The Festiniog Railway Company Board are pleased to announce that Mr. Mike Schumann has been appointed company president. This appointment was announced at the official opening of our new station building in Waunfawr.
Mr. Schumann succeeds Alan Pegler OBE, who was company president until his death in March 2012.
His interest in the FR started with an article in Railway World Magazine in January 1956, and Easter of that year found him, aged 14, helping to relay track at Porthmadog. Subsequently he spent a couple of weeks each year on the railway until, when studying engineering at Clare College Cambridge, he became involved with the Ffestiniog Railway-oriented group then meeting in the university. He subsequently worked all over the world on large infrastructure projects.
The new building at Waunfawr is the latest in a long line of projects that Mike Schumann has led and often funded for the railway, including Minffordd Goods Shed, the transformation of Merddin Emrys in 1986 and the new Moelwyn Tunnel portals.
When the Ffestiniog Railway was blocked by the CEGB pumped storage scheme at Tanygrisiau in 1963 he was one of the first volunteers to join the working parties that built the deviation which commenced in 1965. He also designed the route. When the initial project leader Gerald Fox left to move abroad, Mike took up the reins and managed the deviation work until it was completed in 1978.
When the company took on the rebuilding of the Welsh Highland Railway, Mike payed a large part in obtaining the Light Railway Order, the public enquiry and the Transport and Works Act Order. The nickname “Mr. WHR” would not be inappropriate – he was instrumental in building the first three phases of the railway.
Mike has previously been a director of the company and an FFWHR trustee. He has now retired from these formal roles, but still takes a very active interest in the railway.
His contribution to the railway, both financial and in terms of time served cannot be overstated, and we are honoured that he has accepted the offer of the role of Company President.