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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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    Point taken! Perhaps I should have done a S.W.O.T A. analysis with the A for aspirations!
    It is extremely dangerous to say something will never happen in the heritage Railway world as near miracles seem to occur almost every year. That said I remain to be convinced how the PR can extend north on their terms - maybe one day I will be proved wrong. Don't get me wrong I am all for the "can do" attitude but there are just too many challenges in the way - not the least finance we are talking very serious money indeed, let alone the potential objectors.
    It seems to me much better to concentrate on making the PR existing railway much better, and in particular make Rowsley South a destination in its own right, for visitors to enjoy and spend time [and money]. There is a slight caveat to that in that in the unlikely event of PR extending to say Bakewell, then Rowsley will be merely an intermediate stop on the way to Matlock, as far as visitors are concerned and the footfall would probably not merit the investment.
    Lastly a question : does PR have a 5 or 10 year plan and if so is shared with volunteers and staff, and just as importantly do they have an input into such a document? Just curious.
     
  2. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    Is Peter Waterman still the President of the GWSR? He doesn't appear to have been involved in the opening to Broadway celebrations.
     
  3. Breva

    Breva Well-Known Member

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    Pete is a man of many talents, and he is still President of the GWSR plc.
    The Broadway opening was a low key affair as the station isn't finished. A grander reopening was planned at some later time, but I've not heard anything recently.
    There is a lot going on at the GWSR (in a good sense) at the moment and with Broadway operating OK and helping to raise cash the money we have is being spent very carefully.
     
  4. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    I just wondered why it was Lord Faulkner rather than the President
     
  5. FearOfManchester

    FearOfManchester Member

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    Or rebuild the magnificent brick shed on site, they started down that road originally by excavating the ash pits and re-using them as well as using the original turntable pit, the current loco shed is built on the original footprint, albeit 1/3rd the size of the original, it was so long in fact they could partition it, 2 roads for the loco facilities, the other 2 roads for carriage repair/storage, though obviously shunting would be an issue. Of course I'm in cloud cuckoo land, but the bluebell seem to have done a pretty good job at a brick build shed.
     
  6. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    The Bo'ness and Kinneil also have a rather nice modern, brick two-road loco shed.
     
  7. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works New Member

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    Falls about laughing hysterically.
    It's a perfectly good question but it's symptomatic of the management failings that have plagued PR for many years; the Board believes in its divine right to manage and does a darned good job of keeping it that way. It doesn't even publish Minutes of Board Meetings. No there isn't a Plan (or if there is it's a well kept secret), no nothing is shared with anyone apart from the occasional press release or superficial page in the PRA mag (and always after the event, never before), and no there isn't any consultation with anyone before the Board makes its major decisions. The ideas put forward by contributors (all valid and worthy of debating) are unlikely to be delivered by the current regime because it doesn't have the will to open itself up to scrutiny or the ability to deliver anything remotely complicated.
     
  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    A question of who was available, Pete is still a very busy man. I seem to recall the main reason Lord Faulkner opened the station is because he said he was coming anyway!
     
  9. snappertim

    snappertim Member

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    I can only take your comments at face value as I don't know enough about PR at first hand. However if your posting is accurate then I would have thought that this was the least effective way to manage an essentially volunteer organisation. I suspect within the ranks of the active volunteers there is a great deal of latent talent which perhaps is being untapped. Surely also there must be a plan that everyone, including the various groups can sign up to for the good of the PR as a whole - "One railway" and all that. Volunteers are the greatest asset any HR has, and if they are led by "mushroom " management then their full potential will be lost and indeed they might just vote with their feet.

    Readers of this thread will be glad to know I am going to cease postings , but I wait with interest to see what proposals PRAG have, as and when it is made public.
     
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  10. PRAG

    PRAG New Member

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    Unfortunately revision of the PRAG website is taking a little longer than expected – not that we don't know what to say, rather it is as though every word must be carefully vetted for accuracy and fairness.

