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Peak Rail Annual Report and Action Group

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by huochemi, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. snappertim

    snappertim Member

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    I note in the PR accounts y/e 31.12.2017 recently filed at Companies House that it was stated that a new and much improved website HAD been introduced. I don't look at the site often but it seems to me to be much the same has it has been for quite some while. It certainly needs a revamp - jut one example the "gallery" page has 2 rail related pictures [DD station] , one portrait and TEN bus pictures!! It does function OK, in that it is easy to navigate, but I do hope the new site is on line very quickly indeed, especially as peak [sorry!] season is upon us.
     
  2. bobw754

    bobw754 New Member

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    hmm... I think you'll find that this is the 'new website' !!! very much the same with a little updating showing tank 72 & the homepage is correct for July.. it's often out of date, there is no excuse for this as I beleive there is a full time member of staff employed to do the secretarial work.. also see my comment on the website of 8th Nov 17 near bottom of page 2.!
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  3. Jamie Glover

    Jamie Glover Member

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    Would the aforementioned full time member of staff employed to do the secretarial work by any chance be a close relative of a PR Plc. director?
     
  4. snappertim

    snappertim Member

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    If indeed this is the "new" website, then I would suggest it does not live up to the considerable hype in the Business review section of the PR submitted accounts. To the casual visitor to the site, its format , navigation, and style is the same as before. It is also interesting to note the lack of use of social media such as Facebook compared to other attractions in the area. The last PR posting on their FB site was Jan 2017!! The EVR & Crich Tramway use this media virtually every day. Whatever your personal views of FB [their bank accounts are £500K lighter as of today], I can only assume that these successful enterprises feel it is worth the effort in keeping their businesses in the public eye through social media.
     
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  5. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

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    Wow, I can't believe that in 2018 a professional TOURIST business would not be using facebook and Twitter. How do you expect people to find out about your events etc? People go on social media and expect everything to be in one place. Expecting people to search you out and go through a website is very very poor marketing and publicity. Shouldn't you be fighting to get more customers??

    On the Patriot Facebook we posted a link about some new sales items in the shop and as you can see from the attached image it has already had over 700 people see the info. Screenshot_20180711-140742.png
     
  6. T'Bogger

    T'Bogger New Member

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    I’m afraid it’s true. In order to engage with your potential visitors, sponsors, donors and prospective members and volunteers, you have to go where they hang out. And that is on social media. From there, after doing your ‘sales pitch’, you can direct them to your website.

    The Patriot Facebook page worked for me: It engaged me, enthused me and I ended up parting with a sum of money towards their project. And most crucially they sent a thank you back in a very short time.

    Another example is when I took my cousin on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway and Peak Rail on the same day. I was able to buy the tickets on-line for the EVR which was quite convenient and then once on the train they were doing further sales pitches for a booklet about the line.

    I ended up buying my tickets on the train at Peak Rail, which was ok too (I didn’t have my membership card with me). However, given the current financial situation at the moment, we really need to make it as convenient as possible for people to part with their pennies and feel they are getting value for money at the same time.
     
  7. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works New Member

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    Peak Rail did have a forum but as Jamie will remember it got squashed by Management after the 48624 debacle and exodus of volunteers (many to the EVR) on the basis that they couldn't handle the 'abuse' or 'honest debate and home truths' depending on your view. The amateurish website and failure to use social media to engage with supporters and customers is inexcusably poor marketing and probably reflects the Board's fear of what might be unleashed, i.e. unwanted scrutiny and instant feedback on poor decisions. The Board clique doesn't want open debate or consultation as has been proven time and time again e.g via the PRA refusing membership renewals to anyone challenge the regime. There is a PR Facebook page but it isn't great. There are cost savings to be had using digital comms instead relying on paper based comms.
     
