NYMR - Winner of White Rose Tourism Event of the Year 2016
29/11/161. Tourism Award
It was really good to hear from Chris Price, our General Manager, that the NYMR (with the NRM) has won the White Rose Tourist Event of the Year award 2016 for the visit of 60103 Flying Scotsman back in March.
Chris went on to say:
“The White Rose Award Judges said the event was a dynamic and unique visitor experience, leaving a legacy for years to come. The event offered old and new generations a rare opportunity to see and ride behind the world’s most famous engine, bringing this national treasure back to Britain’s tracks and back home to Yorkshire.
The joint programme was a one-off event and has left a lasting legacy, not only for the two not-for-profit organisations involved, but for heritage railway tourism across the UK. Both charities successfully re-established the importance of Flying Scotsman’s history and proud Yorkshire engineering heritage to millions worldwide”.
The award ceremony took place Monday 21st November at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate and celebrated the best of Yorkshire tourism. Welcome to Yorkshire’s White Rose Awards are the largest celebration of tourism excellence in the UK. The awards recognise and reward the very best of the industry throughout the county.
Chris concluded: “The Flying Scotsman event was a huge success due to the hard work of the National Railway Museum bringing the iconic engine back to life and for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to be the first location for visitors to ride behind the world famous locomotive”.
At the time, there was much praise for the way all departments of the Railway had come together to make the event the success it was. Everyone involved deserves massive congratulations from the rest of us – just shows what can be achieved when we put our minds to it!
2. Open Forum
The customary end of season open forum was held on Thursday 10th November in a packed Memorial Hall in Pickering.
As has become the ‘norm’ of late there was much good natured banter between attendees and it is easy to see what a great improvement in morale has come about in the last year or so.
The proceedings were opened by Chris Price with several humorous slides that dealt with his ability to draw door, err…handles (!), overcrowding in the peak season Indian Railways style and timekeeping.
He went on to report that we had had a good year financially with Income well up on budget and expenditure held to budget. There had been difficulties in handling the sheer numbers of passengers wanting to travel on some trains, particularly in the peak season and he felt that overzealous marketing of party travel had contributed to this. He is taking this on board as a lesson to be learnt by the new management team.
Diesel substituting for steam traction had been a problem until the end of July, but with three extra steam engines becoming available just as the Gold timetable was getting to its busiest period, the diesel fleet could take a well-earned rest. Indeed, this super availability of steam traction right to the end of the season meant that we did not have out customary problems with cold trains when diesel hauled.
On the less good side of things Chris is concerned about poor timekeeping which this year was worse than 2015. There needs to be a concerted effort by all concerned to overcome this.
Overcrowding has been exacerbated by poor carriage availability and some sets have been running short formed. He mentioned that much of the problem is down to slowness of bogie overhauls and faulty wheelsets. A new bogie overhaul and wheel turning facility is to be set up at Kirby Misperton (see below) to overcome this.
Looking forward to 2017 Chris announced that the timetable has been revised to be more efficient in its use of resources; Royal Scot will be visiting in March and will be handled in much the same way as the Flying Scotsman visit was with all seats pre-bookable; fares in the peak season (Gold timetable) will be higher than for the rest of the year and £29 will be the basic Pickering to Whitby rover fare increasing to £31 in the peak.
Any fall in the value of sterling is likely to increase our passenger numbers.
Caron Webster, our Finance Manager followed Chris and she was able to baffle us with spreadsheets and charts. However, points to note were that the excellent surplus from Flying Scotsman was outside our budget and would therefore be used to reduce our winter overdraft. As mentioned at the beginning of this piece income is well ahead of budget but with expenditure under control the surplus will also help to reduce the winter overdraft.
Catering, except for the Pullmans and the Curry trains, had not done so well and income had not reached budget. Mulberries was now only being opened at busy times and a decision on its future is needed.
In the discussion that followed it emerged that we are hoping to base the Pullman set in Pickering from 2018 onwards and we need to do more to better utilise the teak set and make the most of its uniqueness.
The four bridges at Goathland are a concern and we need to raise a great deal of money to carry out the replacement and repairs necessary (see below).
All in all, a useful meeting which did much to inform a significant number of paid and voluntary staff of how the season had gone.
3. Santa Specials and Winter Running
Christmas is just over three weeks away and soon we will be focussing on the last major event of the year, the Santa Specials. The Elves have been working diligently to prepare the gifts for Santa to hand out in time for the first trains this weekend. This year services run between Pickering and Levisham each December weekend from 3rd December and on Tuesday and Wednesday 20th and 21st. Between Grosmont and Goathland they will run on Saturdays 3rd and 10th, the weekend of 17th and 18th and on Tuesday and Wednesday 20th and 21st December. Finally, they will run from Whitby to Glaisdale on Sundays 4th and 11th December.
