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Meet the Team

Julian Birley B.E.M.

Trustee, and Chairman, Bala Lake Railway Trust

Julian has been involved with railway preservation for twenty years all over the UK. He has been responsible for capital projects such a station development and moving heritage buildings, and fund raising for restoration projects such as coaches and locomotives.

In 2012, Julian repatriated three locomotives from the USA that worked the slate quarries of North Wales including Winifred, which has been fully restored and can now be found regularly working on the railway. He now lives in Gwynedd to be “above the shop” in ensuring the success of the extension of the Bala Lake Railway into the town.

In 2015, Julian was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queens birthday honours for services to railway heritage. He is a former Chairman of North Norfolk Railway Plc and serves as a director of Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid Ltd.

Toby Watkins

Trustee, Bala Lake Railway Trust

Having worked with Julian Birley on several projects and assisted other heritage railway organisations with their fundraising activities, the opportunity to be part of the team extending the Bala Lake Railway into Bala town was too good to miss.

Toby's 'day job' has given him an extensive experience with management of large infrastructure as well as extensive experience in community development and engagement. He has been an active railway volunteer for over 30 years and has an academic background in history (MA) and heritage conservation (MSc) that helps give context and meaning to the work we do.

Christina Kennedy

Trustee, Bala Lake Railway Trust

Christina has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and was a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries. Christina has run her own consultancy business for over 25 years. Before her retirement from consultancy work, she worked at Board level acting as Company Secretary in a variety of listed companies: AIM, top 250 and overseas companies with a secondary listing. She also held roles as a non-executive director, being chair of remuneration and audit committees.

Christina’s industry experience is wide ranging and includes manufacturing, leisure and service companies. Her specialism was Corporate Governance, and she continues to provide support for governance issues in her capacity as trustee and volunteer in charitable and not-for-profit organisations both in the community and the preserved railways, having been involved in the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Society, the North Norfolk Railway PLC and the Locomotive Conservation and Learning Trust.

Christina also acts as County Treasurer for Somerset Beekeepers Association; Vice Chairman for Carymoor Environmental Centre, Treasurer for Shepton Mallet Horticultural Society and is Project Co-ordinator and fundraiser/treasurer for Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival. 

Roger Hine

Trustee, Bala Lake Railway Trust

Roger was a time served electronics technician with Rediffusion East Midlands before transferring to the Lichfield branch of Rediffusion Business Electronics where he became Senior Engineer responsible for the activities of a team of service technicians. We covered an area from Aberystwyth in the west, to Norwich in the east, Staffordshire to the north and the borders of Bedfordshire to the south. In 1984, he was responsible for the installation and commissioning of the flight information display system at Birmingham International Airport.

Having moved to Wales in 1985, Roger left Rediffusion to start my own electronics and model business in 1986. He was for a while a full time model maker specialising in 16mm scale narrow gauge battery powered locomotives and then started volunteering at the Bala Lake Railway.

In 1991, Roger was offered the post of Chief Engineer at Bala Lake Railway and in 2001 became the General Manager responsible for all the commercial activities until retiring in 2014. Since then, he has continued to build 16mm models to customers requirements and have developed a successful clock repair service.

Roger was invited to become a trustee in 2013.

Roland Doyle

Consultant Engineer

- Driver on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways since 1983
- General Manager of Welsh Highland Light Railway Ltd (Caernarfon - Rhyd Ddu) and Welsh Highland Railway Construction Ltd (Rhyd Ddu - Porthmadog)
- Founder of Highrail Systems Ltd

Roland has been apppointed as the Project Manager for the Red Dragon Project and is also acting as a consultant engineer.

Narrow-gauge railways are not new to Roland; he became a fireman on the Ffestiniog Railway when he was 15 in early 1971, progressing to Driver by 1983. From 1991 he lead the project to complete the rebuild of Palmerston, an original Ffestiniog Locomotive. Taliesin, a single Fairlie, on the FfR was one of Roland's next projects, completed in 1999.

Roland was the General Manager of Welsh Highland Light Railway Ltd (Caernarfon - Rhyd Ddu), then Welsh Highland Railway Construction Ltd (Rhyd Ddu - Porthmadog), which were wholly owned subsidiaries of the Ffestiniog Railway Company and setup solely to build the Welsh Highland Railway.

In 2006, Roland started Highrail Systems, making certain items of infrastructure and equipment for the WHR and other railways. This included Train Operated Trailable Points, RRM's (Roland's Rail Movers), trap-point actuation equipment at Cae Pawb (the WHR/Network Rail Flat Crossing) and the conversion to Coal Firing of Merddin Emrys. MicroETS is a 9-year project approaching completion. This system allows electric token machines to be connected by the internet rather than miles of vunerable and expensive lineside cabling. 

There are many other people involved with the Bala Lake Railway Trust and the Red Dragon Project to deliver the extension of the Bala Lake Railway:

  • David Jones, General Manager, Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid Ltd
  • Rob Houghton, Chief Engineer, Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid Ltd
  • Dan Laidlaw, Assistant Manager, Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid Ltd
  • Benjamin Abbott, IT Specialist and volunteer driver on the railway

The Bala Lake Railway Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales, registration number 1151841. Please contact the Trust via Julian Birley:

The Bala Lake Railway is operated by Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales, registration number 01055353:

Corporate Sponsors

The Trust is indebted to our corporate sponsors who have provided a huge amount of support and assitance. We encourage you to visit their websites to find out more.


The Trust is working with the following contractors on the construction of the extension and its associated works.
Specialist asbestos removal from the derelict warehouse on Heol Aran.
Demolition of the derelict warehouse on Heol Aran.