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BEM for W&L and Zillertalbahn Preservation Pioneer

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by houghtonga, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. houghtonga

    houghtonga Member

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    Frederek Sylvester Mayman, known to friends and colleagues as Derek, received the British Empire Medal. This was awarded “for voluntary service to Railway Heritage in the West Midlands and Wales,” and recognises a lifetime’s effort in furthering railway preservation, notably on the Welspool and Llanfair. Now 91 and the founding director of a successful international company in the construction industry, Mr Mayman was one of the first directors of the W&LLR Preservation Company formed on January 9, 1960. Having been closed by British Railways in 1956 the line reopened under the control of preservationists in 1963, and will this year celebrate the 50th anniversary of that reopening.

    Mr Mayman went on to play a leading role in the running of the line for many years, with perhaps his crowning achievement being to secure four carriages from the Austrian Zillertalbahn line in 1968. As well as forging a strong link between the two railways, the arrival of the Austrian carriages with their open end balconies provided the W&LLR with a “unique selling point”, and these coaches remain just as popular with today’s travellers. Mr Mayman retired from the W&LLR board in 1991 and in recognition of more than 30 years’ service to the line he was immediately made a Vice President, a post he still holds today.

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    To elaborate on the Zillertalbahn connection, just after the W&L re-opened in 1963 it was announced that the Austrian line would close and Derek formed a small syndicate (including Fairbourne Railway owner John Wilkins) and negocitated to purchase ZB Krauss 0-6-2T locos #2 "Zillertal", #3 "Tirol" and a number of their coaches for the W&LLR. On arrival at Jenbach he became friends with ZB Director Herr Heiss and realised that rather than asset stripping it was just possible to save the line if the line principle shareholder was offered a financial gaurantee of his holding. This was arranged instead.

    The Zillertalbahn never forgot this and in 1968 the ZB donated four carriages to the W&L, followed by a fifth in 1975. The ZB also supplied vacuum brake equipment to ensure that the coaches could be legally operated in the UK (the ZB had used a non-fail safe "simple vacuum brake" similar to that which caused the 1889 disaster at Armagh). 2 x large brass cow-bells were also donated to replace the original bells on 822 and 823 that were stolen in BR days and the great honour of naming their Bosig 0-10-0 loco #4 "Castle Caereinion".
    It is not so well known that the Zillertalbahn also offered the W&L their Krauss 0-6-2T #1 "Raimund", but it was kindly rejected as the boiler was condemmed (new boilers for preserved locos was not considered viable in the 1960s) - perhaps this is a shame as their is very little chance the Austrian government would grant an export licence for one of their iconic U-class locos today.

    Derek arranged for the transport of the four ZB coaches in 1968 with impressive results. It is my understanding that he arranged for the OBB not only to move the carriages for free but also loaned two standard gauge wagons (free of charge) and DB and SNCB also moved the carriages across their networks for free and either SNCB or SNCF carried them across the channel as deck cargo on their train ferry free of charge. All the W&L members paid was transport by BR to Welshpool and road transport to railway!

    G.
     
  2. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Thats a well deserved recognition for a rermarkable achievemment.
     
  3. ragl

    ragl Well-Known Member

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    A very well deserved award. Also, many thanks for relating the story of the Zillertalbahn connection and subsequent acquisition of the coaches - fascinating!!

    Cheers

    Alan
     

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