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Meon Valley Railway Restoration

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by stephenvane, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    Nobody will be ridiculed if they do there homework first.
    Sounds very threatening to me, time to get of the soapbox, sounds like you need to get out more!
     
  2. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    It helps if those proposing schemes are literate and articulate, or if not, have sufficient intelligence to recognise that it is necessary to recruit someone who is.
     
  3. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I don't disagree with the main thrust of this - the ability to justify ones ideas is often what separates the visionaries from the hallucinators, and if you are serious about a scheme you will do your homework and will need thick skins.

    My comment about ridicule and rudeness was not aimed at anyone in particular, nor should it preclude robust debate, it's just that when people play the person rather than the ball it reduces the debate to the level of a playground brawl and nobody really learns anything. And it can hurt.

    Let's not forget that some ideas (and frankly for many of the reasons already given I don't put the Meon Valley scheme in this category) may be good, but arrive on a forum like this less than fully formed. It is not impossible that some of those reading might be able to bring skills, experience and understanding to the table and "give it wings". If so then Nat Pres might actually have produced some thing worthwhile, rather than merely generating hot air. Also if a scheme gets put forward here and those with more experience effectively say "yes, but have you considered this problem..." and explain why it is not such a great idea, and that causes a re-think, then that is also worthwhile.

    Steve B
     
  4. W14

    W14 New Member

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    It matters because, just as it only took one bank to fail a few years ago to bring down the world's entire banking infrastructure, the failure of one preservation scheme has the potential to harm the rest. This scheme very much depends on support from Hampshire County Council. If HCC get p****d off by a bunch of people pursuing a crackpot scheme, they are likely to tar all preservation schemes and preservationists with the same brush - and that could rebound on local railways like the Mid Hants, the East Hayling, etc. And it won't just be confined to Hampshire. People who work for local authorities talk to people from other local authorities and word spreads around.

    Why do you think that railway preservation schemes in North Devon, a prime tourist area which cries out for a major heritage railway, seem to struggle so much? Probably because back in the 1970s a scheme to save the Ilfracombe line collapsed, the £20,000 it had raised (a lot of money then) having disappeared, amidst accusations of fraud which resulted in an inquiry by the Board of Trade. A lot of people lost money and people don't forget. Fine, if Steve wants to spend his own money on this scheme then he's welcome to go ahead but I suspect that he will need to raise funds from others. Very big sums of money will be involved. The current value of Droxford station alone is at least £1,200,000.

    As for 'now someone has done it', all they have done is to create a website, nothing more. As for 'they know full well they will never reopen the whole line they are talking about opening a section which don"t involve any major engineering', even opening south of West Meon will involve a lot of major engineering. The line has been closed to passenger traffic since 1955; all structures, including embankments, etc, will deteriorate after nearly 60 years lack of maintenance. In any case, the website doesn't say that they have no intention of opening north of West Meon, it only says '...the dream goal would be to see if it’s possible to reconnect to Alton at Butt’s Junction but we think that’s a good 50+ years away.'.

    I certainly don't have an axe to grind against the scheme but I don't want a badly-thought out scheme to fail and do harm to the rest of the preservation scheme.
     
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  5. W14

    W14 New Member

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    That is all very well, but other schemes have progressed because those with the dreams have listened to those offering the doses of reality. I, above all, know that. The promoters of this scheme are quite patently refusing to do that. Indeed, they are positively rejecting the reality.

    There is the potential for something on the Meon Valley line, perhaps based on West Meon station site (but no further south) or maybe a short stretch centred on Mislingford. Get that up and running and then think about expansion, but forget about the grandiose dreams. Bring in that hefty dose of reality.

    Otherwise, where do we stop if we are not to criticise 'dreamers'? I would love to reopen the whole of the Somerset & Dorset, or rebuild the whole Isle of Wight network, complete with a fleet of replica O2s, or restore the North Cornwall line from Okehampton to Padstow. Or all of them. Are any of them less realistic than recreating the Meon Valley?

    In times past, if a group of promoters wanted to build a new railway they had to produce a list of signed up subscribers and pay a deposit of 10% of the amount subscribed. Perhaps that is something that should be reintroduced.
     
  6. W14

    W14 New Member

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    One of the topics raised on here has been the impact that a poorly thought-out scheme would have on local councils and other governmental bodies.

    By pure coincidence, for a forthcoming article I have recently been researching one early preservation scheme that failed. At the time most people thought that it was a well-founded, sensible scheme. BR was offering the line, complete with track, for a reasonable price. They had money and supporters, enough to start buying rolling stock. They had a good team of active volunteers. It was well-thought out with a clear business plan. Success seemed almost certain, a far cry from the Meon Valley scheme.

    While letters to the preservation group from Whitehall appeared, on the face of it, to be quite supportive, it was revealing to read what the senior civil servants of the time were actually saying and to see exactly what the 'powers-that-were' thought of the scheme. Terms such as 'crackpot' were bandied around and comments made along the lines of 'we've got to kill this off in case it sets a precedent'. Even the Bluebell was described as a bunch of people playing at trains, with a hint that it was thought a great pity that even that scheme wasn't killed off before it got anywhere. Of course, none of this was said publicly.

    The failure of this scheme did have an impact. It may well explain why successful preservation schemes were few and far between in its wake. A lesson in reality, perhaps.
     
