is acceptable to install more modern equipment to keep the lights on. General consensus seemed to be that as a safety issue lights were essential and the railway management was asked politely to go away and see to it.
Bernards' Blog - A regular digest of things happening on the North York Moors Railway