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Exmoor Associates - Acquisition of More of the Old L&B Line

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by TheEngineer, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. TheEngineer

    TheEngineer New Member

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    Hurrrah someone with vision

    Points in favour

    Its not in Wales !! its in Devon.... its not a treck to get there.

    The first sceptics said it would never happen. but it did 9/10 of a mile of it then it got taken overnow its fermenting, as fallen fruit does.

    Experiment , Method, Results, Conclusion.

    Results yes conclusion yes, reconsider plan not the right location costs too great.

    I will not be taking up modeling .

    I accept your point many people do not. But well said. I never wanted it to be a WHR in any shape or form, and thankfully its not.

    I only drink coffee with my friends and the coffee smells good and so are the biscuits while I deliberate over the plan.

    Cheers







     
  2. ellenbee pioneer

    ellenbee pioneer New Member

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    Andy, as practical and to the point as ever!
     
  3. TheEngineer

    TheEngineer New Member

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    Man falls about on floor . Only you could compile that one.!!!! I can see being in Logistics has brought you to normallity.
     
  4. ellenbee pioneer

    ellenbee pioneer New Member

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    Thank God for normality - it's what keeps me sane!
     
  5. Old Kent Biker

    Old Kent Biker Member

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    Twenty-five years ago, the "experts" declared that it was impossible, and that there would never be any track relaid on the L&B. Okay, so it has taken a while, and there's not much of it yet, but believe me, there WILL be more.

    As JFK put it, some years ago;

    "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

    I like to think of the L&B reinstatement project as one of "the other things"
     
  6. ellenbee pioneer

    ellenbee pioneer New Member

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    Great quote Martyn, really apposite - and where is the moon programme today? Cancelled due to expense. It was unsustainable, and I'm not talking carbon footprints here. It is no use building another L&B that will faithfully replicate the original - right down to closure due to chronic unprofitability. Good intentions and fuzzy warm feelings won't create a new, efficient, sustainable railway. That requires a clear, concise, even inspirational plan, produced by professionals and administered and overseen by good, proven managers. There cannot be any 'all things to all men' so beloved of L&B officers in the past. At some point people will have to be upset, if their pet scheme hasn't been chosen, but at least they will have the comfort that it was ruled out on the basis of necessity, rather than sentiment.

    If a future plan were to decide that the park-and-ride option was the only sensible, sustainable way forward, then announce that henceforth the L&B had no interest south of Wistlandpound, and that if the EA wanted to start a strictly heritage line from Barnstaple, then good luck to them, and let any join that wished to run the L&B 'as it was', instead of the L&B as it may have been, had it never closed.

    At the moment the L&B seems to be fatally mixing a new, transport-efficient strategy with trains of over-heavy carriages pulled by the very expensive replica of a failed locomotive type. Hardly a benchmark of efficient and sensible planning! Oh, and as for that development of the first operational section, I think you'll find that Doug Hill's determined, decisive organisational skills played a very large part in that, and it is interesting that progress stopped shortly after his departure. Funny old thing, management.
     
  7. Old Kent Biker

    Old Kent Biker Member

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    My quote was of the dream that lead to the achievement. If one doesn't aim for the stars, then one is destined to stay forever in the gutter. They achieved the dream. Okay, so reality afterwards wasn't as rosy as anticipated, and it cost a lot more than anticipated, but they did get there.


    Yes I agree with that entirely, but I would add that pragmatically, there has to be some degree of compromise.

    That's an idea, but even in that situation, there would be economies in scale achievable through working together. Separately, the two sections would be even more financially precarious.
    Fair point, and well made, although I think the current L&B Trust plan is that the "rebuilt" coaches will be a ton lighter than their original build, probably only used occasionally, and that modern stock will be considerably lighter still. Once one or more representative "Manning Wardles" are available (which will in any case, be measurably more efficient than the originals, as proven by LYD), then there is no reason why alternative classes of loco couldn't be introduced, subject of course to demand and financing. I would also envisage "mainline"-type diesels, or even railcars would be called into play, at least for off-peak services.

