WATTRAIN …..Newsletter June 2017

The World Alliance of Tourist Trams & Trains


June 2017 Newsletter


Since this is the first newsletter that I have the privilege of editing for WATTRAIN, I thought it would be helpful to repeat information I shared with all members a week ago…
My name is Peter S Lewis, and I have been charged with the task of producing a MONTHLY newsletter for WATTRAIN.
A little about myself…
Some of you may remember me from the 2012 WATTRAIN Congress at the NRM York, where I had been invited to do a presentation on media communication (I think!). At the time, Steam Tube was a growing video/photo sharing website ..we are now based on Facebook, but with an all embracing news/features site Rail Tube (www.railtube.info) including a monthly newsletter “On Shed”.
Last week was something of a landmark for Rail Tube.. the site has experienced over ONE MILLION visits in the last year, and we have only really been active for about 16 months in the present guise.
The content of the newsletter will probably follow the following format….
New Members
A word from the President/other Director
Interview with key person….
Report on recent WATTRAIN initiatives (I’ll need to know about these!!)
Developments from around the world heritage wise..
A feature on a heritage line..somewhere!!
Upcoming events…
 It would be most helpful to me ..and indeed other WATTRAIN members- if individual members could share with us their experiences, challenges, current issues and solutions, so that the entire tourist trams and trains community can benefit, and share their expertise  for the benefit of all.
The target date for each newsletter is the first week in each month..i.e. by the 7th!!
So, the first newsletter is imminent!
I would be most grateful for your support and suggestions, and bow to the superior expertise and knowledge that you all have and share..
Please contact me on   peterlewis2@gmail.com
Looking forward to working with you all.

A word from the President,David Morgan


First, I must apologise for the delay in issuing this newsletter, but following the resignation of David Madden as CEO, we needed to recruit a newsletter editor, and I am delighted that Peter Lewis has agreed to take on this role, in which he was confirmed by the Board on 29th May.

I should add that we are extremely grateful to David Madden for having so manfully stepped up to the plate to take over the mantle in 2012 from Ian Smith, who had so brilliantly managed our conference in York. David not only edited the newsletter but must also be credited with identifying the threat to the future use of coal in steam locomotives. As a result of this and the debate on the subject during the Tokyo conference, the Board issued a policy statement arguing that we should fight to keep the right to continue using coal as a traditional fuel, while seeking to reduce further any carbon emissions produced by our operations, despite the very minimal impact they created.

In line with this, we are developing plans with our colleagues in FEDECRAIL how we address the Climate Accord agreed in Paris. During May, I visited several tourist railways in the United States as well as the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, whose director, Courtney Wilson, is one of our Patrons. Although America as a whole seem unconvinced that human activity is entirely responsible for climate change, a view challenged by President Trump in particular, those I spoke to in the tourist railway echelons were keen to reduce pollution by such measures as the installation of scrubbers in loco sheds, using wood pellets for keeping boilers warm overnight and the preheating of boilers by transfer of hot water and/or steam from locomotives already in steam. They believe that their railways will be exempted from any ban on coal, if introduced, but are concerned that, in the event of such a ban, availability of suitable coal supplies.  Sergio Zubieta has also been involved with our Executive Secretary & Director, Gabriela Galizia, in advising on a railway project in Mar del Plata.

Another area of concern is how we make WATTRAIN more financially sustainable. While we are focussing on increasing our membership, we are investigating how we can build up sponsorship to help cover the costs that we will undoubtedly face when conducting campaigns for our members. In April, we invited Sergio Zubieta, Quique Diaz’s partner in El tren del fin del Mondo in Tierra del Fuego in Argentina to become our fourth Patron, as he has a good grasp of the economics of tourist railway operations, as those of you who attended the York conference will remember. I had a meeting with Sergio Zubieta in London in late May and will meet him again at the end of June to seek his advice on the subject.

