Sunday, 20 October 2013


Many will already have heard of the resignation of our Chairman and Finance Director Malcolm Temple. He has worked extremely hard during his time as chairman and has seen the railway through two extremely challenging years of landslip problems, has greatly contributed to the raising of the one million pounds needed to restore it to a working railway and now has enjoyed a most successful year of full operation .His contribution is greatly appreciated by the volunteers and the Board.

At the Board meeting last Friday, we were faced with appointing both a Chairman and a Finance Director and it was unanimous that Chris Bristow be appointed Finance Director and I as Chairman. The Board will continue unchanged on its objectives of building on the successes of the railway this year to ensure an even better year for 2014. We also look forward to an early return to service of one of our mainstay locos, Foremarke Hall, from its 10 year overhaul as well as the imminent introduction of P&O to operating condition.

I am also happy to report that the following items were approved at the meeting:
- Flag & Whistle Franchise - A franchisee has been selected and an agreement will be finalised
- Elegant Excursions - The terms of a new contract have been approved and the new contract is now being finalised

In addition we will be welcoming Richard Summers to the Board as the second Cross-Board Director from the GWRT and, we also now have a new Volunteer Director, Chris Sparkes, to ensure that we identify our needs for new volunteers and ensure that all existing volunteers have good means of communication. Chris will work closely with the GWRT Volunteer Director in these areas.

Alan Bielby


  1. Alan

    Your first paragraph leaves a lot of unanswered questions for supporters. I'm sure Malcolm would not have resigned at such a critical point for the share issue without good reason, and whilst there has been reference to criticism in recent weeks, I think it would be helpful if supporters could understand more.

    To explain better, I am a shareholder, member of the Trust, supported the railway through both one off and regular donations during the landslip appeal, and am now a regular contributor through a pledge to the development foundation. So I feel I want to understand the position better. Yes, there is a meeting for volunteers in a couple of weeks, but due to distance and employment, I am not a volunteer, so am not eligible to attend. Nor would I necessarily want to make the journey, when there are more effective ways of explaining to supporters what on earth is going on.

    So I feel completely disenfranchised, which can have only one result in terms of my ongoing support. Certainly in terms of the share issue my cheque book is well and truly closed until I understand what has been going on, and the impact it is likely to have on the railway. From a distance, the leadership had steered the railway through potential closure, it is having its most successful year yet, and yet the Chairman resigns. I don't want to support a railway where the management can apparently be overthrown. And over what?

  2. congrates on your appointments ,but please buy some shares in our railway

  3. Thank you Alan , for the information. But, who is Chris Sparkes? I have not heard of him. What is his profile. Regards Paul Wood C&W.

    1. Chris Sparks MBE has been a volunteer on our Railway for ten years initially in the role of a Travelling Ticket Inspector. After two years he qualified as a Guard and in 2009 he became a Guards' Inspector. This year he was appointed the Deputy Senior Guard. Chris served in the RAF for 36 years followed by a further 10 years with the RAF Benevolent Fund. His entire working life has been spent looking after the administration, management and well being of personnel.