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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. estwdjhn

    estwdjhn Member

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    It would be a rather strange and pointless choice.

    There are quite a number of places dedicated to industrials already, several of them fairly local, and mostly with some actual connection to industry. What would Peak rail offer that Tanfield, Foxfield, Chasewater, Middleton, etc. don't already do 10 times better?
     
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  2. Alistair Lofthouse

    Alistair Lofthouse New Member

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    A fair point but somehow Rowsley must become a place to visit, its not now especially as i think we are all agreed that PR in the short to medium term will not be extending North
     
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  3. Sheff

    Sheff Resident of Nat Pres

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    Very niche. It would struggle to attract me, never mind the great British public, who are key to the financial success of most heritage operations, like it or not.
     
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  4. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

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    How about a Patriot, as they used to use the line anyway, and a museum about railways and how they helped the war effort? Start in ww1, what gauge is that narrow gauge that's there? Could that represent the trench railways? Build a shed/museum that could house the LMS ambulance that has recently been gifted to the LMSCA, talk about women working during the war in men's jobs, talk about moving the troops, moving ammunition, railway works building tanks for the war effort, the railway war memorial locomotives, and then a big section on the unknown warrior. Contact all the local schools within say an hour's drive to come down and do experience days. Nice bit of sustainable income there.
    You could then see if the recent news about 44422 no longer being at the WSR, could be merged with the LMS Patriot project, along with a new build Fowler tank. You could even set up a Shakespeare's of the east Midlands and have summer Sunday steam trips from peak rail to derby using the triangle at one end and turntable at the other. Visiting Matlock baths as a big pull for tourists.

    Oh hang on, I haven't won the euro millions this week.
     
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  5. Ruston906

    Ruston906 Member

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    I do think Peak rail is stuck in a rut I have not visited for years the last time I went to travel behind the 44 but there is nothing new to draw me back for over a hours travelling as there are line with more to offer a lot closer. I do think it struggles with having lots of other lines not to far away such as both of the great centrals.
     
  6. snappertim

    snappertim New Member

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    Having lived nearly 4 years in Matlock, I have to agree with this posting. I don't see Peak Rail amounting to very much certainly in the short to medium term.

    The line from Rowsley to Matlock, is, I have to say, little more than a " demonstration line". Darley Dale station, a gothic pile, is the jewel in the crown, and a destination in its own right but leaving Rowsley, there is barely time to take a sip of coffee before arriving there. Matlock is the pleasant county town of Derbyshire, and it is to Peak Rail's credit that they can now enter platform 2. However with no run round facilities available, top and tailing trains is the only option.

    Rowsley itself is a huge site, which many Heritage Railways would be envious of, but is not at all visitor friendly. This is a great pity as there are groups there which are doing sterling work in less than ideal conditions. There does not seem to be any corporate plan to maximise Rowsley's potential, which would need a great deal of capital or even "joined up thinking" that I can detect. I have seen many Peak Rail statements and policies regarding extending north towards Buxton, but I fail to see that any are realistic.

    Lastly, and not directly connected, coming up to Feb half term I note the website home page is promoting Santa trains for 2018!!
     
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  7. D6332found

    D6332found Member

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    I think there are some Norman lairds who are unlikely to allow a push north ever. Peak Rail would never dare speak of such, and Derbyshire is very old fashioned, most such places are in ruins nationally, and perhaps we are all glad they endured in Derbyshire and threw open their houses and grounds.Perhaps Corbyn will smash traditional land owners and give them a chance. Bakewell to Millers Dale? Maybe a more scenic option, miss out the hardest bit between Rowsley and Bakewell! Bike riding industry. Possible, but Very hard ask, so no disrespect for only getting as far as they have. Rowsley could in time become an excellent centre. Why is no one unrealistically outraged the SVR havent reached Ironbridge? Or NYMR Malton, or Warcop to Barnard Castle/ Lakeside reach Ulverstone, Watercress a through route. Dartmoor to Plymouth, and so on. Particularly Butterley hasnt reached Ambergate, thats a local "failure", or a sense of realism that they can remember the branch as it was but cant do the whole line.
    A good way might be dividing into a company aspiring for the whole hog, a pressure group, and one called PeakRail,aiming for Rowsley village, "the original Terminus of the MBM&MJR" and consolidate what they have. A replica station this side of the A6, and, whilst the line may be not exciting for enthusiasts in terms of gradients, a LMS tank of two and a J94 in Cronford and High Peak Livery, and Derbyshire gets even better.
     