We are also very conscious that we need to upgrade our website. With the help of Bob LaPrelle, our Director and Vice-President in the USA and CEO of the Museum of the American Railroad in Frisco, Texas, we are engaging NetDoctors to be out web host and webmaster. We will keep you updated on our progress. We will also be reporting on the updating of our Strategic Plan, recently revised by our Australian Vice-President, Chris LeMarshall.

Lastly, I should report that on 27th April, I attended a signing ceremony in Paris to side a Memorandum of Understanding with JP Loubinoux, General Director of the International Union of Railways also known as UIC, l’Union International des Chemins de fer, the global body representing main line railways across the world, for future cooperation in promoting tourism by rail.*

David Morgan, President, WATTRAIN

N.B Please note our change of name adopted in April on the recommendation of our US Patron, Courtney Wilson – The World Alliance of Tourist Trams & Trains”.

  • This (below) is the news release…

Photo: Vanessa Pérez

The European Federation of Museum and Tourist Railways (FEDECRAIL), the World Association of Tourist Trams and Trains (WATTRAIN) and UIC sign an MoU

The European Federation of Museum and Tourist Railways (FEDECRAIL) and the World Association of Tourist Trams and Trains (Wattrain) represented by their President, Mr David Morgan, and UIC, represented by its Director General, Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on 27 April in Paris in the framework of the TopRail (Tourism Opportunities for Railways) activity.

WATTRAIN seeks to promote the interests of the owners and operators of heritage and tourist trains and trams worldwide. Based in London, UK, it ensures that the value of heritage rail is a recognised issue. It engages and supports the sector internationally to facilitate the sustainability of the sector through the sharing of knowledge and the exchange of information.

FEDECRAIL is the European umbrella organisation representing national umbrella and individual Museum and Tourist Railways and Tramways in 27 European countries totalling 650 organisations. It was established under Belgian Law in 1994 as an international not-for-profit organisation and is managed by a volunteer Council appointed by its Members.

UIC, Wattrain and Fedecrail agree to cooperate with each other, to the extent possible, through undertaking active collaboration in the pursuit of two main common objectives: to enhance the visibility and acknowledge tourism opportunities by rail and to increase the rail’s share of the tourist market.

This MoU will enter into force upon signature by the parties for one year, after validation of the next General Assembly of UIC, which takes place on 10 July 2017 and it has been officially presented by Mr Ignacio Barrón de Angoiti, Director of the Passenger and High Speed Department and Mr David Morgan, President of Wattrain and Fedecrail during the Fedecrail Annual Conference held on 5 May 2017 in Antwerp.

Other News


Vice President Heimo Echensperger re-elected

At the last annual general meeting, Vice President and treasurer Heimo Echensperger was unanimously re-elected for three years. Furthermore, Jaap Nieweg retired General Manager of „Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik“ in the Netherlands was unanimously elected as new member to the Council. He is supposed o take over the FEDECRAIL Presidency from David Morgan at a Council meeting in Hoorn in July this year

Three new FEDECRAIL members

Three new members joined FEDECRAIL. They were introduced at the 24th annual general meeting, which took place at Hof van Liere-Conference Centre at the University of Antwerp/ Belgium on 6 May 2017. The organisations’ names are „Fundación de los Ferrocarriles Españoles“, „Dampfbahnverein Zürcher Oberland“ and „Fedrail SA“, the „Federation of Heritage Railways of Southern Africa“. This means FEDECRAIL now has 43 members representing 655 trains/trams.

Interview with key person..

Given that I have only been on board for a week, I have not had time to interview any key person!

However, I am pleased to say that my initial e-mails with this introduction and request, did indeed result in quite a few replies.. And one reply in particular could provide sufficient material for a good few months!

I am particularly grateful to Shaun McMahon,Gabriela Galizia, Sergio Rodriguez Zubieta, Courtney Wilson, Bob LaPrelle(who  said..”I’ll make every effort to provide you something. Stay on me”…!), Luis Gutierrez, and Nigel Hunt for their welcoming words of encouragement, and offers of contributions to the newsletter.

