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Lynton and Barnstaple - Operations and Development

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

  1. Old Kent Biker

    Old Kent Biker Member

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    It would appear so.

    Mothballing Woody Bay has been suggested as a possibility on social media (including IIRC on this thread), but I don't think it has any official support and would be a very hard sell. I personally don't think it should be even vaguely necessary, as long as any potential second section is developed and promoted in conjunction with the existing Woody Bay operation.
     
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  2. lynbarn

    lynbarn Well-Known Member

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    Yes I have read it but there are reasons for it suggestion, in part I can understand why it has been said, but the trouble is whatever we do next, it is going to cost a lot of money. As I see it right now and with the imformation I have to hand, there is (in my personal opinion) just two viable options open to the L&BR group right now, both of which require Woody Bay to remain open:-

    1) Rebuild the railway all the way to Lydiate Lane (which is located just above Lynton) from Woody Bay via Caffyns Halt (something which I suggested ages ago) This could then give us a first extension of around 4 and a quarter miles.

    If this was done in such a way, so that part 1 had all the track laided as far as Caffyns from just North of the new A39 road bridge and also the new workshop built at Caffyns, then this part could then be connected to Woody Bay over a winter break (while the old workshop was being dismantled and moved to Caffyns for re-erection and the trackbed levelled and preparded for the new link.

    Part two * could then contiune during the following summer to Lydiate Lane and this would then give us a second extension of 2 3/4 of a mile to just above Lynton. To take the railway into Lynton itself will not be easy, some even say it would be impossible, but untill we do a route survey I would not count it out.

    2 ) The second project would be a joint effort between the Trust and EA/YVT. This would be to rebuild the railway between Blackmoor and Snapper in one go. I estimate this to be about a 10 or 11 Mile route allowing for a deviation around the reservoir.

    One thing which has become clear to me is that we will need to rethink the group structure again.

    * subject to all the required civil engineering work being complete of course
     
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  3. Biermeister

    Biermeister Member

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    Nice crayoning Colin. Two points stand out though: lack of money especially of the cashed-up-supporter kind and lack of ownership of trackbed. Do we know who owns what north of WB anyway? (EA give a clear breakdown of such from Wistlandpound south to Raleigh's Weir, but the L&BR Trust are, as ever, tight-lipped about trackbed ownership on the way from Wistlandpound to Killington Lane and from Woody Bay to Lynton environs.) I would posit that the Trust should have complete ownership from Woody Bay to Lynton environs before even attempting a TWAO. I also wonder where the punters might park their cars so as to board at the southern end for their day trip to Lynton? I think this looks a very steep and fraught proposal.

    Meanwhile the Trust have put an entry on their website of the 'work done' towards the Cricket Field Lane extension... (What a waste of time and money this half-baked idea is.) Who is it for anyway? I suspect its only real purpose is to give some salve to the 'baying hordes' demanding an extension now! But what use is an extension to nowhere when it will require major re-modelling for the future joined-up railway? Is it any surprise that no major sponsors can be found? (OK, bridging Killington Lane should occur, but why not just build the bridge and leave it un-tracked for future use?)
     
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  4. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Sadly, I feel that the extension to CFL will become just another divisive issue on which it will prove hard, if not impossible, to get widespread membership agreement. One only has to read (say) the 'Friends' FB pages for a few minutes to get a feeling of the extreme polarisation of views - in many cases sadly either just basically ill-informed or examples of where people believe 'the Board knows best' and refuse to look at any evidence to the contrary.
     
  5. lynbarn

    lynbarn Well-Known Member

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    Yes I agree about the money side of things and it is this point I have been making for ages about fundraising, you can't just start fund raising without a busness plan, since it needs to be taken seriously, as for the land owners North of Woody Bay yes they are mostly known to the Trust, but my understanding is that the first two want top dolloar and the third owner from Woody Bay is very keen to get the railway back on his land. I am not sure who owns what between Caffyns and Dean Steep and any other land on towards Lynton after the bit of land/Trackbed that the trust already owns near Barbrook.

    Again we have assets North of Woody Bay, that need to be expanded and in time used.

    To be honest one of those owners has indicated that the railway is never going to run through his land and I can see why he would say that, but again as someone once said every one has a price they would accept. So is it going to be a case of throwing money at it? Sadly I think it will need to be so. A lot of money will be require, other peoples guestimates range from £5 to 10 millions pounds per mile.

    If other railways can do this then why can't the L&BR?
     
  6. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Colin, when did your money tree start producing fruit? It’s oh so easy to say let’s just throw money at it, but there is no money. There’s no rich benefactor like the RVR or FR/WHR - that is one reason why the L&B cannot currently do what has been done elsewhere.
    And before you mention fund raising or business plans, those are only useful if you have, or can commandeer a large group of single minded supporters and funders. Sadly the L&B currently cannot do either.

    As for the second part I have highlighted, I’ll have some of whatever they are drinking.
    If the cost is anything like those numbers then Woody Bay is the limit.
    Personally I think these numbers are massively inflated.
    A severe dose of realism is required.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2024
  7. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    Whilst Keith gives a good analysis I think that there is actually a large group of single minded supporters. The size of this thread on NP is surely evidence of that. The fact that this, one and a bit miles of narrow gauge railway in N Devon, has so much attention shows that a large number of people care and want to see a much longer L & B. I suspect though that we will only get there in little stages, all along the line - gradually linking up - as and when possible.
     
  8. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    That is surely exactly what EA was set up to do, except that it's only allowed to do it on part of the route. Meanwhile the Trust has been spending a lot of cash without acquiring any route yards at all apart from the pub.
     
