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Lynton and Barnstaple - Operations and Development

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by 50044 Exeter, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. SpudUk

    SpudUk Member

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    There is a subtle difference between discussing developments at the L&B and engaging in a public and very one-sided bun fight though - particularly if members of the local community are on here and reading all about it. None of us can answer some the questions regarding governance of the L&B as none of us are involved in official capacities, so they come across not as debates or discussions around developments but as attempts to denigrate the L&B or it's current management. If there are any genuine concerns regarding the governance of the L&B or their failure to compile with any legal or statutory responsibilities there are process to report that.
     
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  2. marshall5

    marshall5 Part of the furniture

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    I agree .... and very welcome it is. Unfortunately the positive news has been swamped by the 'mud-slinging' and I, for one, am tired of having to wade through these acrimonious posts which IMHO would be better in a separate thread.
    Ray.
     
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  3. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    To be clear and speaking personally, all "these acrimonious posts" are actually best located not in another thread but nowhere on Nat Pres.

    And to @TheEngineer - you need to view Nat Pres as like your local pub where you are most welcome but you have no right to expect to be served. It depends on your behaviour about which the Forum Rules are fairly generous but do not allow anyone to say whatever they choose.
     
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  4. ConRod1

    ConRod1 New Member

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    To add to @RailWest point:

    With respect Operations and Development are all effected by politics. The organisation is a democrat one, where by individuals are voted in. If internal issues amounting to a lack of confidence in the way things or not done then it may well be an instance of no development and no operations in the future. Sadly, great news often masks less desirable issues which if not dealt with by a democratic process then there will likely be no great news to tell and none for anyone to hear. The great little railway may well end up back at auction in form of scrap metal and collectors trinkets.
    I don’t know of any other place where members trying to highlight some issues can be heard - as addressed in some of the earlier posts - without people getting upset.
    I believe the spirit of any negative post is not to simply vent or rant, rather to inform those who cannot get involved on a weekly bases, accounts are based on the lived experience of who are at the railway regularly and can see the seams starting to give way.


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    Last edited: Nov 3, 2021
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  5. marshall5

    marshall5 Part of the furniture

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    That as may be but these are internal politics and need to be discussed, and any necessary changes made, by the membership using your own organization's communication methods. You may well have grounds for concern regarding the alleged voting irregularities but this forum is not the place for public mud-slinging no matter how aggrieved you feel. It appears to me that you only joined this forum to vent your anger/frustration as all of your 36 posts since you joined on 13th Sept. are on this single subject.
    Don't bother replying to my post as you have been set to 'ignore'.
     
  6. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    I don’t know any of the personalities involved in the L&B but I’m always interested in different points of view. What might be an ‘acrimonious posting’ to one person is ‘constructive criticism’ to another! It would be a very dull and one sided thread if debate was stifled.

    I don’t have any knowledge of the L&B but regrettably some heritage railways do stifle internal discussion and criticism. We know that weak, unprofessional people at various heritage railways have withdrawn memberships, banned volunteers from site and resorted to legal action when their positions have been threatened. Forums like Nat Pres allow people to shine a light on what is happening, good and not so good.

    I’m not for one moment suggesting that the L&B thread should be a whinge-fest but I am genuinely interested in the railway’s record to date and its ambitious development plans. Like many other folks I can’t financially support every single railway or appeal so I want some confidence that my hard earned cash is being used wisely by the L&B!
     
  7. ConRod1

    ConRod1 New Member

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    Thanks @marshall5 not that this is a reply.

    However, the point is there aren’t any methods of communication. It’s a one way conversation if you will.

    Second point I’ve got no mud to sling at anyone just facts. So can’t quite get my head round this one.

    Third point is ignoring facts may well lead to the outcome none of us want. If that proves to be true then so be it.

    Toodle pip.


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  8. ConRod1

    ConRod1 New Member

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    Thank you @ Vulcan Works. It’s refreshing to hear someone appreciates critical analysis which is, I believe, beneficial to any organisation who is willing to reflect on its actions and or omissions.

    Any modern day enthusiast, investor or generally aware person will tell you the importance of critical analysis, particularly when you’re about to invest in what is essentially a dream or hope.

    It’s true to say the railway is very successful in a number of areas. There’s not many that can sell a railway experience mile long for ten plus years when it’s not even a mile long. Further, generally speaking it’s a really nice place to be, among friendly like minded people.

