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.

S&D Railway Trust and Washford Eviction Notice

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Andy Norman, Feb 24, 2020.

  1. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,158
    Likes Received:
    3,777
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    West Country
    And to where exactly at Radstock would you expect them to move please?
     
  2. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    991
    Likes Received:
    1,253
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Western Atlantic
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    My sense is, a good question no matter what happens. The trust between the two groups has been severely degraded, irreparably I fear.

    Noel
     
    echap and Swan Age like this.
  3. Wenlock

    Wenlock Member Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,446
    Likes Received:
    777
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Bus Driver
    Location:
    Loughton Essex
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    That was what we had at church when I was a child. But at school it was always 'Songs of Praise'. Certainly the two books did not have all the same hymns.
     
  4. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,080
    Likes Received:
    2,813
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    South Hams
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Unfortunately not something the WSR 'family' seems well versed in.
     
  5. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2014
    Messages:
    12,776
    Likes Received:
    7,136
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    St Leonards
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Unfortunately its not going to be trust between the PLC and the S&D Trust thats been tore apart, its going to be the trust between the S&D , and the rest of the various groups that gave tacit support to the eviction. ,
     
  6. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,807
    Likes Received:
    10,631
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Trust between the S&DRT and the current WSR Plc board probably has broken down irreparably. That's not the same as trust with the WSR as a whole though. We've seen a lot of WSR volunteers, supporters and members express their disgust at the actions taken. If the HRA talks come out in favour of the S&DRT, it might provide cover for the WSRA and WSSRT plus other figures in the higher echelons of WSR society to stand up to the WSR Plc board, and could potentially precipitate a changing of the guard. Of course the WSRA and WSSRT have also been complicit thus far, but I get the impression that it wouldn't require the removal of all board members to achieve a fresh start, merely a few key figures, for the S&DRT to feel welcome again.
    But yes, if the S&DRT are allowed to stay, but the management on the WSR remains the same, things are going to be pretty frosty. Although, again, assuming the HRA talks come out favourably for the S&DRT, one would assume that would also come with some pretty clear commitments from the WSR along the lines of "We promise to do all the things we've previously legally agreed to". That ought to at least allow the Trust not to be constantly looking over their shoulders, even if they're still wary, as it's further evidence to chuck out to the wider world should the WSR ever "try it on" again.
     
    MellishR likes this.
  7. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    877
    Likes Received:
    1,547
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Indeed, this does appear to be a lose-lose scenario. What with COVID-19, the Plc can't afford to lose the case, but nor can it really afford to win. With the best will in the world, they are not going to get sympathetic treatment in the railway press, which is going to play havoc with their fund-raising. The legal costs could bankrupt the S&DRT and not even be covered by a sale of their assets. It is quite possible that the eviction is upheld on technical reasons, but that the Plc are ordered to pay the S&DRT's moving costs, or their own legal costs, as happened in the WSRA case. The Plc are very unlikely to get out of this without paying some sort of costs, probably quite large ones. They will have acquired the use of a very expensive piece of land they don't own and which will require yet more money that they don't have to be of any use and that's their best case scenario.
     
    MellishR likes this.
  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,807
    Likes Received:
    10,631
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Over on Facebook the S&DRT have more or less said that was why they released this statement, because Railway Herald published the WSR's side of things with nothing from them at all. In some ways that seems fair enough, but equally I would have thought to address that specifically a "letter to the editor" from the chairman setting out the facts would have looked better than just releasing a press statement out into the ether hoping that it gets picked up on. Whilst I personally have absolutely no problem with the last couple of paragraphs of the statement, unfortunately it ends up drawing attention away from the substance of it, namely the points No.1-4 which clearly set out how and why the WSR are wrong. Stick to those and you can't go far wrong.

    The WSR has lied about the Trust refusing to engage in discussion.
    The WSR has lied about the Trust refusing to pay for a new tender tank for 53808.
    The WSR has lied about Trust efforts to support the WSR, and been rather disingenuous.
    The WSR has lied about the Trust being subject to complaints submitted to ORR.
    The WSR has reneged on its legal obligation on the 50 year lease.
    The WSR has reneged on its legal obligation on the "run and repair" agreement for 53808.

    I challenge any WSR folk supportive of the current Plc board to defend any of these points. Once the bluff and bluster now from both sides (cuckoos in the nest, volcanoes of Mordor etc.) is stripped away, that is what we're left with. 4 lies, and 2 legal obligations broken. How is that in any way defensible? "Saving the railway" or no, how does that give anyone a free pass to do these things?
     
  9. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Messages:
    526
    Likes Received:
    1,010
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Titfield
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I never read Tolkein, but a brief consultation with my sons who have reveals- apparently the story is there's a power crazed wizard called Sauron, living in a tower, and waging war on just about everyone who opposes him in his attempt at total domination and power over everything. What similarities there may be with a railway in Somerset I cannot judge
     
  10. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    12,260
    Likes Received:
    9,060
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I’m not so sure - more that of someone who saw the film once and hasn’t grasped Tolkien’s world. Tolkien always claimed to be against allegory, while the imagery of Middle Earth doesn’t fit readily to mind with the travails at Washford, and the reference to the volcano suggests a deep misunderstanding of the books.

    I’d personally suggest that any parallels are not with Sauron but with Saruman.

