This Bulletin is dominated by how the Coronavirus emergency is impacting on the project.

We are pleased to say that our partners at HBSS are at the time of writing continuing to work on the project, making steady progress with fitting the stays and working on the cladding assembly. Elsewhere, the dome and cover have passed their safety tests, but it is likely that the shut down will prevent transportation for machining and then return to HBSS. 


However, PRCLT decided last week to close West Shed until further notice for health and safety reasons. The position will be reviewed after three weeks. All work there is therefore on hold, and deliveries (such as the motion from Statfold Barn and other, new materials) to the site will not be possible. We stand by them on this decision.  

Funding for the next phase of work at PRCLT (brake installation and axlebox refurbishment) has been authorised by us, to allow the project to move forward when West Shed reopens for work.   


At Leaky Finders, work on the tender frames should be completed shortly and painting has been authorised by us. After painting, work there will cease until further notice (for project reasons).


We reported in March that our Stafford office administration volunteers are working from home as best as possible. The community office premises we use have anyway now been closed until further notice, so, for the foreseeable future, please address any correspondence to: LMS-Patriot Company Ltd, c/o 19 Highfield Road, Hixon, Stafford, ST18 0LY. You can also call the Office Manager on 07801 945689.


Our own project team is coping reasonably with distancing requirements. The site meetings and Board meetings at West Shed that we all looked forward to so much have of course been shelved, replaced with more basic information exchange by teleconferencing. Ironically, we have become accustomed over the years to working remotely, with all its imperfections.     


Progress has been made on documentation gathering, with good cooperation from various parties. 


How can you help going forward?


As well as any government enforced restrictions and temporary site closures, recovery and forward progress will be limited by our ability to keep up with the funding, to allow contractor staff to be paid and materials to be purchased. We all know that the heritage rail industry has been dealt a body blow by the virus precautions: our forecast retail stand merchandising revenues, for example, have gone, for the first half of the year at the least, and there could be worse to come.


But, our income so far in March exceeds both the individual January and February figures; the full quarterly total will be published in the next edition of ‘The Warrior.’ It is greatly appreciated  that you, as members – along with some non-members - still have confidence in us to complete the job. As our office is on lockdown physically , we wish to keep postal correspondence to a minimum, but if you wish to make an additional donation by card, please call our temporary office number: 07801 945689. 


Interest payments continue to be made to our boiler-loan lenders.  A total of £2,470 has been paid as at the end of March and so far, £1,811 has been promised/received in donations from that interest, which has attracted gift aid of £427. One of the lenders, who donated the interest back, added an additional £200 to the donation which, with gift aid of £125, totalled £625. At the same time, he has set up a standing order of £45 per month. Our Treasurer has written to thank him personally - we wanted to do so publicly here.  


A point worth mentioning here is that where a lender wishes to donate the interest (or more) which attracts gift aid, the interest has to be refunded first, then donated back. Those are HMRC rules, not a Patriot treasurer quirk!


In normal times, juggling our funds to maintain workstreams is a constant challenge. These are not normal times. But there are glimmers of light. We recently were able to sell at auction a large quantity of railway-related documents which were given to us by a former BR Manager. They realised a total of £1,054, thanks in part to the auction house waiving commission.


We obviously understand (and ourselves share) concerns about the economic impact of the crisis at the personal level.  All we can ask is that, if your personal circumstances permit, you maintain your loyal funding contributions to our project. The more we can support our contractors, the better we can support their recovery. 


But above all, keep safe.    



The LMS-Patriot Company Ltd. • The Hub, 17 Eastgate Street, Stafford, ST16 2LZ
Registered in England & Wales No. 6502248 • Registered Charity No. 1123521
Tel: 01785 244156
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