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S&D Chilcompton Station Project

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by BrightonBaltic, May 9, 2018.

  1. BrightonBaltic

    BrightonBaltic New Member

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    The following Facebook page has recently appeared, with some suggestion of concrete progress behind the scenes towards getting access to the station site. The stated aim is to team up with Midsomer Norton in a pincer movement on the tunnels and cutting. Could also then make it possible to push towards Masbury (where the new owners are commencing restoration works). Watch this space, I guess... https://www.facebook.com/ChilcomptonStation/

    There is also a closed group, "Friends of The Somerset & Dorset at Chilcompton Station", from which the following (rather mixed) latest update, posted yesterday, is taken...

    "Well, I knew things were going too well!

    We are dead in the water (I'm guessing this means moving onto the station site imminently - BB) due to an invasive plant, which has been detected on both estates, and the local area, including the station site. This mean an environmental firm will be dealing with the problem first, before we can gain access to the station.

    I must admit, this all seems a bit fishy, as I've seen no evidence of strange plants, other than some daffodils and other garden plants, which are the descendants of the station platform gardens.

    The site owner has also asked us to do a mail drop to all the houses that are directly affected by our plans, which is about 100 homes, so we know if there is any serious objections to our plans.

    And finally, they have said, they will need to have a meeting with them, and their Land Management Company, who are currently contracted to look after the communal land, pond, and station site.

    This Wednesday evening the Parish Council will be having a meeting, at which the station project is going to be discussed, along with the plant problem.

    On a slightly happier note, we now have filled the 3 key posts required to get our Trust started, and the papers will be sent of shortly for registration. This will allow us to open a Trust bank account, and start fund raising.

    Starting Officers will be:

    Chairman - John Graham.
    Secretary - Bridget Roberts.
    Treasurer - Alex Barns.

    As we will need proper membership fees to be charged, we will need a Membership Secretary. This can be anyone who wants to help out, but can't easily visit Chilcompton.

    We are adding posts only when we need them, so we keep the management to a bare minimum.

    Not the best news."
     
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  2. aron33

    aron33 Member

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    I am one of the admins of the Facebook group, and I run the main page itself.
    We are going to take this through, but we need to deal with the vegetation and behind-the-scenes work first.
    If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
     
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  3. BrightonBaltic

    BrightonBaltic New Member

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    Thought the community leaflet looked smart and professionally-produced. Obviously very early days yet, but I wish you the best of luck!
     
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  4. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Protagonist is forum member @PolSteam

    foliage problem is himalayan balsam
     
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  5. MellishR

    MellishR Well-Known Member Friend

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    Easier to kill off than Japanese knotweed, but still likely to come back to a location sooner or later even if it is totally eliminated for a time.
     
  6. BrightonBaltic

    BrightonBaltic New Member

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    Fast-growing plants like that could be a useful crop for producing torrefied biomass fuel to replace coal, at least in the station fireplaces if not the locos' fireboxes...
     
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  7. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

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    This all started a while back when John Graham was posting on the S&D pway Facebook page. He tried to get the S&D midsomer Norton group to look at the site but as you can imagine many of them were very reluctant as they are busy trying to sort out the current site and didn't want to spread too thin. So he created this new group to look at the station site.

    I would love to see the site achieve its goals and connect to MSN. But only time will tell. As with many of these start up groups with just a few members many soon loose interest with lack of any real progress. I wonder how this one will go?
     
  8. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

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    Screenshot_20180521-082802.png
    Well that didn't take long for you to get access to the site.
     
  9. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    I've said it before, the Man is a do-er , he makes things happen.

    I'm not involved at all and I don't know if they'll succeed but I wish them well.
     
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  10. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

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    They need a curve in Shepton MAllett onto the GW Cranmore Branch. That is as realistic a 'Northern S&D' can and should ever be-fantastic.
     
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  11. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Though I don't know enough about biomass systems to agree or disagree, there doesn't seem an awful lot of the 'mass' element in the case of excessively enthusiastic Himalayan Balsam, so the idea of agro-industrial sized crops for fuel probably wouldn't get too much support.

