February 2017 – Update from the Chairman

Hello All, 

As we near the end of February there are a number of updates as ABTRA moves forwards that we would like to share with you. 

Firstly, our projects:

1. Ashington & Bedlington Railway Stations: We still have these two stations on our radar and they are a standing item at our Committee meetings. Thus far due to costs (potentially running into thousands of pounds), our plans are currently on hold. Longer term, we would like to see the preservation of and possible restoration of the structures (particularly those at Bedlington) for future use, complementing the re-opening of the line to passenger traffic. For more information please see our past blog post about our York (Network Rail) Meeting

2. Butterwell Branch: Currently the main focus of the group, this project is focussed on preservation of the infrastructure of the Butterwell Branch for future use. Our Committee is presently developing our proposals, and will hopefully have more news to report soon (time of writing 24.02.17). 

3. Daniel Gooch and other local railway heritage: As an area blessed in many ways with a rich industrial heritage, ABTRA has began to adopt some smaller side projects to bring some of this heritage to the attention of a wider, public audience. We now have a link with the Gooch200 website, and slowly are adding to our remit to bring this heritage to life. 

4. Social Media and Website presence: As many of you will already likely know, we have a number of social media outlets, with Facebook being our primary means of communication, but also Twitter and Instagram. These are steadily growing in following, which is always welcome! We now however also have a Google Sites website as our ABTRA website. This website is steadily seeing more traffic, and of course this blog is also seeing a much greater volume of traffic over time. At the time of writing the number of visits to the blog in 2017 have (as of 24.02.17) exceeded the total hits in 2016. Thank you again to all who are keeping up to date with us, and if you like us you’d be more than welcome to become members! 

5. Administration: Far from the most exciting task faced by our Committee but we have a steady amount of admin tasks for the group taking place behind the scenes. From setting up our bank account last year which finally allowed us to process cheques for membership applications, now to considering company/trust status should our other plans come to fruition. At the minute it is envisaged that any status change would happen alongside the Association, maintaining continuity, but this is presently under discussion at our Committee meetings. 

6. Communication with other groups/individuals: To try and gain as much valuable information as possible to further our projects, we have been outreaching to other groups in a similar position to ourselves. We wish to thank both Mr. E. Hague from the Yorkshire Wolds Railway and Mr R. Bradley from the Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd Railway for their help and support this far, and we would like to continue this relationship well into the future. We have further plans to involve other more local stakeholders in the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne railway more actively with us, again more on this in the future. 

That’s it for now but more news in the near future, thanks, RH.



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