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Peak Rail Annual Report and Action Group

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by huochemi, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. D6332found

    D6332found Member

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    I think to cause £130,000 damages to an industrial tank you'd need a melting pot to make Gillette's to cut internet Troll's throats with. Not knowing figures a large portion will be Legal fees for both parties. In my field we factor 25 fold for legal fees. Litigation, and vehement defence in the third sector are in no one's interest, but mediation and resolution is. Not knowing all the circumstance, and going off media reports, there is much hearsay and supposition. But the point is the 3rd sector needs to remove itself from this ghastly litigious system. Agreements should be wired to a 3rd party mediator, say HRA, who could offer a service and deny expensive and combative legality. This applies equally to the NHS, which may soon cost double from litigation, or indeed finding your car insurance is more than your salary, or the Scouts can no longer afford to run the Scouts, and so on.
     
  2. sleepermonster

    sleepermonster Member

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    The £130,000 is said not to include legal costs and to be for hire charges only. The cost of repairing almost any steam locomotive nowadays is so high that very few owners can afford to subsidise the operating railway. The market rate for hiring a medium small steam locomotive, even an austerity, can be up to £500 per day depending on the length of hire, number of days hired and whether the owner or the railway is responsible for running, or all, repairs. If your railway signs a contract to use a locomotive for £x per day for y days per year then the annual charge is £xy . If they don't like the total, they shouldn't have signed the contract. The grounds of the claim were that PR had used the locomotive over a period of years for over 260 days MORE than the contract use allowed; add in a claim for interest for late payment and £130,000 is quite understandable. There was claimed to be a verbal agreement to set off this cost, which was disputed. The question for the directors to answer is, if this was true, why on earth was it not written down in some form of written acknowledgement? Do they take collective responsibility for this?

    As to repair costs, the owner of one Austerity (not concerned in this) told me that he had spent over £250k on his restoration, which was carried out in his workshop by his employees. I will declare an interest - I am one of the owners of an austerity under repair, and to cut a long story short, it once worked on Peak Rail, who were allowed to use it free of charge for around 10 years but simply could not manage the cost of repair. We have the advantage of a fairly large and very skilled restoration team, but I think the total repair costs will be around £110,000 by the time we have finished, and around 5 years very hard work; we will be taking a far more commercial attitude to the hire and use of the locomotive in future to cover that cost and provide a reserve for further repair costs. Items such as a new foundation ring, new copper tube plate and new several other things tend to add up. Peak Rail have given out that they expect their remaining Austerity, Royal Pioneer to return to steam this year, we shall see. My sympathies lie both with the ordinary volunteers who have had this nightmare thrust upon them and with the locomotive owner.

    I have no intention of returning to Peak Rail - time has moved on and I have other projects to occupy my time. However I put around thirty years of effort into the railway and would be heartbroken if it went under. I take comfort in the fact that determined, practical people at grips with a problem will find solutions which distant armchair critics could never imagine.

    There are people on both the PRA and Peak Rail plc boards whom I regard as friends, but I am quite sure that new blood and new ideas are needed. The PRAG initiative to replace the entire PR plc board is drastic, but I think it is better to say that the plc board as a whole has failed to perform, without making personalised judgements rather than to condemn individuals one by one. That would be far more painful for everyone concerned.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  3. Jamie Glover

    Jamie Glover New Member

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    I fully agree with all that Sleeper Monster says. Unfortunately the trio of dominant directors at Peak Rail - plus their new blow in president are not the sort of people who can come to grips with Peak Rail's problems. The litigation mad trio being the main cause of many of the problems in the first place.

    Their determination to succeed comes purely in the form of their self determination to hang on to the PR control they all ready have, at the expense of everything else, and nothing apart from that will satisfy them. Already a letter the new president has sent to shareholders threatens to bring about yet more litigation to PR Plc's doorstep ....this time for character defamation.

    It is recorded in another NP post on this thread that one of the PR senior directors actually told Pete Briddon that his member ship of a PR board depended on his getting an invitation to join. The person concerned followed this up with the question "Who invited you" ?

    If PR is ever to enjoy a reasonable future? Then the gang of four need to be removed with some haste before PR Plc slides into a permanent slough of insolvency.

    As things stand? I've no doubt that the PR gang of four will end up being forcefully removed at some time in the not too distant future. Unfortunately the removal will more than likely be at the behest of bankruptcy specialists and not from a vote of No Confidence passed democratically by the PR rank and file.
     
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  4. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    Alas, the new fourth seems to have fairly deep pockets, so maybe not. Now, if they were to fall out...

    Noel
     
  5. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    If the old directors have made a series of bad decisions and wasted a lot of money in litigation, as alleged, why would a new director who is no fool join join forces with them?
     
  6. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Deep pockets are no sign that someone is not a fool. If those pockets are as deep as they are sometimes portrayed.
     
  7. Sheff

    Sheff Resident of Nat Pres

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    Steam loco obsession - or how to turn a large fortune into a very much smaller one. What exactly are Mr Waterman's remaining railway assets post-Crewe I wonder?
     
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  8. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Nat Pres stalwart

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    But also appearing to have ever shortening arms, seem to be a lot of talk and not much action in recent years?
     
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  9. JayDee

    JayDee Member

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    From what I could roughly tell:

    GWR 5600, No. 6634

    GWR 4575 Class 2-6-2T No. 5553

    GWR 5205 Class 2-8-0T No. 5224

    46035 "Ixion"

    47402 "Gateshead"

    About 90% of his Model Railway Collection.