In compiling the newsletter, it was helpful to be reminded of WATTRAIN’s Vision, Mission and Objectives..as follows..

Our Vision

To be recognised globally as an organisation that ensures heritage rail is valued and sustained.

Our Mission

Wattrain will:

Effectively represent heritage rail on global issues achieving outcomes optimal to the sector; and engage and support the sector across borders to facilitate the ongoing sustainability of the sector through the development of people, the sharing of knowledge and the exchange of information.

Our Objectives

  • To facilitate the exchange of information amongst member organisations for their betterment;
  • To promote, represent and act as an advocate for the Heritage and Tourist sector to ensure optimal outcomes in the international arena;
  • To develop an internet-based information source to provide members with a full range of information relevant to their needs (Alexandria library);
  • To assist development of the sector to facilitate exchange of individuals between members so they improve their understanding of the Heritage and Tourist operations especially at the request of members, to provide specific advice and information as a respected consultancy;
  • To facilitate twinning arrangements between Heritage and Tourist operations to improve understanding;
  • To create and develop a database of specialist suppliers of goods and services utilised by the Heritage and Tourist sector with a facility to access feedback;
  • To gather and, where necessary, commission research into financial / economic benefits of operations, environmental and other important issues relevant to the sector;
  • To negotiate on behalf of the sector arrangements for insurance and other key services or products to secure favourable terms as a result of bulk purchasing;
  • At the request of members, to assist in formulation of policy positions and to assist where requested in the presentation of those positions to government and others; and to promote conservation on the basis of Riga Charter.

Our Values

  • Persistent – we are committed to ensuring the sector is sustainable.
  • Transparent – our activities are totally transparent and open for review at all times.
  • Non-partisan – our organisation operates independently and is free from any political, religious or other affiliations.
  • Culturally Considerate – we uphold and advocate the intrinsic importance of culture.
  • Dynamic – we continuously innovate to meet the changing needs of our members.
  • Respectful – we recognise that all members are unique and we value their differences.
  • Passionate – we pursue our goals with passion, drive and an open heart.


Wattrain will fund its operations initially with loans from Directors and then from subscriptions. Once subscriptions received each year exceed USD2000 a budget will be adopted each year by the Directors. The budget will be monitored and amended as necessary.

Subscriptions paid by member organisations and individuals will be kept to a minimum.

Wattrain will not finance Board members’ travel and accommodation except in exceptional circumstances when such costs will be approved by the Board in advance.

Wattrain’s financial year is from 1st May until 30th April. Each year the accounts will be subject to “an independent examination” as required under English law. When this examination is concluded the accounts will be published on the website.


Having had a few e-mail exchanges, it seems apparent that the first objective is crucial.

To facilitate the exchange of information amongst member organisations for their betterment

There are several issues common to all heritage railways..marketing, finance, running (i.e. coal and emissions issues), staff and training, successfully managing heritage stock. Most of these topics have been covered in previous editions of the newsletter, and I bow to the superior working knowledge of those more familiar with these issues to make some helpful contributions to any ongoing discussions.

For this issue, at least, there will be little in the way of technical discussion, but at least the touchpaper has been lit, and we await some useful  comments and contributions from the heritage rail family around the globe.

Developments from around the world heritage wise

Just recently I arranged to meet up with Steve Davies, former Director of the NRM York and now heading up the International Railway Heritage Consultancy. A meeting at Toddington,Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, was duly arranged. The following is the post that appeared in the May 2017 edition of “On Shed”, the monthly magazine of “Steam Tube”

3. “An A-Z of World Heritage Railways”. ARGENTINA

There are hundreds of railway heritage sites around the world. Some countries are blessed with many, others, with few. And there are heritage railways in the most obscure and unlikely of places.

Argentina’s railway heritage has been the subject of some well known and publicized books and films. Most famously, perhaps, the romance of the Old Patagonian Express is the one most likely called to mind. In his book, Paul Theroux had started out from Boston.. and the last train he took-The Old Patagonian Express- in southern Argentina, is almost at the end of the world –  but not quite.

