Annual Report on 2018
As usual I must caution readers that this statement is written in January 2019, reviews the year 2018, and looks forward into the future. By the time the AGM considers this report in May, events will have overtaken it, and some items may be out of date.
The Executive Committee has continued with its policy of meeting four times per year, with dates fixed to best suit the needs of the Society business year, and will do so again in 2019.
Tramway Liaison Committee
Our membership of the Tramway Liaison Committee is a useful exchange forum between the Light Rail Transit Association, the Tramway Museum Society, and ourselves, particularly in the context of joint meetings and joint subscription collection. The TLC meets three times per year.
There have been no new TLRS publications since our book "Large Scale Tramway Modelling" by Peter Hammond and Peter Howard was published at the end of 2015. The book continues to sell well and is a useful tool for encouraging modellers to try model engineering.
In 2018 we went to London's Docklands with an informal look at the DLR and other transport changes in the area, particularly with respect to Crossrail. Sadly within a short period of our visit it was announced that the opening of Crossrail (the Elizabeth Line) was to be deferred from December 2018 until Autumn 2019. For 2019 we look forward to an AGM at the Wirral Tramway & Wirral Transport Museum.
Once again during the year a number of our members have produced kits for our mutual benefit. Progress with resin moulded models and 3D printing provides a useful source for short runs of unusual prototypes. Derek Smith has done some interesting work in this respect in developing the "Lesney" scale. Member Paul Coles has again extended the KW range of white metal kits in 00 and 0 gauges. Our Sales of 00 Majestic kits were suspended during most of 2018, but have now recommenced. Our exclusive sales of Pete Watson PDF card kits continue to be strong with frequent new releases. Overseas, Halling hit some financial problems, but this now seems resolved. Pursuing a suggestion at the 2018 AGM, TLRS investigated the possibility of financing the production of a ready-to-run British tram but this proved not to be viable.
UK Tramways Progress
After a long wait, the Sheffield - Rotherham tram-train commenced service on 25 October 2018. Unfortunately on the first day there was a collision between one of the new trams and a lorry, causing the service to be suspended for a few hours. Not the sort of publicity that we would have wished for.
I can only once more repeat my statement of last year that Bob Appleton has done a superb job of editing Tramfare for us. In January 2018 we passed issue number 300. We appreciate the work done by the contributors to the magazine, without which it simply would not exist. Thanks also go to Geoffrey Heywood for magazine distribution and Latimer Trend for production. Tramfare is the key benefit of membership of the TLRS and its importance cannot be overstated. Many new members join us to receive the magazine.
Festivals and Exhibitions
The 2018 Festival of Model Tramways was at the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport. As it as the 80th year of the TLRS there was an emphasis on the large scale models for which we are most famous. This was the 30th Festival and the organisers decided for various reasons that it was to be the last annual event, although it is possible that one-off ad hoc Festivals may be held on special occasions in the future. The TLRS has two quality 1:16 scale models on permanent display in the Havering Museum.
Website and Facebook
The TLRS web pages are hosted by the Tramways Information website. As before the site continues to be the major source of new members, even more so during 2018. People can join the TLRS and renew subscriptions or purchase publications and models. For publicity purposes the TLRS also has a Facebook page, an open page that can be seen by anyone (Facebook members and general public) and which directs people to the website. In addition the Society fully supports the Facebook Tramway Modelling Group, www.facebook.com/groups/modeltrams, which it founded.
Sadly again TLRS membership continues to fall, with losses at renewal time being only partly made up during the year with new recruits. The decrease is largely attributable to the age of our membership and at least a third, and possibly as many as half of the loss is due to members passing away. However, as before we do not seem to be suffering with membership loss as badly as some other similar organizations and the financial situation is stable. We need to make sure that we retain members and this is best achieved with our high quality magazine.
The Society is grateful to members who bequeath items to the archive, and from time to time we publish advice on the form bequests should take and this is available on the website. A number of our archive images have been used in publications.
In addition to the Facebook and website items previously mentioned, we continue with distribution of posters and handbills at exhibitions etc. Some material is available as pdf downloads from the Members' Notices page of the website.
Treasurer and Membership Secretary
Trevor Service as Membership Secretary deals with new members and subscription renewals. In 2018 John Leach continued as Treasurer for the time being. Thanks go to both gentlemen for their continued efforts to keep the Society running smoothly, particularly at year-end when renewals come in and accounts have to be completed. Trevor also processes credit cards for our sales, and for this we are extremely grateful. For health reasons John Leach indicated that he wished to stand down as Treasurer. After some regrettable delay we have found a replacement, and Brian Yates is taking over during 2019. John Leach has done the job for over 30 years (and 10 years as Secretary before that) and hopes to continue on the committee in a less taxing role. I cannot really put into words my appreciation for this enormous contribution and can only place on record my personal thanks and that of the TLRS for this unparalleled achievement.
The revenue from "Gift Aid" still helps us. A proportion of our income is derived from the interest paid on our capital. Interest is still expected to be low for quite a while. However, even though the Society is in a strong financial position, we must be cautious with our expenditure so as to stay that way, particularly with lower subscription revenue as membership numbers fall and more members pay the senior rate. There a few bright spots, but indicators seem to suggest that there is a general slow-down in the tramway hobby interest, not just for TLRS. Similarly there is a decline in the modelling of all subjects, again as reported by commercial companies. Be assured that your committee will remain alert and keep a watchful eye on the situation.
|Go to --->|