Dear All ,
The Friends of Puffing Billy – Chairs address , Feb 2016
It has been some two years since the memorable events of the 200thAnniversary of Puffing Billy
in 2013 , along the route of what used to be the historic Wylam Waggonway . During that year ,in conjunction with Beamish Museum and numerous other organizations a series of associated events took place at schools , centres and parks at Wylam , Heddon on the Wall , Throckley ,Walbottle , Newburn and Lemington.
The Wylam Waggonway route is now into its 48th year of use as a Walk and Cycleway . In two years time it will see its 50th Anniversary in 2018 of another chapter in the circa 270 year history of this historic rail route . The Waggonway was the railway that saw the birth of the first practical steam locomotive which set the World Railway Revolution alight and eventually saw the trials of the early Diesel locomotives that ushered in the second railway revolution of British railways. The Wylam Waggonway in the last ten years or so , has seen a tremendous rise in the numbers ofpe ople using it. The importance and popularity of the Wylam Waggonway looks set to continue with the new housing developments on the west side of Newcastle , with potentially 3,500 new homes projected . Another exciting prospect is the development of the new Visitor Centre for Hadrian's Wall , which it is hoped will see an additional annual 250,000 visitors along Hadrian's Way , part of which joins the Wylam Waggonway through Heddon on the Wall , Newburn and Lemington.
Due to the demands of other work and other causes on the time of the officers of the Friends of Puffing Billy , the financially trying years of 2014 and 2015 have been relatively quiet. Despite this , the funds of the Friends of Puffing Billy stand at an amount of £1,434.41 in the black.However , in the face of continuing funding difficulties , work has been ticking away on a project arising from the 200th Anniversary Event . The idea is to commemorate Puffing Billy & the Railway Pioneers at the Wylam and Lemington ends of the Waggonway which will involve the local community and schools.
The Officers of the Friends of Puffing Billy Elected in 2013 have kindly volunteered to continue in their roles . The Friends of Puffing Billy wish to thank all of those people and organizations that supported the200th Anniversary Events and made it such a success. We look look forward to their continuing support .
Yours faithfully ,Tom Martin . Chair – Friends of Puffing Billy