    It seemed a shame though that the PRAG 'Vision' document was being held up, especially as some of the comments on this forum are in tune with our thinking. So PRAG has decided to release it here, now, and Pete will also make it available through 'Weekend Rails' next Sunday. But it really needs to get to all Peak Rail shareholders and members and that is something that PRAG is also considering at the moment.

    'Vision' is not a complete formula – if it was then anyone could do it. It does not talk much about the extension to Buxton – in our view any third party building the line for commercial reasons would spell the end for PR anyway – rather getting the existing railway on a sound commercial footing ready to take the line forward in due time. We have waited so many years already, a few more won't matter.

    In the meantime we invite you to read 'Vision', comment as you will, and commend it to you as the best hope for a successful future at Peak Rail.

    RF
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works New Member

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    PRAG - many thanks for posting the Vision. Plenty to absorb and mull over...

    I agree that the years of PR stagnation needs to be reversed and we should by now be punching way above our weight as a heritage railway. I also agree that we need a clear Plan that sets out our priorities and focuses on maximising the returns of the current operation. There's so much untapped railway and volunteer potential at PR, it's infuriating that the Board doesn't see that many of PR's woes are of its own doing. Fundamentally PR doesn't have a wide enough support base (financially and physically) so it needs to have some honest conversations to understand why that is. Just 'carrying on' at the current glacial rate of progress is leading us in to financial ruin.
     
  12. Jamie Glover

    Jamie Glover Member

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    I find the 'PR Vision an exciting and thought provoking document. Well done to all at PRAG who contributed to its construction!

    However, one additional set of thoughts is now going through my mind. It is only fair to assume that the dictatorial leaderene at the helm of the current PR Plc. Board has by now gone through the document with a fine tooth ballast rake.

    Therefore I pose the question? Can we soon expect to see the lady's own 'Vision Type' publication which will probably contain all that can be culled and adapted as her board's own plans for the future of PR Plc. ?

    From my own past experiences, I guess we will probably see a stream of plagiarism, dead cats, fake news and unlimited railway spin issuing forth from certain areas of Matlock Railway Station.

    Jamie.
     
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  13. Jamie Glover

    Jamie Glover Member

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    Deleted owing to duplicated post.

    Jamie.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  14. daveannjon

    daveannjon Member

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    The vision PDF doesn't open properly on my iPhone. Will try on pc when home.
    Dave
     
  15. JayDee

    JayDee Member

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    It certainly seems like a solid plan but with the current financial dire straits there seems to be a call in the PRAG vision of an investment of what is likely to be a steep price to pull off the fixes Peak Rail needs. Indeed the napkin calculation as I read it runs to probably a cool £2m+ on just the physical improvements alone at a time when the company bumps along and even lost significant amounts this year, and would have done so had it paid Grinsty for several years.

    A new building at Rowsley, if mimicking the EVR's own recreation would run to £500,000 or more to begin with, with the Matlock improvements likely pushing a high price as it involves Network Rail, and thus contractors.

    Only Darley Dale seems to be noted for Grants funding, meaning a lot of this would be done, how? Fundraising? Donation drives? Loans?
     
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  16. crantock

    crantock Member

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    Jamie,

    I don't think the level of personal comments is helpful to the cause.
     
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  17. Kempenfelt 82e

    Kempenfelt 82e New Member

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    I'm not sure I agree with this statement.

    There are plenty of younger volunteers out there and I like to think that I speak as one of them! And as a matter of fact, there are a lot more people in the UK than there were in the 1960's and the aging population are living longer and staying more active, so why is it considered that there are less volunteers? As for costs, all things are relative! Yes the price of milk has increased for instance, but so has the average salary. As for those that are perhaps approaching retirement/retired and most likely paid off their mortgages, these are the people who have benefited most in recent generations due to the disproportionate rise in house prices in recent years. The population in general is arguably far more affluent today than they were in the dark days of the 70's!

