Following the announcement at its convention last year that The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is to build a new charter train (based around British Railways mark 3 coaches) and is seeking a new main line connected base in the Darlington area, the Trust is restructuring its management team to take on board these initiatives as well as to continue to deliver the Trust’s on-going activities including its own-promoted railtours for No. 60163 Tornado and the construction on new £5m Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales.
Mark Allatt has advised the Trustees that after 16 years as Chairman of the organisation - and 26 years spearheading the Trust’s marketing, PR and fundraising - he wishes to step aside from the Chairmanship and focus on the construction of No. 2007 Prince of Wales as P2 Project Director. Mark will continue as a Trustee and in addition to his leadership of the P2 Project, where he will prioritise PR, fundraising and marketing, he will also continue to have oversight of and contribute to the rest of the Trust’s PR, marketing and fundraising activities, as well as playing an important role in the Trust's strategic planning across all of its commitments. David Elliott will continue to lead the engineering and Graeme Bunker the operations and commercial aspects of the P2 Project.
Trustee and Operations Director Graeme Bunker will be expanding his existing role as Chairman of the Tornado Steam Traction Executive (which manages the operation of Tornado) and will lead all of No.60163 Tornado’s support activities. In this role he will be assisted by Lt. Col Huw Parker as Deputy Operations Director and David Wright of Locomotive Maintenance Services as our Running Engineer. Sophie Bunker-James, the Trust's Education Officer will also be taking a more active role in the promotion of Tornado and its rail tours.
The Trust is pleased to appoint Graham Langer as a Trustee. Graham has been a covenantor since 2005 and a volunteer since 2008 and now edits the Trust’s in-house publications (The Communication Cord, The Tornado Telegraph and Mikado Messenger) as well as being Trust webmaster. Graham is General Manager of Accucraft (UK) Ltd, which manufactures small scale live steam locomotives. Graham will continue to take the lead on all supporter communications.
As a reflection of the Trust’s previously announced ambitions, Paul Bruce, a senior rail executive with significant property project experience, has been appointed as an advisor to the Trustees and will be leading the Trust’s ambitious plans for an expanded, main line connected facility in the Darlington area.
The change of structure means that the Trust retains strong leadership of both of its locomotives, ably supported by the many volunteers and suppliers involved with both of them, under the overall guidance of the Trustees. The process of recruiting a new Chairman has now begun, and further announcements regarding this (and other appointments) will be made over the coming months.
Speaking on behalf of the Trustees Graeme Bunker-James said, "On behalf of all us involved with Tornado and Prince of Wales, we would like to thank Mark for his dedication and commitment in leading the Trust during such a successful period. This has witnessed the completion of Tornado, the purchase and total rebuild of our support coach and now the exciting launch and first stages of building a brand new P2. Mark has been a passionate advocate of the Trust, working tirelessly over many years, and has been an instrumental part of the successful team since the launch of the project to build a new A1. We are very pleased that Mark is continuing to be part of that team and will spearhead the P2 project with passion, enthusiasm and commitment. As the Trust's activities expand, it is also a pleasure to welcome Paul Bruce to the team and Graham Langer as a Trustee.”
Mark Allatt added, “After almost 16 years as Chairman of the Trust since taking over from our now President David Champion in 2001, 26 years leading the Trust’s marketing, PR and fundraising as well as my numerous other Trust commitments, the role had become far too big for one person to manage in their spare time as a volunteer. I have therefore decided to focus my available time on leading the P2 Project, where we have already spent over £1m on construction and have received pledges from supporters for over 45% of the £5m needed to complete No.2007. I am also pleased to be continuing my oversight of all of the Trust’s marketing, PR and fundraising activities which are also now far too large for one volunteer to deliver. I have hugely enjoyed my time as Chairman and would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Trust's supporters for their support and generosity over this time. I look forward to being able to drive the construction of No.2007 Prince of Wales forward.”