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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. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Thank you

    Keith
     
  2. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

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    Thanks for responding - and good luck!
     
  3. Alistair Lofthouse

    Alistair Lofthouse New Member

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    I recall that agm and Paul Tomlinson's comment about the last roll of the dice, the way he said it and his expression suggested to me that he already knew the answer

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  4. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    I agree with the comments about the AGM. The Board has past form for frustrating genuine debate or any challenge. Covid provides a convenient excuse not to allow shareholders to meet and discuss matters directly (ironically the government’s latest restrictions might have scuppered a mass meeting anyway). I really do wonder about the transparency of the process and the likelihood of the Directors answering any written questions fully and frankly. Given that the core Directors have been in post for many years they should accept responsibility for the underperformance of PR and the mess they’ve created. The Directors have in my opinion failed to assert themselves and they’ve allowed some people within PR to operate largely unchecked, despite the evidence of the damage they’re causing to the organisation.
     
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  5. nferguso_wyvern

    nferguso_wyvern New Member

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    Meanwhile, other railways are using Zoom or similar for AGMs. What's not to like, being able to join your railway's AGM from the comfort of your own home? It does seem that some railway boards haven't really grasped the Internet.
     
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  6. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    Zoom? T’internet? What’s that then? Neither PR Plc or the Assoc are much in to 21st century electronic comms, barring the very welcome efforts made by a small number of individuals to explain life behind the PR iron curtain (including one of the former Joint MDs). The Plc Board has no quick or cheap way of communicating with shareholders and supporters. There’s a brief and irregular update in the thin and irregular Peak Express, there’s the summary annual accounts and the ineffective AGM.

    In 2009(?) there was considerable flak directed at the Directors because of the debacle over 8f 48624 (PR’s loss, your gain!). PR has not embraced electronic media or invited discussion about management decisions, and shareholders have passively accepted the situation. It suits the Directors. Ironically the key people in 2009 are still in power today...
     
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  7. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    PR Plc shareholders, don’t forget that it’s the closed AGM on 25 Sept. In the absence of zoom or teams etc. there isn’t much opportunity for shareholders to directly question the Directors about PR's dire financial performance over the last few years, the ongoing Grinsty case and any other pending claims, or the strategy for revitalising the railway and providing the visitor attraction that families and enthusiasts expect in the 21st century.

    Please submit your questions to the Board in writing by 11am Weds 23 Sept. Don’t waste the opportunity! We will have to trust the Directors to answer them fully and openly...

    Regime supporters and apathetic shareholders don’t worry, if you believe PR has been superbly led over the years and the squandering of hundreds of thousands of pounds for zero return makes perfect sense, then you can vote to re-elect two long serving Directors for more of the same!
     
  8. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    Final call to Peak Rail Plc shareholders, please please please send your AGM votes and any questions to the Co. Secretary by 11am Weds. Note that it’s a home address and not the usual Matlock Station registered office address. The Board has a history of making life difficult for shareholders e.g. by holding AGMs at inconvenient times and running down the time for questions from the floor. This year the Board is dodging direct interaction with shareholders and they’re probably hoping most people can’t be bothered posting their votes or submitting awkward questions in writing.
     
  9. crantock

    crantock Member

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    A bored summary of social media.

    Facebook - last Peak Rail post Apr 2018
    Twitter - last post Jan 2017
    Instagram - last post Dec 2016

    Main website - no news section.

    Am I missing something or does it try to be invisible?


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  10. dggar

    dggar New Member

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    Has there been any report about the AGM?
     
  11. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    This is a little out of date but I’ve seen a copy of a letter sent by a shareholder to the Plc Board prior to the Sept 2020 AGM and also the Board’s reply.

    Knowing the way in the past that the Directors have behaved when challenged, the shareholder understandably doesn’t want to publish their details. The letters are not confidential and the content would ordinarily have been discussed in public at the AGM (assuming that the Board did actually allow enough time for questions!).

    Edited highlights:

    • The AGM was not held on-line because “PR wished to treat every shareholder equally, not every shareholder has a computer, and a good many are older and may also have struggled with the technology”.
    • PR is still considering the use of social media to communicate with shareholders and supporters.
    • The outcome of the Grinsty case is not yet known and the Court has forbidden both parties from disclosing the information.
    • No other financial claims have been lodged against PR.
    • The Annual Accounts detail all of PR’s loans, liabilities and borrowings.
    • The breakdown of the funds requested in the Emergency Appeal is “About £200k is to make up for lost revenue and to fund the reopening, the rest is for the overhaul of Royal Pioneer”.
    • PR doesn’t yet have a business case stating it’s aims, timescales and resource requirements to engage with shareholders and external stakeholders but “Work is underway, it has been delayed by Covid”.
    • There are no plans at present to extend the railway to Rowsley because “it is not commercially viable”.
    • At PR’s Buxton site, work has started and it is part funded by the PRA, there are new volunteers, the Board is investigating future possibilities for the site but it has been stalled due to Covid.
    • Regarding the fanciful idea of ‘tracklaying in the Peak District within 2 years’ and the Quarry Consortium; “Covid has created uncertainties and the situation remains the same”.
    • Regarding a question about what exactly is Pete Waterman’s role as PR President and the relationship between his Trust and PR, “Dr Waterman fulfils the usual role of President, there’s a good relationship between the Trust & PR which is to the benefit of PR”.
    • Regarding a strategy to revamp PR’s limited visitor offering, unchanged in a decade, “the railway is closed at present but it’s hoped to expand the offering next year [2021] subject to costs and restrictions”.
    • The Board declined to answer a question that it had contributed to PRs financial situation and declining volunteer numbers.
    Pretty much ‘no change’ is my conclusion, closely followed by ‘stop asking awkward questions’!
     
