Our Santa season at the railway has been a big success and we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the visitors and their families who came to see us.
This is the first season that Santa and his Elves traveled on the trains and, by common consent, this proved even more popular than having his grotto in one of our static carriages.
We must also extend our thanks to all our volunteers who have worked so hard to make these three Sundays such a success and thanks of course to Santa and his Elves for finding the time in their busy schedule to visit us.
No event can run without a hitch and we are grateful for the constructive comments from our visitors about their experience of their visit. Our planning for the 2019 event gets underway early in the New Year. The lessons we have learned from this year’s event will be taken into account so that we can build on what has been achieved for next year.
One obvious area will be heating in the carriages. The carriages we have at the railway can be upgraded to provide steam heating but, being an elderly design, the necessary parts are not easy to come by. Not only that, but our gallant little steam engine Joyce was only expected to shunt wagons in its working days, so no provision for steam heating was ever required.
Our ever resourceful engineering team are working on a solution to this limitation and we hope to be able to offer nice warm carriages next year.
During the year we put on a variety of events and we would like to do even more. Consequently we need to increase the numbers in our volunteer teams. So, if the idea of helping out at the railway appeals to you, but you are not so keen on the engineering, restoration and maintenance side of things, there is plenty to be done as a member of our events planning, publicity and customer facing teams. Pop into the station and have a chat with us. You will be most welcome.
In the meantime we send you all our best wishes for Christmas and The New Year
For several months now the Trust have been working with a consultancy company – Context Logic - on the preparation of a combined Outline Planning Application and Vision document which sets out the Heritage Trusts ambitions to both develop the Midsomer Norton station site and also the ambition to extend the line.
Trustees and Company Directors receiving a final briefing on the OPA and deciding to submit the application.
The Trust and Company are in agreement that in order to expand both the facilities at Midsomer Norton and the expansion of the running line that we must embrace new business opportunities and also expand those currently open at the station. Amongst the proposals that the Trust have included in the OPA are an improved café/bar, business and retails units and a small number of apartments for volunteer / tourist use. The Trust is committed to improving the facilities on site to provide an enhanced visitor experience and also provide social, economic, health and connectivity benefits to Midsomer Norton and the surrounding communities.
The OPA also includes planning for a new carriage and locomotive maintenance shed which will provide better workshops and training facilities. The Trust is exploring the commercial use of these premises and the option to create a number of employment opportunities in the town.
The Trust is very keen to maintain the heritage value of the unique station site at Midsomer Norton and to this end the development work undertaken at the site will be in keeping with the buildings already in situ.
At a planning meeting on the 3rdNovember, Trustees and Company Directors voted unanimously for the outline planning application to be submitted to BANES planning department. The OPA will –once granted – permit the Trust to undertake planned development and building work over the coming years.
At the same time as the OPA was submitted, a major stakeholder engagement exercise commenced with key Politicians and Financial people being informed of the plan and further details provided to them. To date, we have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, together with offers of assistance and support – both political and financial - to assist the Trust with making these plans a reality.
Further details will be provided at a number of staff briefings being arranged for volunteers. Further website updates to follow.
The Vision / OPA document – produced by Context Logic.
The railway now has ambitious plans to expand in a number of key areas as stated in the Strategic Plan & New Projects article. To deliver these projects a project management team has been set up – reporting to the Trust – and this small team will be coordinating and planning the many tasks required to successfully deliver the work.
The railway does currently does have a range of skills and experience in-house, however with the increased demands that the two main projects will put on our volunteer workforce, we are keen to attract both new volunteers and also obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the skills that we have amongst our current volunteers.
The railway therefore is asking that all working volunteers, together with those members who would like to get involved at this exciting time in the railways growth contact any of the following people below with details of your skills, experience and contact details which will be added to our skills database.
The Project team are especially interested to hear from people with administrative skills, engineering and mechanical experience, together with various trades.
Please send your information to Brian or Stephen.
Trust and Company Directors have been working for a period of time to agree on a number of new projects and update the Strategic Plan with details of these. More information will be announced at the September AGM. Planning for two major new projects will commence very shortly to provide a new engineering facility for the railway and improved and expanded catering and retail facilities on the Midsomer Norton station site whilst not detracting from the overall appearance.
To manage the two new projects, a project team has been set up to manage and oversee the delivery of these two projects. At this initial planning state, a management consultant will be assisting with the preparation of a planning document. Engineering experts from Mott MacDonald Consultants will be advising on the optimal location for the engineering facility
Where possible internal skills and expertise will be used, however where the required skills are not available in-house, then management consultants and professional experts will be brought in to assist. In order to identify what skills and expertise are available amongst our volunteers, a skills audit will conducted.
We need 109 or 113lb flat bottomed rail in 60'(or near) lengths to complete our extension and to improve our existing running line, and a number of FB turnouts - B,C or D switches - with or without crossing timbers. We are prepared to pay a reasonable price for these or would welcome information on where these may be found other than on NR property.