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  8. mikechant

    mikechant New Member

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    In the case of the SVR and the NYMR both already have a considerable length of track from somewhere to somewhere to give a very satisfactory ride, and most extension enthusiats would (perhaps relucatantly!) agree that they have quite enough infrastructure to maintain already. In the case of Peak Rail, the railway itself has I believe repeatedly talked up plans to extend to Rowsley proper and Bakewell at least (I seem to remember over the years seeing such phrases as 'You can shortly expect an exciting announcement about the extension' and other such teasers about planning applications to be submitted 'shortly' or similar, on the official website, which have never come to anything). Hence the disappointment.
    If they'd just said in effect 'It's a long term ambition but don't hold your breath, we're not in a position to do anything now' then I think most people would have accepted it, but expectations have been repeatedly raised and dashed. Of course, now I would tend to disregard anything that Peak Rail said re any extension unless and until actual track was being laid!
     
  9. Lax ambition

    Lax ambition New Member

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    Not long now! Peak Railway Association Ltd's AGM is getting closer, so start planning your journey to the Whitworth Centre on the 23rd February .
     
  10. Alistair Lofthouse

    Alistair Lofthouse New Member

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    I am going for first time, more people that go the better. I get the understanding that many PRA members are unwilling to make change but i feel that Peak Rail is sinking ship, unless change is made soon could 2019 be its last year? Just compare PR online presence to all other heritage lines within an hours drive.
     
  11. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

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    Well the big question then is there a cohesive opposition with a plan to remove the existing management? Are remote members being informed of the issues?

    Without a groundswell of opinion for change then it wont matter if the AGM is attended by twice last years total, nothing will change.


    Keith
     
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  12. Martin Adalar

    Martin Adalar New Member

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    You have probably come to the same conclusion i came to many years ago that this railway is run by liars who are supported by idiots. This is why i wouldn't to want to lift a finger to help this outfit and i would love to see the line reopened by NR and PR killed off for good.
     
  13. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Part of the furniture

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    Now steady on! Just because the management is next to useless, that doesn't take away any of the achievements of the volunteers over the past few decades. Given how much has been invested, it's got to be worth trying to save as a heritage railway.
     
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  14. gwalkeriow

    gwalkeriow Well-Known Member

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    Lions lead by Donkeys would be a little kinder to the volunteers.
     
  15. Sheff

    Sheff Resident of Nat Pres

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    Not sure what has happened to the PR Action Group. Was looking postive this time last year, but the faithful seemed to swallow the propaganda put out in the name of Waterman.
     
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  16. PRAG

    PRAG New Member

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    As Sheff is well aware, the appearance of the 'newsletter' in March 2018, coincided with PRAG circulating supporters and shareholders to sign up for an EGM. It was ironic that at the same time the newsletter alleged that PRAG sought to replace the PR Board with "person or persons unknown" PRAG supporters were receiving full bios on the alternatives. Nonetheless, the baseless allegations made in the newsletter resulted in a proportion of those shareholders who had promised to support PRAG getting cold feet.

    Thus PRAG was put in a dilemma. We had more than enough support to force an EGM, but less than the minimum target we had set ourselves, needed to guarantee success at the resultant meeting. On the one hand, we owed it to those that had signed up to us to go ahead but on the other, to have tried and failed could have been an even worse outcome. In the short term, PRAG hoped that by setting the record straight we might be able to bring out the truth, so we between us drafted a 10 page letter to Pete Waterman that we hoped would make him realise that his name had been put to a seriously flawed case.

