Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by svrhunt, Jan 18, 2015.
Already posted by others.
Back in #1027, and with no dog in this fight, so to speak, I observed that on balance if a gap in the GWR catalogue could be filled with the 4700 project then so much the better. Since then enough comments have been made to suggest that this alternative plan is far from straightforward, will pose a number of practical difficulties resulting, if successful, in something between a museum piece and a working locomotive with very limited track availability.
So having tracked the comments since the first announcement it is clear that as is often the case in preservation there are conflicting thoughts. I remain of the view that there is no 'need' for yet another Castle but neither does this alternative plan look promising. It may even be a 'baby and bathwater' situation.
So let's talk about money. When Thornbury was sold I suggest that it was for the money and, unlike a listed building, any 'expectations' linked to the sale would have been more in hope than reality. It has been sold again...for the money. Unless you are a millionaire or philanthropist that will always be the driver. So in a way, these arguments and counter arguments are pointless until finance rather than promises of finance to complete either project are forthcoming.
Is that on the table?
One point, and assuming that the 4709 group are in fact 'independent' of the GWS, what is the agreement allowing them to be based at Didcot?
I would have thought that there should be something to protect the reputation of any host organisation.
And as I think 4709's frames are at Tyseley, perhaps there too?
What exactly is based at Didcot? The tender is dumped there, but it are they actually in possession of it or just have an agreement to use it? The frames and other bits are at Tyseley after sojourns in Llangollen and Hele.
Given that most (all?) the leaders of the 4709 project are also leading lights (or have been so) within GWS there is inevitably going to be a lot of reputational crossover. Any independence is going to be organisational and financial rather than complete independence on all levels.
keep up Ian , thats been posted twice now
And therein lies the heart of the issue - the project is part of GWS, and as structured cannot be separated from GWS.
The pictures from @Flying Phil would seem to show that many parts have been acquired/cast/forged for the loco, so it's probably a lot less incomplete than you think.
I have borrowed Martin1656's hat to write this post! Perhaps an alternative scenario would be for the GWSR loco Dept. to form a group to buy and restore 7027, to give the GWSR a flagship GWR engine of a type that was characteristic of their line, and could use it run main line excursions to Bristol and Birmingham if they ever get connected to the national network*. They are currently demonstrating that they can tackle a similar "no hoper" in the form of 76077 in such a fashion. *Last part added to give artistic verisimilitude to the story!
I don’t see how you arrive at that conclusion Al, Michael Gregory has a listed personal fortune around the £500m mark. I don’t see him, or his heirs and successors, suddenly being so desperate for cash that they were forced to sell 7027 on.
Whatever the reason for the sale, I don’t think it’s going to be a need for money.
If you are channelling Martin, you’ve forgotten the excursions from Toddington to Salisbury and Bournemouth, top-and-tailed with 31806 with the income supporting the next overhaul of 35006 …
Mea culpa! How could I have overlooked those!
Sorry. Thread has moved so fast I've missed a fair chunk.
Rob (not Ian )
The diversity inherent in the organisations which comprise our movement is one of it's greatest strengths .... but only where eyes are opened, lessons well learned and appropriate conclusions drawn. Imagine the repercussions had the failed engineering arm at Llangollen been legally indistinguishable form the operating arm?
Perhaps the furore concerning 7027 has done something useful beyond hacking off a bunch of mardy gricers. Us lot split into factions, fulminate, hurl insults hither and thither, hopefully whilst calmer, more practical minds quietly sit down, work through problems and arrive at solutions.
If it's some statutory agency or serious creditor, rather than the threads of NP irritated by some failing or other, then there's a problem.
Matters at Didcot appear limited to an apparent nebulocity concerning operation of funding arrangements. No-one I know of is suggesting any impropriety and I've certainly neither seen nor heard anything to suggest otherwise. I just wish to clarify that, as my concern is from the perspective of a well-disposed onlooker .... just one who recalls events at Llangollen all too clearly.
The GWS is among the senior organisations within the heritage rail movement, having been with us for over six decades and have achieved much. I doubt founding members ever envisaged locomotive construction among the feathers in their cap. Perhaps it's time the structure which evidently has served a museum well needs revisiting in order to review how well it serves the several organisations under it's umbrella?
Even without the 7027 situation, it seems likely that with the changed economic situation, many of us would be discussing whether our railways and societies as best fitted to maximise efficiency and minimise exposure to risk.
But I will ask again, who are these people, I am aware that the Chair is the former chair from the GWS and now an honorary VP, but who are the other rather mysterious people who make up this autonomous group, their website seems entirely silent on any sort of management committee structure or governance likewise the GWS seem to be claiming that they have no say or control (regulatory or financially) in what they do, despite providing them with an address and apparently Gift Aid accountancy services? The only other names that seem to regularly pop up are their engineer (with some not particularly positive comments being made from those who previously worked on the project) and one of the early driving lights in this, the 3 counties and the Patriot project who whilst speaking out in support of the stripping of 727 is also stating that he is no longer involved, got to admire their ability to bail at the right time from these projects?
Its a bloody mess and I sincerely hope that the GWS Trustees are sitting down (or already have) to discuss what they plan to do to extract the GWS from this mess with some sort of credibility retained (both within the movement with potential supporters, but also I fear with their regulators)
If the Charity Commission didn't want to get involved with the WSR saga, where there seemed to be serious breaches of charitable protocols, why would anyone think that they would want to get involved with what appears to be a perfectly legitimate sale? The source of the cash has for the deal has yet to be revealed (and it is is from a donor it may never be), yet people are frothing at the mouth about corporate governance within the GWS. At least wait till there's substantive evidence of misdeeds, chaps!
The GWS don't just provide 4709 with an address and Gift Aid accountancy services; they are the parent organisation of which 4709 is part. This is what is evidenced by their accounts and the existence of the restricted funds.
The only way that I can reconcile the GWS statement with the evidence of their own accounts is if the "autonomous groups" under the wing of GWS have such significant delegated authority that they do not need to consult with GWS over major decisions. Unfortunately, that raises difficult questions about whether the Trustees and Directors of GWS are then in control of the organisation they are legally accountable for.
For this outsider, with limited interest in matters GWR, it feels as though GWS have tried to distance themselves from their own activity, and in everything they say, they are digging themselves further and further into a quagmire. Far better to take ownership of the mess, and then work through the implications, than try to create a distance from it that can only beg questions about whether the board are actually in control of their organisation.
The GWS have provided that evidence, though - they are denying responsibility for the activities of a group that is part of their own organisation. That is in and of itself a matter of concern, even assuming that the entire purchase cost is being met by external donation(s). Trustees' duty is to the organisation as a whole, and if part of that organisation is so autonomous that it can do something that brings the parent into disrepute, there has to be a major question mark over how that governance is being exercised.
I write this as someone who is no great fan of the Frankenstein engineering implied by the reuse of 7027 for either 47xx or Star, has his suspicions about motive and manner of the sale of 7027, but who can't get wound up about 7027's fate itself.
Separate names with a comma.