    Yes, Doug was very much involved in that phase, I remember, and that was a major success, proving to the nay-sayers that it COULD be done, but it was relatively easy to lay the track across open fields - far more difficult (and expensive) to negotiate the two main road crossings at either end of the current track. Still, like I said before, if we don't aim high, we will never get anywhere!

    By the way, none of the above is L&BRT policy - just my own thoughts on the subjects you rasied
     
  8. ellenbee pioneer

    ellenbee pioneer New Member

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  9. GeoffS75

    GeoffS75 New Member

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    Well said. As an interested bystander with a soft spot for the old L&B I appreciate the information and updates that are provided in this thread and the efforts that are being made to preserve/restore parts of the line. However, as an outsider the sharp comments/tone that sometimes crop up in response to innocuous queries/responses do not lend themselves to encouraging a more active input.
     
  10. ellenbee pioneer

    ellenbee pioneer New Member

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    Please disregard my previous! Trying to be overambitious! I intended to say, 'Compromise', or "all things to all men?", and if the carriages aren't to be used very often, and there are Manning Wardles scheduled after Lyn, what is the point in building carriages that won't be used in regular revenue-earning services, and a locomotive you tacitly admit isn't up to the job? This is precisely the sort of strategic mismanagement that I have highlighted as one of the L&B's main failings. The sight of Lyn might make a lot of enthusiasts feel warm and fuzzy, but the greatest part of your custom base will dislike the compartments, complain if the train is late because the locomotive is unreliable, and object to paying more because the trainset is, quite frankly, uneconomic.
    As for Doug Hill being '...very much involved in that phase, I remember...', well, he was that phase. The trust controlled the purse strings, there was little money, so the company was only allowed to do what was strictly necessary. But then again, he'd done it all before when the West Somerset was teetering on the brink. And to think he only came to us because Bill Thrush was his neighbour!
     
  11. TheEngineer

    TheEngineer New Member

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    Well done Boy, you have certainly attracted an audience !! tonight..

    More history being poured out no less, that so many have forgotten.

    If it had not been for Doug, I would not have been allowed the expenditure for pandrol fixing plates, and the crap rail would have been spiked down.He understood the value of High class Permanent way, case of having been there and done it.

    Very astute when it came to not spending money, but I never had a problem with him.
     
  12. ellenbee pioneer

    ellenbee pioneer New Member

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    Funny old thing, but Doug only ever seemed to have a problem with those that weren't up to the job...!
     
  13. TheEngineer

    TheEngineer New Member

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    SirHandel

    They are only innocuous, if you don't know their origin or reasoning.

    Bear in mind all of the issues are not resolved some substantial ones sit in the wings.

    I am trying to post up news, that is genuine and of interest.

    I know these people, their tactics and how their plan works, much better than most of you readers please accept that.

    There is more to it than a few words in a post.Sorry if you don't think so.

    I explained why I bit at the question.
     
  14. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    He used to be paranoid, but now he knows they're out to get him!

    God help the L&B I say, it's the WHR/WHHR all over again. Look how many years of progress the WHHR frittered away due to a Chairman who wasn't prepared to compromise. In the end he was ousted, and now the future looks rosier. Hopefully the L&B/EA will learn from that sorry saga and bury their differences ASAP. But from what I read on here from the EA side, that sounds extremely unlikely, and the self-defeating
    mud slinging looks set to continue. Just hope I'm wrong.
     
  15. ellenbee pioneer

    ellenbee pioneer New Member

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    Guess you don't know that much about the L&B umbrella Sheff. These problems go back to the mid-eighties, and one way or another, there's been scrapping going on ever since. Part of the problem is the multiplicity of organisations and projects over the years. The idea was that people would be too busy with their projects to start politicking. For a while it worked, but then the projects became part of the differing sides.
    Doug Hill's tenure as Trust chairman was the most peaceable era, because he had lieutenants that understood the way he thought, and they controlled the Trust. Incompetents were sidelined or weeded out. Since then he was manouvered out, (his lieutenants were replaced by members of the in crowd first) and, coincidentally things have got worse.

    I hold no brief for either side, I sincerely believe the opposing factions, whether they be history v efficiency or one bunch of pals against another separate either side of Wistlandpound, and do their own thing. In any case the L&B is not like the WHR where it is relatively(!) easy to link up some clear trackbeds and run a service. Even if you could rebuild the whole L&B, it would make absolutely no commercial sense, in the same way as Bewdley - Coalbrookdale doesn't.