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  8. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Have the board by any chance been taking advice from the disposed board of the WSRA, because the similarities are amazing. :rolleyes:
     
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  9. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works New Member

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    Yep, there are some great website examples out there and not just from the heavyweights like the Severn Valley and Ffestiniog. Just my opinion but I think the Patriot site will keep you busy exploring for hours, the EVR is good with a nice shopping cart feature, and I also like the Lincs Wolds Railway, it's just a nice, unfussy website. I've no personal links to the LWR but they strike me as being a determined outfit with big ambitions, making the best of what they've got to offer. If any PR supporters are busily feeding back all this disgruntlement to the Regime (probably using the telegraph) I really really want you to get with the 21st century and have a meaningful debate about PR's future and why (on past dismal performance) I should trust you and invest more time and money.
    (And yes I am a bit grumpy about the England result)
     
  10. snappertim

    snappertim Member

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    Just a few random observations.
    I suggest you need to look at your website, which after all is the shop window for your business, and ask yourself the question - would I bookmark this site and come back time and again to look at what's new? If the answer is no then clearly it is not doing its job.
    " A picture is worth a thousand words" is a well worn adage and is just as true today, although I would add the word "good". In this digital age where everyone with a phone is a photographer there is no excuse whatsoever for poor pictures, or even worse a dearth of images. As a very good example of a very well constructed ,informative and full of excellent photos look at www.wsr.org.uk - this is run by a volunteer, although admittedly a very talented one. However everyone feeds him information and pictures without which his job would be much more difficult.
     
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  11. Jamie Glover

    Jamie Glover Member

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    After the PR Forum got liquidated under the instructions of the most senior person of the PR Plc. I set up the Yahoo Group Peak Rail Gossip site which is still in existence but not very often accessed. Immediately after the Gossip site came into existence the PR management set legal eagles on my trail and some hilarious letters were sent to friends accusing them of being me. One of the accusative letters was sent to Tim Oakes who was definitely not amused. Owing to the continuous threats to anyone who posted on the site - most of the postings were made anonymously -often by PR volunteers. The only postings favourable to PR were made by members of the HST.

    At that time not even the PR management's Learned Friends could have served a cease and desist writ on myself as I was then involved in the "Friendship / Freedom Railway" being constructed between Termez and Masheer Al Sharif. Serving British Court writs on an Irish citizen working in the middle of an Afghan desert would not have been a simple task.

    Eight years on things have not changed one iota. The same management continues running Peak Rail Plc and PRA as personal fiefdoms. PR Plc's financial situation becomes more and more dire as continues to hurtle, at twenty-five miles per hour, into financial oblivion.

    To use the words of a well known and despised American Twitter Addict's favourite phrase - the current situation at PR is SAD, SAD, SAD.

    Jamie.
     
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  12. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Not sure about the deposed people giving advice, it hardly seems they need it. However the similarity exists in so far as both seem to be engaged in keeping the legal profession solvent.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  13. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works New Member

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    Ah yes, what fun it all was back then. I don't mind admitting that I was happy to give PR a chance when we extended in to Matlock and I didn't always believe that a Management team could behave as badly as was being reported. Sorry for that Jamie, you and others were right all along. It's truly a sign of a bad managerial culture that the Board resorts to legal threats and actions as often as it has done and continues to do. I shudder to think how much of my money and your money has been wasted over the years by vested interests trying to stamp out dissent. There's no scrutiny of Directors' activities, decisions or spending and zero opportunity to challenge them (ignoring the AGM pantomime) so I would think the historic legal costs have been lost in 'office admin' in the Accounts. I would never criticise anyone for their volunteering effort or their commitment to something they believe in, but staff and volunteers and shareholders deserve so much more. The word inept springs to mind when thinking about how long some people have been in power and what they have done to PR.
     
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  14. PRAG

    PRAG New Member

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    Firstly, having agreed to take on the role of spokesperson for PRAG I was called away on business, so my apologies for the lack of input. Hopefully this won't happen again.

    Having read over the various comments on this forum, there are some interesting points emerging. To natdawson (#430), during whose visit 2 years ago encountered a station staff member spouting 'hatred of the Briddons' – this would probably be not long after the case where Pete and Andrew were forced to take PR to court and won. PRAG heard recently that the PR Director involved returned to the Board and claimed that the Court vindicated their position which is surely hard to justify when PR had just lost! In fact, we understand, the Judge interrupted the cross-examination of said Director to state “.... your statement appears to contain significant errors of fact” - which is, we are told, an example of judicial understatement. The point is that PR management's policy to deal with any disagreement is apparently one of demon-isation and excommunication, and we can well-imagine accusations being levelled at Pete and Andrew during that time. Or as the joke going around PR some months ago went:

    New volunteer to old hand “So where do you go if you find yourself in dispute with the management?”
    “Wirksworth.”

