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Lynton and Barnstaple - Operations and Development

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by 50044 Exeter, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. Thomas Woods

    Thomas Woods New Member

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    That's a pretty bold claim...... Any way of backing that up? Or are you just peddling the personal, potentially unfounded, concerns of a single person?
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2022
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  2. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    I am sorry that you disagree with me, but that is your right.

    As regards my first point, I have seen a photographic record taken over a period of some years relating to at least couple of the points, so I am satisfied that the concerns of those involved (more than one person) are valid. Certainly I do not regard them as 'rubbish', and whilst you might prefer that they were not mentioned on the internet, maybe it is the only way to get people to sit up and take notice - and hopefully act.

    As regards the second point, consider the example of the current work for a replacement Tea Room. The site plans for this were inaccurate. There had been no consultation with all the existing stakeholders, at least some of whom only became aware of it when the news appeared on the web. As planned, the TR would have blocked access to the rear of the signal-box, necessary for maintenance of the locking, and passed right through the existing instrument hut. It would have prevented the replacement of the rear extension, necessary to house all the additional electrical locking apparatus require for future operations.

    After some rapid work by my colleagues in the signalling design team to establishment a minimum 'footprint' requirement, a meeting was held on site to discuss this. An agreement was reached, or so we thought, that the plans would incorporate the necessary additional 'covered space' and that the pit required to house all the extra rodding and cranks would be excavated when the foundations were done. Nothing more was heard about this until photos appeared on the web recently showing the concrete base in place for the TR. There is no sign that the 'pit' has been dug and no plans in evidence for the 'covered space'. Trying to dig the pit (probably by hand) at a later date in a confined space will be very hard work.

    For any site such as Woody Bay station, with many different functions and 'departments', there should be a nominated Site Manager (aka Station Master?) with oversight responsibility to ensure that nothing is done on the site without agreement by all the relevant stakeholders - precisely to avoid this sort of chaotic and counter-productive situation. It's not 'rocket science', nor is the TR the only such occurrence recently.
     
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  3. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    It is well known that there are many on the Woody Bay team who have expressed their concerns that there is no weather protection for rolling stock. Given the herculean efforts expended to get the carriages rebuilt/restored, and the obvious requirement for more stock needing more work and effort, neglecting to maintain the current stock in top condition and protect it from the depredations of the Exmoor weather seems blinkered at the very least.
    As to the claim that different groups are working in a way that seems to lack strategic cohesion- I have heard such observations from several sources.
    My old boss at Network Rail reckoned that if you heard the same rumour/allegation from 3 unconnected sources, you should assume it is true and take the necessary action.
     
  4. autotank64

    autotank64 New Member

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    I rarely write or reply to online items as i feel its not my place to or i rarely have the time. But i feel much of your post is simply wrong or unfair.
    I took over as GM at Woody Bay last August and it isnt for me to comment on the past or people or politics and i can only talk about since last August.
    Do we get everything right? Maybe not but the team here has worked incredibly hard over busy season and winter period to improve many things.
    Are there issues or concerns to address? Of course isnt there in any railway?
    Have we made progress? On many fronts and on many ideas and plans of the volunteers we are carrying out projects and plans as money and staff allow.
    I have quite a list of jobs carried out this winter.
    Storage issues? Yes there is. We are in national park and its long process to put extra buildings etc which might be easier elsewhere.
    Tea room items- signal box extension you mention - yes its taken into account ( before my time) and i have the plan in my office. I have personally made sure the hole you mention has been carried out and various S&T work guided by S@T volunteers.
    Poor Maintenance- That is simply wrong and find hard to read as wwe have carried out a large list of work both Pway and S&T over the winter along with rolling stock and station site work. We have large weekday gangs supported by amazing turn outs at working weekends (35 people a day) the WB mess room was so full couldnt get a seat last Thursday.
    Site Manager- that would be me so please any thing you feel im not doing as i should please talk to me rather than knock us all online.