The Winter Timetable will operate between Christmas and New Year December 27th to January 1st and then for the February Half-Term from 18th to 26th of that month.
4. 50th Anniversary and 6100 Royal Scot visit
2017 sees the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the NYMR Charitable Trust. To mark the beginning of a year of celebrations loco 6100, Royal Scot will be visiting the Railway and operating on the following dates: 25, 26, 28, 29, 30 March and 1 & 2 April 2017.
LMS 6100, Royal Scot, was built in 1927 by the North British Locomotive Company, and was the first in a new breed of steam locomotives, made for the LMS for their fastest passenger services from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.
In 1933, 6152 The King's Dragoon Guardsman and 6100 swapped identities permanently. 6152 had been built at Derby Works in 1930. This new Royal Scot loco gained considerable fame by this 1933 change of identity and being shipped across the Atlantic to appear at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. A long tour of Canada and the United States followed with a train of typical LMS carriages. Upon her return to the UK she spent the rest of her working days working crack expresses on the West Coast Main Line.
As originally built she had a parallel boiler but in 1952 she was considerably rebuilt, along with the rest of her class, with a type 2A tapered boiler. Withdrawal came 10 years later but her fame attracted Sir Billy Butlin to her and he bought her from BR at the end of 1962. A cosmetic restoration took place at Crewe Works after which she was sent to Butlins Holiday Camp at Skegness, arriving on the back of a Pickford's low loader on 18th July 1963 to be welcomed by the pipes and drums of the 1st Battalion, Royal Scots.
After eight years in the bracing sea air of Skegness she was offered on loan to Bressingham Steam Museum Diss, Norfolk and departed the holiday camp on 16th March 1971. She was overhauled and returned to working order the following year but in 1978 became a static exhibit again after needing extensive repairs. Finally sold outright to Bressingham in May 1989. In 2009 she was acquired by the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust.
After a lengthy major overhaul, Royal Scot returned to steam in September 2015. She made her successful main line debut on December 22nd and 23rd with test runs from Crewe to Carnforth and return. She hauled her first main line passenger train for over fifty years on February 6th 2016 from Crewe to Holyhead and will travel through the North York Moors National Park from Saturday 25th March 2017.
5. Fundraising Item 1 – Pickering Carriage Shed
More information about the proposals for the Pickering Carriage Sheds is becoming clear as we get closer to submitting a funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The storage shed will be open-ended to allow good air circulation around the vehicles. There will be four covered roads of which one will accommodate eight coaches and the remainder will accommodate seven. One road will have a full-length inspection pit and there will be a connection from each end to the existing ‘long siding’. It is proposed to have provision for NYMR C&W maintenance and the LNERCA.
The existing up and down main line and the down-side long siding will be slewed to the up-side to accommodate the building. The site is not quite level and to make the shed level it will be necessary to lift the track at the south end, by Trout Farm Crossing, by about 400mm (1’4”).
6. Fundraising Item 2 – Goathland Bridges
We will be hearing a great deal more about this subject in the coming months. This is because unless we can raise sufficient funds the Railway will have to close because the bridges will no longer be fit for purpose. Dramatic though this sounds it is a situation that we all have to come to terms with.
Bridges 24 and 25 are bridges under the Railway built from second hand materials by the NER in 1906. Corrosion of the parts that we can’t easily see is, in places, significant. These two bridges are not beyond repair but need about £500,000 each spending on them to extend their lives for a reasonable term.
Bridge 27 is the next bridge under the railway moving towards Goathland. It is an early steel bridge constructed in 1908 and comprises three spans under the up and down main lines and the down siding. Corrosion of the steelwork is severe with holes in the main girder webs in places. Reconstruction is considered to be the only viable solution and is estimated to cost about £1,500,000. Design and construction of the bridge components is likely to take over a year and our engineers are warning that the existing bridge may become incapable of carrying heavy locomotives in 2020 – we don’t seem to have much time!
The final bridge is 27A which is under the Access Road to Goathland Station. It was partially rebuilt in 1935 and is subject to a 3.5 tonne weight restriction. To maintain its ability to carry even this miniscule loading significant money needs to be spent.
Summarising the cost of all of these bridgeworks we need to raise around £2,800,000.