    Let me quote but one sentence from that letter -

    "We would far rather resolve issues peacefully and democratically rather than resorting to the sort of destructive campaigning and 'dirty tactics' that this letter over your signature represents."

    Sadly, he did not respond and the intervening year has been of benefit only to solicitors. As the anniversary approaches, Pete has drafted a statement which has been approved by his solicitors and this will be released in the next 24 hours. He is also preparing a full 'document pack' of the correspondence, starting with the letter to Waterman and the subsequent exchanges between him, his solicitors, Peak Rail solicitors and the ORR. This will be made available to Peak Rail shareholders, and anyone else interested. He has nothing to hide.

    RF
     
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  17. PRAG

    PRAG New Member

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    s Sheff is well aware, the appearance of the 'newsletter' in March 2018, coincided with PRAG circulating supporters and shareholders to sign up for an EGM. It was ironic that at the same time the newsletter alleged that PRAG sought to replace the PR Board with "person or persons unknown" PRAG supporters were receiving full bios on the alternatives. Nonetheless, the baseless allegations made in the newsletter resulted in a proportion of those shareholders who had promised to support PRAG getting cold feet.

    Thus PRAG was put in a dilemma. We had more than enough support to force an EGM, but less than the minimum target we had set ourselves, needed to guarantee success at the resultant meeting. On the one hand, we owed it to those that had signed up to us to go ahead but on the other, to have tried and failed could have been an even worse outcome. In the short term, PRAG hoped that by setting the record straight we might be able to bring out the truth, so we between us drafted a 10 page letter to Pete Waterman that we hoped would make him realise that his name had been put to a seriously flawed case.

    Let me quote but one sentence from that letter -

    "We would far rather resolve issues peacefully and democratically rather than resorting to the sort of destructive campaigning and 'dirty tactics' that this letter over your signature represents."

    Sadly, he did not respond and the intervening year has been of benefit only to solicitors. As the anniversary approaches, Pete Briddon has drafted a statement which has been approved by his solicitors and this will be released in the next 24 hours. He is also preparing a full 'document pack' of the correspondence, starting with the letter to Waterman and the subsequent exchanges between him, his solicitors, Peak Rail solicitors and the ORR. This will be made available to Peak Rail shareholders, and anyone else interested. He has nothing to hide.

    RF
     
  18. PRAG

    PRAG New Member

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    Apologies for accidentally double-posting yesterday - I tried to edit and it wouldn't let me, so I thought I had deleted and re-entered. Never mind. As promised, here is Pete's statement.
    RF

    STATEMENT FROM PETER BRIDDON REGARDING THE CONTENT OF THE PEAK RAIL “NEWSLETTER” of March 2018 AND SUBSEQUENT ACTIONS.

    In March 2018, under the signature of Dr Peter Waterman, the newly-appointed President of Peak Rail, there was circulated a 'newsletter' to shareholders of Peak Rail plc and members of the Peak Railway Association Ltd. In that document, most of a page was devoted to criticising me and making allegations about my conduct and that of the Peak Rail Action Group (PRAG).

    As an immediate response, we prepared and issued a 10 page rebuttal, pointing out fundamental inaccuracies in the text of the statement and seeking to set the record straight. Dr Waterman failed to respond in any way to that letter and regretfully, I was forced to engage solicitors specialising in defamation law. Their initial approach to Peak Rail and Dr Waterman brought into the picture a fresh firm of solicitors who proceeded to assert that the contents of the newsletter were entirely true and threatened to counter-claim if I took the matter further, including numerous allegations of defamatory statements I was purported to have made, most of which were in any event published well outside the 12 month limitation set by law. I was advised that the statements complained of were not defamatory and when I asked for further details of counter-claims, no details were provided.

