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Llangollen Railway

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

  1. Masterbrew

    Masterbrew New Member

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    Having looked at the numerous posts regarding asset ownership and registers, might I suggest that those who have some experience in such matters start a separate thread on the subject? That would give the opportunity to see how various railways and other organisations deal with assets, the legal position when owners are unknown ad so on, plus it would be an opportunity to share practices and pitfalls.
     
  2. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Well-Known Member

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    Please put the hatpins back somewhere safe! What will happen here is impossible to guess at. There are one or two people on this thread (not me) who have legal or financial qualifications who are the best individuals to follow.

    What I can say, because it is fact, is that there are a number of instances where a Trust operates, owns real estate, has its own equipment and functions as the membership body. Whether such a body would meet the requirements here I cannot say.
     
  3. Crusti Boiler

    Crusti Boiler New Member

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    The Trust will need to satisfy the ORR that it is a fit and proper body to run the railway safely. To do that it will have to produce a Safety Management System, which will show for instance who will sign off the track, who will repair the locos and coaches and who is in charge. Adopting the PLC's safety case might seem an obvious idea but if you think about it all the staff who will have been mentioned in that document, such as the qualified track gang and the workshop staff, have been made redundant, so some changes will have to be made. The Trust will also have to prove that it can finance the safe running of the railway (can it afford to do the necessary repairs as they become due in other words).
    These days railways are judged against a document from the ORR called 'RM3' which those who think we can just go out an play trains would be well-advised to read.
     
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  4. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Well-Known Member

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    Depends if the people were named or job titles were in there.

    I was taught in my previous job that ideally you have a policy that gives job titles, you can have an appendix to update when people come and go, but ideally the main document doesn't have names.
     
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  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's fine as far as it goes, but you still need specific individuals in the organisation and given the right accountability. Obviously in normal conditions, those individuals change from time to time; but to change all of them at once is a big ask. Before you can go back to operations, you've got to find specific people with sufficient knowledge to oversee, and who will take on responsibility for a whole range of safety-critical areas such as locomotive engineering and maintenance, boiler maintenance and operations, carriage maintenance, track maintenance, bridge maintenance, S&T, operations etc. Those are all quite onerous duties. Then you have got to ensure that the new board are accountable for what happens in those areas.

    Tom
     
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  6. gwilialan

    gwilialan Well-Known Member

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    That made me wonder just how many heritage railways are actually capable of his?

    Obviously there are the large Sudden and Unforeseen events (as opposed to Routine or Planned maintenance) such as landslips where one would hope the ORR would not expect the operator to be able to cover all remedial costs immediately, but what of the routine maintenance? I'm just wondering how many railways currently have sufficient funds to completely pay for such things as, for example, all the rail or sleeper replacement that is currently required on their line..?
     
  7. Mogul

    Mogul Member

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    Depends what you mean by "required" (my emphasis in the quote). If you mean required for safe operation, the track in your example, then I would hope the answer is that ALL operating railways have the required funds!

    If maintenance is required to maintain safe operation then you only have three options.
    1. Carry out the maintenance to make it safe.
    2. Put some other mitigation in place to make it safe i.e. speed restriction in the case of p-way
    3. Don't operate.

    If you mean required in an ideal world to maintain some ideal standard then that might be different but you need to be very careful about understanding the difference between an Ideal standard and a Minimum standard.

    The general rule is that things grow until the effort of maintaining what you have accumulated means there is nothing spare from incoming resources to grow any further. If there is then some down turn in incoming resources you inevitably end up in some sort of managed decline.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
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  8. gwilialan

    gwilialan Well-Known Member

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    My definition of 'required' would be either life expired (eg mandatory time limited) or condition expired (eg it's kna**ered). Whilst your options above should be the way to go I'm afraid I have seen far too many 2A's, 'B's, C's etc. Which have included "Ignore it", "Tick the box, It's OK for another few years yet" and even "What are you doing looking at that? If you don't see it there is nothing wrong with it!"

    Unfortunately the general rules that I have seen usually state that things are maintained while funds exist. When there is competition for funds maintaining the management structure (and offices and staffing and salaries) always comes before maintaining the physical estate.. :(
     
  9. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    If the SMS documentation states that track and rolling stock will not be used unless it meets the standards specified in the SMS documentation, then will ORR really care about the financing?
    Either you run in a safe manner or you cease running until you can meet the required standards, either way it is safe and that's probably all ORR care about.
     
