Steam locomotive owner becomes Acting Chairman at the West Somerset Railway

53808 at Minehead // Credit: Harry Pitcher (WSR)

The West Somerset Railway has announced that Jonathan Jones Pratt has become the company’s Acting Chairman for the next three months.

Mr Pratt was announced as a director on the 13th September 2018 and has good links with the West Somerset Railway thanks to his ownership of GWR locomotives No. 4936 Kinlet Hall and No. 7027 Thornbury Castle.

He also has local commerical credentials thanks to his business interests in JJP Holdings, which operate as a commercial transport business through North Somerset and Somerset.

This appointment by the PLC Board was to provide a period of stability until the end of the year.

A permanent Chairman is still to be appointed, so the company will be advertising for this in the future.

What did the officials say?

The board of the West Somerset Railway PLC said:

The resignation of Bill Knell as a director for personal reasons was also accepted by the Board with regret and he was thanked for his professional help and advice in assisting with a number of HR issues currently facing the WSR wider railway family. The Board all wished Mr Knell well and hoped that he will continue to support and visit the WSR in the future.

Jonathan Jones-Pratt comments:

“I am both pleased and honoured to accept this position as WSR plc Acting Chairman and will readily embrace the role and the evident challenges which the railway faces.

“I thank my board colleagues who invested their trust and support in me by making this appointment, and I look forward to working with all of them.

“I aim to provide stability to the wider WSR family and also seek to ensure that we create a best practice culture from hereon.

“My ultimate aim is to not only protect the West Somerset Railway but also take our team together on a journey of recovery to better times and success after a downturn in our business recently in a turbulent marketplace.

“That said, I am under no illusions that there are many challenges to be overcome, but every effort will be made with my personal commitment to ensure success and create a joined-up vision for the future of the entire railway.

“Finally, and by no means least, it’s important that I and the plc Board also thank our two principal support organisations, the West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA) and the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust (WSSRT).

“Both the WSRA and WSSRT have provided their full and public support to our recent initiatives in moving forward, and we look forward to working together in order to drive this great railway forward for the rest of 2018, into 2019 and beyond.“

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