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Held at Neuadd Pendre Social Centre, Brook Street, Tywyn, Gwynedd on September 24th, 2011

On the platform were Richard Hope, OBE, President TRPS; Lis Mann, Chairman, TRPS; Gareth Jones, Chairman, TR Co; John Robinson, Hon. Secretary, TRPS and Secretary, TR Co, Garry Mumford, Hon. Treasurer, TRPS and Accountant, TR Co and Philip Sayers as Minute-taker. There were some 170 members present.

Richard Hope opened the meeting at 3.30 pm.

1. Apologies

Apologies had been received from some seven members.

Richard Hope then asked the meeting to stand in silence in memory of members who had died over the past year, including Vice-Presidents Don Southgate and Maurice Wilson, and David Curwen. He then drew members’ attention to the white collection envelopes on the chairs.

2. Minutes of the 60th AGM

The Minutes of the 60th AGM of the Society, held at Tywyn on September 25th, 2010, having been circulated to members of the Society at that date, were proposed by Richard Hope to be taken as read. The minutes were agreed without dissent and Richard Hope duly signed them as being a true record.

3. Matters arising from the Minutes

There were no matters raised.

4. Election of President

Lis Mann took the Chair and asked the meeting to endorse the Council’s nomination of Richard Hope, OBE as President. This was agreed without dissent.

5. Appointment of Independent Examiners

Richard Hope resumed the Chair and called for nominations for the Society’s Independent Examiners. The appointment of Silver & Co was proposed by Bob Cambridge and agreed by the meeting. Richard Hope thanked Peter Silver and his firm for their work.

6. Election of Honorary Treasurer

Garry Mumford had been nominated in accordance with the rules; this was put to the meeting by Richard Hope and agreed without dissent.

7. Election of nine members of Council

Richard Hope asked John Robinson to read out the names of the candidates. John Robinson read out the names of the ten candidates and asked them to stand.

Ballot papers were then collected. Later in the meeting Peter Silver announced the results. 186 valid papers had been returned, plus one spoilt paper, with 1332 votes being cast as follows:

Walter Crowe 153, Matt Dawson 129, Simon Jenkins 151, Jon Mann 135, Chris Price 149, David Room 73, John Simner 103, Matthew Wear 151, Roger Whitehouse 147, Noel Williams 141.

Messrs Crowe, Dawson, Jenkins, Mann, Price, Simner, Wear, Whitehouse and Williams were declared elected. Permission was given to dispose of the ballot papers in the usual way.

8. Reception, Approval and Adoption of Reports

Richard Hope called on Lis Mann to present the report of Council. Mrs Mann began by commenting how much she felt the atmosphere had improved, with everyone working together with a real sense of purpose. Tidying and painting stations made the Railway look good and in turn this made people feel good. The completion of the weigh-house and installation of the weighbridge would help build the visitor experience. There were other ideas in mind such as placing an incline wagon at Nant Gwernol. Mrs Mann went on to thank Steam Railway for running the appeal for locomotive No. 2 Dolgoch and the Seven Valley Railway and our employees and volunteers for ensuring that the locomotive was ready in time for the celebrations. She added that the carriages looked splendid and that the time and effort put in had made all the difference.

Mrs Mann continued by referring to the Tracksiders and Navvies and to the Young Members’ Group Great Wall of Pendre and commented that it was good to have young blood coming through. Because students were no longer free to spend summer holidays working on the Railway but had to earn money, and early retirement was no longer happening, it was essential to encourage people to keep working on the Railway. The economic climate was uncertain and families had only a limited amount to spend. Whilst we had more pennies available than in previous years, we needed to look after them carefully, but there was the opportunity to develop projects such as the overhauls of locomotives No. 6 Douglas and No. 3 Sir Haydn and give the carriage fleet some “TLC”. We were looking to extend the Abergynolwyn play area. There was plenty to spend money on but we had a sound financial base. The atmosphere could be very productive if we worked together.