    For any plant to become 'invasive' needs simply halway suitable conditions and a lack of controlling factors. In practice, that's anything from soilborne fungii to hungry herbivores via competing plants and climactic conditions. Given the sheer number of plants introduced over the past four centuries or so, it's actually remarkable how few have become a serious problem.

    Luckily, invasive plants and weeds are very easy to identify. Just dig everything up .... and anything which grows back is either a weed or an invasive. Simples!

    I wish those at Chilcompton every success with both the gardening and the wider restoration while noting that, on the 'plus' side, Himalayan Balsam is such an issue that if they chance on some means of controlling the stuff, the result would be enough money to be made to restore a fair chunk lf the S&D!
     
  12. PLEASE do not spread disinformation like this, even tongue in cheek (there are people who take what they read on the internet at face value).

    The one thing you should NEVER do with either Himalayan Balsam or Japanese Knotweed is to try and dig it up. All you will succeeed in doing is to spread it elsewhere and do nothing to eradicate the plant in the existing site, because the roots can go down over 3 metres and even 1cm of root left in the soil will grow into a new infestation - and do so fast.

    Never, ever, ever, EVER attempt to dig either of these menaces up. Get professional help.
     
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  13. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    Sorry you are confused between Japanese Knotweed as this one spreads underground and can sprout up again from any bits left in the ground and Himalayan Balsam which can be cut off at ground level pulled/dug out of ground the plant will be gone for good and as long you stop it setting seed as each plant is an annual so the seed bank in the soil will be reduced each year until they have all gone. https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=480
     
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  14. BrightonBaltic

    BrightonBaltic New Member

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    In any case, the only alternative is killing it off with glyphosate, which is highly toxic and destructive to all ecosystems and life forms it comes into contact with, including bees and humans.
     
  15. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    Once the weeds have been eradicated there is then the little matter of digging out this infilled cutting immediately north of the station. It will, I suppose, be good practice for tackling the far larger in-filled cutting beyond the tunnel. 65-9-28 a 76013 (2).jpg

    I wish them well but you will understand the doubts that I have about the viability of this project.

    Peter
     
  16. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Glyphosate is downright dangerous for the reasons BB states (I'd leave the muck to the professionals .... and only then if there's no other alternative). It's effectively just a single step back from 'Agent Orange', which those who recall coverage of the Vietnam war will doubtless remember.

    Japanese knotweed (fallopia japonica) is also commonly known as 'polygonum' (as well as at least one more botanical name polygonum cuspidatum) is now controlled to the point where any and all parts of the plant have to be taken to licensed disposal sites. On the brighter side, ongoing research into fungii which attack the plant in it's native environment looks promising for a bit further down the line.

    As in the case of any invasive plant, one thing to keep in mind is not to attempt physically removing it during the period it's likely to be bearing seed.

    At least grey squirrels and signal crayfish are edible!
     
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  17. BrightonBaltic

    BrightonBaltic New Member

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    True... but Imberhorne is (sort-of) done, and neither of the Chilcompton cuttings are as big as that.
     
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  18. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I was at Midsomer Norton Station today.

    They had leaflets for the Chilcompton Station Project - interestingly enough it stated that they wanted to work to professional standards & be good neighbours - they have obviously learnt from the Transfynned debacle
     
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  19. 35B

    35B Part of the furniture

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    And to "sort-of" do Imberhorne cost how much, over how long, for an established railway with a revenue stream and established expertise in fund raising?

    As with others, I'd love this project to be viable, but can't quite see how the pieces will come together given the scale of the obstacles.
     
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  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    From memory, removal of waste at Imberhorne was something like £25 per ton once it could be removed by rail; £34 per ton when it went by road. But it was all done before the Landfill tax scheme kicked in, which would add another £89 per ton to those kinds of prices. Doing the same project now would be about four times as expensive - in other words, a cost of about £2.5million just for waste removal would become about £10million.

    Imberhorne may be "sort of" done (though I'd dispute the phraseology), but it was also done just in time. Unless there is a significant change in the national politics of waste disposal (and it is hard to see), it may well stand as the last such project that was feasible with just what was, in effect, altruistic fundraising. Hence I suspect the degree of scepticism being expressed about a similar project at Chilcompton.

    Tom
     
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