7. Fundraising Item 3 – Volunteer Accommodation
It has been recognised for some time that overnight accommodation for volunteer members of staff leaves much to be desired. As part of the new master-plan for the Grosmont MPD it is proposed to erect a two-story building to provide accommodation, welfare and messing facilities. The plan is at an early stage yet but the cost of the proposal is likely to be included in our bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
8. Fundraising Item 4 – HLF Bid
Putting all the above items together and adding in a bit more for ‘Fuss-Free’ Access carriages and educational needs gives a total funding requirement of over £8m. To have any chance of success with the bid we are advised not to bid for more than half of this sum. So, where will the rest come from? Those in the know tap their noses wisely and say “leave it to us”. When pressed, there is talk of the Local Enterprise Partnership, the Coastal Communities Fund, The Waste Management Environmental Trust, the National Parks Authority and, of course, us, the ordinary member. It is estimated that we need to raise a minimum of £400,000 over the next four years.
Quite how this is to be achieved has yet to be decided. The Trust Board, when it meets tomorrow 2nd December, will be asked to consider changing the membership fees and revitalising the NYMR Foundation. With over 10,000 Trust members the sum needed is about £10 per member per year. Unfortunately, this is a bit of an over simplification as many members are life members and wouldn’t expect to pay anything further. Similarly, over 3,000 are half of a joint membership so the task gets more difficult. Some would say that expecting to raise this sort of money from existing members is a big ask, who are after all contributing already. We will have to see what the Trust Board decides but in the meantime, we should all think seriously about using easyfundraising.org.uk which costs nothing and doesn’t have to be confined to members of the Trust. If enough people use the site it has the potential to raise at least £100,000 per year at no cost to the individual or the Trust.
9. How does easyfundraising.org.uk work?
The easyfundraising.org.uk site acts as a ‘portal’ that leads to the retailers’ website that you were planning to use anyway. The difference is that using this route the retailer will make a donation to your nominated charity (the NYMR) of between half a percent and two percent of what you have spent. So, for instance if I spend £50 on an online shop with Sainsburys the NYMR will receive 50p to £1 depending on other offers that the retailer has. If I make an online purchase (including ‘click and collect’) at Currys PC World for say a washing machine (costing more than £250) a donation of £2.50 will be forthcoming. Since last August I have raised £7.82. Pretty insignificant you might think but if you expand that to 5000 people that same activity would have resulted in donations totalling £39,100 in the same 4-month period and £117,300 in a full year! It’s free money, what is there to not like about it?
As an organisation, we need to actively promote this site to Trust members and the public alike. When buying anything on the internet if we all use this site then the results could be truly amazing. I have yet to come across an online retailer that does not take part in the scheme. So, what is the sequence? There are four easy steps as follows:
a) Log on and register with the easyfundraising.org.uk site
b) Select NYMR as your nominated charity
c) Select the retailer you want to use and do your shopping.
d) After registration, you can log on to the easyfundraising.org.uk site at any time, select your retailer and shop.
10. Winter relaying
The first part of the winter relaying programme has been completed this week on the section north of Levisham to Yorfalls Wood. Nigel Trotters’ weekly newsletter published on the main website has full details.
11. P’way news October 2016 from Nick Carter
Locomotive number 7822 was loaded to road transport in the yard, on Tuesday 7th October, with the tender being despatched the day after. On the same day, an early morning engineers train was run to Bridge 14, to offload new flat bottom rails, part of the advance work for this November’s relaying between that point and just north of Yorfalls Crossing at Platelayers Cottages. Unfortunately problems arose with one of the Stumec rail cranes on the BORAIL wagon, which ultimately resulted in the wire rope becoming detached from the winding drum. The train was therefore obliged to return to the yard, still with seven rails on board. Just for good measure, the towing 08 shunter then decided to spring an oil leak.
On Thursday 9th, problems with ‘out of gauge’ vegetation, on the brick retaining wall at New Bridge crossing cottages, was solved by the paid staff gang spending an afternoon cutting back, pruning and the clearance of ivy. Bryan, Nick & Richard K took advantage of the pleasant weather conditions and went for a track side stroll south of New Bridge level crossing, to mark up and string (alignment measure) the formation, up to the second foot crossing. This is part of the design preparation for the planned relay at this point, due to be undertaken sometime during the winter.
On Saturday 10th a full day intensive computer simulation training course for Plasser tamper ALC computer operators, was held in the training room at Pickering Station. Devised and led by John Liddell, this involved volunteers Bryan Blundell, Gerry Carter, Nick Carter, Richard Cooke and Duncan Moore plus Peter Smeaton from the paid staff. This event certainly helped to cement knowledge gained in earlier operational trials with this system on tamper 73250 both on the recent track renewal at Kingthorpe and further afield.
