Firstly, a warm welcome to 2022!
I hope that everyone had a safe and enjoyable Christmas, New Year and January holiday period with family and friends.
The Board held its first Board Meeting for 2022 on Tuesday 22 February 2022.
Off to a great start with record January results
The Board received an update from CEO, Andrew Moritz on the record visitor and passenger results in January.
Thanks to a small, but targeted campaign, the NSW Rail Museum attracted more than 5,600 visitors and almost 4,200 passengers in just four weeks.
This is a tremendous result coming out of the pandemic restrictions and uncertainty of the last two years.
The strong visitation is continuing into February so far, further indicating a confident bounce-back as restrictions continue to ease.
The Board congratulated and thanked everyone involved.
The Board noted the planned program of events and activities for the rest of the year, which will see the return of popular favourites Day Out with Thomas, the Hydro Express, Southern Highlander, Hunter Valley Steamfest, Southern Aurora charters and Transport Heritage Expo later in the year.
Keep on eye on the new THNSW Events page for more details.
Thirlmere Festival of Steam 12 & 13 March 2022
Our first major event, with no COVID restrictions, will be the Thirlmere Festival of Steam on the weekend of 12-13 March.
It’s great to see the return of NSW’s premier steam event after two years and we are delighted to be partnering with Wollondilly Shire Council to bring this event back to life. I’m sure this will be a great weekend to kick off the 2022 steam season.
Board, CEO and Management Workshop
The Board held a joint workshop with the CEO and management team this month, following what has been a disruptive and uncertain two years.
Key focus of the very constructive discussion was taking stock of where we are against our five-year strategic plan and looking at what has changed in the environment around us, post COVID. We remain focused on our strategic plan goals to engage customers and the community, care for our collection and heritage assets, collaborate with our people and partners, and build a culture of risk management, safety and compliance.
Mission-critical over the next 18 months is renewing the funding arrangements with the NSW Government, delivering the Loop Line Upgrade Project (LLUP) and finalising with TfNSW the approvals, getting on with the Heritage Hub at Chullora, as well as continuing to deliver an exciting program of heritage transport events and experiences.
Operational Fleet Maintenance
The Board was updated on the works undertaken by the Fleet Maintenance Workshop team over the summer period, including repairs to the Southern Aurora power van that had unexpectedly failed in November.
This larger power van is essential to the successful operation of the Southern Aurora for our Vintage Rail Journeys and St James Rail tour partners.
Vintage Rail Journeys 2022 operations commence this month and continue throughout the year.
AGM 2022 Planning
The Board discussed learnings from last year’s AGM, plus opportunities for this year’s AGM 2022, which will be held in late November.
The Board determined this year’s AGM 2022 will again be planned as a hybrid event, that is both in person for those who can attend and online for those who cannot attend in person.
In keeping with the Board’s previous commitment to publish information for members who may wish to nominate for election, the draft Information for prospective THNSW Board Directors is available on the THNSW website.
New Independent Funding & Advisory Panel (IFAP) Members
The Board noted the appointment by Transport for NSW and welcomed three new IFAP members, Paul Donnelly, Craig Lee and Helen Laverty.
IFAP plays an important role in determining our annual Transport Heritage Grants Program and funding for NSW Government-owned heritage transport assets across the heritage transport sector.
The Board also expressed its thanks to Christine Wright and John Minchin who had generously given their expertise and time to the IFAP over the last six years since IFAP’s establishment.
Loop Line Upgrade Project (LLUP)
The Board received an update on the works completed during January, currently underway and the commencement of the community engagement program for the LLUP.
Members are reminded to go to our website for regular updates at www.thnsw.com.au/loop-line
The Board and I are very excited by the year ahead, seeing the return of our major events and heritage operations, and getting back to surprising and delighting our customers and supporting regional tourism and the heritage transport sector.
Lastly, thank you in advance to all our staff and volunteers who will make this happen for all your dedication, commitment, hard work and pride in our organisation throughout the coming year.
I hope to see you at the Thirlmere Festival of Steam!