Published: 27th June 2015
Chris Price has been appointed the next managing director of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. He takes up the post in October, replacing Philip Benham, NYMR’s current managing director who retires this autumn after 11 years with the railway.
Chris is presently general manager of the Talyllyn Railway and will remain in this post through to September, seeing the historic Mid-Wales line through the remaining events celebrating the 150th anniversary of its opening.
Described by TR Railway company chairman, Gareth Jones, as a force for change on the Talyllyn since his appointment as its general manager in August 2013, NYMR is in no doubt it has found someone of great experience with a strong record of achievement in Chris Price to take over its top job.
In the past, Chris has been chairman of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society and at one time was employed as TR workshop supervisor. He was general manager of the Fairbourne Railway for several years until leaving in summer 2012. Following a period as Estates Manager of the Worker Education Association (North Wales) he returned to the TR after a review of the line’s management structure determined the existing chief executive role (filled by Dave Scotson, who retained responsibility for operating the railway) should be reinforced by a new general manager post responsible for strategic and commercial management together with business development.
“The managing director’s role is a particularly challenging one, working with several hundred volunteers and staff, commented Mike Child, chairman of the NYMR Trust’s operating company. “As a heritage charity with no public funding, Chris will play a leading role in ensuring that the NYMR continues to enthuse future generations of visitors to the North York Moors. We are confident that he is the right person to further develop NYMR as a vibrant heritage business, enabling us to grow and improve the visitor experience on the railway.”
“The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is known by millions, who have either enjoyed a journey through the line’s spectacular scenery, or who have seen it on television, said Chris Price. “I am honoured that the Directors feel that I am the right person to take on this huge responsibility and am very much looking forward to the challenge.”
“I am delighted at Chris’s appointment and know he will lead NYMR on to even greater success in the future,” added present NYMR MD Philip Benham. “How appropriate that he comes from the Talyllyn, the world’s first preserved railway, to NYMR which today is the world’s most popular heritage railway!”
Since taking the reins at Talyllyn Railway Chris Price has overseen many developments on the 2ft 3in gauge ‘Preservation Pioneer’ line. News of his impending departure has been greeted with sadness, but with understanding of the opportunity he has been given.
“In many ways Chris has helped us rediscover our sense of belief in ourselves and what we are capable of doing, observed Gareth Jones, Chairman of the Talyllyn Railway Company. “We take it as a great compliment to our original appointment that the North Yorkshire Moors Railway have also recognised the gifts and abilities that Chris has to offer,” he added. “Certainly he leaves us in a stronger position than two years ago. We therefore want to wish him and his family all the best as they prepare for this new adventure, but also recognise that he leaves behind a great team of people well able to keep the Talyllyn moving forward as we search for his successor.”
“This has been a very difficult decision to make, there is so much about the Talyllyn that I love and it has been a fantastic privilege to serve as its General Manager,” reflected Chris Price, who expressed his gratitude to all those who helped and supported him during his time on the Talyllyn. “It is going to be a huge wrench to leave these folk behind, but I have every confidence that they will continue to build a great future for this wonderful railway, he affirmed.’
The Talyllyn Railway has four further special events in 2015 aimed at celebrating its 150th anniversary: The 150th Party (July 3-5), The 1865–2015 Gala (August 7-9), The Heart of Gold Weekend (August 29-31) and The Heritage Weekend (September 25-27) – all of which Chris Price will be helping to oversee.
Commenting on the TR’s future plans, Gareth Jones confirmed that during this time the railway will be considering the best way forward to continue the developments Chris had instigated and to build for the future. “Part of this will be to consider the future management of the railway and put in place the right people to keep taking us forward,” he said. “This is not something we are going to rush, as we feel it is important to make the right choices at this important time.”