The Board held its third meeting for 2021 on Tuesday 25 May and received an update from CEO, Andrew Moritz, on the various activities and initiatives currently underway across the organisation.
The first of our regional trips with Locomotive 3801 to Albury, Junee and Wagga Wagga, trains every day on the Loop Line during school holidays and three charter operations all contributed to April being an extremely busy month with record NSW Rail Museum visitation and passenger numbers.
Thank you and well done to everyone involved in delivering all of these activities – both on the front line and behind the scenes. The response and feedback from customers has been wonderful and we are delighted that we were able to support both local sector groups and the broader community in the areas we visit. At time of writing, we are about to head off west with what I am sure will be another extremely successful tour with Locomotive 3801.
With all of these activities it is important we remind everyone of the need to keep following our COVID safe guidelines and procedures to keep us all safe – our own people, our customers and the general public alike - and allow us to continue to offer activities to the largest possible number of people whilst remaining COVID safe. We cannot risk being complacent – safety is our number one priority, in all forms.
The Board was pleased to learn that second-hand rail from the Junee to Griffith re-railing project has been approved for reuse on the Loop Line project. We have since taken delivery of 20,000m of rail in the past week.
We expect a decision regarding the further funds required to complete the project through to Colo Vale by mid this year.
You can read more on the THNSW News page.
THNSW Fleet Maintenance Manager, Ben Elliot, provided an update to the Board on current projects and work in the Fleet Maintenance Workshop.
Despite the tremendous success of 3801’s return to service, our fleet maintenance team have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure the engine’s safe and efficient operation. This has included unplanned rebuilding of parts and equipment that have unfortunately failed during the locomotive’s operation since its return to the Main Line last year.
The good news is the team has undertaken a tremendous amount of work to 3801 and with each operation are becoming more confident in the engine’s abilities and reliability.
We expect to have Locomotive 3265 back in steam for Rail Safety Week in August and Locomotive 6029 back in steam for the Hunter Valley Steamfest in September. Locomotive 2705 will continue to be our primary Loop Line steam engine for the remainder of this year.
Work continues on essential repairs and maintenance to our diesel and carriage fleets.
A joint Board and management team workshop was held on Saturday 1 May to further discuss and start formulating THNSW’s position and priorities for negotiating a new funding deed with Transport for NSW.
The workshop reaffirmed our existing priorities and major projects, plus the importance of continuing to broaden our focus beyond just rail heritage to include other modes of transport, as well as securing the remaining funding needed for the:
establishment of the Heritage Hub at Chullora and
upgrade and extension of the Loop Line.
Our current funding deed is due to finish on 30 June 2022.
Business Plan for FY 2021-22
A draft Business Plan for FY 2021/22, the third under our current strategic plan and last under the current funding deed extension was reviewed by the Board. The key priorities for FY 2021/22 will be:
continuing to reactivate and rebuild our direct customer engagement through our public-facing activities at our flagship NSW Rail Museum, at Valley Heights, with our rail operations and in particular maximising the return to service of Locomotive 3801
continuing our digital engagement with key audiences and the public at large
commencing the Loop Line Upgrade Project physical works
commencing the Heritage Hub Phase 1 physical works
finalising Heritage Hub Phase 2 planning and funding
Future Funding Deed Negotiation
developing THNSW’s future position and proposition for future funding
securing a new funding deed with NSW Government for post 30 June 2022
maintaining our core business obligations of collection care, asset maintenance, restoration and reconstruction, safety and corporate governance, etc.
delivering in partnership with the custodians a program of works to maintain and support the NSW Government-owned heritage transport assets
Our ability to deliver the plan will be subject to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and any restrictions that may be in place throughout FY 2021/22.
We have now welcomed over 160 new members since the start of this year – thanks in part to the interest generated with the return to service of Locomotive 3801, and the introduction our new online ticketing system finally making it easier and quicker for people to join THNSW online there and then!
The next step is to transition existing members to the new database, which will allow members to take advantage of booking museum and special event tickets online at member rates. This will take place once we finalise a revised membership product offer.
Our current membership structure consists of over 20 membership types and needs to be simplified. Once we finalise these changes, we will be coming back to members with further details. However, in the meantime, please be assured these refinements are entirely product focussed and will not consist of any changes from a governance or constitutional perspective.
Derailment at Revesby
This incident is still currently the subject of a Sydney Trains led investigation and we will make further comment once that is complete.
The Board will meet again at the end of August. In the meantime, stay COVID safe everyone!