If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Llangollen Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by 14xx Lover, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    5,993
    Likes Received:
    3,667
    Shut down the engineering business (except for continuing to overhaul the Railway's own stock?). Get a share of the cash from the sale of a loco (and still have that loco available for use on the line). Receive some grants. And still be skint? It sounds a bit like A N Other railway that is much discussed on here, though either with less fighting or with the fighting being less public.
     
    Just_Sayin likes this.
  2. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    3,250
    Likes Received:
    6,491
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Is that the GM who was also on the board? Has the GM resigned as GM as well as from the board?
     
  3. std tank

    std tank Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    3,594
    Likes Received:
    740
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Liverpool
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I might be wrong,but wasn't the engineering business a separate Company that no longer exists?
     
  4. Just_Sayin

    Just_Sayin New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    51
    Occupation:
    Technician
    Location:
    Points of view
    Pretty much sums it up. The fact one of the new board directors first response to my last post was to state “we didn’t own 3802”, when the reality was they did own some of the shares, shows the lack of clarity and honesty that has been rife for years.

    The new board have an unenviable position, inheriting a mess not of their own making and is something that has not come about overnight but over years of mismanagement. When Dave Owen and Mike Pearce were running the Engineering side of things it gave a nice income for the railway. Since they retired they’ve never properly been replaced, and things have now escalated across the business to where we are today.

    Llangollen should be premier league with location, facilities and what it has to offer. But this constant cloak/daggers attitude to those outside inner circles will not win friends at a time you need them. It’s why I’ve pretty much ignored all my shareholder requests as I’m not supporting a black hole, and I’m sure there are others. If something’s bad it’s bad, but it’s far more respectable to be able to hold your hands up than look to pass the book and hide the truth.
     
    jnc, Macko, Johnb and 3 others like this.
  5. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,501
    Likes Received:
    3,658
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Out there somewhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Weren't there also some problems regarding the quality and/or completeness of engineering works recently that resulted in some significant claims from unhappy costumers? I believe this played a part in the decision to close of the Works.
     
  6. Jordan Leeds

    Jordan Leeds New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2018
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    65
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    lancashire/cheshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It upsets me that this once brilliant engineering facility has become effectively a running shed with no staff to undertake overhauls on a contract basis, in my time there we turned out 6430 off a 10 year overhaul,
    Undertook a throat plate replacement on 7822 with the plate formed in house not to mention retubing it
    Jennifer had work undertaken
    Austin 1 was retubed

    All on top of having a fleet of 5 locomotives to use plus the other contract work

    One does wonder where it went wrong and if focusing on the extension is the correct thing to do at this time?
    There's some wonderful volunteers and was a good paid staff who where dedicated to the Railway but sadly it seems to of gone south in the 5 years or so hence
     
    lil Bear and jnc like this.
  7. 60044

    60044 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    776
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Salisbury
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    times change, people move on. The MR-B, MHR and SVR were once centres of main line running, look at them now. It's the presence of particular people that usually determines outcomes and Llangollen seems to be no different.
     
  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    21,563
    Likes Received:
    40,811
    Location:
    215
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I sometimes wonder whether diversifying into contract engineering in a major way can result in management losing focus on their primary objective, which is the core health of the railway.

    (On another railway of which I was once a member, I remember the members' magazine talking in glowing terms over several issues about a contract machining job on a piece of vintage machinery, at a time in which the railway was short of locomotives to run its own services. It did make me wonder whether the overall priorities were right).

    Tom
     
    jnc, Bluenosejohn, std tank and 2 others like this.
  9. std tank

    std tank Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    3,594
    Likes Received:
    740
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Liverpool
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    So, it is nothing to do with the costs of the changes in rules and regulation for running locos on the big railway?
     
    acorb likes this.
  10. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    784
    Occupation:
    Design Engineer
    Location:
    Shropshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    With regard to heritage railways ceasing to involved in regular main line steam running, it had a lot more to do with collective management decisions to withdraw from operations that had borderline profitability, but required a great deal of time and resource.

    Andy
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
    jnc, acorb, D1039 and 1 other person like this.
  11. lostlogin

    lostlogin New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    410
    Likes Received:
    186
    I think the extension could be the makings of the railway. Llangollen is a pain to park at and even when you did if you caught the train from Llangollen it really was a case of just doing a round trip to Carrog. I appreciate you can start from Carrog but there would be little reason for a tourist to go to Carrog.

    If they can market well, have a sensible timetable and there is decent car parking at Corwen I think that it might appeal more to potential passengers to start at Corwen and then travel to Llangollen. I also think that Corwen to Llangollen or vice versa may well appeal much more to coach parties once they are back up and running.

    I know in the past the railway was very reliant on the both Christmas and "Thomas" events to pay the bills. Now that they basically do not simply run to basically the middle of nowhere I think they have a much better chance of that no longer being the case.
     
  12. 43729

    43729 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    162
    I can't say I thought Corwen was a cosmopolitan wonderland or indeed a tourist honeypot when I was last there.
     
    Just_Sayin likes this.
  13. huochemi

    huochemi Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,503
    Likes Received:
    1,202
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    UK
    Not sure I agree with that. If the tourist is already in Wales, it is likely that Carrog is nearer than Llangollen (as I think I have done for most of my trips on the railway since Carrog re-opened, Glyndyfrdwy before that, and you can park across the other side of the Dee at Berwyn which gives you also the option of a walk along the canal to Llan). As you say, there is little incentive to subject yourself to the traffic at the Llangollen and given the right train frequency, you can take in the delights there . Not sure what the parking is like in Corwen. It is on the A5 of course so presumably gets snarled up whereas coming from the west, you can avoid Corwen and go round the back to Carrog. Not convinced that Corwen is much of an attraction.
     
