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Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
held on 18th November 2005

Information for BRPS Members - Not for publication

The Committee met from 7:00pm to 10:45pm.

Northern Extension: Graham Flight and Chris White addressed the Society Committee and updated it on key issues affecting the completion of the extension and the share issue. Key issues were

Volunteer Sleeping accommodation: Apart from some minor titivation of the Green Sleeping Car, no further progress had been made. A new door was still awaited as was the new entrance from the classroom.

Members Forum: Disappointment was expressed that once again, the meeting was dominated by a small vocal group, seemingly navigating around a core issue of concern without actually mentioning it. Several members left the meeting early as they were bored with the discussion and unable to contribute.

Membership Matters: Membership numbers currently stand at 9516

Finance: Society subscription/donation income to the end of October stood at £105,114, virtually the same as in 2004.

Direct Debits: The Committee were pleased to note that the company had agreed in principle to act as guarantor for Society subscriptions collected through the Direct debit scheme. This paved the way for the Society to introduce Direct Debits as a method of payment. A small working party would finalise the arrangements and safeguards.

Woodpax: Draft plans were circulated showing the redesigned building and the changes to the buildings on Platform 2, including new toilets, and extension of the canopy. A meeting was due to be held with the HLF in December to discuss progress.

Otye Bridge: The Committee confirmed its agreement to the infilling of this redundant occupation bridge which was in need of substantial repair.

Standard 4 Tank No 80100: The Committee confirmed that this engine, as the only one of its type owned by the railway, was not available for sale.

Pullman Car 'Doris' The Committee approved a proposal for this Pullman Car (currently at Finsbury Park) to come to railway and noted that its acquisition would be funded privately. It was intended that this vehicle would replace 'Eagle' in due course.

Living Landmarks: The Committee noted a proposal to seek funding under the Living Landmarks Scheme (A Big Lottery Fund project) for a new integrated station at East Grinstead. This project would include completion of Sustrans' St Margaret's Loop Green Route; a community café, a new bus station, a tourist information centre, new public toilets, a permanent exhibition on the railways around East Grinstead and various other community improvements. The minimum grant under this scheme was £10m. The Committee was anxious that this did not cut across anything the company was doing to secure funding for the extension but felt that it was worthy of further investigation.
Post meeting note: A meeting the following day chaired by a Director was forced to conclude that there was little prospect of this project going forward, given the very tight timescale for the application (6 January 2006) and the need to involve others in the project. In addition, the company's view was that it did not see why Bluebell should take the lead on this project as it only wanted a platform at the station. Company Directors were already heavily committed and in their view, the Society could not lead this project on its own as it had 'no standing'.

Next Meeting: The next Committee meeting will be held in January.

Gavin Bennett
General Secretary

With apologies for the delay in posting this report. It was only when preparing the January summary that Gavin realised he had not done this version of the November meeting


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