After thanking everyone for their hard work in support of the Railway and Society, Mrs Mann called on the Chief Executive to comment on results so far during the current year. Dave Scotson reported that the current year had not been as good as he had hoped but not as bad as he had feared. Public bookings were down by 1.8% (just over 600 passengers) but, due to a small fare increase, traffic revenue was up 0.4%. The Shop had had a quiet start to the year and revenue was 1.7% down (£1,700 approx). Catering continued to do well and revenue was 3.2% or some £5,500 up. Overall there had been an increase in total revenue of 0.8% (£4,900 up) but this was nowhere near the increase in our fixed costs.

Richard Hope then called on Garry Mumford to present the financial statements. He opened by pointing out the 2010 surplus for the Railway Company of £6,699 was not as strong as in 2009 but was still positive. There had been a very small loss on combined net income of £79 but we were still in a good state financially. Shop and Catering results were a tremendous credit to them but the Railway Company results had suffered from rising costs. However, there was a very significant accumulation of funds in Talyllyn Holdings Ltd and the Society which had been very difficult to achieve previously. This would both provide a cushion against financial knocks and allow us to address maintenance issues such as Wharf to Pendre relaying and rebuilding the body of carriage No. 21.

This year there had been an increase in costs but little increase in income. This was very disappointing but not a disaster. He expected the Railway to make a small loss this year. Economic difficulties were having their effect. We needed to see an increase in income as our costs grew.

Richard Hope proposed the approval of the Report of the Council and the Financial Statements of the Society for the year ended 31st. January, 2011; this was agreed without dissent.

9. Society Diamond Jubilee Events and Forthcoming Projects

Lis Mann introduced a presentation recording Diamond Jubilee and Awdry Centenary events including the visit to the Seven Valley Railway in October 2010, the activities on the 13th, 14th & 15th May weekend, the all-night steam and the Awdry Centenary events on 15th & 18th June.

Lawrence Garvey gave a presentation about the shed at Quarry Siding on which a contractor had just started work. John Robinson read out a question from Bob Honeychurch, a member since 1951–52 whose health prevented his attendance, querying the decision not to provide mains electricity. Mr Garvey pointed out this would cost in the order of £10,000 and that there was no requirement for it at this stage. It was suggested in the meeting that a small amount of power could be provided by photovoltaic cells trickle-charging a battery or by a generator. Chris Price pointed out that the shed had almost certainly been made possible by the legacy from the late Phil Guest’s estate. Mr Garvey replied that there would probably be a plaque on the shed. A further query concerned security. Mr Garvey pointed out that it would be a steel framed and clad building with the main doors only openable from the inside, although there would be a personnel access door. Levels would be dropped considerably and the building should not be that visible from the roadside.

Keith Theobald gave a presentation on the Wharf to Pendre relaying and drainage work which would take place during the winter. In answer to questions Mr Theobald said some of the digging could be done mechanically but part would need to be done by hand; investigation was required into where the drainage water went after it arrived at Wharf; the section had previously been relayed in 1978–79; much of the problem in the cutting was caused by weeds and leaves, and that thinning of trees and other vegetation was planned. Chris Parrott added that the problem was not the volume of water but that it was stagnant. Mr Theobald concluded by appealing for volunteers to help with the work.

Simon Jenkins introduced the Diamond Jubilee Appeal. There had been a long discussion in the September Council meeting about how the donations should be spent. Mr Jenkins pointed out that the Tisdale coaches were 40 years old or more and needed serious work done on them, and that locomotive No. 3 was due its ten-yearly boiler examination in May 2012, also with the possibility of serious work being required. The collection was then taken.

