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S&D Railway Trust and Washford Eviction Notice

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Andy Norman, Feb 24, 2020.

  1. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    Two bald men fighting over a comb.
     
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  2. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    With the corona virus crisis, the WSR needs money, As a shareholder, I would like to buy more shares, but I don't want to help finance the eviction of the S&DRT from Washford.

    John
     
  3. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    more likily fighting over a barren strip of land that was once a railway, I wonder, how the WSRA members will thank their trustees when the administrators sell the track, they purchased for the PLC for scrap, to pay the PLC's creditors? or what the other various charities members will think of their own trustees who supported the PLC if they have to start asking for funds to relocate, because the WSR is no longer a viable railway.
     
  4. daveb

    daveb Member

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    But, at the time of the court case, Paul and Robin weren't members, as they'd had their memberships terminated?
     
  5. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    But the case related to their status as members. The restriction is not about any case relating to a charity, but about the ability of a charity to get drawn into legal action about itself.


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  6. 60044

    60044 Member

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    The WSST and WSRA ought to be merging and combining their shareholdings at this time, ready for when the Plc goes bust so that they can buy what's left, including the all-important operating licence. The much needed restructuring could then be accomplished with the Plc as the operating arm of the unified charities, more or less as other railways like the NYMR.
     
  7. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    If the plc goes bust any shareholding will be worthless.
     
  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I don't think it is that simple, which is why those wishing in some way for the plc to go bust need to be careful what they wish for.

    Presumably, for the plc to go bust, it would be because they ran out of money, i.e. could no longer pay their creditors. An administrator would then be looking to see the best way to pay off those debts. At which point there are a couple of options. One is that someone / some body would buy the railway as a going concern, but it seems doubtful that either the WSRA or WSSRT, separately or together, could do so - the asking price would have to be higher than the level of debt to be cleared. The alternative would be to sell the assets to pay off the creditors: since the land is owned by SCC, the most obvious immediately saleable asset would be the rolling stock, of which the latest accounts listed a capital value of just over £2m - presumably that largely relates to the carriages on the line. I don't know on what basis that capital valuation has been reached, but if, say, you had £1m or so in debt to pay off following a bankruptcy, a fire sale of the carriages would pay off the creditors but leave whatever body inherited the licence to run trains essentially unable to run any kind of service for want of rolling stock.

    So it seems to me that whatever the desire for a better corporate structure - and by that I mean one in which the railway's members are empowered to decide the strategic direction the railway takes - it needs to be achieved while keeping the plc as a financially going concern during whatever transition process might occur.

    I'm reminded of the old Irish aphorism "Mr, if you want to get to there, you don't want to start from here". That, in a nutshell is the WSR problem: it is easy to see what the end goal should look like, but near on impossible to think of a way to get there.

    Tom
     
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  9. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Can they not simply say "You have given no valid reason for evicting us so we will stay here unless and until a court orders us to go."? Then the PLC either instigates the court proceedings or has to back down. Of course the outcome of the litigation can't be predicted for certain, but the available information suggests that the PLC would probably lose.
     
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  10. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Ignoring an eviction notice seems rather a risky strategy - what if they do nothing about dismantling etc in the meantime and then eventually the court gives them (say) 28 days to leave....
     
  11. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    The problem with trying to sell a bust company as a going concern is that no-one actually has to buy the company. I trade as "Town & Country Carpentry". If I'm being liquidated by a receiver, why would you buy my company? Unless you had some particular fondness for the name, there's no reason. You buy my van from the receiver, buy my tools from the receiver, arrange a new tenancy for the workshop. Call your new operation "Town & Country Carpentry(2020)" or "Town & Country Carpentry Bath" and off you go. You'll gain any goodwill simply from picking up where I left off, without paying a penny. You might decide that you absolutely didn't want my trading name, to distance your new business from me, and my reputation for trouble which actually led to the bankruptcy....
    Anyone wishing to swoop in on a bankrupt railway would want the tenancy of the railway itself, and the LRO. Would these be transferable? Or would it be less costly to buy what stock etc you could at a sheriff's auction, point out to the Council that loss of railway means loss of tourism so pretty please let me have a tenancy, and work up the safety case etc to apply for a LRO.
     
