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Held at Neuadd Pendre Social Centre, Brook Street, Tywyn, Gwynedd on Saturday 24th September 2022 and live streamed on Microsoft Teams

On the platform were David Mitchell, retiring President of TRPS (until Item 4); Chris Price, President of TRPS (from Item 5), Jonathan Mann, Chairman TRPS, David Ventry, Chairman TR Co; Andrew Simner, Hon Secretary, TRPS and Secretary TR Co and Garry Mumford, Hon Treasurer TRPS and Accountant TR Co. There were some 95 members present and 55 devices logged on to the Microsoft Teams live-stream.

David Mitchell opened the meeting at 14:00 saying there had been some concern that the meeting might not be quorate, but the required number of 80 members, excluding Council, had just been exceeded. He introduced the platform party, noting that Tony Randall would be taking the minutes and asked those speaking from the floor to announce themselves clearly for the benefit of the minute taker. He explained that the meeting was being live streamed on Microsoft Teams and indicated an area in the hall where anybody who did not wish to appear in the live stream should sit. He added that members watching the event on-line could submit questions via the Teams Question and Answer facility, which would be read out by the Hon. Secretary.

The meeting stood in silence in memory of members who had passed away over the past year, including Peter Austin, John (Malcom) Booth. Michael Cross, Charlie Daniel, Ian Grayston, Don Newing, Bernard Twiddy, Charlie Watts, Steve Wilkinson, Noel Williams and Edmund Wilson.

Ian Drummond then explained that the collection at the meeting would be put towards the purchase mobile defibrillators (costing approximately £800 each) to be carried in the Guards van of all passenger trains with the potential to save life when put to use quickly if circumstances required – they could make a real difference for someone. Garry Mumford explained that the envelopes would be collected later in the meeting and urged members to complete the Gift Aid declarations if they were eligible to do so. Donations on-line or by post were encouraged from those watching the live streamed event.

David Mitchell summarised theagenda for the meeting.


Apologies for absence had been received from Vice President Philip Sayers, Council candidate Julian Stow and many other members.

Minutes of the 70th AGM

The Minutes of the 70th AGM of the Society, held as a Microsoft Teams live event on Saturday 25th September 2021, having been circulated to members of the Society at that date, were proposed by David Mitchell to be taken as read. The minutes were approved without dissent and David Mitchell signed them as being a true record after the meeting due to a pen malfunction on the platform.

Matters Arising

There were no Matters arising from the Minutes of the 70th Annual General Meeting.

Election of President

David Mitchell told the meeting that after eight years as President of the Society he felt it was time to step down from the role, and he asked the meeting to approve Council’s nomination Chris Price as President. This was agreed without dissent.

Chris Price took the chair and thanked Council for its nomination of him, and the meeting for the vote. In accepting the role of President he thanked David Mitchell for the wonderful job he had done for the society and the railway over very many years in a number of roles. He was disappointed that there was no election for Council this year because of a lack of nominations and urged younger members and volunteers to get involved with the governance of the railway as soon as possible.

Election of Vice-Presidents

Chris Price invited Jonathan Mann to explain the nominations for Vice Presidents. He gave a resume of Gordon Rhodes career on the railway since he first volunteered on the railway in 1957 at the age of 15, subsequently working as in the roles of Guard, Blockman and on the committee of the London and Southern Counties area group. Noel Williams had also served the railway for very many years in the Traffic department, working outdoors laying the lineside hedges and as the Talyllyn Tote Administrator. He had had accepted the nomination as Vice President, but sadly passed way since then. Council unanimously felt it was right to honour his name by carrying the vote through today.

Chris Price felt it wasappropriate that the vote for each nomination should be taken separately.

The election of Gordon Rhodes as Vice President was put to the meeting and agreed without dissent. The election of Noel Williams as Vice President was similarly put to the meeting and also agreed without dissent.

Appointment of Auditors to the Society

Chris Price called for nominations for the Society’s Auditors. The reappointment of McBrides Accountants LLP was proposed by Jane Garvey, seconded by Keith Theobald, and agreed by the meeting.

Election of Honorary Treasurer

Garry Mumford had been nominated in accordance with the Rules; this was put to the meeting by Chris Price and agreed without dissent.

