Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Cotswolds Tourism Awards 2014

As a fitting conclusion to our most successful year ever, I have received confirmation that we have won the silver prize in the 2014 Cotswolds Tourism Awards - in the Tourism experience of the year category. A press release will be issued by Cotswolds.com (and ourselves) and the results will be announced in the January edition of Cotswolds Life Colin Fewell

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. Thank you to all of our members, volunteers, shareholders, employees and other supporters who have contributed to this year's success. Let's hope for an even better year in 2014.

Don't forget that we are running trains from Boxing Day through to New Year's day. Why not pay us a visit.

Richard Drewitt.

Santa specials

Just a quick note to thank everyone who in any way helped with this year's Santa Specials. A record number of visitors and great feed back - our final numbers were about 10% up on last year's record year. Colin Fewell

Monday, 23 December 2013

Bridges to Broadway share Issue - just £240,000 left to raise

With Christmas fast approaching, as expected, applications have slowed though we are still receiving a healthy stack of envelopes daily. Each application helps the railway move closer to letting the contract for the Bridges - moving us one step closer to Broadway. As promised all applications received by the 18th December were processed and Share Certificates were posted, first class, on the Wednesday evening. As we move towards the start of 2014 we will need to continue making people aware of our wonderful railway and this Share Issue if we are to raise the £240,000 needed to reach our £500,000 target. If you are considering the offer and have any questions or would like to receive the offer document please contact Maxine Hawkins on 01242 621905 or development@gwsr.com

December Boardroom News

I promised to post updates after each Board meeting and apologise for this one being later than intended. At our Board meetings we often approve an action but cannot report it until after it has been implemented. First some changes at Board level - Richard Drewitt has taken on the role of Resources Planning Director - this is a new role in response to our need to produce more detailed plans for our development so as to take account of our rapidly moving expansion to Broadway and our further aspirations. When we reach Broadway we will need three train sets to maintain a reasonable schedule - this means more locos, more coaches and, most importantly the volunteers and resources to support them. This year has been a great year - I am told that it is our best ever! I congratulate everyone on their contributions in making this possible. We can now look with confidence to our future and Richard has been tasked with producing a detailed 5-year plan so that all aspects of the railway can be assessed and proposals put forward to ensure our readiness for the future. Also we have been aware for some time that there is confusion caused by the titles of our two engineering directors, Darren Fairley and Andrew Goodman. To better describe their roles, they titles have been changed respectively to Civil Engineering Director and Permanent Way Director. Their respective activities continue unchanged. Secondly we have looked at the ever growing role of the Administration Dept. We need to be able to cope with a vast range of queries relating to not only our regular activities but all our special events and the many secondary activities we now provide. Richard Warner and his team have fielded an ever expanding range of enquiries reflecting the importance of the Admin team. We felt that the time has come to give more support to Admin and also relieve some of the load on Richard who now spends so much time looking after the on-line systems that have been developed over the last few years and now handle a lot of our event and advance bookings. To this end we have appointed Maxine Barton-Hawkins as Office Manager to handle the on-site Admin activities, leaving Richard to look after the on-line business as well as his Share Registrar role. A transition period of the month of January 2014 has been set for the hand-over. Richard fully supports this action and has emailed all the Admin team notifying them of this change. I will be making further updates to the Boardroom blog as they come to fruition so keep watching this blog! In the meantime I am helping the Santa Specials team and am about to set off for Cheltenham to be an on-train helper - looking out of the window at the rain I just wish that it had held off for a couple more days! So far this year's Santa has proved to be a great success and will round off a very good year. I wish everyone a Happy Christmas and look forward to another great year with our railway even better prepared for our future enjoyment. Alan Bielby

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Planning ahead...

The Board have now agreed my new role and I thought that I would let you know what you can expect in the coming months. With recognition of my planning skills and my experience with the company as the longest serving member of the current Board, I have been asked to take on the portfolio of Resource Planning.

In brief, the role involves working with all departments across the railway to determine what actions are required to extend and develop the railway and then document these in the form of detailed development plans. This process will be undertaken in close consultation with all department heads and with many other members of staff. Therefore, your departments can expect visits from me in the coming weeks and months. Before then, I will be in touch with department heads to start gathering information on what planning is already in place and to capture current thinking on development that will support the growth and extension of the railway.

The planning process is very complex and will therefore be both challenging and time consuming. Given that work on the Broadway extension has already commenced, the timescale for analysis and detailed planning to ensure the support of the existing railway whilst at the same time rising to the challenge of opening the extension is rather short. We must ensure that we are ready to deliver a sustainable operation over the extended railway when Broadway opens.

Based on the above, I would like to invite any existing volunteers who have an interest in detailed planning to come forward to join a small planning group. The purpose of creating a group is to make this process inclusive for those who are interested in helping to map-out the strategic development of the company. The strategic objectives will not be determined by this group, those will be set by the Board. The planning group will determine what must be done in order to achieve those objectives and inform the Board accordingly. This information will enable realistic timescales to be set, taking into account the need for additional volunteers, training, investment in infrastructure and other resources. It will involve capturing existing information, validating it through close working with the relevant departments, documenting, identifying dependencies and identifying the critical path with an assessment of the risks to delivering the plan.

If you are interested in supporting the planning process, either at your departmental level or in a wider role, please get in touch. The only prerequisites are that you must be computer literate with strong experience of e-mail and Microsoft Excel as well as having some previous planning experience.


Thank you

Richard Drewitt
Resource Planning Director

Friday, 6 December 2013

Bridges to Broadway Share Issue reaches the half way mark!

I am very pleased to tell you that the Bridges to Broadway share issue has reached just over £250,000 a remarkable achievement in a little over 2 months.  

If you are think about investing and have yet to complete your form now might be the time to put pen to application, an early Christmas present to yourself perhaps  - it would be great to reach 300,000 before the end of the year.

Posters will be appearing on the Santa Trains and in local newspapers spreading the message that this is a great Christmas present of that special person who has everything.

If you are considering the offer and have any questions or would like to receive the offer document please contact Maxine Hawkins on 01242 621905 or development@gwsr.com

Sunday, 1 December 2013

I wish I'd had my camera!

A good first day of Santa Specials with a large number of families enjoying a November visit to Santa. My highlight of the day was when Santa walked up the platform to wave to the children. He had just gone past the final carriage with anyone in it, when his trousers fell down. Total embarrassment and laughter all round. Thank goodness no children saw him and that it was after the Gloucestershire Echo photographer had left!
Colin Fewell