Just over a week ago, I had the pleasure to meet two gentlemen who were visiting the UK under the auspices of the International Railway Heritage Consultancy. Steve Davies, former Director of the NRM York (more in another edition of On Shed) introduced the two Argentinians from El Tren del Fin del Mundo (The Train at the End of the World) Deputy Chief Engineer – Fabian Papatryphonos and Mechanical Engineer – Jorge Molina Bahamonde.

Within a few hours of landing at Heathrow, they were keen to get on the footplate of ex-GWR 2807 at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway for a brief look at the footplate.. and could be seen taking a close look at the motion of the locomotive as it waited its next trip.

Jorge & Fabian…with Steve Davies examining 2807’s motion at Toddington,GWSR.

And here is  El Tren del Fin del Mundo (The Train at the End of the World) the graphic shows the route..and the introductory video gives a feel for the line….

So, here was a case of co-operation and sharing knowledge, and a desire to learn more..

It is quite likely that UK heritage railways could also learn much from the international community…. the work Of LD Porta comes to mind..but more of that in a future edition.

In a follow up e-mail, I asked several members the following…“Could I impose upon your time and generosity to ask for a few words on the future of tourist trams and trains,and on how WATTRAIN membership can benefit the entire world heritage rail community..”

This was one reply….(from Shaun McMahon)

An interesting question requiring global visión. Sergio (Zubieta) and I often touch on this point when we meet up to discuss the future of various operations around the world. We often state that one of the most important matters is the sharing of knowledge, whether it be on the technical, commercial or business side of matters. Not only is it a case of sharing the hard earned knowledge that we all have from having worked within the industry in different parts of the world but also the acceptance by others around the globe that there are different and often better ways to do things than many have access to. A very good case to observe is the FCAF in Ushuaia which has to use various techniques from round the globe and adapt such to suit its own very particular operation and geographically hostile location not to mention technical isolation a the end of the world. The flip side of that is the developed world where the lack of application of modern steam techniques is becoming a problems to various operations due to the insistence of using traditional and outdated ways of thinking and putting things into practice. WATTRAIN should at least be the recognized messenger of up to date facts relating to all such issues. To be a member should allow people to be one step ahead of the rest within the industry.

As mentioned, these are just initial thoughts off the top of my head during a very busy day here at work and in effect a sort of starting point yet something that we seemed to have been discussing since the world association was first mooted at the ECOVAPOR conference of July 1999. The fact that we are still discussing such is not a bad thing as it highlights the fact that the industry is changing and moving ahead and every time it does so it requires more exactitude and overall excellence. I see many advances being made in places where I used to work in the UK yet at the same time I also see them missing out on ideas and techniques that could raise the overall efficiency of their respective operations and of course save them money. Down here the same is true and a great deal could be picked up from the UK and elsewhere. I am hoping that we can make some headway during the 2018 conference in the US. I am also hoping that this time I will be able to attend in person and present rather than the last minute change of 2015 when I had to send in my brief presentation for video screening. Many of the issues presented need good networking sessions both before and after presentation and being there with the group makes all the difference. This time in the US it is of particular interest due to our advances at CSRail              www.csrail.org

That should get the ball rolling!!

Ferroclubs.. Vulcan built class 12E loco No.3925 of 1927 refurbishment.

A gallery of photographs showing progress……

These last two photographs show 3925 during its working life(left) , and the photograph (right) was taken 22nd May 2017.

Photo credits, Reading left to right working downwards:- 
Ferroclub Argentino
Sergio Barral
Martín Cast
Sergio Barral
Ferroclub Argentino
Martín Campbell



So, that is the first edition! Hopefully it will be of interest, and result in some liuvely monthly exchanges…passionate, positive..and polite!!

All suggestions will be gratefully received.

Looking forward to July 2017 WATTRAIN newsletter already!!

Peter S Lewis- Editor