Election of members of Council

Chris Price asked Andrew Simner to read out the names of the candidates who had been nominated for Council. Those present identified themselves by standing. As the number of open positions exceeded the number of candidates, Chris Price declared Messrs Crookell, Drummond, Eaton, Josh Green, Lester, Mann, and Stow elected.

Reception, Approval and Adoption of the Report of Council

Chris Price called on Jonathan Mann to present the report of Council.

Jonathan Mann referred to the report printed in the Annual Report section of the September 2022 issue of Talyllyn News and then recalled significant events of the last twelve months. He commented on the recent death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, observing that her life was based on the concept of service to others, a value that the Society has also achieved in its slightly longer existence than the late Queen’s reign. He also commented on the railway’s good connections with King Charles III, who as Prince of Wales had twice visited the railway and written the forward for “Railway Adventure” celebrating the Society’s Golden Jubilee.

Council continued to meet on-line, but the lifting of Covid restrictions allowed a return to physical meetings in June.

Events during the year included the celebration of the centenary of Loco No. 4 Edward Thomas, and a very successful Awdry Extravaganza weekend. The Heritage Group’s recreation of the Ty Dwr watering point came to fruition in time for the Founders Day special train (for the Heart of Gold group) to take water there. The Heart of Gold Group brings in more than £40,000 each year, improving the ability to plan expenditure ahead – Jonathan Mann thanked everybody in the group who contributed with their monthly payments.

After the late Noel Williams had decided to stand down from the role of Tote Administrator the scheme was wound up as it was felt that it would be unlikely that anybody else could be found to taken on the role.

Ian Drummond, the Society’s volunteer Fundraising Officer will be standing down at the next Council meeting and was thanked for the time he spent dealing with grant application forms.

The amount of volunteer accommodation available this year has been increased by taking an extended lease on Angorfa in Pier Road and has been very popular. Increasing costs of volunteering has made it difficult for some members to give their time in Tywyn.  Council discussed the situation and obtained the agreement of the Board to its recommendation that accommodation should be offered at no cost.

The provision for younger members was recognised, particularly the Silver Jubilee of Tracksiders which has been led by Ian Evans from its inception, Navvies and the Under 16’s Training Programme.

Autumn and Spring Outdoor weeks saw 159 days of work which is why the permanent way is in such good condition, complemented by the work of Tidy the Railway and the hedge layers. Locomotive working parties have resumed, doing work that would otherwise need to be done by paid staff and the Bodgers have been active on the rolling stock – John Burton is stepping down as Carriage Foreman and was thanked for his efforts over very many years. Progress has also been made with the archives and films with work being undertaken by enthusiastic volunteers.

July saw the celebration of Talyllyn Women, an event organised by Barbara Fuller and Sarah Thomas which emphasised how many Talyllyn Women there are volunteering – in every operating role, and many others too.

Coal, or the lack of it, is a burning issue. The railway is currently able to obtain coal from Ffos y Fran, and it is hoped its availability will continue for a while yet, but trails with possible replacements have been undertaken, some products being more successful than others, CPL Wildfire seems to be the best alternative to traditional coal, but a trail with rapeseed oil waste was particularly disappointing as bunker capacity was insufficient for a round trip, and a stop was necessary before Fach Goch, after just over one mile, for a “blow-up”.

There had been two honours for the railway. The first was the Peter Manisty Award from the HRA for “70 years of Pioneering Excellence.” The second was an early day motion submitted by the MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd congratulating the railway on 71 years and recognising the work of John Bate.

Jonathan Mann concluded by thanking members and volunteers for their support during his time as Chairman and wishing his successor well.

Peter Featherstone (Joint Membership Secretary) reported that there are currently 4,443 members of the society, the second highest total ever at this time of year, and 250 more than the corresponding time last year

Reception, Approval and Adoption of the Report of the Honorary Treasurer

Chris Price invited Garry Mumford the to present the report of the Honorary Treasurer.