  7. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'm fully aware of the doses of reality needed as my quoted post mentioned. My point is it's one thing to point out to dreamers the reality of what they are proposing and the many pitfalls that await them but it's another matter entirely to just ridicule them. If by constructive criticism we can persuade these newcomers that maybe their proposals are possibly non starters and they bring their energy to other projects then a purpose had been served but ridicule will achieve nothing positive in my opinion.
     
  8. W14

    W14 New Member

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    The point here is that the promoters of the MVR scheme are unwilling to listen to constructive criticism, as evidenced by their leader's insistence, on pain of legal action, that his account here be closed. I have looked back through the thread and I can find no posts that ridicule individuals, only ones that disagree with the group's proposals.
     
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  9. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    I am actually not that concerned about the MVR group poisoning the waters in the council for the MHR. We have the advantage of 40 years of steady progress and of being the largest visitor attractive in North East Hampshire. I would hope that EHDC and HCC can tell the difference between the two entities. However, I would rather they didn't upset the local authorities of course. HCC have recently given us £75k grant towards the Bighton bridge repairs.

    I am too young to remember the Ilfracombe scheme and its problems, but the post above explains something I have puzzled about for a while....why wasn't the line saved? Such a shame, you could imagine that by now it would be every bit as successful as the WSR, being perfectly placed for a sizeable holiday trade. It would have made an interesting line to work with that bank out of the terminus starting at the end of the platform!
     
  10. W14

    W14 New Member

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    Didn't I read somewhere on this forum about the Bodmin & Wadebridge having a few problems because Cornwall Council hasn't been very helpful recently after a bad experience with some other preservation scheme? Longevity doesn't prevent us all being tarred with the trainspotter brush. I bet there are a few Hampshire councillors who would regard Jane Austen's House as a far more important tourist venue than the MHR. :(
     
  11. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Haven't the B&W just secured a new long lease from the "unhelpful" council?
     
  12. Duty Druid

    Duty Druid Part of the furniture

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    They Have!

    35 years IIRC........................................ now they can come on in leaps and bounds instead of constantly looking over their shoulder!!
     
  13. W14

    W14 New Member

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    They have but it took them nearly four years to negotiate it. Indeed, it is over 18 months since the B&W said that 'agreement over the detail of a new lease is now in the final stages'. So perhaps not a case of the council falling over themselves to be helpful.
     
  14. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    That will certainly help with medium/long term planning.
     
  15. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Good for them, I have never got round to visiting there, I really must next time I go, part with a little money for their presumable extension now! :D

    Those that say about the doommongers; "they did it then with all the negativity, why not now?" plenty of reasons; spiralling costs of track and rolling stock, availability of rolling stock (even Mk1s are getting scares to purchase) getting volunteer support when by now there will probably be an established one not too far away (the MHR in this case) and trackbeds being around so long they have a different occupation.. In some cases it is feasible for paths and HRs to coincide, but really only if the original line was double line (not trackbed designed to be doubled, but wasn't, that doesn't really work) this, and the Tarka valley therefore, in my opinion, don't have much of a chance, it just isn't as easy as it was all those years ago. I just don't understand why anyone with an interest in railways so close to the MHR with time on their hands don't choose to go there rather than try and make up a loony scheme. The fact that Steve asked for his account to be deleted just shows how ridiculous the whole plan is, and perhaps he knows it if he can't bear the criticism given here, or at least can't think of suitable answers so just runs away going lalalalalalalalala I want to play trains.

    It really is a loony scheme, I wish they'd go and do something more useful in the preservation movement, and that incudes going home, as other have pointed out, schemes like this can dirty the whole movement.

    Alex
     
  16. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Another thing that the proponents seem to miss is that there are contributors on this thread who are actively involved in schemes , whether it be just running a railway , restoring a locomotive , building stations etc , people with real tangible experience and advice that could have been invaluable .

    What I also find strange is that for a scheme that didn't want to be in the public domain and now recoils from negative comment that they created a website and a facebook page before concluding initial discussions with relevant powers that be
     
  17. Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry on this forum.

    Of course all the bickering between ourselves is doing wonders for the image of railway preservation for any normals who happen to pass by...

    (That was irony, nine elms fan ;))

    (And that was sarcasm :D)
     
  18. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Hardly in the public eye, although I do know what you mean...

    Are we saying then that, in the interests of preservation, a forum on the same subject be shut down, or censored like a communist dictatorship?:rolleyes:
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    … not to mention publicising the scheme and asking for feedback on the South Downs National Park Forum!

    Though weirder and weirder: that discussion now seems to have disappeared! For the record it was here http://southdownsforum.ning.com/forum/topics/meon-valley-railway-heritage-line-proposal (recovered from my browsing history, but now gone - I didn't imagine it, honest!)

    And now I can't get into the main website. Or FaceBook. Or read the early posts of MVRHS. Wikipedia was updated three days ago. It's as if they never existed...

    Tom
     
  20. Duty Druid

    Duty Druid Part of the furniture

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    Not surprising really, considering they spurned all the constructive advice given here from those of us trying to be helpful with advice as to how to go about things to make them something different from the MHR, never mind the schoolboy errors on the website or misunderstanding permissions "given" and having to perform embarrassing U turns...................................................... gone or going underground?................ As the ground swell has suggested - a crackpot idea, WAY too close to the MHR to succeed in the format they were proposing!!

    Hey ho, to quote a Queen song - "Another one bites the dust"!! And maybe its for the best..................................................................
     
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