During the third week, a load of 23 new flat bottom (FB) rails arrived and was loaded straight to the BORAIL wagon.
Due to the P.W. department’s ongoing vacancy for a plant fitter, arrangements have been made for the Grosmont plant maintenance team to visit on a periodic basis. The first event was on Thursday 13th when the rail cranes on the BORAIL wagon received attention and the fork lift truck & site dumper received a service. For good measure, the diesel fitters from the MPD turned up as well, repairing the aforementioned oil radiator leak on our resident 08 diesel shunting locomotive.
During the fourth week, the final road delivery of 23 new FB rails arrived on the Monday and locomotive 2807 departed on the Thursday. Other work included the drilling of a quantity of new hardwood sleepers to take cast flat bottom baseplates, which are earmarked for the two bridges (14/5) which are involved in next month’s track renewal programme, mentioned earlier in the report.
During the final week, the drilling of new timbers continued. J72 locomotive 69023 arrived to be unloaded and more second hand G44 concrete sleepers arrived. Many of these were promptly refurbished with new pads and loaded onto a WELTROL wagon, in preparation for transfer to the relay site.
Finally, October 31st witnessed the end of the running season and thus heralded the start of the availability of daytime engineer’s possessions, so the opportunity was taken to run the Plasser crane to Kingthorpe to recover further redundant sleepers from last winter's relay at this location. After the day’s work, only around thirty sleepers remained on site .
Lineside Fencing Team Report
This month, work has concentrated on rebuilding the section of fence next to Bridge 28 at Darnholm, using mostly recycled materials. The fence sits atop an attractive section of stone wall by the Eller Beck.
A start has also been made on renewing the road side fence adjacent to Moorgates Bridge (RPS)
Vegetation Management Team Report
Mike Stokes has been making pleasing progress with dry stone walling at Moorgates. Vegetation has been cut back between Newtondale halt and Needle Point and attention has been given to the retaining wall north of Beck Hole Bridge, by Brian Williams.
Joe Stacey has made further progress with the dry-stone walling at the south end of Beck Hole straight.
Alistair Pepper has cleared vegetation adjacent to the new shop at Goathland and near to MP 23, the latter in preparation for dry stone walling repairs.
Stuart Scrivener and Richard Alcock have been cutting back vegetation at Beck Hole and MP 20.25 (IW)
12. Bogie overhauls
In the last ME there was news of a development in the bogie overhaul situation. It can now be revealed that the Trust is taking a lease on part of the former Slaters Transport premises at Kirby Misperton to establish the bogie overhaul facility. It is hoped to have this ‘up and running’ by April 2017.
13. Locomotive Availability
44806 – New tender to be completed and normal winter maintenance carried out. Available for new season.
61264 – Normal winter maintenance taking place available for new season.
80136 – Normal winter maintenance taking place available for new season.
76069 – Normal winter maintenance taking place available for new season.
62005 – Normal winter maintenance. Expected to go to Fort William again for the summer but this is not certain yet. Available to NYMR in the meantime.
63395 – Boiler ticket expires in January 2017 will be used on the Santa Specials
76084 – Normal winter maintenance taking place. Likely to remain with us until end of March 2017 and has three mainline outings booked in February.
Steam engines under overhaul with their likely completion dates:
30825 – Boiler work being undertaken at private site in Scarborough. Chassis being overhauled in Deviation shed. Estimated completion to be mid 2018
30926 – Work continues on the firebox and new boiler tubes are expected shortly. Most chassis overhaul work completed. Estimated to be available for traffic in April 2017.
34101 – Boiler at South Devon Engineering for new firebox. Expected back at NYMR in April 2017. Estimated to be completed in early 2018.
45428 – Boiler now dismantled and assessment of work required undertaken. Estimated to be completed by late 2017.
60007 – Boiler now at Llangollen Railway for overhaul. Remaining work continues at NRM. Expected completion date July 2018
80135 – Awaiting results of arbitration, completion date unknown.
Steam Engines in store pending remedial work:
Moors Express is published every 4 weeks and the dates for the next four issues are:
5th January, 2nd February, 2nd and 30th March 2017.
The final date for inclusion of items is 4 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@nymr.co.uk
Bernard Warr, 28th November 2016.
As this is the last Issue of Moors Express in 2016:
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers!
Bernards' Blog - A regular digest of things happening on the North York Moors Railway