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  10. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    Well, work on the Dee bridge has progressed right through this crisis. Is that proof, enough?
     
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  11. Thompson1706

    Thompson1706 Part of the furniture

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    Also Corwen station.

    Bob.
     
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  12. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Why does proof of building prove competance to operate and maintain?
     
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  13. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    It doesn't .... but it is a cast iron statement that, so far as many associated with the LR are concerned, the towel stays firmly out of the ring. Isn't that perhaps the most important thing supporters could be doing right now?
     
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  14. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    I don't know.
    It certainly shows commitment.
    But to carry committing capital resources to things that are potentially an increase in operating costs (and indeed spending money at all that could be spent on operational matters), may not indicate the correct priorities right now.
    Should (/can) the money be redirected to buying up assets?
    Should the management and volunteer time be spent working up plans, identifying and filling skills gaps etc on the operational side?

    Extending isn't the #1 priority now, survival is. It may be that (per the Swanage) extension is the key to survival, but that would need to be shown

    I simply don't know, but commitment isn't the only resource needed right now.
     
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  15. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Absolutely and it doesn't diminish the need for those other resources a jot, but for many it'll be all they have to offer and having something about which to coalesce and demonstrate commitment is as vital as the rarefied divisions of high finance. Legally relevant or no, I doubt such efforts will be completely invisible to administrators.

    Don't forget, our movement was forged in the heat of battles against overwhelming odds and far be it from me to dream of criticising efforts of any striving to keep 'their' line alive.
     
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  16. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    Are you saying that the LR Trust members shouldn't have carried out the essential repairs to the Dee Bridge? If they hadn't there would be no prospect of operating at all - even when/if the PLC mess is sorted out. I have every confidence that the management is "working up plans" but see no reason why that should that stop the working members from carrying out essential maintenance and completing work at Corwen that was almost complete when the PLC went under. I am also sure that the Trust management is carefully considering which assets to purchase and hope that all those commenting on here have considered contributing so as to give them the finances to do so.
    Ray.
     
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  17. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    Whilst I appreciate as a forum we have no right to know , it feels that there is a lack of transparency from both the trust and the administrator . If for example we knew what assets were in PLC ownership and the trust needed to acquire (track from Glyn to carrog feels key) then I may be more minded to contribute . Right now having supported 7754 only to find that it is essentially on the market and the trust saying we do not have the resources, firstly feels defeatist and secondly I feel duped as a result , quite brutally I won't be contributing a further penny.

    My assessment is the trust is playing a game of russian roulette with the administrator over what it may be able to acquire with the reserves at its disposal . In an ideal world this should be about erasing the debts of the plc and starting again . it feels though there were enough assets to put the trust over a barrel . Worst case scenario is lifted track and significant items of stock sold on that make reopening very difficult
     
  18. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    I can certainly understand your feelings Martin, and I don't think that the Trust should have offered for sale locos that were donated to them in good faith. It does, perhaps, indicate how desperate they are to raise funds as, I am sure, selling the locos would not be their first choice of action. Despite this I have contributed in the hope that, if enough people contribute, selling the locos will not be necessary. I also cannot understand why the administrators cannot openly say what the PLC's assets are/were. I have confidence in the Trust management that donations will be spent on those items which they deem absolutely vital for the LR's survival. I agree that more openness might encourage more people to donate but I suppose there is a fine line to tread between openness and 'commercial sensitivity' when the Trust is engaged in bidding competitively for PLC assets on the open market.
    Cheers,
    Ray.
     
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  19. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    I'm saying precisely what I said in that post - they might, they might not be, but the fact that works are being done is not a guarantee (or even necessarily persuasive evidence ) of good management.
    How much operating are they going to be doing if they lose the chunk of trackbed the PLC seems to own? How much running are they going to do without the resources. Any volunteer project costs money and time. Unless that money is an a ring-fenced bequest, and/or the bridge works cannot be put back 6 months then they are potentially hampering, not helping the survival of the railway.

    Commitment is great, but intelligent use of resource is critical at this time.

    @Sidmouth - I suspect one of the problems right now is that nobody knows exactly what is and is not where it should be. It is an offence to favour one set of creditors over another. If they say anything now, eg "please help us by bridge x" they could be (a) wrong, as it turns out they don't need to, or (b) expose themselves to accusations of trying to manipulate asset values.
     
  20. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    ISTR that I read (on the LR unofficial Facebook page) that the repairs on the bridge were financed by members and not by the PLC or Trust.
    Ray.
     

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