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Colne Valley Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by WishIHadAName, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    I don't want to pre-empt the "Steam Railway" article, which should be available on the news-stands tomorrow anyway, but this is what is currently in the public domain via local media:
    Neither the railway society or the owners have stated the current sale price. When the property was sold in 2006 the price paid was in the region of £1.6m.
    The CVR Society are currently seeking a HLF grant of £1.65m, to fund the purchase of the property and various improvements including provision of restoration and education/museum facilities. They have been given funding of £65k to finance the preparation of plans and application for the full grant which, if successful, would be payable in 2 years.
     
  2. Charles Parry

    Charles Parry Member

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    Steam Railway article is up on iPad, doesn't add much info not already in this thread. only new info I can provide is that the society didn't learn of the land owners decision till the AGM on the 22nd, hence why it is not being more widely reported. Otherwise it is a simple case trust missing several deadlines to pay and the owner growing tired of it and wanting a return on his investment.
     
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  3. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    Having now read the full SR news report, there is, as Charles Parry says, not much that wasn't known already. The main new factor is that the CVRPS has been given a firm date, 31st. December 2015, to cease operations and vacate the site. It also appears that the Society have accepted the situation and are actively seeking a new home.

    I wonder whether this really is the end of the saga. The owner is apparently seeking planning permission to redevelop the site, but I believe that he has investigated this previously over the past 9 years, without success. I would think that he has an uphill struggle; although the site, when cleared of the railway, would qualify as "brownfield", currently a "plus" point in planning terms, it is also, as mentioned in the report, in a conservation area and largely in the flood plain of the River Colne, which runs through the site. These are definitely "minus" points! One can only draw the conclusion that he paid too much for it initially and might now find himself stuck with it. Unless, of course he adjusts his price expectations to a more realistic level.
     
  4. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    Looking on Google sat the railway is very short, and it will never be able to go south due to housing, and north it will have to cross a main road then rebuilt across a field through a garden. So as a railway there isn't much chance of it becoming longer, but they seem have a lot of stock for the length of line, passenger carrying 9 MK1's for starters and against a lot lines nearly all of it looks to be in very good condition. A small group will find it much harder to find the money to pay for the lock stock and barrel.
     
  5. b.oldford

    b.oldford Member

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    Without wishing to be drawn into a discussion whether Michael Draper was right or wrong we must accept the fact that there is a finite limit to the number of preservation schemes that can flourish. Some with a limited scale of operation might continue by periodically passing the hat around its membership even if the revenue from Joe Public is insufficient. Others, like the CVR here, may suffer the fate of the landlord pulling the plug for one reason or another. Theoretically such an event could even happen to some of the larger lines that do not hold the freehold or a very long lease. A crying shame for the loss of all that hard work, but perhaps we see an element of Darwin, rather than Draper, creeping into the heritage movement.
     
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  6. Wenlock

    Wenlock Well-Known Member Friend

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    Which surely begs the question. "Why do so many lines still operate on leased or rented sites?" Surely buying the freehold should have been a priority over the years, even if it had meant slower development of the railway it would have meant long term security.
     
  7. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    It is the problem where the track bed is in private ownership, against public ownership like the CC or in one case the Crown as in these cases they see the beneficent of the railway to the local community so want it to keep the ownership of the land. I think there will be very few lines like this one around where the owner of the track bed and in this case most of the stock where the owner isn't fully interested in the railway and more in the money side.
     
  8. Ruston906

    Ruston906 Member

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    This is a crowded market now and with the on going rise of house prices this would be a good time to start building.
    I assume that most of the stock and locos will find homes the black 5 are suited to larger preserved lines but would have to move away from there supporting groups.
     
  9. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    I don't think there will be an trouble finding homes for most of the stock, indeed there are some items that will almost certainly attract competition. I'd predict that there will be slim pickings for the scrapman.
     
  10. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    Yes in some of the country there could be a crowded market but in the area to the NE of the M25 there is more or less nothing in the preserved railway other than this one.
     
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  11. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    I think that the root of the problem here was back in 2004/5, when the previous owner, who was certainly committed to the railway (he, after all, had built much of it with his own hands) and the Society agreed a price for the purchase, but the Society then found itself unable to raise the sum agreed. It transpired, somewhat, I suspect, to everyone's surprise, that there was someone else in the market, with ready money. After several delays to give the Society more time, the owner decided that he could not refuse the Australian offer.

    In the event, it appears that the price paid by the new owners was also too high for them, leading to the present sorry situation. It's a unique history, and I doubt that we shall see it repeated in exactly this form.

