Chairman’s Report 2018– 2019

North Staffs Model Engineering Society Ltd

Now at the end of my seventh year as chairman of the society It is pleasing to know that the membership still have the confidence in my ability to take this society forward. The management committee is still 8 in number, and we are now encouraging some of the younger members of the society to take up this mantle.

      The 2018 running season went well, beginning on spring bank holiday weekend, the public donations at the start being much higher than normal and this gave us an excellent buffer against those days when the weather curtailed our running program. The running season was organised and operated well offering rides to the public in a safe manner. Our members turning up and carrying out their duties with due diligence .   Can I take this opportunity to remind our members that we belong in the main to this society because it is our hobby and not a business, but because we operate our locomotives etc: in a public park we do have to pay due regard to matters of health and safety.  The care given to the operation of our procedures makes us feel comfortable in the knowledge that in the main we do operate with due regard for the safety and well being of all.

                We held two events this past year for members and their guests/ families only. The efficiency trials in July were well supported and the Evening Run with Fish and Chip Supper in October proved to be a very pleasant social occasion. Running a steam loco in the dark is an experience not forgotten. We have assisted over the years with the development of the park and supported the Britain in Bloom bids put forward by Newcastle Borough Council, these proved to be highly successful this year. We are also developing strong links with the education dept at the Borough Museum with our support with school visits.

                 Our membership this year has increased slightly with all but a few honouring their commitment in supporting the activities of the society. We create a running rota for each season most effectively but this is becoming more and more difficult. The club electric locomotive and subsequent training in its use to carry passengers has eased the pressure of covering the duty driver role. We have considered the role of Associate Members in support of this rota. The membership altered the definition of an associate member to include all aspects of the society, excluding those allied to the owning and running of a steam operated locomotive.

                The membership turned out on mass again in the spring when we  carried out some gardening to tidy the site. And in the summer we painted about a third of the track during an evening meeting. It  is now becoming evident that as a result of cut backs in services in the park we are going to have to take on more responsibility for the grounds maintenance of the site, with the approval of the local authority personnel, as we are sited in a conservation area. The large paved area at the track site was beginning to cause problems due to the slabs moving and creating trip hazards and difficulties moving heavy locos. We therefore decided to tarmac this area and with the assistance of the Landscape and Community Manager agreed a contract with an approved contractor for this work. It was completed in October and we had applied earlier and received partial funding for this from Tesco’s Community Fund.                    

We do try and arrange activities away from the track for our members with traction engines; the portable track went out to a number of community activities. This is always a very good method of promoting our society away from the Brampton.  Many of our members have also attended meetings and open days at other societies.

Our twice monthly meetings on the first and third Mondays’ of the month are well attended and we do have some interesting and informative guest speakers as well as our own members passing on their own experiences.  The Tennis Pavilion in an adjacent park is proving to be a most satisfactory venue for our needs.
       In conclusion we must congratulate the vast majority of the membership of this society who support it in many ways with varying levels of in input. This is to be encouraged and it is my hope and intention to allow all members a say in the direction and way forward for this society during the coming years.

Rodger Taylor