    We presume it was a slip of the keyboard that allowed Lax ambition (#437) to state that the footbridge at Darley Dale has gone in, whereas it is still a kit of parts not yet reassembled, but some excellent work has meant that new support columns, lost, stolen or strayed since the footbridge was dismantled, have been cast to restore it to original appearance.

    To update the situation, PRAG has learned that PR has finally paid the costs element of the last September Part 36 settlement, which amounted to £29,500, increased by some £7,000 over what it was last September owing to interest and PR's insistence on trying to argue it down. Similarly, although it was stated at the AGM that costs had been settled at £12k (this for Grinsty's costs for the injunction application they made in June '17, which PR agreed to pay in March this year) PRAG understands they are more and still rising as no settlement has been reached. We also have learned that a claim for the cost of repairing 'Lord Phil' at Tyseley, said to be another six figure sum, has been lodged. The claim is said to be supported by an independent engineer's report which makes grim reading.

    Some of you may have read on Pete Briddon's blog that solicitors acting for PR had asserted that the contents of the 'Waterman newsletter' are entirely true and provable by information given to PR by the regulator. Unfortunately the PR solicitor did not follow the 'defamation protocol' which requires that if the defence to any potential writ is that what was said is true, the evidence must be produced forthwith. Solicitors acting for Pete have now given PR's solicitors until July 27th to produce this 'proof' which, considering that Pete is entirely adamant that he has never made any complaint about PR to the ORR/HMRI and the only contact he has had was a meeting held at Darley Dale in June 2016, may yet turn out to be a bluff. He has now written to the ORR requesting an explanation or at least a statement confirming his innocence.

    But enough of all this negativity. Over the last few weeks PRAG has been drawing up its manifesto! “Peak Rail: A vision for the future” is now undergoing final tweaks after input from PRAG supporters and 'shadow Directors' and will be available to download from the PRAG website shortly. It comprises our broad-brush stroke view of the way forward to turn the present sorry mess around and bring Peak Rail back on to a firm-footing as a heritage railway that will be welcoming both to visitors and volunteers. Having seen early versions it is both simple and yet (by present PR standards) revolutionary. But it is grounded in reality, so no pie-in-the-sky talk of third parties rebuilding the line northwards, just a formula for getting the best out of the present railway.

    RF
     
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  15. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works New Member

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    Thanks for the update, sounds good (the vision I mean, not our Directors' endearing financial support for the legal profession) :)
     
  16. daveannjon

    daveannjon Member

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    The six figure sum to repair Lord Phil is intriguing. I believe PR's boiler inspector said it was OK, so that will be an interesting argument. Where's Bob Meanley when you need him. :)

    Dave
     
  17. fergusmacg

    fergusmacg Well-Known Member

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    I've got to admit I was confused by that Loco repair bill, if the loco was on hire why are repairs also being charged are these not covered in the daily fee? I do understand the payments for that hire took legal action to receive payment and also the agreed no. of steaming's was exceeded - could someone explain this as I've only just been following this tale of woe.
     
  18. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

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    Presumably the loco hire agreement would have stipulated boiler washout intervals, and would have contained clauses pertaining to 'fair wear and tear' and the replacement of consumable items such as firebars and brake-blocks. If it could be proved that the considerable number of extra undisclosed steaming days, that were the subject of the earlier court case, had contributed to any damage or excessive wear to the loco, then the owner is within his rights to pursue a claim for costs. If Peak Rail did not choose to inform the owner of the extra steamings, then it may well have been the case that equally they did not adhere to every condition of the hire agreement.
     
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  19. jnc

    jnc Member

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    I wonder where the cash for that came from, as it's a good deal more than they had in the bank, recently.
    Sigh...
    That would be interesting to read. Well, if it comes to legal blows (and past form indicates it probably will), I assume it will show up as a filing...
    Sigh, so sad to see more of PR's money going on lawyers.

    I'd bet that if PR management looked into it, discovered they were incorrect, and sent Peter a 'sorry, we were incorrect' letter, he'd be happy to let it drop.

    Alas, they seem to be of the 'not one thin dime for Wollersheim' school...

    Noel
     
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  20. Breva

    Breva Well-Known Member

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    Did the board know of these costs on the horizon when the 2017 Annual report was filed? Shareholders should have been told, provisions made.
     

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