At the last board meeting of 4160 Ltd, the chairman, Andy Chatwin, stepped down after nearly 20 years of service to the company.
Andy says “I have now been a chairman of the company for 20 years. I have been considering for some time to step down as chairman and handing the reins over to another director. I have now decided I will now be resigning as chairman. I am naturally rather sad to be making this decision but I think 20 years is a good enough tenure for anybody.
Another important consideration is that my interest in rocketry, astronautics and my connection with the British Inner Planetary Society are now taking more of my time. However, the whole field of heritage railway is still very close to my heart and for that reason I will remain as a director of 4160 Ltd.”
At the meeting Andy was thanked by the directors for his substantial contribution to the company. He was presented with an engraved lead crystal tankard by the directors.
Andy Chatwin proposed Mike Crees as the new chairman and this was carried unanimously. Mike Crees is not unfamiliar to the post having stood in for the previous chairman Malcolm Rowe. Mike Crees has nearly 25 years experience as a director of 4160 ltd so brings a wealth of experience to the post.
10th March 2018
The pictures below were taken by Mick Prior in February 2018 and show the boiler restoration so far.
A successful annual general meeting was held at Minehead in early December. The Board would like to thank those share holders that attended the meeting. Earlier in the day a draw was held at the company's accountants in Minehead and the winner has been contacted, the verification process is now under way. This draw was for the original painting by the late artist Don Breckon "Coasting Home".
Malcolm Mitchell recently supplied this very early photography of 4160 on the way to Tysley, she was accompanied by a Castle Class locomotove. One of these two locomotives ran a hot box and had an unexpected stay at Horton Road to use their wheel drop. This photograph was taken at Gloucester at the very start of 4160's life in preservation.
The photograph was reproduced here by kind permission of Malcolm Mitchell.
PURCHASE OF 4160 LTD SHARES
In the recent WSRA’s 2017 AGM Minutes reference was made to two of 4160 Ltd Directors regarding their share purchase from the WSRA two years ago.
The WSRA’s Chairman Whitehouse stated in his Chairman’s Report “Counsel also advised that the question of the shares in Four One Six 0 Ltd was more clear cut. The court could be asked to make an order to void the transactions, on the grounds that both purchasers would have been aware that the Association was a charity and therefore required to obtain a proper value for the shares. Such an action would lie only against Messrs Crees and Johnson. Counsel would draft a letter to be sent to them. “
Mike Crees recently stated yet again, that these shares were purchased from the WSRA two months after they had been valued by the WSRA’s Auditors. These Auditors had worked for the WSRA for a number of years and were familiar with their business, unlike the company that the so called reformers employed to value Four One Six 0 Ltd. The shares were purchased at the WSRA’s Auditors valuation. He went on to say that the reason for purchasing these shares was to protect the company and shareholders from the fate that has now befallen the WSRA. Where the WSRA new trustees are intending to relinquish control of their assets, one of these assets is six million pounds worth of land at Norton Fitzwarren into the control of the WSR Plc and the Steam Trust. The day to day control of the stone re-cylcing contract at Norton Fitzwarren and the Quantock Belle have already been transferred to the WSR Plc.
Four One Six 0 Ltd has always been an independent company and the Directors and shareholders wish to maintain that status. This intended legal action graphically illustrates the type of character that is now infiltrating the world of railway preservation and seems to be prevalent on the WSR. In the past folk would not have even contemplated legal action against a fellow preservation organisation, there was a different spirit with a more respectful attitude. Unfortunately these Johnny come lately characters bring to the railway a toxic attitude, let’s hope this type of character are in a minority in future years.
The irony of all this is that these are the very same characters who created the environment that prompted Mike Crees and Paul Johnson to purchase the shares in the first place to protect their company. These shares are still held by the two directors of 4160 Ltd and they both state that is where they will stay. They have had overwhelming support from their shareholders in this regard, who support the company’s desire to remain independent.
Four One Six 0 Ltd shares are not traded on the stock exchange and pay no dividend, it is a private limited company. Shares currently are issued at a £1 each. It is a private heritage railway company and cannot be valued or viewed as a commercial company would because its sphere of operation is small and specialist. Paul Johnson, who has been company secretary for 25 years said “when 4160 ltd shares come on to the open market from a deceased shareholders estate, they have never realised more than one third of their original value” This reflects the company’s trading value.
Mike Crees says “the company that the reformers employed to value Four One Six 0 Ltd stated that they had never valued a heritage locomotive company before which to me speaks volumes and is probably why they came up with an over inflated value. This company did not contact any of the Directors to ascertain a proper perspective of the company’s trading position. If they had done so we could have advised them of the unique trading world that Four One Six 0 Ltd operates in.” He then went on to say, that the WSR Plc hold shares in two locomotives and in their Financial Report they clearly state these shares are very difficult to value and are normally valued at par. I would remind you that the Plc are a company for profit. If they wished to sell these shares they would be sold at par (face value).
