Finance: Railway is more or less on budget though expenditure demands continue to exert pressure. Many demands for expenditure next year and Trustees were urged to exercise restraint. MBNA had improved their proposed agreement terms and a meeting with them would be held shortly. In the meantime, they are continuing to pay commission to the railway.
Extension: The two track panels north of the run-round points had been lifted and re-ballasted and relaid. A catch point has been installed so that the line north of Kingscote will become an Engineer's Siding. The Railway Inspectorate had visited the extension and were content with our work plans. The Transport & Works Act application is being prepared and Parliamentary Agents have been appointed.
Operation Undercover: The revised Articles of Association for the plc had now been lodged with Companies House and the Heritage Lottery Fund notified that the company was now a "not-for-profit" company. This clears the way for us to make an application for Lottery Funding. Trustees approved a recommendation that the main focus of the Woodpax building should be on stock and locomotive storage with a dedicated display area featuring interpretative displays using locos and coaches.
Museum: The Museum Committee had submitted proposals for a new building in the top car park. Trustees welcomed their input and agree with what they are trying to achieve but felt that development at Sheffield Park was becoming piecemeal and want to look at the 'big picture' before reaching a decision. In addition, the railway currently has a lot of 'live' projects and there was a need to ensure we did not over-stretch ourselves. In the meantime, use of the buildings on P1 & 2 at HK was suggested as a starting point.
HVJs: Whilst recognising the need for certain staff to wear HVJs as a matter of course, Trustees urged platform staff not to wear HVJs unless they had to go on the lineside.
Shop: The Board has taken the opportunity of the new shop development to take a fresh look at the scope of its retail activities and the roles undertaken by paid staff and volunteers. It is expected that any new structure will be in place before the new shop opened.
Completion of Buildings on P1/P2 at Horsted Keynes: It was agreed to authorise the completion of the platform buildings in line with the original planning consent (ie waiting room) but Trustees were conscious of the impact this would have on catering revenue and crowd flows on 'Thomas' weekends.
Acquisition of BG 6334 (ex HST Barrier coach): This would be arriving shortly to replace the GWR Monster Van which was beyond economic repair and would be disposed of. 6334 will have a quick re-paint.
Assistant Membership Secretaries: Trustees approved the appointment of Peter Rickard and Steve Obank (Congratulations and welcome aboard! ). Thanks were recorded to Adrian Hailes who had stood down.
Chairman had written to RH&DR conveying our sympathy and Loco Dept volunteers had sent cheque for £175.
The preserved B17 Flying Fortress "Sally B" will carry the name "Bluebell Railway" on its 'roll of honour' panel for a 2 year period as a result of a generous offer from a Society Member.
Bluebell Railway Gift Vouchers (£5 value) will be available shortly and will be accepted in the Booking Offices, shop, Catering (incl Pullman) and membership office.
Hon Gen Secretary
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