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  12. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The question then has to be, who are the WSR's creditors, and would they be prepared to give any new administration a chance, or would they liquidate the assets? My view, is this, clearly the fault lies with one person , and the weak board members who have allowed him to in effect bring the railway to this situation, but I can't see either the WSRA, or, WSST merging at the moment, to many people who would want the top job, when they might not be the best candidate, that's why, the only option has to be a restart from the ground up, on a smaller section of line, where the costs are lowest, then a gradual building up relaying, and reopening sections of line, to regular traffic, if the entire line has to be kept open then run dmu over that section, and steam only on the Minehead to Willington section.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
  13. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Probably b**** hard to do, given that Willington is in Derbyshire :):):) :Googleit:
     
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  14. ross

    ross Well-Known Member

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    To be fair, while it appears that the latest problem at the WSR has been brought about by the actions of a single individual, there have been a succession of problems, individuals and controversies over the years. These have taken their toll. Were the WSR's finances in a less parlous state, possibly different people might have been appointed to key posts, a different view might have been taken about the value of some tenant or other, or the an argument might not have developed about who ought, or ought not be giving additional money to the PLC.
    To blame all the woes of the WSR on its latest chairman is to make one an a scapegoat for things which were never in his control
     
  15. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    One of the other great unanswered questions is why did all the 'Pre JJP' board members resign?

    I might understand some of longer serving members might have felt obliged to 'fall on their swords' but not all had been in place for long enough to have to do that?
     
  16. Wriggley

    Wriggley New Member

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    I don't think it's impossible. Far from it. If JJP is reading this, the path to success is quite simple: you need a large number of talented people around you, and you need them fast. Not lapdogs. Not people who are in your pay. Most definitely not people who are too scared to criticise you. Not people who will only participate if they get things exclusively their way. Healthy criticism and debate in a team is the key to success. Such debate must be embraced rather than shut down. A vibrant mixture of skills, backgrounds, and approaches to life is essential to the success of a team. A good leader - a strong leader - one who genuinely cares about leaving a legacy of success - would know all this. Look at any successful business person, any successful team leader, and any successful heritage railway, and you'll see that's how they get things done.

    JJP: start by inviting the railway family to come back on board. Create a 'government of all the talents'. Empower them to make the decisions and to take the actions necessary to get the WSR out of the mire. But also hold them to account for carrying out the actions assigned to them. Engage positively with people you see as your adversaries. Listen to them and be humble enough to modify your own ideas if something better comes along. Much as some would say it's a sign of weakness, changing or modifying your plans when better ideas come along, is a sign of strength.

    And then, don't be afraid to look to the wider preservation movement for help and new ideas, and indeed to the wider world. There are plenty of people willing to help the WSR if only you can convince them that the management of the railway can be trusted.

    None of this needs to involve a change of structure, at least not right away. The format is already there, it's called the Partnership Development Group. It just needs reinvigorating and re-empowering. You stand far more to gain from doing that, both in terms of personal reputation and commercially (for the WSR), than by continuing with the course of action which is currently being taken, once which appears to be alienating an increasing number of people, sapping morale, draining trust across the railway, and as a result could be driving the railway into the buffers at the very time when it is most vulnerable because of the global situation. And be under no illusion. If that happens, whatever the nuances and the other personalities involved, history will judge that you were to blame for it - you were at the controls when it happened.

    I hope JJP, if he is listening, might take some of that on board.

    And for goodness sake please reinstate some HR policies.....!
     
  17. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Just as two points of information:

    (1) The case concerned only Paul Whitehouse's membership, not mine, as Paul was a Trustee candidate who had been removed from the election by (a) the Trustees' unlwful purported removal of his membership without process in breach of the WSRA articles and (b) by declaring him unelectable to members while votes were still being cast.

    (2) Under the relevant legislation, he judge had a discretion to act without the legal action being cleared beforehand by the Charity Commissioners where there was an inchoate (incomplete) cause of action. An example would be a Charity proposing to knock a building down tomorrow - you could bring an acton today for an injnction to prevent that without asking the CC's first.

    The judge was not persuaded to exercise his discretion to grant PW the injunction he sought...BUT then ruled that both sides should bear their own costs, a highly unusual step which showed where he thought justice lay in the case. I suspect that he was also influenced by PW's very modest costs and the ridiculous sum the X6 had racked up attempting to justify the derailment of the candidature of a plainly very well-qualified individual with a long record of public service and charitable endeavour. Judges tend to have respect for retired Chief Constables. Funny that...

    Litigation is 'a big boy's game' and thse who threaten or make bold public statements about their legal position, or that of the organisation they lead or represent, without doing their homework. or recognising the risks involved, make bad clients.

    Robin
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
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  18. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    It is the tenancy and, even more so, the legal permissions to operate that would lend value to the plc in this scenario as that would offer legal continuity.


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  19. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Apologies, I think it was me that roped you into it is well, thanks for the correction.
     
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  20. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. Waiting until the plc goes bust is leaving it far too late to be saved.
     

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