Restoration of loco 699.01 is
14 November 2014
Photo: Kevin Heywood
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Release date 28th February 2015
Welshpool & Llanfair appoints new general manager
trustees of the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway are delighted
to announce the appointment of Charles Spencer as the railway’s
general manager, succeeding Terry Turner who retired at the end
of the 2014 season.
In seeking a new
general manager the W&LLR was looking for broad management
experience to build on the railway’s success under Terry.
Advertisements placed in relevant outlets produced a keen
interest in the position from candidates with a wide range of
experience, both within the UK and internationally.
Canadian by birth,
Charles has a broad background in business, management and
leadership in volunteer organisations. In 2012 he retired from a
30-year career with the Bank of Canada,
for the second half of which he was a leading member of the
Currency Department, which was responsible for Canadian bank
notes from design to destruction.
jointly responsible for a staff of 250 and gained particular
experience in organizational change and in conceiving and
building new initiatives. These ranged across public education
and communications, ground-breaking technical research
approaches, market research, heritage revitalization,
organizational reviews and staff training programmes.
The W&LLR interview
panel recognised in Charles a wide range of skills that will be
highly beneficial to the railway going forward, as will his
extensive experience of working with volunteers. He has
undertaken leadership roles
number of adult and youth volunteer organizations in music,
sports, and charities, involving up to 400 volunteers and
budgets in excess of a quarter of a million.
Charles is also
familiar with the W&LLR, having been a regular volunteer at the
line across several departments since 2008, qualifying as a
locomotive fireman in 2014. He also volunteers at the Groudle
Glen Railway on the Isle of Man.
Commenting on his
appointment, Charles says he is relishing the challenge ahead.
“I am looking forward to working with the committed board of
trustees and hard-working volunteers, and to building
relationships with the local community and the heritage railway
sector,” he adds.
Chairman of the
trustees Iain McLean wishes to thank all the candidates who
applied for the position and made the eventual choice of the new
general manager an exciting decision. “We are confident that
Charles’s expertise in management, finance, marketing and
railway matters will complement the many skills among our
railway’s volunteers,” Iain says.
trustees would also like to thank, on behalf of the membership,
deputy general manager Kevin Heywood, who stepped up to the role
of acting general manager over the winter. Kevin has very
effectively guided the railway through the important closed
period, when much essential work needs to be completed.
Charles is expected to be in post around the time trains start
operating for the 2015 season.
Photo: Kevin Heywood
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26th February 2015
Busy winter as railway
prepares for 2015 season
It is still a
little over a month before passenger trains start running again
on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, but the staff and
volunteers of the popular mid-Wales line have been very busy
over the winter.
The railway has
recently concluded its traditional February Workshop Week, which
sees a number of volunteers descend upon Llanfair Caereinion to
boost the winter maintenance on the locomotives. This year they
came from near and far, the closest from Llanfair itself, the
furthest from Canada, and some spent just a day in the
workshops, others the whole week.
a great deal of work carried out included making a replacement
chimney for original 1902-built locomotive No. 1 ‘The Earl’, a
new ashpan for No. 12 ‘Joan’ built in 1927, and continuing the
restoration of No. 10 ‘Sir Drefaldwyn’, which it is hoped will
return to steam later in 2015 after 15 years out of service.
railway’s dedicated track gang has been busy on essential
renewals which can only be carried out in the winter months
while the railway is closed – despite the less than helpful
weather prevalent at this time of year. This winter major track
relaying has taken place close to Cyfronydd station and around
the roadside halt of Sylfaen.
department has not been relaxing too much either – a small group
of members spending a weekend giving the carriages a deep clean
ready to welcome the first customers of the new season at
general manager Kevin Heywood said; “Our volunteers are looking
forward to showing our passengers everything we have achieved
during the winter months. Cold and damp conditions are never
the most pleasant to work in, yet they continue to give valuable
time to ensure that all is ready for the new season.”
The railway opens
for its 2015 season on Saturday 28th March and over
the Easter weekend, 3rd-6th April,
will stage ‘The Great Easter Eggspress’. The Easter Bunny will
be much in evidence and children travelling on the train will be
encouraged to spot the Easter Eggs placed en route, while
enjoying the free chocolate egg given to them with their train
Full details of the
2015 timetable and the Easter special trains can be obtained
from our timetable page, or by
calling 01938 810441.
Just some of the many
participants of this year's workshop week.
Photo: Alan Regan, 14 February
Winter track gang at work near
Photo: Kevin Heywood, 29 January
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20th February 2014
Welshpool loco features
on latest Royal Mail stamp collection
One of the
Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s two original steam
locomotives has found a different kind of fame, featuring on the
Royal Mail’s latest pictorial stamp collection issued on 20th
February. Locomotive No. 822 ‘The Earl’ is one of four
locomotives appearing on the ‘Classic Locomotives of Wales’
collection – the final release of a four-part set that began
with England in 2011, followed by Scotland in 2012 and Northern
Ireland last year.
The Earl is shown
on the 88p stamp, hauling a freight working in the W&LLR’s
pre-preservation days in the 1950s, when the line ran through
the streets of Welshpool. The loco is seen crossing Brook street
into the now long-gone ‘Narrows’, with a car parked across the
line having to be pushed out of the way. Following the
railway’s closure by British Railways in 1956 both The Earl and
identical sister loco ‘Countess’ were stored at Oswestry works,
from where they were able to be rescued when the line was
reopened by the Preservation Company in 1963. Since then the two
locomotives have proven the backbone of the tourist-era
Caereinion’s local postman, Nick Thomas, and W&LLR volunteer
Andrew Charman helped the Royal Mail launch the new stamps at
the railway’s Llanfair Caereinion headquarters. The Earl is
currently in the workshop having heavy winter maintenance to
ensure it is in prime condition for the railway’s new season at
rely on The Earl and its sister engine, Countess, to haul trains
on our eight miles of narrow gauge railway from Welshpool to
Llanfair Caereinion,” said Andrew. “We are delighted to be
helping Royal Mail launch the stamps and to be highlighting the
work that volunteers do to ensure that their history is
preserved and enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year,” he
The other three
locomotives featured on the stamps are the Ffestiniog Railway’s
‘Blanche’ and two standard gauge locomotives on the Britannia
Bridge across the Menai Strait and in the South Wales coal
Working in collaboration with railway experts, Royal Mail’s
stamp design team
reviewed thousands of photographs to find these period photos of
steam locomotives in Wales. The stamps come in a fully
illustrated Presentation Pack. Inside the pack, Welsh railway
historian, David Gwyn, takes a look at Wales’ steam railways and
the impact the steam locomotive had on Welsh history.
stamps are on sale in selected Post Offices from today and from www.royalmail.com/classiclocomotives
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