What a difference a month makes!
I hope that everyone has stayed safe and dry during the recent extreme weather events. Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by the devastating floods throughout NSW. This has been a particularly challenging time for so many and THNSW has been no exception.
The Board held its second Board Meeting for 2022 on Tuesday 29 March 2022.
Picton landslip and closure of the Loop Line
The Board received an update from CEO, Andrew Moritz on the impacts of the severe weather, Picton landslip and the closure of the Loop Line to our planned program of events and activities.
As everyone knows the following events have been impacted:
Thirlmere Festival of Steam is now rescheduled for 25-26 June 2022
Locomotive 3801 was unable to participate in the Sydney Harbour Bridge 90th celebrations
Hunter Valley Steamfest is now rescheduled for 30-31 July 2022
The Southern Aurora is temporarily unable to return to Thirlmere and is being stored at sidings at Glenlee when not in use.
We’re working closely with ARTC to expedite the repair works to get our Loop Line connection to the main line reopened as soon as possible. These works are significant and photos have been previously shared with members to show the scale of the damage and works required.
The Board acknowledged the dedication and work being undertaken by Andrew and his team to flex and adapt, rework and reschedule, and keep getting our events and activities ‘back on track’ during this time.
The Board congratulated everyone involved in another record month at the NSW Rail Museum and on the Loop Line and on the success of the Sydney Harbour Bridge 90th celebrations event on Saturday 19 March.
Visitor numbers to the NSW Rail Museum during February were our best February result in seven years and passenger numbers on the Loop Line were our best February result on record. The regular, consistent offer is attracting visitors in record numbers.
Sydney Harbour Bridge 90th Celebrations
Whilst we were unable to take Locomotive 3801 to the Sydney Harbour Bridge event, vintage electric train, F1, and vintage buses from the Sydney Bus Museum combined with vintage cars, ferries and other activities organised by Transport for NSW, put on a spectacular show on the day.
We are now working with Transport for NSW to finalise a new date for the second half of this year to coincide with Transport Heritage Expo. Watch this space for more information on both the return of Transport Heritage Expo and Locomotive 3801 across the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
April School Holidays and May at the NSW Rail Museum
The Board was briefed on the upcoming advertising campaign and program for the April School Holidays at the NSW Rail Museum. We will be offering steam train rides every day on the Loop Line and this is the first time we have done a TV and radio advertising campaign in the Sydney market.
The advertising campaign is thanks to a Destination NSW grant and we look forward to seeing the response.
In May, the long-awaited crowd favourite ‘Day Out with Thomas’ returns for five days across two weekends.
Members’ Information Forum
A Members’ Information Forum will be held on Saturday 7 May 2022 at the NSW Rail Museum and will focus on providing members with a tour and update of the Loop Line Upgrade Project.
This will be an in person event and will include a visit to key locations along the Loop Line as well as hearing about the planned works. Further information, including registrations will be sent via email shortly.
FY 2022-23 Business Plan
The Board confirmed the major priorities for FY 2022/23, consistent with our Strategic Plan:
completing the Loop Line Upgrade Project and reopening the line through to Colo Vale;
completing the Heritage Hub Stage One – the Tank Annex build for rolling stock storage
progressing Heritage Hub Stage Two planning and approvals – remediation and refurbishment of the Locomotive Workshop building.
delivering a vibrant program of activities and events, and
continuing to work with our custodians and sector partners to care for the assets entrusted to us.
THNSW Board Chair appointment
As my term as Chair of THNSW is coming to an end and after five and half years, I have decided not to seek reappointment. The Minister’s Office will undertake a recruitment process for the role during April, with a view to making an appointment before my term expires on 31 May.
It has been an absolute pleasure to serve as Chair of THNSW. I will have more to say as my term comes to an end.
The Board and I look forward to seeing many of you at the Members’ Information Forum in May.