  9. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Phil, I’m not so sure that the number of posts on here would directly relate to volunteer or financial support, or that those posting here or elsewhere would all agree on a single way forward.

    Well technically there’s nothing the trust can do if EA decided to buy land in the northern part of the route…
     
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  10. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    ...and, to be fair, the site of Parracombe station. Not that it's much use yet without a railway, but.....
     
  11. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    The challenge is taking matters from the individual parcels of land to actually building a railway. That will require difficult choices, about which supporters' opinions will vary significantly. Any options, whether following @lynbarn in extending towards Lynton, the Trust in closing the gap through Parracombe, or anything built south from Blackmoor Gate, will create challenges. Some of them will involve engineering (Launcey Brook, Wistlandpount, getting under the road at Blackmoor Gate, Parracombe Bank, Dean Steep are just the most obvious); others will be operational (two centres of operation vs. one, for example). There are then the challenges of acquiring land and permissions from landowners who aren't well disposed to the railway, or who might be inconvenienced by reinstatement of a railway.

    At the moment, the L&BRT are seeking to progress "option C" and following the piecemeal approach set out in the consultation by progressing extension to Cricket Field Lane. Like many, I'm struggling to see how such an extension actually helps the strategic aims of the railway, but I also note what's been said by the Trust on it's website. If correct, it suggests that there's something out there that I and others aren't seeing - and I'll be delighted to eat my words if that's correct.

    But in all of this, I and others need to see leadership. Not of the "this is what we're doing" kind, but of the kind that shares a vision, outlines a strategy for fulfilling that vision, and then shows the tactical steps by which that vision can be realised. I would prefer that to be in a way that allows proper discussion of the ideas and plans, allowing those who have not been close to their development to challenge them and the thinking behind them, and that allows doubters (myself included) to take on board how a CFL extension would support the ambition of most L&B supporters.
     
  12. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    I agree wholeheartedly. IMHO it is a case not just of what the Trust tells us, but also how it tells us and the extent to which it is more of a 2-way discussion that a 1-way 'this is the plan, that's it' approach.

    I realise that the 'new' Board is only a week old and we must give them some slack to get up to speed and functioning properly, but as a member who stood on the platform at WB 21 years ago and watched the first public train roll out of the station (admittedly no further than Bridge 67 at that time) I can understand - and share - the frustrations of those who have yet to see positive signs of any expansion of an operational railway any time soon :-(
     
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  13. hhs5

    hhs5 New Member

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    The “Friends” facebook page has 1.5k members, compared to the main L&B page which as 8.2k members.

    It may seem like things are extremely polarizing when there’s a smaller group.
     
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  14. Robin

    Robin Well-Known Member Friend

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    I was debating asking on Wikipedia, but since you mention it, I'll ask here first. You refer to "one and a bit miles of narrow gauge railway". The Wikipedia article on the railway includes a similar comment, "This was extended to over a mile in 2006...".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynton_and_Barnstaple_Railway

    However, the Infobox in the same Wikipedia article gives the length of the preserved operations as 0.9 miles. It also gives the location of the original Woody Bay station as 15m 77ch, with the next station south (Parracombe Halt) at 14m 33ch. Contemporary OS maps show the milepost in between (i.e. 15 miles) a short way south of Broadoak Hill, while the present day terminus is north of Broadoak Hill, closer to Woody Bay.

    https://maps.nls.uk/view/101442607

    At face value, that means the present railway must be quite a bit less than 77 chains, with the figure of 0.9 miles looking about right. So is the "over a mile" wishful thinking, or am I missing something?
     
  15. ikcdab

    ikcdab Member Friend

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    The running line is about 1400m long, a fraction under 0.9 miles.
    Including loops and sidings, the total amount of track is just over a mile.
     
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  16. Old Kent Biker

    Old Kent Biker Member

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    Interesting stats, but remember, "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics" To fill out that basic information, the "main" L&B page was started maybe 18 or more years ago (I became an admin in August 2009). The "Friends" group was started (by me) in March 2023 to give L&B Trust members an opportunity to discuss matters which I (and obviously several others) felt needed airing, as any criticism of the Trustees was quite heavily censored (in the guise of not allowing "political discussions") on the other group by some of my fellow admins.

    Most "Friends" members are also "Main" members. Bear in mind also, that the L&BR Trust itself only has around 2,500 "memberships" comprising around 3,000 voting members*, so how many of the "Main" group can really be said to be ardent supporters?

    *Maybe 30 years ago, I was part of the Trust Membership Management Team. IIRC, and rather sadly, I believe that these figures have not risen appreciably, if at all, since then.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2024
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  17. Biermeister

    Biermeister Member

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    Jo Roesen (of GWSR fame) has posted some delightful pictures and a story of his recent visit to North Devon and the Exmoor Associates meeting he attended. (Sorry if this were mentioned earlier but if it were I clearly missed it!) See: https://www.gwsr.com/knowledge/blogs and scroll to the Heritage Herald blog.
     
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  18. Michael B

    Michael B Member

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    The other way of looking at it is the distance between Bridge 65, at 15 miles 8 and a half chains, and Bridge 69, at 16 miles 10 chains. Viz 1 mile 1 and a half chains.
     
  19. Robin

    Robin Well-Known Member Friend

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    Thanks for clarifying.
     
  20. Robin

    Robin Well-Known Member Friend

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    It is. I don't discount the existence of headshunts, passing loops and sidings, or the effort required to install and maintain them. However to me, a realistic measure of the length of any heritage railway for comparative purposes would be the distance between terminus A and terminus B, ie what I as a passenger can ride on regular services. As @ikcdab suggests, that would be less than a mile in this case.
     

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