    The sad fact about the L&B is the calibre of its officers. There is a core of acheivers - including The Engineer - who are creating miracles on the ground, but of the executive.....

    I hold no brief for either EA or the L&B
     
  16. AndrewT

    AndrewT New Member

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    "The WHR... required relatively little remedial work prior to tracklaying"

    That's not my recollection...

    Stabilisation of rock faces in Aberglaslyn Pass and elsewhere
    Excavating infilled cuttings
    Removing landslips and reinforcing with gabions in many locations
    Building new access roads for residents affected by reinstatement
    Relocating numerous bats, badgers, otters and owls
    15 road bridges
    15 river bridges
    13 stations
    127 level crossings
    300 culverts and drains
    60,000 tons of ballast

    and then
    52,933 sleepers
    4,411 rails
    8,822 fishplates
    70,578 nuts and bolts
    80,000 rail clips
    500 volunteers
    70,000 man hours
     
  17. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    ... or for that matter every other heritage railway that has ever been started in the UK (apart from maybe the Paignton and Dartmouth, or whatever it is called this week!) It has been discussed before but basically it is not just about 'commercial sense', its about enthusiasm and passion and a will to get things done as well.
     
  18. ellenbee pioneer

    ellenbee pioneer New Member

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    Thought that one might stir up a few WH types! The key word is relatively, compared to completely rebuilding Parracombe bank, excavating the deep cutting north of the A39 at Woody Bay, providing a new alignment at Dean Steep, a new terminus at Lynton etc.; etc., the remedial work on the WH is indeed small in comparison. This is one of the two points (the other is the economics of running the whole line) that is so often missed when people glibly talk of rebuilding the L&B. On this basis alone, Barnstaple is 50 bridges too far. There are four missing major bridges (three river, one road) in one 3.5 mile stretch north of Hole Ground. Embankments have gone, cuttings filled in, occupation bridges removed.
    Compared to the L&B the WHR required relatively little remedial work. Go and look at the next section south from Killington Lane (and including the bridge itself) and tell me there is little difference in the scale of re-engineering required!
     
  19. Old Kent Biker

    Old Kent Biker Member

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    Welcome to Nat Pres, Ellenbee, I've just realised who you are - nice to hear from you again! You mentioned Bill Thrush earlier - now there's a true gentleman - and the first member of the L&B I ever met!
    Yes, there is certainly a lot that needs to be done to go anywhere further than the current limit of travel. This would have been a known issue when WB was initially acquired, so should the railway NOT have purchased Woody Bay? I believe it was the right decision at the time. Since the 1970's - and even earlier - there had been several plans to reopen parts of the line, including the Snapper-Bratton section, but none ever came to fruition.

    Had things been different, we may by now have been operating a substantial section in the southern section, based at Hole Ground (which I hope we would be calling something different - "Barnstaple Yeo Vale" was my favourite), but it was not to be, and we are where we are, hemmed in by the need for major civil engineering works at both ends. The questions we need to be asking however, are not what we could, should or would have done in the past, but how do we move forward from where we are now? How do we all make the best use of the assets we have at our disposal? How do we encourage all and sundry to support what we are trying to achieve?

    (Andy, you do yourself a disservice, assuming any negative connotations in my earlier question - things change - I wasn't sure - you seemed to be making more official-sounding comments - I just wanted to check, that's all...)
     
  20. GeoffS75

    GeoffS75 New Member

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    Andy,

    Fair enough, there is no doubt a lot of history in the background that I and other readers do not know and have no need to know as it is not our business. However, as an outsider reading about the projects in this thread (and I appreciate the news and updates you provide) the perception from a couple of your responses is that the EA is an insular organisation that does not take criticism or difference of opinion well. I have no doubt that this is not the case but it would be a shame if potential new shareholders were put off from getting involved by picking up a similar perception.

    This is only my personal observation and I have no wish to cause offence or start a big argument. I genuinely wish both projects every success in their common aim of resurrecting the L&B in whatever shape and form is achievable and look forward to more of your updates on how EA are progressing.

    Geoff
     

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