    Some people express their concerns differently. Some are genuinely upset by how they and others have been treated and that comes out in their posts. Myself, I’m frustrated that there has been no movement and I’m genuinely concerned that nothing will happen before planing permission runs out. Yet any question asked is meet with a nil response and no explanation. All public discussion is shut down with the comments such as those dismissing any concern as an act of treason.

    I would sooner be taken to task than be given simple illogical attempts to minimise and trivialise anything we, with feet on the ground, have to say.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to see posts for what they actually are. You are one of few.


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    Last edited: Nov 2, 2021
  9. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    Well said - I am happy to wait for the outcome of the vote without making further comment.
     
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  10. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    I think part of the frustration is that we all...(on here), want to see the L & B fully reborn to as much of its former length as possible. However it is a huge task with a lot of legal, environmental, financial, economic.....and Social (Local and National) hurdles to overcome. There is a valid desire by some, to keep that area of North Devon just as it is, quiet and as it is. They do not want change.
    To have achieved so much in terms of land purchased, stations restored and trains running is incredible....but it does take time....and ever more money.....and goodwill.
     
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  11. ConRod1

    ConRod1 New Member

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    This is valid point, there is opposition from, what could be described as locals or rather none locals looking for a county retreat neglecting to notice a railway being restored that runs though their garden. This of course needs addressing with care - it’s no good alienating these people or acting as it’s a given right to plough through their land. As such a new approach to these people is required to rebuild foster good relationships so the local community and the railway can co-exist.

    Many thousands of pounds are still required as such new ways of working need - in my view - to be adopted. Covid has shown that remote working is more than achievable and would mitigate the need for expenses to be paid for things such as travel. This could save a substantial sum to put towards legal as well as other hurdles. Whilst a few thousand P/A is a relatively small amount in the grand scheme of things I believe if one truly loves and wants the railway to succeed, then not claiming expenses and working remotely where ever possible is a must and should be embarrassed with enthusiasm.

    For this reason I call for transparency surrounding financial affairs so members can make informed suggestions as to alternative ways of working notwithstanding it is the members who are making donations and Lilly want their money to go directly towards the project rather than to areas where savings can be made.


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  12. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    Absolutely agree. I think the Trust has achieved a lot over recent months - there have been numerous planning matters which have had to be dealt with and the purchase of the 'halt' in Parracombe. Some of these things are in the public domain and some, by necessity and rightly so, are not. The path to the completion of the next phase will take a while, not least of which is the application for the TWAO which will probably require a Public Inquiry. We musn't underestimate the costs and time involved in this process.
     
  13. ConRod1

    ConRod1 New Member

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    It’s sound an almost insurmountable task to achieve in 16 months notwithstanding we still don’t own all the land etc and clearly there will need to be a period of consultation enabling an effective public enquiry. As we know there’s no prospect of planning permission being granted again if anything goes wrong. It’s a pity the Grampian Conditions weren’t challenged at an early stage, I imagine if a challenge was bought to bear now, at such an advanced stage it will be fruitless at best.

    I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about though as previously I’ve be told all my worries and concerns are essentially, unfounded and unwarranted, amounting to totally without merit.

    With that in mind I wouldn’t mind betting on the lottery people signing off a grant as I tap this post out.


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  14. 2392

    2392 Member

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    One thing that has surprised me and no doubt many others here, is the relative speed at which both the L&B and EA have acquired various sections of former track-bed/stations over the years. In turn leading the L&B to operate a service of sorts, which in turn has lead to even more acquisitions.......... having said that as we have seen here issues have surfaced, for better or worse is hard to say at the moment though. [How much can be laid at the doors of the last 18-24 months of the Pandemic is equally hard to say].
     
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  15. ConRod1

    ConRod1 New Member

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    Very true, Covid has done us no favours and the various acquisitions made are promising

    However, realistically only face to face progress has have been hindered - repairs and maintenance etc. Thankfully working weekends etc are now back on the agenda.

    During Covid, much of the administrative work associated with; Planning, TWAO, etc. will have been carried out by remote means - as with the rest of the administrative world. It follows that in this respect, realistically no time should have been lost.

