From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

Buildings, Parks, Gardens, and Electrical[edit]

Originally a grand term for the traditional spare time activity of Station staff! It developed into a most important volunteer department (formally established in 1985) and, in addition to station gardening, performed the vital function of tackling neglect and untidiness in all its forms. P.& G. dealt with problems that tended to exist because they were nobody’s specific responsibility, and in any case there were always other more pressing jobs to do. Following the "Bit of a Reshuffle" in 1989, P.& G. worked largely within the area of responsibility of the Buildings and Services Manager. In 1992, P.& G. assumed responsibility for building work and became the Buildings, Parks and Gardens Department. In the spring of 1995, it assumed responsibility for general electrical work (but not on-train, or battery) throughout the railway and has since been known as the Buildings, Parks & Gardens and Electrical Department.

Above taken from the FRHG Chronology


Over the existence of the revitalised Railway, departments, teams, and groups have come and gone as the need has required. The Operating and Loco departments, as the people who maintain and run the trains have been around since regular services restarted, and are the most obvious to people, even those who do not know about running a railway.

The commercial side, operating the shops, café, and bookings are another facet of railway life that is usually noticeable by Joe Public.

Another department/group, not appreciated externally, but without which the FR would not be like it is today, is the support side which at its greatest extent covered Buildings, Parks, Gardens and Electrical. Over the years each of the constituent sections have grown and shrunk as work has progressed in each of the respective areas, but the term BPGE has come to reflect the overall infrastructure support side of the operation.

Buildings, covering the stations and the works. Anything from general building work and repair, to the recent renovation of the canopy at Harbour station.

Parks, Gardens covering the open land around the railways' property, including things like the signs, station name-boards, and horticultural side

Electrical covers anything electrical that is neither "onboard the operating vehicles", or the Signals and Telecoms section.

At this time the BPGE field is split into two specific groups, Buildings and Electrical, organised on one side, and Parks and Gardens run by Eileen Clayton, on the other. Whilst the areas covered are reasonably well defined, the people, and mainly volunteers, working for them may swap from one side to the other as required.

Buildings and Electrical operate for much of the year covering the electrical side of operations which is mostly indoors, however the delineation is not exact as the project to totally replace th electrical installation at Boston Lodge bwhich has been running for the last 5 years is organsied and supervised by Eileen & Neil Clayton as a "Parks & Gardens" Project!

Parks and Gardens have been active for many years in a constant battle to ‘Detattify’ the overall look of the railway by clearing accumulated rubbish, planting flower beds, tubs and window boxes and other associated items.

As said above, whilst the titles are clearly separate, people involved in one side or the other will invariably cross the line. Eileen Clayton, whilst heading P&G, arranges a number of large working parties, Megabash and Gigabashes where a large number of volunteers, of all ages, come to the railway and perform a number of jobs. One of the most popular is Kids Week, where possible future volunteers are invited down to try out the life of a railway volunteer. These have been found to be very effective, as the number of participants who have stayed on the railway has been consistently high.

Since the original writing of the above, the department has morphed at least twice. Firstly it became the Buildings, Electrical & Estates section, and has now been placed within the overall Infrastructure Department

See also[edit]