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S&D Railway Trust and Washford Matters

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

  1. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    It would seem that it was simply an act of spite because he knew he wasn't going to get his own way so threw a silly tantrum ......
     
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  2. 242A1

    242A1 Member

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    The Company hasn't the money to pay for the S&DRT assets which still remain at Washford. Do any of the associated groups have the money? Or do they think that they are entitled to have free use? Free use of another association and group's assets, where have we seen this before?
     
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  3. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    And it's disgraceful behaviour like messing the SDRT about over leases that has given the WSR such a bad name. I know which I attach more importance to...
     
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  4. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Pales in comparison to supporting action against volunteers who dared to challenge the status quo.

    Of course, the WSSRT is in no way, shape or form an organisation that has a number of valuable heritage carriages slowly rotting away and for whom shed, storage and workshop space would be of material benefit.
     
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  5. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    What sort of reaction did you expect?

    A statement from the board (which appeared to be a grasping at straws excuse while they were in the initial panic of trying to justify their actions) decreed that Washford was specifically needed for a P Way relocation. With the passage of time and complete lack of action is it any wonder that the initial excuse is being questioned? Serous doubts have gone unanswered. Was it a genuine reason? Just hot air thought up on the spur of the moment? Or even a blatant untruth?

    Now they say the don't really want it now but they'll happily have the track and buildings so long as they don't have to pay for them? The sheer conceit of the board continues to astound me.

    Would you be any happier if only words such as petty, pathetic, childish, lamentable, deplorable, wretched, inane, puerile or worthless been used to describe the actions of the board . (With all members sharing corporate responsibility)?
     
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  6. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Looks like it, so, when you look at the way the Board of the WSR has behaved , only a fool would now take their word to mean anything, as regards the £230,000 that they are obligated to find to keep their side of the agreement, i hope the S&D Trust have had their legal experts look over the original agreement, and have it watertight because, there is every chance that the agreement will be broken by the WSR PLC.
     
  7. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    There is also every chance that the WSR might be broken by that agreement. The straw that breaks the camel’s back financially.
     
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  8. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Of course until last year if the PLC's finances had meant that they were unable to fund the overhaul of 53808 the S&DRT would almost certainly have no reason to take action that might drive the railway into bankruptcy.

    Now however I wont say no such inhibitions exist but they are much reduced.
     
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  9. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    There would be a certain justice for not just the Trust, but for all those who have been thrown off the railway if that were to happen, an action, born out of a rash , petty reaction to being told no, our rules cant allow us to give you money directly, the sad thing is though, had the then directors of the PLC carried out due diligence not just into the background of the present chair, but into his suitability to hold a position at all, some of the present problems could have been avoided.
     
  10. John Palmer

    John Palmer Member

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    The S&D Trust Chairman's letter reveals what is, to say the least, a disappointing situation.

    Back on the 21st July, Frank Courtney told us that:
    In response I urged Frank to give an assurance that the Trust's assets would not be put at risk by action taken by the plc after those negotiations had been finalised, and such an assurance was given by Frank that same day, at https://www.national-preservation.c...eral-discussion.508987/page-1963#post-2678543

    And yet we now have the Trust saying this:
    It would be good to have an explanation from Frank Courtney of why, in the period since he gave his assurance, the plc has apparently failed to act in a way that would ensure that the S&D Trust's assets are not at risk.

    Moreover, if it is correct that “the WSR has indicated to the Trust that it does not have a short term need for Washford and that it does not have the finance available to purchase the assets.” it would also be good to hear from Frank why he told us that the WSR required the site for its own use.

    Regardless of the legal finger-wagging about the failure to create a valid 50 year extension of the Trust's lease of the Washford site, it remains the case that in 2018 the WSR plc freely entered into a binding agreement to extend that lease, and thereby secured the Trust's right to have the use for a further fifty year period of the buildings and track it had established on the site - a right the plc's conduct has now put in peril. That agreement was signed by @ikcdab on behalf of the WSR plc, and before he takes to task those who criticise current members of the plc Board he would do better to reflect on whether the conduct of the plc has been without blemish. Might we hear from him some expression of contrition for the behaviour of the company on whose behalf he signed the 2018 Agreement with the S&D Trust?

    As seen with agreements for the construction of submarines, it seems to have become commonplace to treat contractual commitments as obligations that can be jettisoned if becomes convenient to do so. Fortunately such obligations cannot be unilaterally wished away, and it is good to note the determination of the S&D Board to ensure that the Trust is appropriately compensated for any assets at Washford that pass out of its hands.
     
