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Summary of the Committee Meeting held on 1st February 2013

Internal Communication - not for publication

The Committee met from 7:30pm until 10:25pm, the meeting having been deferred from 18th January due to weather conditions. Jan Kozminski (Trust Representative), Mike Gibbard and Clive Soper (Volunteering Recruitment Team) were also present as was Chris White for the first part of the meeting. Apologies were received from David Foale, Chris Hunford and John Walls.

Haywards Heath: The Committee was briefed on the recent planning decision by MSDC to permit the development of the Haywards Heath car park and bus station site to construct a new multi-storey car park and Waitrose. Whilst there would be space for us to have a platform, there would be no run-round loop. Furthermore, the drive to provide capacity enhancements on the Brighton mainline meant that there would be no room for a segregated track between Copyhold Junction and Haywards Heath as it was planned to maximise the use of that four track section. The alternative of running over Network Rail infrastructure might require us to become a Train Operating Company in our own right and it was highly likely there would be restrictions on the frequency as well as on the type of motive power and rolling stock that could be used in these circumstances.

Northern Extension: The Committee was updated on the latest position and that the line would open as planned on 23rd March, with a three week midweek closure of the line in the last three weeks of April to allow for finishing off.

Through railtour: With the opening of the extension, the incoming train would run direct to Sheffield Park before returning immediately to Horsted Keynes where it would layover. The two Class 73s would run a special train on the railway from Horsted Keynes.

Treasurer's Report: Subscription/donation income during the last two months of 2012 was £7,755 (£8K in 2011), giving a total for the year of £133k (£134k in 2011). Land purchase donations for the same period were £1,218, giving a total for the year of £7,446. New deferred share scheme commitments in 2012 amounted to £9,150 and the total transferred to the plc during 2012 was £17.5k. All in all, a total of £181k was transferred to the plc during the year.

Subscription/donation income for January 2013 was £46k (£36k in 2012). Land purchase donations were an additional £600 and £1300 transferred to the plc under the deferred share scheme. The final Operation Undercover loans were repaid in the month. .

Membership Report: Total membership stood at 10,574.

Finance / Christmas 2012:  In the absence of David Foale there was no finance report but a report was made on the Santa season which had produced excellent results and was our second best Christmas, carrying more people than in 2011. Thanks were recorded to all the staff that had helped out, particularly at Horsted Keynes, where the working days had been long and tiring. Special thanks were recorded to members of the 9F Club for their efforts on the Santa trains. Catering had been very busy over Christmas, boosted by the mid-week lunches on Santa for Schools days, and the Pullman had also done very well.

Long Term Plan: Forty-five members had commented on the draft, mainly in support. The re-draft circulated to the Committee contained only minor changes to that circulated to the members in October. Subject to the production of a summary of the comments received, the meeting agreed it could go forward to the AGM as amended.

Funding Report: £980k had been raised or promised in 2012. The Big Give challenge had raised just over £49k, despite problems with their website and thanks were recorded to the Battle of Britain Loco Group who contributed or promised nearly £31k. A new apprentice in the Loco works had been part funded and Roger Kelly was hoping to raise the remainder from other sources. NEP funding so far was £3,500 with £10k promised from the Track Trek. A funding strategy had been agreed with the Friends of Sheffield Park for the canopy extension and £8.5k had been received so far with a further £12.5k promised. £15k had been donated to the Above Workshop Facility.

Funding Strategy: A funding strategy, focussing on projects post extension was agreed. A key project was Operation Undercover Phase 4.

Long Service Awards: It was decided to discontinue the engraved plaques for 40 years service and instead provide a framed certificate as was the case for 50 year awards.

Disabled Parking: The issue of non-disabled staff parking cars in the disabled spaces when the railway was not operating was raised. We were told that it was an offence to park in designated spaces, even on private land.

Date of next Meeting: The next meeting will be a Joint Meeting with the company and Trust on 15th March 2013.

Gavin Bennett
General Secretary


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