    My own personal view is that its the ability of organisations to attract volunteers in the first place. Unfortunately for PR, the image it's giving off of poor leadership seemingly in crisis, alienating volunteers, inadequate information sharing (even simple things such as the AGM minutes) and lack of progress are not likely to encourage new volunteers! Again my own opinion, but what I believe PR needs is a strong leadership promoting an attractive vision that people actual want to become part of without the risk of their efforts being misused (such as funds being used to pay for legal battles rather than for actual improvements. The WHR, NNR and GWR are all good examples where strong leadership and vision has reaped impressive results. The WHR for instance certainly didn't appear to have a problem with volunteer's, they just created a project that was exciting and attracted people.

    For me, PR had (and possibly still has!) more potential than most preserved railways, but really has failed to deliver. I personally believe it has more potential than what the SVR has achieved based on the scenery, the location (central England), facilities such as Rowsley (could make a far more suited and historically accurate MPD than Bridgenorth), double track formation and the potential for commercial traffic. As a side note, I'm certainly not talking down the efforts of the current and past PR volunteer's, you've all done a stella job to preserve and create what you have. The possibilities of a leadership such as what Julian Birley and Mike Hart (and many others) have brought to other major projects however is certainly mouthwatering!

    Finger's crossed some (or maybe even all) of that PR potential can be unlocked going forwards!

    Paul
     
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  18. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    It is maybe sobering that Peak Rail has its roots in the 1970's . 80080 and 92214 arrived in 1980, 48624 in 1981 .

    Whilst Peak rail has achieved many things comparison with peer lines of the time and era is maybe less than favourable . Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, Swanage, Mid Hants have all gone on to establish themselves in what many would consider the premier league of preservation . I'm sure readers will add others to the list . in the interests of balance other lines have made slower progress (but no less valuable ) Avon valley, Swindon & Cricklade for example. It opens the door though to what if .....

    Challenge now is there is no Barry , no pool of appropriate motive power, BR no longer has lots of Mark 1's available for purchase . Has the preservation boom (in terms of creating significant lines) passed. What does a future Peak Rail realistically look like . Costs per mile to rebuild a line , are they significantly higher now. EU funding as a possible disappears and depending on your view of Brexit an economic nose dive may yet have a very profound impact on leisure spending . Do we have the enthusiasm and volunteer pool to sustain and develop such a scheme ?
     
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  19. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Well-Known Member

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    It is hard to say, but on the other hand we have lines like the CHR who seem to be kicking on and others that seem to be coming back to life. Other lines that have established themselves as loco repair centres ie SDR

    You highlight the lack of mk1s, of steam locos but then look at the EVR which has gone down a different route (in their case first generation DMUs). Look at the mid-norfolk as a different approach again. Also, there are going to be locos and stock that were useful on lines when they were shorter and less used that are surplus to requirements that can be brought in (I believe the CHR carriage came from KWVR).

    I've got an old heritage railway guide from the late 1070s-early 1980s, when the Mid Hants was Arlesford-Ropley, GCR - Quorn, NNR was a short route etc etc, PR was there at Buxton. In the end PR got surpassed by other lines, the thing is that 40 years on, PR is in danger of being surpassed a second and third time.
     
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  20. JayDee

    JayDee Member

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    But steam is still key despite attempts to specialise. With resources pushed towards bringing The Duke online, and regular steam hauled services during the summer months (normally with the GCR based Jinty at the helm) on the EVR usually spiking their revenues. If they could get back to say, Bakewell and called it good then it might not matter so much. 6 miles can be handled by the parade of Austerities and other industrial engines fairly easily.

    16 miles, however, and you'll need some more serious kit with a bit of oomph.

    Coaches-wise, MK2's could probably take some of the load as numbers of those are likely to cascade out, or be dumped in storage alongside increasing numbers of Mk3's. In the event dusty stone trains find themselves roaring down Monsal Dale having more closed coaches might be worth it.
     
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