Moors Express 16th July 2015

Article text
Signing the new 25-year contract for Hartland. From left to right, Caroline Harrison,
June Shaw and Elizabeth Shaw (the owners)
and Trust Secretary Carole Hardwick.
Moors Express 16th July 2015

New Managing Director Appointed

Well the biggest news for this edition has to be the appointment of Chris Price as the new Managing Director. Although by the time you read this it will be ‘old’ news it is none the less significant in that Chris is coming to us from the Talyllyn Railway where he is currently General Manager. It has to be a sign that the heritage movement is coming of age when senior managers for major undertakings like ours can be recruited from within the heritage movement without having to rely on previous experience on the national network.

I had the pleasure of meeting Chris for the first time at the evening arranged for the shortlisted candidates to make their presentations to Board Members. I found him to be an impressive character, with a very likeable personality and a reputation for getting things done. He is a qualified mechanical engineer having lead the Talyllyn engineering team for many years before becoming GM. So far his appointment seems to have been met with universal acclaim although this will no doubt change when he has to start tackling some of the problems that we are currently facing!

I wish him well and look forward to when he starts with us in October.

AGM 20th June 2015

The AGM was again held in the Memorial Hall, Pickering, and was attended by over 120 members, officers and trustees.

At the beginning of the meeting a minute’s silence was held for those members who had passed away since the last meeting and the Chairman, John Bailey, mentioned specifically Roger Barker who had lost his struggle against cancer earlier in the month.

Tony Danks and Steven Hogg were returned unopposed as, respectively, Membership Secretary and Finance Director. Andrew Bullivant and David Torbet were re-elected to the Trust Board together with new members Chris Dickerson and Richard Jackson. Ray Sowerby and Michael Pitts, both long serving board members retired and were presented with lifetime First Class Gold Travel passes in recognition of their contribution to the railway.

Our retiring MD, Phillip Benham, reported on the year’s activities in general and then looked back over the highlights of the 11 years that he has been in post.

After a presentation on the financial situation by Steven Hogg there followed a Q & A session.

The meeting finished in good time for members to take a ride on the 12noon train to Whitby.

An Apology

In the last Moors Express I credited Ian Foot with the successful negotiation of the new coal supply contract that is saving us over £100k per year. Ian was very quick to contact me and tell me that he should not take the praise for this, as it was Clive Goult and Jeff Hemmingway who actually did the work and achieved this impressive result. So, my apologies to Clive and Jeff and thanks to Ian for pointing it out.

Pickering Carriage Shed

In conversation with Andrew Scott the other week he told me that the Carriage Shed Project Team are looking for a volunteer to help with negotiations with the Local Planning Authority, Ryedale District Council. Recent experience of negotiating planning approvals with LPAs is regarded as being essential and if we have such a person in our midst that is willing to have a go they should contact Andrew at If such a person can be found it will save a considerable amount of money in planning consultancy fees.

Diesel Gala and 70s weekend 26th – 28th June

Diesel Galas are something that I normally try to avoid (it’s an age thing and I’ve probably got too much of it!) but I was on Pickering Station for a meeting on Friday 26th June and could not fail to be impressed by the sight of 45060 ‘Sherwood Forester’. The sound of the engine took me back to my BR days in Bristol where these machines were regular and efficient performers on the North East to South West services. Later in the day I happened upon 31271 ‘Stratford TMD’, which sounded to be in cracking form. Back in the late 1970s we had 31018 on the line in the form of D5500 on loan from the NRM and I was a regular driver on this ‘toffee apple’ variant.

Although I didn’t see them we had two class 20s on hire, 20142 (which worked during the Gala) and 20189 (which did not). I understand that these two are with us for the main season to act as NR certified back up.

The final treat at the gala for me was the sight of 08556 and 08850 working the Pickering ‘shuttles’ between the station and New Bridge. Not often that we get to see these ‘maids of all work’ on a passenger train but what really took my eye was the rolling stock, the two recently restored Gresley Teaks 3669 and the Restaurant Car 43654. What a splendid sight they were and congratulations to the LNERCA and their members for reminding us of out true heritage.