UPDATE ON HEAVY OVERHAUL
The heavy overhaul of the boiler is going very well. Below are the latest photographs by kind permission of Michael Prior.
11th November 2017
UPDATE ON HEAVY OVERHAUL
4160 is well into its second heavy overhaul at Llangollen Railway. At this point the copper welding on the fire box is progressing well but there is still a lot of work to do. One of the country’s leading copper welders has been brought in to carry out this work. Preliminary inspection of the frames has given us an indication of the amount of work required to bring the locomotive up to an acceptable standard for entering traffic again. We are now discussing with Llangollen the scheduling for this work to be carried out. Director and Company Secretary, Paul Johnson, still continued to be a presence at the Llangollen workshops to monitor the progress.
Up to date the board are pleased with the progress of restoration work carried out at Llangollen.
On reflection, when the board was considering the contractors to carry out this heavy overhaul, it was seriously considered that the work could be undertaken by the Associations workshops at Williton. However, at that time, the PLC were threatening to remove the Associations lease on their workshops rendering them unable to have capacity for commercial work. Also, there was the added threat of redundancies amongst the Association engineering staff which would have seriously hampered their capacity. At this time, also, there was a hard core of ruthless reformers circling, who were determined to destabilise the Association Trustees. It would not have made good business sense to risk a long term project in these circumstances.
24th July 2017
2017 GENERAL MEETING AT LLANGOLLEN
The 2017 General meeting was held at Llagollen on 10th February 2017, those members that were able to attend were given the opportunity to view the locomotive whilst undergoing it’s second heavy overhaul in preservation. The business of the meeting went smoothly apart from an issue concerning proxies from two shareholders. However, the directors were able to remedy the potential problem and made sure that the two shareholders had a voice at the meeting.
Mike Crees told us that earlier in the day the Directors had a very successful and constructive meeting with the Chairman of the Llangollen Railway, Peter Lund, and the General Manager, Kevin Gooding. They also met with Graham Elwood, who is the head of engineering. “We were treated with utmost courtesy and had a most productive meeting. We hope to be able to give a more technical update soon”.
20th February 2017
POSTINGS ON NATIONAL PRESERVATION FORUM
UPDATE 6/2/2017: We have now been supplied further information from the 4160 Ltd board concerning this matter. It appears that Miss White served on a committee under Ian Colby at the time she made the remarks about the 4160 Ltd directors. She gave her ‘official’ title as Operations Development Officer but the Plc only confirmed that she served on a small committee as a member under the Chairmanship of Ian Colby. That comittee was disbanded in late November and an Operations Committee was formed to carry out the recommencations of the Colby Committee and the Plc confirmed that Miss White would take no further part in the Operations Committee. However, there was an official Press Release on 23/05/2016 stating that Robin White was appointed Operations Project Manager, this Press Release was published in the National Heritage Press and other publications. The Plc has now stated to the 4160 Ltd Board that this Press Release was an error and that Miss White was never a Manager or Officer within the Plc at this time. Apparently there is a protocol in place regarding Plc press releases on their web site and to outside media. So how did this error happen? Even Miss White was under the impression that she held this position in the Plc and went so far as to say in the Press Release “I am very excited to be taking on this role for the WSR in which I believe I can make a significant contribution in the coming months”. In the Plc Press Release even Paul Conibeare, the General Manager, appeared to be delighted that she held this position.
We asked the 4160 Ltd Board to comment on this stranger than fiction situation. Mike Crees said “this is an extraordinary situation, we have this documented in emails from the Plc, so how can this sort of thing happen? Producer Peter Rogers and Director Gerald Thomas of the famous Carry On films would have loved this as a script. ‘Carry On Up the Railway’ perhaps! As a final twist to this saga I received an email on 4/2/17 from Mr Pateman who is head of governance within the Plc, where he states that "there is currently no holder of such a post which has only recently been created as part of the operations review.” It would appear that there is a post but it is currently unfilled!
UPDATE 17-11-16: We understand from the Directors of 4160 that in correspondence received today the WSR Plc has not distanced themselves from the untrue and libellous statements made by Ms White under her offical title of "WSR Operations Development Officer". The Plc have even denied that she is an employee and therefore only a volunteer.
UPDATE: As we understand it at the moment the two 4160 Ltd directors have in the last few weeks contacted the WSR Plc regarding these postings by a senior member of their staff. The two directors have requested that the Plc board distance themselves publicly from these postings. As of 16th November nothing has been forthcoming and the posting still remains live.
Recently postings were made on the National Preservation Forum by Robin White, who was an employee and legal advisor to the WSR Plc. These postings were materially incorrect and potentially libellous. The incorrect portion of the post is given here.