    LNWR was sold to the Royal Scot folks, and the Pete Waterman Railway Heritage Trust now has its main site as Peak Rail.
     
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  10. sleepermonster

    sleepermonster Member

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    There is no need to talk about removing Mr Waterman, because he is not a director. Quick tip for you: search for Companies House beta, stick in a company name and suddenly all sorts of information becomes available, free of charge. At any rate, unless Mr W has done his own research against primary documents, he must be dependant on the company for his information. I like the guy, and respect his achievements, but I do wonder why he put his name to that extraordinary circular: if that is the explanation the directors want to give then they should have sent it in their own names.

    It reminds me of the last time the directors were seriously put on the spot back in 2003, when they sent out a circular which promised that if left in place they would open the Matlock extension in 2004 and "look at" all sorts of fantastic things, e.g reopening Buxton site and extending the PR service to Ambergate and possibly even Derby. They accused rebels like me of "not sharing their vision". I still have a copy of that somewhere. Once they got the proxies and survived the AGM, nothing much happened for a long time.
     
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  11. Trenchman

    Trenchman New Member

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    Perhaps it would be a good idea if everyone backed the current Peak Rail Board at this present time.
    I would hate to think that any plans and years of hard work to reinstate the railway northwards as outlined in the recent Press Release were scuppered by calls for an EGM to replace the current Board.
    I get the distinct impression that there are some people who do not wish to see the railway move forwards.
     
  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I'm not convinced that getting involved in pointless litigation cases is moving forwards either, especially when you lose...
     
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  13. snappertim

    snappertim New Member

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    On reading the SR article I feel it asks more questions than giving answers

    Surely PR had records of steaming days, mileage , washout details etc so it should have been simple enough to establish the exact figure ? Why did the owner take 5 years to bring his action ? Why was the use of facilities at Rowsley only done verbally? Where there no board minutes? Was the loco owner not a director who had the right to see all such minutes?

    There is no doubt in my mind that the PR board were negligent in not tying up the running agreement in a clear unambiguous contract and of course complying with it. They are quoted in the article as saying “ the days of verbal agreements are behind us”. They may have had a place in the Heritage Railway movement in the 1960’s but today???

    As to whether complaints had been made to the ORR then enquiries under the FOI should provide an answer, in time. It was action under FOI that was the start of the undoing of the Councillor and the Trustees of WSRA.

    I find the situation at PR very sad as a Derbyshire resident and I hope that further litigation can be avoided and progress will come by evolution rather than revolution. I am certainly encouraged that 5553 could be in service in 2019
     
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  14. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    So, from a distance, would I. From that distance, I see a history of disputes and very limited progress on the railway that I remember as a teenager was boasting how it would be restored throughout by now. I am now in my forties.

    I am not a member, and have no specific knowledge of Peak Rail. But, were I a member, I would be curious to know how this leopard is going to change it's spots.
     
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  15. JayDee

    JayDee Member

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    As discussed in this thread, that report was a dead-cat approach because of the PRAG, and as Briddon-The-Younger calculated, the cost of a quarry train roaring down the Monsal Trail at just £87 per train is hardly going to cover the costs of the £80-120m price tag of the restored section of the line. Let alone the further need to strengthen and do up the trackwork and signalling along the remaining 7 miles of track to Ambergate Junction. The Hope Valley line is getting signalling improvements which kiboshes any need for another route for the quarry trains.

    I'd certainly be concerned about a board and company which gets into these kinds of legal spats on such a seemingly frequent basis.
     
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  16. crantock

    crantock Member

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    You don't need deep pockets to have de facto control of Peak Rail. I suspect, say, 130,000 shares would be unassailable voting power.

    Now the President has put his name to a leaflet he may find he gets feedback that leads him to ask whether everything he was told was true and he has been embarrassed. Then you have an irate big creature who could be a force for change.
     
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  17. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    This would appear to be another sort of thing, seemingly common with some other preserved lines, where donations, hopefully given toward improvements to rolling stock and infrastructure, is being used for litigation.
    The WSRA battle to re-instate two members failed and whilst there was criticism levelled at the Associations methods, no one was a winner as costs had to be borne by both parties. This could be the costly end result here.
     
  18. dggar

    dggar New Member

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    Or perhaps it might not be a good idea......
     
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  19. Andy Williams

    Andy Williams Member

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    The very fact that a Peak Rail Action Group has been formed, coupled with the adversarial style of management that has resulted in the recent calamitous litigation, tells me all I need to know about the ability of the current board to manage the normal 'rough and tumble' that represents a heritage railway, the diverse characters of the volunteers and supporters, and the varied opinions that they express. A good management team should be able to settle issues a long time before it becomes necessary to go to law. I offer this opinion as someone who has no personal interest in Peak Rail, but is sad to see hard-earned cash from heritage railway operations being wasted in this manner. To put things in context, the legal expenses incurred for the Grinsty case alone (£130k + costs) represents a very large chunk of 2016's gross PLC turnover of £397k (the 2017 accounts are not yet available at companies house).
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
  20. Midlandsouthern

    Midlandsouthern New Member

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    I would say as an outsider looking in and no connection to peak rail. That the current board has run its course im afraid. I think any northwards reinstatement are well in the distant future. Funds seem to be used to deal with sloppy management of hire contracts and picking up the pieces.
     
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