10. Miscellaneous Announcements

Justin Adams announced the result of the Traffic & Operating Committee election. 149 valid papers had been returned. For the Traffic Department votes had been cast as follows: Walter Crowe 125, Philip Eaton 119, Keith Hayes 58, Chris Palmer 53, John Simner 80 and Marc Smith 79. He therefore declared Walter Crowe, Philip Eaton, John Simner and Marc Smith elected. For the Locomotive Department votes had been cast as follows: Martin Fuller 100, Bill Heynes 112, Andy Robinson 99, Neil Scott 58 and Karen Willans 109. He therefore declared Martin Fuller, Bill Heynes, Andy Robinson and Karen Willans elected.

Permission was granted for the ballot papers to be destroyed in the usual way.

Philip Sayers announced there had been five nominations for five places on the Young Members’ Group Committee and thus no ballot had been required. He therefore declared Roger Brent, Christina Ellwood, Josh Green, Davey Hampton and Andrew Simner elected.

Sue Whitehouse appealed for assistance at the Warley Model Railway Exhibition on 19th & 20th November.

John Smallwood appealed for traffic volunteers to help with photographic charters on 6th to 9th October.

John Smallwood, Chris Price and David Mitchell made announcements about the evening’s entertainment including the auction of a signed set of Awdry books.

Tony Randall announced the Steampipes film and organ evening in London on 5th January, 2012 and the London Area Group dinner on 5th December, 2011.

Don Newing announced the East Midlands Group meeting on 19th October.

Nigel Adams advertised the three books published by Silverlink Publishing to mark the TRPS 60th anniversary and especially the latest to be published, on 60 years of Talyllyn Volunteering.

Noel Williams announced that the Talyllyn Tote had paid £1,551.50 in prize money during the last year with an equal amount going to the Society. The platform party drew the winning numbers for October.

12. Any Other Competent Business

Sue Whitehouse asked whether there was anyone present who had attended the first AGM in 1951. John Bate had.

Dale Coton asked aboutthe visit on locomotive No. 2 to Llangollen in April 2012. Gareth Jones replied that the current position was that the engine would not be going. The 6880 Betton Grange (Society) Ltd, who were organising the gala, had made an informal approach. Council initially thought this might be a good idea, subject to a written agreement being concluded and the practicalities being acceptable (150 yards of track would need to be laid), but nothing had been put in writing. Unfortunately the Betton Grange group had gone ahead and publicised the visit. Still no written proposal had been received by the time of the September Council meeting although an informal suggestion was that Llangollen would bear the cost of moving the locomotive. However the Board had raised as a serious concern that we could not afford the employee and volunteer effort which would be required, especially in view of the Wharf cutting relaying and Quarry Siding shed construction and the subsequent need to catch up on other work. The security of the locomotive in Carrog car park and its possible non-availability because of work on it required after the Christmas service were other concerns. There had been a meeting that morning with the Betton Grange group at which our issues and concerns had been emphasised. If the Betton Grange group were able to come up with a solution, Council could reconsider its decision but very good reasons would be needed for doing so.

A speaker expressed concern that if No. 2 did not go, another railway’s narrow-gauge engine such as Lyd might go instead. Could we send No. 7 Tom RoltMike Davies congratulated Council on its decision. He took the view that we needed to target the general public rather than the enthusiast market.

Richard Evans suggested that, when we had finished spending on locomotives and coaches, staff at Pendre needed more help. Garry Mumford explained the commitment involved in taking on permanent staff and said we were not yet fit enough to do so. However, the Board were very conscious of the position at Pendre and there were opportunities for providing short-term help over the winter months. Chris Price pointed out that Holdings’ money could not be used directly to employ staff but that money from the Society could be used much more flexibly.

Chris Price proposed that the AGM agree that the Quarry Siding shed be named The Guest House. Although it was pointed out this could be misunderstood, Mike Davies thought it would help to encourage further legacies and seconded the proposal. Dale Coton mentioned the need for the plaque to explain the reason behind the name. The proposal was agreed by the meeting to applause.

There being no other business Richard Hope declared the meeting closed at 1720.