“Those now held unlawfully by the 2 ‘gentlemen’ who hold them”
She alludes to the purchase of 4160 Ltd shares from the WSRA. We would like to point out that these shares were lawfully purchased from the Association Trustees under the terms of their Articles and as valued by their Auditors. They are still held by the two 4160 Ltd Directors to safeguard the shareholders interest and the company.
In the posting Ms White also refers to:-
“Whether the Plc directors (or anyone else) will have anything to do with 4160 under its present ownership when restored is a matter for them. Speaking absolutely personally, I try to avoid doing business with such folk, so the return of 4160 to the WSR (or anyone else) must, at least, be in doubt.”
4160 Ltd has traded for 20 years with the WSR Plc and had a good mutual working relationship for that period. These statements made by this Plc volunteer potentially bring this working relationship into jeopardy. At the last 4160 Ltd AGM in December 2015 the Directors agreed to look favourably to bringing the loco back to the WSR after its heavy overhaul. However, in the light of these latest statements by Miss White, the board of 4160 Ltd have been forced to review the return of 4160 and the future home of the Class 09 shunter.
The 4160 Ltd Directors have expressed this as a matter of deep concern to the Plc Board regarding these libellous and malicious statements by Miss White.
In the posting Miss White then went on to state:-
“unlawfully obtained shares”
These shares were purchased lawfully like any other share transfer in any other company and to state they were unlawfully obtained is libellous. By making such wildly inaccurate statements in a public forum, it can only put more strain on the relationship between 4160 Ltd and the Plc and add to the turmoil already on WSR.
We would like to create a 4160 picture gallery on this web site. If any one has copyright free pictures of 4160 new or old, in any location, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please give the location of the photograph, date and any other interesting details, including your name.
DRAW FOR THE ORIGINAL DON BRECKON PAINTING OF 4160 COASTING HOME
Over 30 years ago Don Breckon was commissioned to paint a picture of 4160 entitled “Coasting Home”. The original has been stored with the company’s bank, prints were made and sold to raise money for the restoration of 4160. All these prints were numbered and signed by Don Breckon, but with the passing of time many people who owned these prints could have moved and therefore our original list of owners could be out of date.
It was always envisaged that we would have a Draw from the original people who purchased the prints directly from 4160 Ltd. The prize in the Draw would be the original painting of “Coasting Home”. Only the owners who purchased their prints directly from 4160 Ltd and signed by Don Breckon are eligible to enter the Draw.
Anyone owning an original “Coasting Home” print needs to contact our registered office at 4160 Ltd, 2 Warden Road, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5DS, giving the print number for vertification and purchase date together with their contact details. The Draw closes on the 1st October 2016.
The Draw has now closed.
Second Heavy Overhaul - 28th February 2016 - In January 2016 the loco left the West Somerset Railway and was transported to Llangollen Railway for its heavy overhaul, its second major overhaul since restoration. Up to that point it had run on the West Somerset Railway for 20 years, 10 years longer than the original agreement. Paul Johnson has been to Llangollen several times to work on the engine alongside the Llangollen engineers. He helped remove all the gauges for storage awaiting inspection and recalibration. The boiler has been lifted out of the frame and the tubes are being removed. Further inspection on the boiler will continue into the next few weeks to establish the amount of work required.
Share Purchase - To clarify the situation regarding the purchase of 4160 shares from the WSRA. There has been an enormous amount of misinformation supplied to the Heritage Railway Press, the members of WSRA and the public in general. We now need to clarify the situation with the facts not speculation. A protest group that has surfaced over the last few years stated their aim to change the WSRA's role within the West Somerset Railway, one of their aims was to remove assets belonging to the WSRA and transfer them to the WSR Plc. To clarify the situation, 4160 Ltd is a wholly independent company hiring a locomotive to the West Somerset Railway Plc, the directors take no remuneration from the company and there is no dividend paid to shareholders. In 1990 the WSRA purchased a holding in 4160 Ltd, and for many years it was never an issue. However in 2015, when the protest group were trying to remove the Trustees from the WSRA, this put at risk the integrity and independence of 4160 ltd as the shares were an asset of the WSRA and could have potentially been sold to anyone outside the railway. The WSRA Trustees and the majority of 4160 Ltd Directors believed that this might well happen if the Trustees were removed at the EGM called by the protest group. Two Directors of 4160 Ltd, who have 32 years and 24 years’ service to the company, approached the WSRA Trustees with a request to purchase the shares to safeguard 4160 ltd. The WSRA Trustees approved the sale of the shares as within their Articles they are charged with the responsibility of protecting railway heritage artefacts. The shares were sold at the full face value as agreed by the WSRA Auditors and registered with Companies House. This action secures 4160 Ltd independence and any threat from a hostile takeover. Many letters were received from 4160 Ltd shareholders supporting the action by the two Directors. The above is a factual account of the events surrounding the sale of the 4160 Ltd shares owned by the WSRA.