Garry Mumford thanked the meeting for re-electing him as Honorary Treasurer. He recalled that the recently retired President had visited him when he was on duty as Blockman at Brynglas Blockpost in 2004, to persuade him become Honorary Treasure as Colin Roobottom wished to retire. This is his 18th AGM since first elected, but that is not even half of Colin Roobottom’s length of service. In that time there have been many different messages, some challenges and a huge amount of change. He was pleased to be able to report a positive picture.

Financially the railway is in rude health. Whilst the whole heritage rail sector has had some challenges recently the TR has come through them well with financial reserves of £1.75 million, which is 1.3 times more than 2021’s operational income. The challenges of Covid, which were addressed by, among other things, the furlough scheme and our virtual visit appeal means the railway is in a better position than before the pandemic. Recent payments from legacies have totalled more than £750,000 which is an incredibly important source of income.

The current level of cash reserves means that it is now possible to look at moving some projects forward, and the more money we have, the more money we can attract through grant funding for projects such as the shed for heritage carriages at Wharf and, through the Coastal Communities Fund, three new carriages.

A new challenge is the creeping problem of the economic crisis with inflation and the cost of living both rising. He was not looking forward to setting next year’s budget, but the significant cash reserves allows the opportunity to buy time. He concluded his report by thanking those people whose help and support made his job possible.

Chris Price asked for questions on the report of Council and Society financial statements, but there were none.

David Mitchell proposed the acceptance of the report of Council and Society financial statements, seconded by Chris Hill and agreed by the meeting without dissent.

Update from Railway Management.

Chris Price asked Stuart Williams, General Manger to comment on his perspective of the railway’s activities in the last year.

Stuart Williams said that this was his sixth AGM as General Manager and gave a report, accompanied by photographs to illustrate the topics.

The trading during the summer had been very good although there had been a little drop off of late, the position was satisfactory, and we should be able to spend on projects.

He thanked Sarah Freeman for all the headboards she had produced, referring in particular to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Commonwealth Games Baton Relay and the most recent, produced overnight, after the death of the Queen.

The different types of fuel used in the year were highlighted – traditional Ffos y Fran Coal in large and small lumps, Trevithick ovoids, and other types of e-coal trialled. He observed that coal cost £198 per ton last year, but the most recent delivery had cost £414 per ton.

The Talyllyn was trying to encompass green thinking with its purchase of an electric van, installation of solar panels, a trail with rapeseed fuel and the new Safety and Environment Manager, Liz Porrett, is undertaking a carbon footprint review.

The Talyllyn Women event, the thriving Tracksiders, Unde-16s training programme and Navvies schemes were all aspects of which the TR should be proud.

It is hoped to repeat the lease on Angorfa for volunteer accommodation next year until Trefri is ready for such use.

A great improvement in facilities for Blockmen is the installation of composting toilets at Brynglas and Quarry Siding.

The Billy the Dog Christmas video, produced by Luke Ryan, had been a great success, gathering much useful media coverage, including a Christmas eve report on ITN News. Luke has also been instrumental in organising the hugely successful Awdry Extravaganza weekend, featuring two lectures by railway historian and television present Tim Dunn. There was applause from the meeting in appreciation of Luke Ryan’s work.

In addition to the Peter Manisty award already referred to by Jonathan Mann, a Transport Trust Red Wheel had been unveiled at Wharf Station, an unannounced a Visit Wales quality assurance visit led to a very creditable score of 87% and the Talyllyn is still the best rated heritage railway on Trip Advisor.

The Ty Dwr project had been completed, and the first of the new carriages being built by the Ffestiniog Railway was now taking shape. A standard gauge wagon for an interpretation display at the Tywyn Wharf edge had been sent to Stanegate Restorations, the heritage carriage shed at Wharf is now at the tender document stage and it is hoped work will start this winter. The TR has got through to the next stage to be awarded Heritage Lottery funding, with an award of 10% for the development phase of the project.

Michael Portillo and film crew visited the railway, which will be included in the next series of his Great Coastal Railway Journeys.  The Talyllyn Railway YouTube channel is almost the biggest for any heritage railway – another of Luke Ryan’s achievements.