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  11. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    I also received the email from Ian Young SDRT Chairman today. Given what has been going on behind the scenes, I thought it an excellent and measured report to SDRT members.

    p. 51 of the new recent WSR PLC accounts show to 31st March 2021 for the previous 12 months the sum of £58,072 spent on "Legal and Professional fees". (That amount does not include accountants and auditors' fees dealt with elsewhere).

    Whether legal fees as in bills submitted constitute all that might be attributed to the above accounting period is often a mute point.

    What I would tentatively suggest is that the WSR PLC board have been very hesitant to incur legal costs - or perhaps more pertinent - obtaining costly legal advice - to extricate themselves from the very serious mess, or simply failed to apply common sense, and have at each sorry stage kept digging a bigger hole.

    If JJP had sought proper legal advice January/ beginning of February last year rather than just telling Solicitors to draft and serve a statutory Notice to Quit, then all of this might have been avoided.
     
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  12. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    @ikcdab

    We have different views about the PLC's behaviour, BUT it is, in my view what happened at Washford that crystallized many peoples opinion of the current board.

    I am not a supporter of the current PLC board, unlike you, but I was shocked by the level of disgust expressed about the Washford decision by members of my model railway club last year. None of whom I might add are NP members.

    Like most other heritage organisations the WSR needs money, especially at the moment. There is less of that money, especially after the fuel price hikes we will be experiencing this winter and the Washford decision is one of the reasons why the WSR wont be getting what money there is.

    The latest statement by the S&DRT shows that the decision to evict them from Washford was for no obvious purpose.

    Its probably too late now for the PLC to reverse the Washford decision but it might still be possible to mitigate the damage.

    I know you are bound by 'Collective Responsibility' but what explanation for the decision and subsequent events can you provide us with?
     
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  13. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    This is far from an ordinary termination of a tenancy so perhaps normal principles have little application. However the normal position, which I believe is reflected in the S and DT lease, is that on termination the tenant is obliged at its expense to hand back the site in its original condition. That means removing the track and the buildings including their foundations. That could be a very expensive obligation.
     
  14. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    John, the terms of the lease are that the sheds and track do not become the property of the landlord at the end of the lease and remain the property of the SDRT. That is a different position to what you advocated, I would suggest.

    The scrap man can go in at the SDRT's request and remove the sheds and track in the yard.

    The suggestion by you that there is some penalty on the SDRT is misplaced.

    Perhaps some resolution can still be achieved, and perhaps you can again assist. (My initial thought is that this must be linked in to a tripartite 'guarantee' agreement with say the WSRHT or WSRA underwriting the cost of 53808's overhaul in return for a rather complicated commensurate agreement in return for at say scrap valuation getting the Washford yard sheds and track and obviously a lease of the yard from the WSR PLC).

    But when individuals on the WSR plc board fail to return telephone calls, fail to reply to emails, and obfuscate, then I have my doubts over all this.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2021
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  15. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    I imagine there might be more than a few people willing to lend them a hand.
     
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  16. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it necessarily would be, but for my part I would rather contribute to that than see any of the remaining WSR-based groups benefit from the Plc's actions.
     
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  17. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    It is only too clear that the plc Board is not worthy of the honour of running the WSR, which in itself is a superb railway. So sad to see the WSR's reputation sullied by such cowboys. They make it hard to back the WSR.
     
  18. 242A1

    242A1 Member

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    A hand and some money. And which company is in desperate need of money and yet finds itself in a situation where its actions and attitudes, and the attitudes of some who defend the company, drive donors away?
     
  19. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    On perhaps a minor point, but...

    According to the report from the S&DRT the Plc have said that they have no "short term" need for the Washford site. That is not the same as saying that they have no need for it in the longer term. But...if indeed they do have a longer-term need for it, one has to ask then why they appear to have been so reluctant to arrange for the S&DRT to continue to occupy the site in the short term, thereby keeping it in good order at little or no cost to the Plc.
     
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  20. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    Surely the point is that adopting a principled scortched earth policy, however satisfying, could expose the Trust as a charity to greater financial liability than simply allowing the landlord to take over the assets without payment? I’m not suggesting such an outcome is fair or principled but it may be the lowest cost option for the Trust.
    My interpretation is that,assuming the lease is effectively terminated, the PLC is not obliged to compensate the Trust for any assets it chooses to leave behind. I realise such an unfair outcome would cause outrage but if it is the best financial outcome for the Trust it is one that would have to be taken seriously.
     

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