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  12. northernsteam

    northernsteam New Member

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    I have just received 2 NP updates, one from this thread and another from Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, what a contrast!!! I say no more.
     
  13. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    It’s like the film Sliding Doors ....
     
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  14. Alistair Lofthouse

    Alistair Lofthouse New Member

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    They are a friendly lot down at Wirksworth...

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  15. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    That’ll get em nowhere, just ask Jackie


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  16. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    A friendly lot, with a sense of purpose and a plan, enlightened management, and half decent marketing capability some might say. The residents of the Sunshine Retirement Home however, who are gradually running PR in to the ground under the vice like grip of the MD could perhaps look at other railways and learn from them. However in the interest of balance (because the current Board does bizarrely still have its hardcore supporters), I should say that I might be completely wrong, the Board has actually done a magnificent job. PR is almost unrecognisable from where we were 10 years ago, when we were expensively top and tailing and trundling up and down 4 miles of track, with minimal visitor facilities at Rowlsey, with an unrestored Darley station building and no plan for extending the line...
     
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  17. Alistair Lofthouse

    Alistair Lofthouse New Member

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    On BBC I player I was watching an episode of The Train now Departing from 1988, they were laying track at Darley Dale, so in 33 years they have laid 4 miles and all the people in the film have moved on. Think that is 8 years per mile so Buxton around 2120

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  18. Vulcan Works

    Vulcan Works Member

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    In fact progress has slowed even from that heady pace because there isn’t a plan to make the relatively easy extension to Rowsley. If the Directors had started the fundraising and publicity drive for the extension several years ago (to create a fighting fund) work could theoretically start ‘today’ but there would still be a couple of years of environmental studies, flood risk assessments and a planning application etc, plus the construction of the line.

    I could rattle off a list of things that need sorting out. Matlock station platform needs surfacing, we could do with the proper buildings that were envisaged at Rowsley & Matlock, we need a loco shed that visitors can actually visit, we need a solution to end the topping and tailing, a DMU or a cheap Pacer unit would be ideal for off-peak services or a park and ride, we need a commercially sustainable presence at Buxton...I’m doing my best to win the lottery and throw some cash at the problem!
     
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  19. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

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    As well as iPlayer the episode is also on YouTube, just looking back at the work on the Buxton site made me weep to think what it is today. A good few hours of my youth went into Buxton site. My brother even lived on site in a MK1 for 3 months.
    In hindsight BR were never going to allow access to the existing line on terms that PR could afford and to slew the track and build another parallel line was also pie in the sky. Buxton would still be just a very small steam centre, the decision to sell most of the site to fund a longer operation was probably the best option at the time. Sadly the momentum created stalled and the world moved on.
    I fear that even going back to Bakewell is probably unrealistic given the need for a cycleway and operating steam railway to share a long tunnel. Probably the best that can be hoped for is to create an end destination at Rowsley North as a gateway to the cycle route with bike hire at the station. It would be an easy walk to visit Haddon Hall and just a bit further to see views across the Peak District.
    Funding for a cycle bridge across the A6 is possibly easier to obtain than funding for a rail only bridge. I am not being defeatist only realistic. Sadly I feel that PR has now stagnated itself into a position where it will remain hemmed in due to decisive action by other parties.
     
  20. Jamie Glover

    Jamie Glover Member

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    Dear Vulcan Works, I think that reality is slipping away from your thinking processes?

    If you were ever fortunate enough to win the lottery? Any funds that you were able to throw at Peak Rail would either end up in the hands of Peak Rail's, legal case losing, not very learned friends or aternatively the cash would end up in the hands of one or more of Peak Rail's creditors - Grinsty Rail for example.

    Do you rememember the 'Dead Cat Bounce' announcement some years ago? The management informed railway cognoscenti that they would be inviting tenders from commercial concerns who could investigate a possible return of a rail link between Rowsley and Buxton. The deceased cat bounced for a few weeks giving National Preservations readers something to discuss. This was at the same time that one of Peak Rail's futile legal activities was in progress. The deceased bouncing moggy later disappeared into oblivion and has not been smelt since.

    It is ironic that small railways such as Peak Rail , if led by good managent, can be successful enterprises. One has only to look at another small railway enterprise located not far away from where Peak Rail functions. A further irony being that many of the leading volunteers on this adjacent succesful railway were formerly Peak Rail supporters.
    Jamie Glover.
    Edited-spelling errors.JG
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
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