Announcement by the LMS-Patriot Company

In a letter dated 15th November 2019, LMS Patriot Project Members were informed by the Company that the Board’s Chairman David Bradshaw had resigned after the Company’s November AGM. The Engineering Director Steve Blackburn had tendered his resignation few days later.

The Board has expressed grateful thanks to David Bradshaw without whom the LMS-Patriot Project might have remained nothing more than a fond hope: his vision and contribution has been a major factor in the impressive progress made since 2008. The Board also fully acknowledges Steve Blackburn’s service and contribution throughout his 11 years as a Director.  

The Company had already moved to strengthen both the Board itself and the management of our engineering processes, in response to a number of significant issues that have confronted the Project in recent times. Two volunteer members have already joined the Board this month: Keith Riches, who has spent over 30 years in the aircraft industry with senior engineering and logistics management experience, and Colin Hall, a former senior officer in the rail industry with 35 years' service.

The Board will take steps to appoint a Chairman in due course. Kevin Finnerty, Deputy Chairman, has taken up the role of Acting Chairman in the interim. Board members are concentrating on working closely as a team to take the project forward to completion.

A crucial step in this process will be more robust forward planning, linking engineering progress and funding at this critical stage. While our enthusiasm for the project is undimmed, we have to recognise from all our experience that progress can go astray in reality and the future is hard to predict.  

We now believe that our current aspiration of locomotive completion by November 2020 (with its Remembrance significance) is unlikely be met. However, we still intend to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the repatriation of the remains of the Unknown Warrior. We will make further announcements on this as our planning develops. We will keep our members fully informed and ideally would like to do this on a more frequent basis as things develop.

Nonetheless, the Project is now in the best place, with 'The Unknown Warrior' at The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust's workshop at West Shed. Since the move there this summer, Simon Scott their CME has been providing expert engineering advice and input, and we have the utmost confidence in their ability to complete the locomotive to the standard required. The Project’s engineering meetings are taking place at the West Shed at Swanwick, allowing our recently restructured Engineering team to continue to build on this partnership. Our Board meetings will be held nearby, too. We will explore other ways of strengthening the relationship between us.

Suitable liaison arrangements will be put in place under the new structure with our other key contractors, Heritage Boiler Steam Services and Leaky Finders working on the boiler and the tender, who have our full confidence, too. 

The Board will also carry out a thorough review, with the help of PRCLT, of the engineering and safety process requirements for mainline operation to inform policy on that important issue. 

In conclusion we remain determined to produce a mainline locomotive of the highest standard which will commemorate the fallen.

The LMS-Patriot Company Ltd. • The Hub, 17 Eastgate Street, Stafford, ST16 2LZ • Registered in England & Wales No. 6502248 • Registered Charity No. 1123521
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