Whitby Potash Mine

On Tuesday 30th June the North Yorkshire Moors National Park Planning Authority granted permission to Sirius Minerals to develop a new potash mine on the B1416, near the village of Sneaton, around 4km south of Whitby.
The mine, reportedly the biggest in the UK, would see a 1,500 metre mine sunk beneath the park, which would tunnel outwards towards the sea and pump the potash underground around 30 miles north to Teesside, where it would be processed.
This will clearly be to the economic benefit of Whitby but where does the NYMR fit in you may ask? Part of the Section 106 agreement requires Sirius to improve the Esk Valley Line to make it possible to run more trains from Middlesborough to move the workforce to and from the worksite. The company has pledged £7m to achieve this and there is much speculation as to how the increased capacity will be achieved. The favourites seem to be a passing loop near Sleights Station and an improvement to the signaling to remove the ground-frames currently in use at Whitby and Grosmont. This is certainly an exciting development for us and could ease our ‘pathing’ difficulties between Grosmont and Whitby if it comes to fruition.
Grosmont MPD Development Plan
Conscious that we have not heard much on this since the consultation held earlier in the year I asked Andy Bullivant, the Project Manager, for an update. He told me that following the consultation the project group are working hard to assess the various ideas and proposals that have been put forward and “once we have finished collating the vast amount of ideas put forward at the open meetings we can consult the departments involved to get their input and make sure that what might be proposed would have the required effect.” Andy has promised to keep me up-to-date as things develop.

West Country Pacific 34101, Hartland

As predicted in the last Moors Express the Shaw family, owners of Hartland, have, on 6th July, signed a new agreement with the NYMR that will see the loco remain on the railway for a further 25 years. Overhaul at Grosmont has been ongoing for some time and we can expect the loco back in service sometime in 2016. Congratulations to Clive Goult, John Bruce, Carole Hardwick and John Bailey for a successful conclusion to the negotiations.

Other Traction News

• NELPGs Q6, 63395 was returned to service on Thursday 9th July bringing some relief to our hard-pressed locomotive fleet.
• A4 Pacific 60007, ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ was involved in a main line outing which started on Saturday 4th July with an ‘engine and support coach’ trip to York. The following day she took over a Cathedrals Express working from York to Edinburgh returning as far as York on Tuesday 7th July. On the in-between day she worked an excursion from Edinburgh to Dunfirmline and back. Sadly these few days are believed to be the only main-line outing for SNG before the 10-year overhaul becomes due in September.
• The boiler from Standard Class 4, 80135 is reported to have been taken to Bury, presumably to the works of Ian Riley for rebuilding. This valuable locomotive has been out of traffic for much too long and it is good to see that the overhaul is being re-started.

Coastal Communities Fund

As part of the Central Government Budget proposals on Wednesday 8th July it was announced that the Coastal Communities Fund would be increased by another £90m to be spent in the life of this parliament. Readers will recall that a large part of our Whitby Platform 2 project was funded by the CCF so this new allocation of funding begs the question ‘Can we benefit by this?’ To be eligible any project needs to be located in a “coastal settlement within a local authority area whose boundaries include UK foreshore, including local authorities whose boundaries only include estuarine foreshore”.

Both Whitby and Grosmont are in the Scarborough Borough Council area and projects based on these towns would therefore appear to be eligible. Time to get our ‘thinking caps’ on and see what proposals we can put together that might be attractive to the CCF. I’d be very happy to act as a ‘clearing house’ for your ideas. Remember it’s all about creating jobs and economic activity.

Signing up for Moors Express

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Publication dates

Moors Express will be published every 4 weeks from now on so the dates for the rest of 2015 are:
14th August, 10th September, 8th October, 5th November and 3rd December

The final date for inclusion of items will be 3 days in advance of these dates. Remember if you are sitting on a newsworthy story why not share it with the rest of us! Contact me on

Bernard Warr, Chair NYMR Communication Committee
12th July 2015

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Bernards' Blog - A regular digest of things happening on the North York Moors Railway