WENSLEYDALE RAILWAY ASSOCIATION (TRUST) Ltd
The Wensleydale Railway Association (Trust) Ltd is a Registered Charity (Reg. No. 1088324) and a Company Limited by Guarantee (Co. No. 4094801), and is a member organisation which supports the Wensleydale Railway Plc. The organisation, generally known as ‘The Trust’, was created in 2015 by the merger of the Wensleydale Railway Association (WRA) and the Wensleydale Railway Trust (WRT), the former being set up as a member organisation in 1990 to promote the reopening of the railway, which had not provided regular passenger services since 1954. The WRT was established as a charity in 2000 with the following ‘charitable objects’ which were inherited by WRA(T) at the merger:
(i) To advance the education of the public in all matters related to the Wensleydale Railway between Northallerton in the County of North Yorkshire and Garsdale in the County of Cumbria (hereinafter called “the Railway”) and railways and public transport in general and integrated transport in particular.
(ii) To advance and conserve the heritage of the Railway, and railways in general, for the benefit of the public.
Members of the WRA and the WRT established the Plc in 2004 to create the operating company for the line and to enter into a long-term lease with Network Rail. Passenger trains ran again in July 2003. WRA(T) supports the Plc:
- by a combination of awarding grants for tasks and activities that are compatible with these object(ive)s, such as track repairs;
- by funding and undertaking its own conservation and restoration projects (such as the refurbishment of Station House at Leeming Bar, assisted by a substantial grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, NLHF);
- by employing staff to run a Heritage Education programme with local schools and promote community engagement with local people up and down the line; and
- by facilitating the provision and training of volunteers, more than 250 of them from amongst the membership, to assist with a wide range of tasks required for the railway to run.
Other major projects over the years have included the restoration of the signal box at Leeming Bar, the restoration of Scruton Station, the construction of a passing loop and other facilities at Leyburn Station, and the refurbishment of various items of rolling stock.
The Trust publishes a booklet called ‘Relay’ three times a year, which is issued to all members, currently numbering approximately 1650. It also fundraises though a combination of appeals to members and the general public and by seeking grants from funding bodies such as NLHF.
The Trust is run by a Council of Management, of at least six Trustees (there are currently eight) who meet every month or two to manage the affairs of the business. New trustees are always welcome, more for their enthusiasm than their expertise!
Nigel Park – Chairman, WRA(T)
After a career mostly in retail management and telecoms Nigel came to the WR firstly as a volunteer, then part time events organiser where he was responsible for the first steam gala amongst other things and finally as GM for 8 years until he retired in 2018. Since then he has remained as a volunteer undertaking various roles including driver and guard and in the last couple of years as a Trustee and Chairman of the Wensleydale Railway Association (Trust).
Robert Carter – Vice Chairman, WRA(T)
Robert Carter is currently the Vice Chairman of the WRA(T). He retired from the Army with the rank of Major in 2005 after 6 years of Service in the Royal Engineers and 28 years in the Royal Signals, with first 12 years of this latter period being spent in the Territorial Army when he owned a small mixed farm in East Sussex. After leaving the Army he spent 7 as an office manager for a Northallerton based end of life charity. Robert has been an active volunteer with the Railway since 2005 being involved in crossing keeping, signalling, office administration, on train catering and infrastructure maintenance. Robert was awarded the Territorial Decoration (TD) in 1988, made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1998 Queen’s Birthday Honours List and a Member of the Institution of Royal Engineers (UK) (MInstRE) in 2007.
John Smithson – Treasurer, WRA(T)
Robert Mordey (Bob) – Membership.
Bob is a retired Business and IT Consultant and has been a member of the ‘Association’ for many years.
In 2013 he took on the role of the Association’s General Secretary, a position which he held until after the merger of the ‘Association’ with the ‘Trust’ in June of 2015.
He then took on the role of Treasurer of the combined bodies, a position which he held until late 2019, at which point he handed over the position to the current treasurer, John Smithson.
It had by then become apparent that a new membership system was required to better support the railway, and with effect from the start of 2020 he introduced the new system based on the ‘Member Mojo’ software and has since been acting as Head of Membership Services.
David Walker: Volunteer Director, Wensleydale Railway Plc and Trustee, Wensleydale Railway Association (Trust)
- Grant applications
- Project Management of heritage focussed schemes
- Team Leader of WR Direct Works Team (Volunteers)
- Bedale Signal Box (listed building)
- Leeming Bar Station Signal Box (a National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project)
- Scruton Station (Derelict condition to National Award winning restoration)
- Leeming Bar Station House (National Lottery Heritage Fund supported)
the New Tyne Tunnel.
He has been a supporter of the Railway since he joined the Wensleydale Railway Association in 1996 and subscribed to an Aysgarth Station Bond in 1997.
He became an active volunteer in 2015 as a member of the Leyburn Permanent Way team,Senior Crossing Keeper,Track Patroller and is now Crossing Keeper Manager.
Wendy first contributed to The Wensleydale Railway coffers in 1994 and became a volunteer after retiring from Primary School Headship. She has enjoyed a long and happy career in Education with thirty-one of these years in Management. She is currently Vice Chair of the Governing Body of a large primary school on Catterick Garrison.
She was involved in the conception of the Scruton Station Heritage Education Programme, becoming part of the National Award-winning Volunteer Team; and is currently supporting the Wensleydale Railway Community Engagement Officer.
She has a love of history, creative arts, the environment – and animals. She has enjoyed delving into a fascinating family ancestry and involves herself in the local community, being Treasurer and Past Chair of two other organisations.
Want to help out ?
We are always looking for new friends to help the railway move forward. If you are interested please contact us.