    In particular, the newsletter had stated that I had made “spurious complaints to the Office of the Rail Regulator in an attempt to get the railway discredited and closed down”. This is preposterous. The Agreement which I and Peak Rail signed in June 2013 (note that there IS such a written agreement, notwithstanding the claim made in the newsletter that PRAG was only formed in late 2017 because of pressure from Peak Rail on me to sign one) includes a paragraph granting me a right to operate between Darley Dale and Rowsley because road access to the yard at Darley Dale is problematic. What purpose would it serve to close down my own access?

    So solicitors challenged this statement in particular. Apart from the fact that the Office of the Rail Regulator changed to being the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) some years ago, suggesting that the author of the newsletter was somewhat out of touch with the current regulatory framework, the response from PR's solicitors was to continue to assert it was true, and that they could prove it. Under the procedural rules that govern the run-up to legal actions, there was an obligation to produce this 'proof', but it took several requests to get such information, and initially only that they could prove it, 'based on information provided by the ORR'.

    This astonishing assertion caused me to write to the ORR, demanding an explanation. They took some time to reply, and then treated it as a request under Data Protection legislation, confirming that they had no record of any communication from me prior to my letter of July 2018. This we presented to Peak Rail's solicitors who replied that their client rejected the evidence as it 'didn't include the complaints' I was supposed to have made!

    Under further pressure from my solicitors, PR finally produced their real 'proof', it comprised:

    1) an e-mail from a government Railway Inspector regarding 'anonymous' complaints made about incidents at Darley Dale and Rowsley on 12th April 2016, and

    2) Peak Rail's own minutes of the resultant meeting in June 2016 that stated the Inspector as having “inferred” that he was “fed up with complaints” from myself and my son, Andrew Briddon.

    Based on this I wrote again to the ORR; as a result a thorough internal investigation took place and in September 2018 I received a full and detailed response from the Chief Inspector of Railways, Mr Ian Prosser. In summary:

    1) the complaint (re 2 April '16) was not anonymous, rather that the complainant asked that their name was not revealed to Peak Rail,

    2) that at no time during the June'16 meeting did the inspector name me, or the complainant,

    3) that the complainant first took the matter up with Peak Rail management and only then referred it to the ORR because he or she obtained no satisfactory response from Peak Rail management, and

    4) that any interpretation put on remarks made by the Inspector must have been Peak Rail drawing its own conclusions.

    In fact, on the 12th April 2016, my wife and I been driving to Norfolk and back and my son was at work. I have since interviewed a witness who confirmed that I was certainly not at Darley Dale that day, and further that the 'incident' there was so technical that I would not have been aware of it even had I seen it. Astonishing therefore is the fact that the complainant took it up with PR management but that it was nevertheless blamed on me, and can surely only lead one to question the ethical standards involved in the preparation of the newsletter, the more so when in conversation with me, a Peak Rail Director has since admitted that he knew the newsletter contained 'inaccuracies' about me before it went out, but apparently allowed it to be published.

    One might reasonably expect that having disproved such a vital allegation in the newsletter, Peak Rail management might admit their mistake and print an apology and retraction. Sadly no. We sought a meeting through solicitors to resolve the situation. They declined, offering instead that we should 'draw a line under events', and announce that we are 'going forward in harmony' with joint statements on our respective websites.

    It is difficult to understand how we could be harmoniously going forward together when they prefer to keep their version on the record and not admit that it is in any way misleading or inaccurate. I stand by the full 10 page rebuttal that went to Dr Waterman last year and will be happy to provide copies of ALL the correspondence in this matter to anyone interested, that they may see for themselves the way it has been conducted.

    Pete Briddon
    20th February 2019
     
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  19. Lax ambition

    Lax ambition New Member

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    So, that shows how the current Peak Rail management behave, and how they are never wrong.... Get yourselves to Darley Dale tomorrow afternoon and pack the AGM out....
     
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  20. Lax ambition

    Lax ambition New Member

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    Car park is looking busy! Some familiar faces sitting in the cafe - some sort of pre AGM meeting going on on one table....
     
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