Jan 28 2015
Since the Group’s AGM in September 2014, acting Chairman Mike Gorringe has been extremely busy juggling various projects to a satisfactory conclusion.
A letter sent to shareholders and members last year produced no response regarding the possible sale of our Prairie 4110 to facilitate providing funds to carry on the Group’s work, especially the restoration to service of Pannier 9682. The acting Chairman took this as confirmation that we should indeed sell this very useful locomotive to the highest bidder and it was agreed in discussion by principal members.
Currently we have three interested parties, two having produced an offer to buy. We await more responses before the Group finalises its decision, but urgency prevails as the boiler of 9682 is being moved on 3rd February 2015.
The boiler, which has lain in our yard since the retube and restoration was stopped, is now to be transported to the Flour Mill in Bream, Gloucestershire where specialist engineers will conduct non-destructive testing. The NDT report will enable GWRPG principal members to authorise the remedial work and retubing which now need to be completed. From then on we can assess further work required to the locomotive’s rolling chassis, such as wheel profiling – they are close to the required working limits.
We now expect this locomotive will be ready for steaming and hire by the end of the year.
RSH ‘Birkenhead’ will be at the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway up to and including the Easter weekend, and from then on we have three potential venues who wish to hire it – all are located in the North of England.
The Group is still trying to get Peckett ‘William Murdoch’ fitted with vacuum brakes, but we are waiting for the owners’ agreement. This locomotive is an excellent potential hire.
Site manager, Richard Heasman is keeping everything under control with his stalwart team working on site. Over the past months and into this year we have provided access to various filming companies, as well as local theatrical groups carrying out their period set pieces.
Our new ‘locomotive shed’ is progressing well – albeit in an open timber frame construction ready to be timber clad. It has been built as a temporary structure for moving at any time, and its design has been approved by our landlords and Network Rail.
For the future, the GWR Preservation Group Limited has three, maybe four, locomotives available for hire, all of which can provide us with good steaming fees and the revenue required to keep the Group running. Interest has been shown in our other stock, and conversations are in hand for possible hire or sale, while they are in reasonable and restorable condition.
Mike Gorringe is still in contact with past Chairman Bob Gorringe and is keeping him informed of all the Group’s actions on a regular basis.