    However, that reference was unfortunate and had better have been left out - it cuts right across the highly dignified restraint that has otherwise been the hallmark of the S&DRT during this mess.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    ross, jnc, baldbazza and 4 others like this.
  11. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    15,064
    Likes Received:
    12,205
    Location:
    1016
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Best to ignore the background noise. Be optimistic. Isn't it the case that there are examples of set-ups that have survived and actually improved, despite the actions or attitude of individuals? Someone I know who was a regular and a fireman on a south of England line some time back changed his allegiance to the Bluebell Railway because of a single personality where he was. But that was then and things are different there now.

    Viewed dispassionately, this upset with the S&DRT is just another example of the complications the wider WSR is living with at present and sadly, the accumulating problems of trying to run a rather long little branch line with big ticket infrastructure expenses.

    Hasn't the Washford site, including the station, been improved and maintained by the S&DRT? Were they to have to vacate, what would any independent judgement say about compensation for the loss of assets that for practical purposes it wasn't possible to remove. How will that help the WSR plc and its finances?
     
    Fish Plate, ross, jnc and 2 others like this.
  12. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    5,839
    Likes Received:
    3,991
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Thorn in my managers side
    Location:
    72
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer

    I remember doing a letter writing course at work, we were told not to use the word 'failed' but rather 'you have not...' also when writing submissions for Housing Benefit Appeals I would always write 'Mr Buggins says that ..... however I can find no evidence to support his claim' 'She says.... however on .... happened' I dont make an accusation, however I do look for supporting evidence and comment on what I have = or have not found
     
    D1039 likes this.
  13. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Messages:
    4,523
    Likes Received:
    1,490
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired Rolls-Royce engineer
    Location:
    Bath Green Park / Mangotsfield
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
  14. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,158
    Likes Received:
    3,777
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    West Country
    Part of the problem which I see for the S&DRT is that some of their rebuttals depend upon things which did not happen - eg "the Plc did not reply to our offers to help" etc. The Trust may be able to provide copies of letters sent by them to the Plc offering to help, but how do they prove absence of a reply ?
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    18,164
    Likes Received:
    29,756
    Location:
    21C102
    I'm not sure they have to.

    As I see it, there are two different "courts" here. In the "court of public opinion", accusations are being traded form one side to the other, and we can all make our minds up on how we see things, which I suspect for most people is going to be an emotional, not an analytical, response.

    If, heaven forbid, it actually goes to a real legal court, the issue at stake is specifically whether one side has broken the terms of a legal agreement, i.e. the lease. Whether or not the plc answered the S&DRT's letters, or whether the S&DRT did or didn't offer to help fund a new tender tank for No. 88 is irrelevant to that matter.

    Tom
     
    tracker, ross, jnc and 4 others like this.
  16. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,080
    Likes Received:
    2,813
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    South Hams
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I guess I should send a further one to the Trust. They probably will need financial help, no supporting acts there to help them out.
     
    tracker, Blue Horizon, Piggy and 2 others like this.
  17. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2013
    Messages:
    518
    Likes Received:
    465
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    durzet
    Weird, I dreamt last night that I wrote the Hobbit.
    As the song goes 'I've been Tolkien in my sleep' I will get my coat.......................
     
    CH 19 and Forestpines like this.
  18. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    15,064
    Likes Received:
    12,205
    Location:
    1016
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    If you were minded to want to control completely 'your' railway and what goes on there, then it's easy to write the script. Things like:
    - ensuring that organisationally there are no constraints in allowing your Board to make decisions
    - keeping the brand 'pure' and that might mean having a solely GWR set-up in the case of the WSR
    - owning the freehold so you can determine and control what else may exist on railway land and how it contributes to the whole.

    So at one level it makes sense to explore whether it is possible to buy the freehold as that gives you more leverage, both physically and financially. Where that kind of business thinking falls down is that heritage railways also need a high level of 'consensual' activity and support from volunteers and people on the margins of the organisation who tacitly buy in to the philosophy. You have to take these people with you even when there may be individuals who would prefer a different direction to be taken. It's all an important balance that demands a level of trust, cooperation and understanding.

    I know enough about management 'style' and the impact of different approaches in particular circumstances to understand how complicated that can be and also the high level of competence needed by people in charge when the going gets tough.

    Things are tough on the Railway at present. From a distance it seems that multiple mistakes are being made in the context of the above and there seems to be no end to it. That's the greatest concern and the S&DRT debacle is just the latest.
     
  19. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    3,001
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    A number of other items can be added to the script such as
    • putting down any organised group who may think independently such as the 4110 group.
    • removing anyone who dares to speak out
    • telling staff and volunteers that they must not comment on social media as the dear leader cannot control what is said
    • controlling admission to the board by means of a probation period that in that signs emerge of independent thought, the miscreant can fail their probation
    • derostering of volunteers and former board members to intimidate anyone else who may dare to speak up
    Yesterday, I came across a passage in Cicero's "On The State" that is rather appropriate. "dictatorial rulers were in the wrong because they unjustifiably curtailed the freedom of the individual; whereas the ultimate authority should not be themselves but the unchangeable moral principles that they are incompetent to annul or amend."

    It's all so bloody predictable, as will be the outcome.
     
  20. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,080
    Likes Received:
    2,813
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    South Hams
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    One extra item:
    Apparently insulting the Chairman of a support group who, since he became Chairman has made significant financial contributions since he was appointed.
     

Share This Page