People & Business: No time for the age of steam in Railtrack's schedules

Railtrack is about to evict Thomas the Tank Engine, leaving London's only working steam train museum without a home. The Southall Railway Centre in west London has recently been told that Railtrack does not intend to renew its lease on 21 July. Instead, Railtrack is to sign the lease to Flying Scotsman Railways, owned by Dr Tony Marchington, who will be able to park his 30 Pullman coaches in the Southall engine shed.

The centre is currently run by the GWR Preservation Society, a group of volunteers that runs 10 engines from the site, including a number of historic steam engines. Robert Zarywacz of the group says: "At the beginning of March we were notified by Railtrack that they wouldn't be renewing the lease. It was rather a shock. We've been talking to Railtrack, and before them to British Rail, about the site since 1986. We're trying to find out why they did this. They certainly didn't consult us."

The group runs steam weekends, usually themed as "Meet Thomas the Tank Engine", during which their locos are fitted with cartoon faces and carry thousands of members of the public hither and thither. There are even plans to set up a regular steam link between Southall and Brentford.

So how does Sir Bob Horton, Railtrack's chairman, feel about being cast as the heartless Fat Controller? After all, isn't the new Flying Scotsman service being based in the Yorkshire Dales?

A Railtrack spokesman admits that its decision "has come over as a bit heartless". It had taken a commercial decision that Flying Scotsman Railways had a business proposition, with prospects of an expansion of business in the future. "While the GWR group have a lot of plans, they are only plans at the moment."

"We've offered them alternative sites, but they're not very happy about that," the spokesman said.

Indeed not. So if you want a last chance to see the GWR's trains in action, get down to Southall this Saturday for their steam weekend.

Here's another depressing list about the rich, but one that really rubs salt into the wound. These millionaires are all under 40. According to a survey by Hemmington Scott, published in the latest edition of the Price Waterhouse Corporate Register, quoted Britain has created 36 millionaires under 40; eight of them have yet to reach 35.

At the top of the league is Daniel Chiu, a 36-year-old scion of the Hong Kong business dynasty, who is vice-chairman of Fortune Oil. Educated at Sussex University, Mr Chiu co-founded Kingsleigh in 1989 when he was still under 30. He reversed into Blackland to form Fortune Oil and made his own fortune in the process. His 34.23 per cent stake in the company is worth nearly pounds 50m today.

Then there's Stephen Streater, managing director of Eidos, who set up his video software company in 1990, with the help of two friends. Then aged a mere 24, he could barely raise the pounds 4 for his stake which is now worth pounds 40m.

So it does seem as if millionaires are getting younger. Hemmington found that of the 3,031 executive directors of fully listed and AIM-quoted companies who owned up to their age, 282 are under 40 and 40 are under 35. Pass the nappies.

The comedian Bob Monkhouse was in wicked form on Wednesday night at Building magazine's annual housebuilder awards dinner in London. Sir Laurie Barratt, chairman of Barratt Developments, was one of Mr Monkhouse's many victims when he stepped up to receive a prize. Sir Laurie was the kind of man who, if he was drowning 20 feet from the shore, you'd chuck him a 15ft rope, said Mr Monkhouse. You could then walk away secure in the knowledge that you had met him half way.

As the assembled multitude collapsed in mirth, Mr Monkhouse followed up with: "He's almost impossible to ignore - but well worth the effort."

Sir Laurie took it in good humour, as did the rest. With the housebuilding market on the rebound he can afford to smile.

How times change. Heron International has appointed a development director, Tony Leyland of George Wimpey. It only seems like yesterday that Gerald Ronson, chief executive of Heron, was serving time in Ford Open Prison while Heron groaned under debts of over pounds 1bn. Heron has signed deals worth over pounds 400m this year, mainly in continental leisure projects, and Mr Leyland will be closely involved in that expansion. Quite a comeback.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map