    I don't think that we should entirely dismiss the "Draper effect." In the 1980s/90s the Colne Valley had, in effect, a monopoly in Essex and the surrounding counties (Herts & Suffolk) as the only S.G. railway with a line on which to run "proper" trains, dining services, etc. and also carved out a successful niche market in the education field. It did this very well but, IMHO, it has appeared to struggle in recent years. This may be partly to do with the uncertainty caused by the ownership issue, but I wonder what the effect of the emergence of competition (Mangapps, Mid-Suffolk, Epping-Ongar, and a re-invigorated East Anglian Railway Museum) has been.
     
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  12. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    Er, I know you come from wurzel country, but have you never heard of the EOR? They even have GWR locos!;)
     
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  13. Charles Parry

    Charles Parry Member

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    Mid-Nofolk to the North or Epping Ongar to the South should allow for a decent run and access by the current support groups.
     
  14. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

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    Mid Norfolk would be the BEST place for all this imo! Won heritage railway of the year, is creating a super line with plans for a double track section, and they are actively seeking Mk1s at the moment. A huge influx would promote them up the league tables quite quickly
     
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  15. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    I agree- in the long term. A rake of mk.1s would be an asset to the MNR, probably the only railway where they would qualify as the "vintage train"! Trouble is, they have their hands pretty full already, what with extending to N. Elmham, then County School, the associated signalling, double track section, maintenance facilities..... More rolling stock also means more sidings and their present siding space looks, to me, well filled. Space would also be an issue for many other potential homes for ex-CVR stock.

    Anyway, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. I'm not yet 100% convinced that the CVR is finished!
     
  16. OldChap

    OldChap Member

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    I do hope you are right, the Colne Valley has a significance to me as it was the first 'preserved railway' I went to when I was a young lad with my Father, who shortly after our visit passed away.

    When I come back home I always try and visit, I will be very saddened to see the site cleared and closed down.
     
  17. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I recall the CVR when it was an Austerity giving footplate rides on a short length of track in the middle of a field. To do sound recording they allowed me to ride on the front buffer beam and for an extra 50p they worked it against the brake. I last visited several years ago - on the way back from Mangapps funnily enough - but they had a "no dogs" policy so had to turn away and have never returned. Nevertheless I hope it survives.
     
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  18. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    I find it a great shame that we could quite possibly loose the CVR, as it's never pleasent to watch all the effort so many have put into preserving a piece of our heritage, only for it to be swept away all too quickly. I'm not willing to believe absolutely that it's finished just yet, but the facts do seem to support the doom mongering...

    On the subject of the locomotive being used as spares, I refuse to believe the people who've put in so much effort on restoring these engines so far, are just going to let them be flittered away as spare parts. The Black 5s are always useful machines for nearly any railway, so I'd wouldn't bet against them finding good alternative homes in due course. Blue Star is a more awkward proposition, but that is owned by a group that also has one of the Black 5s, so chances are it will probably go where ever that goes.

    The coaches on the other hand, now I'd imagine there'll be plenty of folks who'd want those in a heartbeat, the MNR amongst them. If I was to state my preference of where'd they go though, I'd nominate the GWSR as their in the process of a big expansion, and that requires them to have a lot coaches in service. These coaches would certainly prove useful to them, but then again they'd benefit the EOR as well, so in truth there's no shortage of people who'd want them... In the heritage railway world they are pretty much a very hot commodity.
     
  19. John Petley

    John Petley Part of the furniture

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    An enforced move can take the wind out of the sails of a restoration project. Look at 35025. It seemed to be making slow but steady progress at the Great Central, but since its move to Sellinge, there doesn't seem to be much going on. The costs really hit the owning group hard. Hopefully this won't happen here, assuming the Steam Railway report is correct.

    I believe that someone from the 45163 group has posted on this forum. I don't want to mis-quote him, but from what I remember, this engine is making steady progress, but it is nowhere near steaming yet. The other two engines are owned by the British Enginemen Steam Preservation Society. Their website http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/besps/BESPS.htm says nothng about recent developments at the CVR, although it hasn't been updated for quite a while. The Black Five seems to be the main focus, although the pictures of Blue Star on the website suggests that it has received some TLC and isn't just rusting away. There was an appeal some years ago to replace a cracked cylinder, although there is no mention on the website of how successful it was.

    In seeking a new home for these engines, the priority therefore must surely be somewhere where the engiens can be worked on rather than neccessarily an appropriate line on which to run them. (this might have been why they ended up at the CVR, but I'm only speculating and may be wrong) We certainly aren't going to see 35010 in operation any time soon, that's for sure. While a small, determined group can take on an MN and restore it, isn't a quick job - ask the 35006 group!
     
  20. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Their new home, assuming they get to be sold, will depend on who has, or can raise the money for them rather than who would like them as farv as I can see.

    One aspect that worries many would be currency contributors is what happens to their donations, especially when little feed back, such as mentioned in the previous post, is made.
     

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