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Board Wrap Up: February 2021

Welcome to 2021!

Here’s hoping the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic will soon be behind us and we can all get back to doing the things that we enjoy. The Board held its first meeting for the new year on Tuesday 23 February.

The Board received an update from CEO, Andrew Moritz, on various activities and initiatives currently underway across the organisation, particularly the latest impacts of the ongoing pandemic on THNSW.

We are very excited that we experienced a record number of visitors to the NSW Rail Museum in January – our highest January on record despite the COVID-19 capacity restrictions. Well done to all our staff and volunteers!

The NSW Rail Museum reopened to the public seven days per week from 2 January. Train rides on the Loop Line operated every day during the school holidays and returned to Saturdays and Sundays from February.

Our main line program recommenced in February with the ever-popular Hydro Express to the Blue Mountains and Vintage Electric Day Out with Sydney’s vintage electric train set F1 to the Sydney Tramway Museum. Both were still under COVID-19 restrictions and provided an opportunity to test our COVID Safe controls ahead of extensive main line operations in March. Customer feedback has been wonderful and thank you to everyone involved for making these a huge success.

As restrictions continue to ease, we will continue to review and revise our COVID Safe plans. The Board, CEO and management team thank all volunteers, staff and members for their understanding as we continue to adjust arrangements accordingly. As restrictions ease, we cannot become complacent and must continue to follow the rules, guidelines and revised operating procedures that are put in place. We all have a role to play to keep ourselves and others all COVID Safe.

3801 Relaunch

After almost 14 years since it was last in heritage service, the wait is finally over!

Locomotive 3801 was officially relaunched on Friday 12 March during a special ceremony at Central Station with Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales, followed by a weekend of public shuttle rides from Central. The Board was briefed on the arrangements and its planned forward program of operations which include the Southern Highlands, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Junee, the Blue Mountains and more!

It is wonderful to see this true legend of steam back in operation and once again delighting crowds young and old wherever it goes. The Board thanks everyone: volunteers, members, staff and management for their respective contributions to returning the locomotive to service. It is a testament to what we can do as an organisation and it will now be enjoyed by a whole new generation of enthusiasts for years to come.

Loop Line

Following discussion with key stakeholders THNSW is actively seeking to secure the additional funding required to upgrade the line to Colo Vale for steam trains as per the NSW Government 2019 election commitment.

Applications for the additional funding needed have been made to the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund and the Building Better Regions Fund where this project qualifies and the outcome of those applications is expected to be known mid-year.

In the meantime, we are continuing to work with Transport for NSW to secure second-hand rail and sleepers for the project.

Heritage Hub

The Board was given an update on the scope of works and cost estimate for phase 1 to upgrade the Tank Annex for rolling stock storage. Subject to approvals from Transport for NSW we hope to shortly commence procurement of builders to undertake the required works.

In the meantime, preparations continued with further rolling stock items relocated from Broadmeadow during February. Eight carriages were moved to the Large Erecting Shop at Eveleigh by rail. Two carriages were moved by road to their new homes and custodians at Junee Railway Museum and Oberon Tourist and Heritage Railway respectively. These two items were part of the residual collection managed by THNSW which is available to recognised organisations upon application to, and approval by, the Independent Funding and Advisory Panel (IFAP). This allowed a number of other carriages previously in the open air to be moved undercover at Broadmeadow which will significantly reduce their further deterioration until their ultimate relocation to the Heritage Hub.

Locomotive 5711's tender relocated

The Board were updated on the relocation of the 5711 tender from Valley Heights to Chullora, where work is now underway to complete the approved project.

The tender is expected to be completed and returned to display at Valley Heights as soon as possible in 2021.

8 Wheel Radial Car

The Board endorsed making application to IFAP for FS#2 funds to restore the 8 wheel radial car for display purposes. If funding is approved, then the project is estimated to take 3 + years to undertake.

Board appointments

As this was the first Board meeting following the AGM late last year, the Board confirmed the following roles until AGM 2021:

  • Deputy Chair – Alex Claassens

  • V/Company Secretary – Peter Watters

  • Safety & Environment Committee Chair – Alex Claassens

  • Finance Risk & Audit Committee Chair – Deanna Varga

  • Collections & Curatorial Committee Chair – Dale Budd supported by Brett Fitzpatrick

  • Rail Operations Support Committee Chair – David Ireland supported by Howard Collins

  • Membership Review Working Group Chair – Deanna Varga supported by Dale Budd

  • Fundraising Working Group Chair – the Board is currently considering options for chairing this working group.

Save the Date – AGM 2021

The Board confirmed the date for AGM 2021 as Saturday 27 November 2021. Subject to any COVID-19 restrictions at the time we hope to conduct this as a face-to-face and on-line event. Further details will be provided closer to the date.

Board Nomination Criteria

The Board approved the draft Director Nomination Criteria for AGM 2021. This is now available on the THNSW website.

One elected Director position currently held by David Ireland and one non-elected appointed Director position currently held by Deanna Varga will become vacant at AGM 2021.

The Board will meet again at the end of March. In the meantime, stay COVID safe everyone and enjoy the return of 3801, a Legend of Steam.

Rob Mason



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