    We will have to wait and see if Covid has hampered these tasks, but I can’t see it given the the way the way judicial functions, education and just about everyone else have all adapted to the new way of working. The railway is very adaptable and very well run and can cope with these hurdles evidenced by the advances made over the last decade.


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  16. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    I am reminded of a situation which occurred not far from me a few years ago, where a number of residents were very vocal in opposition to the proposed re-opening of a disused railway, mainly because it would involve the loss of part of their gardens. In doing so, they conveniently overlooked the fact that the land in question had actually been occupied illegally by them when they extended their gardens across the old trackbed without the authority of the actual railway property board !! I don't think the L&BR faces any such situation.

    It does however raise an interesting conundrum. There are many railway enthusiasts who, quite understandably, believe that disused railways should not be sold off and built over, in the hope that one day the line can be brought back to life again. But if we look further back in time the railways themselves are relatively modern and short-lived by comparison to the time before railways, when their trackbeds were just part of the landscape and belonged to long-dead landowners. Might not the descendants of those former landowners actually have a more valid claim to having the land back?

    Meanwhile, here at the keyboard in Black Arts Towers remote WFH continues apace on Phase 2A....:)
     
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  17. gwralatea

    gwralatea Member

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    Hmm, as someone who has been working remotely since before the pandemic, and does a lot of work for government, my conservative estimate would be that regardless of whether the railway has been able to carry on working on everything that needs to be worked on, substantial time has been lost by the system. For most organisations (state and local government), Covid (the initial response to) was everything for about 6 months of last year, and most organisations also took months to get up to speed with remote working. I would agree that by and large the adaptations have now come good, and most places are business as usual, but they haven't been all the way through by any means. There is a massive gap of lost education, and there is indeed a backlog of judicial functions (never mind the well-known NHS backlog, and the fact that every conveyancing solicitor in the country has had more work tha nthey can do for the last 12 months plus).

    Bottom line, we have now got to a place where the country is more or less working again (remotely or otherwise) but 2020 was pretty nightmarish for anyone with a project plan to work to.
     
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  18. ConRod1

    ConRod1 New Member

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    I completely agree remote working didn’t just happen over night for any organisation. Like I said we all had to Adapt to the new way of doing things. The railway is run by some fantastic people with the ability to adapt, working from home will have no problem.

    I don’t believe there is any problem the current board of trustees can’t overcome, a view shared by many. I simply can’t accept that with such professionalism, dedication, and selfless commitment that Covid would have caused any major problems save for issues with staffing in other offices ie Local Authority. The railway can’t be penalised where it’s admin is spot on and on time, to do so would be unethical.

    I reject any criticism suggesting the board couldn’t adapt. To compare it to the NHS, Education and so on seems unfair and suggests the current board can’t cope. However, given those organisations managed to do it - if still playing catch up - the railway will have had limited problems at worst notwithstanding it had no responsibilities towards running trains so plenty of time etc to concentrate on moving forward.

    I have 100% faith in the current management, I will be surprised by any suggestion from the board that Covid prevented any of the essential paperwork deadlines not being meet. The board represent some of the most dedicated people in railway heritage. The posts here as well as the number of times the trustees have been re-elected demonstrate the confidence we, as members, have.


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  19. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    The local authority where I live took a while to adapt. Specifically there have been delays in processing Planning Applications - which are still ongoing due to the backlog.
     
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  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I don’t know the L&B management structure well. However, what I do remember on another line was that when the first lockdown happened, basic survival became the first and only priority. Almost all income had disappeared, for what was an unknown length of time. So pretty much anything that wasn’t linked to survival stopped overnight, and it took some months to move on from that.

    Maybe the L&B was different, but I doubt it. In other words, simply being able to conduct primarily administrative tasks remotely is not a sufficient reason to imagine such tasks could have continued unaffected by the pandemic.

    Even now, when railways are operating in a somewhat normal fashion, basic operational matters are difficult, a combination of significant supply chain issues and high rates of staff (whether paid or volunteer) absence due to self isolation etc. That hasn’t gone away. So it is unrealistic I think to say that the pandemic should not have affected the administrative function of the railway. If you are buried in paperwork making an HLF application for emergency funds, or rearranging staff rosters to cover sickness, or ringing round local food wholesalers desperately trying to source enough sandwiches for the weekend, you aren’t progressing more strategic projects.

    Tom
     
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