Jun 08 2014
Since the resignation due to ill-health of past chairman Bob Gorringe after nearly forty years leading the GWR Preservation Group, his nephew Mike Gorringe has taken over the reins of the Group to carry on his uncle’s work.
After recent lease negotiations it has been agreed that Southall will continue as the Group’s base for the foreseeable future – renting directly from West Coast Railways.
The last twelve months have proved eventful but the Group’s stalwart members have carried on with many tasks on their locomotives, working towards full restoration of GWR Pannier Tank 9682 and other stock.
RSH ‘Birkenhead’ was hired out last year to Plym Valley Railway, and for the full 2014 season is resident at the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway.
As custodians of Portsmouth City Council’s Peckett ‘William Murdoch’, the Group has now received clearance to hire this locomotive out for future use, although it is not fitted with vacuum brakes.
The sale of GWR Heavy Goods locomotive 2885 has injected revenue into the Group, benefiting many current projects. It was moved to Tyseley Locomotive Works in early 2013 and now stands close to the Group’s flagship GWR Prairie 4110, which awaits much-needed cash to continue its restoration.
The Group’s website www.gwrpg.co.uk – regularly updated – has attracted interest from various film companies which see the Southall site meeting their clients’ requirements. Recent filming in April proved very successful. The GWRPG has a lot to offer as the only heritage centre close to London and with its interesting stock of locomotives, carriages and wagons.
All in all, director and now acting Chairman Mike Gorringe and the other principal members expect the next few years to see much progress. They also hope that bringing forward the Group’s AGM to September will encourage further member participation in all its projects. In addition Mike is looking for any like-minded steam railway enthusiasts with individual occupations that would be helpful to the group to contact him via the website contact page.