Andy Savage

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Andy Savage
Official positions held:
FR Co. Director from 1968
FR Soc. Director until 2005
FRS Local Officer various dates
FR Heritage Limited and posts
FR People | WHR People


What you are about to read is the result of several discussions with Andy, and given the range of items included you will understand why!

Joining the FR family as a teenage society member in 1967, and the "big railway" as a career trainee in 1970, Andy Savage has a long background in railways, and especially the FR. In a nutshell, Andy has been a director of one or more FR boards for over 30 years, including the Society, Company, Holdings and now Heritage.

After a short initial involvement with the deviation, Andy took on the role of East Midland Group Working Party organiser from late 1968, with a focus on PW, gravitating to the FRS Board in 1973, whilst also organising working parties from Leicester Group when at University there

On graduation, his BR career took him, in the seventies, to postings in London, the Midlands, Nottingham, Gloucester, and Bridgend.. During this time he undertook redesigning the layout of the loco shed yard at Boston Lodge, Glan-y-mor Carriage sidings, and also designed the "Two Trees" retaining wall between Dduallt and the new tunnel.

Come the eighties, and BR saw him in the Civil Engineers Dept. at Reading and Newport, latterly as Asst Divisional Civil Engineer (PW) for all of South Wales.

Back at Porthmadog, Barlwyd Bridge was the next project on the extension that Andy led, as well as acquiring platform shelters for Blaenau Ffestiniog; he also led the project to build the water towers at Minffordd and Tan-y-Bwlch, and initiated the Upper Thames Group, which produced the team that built the stone buildings at Tank Curve, Dduallt, and Plas Halt

During this period he took on additional duties in being elected to the FR Company board, with specific responsibilities in the operational and safety roles, and was elevated to the post of Deputy Chairman of the Society.

Towards the end of this period, he came up, jointly with Gordon Rushton, with the idea of a new single Fairlie, which eventually blossomed as the Taliesin 2000 project. If this was not enough, he also funded the rebuild of what is now Van 2 (then Car 10)

The nineties brought a new position with BR as Divisional Civil Engineer for South Wales, followed by the same post at Watford. With the break up of BR, he was appointed reconstruction manager to create the company that became GT Railway Maintenance. He was subsequently appointed Operations Director in 1995 when the company started formal operation in the run-up to privatisation. He was later appointed Engineering and Safety Director of GT Railway Maintenance (later Carillion Rail / Carillion Transport)

On the FR side, he led the funding for Car 39, acquired Monarch (jointly with Gordon Rushton) and donated it to the FR. He also found time to get married a second time, to Hilary Jarvis, daughter of FR Doctor Peter, another FRS member with a love of dragon stories (!). Andy funded the replica of No. 1 Van (now No. 7), wrote the initial FR Safety Case Exemption, as befitting a narrow gauge heritage line, and expanded it for the WHR from 1997. He managed the HMRI rolling stock approval requirements from 1994, and on the heritage side project managed the return of Kerr Stuart 4415 from Mauritius. On the engineering side he project managed the Blaenau foot crossing over the Railtrack line to the Queens Hotel car park.

By 1998, because of increasing work commitments, Andy felt he couldn’t give as much as he should as a director, and in consequence, resigned his FRS directorship, which meant he also had to leave the FR Statutory Board. The Company were so pleased with his work that they re-appointed him as a non-statutory Director, covering Operations and Safety. Even the Society wouldn't let him go and appointed him a Vice President!! To cap the decade off, the Taliesin 2000 project matured early and in April 1999, the single Fairlie, Taliesin entered service. The loco was toasted by Andy, Gordon and Bill Broadbent with Brandy from the same bottle that inspired the original idea!

The new decade started with the opening of Phase 2 of the WHR and he was involved in getting the required HMRI approvals, and the same again for Phase 3. For this stage of the project he acquired and retrieved an ex Network Rail underbridge for use at Bettws Garmon. Since then he has led the team that did the voluntary fundraising for Phase 4. Next up was the Auto loop or trailable points system and HMRI approval was required for that. Subsequently these have been installed at Dinas, Waunfawr, Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert, Pont Croesor and Tanygrisiau. Another project was the acquisition of the Matisa A05 tamper for the WHR from his employers. He organised construction of Ashbury 4 wheeler No 10 with surplus of Taliesin fund. Wrote FR Operations and signalling strategy.

Early 2005 resigned FR Co. directorship on taking up post of Deputy Chief Inspector of Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), and severed all operational links with company in order to avoid potential conflict of interest.

This does not mean he is still not committed to helping the FR. Currently he is still heavily involved in fundraising and retains his FR Heritage directorship. He is also involved in restoration of the Kerr Stuart 4415, renovation or replacement buildings on the WHR, and Disability Access at company locations

The FR connection is actually older and larger than that stated above. His father in law, Dr Peter Jarvis has played an active part in the FR from the fifties onward, whilst his son, John, is responsible for the miniature railway at Minffordd, worked in the Lodge, and is committed to the WHR Ltd and the Ashbury Company building carriages for the railway. In addition Hilary's cousin, Michael Guerra, designed Taliesin and the WHR carriages.

Andy had three well publicised teenage dreams "to see Taliesin back, a curly roof van and Russell working on the FR." Having achieved all these, albeit separately, probably soon to be realised, is seeing Russell, Taliesin, and the Curly roof van travelling together through the Aberglaslyn pass!

And its not just the bigger projects he is involved in. At least one weekend a year he keeps his professional hand in by working with the PW gang, as well as regularly attending BP&G working parties all year.

He was the 2007 President of the Permanent Way Institute In this capacity, he invited the English, Welsh and Scottish Vice-Presidents of the PWI to join him in a weekend's tracklaying on the Welsh Highland - they had not lost their skills....

In Dec 2009, he left the RAIB for another position in the Railway Industry as CEO of the Railway Heritage Trust.

See also