Board Wrap: May 2022



What an autumn we are having!


I hope that everyone has stayed safe and dry as the unprecedented rain has continued across NSW. Our thoughts remain with those communities who are still trying to recover from the devasting floods just a couple of months ago.


The Board held its third Board Meeting for 2022, on Tuesday 24 May 2022.


Picton landslip and reopening of the Loop Line

The Board received an update from CEO Andrew Moritz on the successful completion of works to reopen the Loop Line at Picton.


Our thanks to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), for completing these works and restoring our connection from the NSW Rail Museum to the NSW rail network. There are still further works required which will be completed during the next planned shutdown of the main south line. THNSW will continue to work closely with the ARTC to get these underway as soon and safely as possible.


April results

The Board congratulated everyone involved in another record month at the NSW Rail Museum and on the Loop Line, which included the Easter weekend and April school holidays.


Visitor numbers to the NSW Rail Museum during April topped 8,000 — our best April result on record. Loop Line passenger number were our best April result in four years when we last held a Day Out With Thomas weekend in that month. Our regular, consistent offer is continuing to attract visitors in record numbers.


Congratulations also to everyone involved in the St James Rail Southern Aurora 60th Anniversary tour to Melbourne. This tour faced very significant challenges due to the ongoing COVID situation impacting staff and volunteer availability, the Loop Line closure meaning locomotives had to be hired from the Seymour Rail Heritage Centre and repairs required to a number of Southern Aurora carriages as a result of a derailment on a previous trip.


May highlights

The Board was delighted to hold the first in-person Members’ Information Forum on Saturday 7 May at the NSW Rail Museum since the start of the COVID pandemic. Feedback has been very positive from those in attendance and it was the ideal opportunity to update everyone on our major Loop Line Upgrade Project.


The Board noted its thanks to Nathaniel Smith MP, Lou Amato MLC and Benedicte Colin TAHE CEO who were also at the NSW Rail Museum on the day to announce the acquisition of Beyer-Garratt Locomotive 6029 by TAHE on behalf of the NSW Government. The Board looks forward to seeing 6029 out on track and being enjoyed by so many throughout NSW as we now recommence our main line operations.


Day Out With Thomas returned to the NSW Rail Museum over the most recent two weekends of May, following a 2.5 year absence as a result of the COVID pandemic. It was great to see the Museum filled with so many delighted faces again and Sir Topham Hatt, Thomas and some of his friends out to welcome everyone.


National Trust Heritage Award win

Earlier this month, Board Director Andrea Plawutsky and I had the privilege of attending and accepting the National Trust Heritage Award for our Locomotive 3801 Relaunch Events Program. This was well deserved recognition of the great work THNSW does in engaging the community with our transport heritage. The Board congratulated all involved in delivering this program.


Looking ahead to June

The Board received an update on the upcoming program including our return to main line operations, commencing with a weekend of Southern Highlander heritage train experiences, a regional tour to Bathurst over the June long weekend and of course the rescheduled Thirlmere Festival of Steam over the last weekend in June. Tickets are on sale for all of these events – head to www.thnsw.com.au/events


FY 2022-23 Business Plan

The Board reviewed a draft of our business plan for FY 2022-23 that brings together the major priorities for the year, events and experiences program, asset management, essential activities across all areas of our own business and working with the heritage transport sector, all aligned with our Strategic Plan goals and objectives. A key assumption is no further pandemic restrictions imposed on us and our activities.


The Board emphasised the need for the organisation to keep focus and momentum on delivering its major projects – the Loop Line Upgrade Project, Heritage Hub at Chullora Stage One physical build works and the Heritage Hub Stage Two planning and approvals – during the coming financial year. This will need to occur while we deliver a vibrant program of events and activities and a program of works to maintain our heritage assets.


THNSW Board Chair appointment

The Board is eagerly awaiting the announcement by the Minister for Transport as to who will be appointed as the next Chair of THNSW, which is understood to be imminent. I encourage everyone warmly welcome and give their support to whoever is appointed to the role.


Thanks from me

This was my final Board meeting as Chair of THNSW. It has been my absolute pleasure to serve as your Chair and I have enjoyed working with my fellow Board members, the CEO, the management team, the staff and so many of our volunteers and members over the last five and half years. The organisation has faced many challenges during that time, however THNSW has remained strong, kept its momentum, focused on improving and growing, and the future for the organisation looks very bright indeed.


I would like to thank everyone for their support to me as Chair and their continued support of THNSW, and my wife and I look forward to remaining active THNSW members going forward.


Rob Mason

Chair