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Didcot Article Issues

Discussion in 'The Railway Magazine' started by ChuffChuff, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. ChuffChuff

    ChuffChuff Member

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    Picked up a Feb '09 copy of "The Railway Magazine" today, and I'm surprised at the Didcot story on page 9.

    The details are totally wrong! Does this magazine do any checking of facts?

    There is a statement on the GWS website (which I copy-and-pasted onto a thread on this site on 9th November) which states the real facts.

    Then the story came up again on a thread here on 27th November, and was debunked / corrected by various people. (Not me this time.)

    I can only assume the magazine:
    a) didn't talk to anyone at the GWS; and
    b) didn't even check the GWS website.

    Oh well - all good advertising. And now they can run a correction next month!

    For the record, NR have not pulled the lease. They have just backed out of an agreement to sell the GWS the land. The full text is below, incase anyone wants to check some facts ;-)

    Neil.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    2 November - Site Acquisition - A Statement From the Chairman of the Great Western Society

    At the Annual General Meeting in September I mentioned our growing frustration at the lack of progress in negotiations with Network Rail to purchase the site and the fact that we had referred the matter to our local MP who had, some time ago, offered his help if we needed it.

    The Great Western Society has held a lease for the site since the 1970s which runs until 2019; however there is a clause enabling Network Rail to give the Society six months notice to quit if it so chooses. The Society’s management has always felt that we should attempt to secure the long term future of Didcot Railway Centre by acquiring the freehold or a long term leasehold.

    In 2002 Ian Smith and I opened negotiations with Network Rail to achieve that aim which culminated in a letter from them in May 2007 saying they were prepared to sell the site subject to ORR approval, which would be submitted following confirmation that there would be no knock-on effects in the Didcot area from the rebuilding of Reading station. Having clarified the site would not be required in connection with either the construction of a new diesel depot (Reading was the chosen location) or, subsequently, the Inter City Express project, it was assumed the projected purchase could proceed.

    However, we have now received a further letter from Network Rail saying there has been a change of policy and the offer to sell the land is withdrawn. After six years of effort to achieve long-term security for Didcot Railway Centre we appear to have gone full circle rather than progress forwards. For the moment the status quo has not changed; the security of tenure remains as it always has been but therein lies the problem, it has not been improved which is our aim. A new lease has been suggested but with the short notice break clause which frustrates the larger site development plans we wish to undertake. At present we are awaiting a response from our MP.

    Richard Croucher
     
  2. stepney60

    stepney60 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Re: Dodgy Reporting?

    There seem to be a fair few mistakes in this months issue, which is very unlike the RM. For example, the company of origin of Gladstone...
     
  3. RM Staff

    RM Staff New Member

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    Re: Dodgy Reporting?

    Well, it shows we are human.

    Any mistake is regrettable. Thank you for raising them - they are being investigated.
    • The origin of Gladstone is LBSCR not SECR - have to hold our hand up for that one. Sorry.

    I hope these small errors have not dampened your enjoyment of the latest issue.
     
  4. Beaker

    Beaker Well-Known Member

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    Re: Dodgy Reporting?

    Not really a rant but I found the editorial unintentionally funny
    ''For you tommy ze railfreight market is over''

    Slow month for news probably

    Anyway Nice bit on Night Photos I though =D>
     
  5. ChuffChuff

    ChuffChuff Member

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    Re: Dodgy Reporting?

    I have to agree. Not very often I find things like that inspiring, but those photos really worked for me!

    Neil.
     
  6. RM Staff

    RM Staff New Member

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    Re: Dodgy Reporting?


    Glad we have pleased two readers !!

    Yes, the night photos worked well, and it's a technique that is still relatively new for railway photographers. The usual practice is static shots under floodlights, with the subject usually lit as if it was Hollywood. Lighting at railway stations in the 60s and 70s was usually dull and dingy, not bathed in 5000 watts of light.


    As for the Didcot story, having re-read it, all we are doing is drawing readers attention to the petition on the Downing St web site, and encouraging support.

    The GWS letter (quoted in this thread) states that the offer to sell has been withdrawn, and six years of talks over the lease has gone in circles - which is what we said, that NR was refusing to renew the tenancy.

    There's nothing dodgy about the story at all.

    The two key facts are that there is a petition, and that the GWS does not have the long term security of tenure it seeks, because they cant buy the land or get a longer lease.

    The villains here are Network Rail, not us, so there will be no correction as our story stands scrutiny.
     
  7. ChuffChuff

    ChuffChuff Member

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    Re: Dodgy Reporting?

    But NR are actually offering to extend the tenancy (ie extend the lease) - quite the opposite of "refusing to renew the tenancy"! This is stated in the last paragraph of the letter. The problem is that the new lease - however long - doesn't give security of tenure. Tenancy and tenure are different things.

    Your two facts are correct, but "because they cant ... get a longer lease" is wrong. They (we) can't get a lease with secured tenure.

    We agree on the villains!

    My main concern - even with you just drawing attention to the petition - it that you are drawing attention to an incorrect document.

    Anyway, let's not fall out over it ;-) Keep up the good work.

    Neil.
     

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