Engineering progress has seen Idris, the Chinese tamper in service, the renovation and return to service of engineering van 70 (Boadicea), a repaint for the generator van, the high quality finish to parts of Locomotive No. 2 Dolgoch before its reassembly, and the return to Pendre of the frames of Locomotive No. 1 Talyllyn after the vacation of the unit on Pendre Industrial Estate. A photoshopped image of it in Great Eastern Railway blue livery in which it will return to service was shown.

Stuart Williams concluded his update with a video compilation of outtakes and other humorous clips from his Walkabout and other Updates series.

Chris Price observed that not many heritage railway General Managers would be able to present such a rosy picture of their railway in 2022.

Incorporation of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society

Chris Price asked David Ventry, Chairman of the Talyllyn Railway Company to speak on the consultation on the conversion of the society to an incorporated Company Limited by Guarantee.

David Ventry referred to article on pages AR22 and AR23 of the September 2022 issue of Talyllyn News. He said that it was not the intention to vote on this at the meeting today, but it is likely that there would be such a vote in 12 months’ time.

The current structure and governance arrangements are broadly those drafted in the early 1950s, but Council has now undertaken a thorough review. As part of that review external expert advice was sought, highlighting a number of issues which need to be addressed, including changes to legislation, the consequences of not having incorporated status and the ambiguous charitable status of the different Talyllyn entities – Society, Company and Talyllyn Holdings.

The proposal is to convert the Society to a company Limited by Guarantee; further details of this are to be developed and sent to members with the intention of putting a firm proposal forward to be voted on at the 2023 AGM.

Voting Procedures

Chris Price asked David Ventry to introduce the consultation on changes to the voting system.

David Ventry said that the view of Council was that the present constitutional requirement that only those physically present at an AGM may vote is outdated. Today’s meeting only just achieved the necessary quorum, and without it there may be difficulties in carrying out society business. A number of options are being explored and documented on page AR23 of the September 2022 issue of Talyllyn News. In addition to the existing arrangement, the system used for the on-line 2021 AGM is being considered, as is a hybrid on-line/postal one-member one vote system and a fully on-line system. A consultation exercise will be undertaken with the membership with the intention of bringing a proposal to the 2023 AGM upon which to vote.

Chris Price invited questions and comments about both topics introduced by David Ventry.

Mark Tibbutt said he was dismayed about the TRPS changing in any way or form, as the society has a special feeling, and he was concerned that if the structure is changed too much it would lose that feeling.

David Ventry responded that there is nothing broken about our structure, merely a need for some tweaking to bring it up to date.

Gareth Jones welcomed both proposals, and felt it was high time there was change, but would prefer to see the retention of the Society name in its current form. Having seen the benefit of om-line voting last year he thought it was something that should be progressed, although he expressed concern that it had been reported there were only 55 devices logged in on-line today, and also that there were so few operating volunteers in the hall today.

Jonathan Mann said that he hoped on-line voting would be available as it would likely attract more on-line attendees. He added that the society must keep those things that make us special as they stand us in good stead.

Sue Whitehouse was against a fully on-line system as not everybody was computer literate and the limitations of broadband in rural areas would disadvantage many. She advocated something that included a postal option. Andrew Simner reported that this was among the options being investigated.

Charles Fleming said it may be possible to keep the headline name a “trading as …..” addition.           Garry Mumford said that not using the word Limited is a concession that could be granted by the registrar but could not be taken for granted.

Andrew Bosi (on-line) asked if the change in voting arrangements would occur before the vote on incorporation. Andrew Simner explained that it was the intention to bring both items to next year’s AGM, so it would be at the same time

Miscellaneous Announcements

Will Smith apologised that there had been a delay in sending out the Traffic & Operating Committee election ballot papers for the 2022 election, but the papers would be sent out shortly. The count would take place towards the end of Outdoor Week in November and the result announced shortly afterwards.

Josh Green, the Young Members Group overseer on Council advised that the reinvigorated YMG Committee is now composed of Dan Nash, Grace Jordan, Jamie Edwards, Nathan Hawkins and Ollie Jones. How Sheppard has been co-opted to the committee as a non-voting member.

Simon Carey apologised if there had been insufficient prior notification of the event this evening, and said there would be a train from Wharf to Abergynolwyn (for beers) at 1930, returning from Abergynolwyn at 2245.