    There is lots to do and will of course take time. My experience from starting at WB is what a great team it is and amazed what is achieved in what can tight working space and awful weather.
    If anyone has concerns or you wish to talk over any worries please do so at WB as i hope by now everyone ive already met knows i will always work hard to sort and deal with concerns and im still learning myself.

    Im proud of the L@B and its staff and amazed of does get done.

    Thank you
    Stuart Nelhams
    General Manager L@B CIC

    Sent from my SM-G988B using Tapatalk
     
  5. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    Thank you Stuart for taking the time to give such a comprehensive reply - it certainly is appreciated by this (and I'm sure other) distant L & B supporter.
     
  6. autotank64

    autotank64 New Member

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    Just to add to my previous post.
    I totally agree as does everyone about the carriages outside in all weathers.
    One of first aims after talking with volunteers was to carry out improvements on the railways paintshop so we could restart a program of painting / varnishing. This work of course took time with logistics of that and what was required. We now have a carriage in there being worked on and full paintshop team working regulary.
    We aim to keep this up. Various other carriage work is ongoing and yes several ideas about weather storage/ proofing are being worked through.
    We are i can assure you making sure we look after the carriages.
    Again small staff and limited space it will take time.
    Stuart Nelhams
    GM

    Sent from my SM-G988B using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2022
  7. autotank64

    autotank64 New Member

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    Sent from my SM-G988B using Tapatalk
     
  8. autotank64

    autotank64 New Member

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    wish i had time to do so more regulary but has been a busy six monthes for me. I am committed and passionate about working through many issues or ideas that are bought up and thrown up.
    Im sure will be bumps on the way and mistakes on my part but we will all be trying as hard as we can.
    Hope it shows when people visit in 2022
    Thank you for supporting us


    Sent from my SM-G988B using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2022
  9. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    Stuart- I can only echo Phil's statement in saying thank you for your responses on behalf of the Trust's management, it means a lot, particularly as I'm sure your learning curve is still very steep at this early stage. And from a Trust member, can I also just say a belated welcome to the railway!
     
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  10. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Many thanks for your response, Stuart.

    >>>Storage issues? Yes there is. We are in national park and its long process to put extra buildings etc which might be easier elsewhere.

    Noted, but in the instance to which I referring the problem was the deteriorating condition of existing buildings and the fact that in the past pleas for repair appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

    >>>Tea room items- signal box extension you mention - yes its taken into account ( before my time) and i have the plan in my office. I have personally made sure the hole you mention has been carried out and various S&T work guided by S@T volunteers.

    It's good to hear that and thank you. Perhaps now the plan can be shared with my colleagues, as at the time of writing none of us had seen it?

    >>>Site Manager- that would be me....

    Noted, thanks. Again, something which previously had been unknown, hence the problems associated when trying to find out what was happening with the Tea Room.
     
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  11. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    One wonders how much land behind the current shed is owned by the L&B? While not wishing major works on a site that - in the fullness of time - will need to be cleared, is there any scope to extend the shed at the back by quite a length such that carriages could be stored right at the back in off season at least? I know this would cost money but the only other solution I've seen talked about is transporting them by road to Blackmoor for storage.
     
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  12. Meatman

    Meatman Member

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    i did say 'towards Parracombe' and i also mentioned Heddon Hall which is where the planned extension would have ran to
     
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  13. Meatman

    Meatman Member

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    Stuart,
    i think i could honestly say none of this is aimed at you, more like the so called managing director and the person he answers to which is where the buck actually stops and that person calls the shots, unfortunately many of these issues were in existence long before you arrived and will probably remain so for as long as the top branches of the tree are occupied by certain individuals, Rowley moor has been owned by the railway for quite a few years now and could have been turned into extensive storage and temporary workshops by now but the buildings have received no maintenance or upgrades, the carriages are a big issue but they keep making them, which is fine as long as some type of storage has been sorted, again its an issue that could be sorted with ease but is chosen not to be by the decision makers. By all accounts had those red line mistakes been picked up on before the planning went in , the cost of putting it right could have revamped Rowley moor sheds and given you a good cash reserve for other projects.
    I have only seen you the once at the members forum and was impressed with your piece , i have heard nothing but praise for you from the volunteers i get to meet and the impression given is that you are very well liked, just dont let those above you grind you down;)
     
