A Message from the Chair – 12/5/20

Dear Member,

Following on from my recent message I thought it time to give a further update.

Pete Waller, the Membership Secretary, is currently in the process of sending out renewal letters to members. These apply to members whose membership expires between March and May. The renewal letter has been slightly amended to take into account the current situation created by Covid-19. For example the Travel Vouchers, for members to use in 2020, are now valid for use up to April 30th 2022. This decision has been made because the ability of members to use this benefit of PRA membership   obviously depends on when, how and even if the current restrictions are lifted for Heritage Railways. Being a part of the Leisure/Hospitality Sector, which attracts crowds of people, and given an ongoing ‘social distancing’ policy, I don’t believe this will be any time soon. This seems to have been underlined by the PM’s statement to the Nation last Sunday. Will visitors feel confident to congregate in spaces with other people? Given the age profile of volunteers, with individuals classed as vulnerable, some will be very apprehensive about returning to their previous duties. Difficult decisions will need to be taken and risks assessed to inform on as safe an environment as possible for people to work in and visit. As manager of the P-Way department I’m currently working on just such issues in readiness for a return. Given the work is outside, in the open, and involves activities that can allow ‘social distancing’ I hope that this will be quite soon. I will be liaising with my colleagues within the department at every stage to develop ‘safe methods of working’.

If it proves difficult to provide the usual membership benefits to members, the PRA Directors will carefully assess the situation. Consideration will be given to find other ways in 2021 to reward members for their ongoing generosity throughout 2020.

With the usual channels for fund raising curtailed in the present climate it may be that we ask you to support a specific PRA project. An example of such a project might be providing watering facilities for steam locos at Rowsley for 2021. Most of the materials for this project already exist, water columns/cranes and a storage tank.

Even in Lockdown PRA activity carries on. Gordon Caro, who leads the recently re-established Buxton branch, has just informed me that the frame for the replica running in board, to go on the Buxton site, is ready. In a future article Gordon will give an update on recent developments by the PRA on the Buxton site.

The answers to the joint PRA/DWVT quiz have been published. How did you do? Having a copy of Bill Hudson’s splendid book ‘Through Limestone Hills’ would have been very useful.

Please continue to stay safe and well during these strange and challenging times.

Kind Regards
Roger Hallatt
Chairman PRA