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S&D Railway Trust and Washford Eviction Notice

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

  1. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Press Release from the S&DRT & Avon Valley Railway


    Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust


    S&DRT and Avon Valley Railway Heritage Trust Joint Press Release


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    We are delighted to announce that we have come, in principle, to an agreement to re-locate a portion of the rolling stock and museum artefacts currently based at the S&DRT site at Washford in Somerset to the Avon Valley Railway at Bitton, South Gloucestershire.
    The agreement has been under discussion for several months and follows the S&DRT’s similar arrangement for rolling stock and museum items relating more to the Southern element of the collection to be placed at the Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line. The essence of the agreement is to establish a display of Midland/LMS vehicles and artefacts at Bitton which will form the basis of a new museum at the station. Several S&DRT vehicles will be adapted to house a range of S&D items with additional historical items belonging to the AVR which together will tell the story of the Midland lines terminating at the famous station at Green Park, Bath.

    The Avon Valley Railway is ideally located to support the S&D story. The line from Mangotsfield arrived at Bath in 1870 and was followed by the S&D line in 1874 with both lines joining at Bath junction just outside what was then Queen Square Station (Green Park was the name given to the station by BR from 1951).

    With the unique collection of items assembled by the S&D Trust over some 50 years, it is envisaged that the story of the Midland Railway’s lines converging on Bath will become a popular attraction at Bitton. The Avon Valley Railway already have a named service in operation called 'The Pines Express' which was a service synonymous with the route through Bitton into Bath from the north and then, following a change of motive power, followed the S&D line to Bournemouth.
    Both railways lost their passenger services in March 1966 which emphasises the close relationship between to two heritage groups. We would like to encourage people interested in the project to come forward and help establish the exhibition which will begin with the arrival of rolling stock in the coming weeks.

    Both boards of directors are very excited by the agreement which will begin a new phase in the future of both organisations.
    Roger Eynon, AVR Chair said, 'The Avon Valley Railway is really pleased to be forging this new link with the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust. Our joint heritage has such a local resonance and we look forward to being able to share more stories about the history of our line.'

    Ian Young, Chairman of The Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust said, 'we have been looking for new partners to display some of our historic rolling stock and museum objects. The Avon Valley Railway has been looking to create a new museum area and the opportunity to work together comes at a good moment for both organisations.'

    ENDS.


    Andy Norman
    S&DRT Company Secretary
     
  2. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    April fool?! I’m guessing not!

    Great news that the SDRT have found two new host railways who obviously appreciate the value of hosting some of the SDRT collection.

    Are any further locations being considered, or are the MHR and AVR able to accommodate the whole collection between them?
     
  3. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Really good news for both the S&DRT and the AVR.
     
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  4. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    That's the problem with trying to make serious announcements on April 1! 'Oooh, that one's really well done!'

    Noel
     
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  5. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    No, not an April Fool, however I have been told on Facebook today there is an announcement that Bishops Lydeard station is being painted as a Southern Railway Station, or was it an S&DJR Station ? That seems like a April Fool…..or is it !!!!

    More seriously we are all looking forward to working with our new families (to steal a great phrase used by 21B a few posts back) on the MHR & AVR and I look forward to working with them both and visiting them as lockdown eases.

    Nothing further to add currently but the next year or so will be busy for us and I’d ask anybody interested to please join the S&DRT so you are in the loop on knowing how we are getting on and to help us either by your subscriptions or if you wish all come along and get involved as we look toward progressing our future.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
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  6. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Great to see that the S&DRT is expanding beyond the confines of a GWR set up to embrace the true heritage of the S&D through its LSWR/MR connections...and in two locations.

    It feels to me like freedom at last.
     
  7. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody New Member

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    What's going to happen to the Signals/Signalbox and associated equipment at Washford?
     
  8. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    A very good question!
    The ex-GWR box on the station platform of course belongs to the WSR (or more accurately of course, the SCC). The contents therein, along with the signals in the yard and the ex-Burnham box, belong (mostly) to the S&DRT - I think a few of the items are on loan to them.
     
  9. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    It will be removed for short term storage with a view as soon as practical to reinstall it again on another site, we are hoping that's at the MHR (with their permission of course).
     
  10. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    If its not going to be a working signal box, ie controlling a section of line, then possibly at Ropley on the picnic area up by the foot bridge would be a good site, plus it could also form a signalling museum and display for the railway.
     
  11. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    A signal which an be operated by visitors has proved popular at Havenstreet with people of all ages. It is in the second bay of Train Story.
     
  12. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    I'd imagine that the AVR with their expansion plans might be glad of a signal box for use as a signal box more than the MHR would be glad of a signal box to not be a signal box...
     
