Having completed 14 years at the helm of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway as the General Manager, Peter Vail is to step down and retire. Peter is possibly one of the longest serving General Managers in heritage railways.
Before joining the Railway, he had a 30-year career working for HSBC bank in the East Midlands, latterly as a branch and commercial manager. By his own admission, Peter’s knowledge and experience of railways was non-existent. However, the board was looking for a business leader with a sound financial understanding, together with a knowledge of people management and business development.
About his time as General Manager, Peter said: “I liken this job to that of a football manager. We have a vast number of loyal supporters who want to see positive progress in certain areas. Decisions made will never suit all, but the priority must be what is best for the business. Key to a heritage railways success is a good relationship between the board and management team.
“To be successful this job required total commitment and is always full on. But the reward is the progress of the Railway. I have been incredibly lucky to work under three very supportive Chairmen and have always received the backing of our board and management team.”
Peter Conway, Chairman of IWSR, said: “We are extremely grateful to Peter Vail who fulfilled all the commitments he made to this Railway. Our latest audited accounts confirm our strong financial position: we have no borrowing and £1.4million in the bank. Peter will be a hard act to follow but the vacancy we will be advertising presents a wonderful opportunity for the right person.”