  14. Just_Sayin

    Just_Sayin New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    51
    Occupation:
    Technician
    Location:
    Points of view
    Don’t get the need to bring mainline running into it, LR never has been directly involved in such so that’s an unfair comparison.

    Llan Eng have completed some big projects. 2807 and R93 were huge successes, and didn’t detract from the Railway. C&W have also done some big contracts too, that have earned good reviews. Your comment on people determine outcomes is the only bit of relevance. The faults haven’t appeared overnight, it’s been years. Where’s the Berwyn Belle / 7822 Driver Experience/ Llan Eng income all gone? Products that sold, but at this current time none functioning? Have the 4-5 coach trains been busy for three trips, 7 days a week?

    Corwen is a double edged sword. It gives you a Railway that goes from somewhere to somewhere, which is supposedly the holy grail of preserved lines. But what happens now? People buy their ticket, ride the train to Carrog, into the tearoom and back to Llan. What happens with Corwen? You pass through Carrog and arrive at Corwen, where the tearooms are in the town not on the railway...

    After everything it can’t not now get to Corwen, but something needs to cater for the loss of the secondary spend that will now end up in Corwen. Hard one for anyone to deal with, let alone a new board of a struggling business in a global pandemic. Which is why some honesty would be nice, instead of continuation with the cloaks/daggers I mentioned previously.
     
    Fish Plate likes this.
  15. 60044

    60044 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    776
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Salisbury
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Not saying that isn't true either, I thought the expression "times change" covered the other points about regulations & profitability, but in at least one case, possibly two, the management, certainly evolved and moved on.
     
  16. 60044

    60044 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    776
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Salisbury
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I chose main line operations just as an example of the fact that some places wax and others wane, but there are plenty of other examples of other organisations that have lost their wy to a greater or lesser degree - just look at the way the loco fleet at the WSR has drained away in recent years and wonder what will replace it, other than locos hired in from other lines. look at the GWS, where main line running looks to be a thing of the past, and the jewel in the crown in the form of the unique broad gauge demonstration line has been allowed to fall into disuse in favour of new build projects, some of which aren't even on site. As I said, things change and Llangollen is just another example.,
     
  17. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2015
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    152
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Just_Sayin - good and valid points but not insurmountable. If Carrog were to be treated like Swindon used to be in early GWR days - a compulsory stop (possibly in one direction only), then it wouldn't matter whether the train was up or down - if it's sitting in the platform for half an hour (say), then almost everyone will go for a meal or at least coffee. The Talyllyn have been running a similar system for years, at Abergynolwyn - easier to manage and staff, as the sudden crowd, each time, can be predicted. Corwen, however, very much needs the business, so it wouldn't do to put too much emphasis on this, at least for the first few years! I agree that the Corwen to LLan trip is probably the one to be marketed (even though the above idea works better the other way), as Llan is a nightmare for traffic and parking in season - with a weather eye, though on how it goes - as experience on other lines shows that there's usually a natural flow and starting point for tourists, and "encouraging" them to change that is usually an uphill task. The natural wish for most tourists is to "do" a railway in one half-day, and then move on to another attraction - in Corwen there isn't one, AFAIK
    James
     
  18. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,656
    Likes Received:
    1,772
    Location:
    Nantwich, Cheshire

    Not quite sure anyone thinks that Corwen is "somewhere". Having driven through there many many times it's not really a destination that attracts visitors. The pull factors that the railway (in my opinion) should be using is Llangollen itself and the beauty of the train ride. Now that is the wow factors as far as I can see.

    With regards to ideas for keeping secondary income, I would suggest moving the offices that currently are taken up on p2 (beautiful location and a waste of good space) and put up some portacabin style buildings up near the shed for the short term. Then turn the buildings on p2 into sales space for the loco groups that are currently up at Carrog, and where the coaches are at Carrog, taking inspiration from the Devon railway centre, fill the insides of the coaches with soft play for children. This would do two things, it would give the railway an ability to target families and children in a different way, and then this would guarantee more passenger footfall at Carrog, bringing back a good income on the cafe while the children play for a while. You also have the miniature railway at Carrog, which could be adjusted to have a drive a tram/train style operation like at Betws y coed etc. It also wouldnt destroy the atmosphere of the country station as everything would be inclosed in the coaches.
     
    lil Bear and ghost like this.
  19. Crusti Boiler

    Crusti Boiler New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    19
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Working Members have been told that the GM, who was also the chairman, left the railway on Monday ' for other opportunities'.
    The difficulties that the railway is in seem to fall squarely on this individual, and on the board that supported her, as the rapid decline in the railway's fortunes over the past five years seem to have taken place as this person attained more influence (and salary so I am told). No ifs, not buts, but it is the person in charge who takes the can in these circumstances. Quite how this organisation allowed the same individual to chair the railway while at the same time being its GM defies understanding as this removes any checks and balances that might exist .
    It is to be hoped that the new board has the necessary ability to sort out the situation (although it would appear that the 'new'chairman was previously the vice-chairman, and as such was presumably part of the upper management overseeing this decline) and I wish them the best and look forward to visiting my local railway again.
     
  20. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,501
    Likes Received:
    3,658
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Out there somewhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Sorry, not so. If a minimum number is stated and the board, for whatever reason drops below that number then the Board becomes invalid as it does not meet the requirements. Therefore whoever is left cannot act as a Board to accept the resignations - so where people may think they have handed their resignations in those resignations cannot lawfully accepted by the Board - Because the Board is invalid and unable to do anything other than seek replacements until such time as the number of directors meets or exceeds the minimum.
     

Share This Page