Jane Garvey thanked those people who had submitted applications for Long Service Award scheme before the pandemic and had waited very patiently. She and Lawrence celebrated a combined 100 years volunteering by guarding a train together and received their 50 year awards from David Ventry earlier in the year.  Eleven awards were presented at the Talyllyn Women event – 10 years to Emma Tebbs, 15 years to Hilary Phillips and Katherine Gurtenne, 25 years to Louisa Warren and Sarah Freeman, 30 years to Karen Willans, 40 years to Wendy Marshall, Rachel Palfreyman and Liz Green and 50 years to Sarah Thomas and Barbara Fuller. During the year there have also been presentations to Celia and Nigel Adams (25 years), Martin Fuller (30 years), Eric Nicholass (40 years) and Michael Farr (50 years). To be presented later in the year there are awards for Helen Chadfield (15 years), Rob Plumridge (30 years) and Bill Tyndall (50 years). The retiring President, David Mitchell, presented certificates and lapel badges marking the achievement of 10 years’ service to Adam Tebbs, 15 years’ service to Barney and Amaryllis Bell and Neil Oakley and 30 years’ service to Garry Mumford, which came as a surprise to him as it had been secretly applied for on his behalf by his wife.

Any other Competent Business

Roger Whitehouse recalledthat he was chairman of the society between 1999 and 2002 when he had the pleasure of receiving the same award from the Heritage Railways Association as had Jonathan Mann earlier this year. This shows that we have not sat on our laurels, and should be proud of ourselves as we have been considered worthy of this prestigious award for a second time.

Chris Hill asked how the attention of guards would be drawn between stations that the use of a defibrillator may be required. Mark Tibbutt (guard and nurse) replied that is incumbent on guards to maintain good observation from their vans. He had stopped trains when people had been waving out of the window to communicate with him. He added that use of a defibrillator within the first few minutes led to a 70% chance of survival, but after 5 minutes the survival rate dropped to 20%.

Gerald Grudgings said that he had spent a lot of time at Wharf this summerand noticed a common thread that a small but significant number of potential passengers had turned away as they were unable to afford the fares, or thought them too expensive. He continued that as the last trains of the day were not so well patronised as there is no opportunity to break the journey, he suggested offering a substantial discount for those travelling on the last service of the day. He emphasised this discount could be offered, but not advertised, to avoid loss of revenue from those willing to pay full fares. Chris Price said that this suggestion would be passed on to those who set the fares.

Tony McIlwrick (on-line) noted the plans set out in Talyllyn News to replace various items of plant did not refer to the BobCat and wondered if it was to be replaced. Stuart Williams replied that the renewal of plant will be considered when there is somewhere safe and secure to store it where it will not rust in the outside air.

Edward Neve (on-line) asked if there were any plans to deal with the defective carriage door locks that meant compartments were being locked out of use. Stuart Williams indicated that attention would be given to repairing these locks.

Ellis Jacklin (on-line) enquired in which livery the new carriages being built by the Ffestiniog Railway would be painted. Jonathan Mann referred to the policy on carriage liveries and anticipated that they would be in the same livery as the standard bogie carriages.

Gerald James (on-line) felt that moving to incorporated status made sense, but asked has the option of a Charitable Incorporated Organisation also been considered? Garry Mumford replied that it had by other railways and had been discounted because of various restrictions it would impose.

John Smallwood expressed his concern that carriage no. 4 had been in Quarry Siding shed for over a year, and felt it was time for it to be fixed and restored to use in the vintage train set. David Ventry responded that it was going away to be mended very soon.

David Rowbotham (on-line)asked whether guards will be trained in the use of the defibrillators to be carried in the guard’s vans. Mark Tibbutt said that the equipment likely to be purchased did not require training in its use, but awareness of it would be helpful.

David Ventry announced that a supply of new design Christmas cards had been delivered to the shop at Wharf the previous day.

The collection for the defibrillators was taken and passed to Garry Mumford.

There being no further business, Chris Price closed the meeting at 1603 and thanked those who keep the railway running. He added that he looked forward to seeing everybody at the Annual General Meeting next year.