Had you received the latest edition of Peak Express, which has been severely delayed due to the Covid-19 restrictions, my Chair Report would have included a brief resume of the AGM of the Peak Railway Association Ltd (PRA). This took place on Saturday 8th February at the Whitworth Centre in Darley Dale. So I’ve decided to include some of the proceedings in this message.
53 members attended in person with all 8 current Directors present and there were 48 valid Proxy votes. All the resolutions on the Agenda were passed including the reappointment of directors Mick Bond and Harold Davenport. The Resolution to consider the Accounts for the year ended 31/05/19 raised a number of questions from several members. It was asked why income had fallen by roughly £14000. It was explained that much of the reduction in membership receipts (£6000) would be because of the timing of the publication of Peak Express. It being through Peak Express that membership renewals and reminders are distributed to members. The removal of free travel for PRA members by Peak Rail Plc had caused a very small number not to renew their membership. Another issue is that a significant number of people have taken advantage of the discount on 5 year membership so therefore are not renewing annually. Sadly there has also been an increase in the number of deaths being notified. It should be noted that membership receipts have been very buoyant in the current financial period. There were two other significant declines in income that need to be mentioned. Firstly, the donations received from PRA Branches fell by £4250. This is wholly down to a large donation from the Sheffield Branch of £5000 in August 2017, therefore occurring in the previous financial period ending 31/05/18, towards the renewal of Darley Dale Level Crossing. Secondly, receipts from the Annual Raffle were down by nearly £3700 on the previous year. Unfortunately this is a trend that has continued with the latest raffle at the end of 2019 with receipts down another £2500 to £5100. The reasons for this are very clear. Due to General Data Protection requirements the PRA can no longer send raffle tickets to Peak Rail Plc shareholders. This has reduced income by some £3000-4000. Also there has been a drop in receipts from PRA members who receive raffle tickets to sell via Peak Express. There have also been fewer volunteers prepared to sell raffle tickets on the train. With 50% of total sales coming from the Santa Special season this has had a real impact. The 2018 raffle raised £7800 towards refurbishing the carriages on Peak Rail. This has mainly been used to purchase cloth for recovering the seats in two Mk 1 carriages plus a set of batteries, costing £1800, for another. The seat covers on the Mk 1’s had become very tatty and the refurbishment has dramatically improved their appearance which is important to visitors.
It is interesting to note that no member asked about what the £9192 under the heading Projects had actually been spent on. £3760 went to purchase new Crossing Timbers to replace life expired ones. £420 went on CCTV provision at Church Lane Signal Box. This was in response to volunteer safety being put at risk by road vehicles moving through the level crossing whilst the gates were being opened and closed. The CCTV has removed this problem. Yet another positive not mentioned was the £3371 provided for the restoration of the LMS Brake Van, as reported on in the last edition of Peak Express.
I’ll cover some of the issues that arose under General Discussion future updates.