A major part of the task of moving the Trust’s Rolling Stock to the new Blyth Valley rolling stock storage area – dealing with the staff mess (Coach 7) – went extremely well on Wednesday November 11th. Wave Trade* of Lowestoft were their usual efficient selves: and only took two hours for setting up and cranage onto the low-loader – the time to crane off was even less. As Wave Trade originally brought us Coach 7 many years ago, they were interested to see what changes we had made in the course of restoration – a long process, led by Bernie from the EATM. Meanwhile, the team was not idle: lots more timber (donated by Duncan’s) and workshop sundries, tools and parts were also loaded up onto Sean’s trailer for the move to the new Blyth Valley workshop.
Chris’s team had previously laid down two panels of heavy-duty track (well – it’s heavy duty for us – 35lb per yard!), which showed its mettle when the 8-tonne coach was lowered onto it, with no sign of any rail movement at all, and an absolutely level coach – side to side and fore and aft. The team then pushed the coach into the lean-too, chocked it securely, and had a ceremonial cuppa to christen it. The coach (the WWI Belgian tram trailer) turned out to be even heavier than we thought – when it finally becomes our first passenger coach, we will have to lay track keeping in mind its 4-tonne axle loading.
On Saturday November 14th, the Trust held its Annual General Meeting at the Harbour Inn, Southwold, the first under the new Chairman, James Hewett. This was very well attended, by a record number of Members, and went very smoothly: the lunch which followed was greatly enjoyed (again by a record number), and after that there was an informal “brainstorm” discussion of all things SRT, with many interesting ideas coming from the assembled Membership. These will be collated, and a digest published in the next Newsletter. It seems that this idea was popular, so it will be repeated: it is highly appropriate for the Trust to listen to its Members as often aspossible. During the meetings, the Wenhaston Millennium station sign, completely restored by the Trust and repainted by its original designer, Becky, was displayed. Its replacement venue is under discussion by the District Council, as the preferred location was vetoed by the Highways Authority/SCC. Various Trustees were re-elected, stood down, or were newly-elected, resulting in a Board of nine, with most of the specialisms required (although the Trust is still seeking a fund-raiser). The following Resolution was passed, unanimously, by members at the meeting: That the Southwold Railway Trust set up, promote and administer a Trackbed Fund, to be used to purchase, lease or otherwise acquire access rights on any part of the Southwold Railway trackbed (or land adjacent to it) between Halesworth and Southwold, including the Harbour Railway, to preserve this valuable asset for posterity as a transport corridor through the Blyth Valley. This proposition will now go to the Trustees