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  14. Meatman

    Meatman Member

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    Thomas,as far as im aware @RailWest has been involved with the L&BR for many years so should know so i doubt much of his information is unfounded
     
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  15. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Indeed, that was NOT my intention.

    Rowley is another good example - scarce items being stored in conditions where they continue to deteriorate almost faster than they can be restored, with rain coming in through un-repaired holes in the roof (of which there are photos, in case ThomasWoods doubts me). Another example of one of those 'little things' which have been left...and left...and left until eventually they become a big problem. To be fair though to Stuart, I understand that he has agreed to put the necessary repair in hand now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2022
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  16. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    On the thorny subject of maintenance, or the lack thereof in some areas, by coincidence at the Spring Conference of the HRA last week there was a presentation on the subject of signalling....see here https://hra.sharepoint.com/Shared D...t Presentations/2022 Spring Conference&p=true

    (If that link does not work, go to hra.uk.com/presentations and click the last entry for ‘Day 2’ ]

    Some heritage railways have the ‘luxury’ of a large-ish S&T Department with many skilled volunteers, some of whom live quite close to the railway and therefore can respond quite quickly in the event of any operational problems (I’m sure our GM will be familiar with the situation nearby at the WSR, and I believe the Swanage Rly is similar). Others have a very small group, often composed of people who live a long way from the railway, attend perhaps just once or twice a a month, and may not be able to offer a ‘quick response’.

    At the moment the L&BR has no formal S&T Department and only a small number of relevant volunteers, some of whom live quite some way away, and whose numbers are declining for various reasons. I made the point to the Board many years ago (in a previous discussion) that signalling maintenance is a key area, where any deficiencies can have significant impact in the event of operational problems. [After all, it is not good PR if you have to cancel services for X number of days simply because Y is broken and the only person competent to fix it lives several hours drive away and can not attend until the following week – OK, that may be an extreme example, but you get the point. ] This has been an area of concern during the signalling design work for Phase 2A, with the result that we have tried to minimise the dependence on 'technology' as far as possible because, of course, we all know that - if it can go wrong - then it will do so one day and usually in the most inconvenient way !

    I wonder if anyone from the Boards of the Trust and/or CIC was at that HRA presentation ? Hopefully they will have taken the lesson onboard.
     
  17. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    For what it's worth, an S&T manager was one of the GWSR's first paid positions, such is the importance as you describe.
     
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  18. Devon-Rebel

    Devon-Rebel New Member

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    From my own experience of Stuart, he has been great in sorting out stuff with the lovely station at Chelfham.
    While there is much to do there, He has a list of jobs noted down that will mean he and his team may well have to do other stuff away from Chelfham to accommodate us.
    For example the removal of valuable equipment from up the line.
    To do this space needs to be made elsewhere. All of which takes time.

    Keep up the good work mate!

    Kind regards,

    Chris
     
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  19. Axe +1

    Axe +1 New Member

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    Some of you may be aware that the L&BR has commenced preparations for the construction of the New Tea Room at Woody Bay station. Stuart Ilhams, the L&BR's General Manager has taken a series of photos showing the progress from the initial clearance of the site up to the erection of the scaffolding for the eventual construction of the new building. Stuart's photos were uploaded to the L&BR website earlier today.

    See >>> https://www.lynton-rail.org.uk/story/construction-new-tea-room
     
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  20. ikcdab

    ikcdab Member Friend

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    The new tearooms look fantastic. A sympathetic design that should enhance the site a lot.
    Well done
     
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