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  13. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    The AVR used to have a SB in their early days, but AFAIK it was never commissioned and later it was taken down. Although signal-boxes are nice :), it is a mis-conception to think that a heritage railway must have one in order to run any sort of reasonable train service.
     
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  14. 73129

    73129 Member

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    From memory isn’t the Great Missenden signal box already at Ropley picnic area or Medstead yard awaiting restoration.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
  15. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    Yep Painswick Road xing. The last project I worked on at the ACT was taking it down and moving it to Bitton.
     
  16. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    I have no knowledge of what plans (if any) the S&DRT might have with regard to re-creating the 'Midford' exhibit at either the AVR or the MHR, but I would make some observations about the surrounding issues.

    Firstly, the only SB owned by the Trust is the 'hut' from Burnham. Unlike 'Midford' this is a genuine S&DJR relic, so there is less scope to 'make alterations' without risking issues about affecting its heritage. It is a small structure, which originally housed only a 4-lever frame (type unknown). IMHO it would be better suited to be used as an 'educational exhibit' housing signalling items rather than as an operational box.

    'Midford' consists essentially of a lever-frame and a collection of signalling equipment, almost none of which is of known S&DJR origin, housed in a permanent structure which just happens to be a former (GWR) signal-box. The building is unsuited to its task by virtue of its shape and size - indeed the locking-room is so cramped that it was never possible to fit all the locking-trays required for 'Midford' anyway, so the exhibit has always been incomplete in that respect. But it was the only building available for the purpose at the time the exhibit was created, so it had to suffice. Much of the lever-frame is now 120 years old (!) and the locking is well-worn and in need of a thorough refurbishment.

    IIRC the choice of Midford as the prototype was based on (a) the fact that it was the only former S&DJR box for which a reasonable number of interior photographs existed to enable a reasonably-accurate recreation of the instrument shelf and (b) it presented the opportunity to demonstrate both single and double line block working in a single setting. With hindsight, the latter perhaps was not the ideal after all. For example, a proper demonstration of the tablet instruments requires 3 people - one to act as Midford signalman, one to act as Bath Jcn signalman (and also as Wellow) and one to be a 'runner' pretending to be the train carrying the tablet through the section; in practice, it was rare on occasions to have even one member of staff available to demonstrate. Also the totally different methods of block working trains to/from Bath Jcn as opposed to to/from Wellow possibly confuses more visitors than it educates. And let's not get started on the wrong-road signals and the Sykes interlocking.....:)

    Compare the situation with (say) the 'Powderham' exhibit at Bishops Lydeard: about the same size (roughly) as Burnham, 3 lever only, but with a full set of instruments to do double-line Absolute Block working in both directions, so you can four trains 'on the block' simultaneously if so required. The working is the same in both directions and trains 'pass the box' more seamlessly than with the changes needed at 'Midford'. On the other hand of course, it is a simple exhibit geared at the 'basic visitor' and to some extent provides an element of 'play value', whereas Midford perhaps is better for the more knowledgeable enthusiast who can appreciate and comprehend some of its complexities. But given that 'Midford' would have to be dismantled anyway (unless it were to be left in the care of the WSRHT, which seems unlikely), then maybe a 'new home' will provide the opportunity to design a 'new display' based on a smaller, simpler S&DJR prototype ? Spetisbury perhaps? Just a thought...
     
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  17. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    I was told by Peter Cattermole that the original lease for the WSR specified that the building at Washford that became the "Midford" signal box be demolished on occupation of the station, but the S&DRT kept it for its current use. Was it actually a GWR signal box, or was just a GWR building repurposed as one? If it was the case that the SCC wanted it demolished, it could be argued that the building belongs to the S&DRT as well as the contents.
     
  18. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Curious, I never heard that. I wonder why the SCC would want it demolished? It would have belonged to the SCC when they bought the line, so I can't see that they would have given/sold it to the S&DRT if they wanted it demolished, nor can I can see how the Trust's occupation of it actually makes them the owners. AIUI the Trust at the time wanted to build a replica S&DJR box in the yard, but were advised by the local authority that (a) as it would not be an 'operational railway building' it would need planning permission which (b) they would be unlikely to grant, hence the decision/need to use the existing box instead.

    AFAIK it was indeed a (rather unusual) GWR box, although it may perhaps have had Easterbrook origins. Similar might perhaps be said about the first box at Blue Anchor.
     
  19. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    There has been a longstanding intent to create a visitor accessible signal box at Ropley and the operating room from Gt Missenden was acquired for this some years ago. We have cleared a site for this and obtaining necessary permission. Looking forward to seeing it all come together, but as I said yesterday a little more patience is required.

    Sent from my SM-A405FN using Tapatalk
     
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  20. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    And of course, it would be a further visitor attraction at Ropley, and as such would be a welcome attraction
     

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