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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. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well, Washford has experience of that period - for which the ruins remain.
     
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  2. ikcdab

    ikcdab Member

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    Directors are empowered to take appropriate decisions to run their business. It simply is not possible for individual decisions to be overseen or approved in some way by the shareholders except in a general sense at AGMs. It seems that when directors take decisions that one approves of, then that is ok, but if they take decisions that one doesn't like then suddenly it needs to be debated or approved in some way. You cannot run a business like that and cannot have it both ways.

    Throughout this thread, the association and steam trust are referred to as "support" organisations. Yet when they do support the plc, they are branded as "lackeys" or foolish. I seem to recall that the times when there have been arguments was when the support organisations did not support the plc and at those times they were criticised. We should be thankful for a measure of unity in difficult times.

    Ian Coleby
     
  3. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    Trying to evict one of the railway's supporting groups on a dubious pretext hardly sounds like unity, does it?
     
  4. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    Does Washford have an intermediate token instrument? Or if a train were to start from the yard there, would a token have to be brought there by road?
     
  5. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Support The Railway, and the best interests of the whole railway and its future, not decisions made by one person at a particular time. Railway support organisations are not there simply to broadcast and parrot decisions made by a particular board, they are a part of the decision-making process. I don't believe the SVR society, another support organisation, enthusiastically supporting Sir Gerald Nabarro as chairman of the board, in his proposal to sell off the Bridgnorth site.

    And of course the membership can't micromanage everything and take votes on every single decision, but on big, controversial decisions it's not uncommon. I seem to recall such a vote was had when 6412 was disposed of on the WSR? The Bluebell has a long term plan which would encompass big things like kicking out a long term railway charity tenant, and the membership get to vote on that as well as I understand, after a few rounds of consultation when the plan is drawn up.

    This is a really disappointing post, although I've never knowingly met Ian he's always come across as a reasonable and sensible chap on here and is of course a WSR stalwart, but this post gives me very little hope for the future of the WSR at all.

    PS apologies to members of the SVR and Bluebell where I've drawn comparisons if they're not 100% accurate, hopefully they still illustrate the point I was trying to make! :)
     
  6. Piggy

    Piggy New Member

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    Doesn't that tell you something ?
     
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  7. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    I agreed with the post from @ikcdab up until the final paragraph; the expectations of democratic oversight seen on here are frequently excessive and unsustainable.

    Unfortunately, the effect is then spoiled by the assertion that unity is in and of itself a good thing, at just the point at which hopes that the supporting organisations might have tempered excesses like the Washford farrago.
     
  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I do agree with that, the now late "Yorkshireman" Peter used to be particularly guilty of this! But again, I think to how this would play out on my own railway. I could conceive that a decision of this magnitude was taken by the board without wide consultation, but with this level of backlash I feel certain there would be some backpedalling one way or another, as there has been on similar issues. Of course on the GWSR and probably most other railways the board wouldn't have put out a cuckoo in the nest type comment and been much more emollient to start with "We thank the Trust for all the hard work they've done over the last 40 years, any way we can help" etc. etc. which may have prevented quite so much backlash in the first place.
     
  9. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Ian,

    I must both agree and disagree with you.

    Clearly the boards of the various organisations have to make decisions, sometimes in possession of facts that cannot be made public.

    There must be times however when they can reasonably expect decisions to questioned, in which case they need to expect to explain them.

    In addition to this the Washford decision comes at the 'final straw' so to speak. There are a number of decisions that the PLC had to make that while unpopular I can understand the justification for, such as the sale of 4110.

    Then there is the Andy Norman affair, whatever one thinks of it, until recently policies existed that would have allowed him - and indeed any other volunteer to have 'Due Process' These policies have however been removed which means that all volunteers on the railway are only allowed to do so if permitted by the PLC. As the WSRA has taken responsibility for volunteer recruitment, and by implication retention surely this should be a matter of concern for the WSRA & WSSRT.

    There was then the wording of the Press Release announcing that the S&DRT were to be served 'Notice to Quit' describing The Trust as 'Cuckoos in The Nest' surely something which at the very least brings the WSR into disrepute.

    Finally there is Coronavirus. Clearly something entirely unforeseen. Will the WSR survive? Well, there must be a significant doubt. Will the decision to serve notice on the S&DRT help or hinder the railways attempt to survive. I have not heard anyone argue that it will, the argument seems to be that it will not help with fundraising and potentially involve the PLC in expensive legal action. Repeated requests to answer this and similar questions have been met with silence.

    The sum total of these and other actions isnt helping confidence in the management of the WSR.

    John
     
  10. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    It depends on the decisions you are supporting and why you are supporting those decisions.

    Unity in making a bad decision worse is not a good thing.
     
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  11. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Unity for unities sake is not always the right answer, i can only think that the likes of the WSSST, And the WSRA have been brow beaten into towing the PLC line, most likily because they know that if the PLC folds, so does their organisations because no railway, no supporters organisations, and some people who no doubt have good intentions, have decided that the railway is bigger than the S&D JR trust, because they must realise they have little impact on an PLC board that isn't going to listen to them anyway.
     
  12. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    However, that just reinforces the point that there are only two organisations to whom Washford yard is of any use whatsoever, the Plc and the S&DRT. In these circumstances, how can the Plc substantiate its statement that the rent paid by the Trust is too low, when there is no-one else who would pay anything. Yes, they could say that an annual rent of £1,250 does not compensate them, in their opinion, for the loss of amenity of not having Washford yard, but that is not what they have said, they have attempted, spuriously, to compare the rent paid by the trust with the rent paid for totally different sites and buildings elsewhere on the line.
     
  13. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Yes, it does now, one was installed there a few years ago. There's a cabinet for it near to the GF location.
     
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  14. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    IIRC the vote took place because the Trustees decided - quite rightly IMHO - that it was a matter of such importance (given the potential historical and sentimental attachment to the loco by many of the membership) that it should be left for the membership to decide. I know there are those on this forum who were involved at the time and therefore can correct me if I'm wrong :)

    Equally however, I would imagine that the Trustees could have simply made the decision to sell at a Board meeting and then informed the membership afterwards that was what was happening. I doubt that the membership then could have done much about it except perhaps trying to call an EGM to reverse the decision.

    But of course, that all took place 'gentler' times, and the sale was in aid of a specific target to raise funds for another project, not some 'fire sale' for a vague 'wish list' of nice-to-have schemes...:)
     
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  15. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    There are always going to be people who disagree with every decision - you can't please all of the people any of the time - and there are always going to be hotheads who throw around words like "lackey" and display the reckless courage of the non-combatant. That is one of the downsides of being a director or a trustee. I agree, if everything had to be put to a vote of members or shareholders, very little would get done and, with every decision, there is the possibility that it will with hindsight, turn out to be wrong. However, where I feel both the WSRA and the Plc have let their members and shareholders down is unnecessary secrecy. Some decisions have to be taken in secrecy, however, once those decisions are made, there is no point in being secretive about them if they are going to be made public at a later date. For instance, the WSRA could have justified its decision not to oppose the eviction of the S&DRT as soon as that decision was taken, there being no valid reason for not doing so. Yes it would have been unpopular, but is no more popular for being kept under wraps until now, in fact, considerably less so.

    With these sorts of difficult decisions, there is always the temptation to proceed in secrecy, with it offering the twin advantages of the opportunity to conceal failure as well as being no restriction on trumpeting success. The corresponding worsening of the consequences of failure, should it not be concealed, is so often ignored or judged a risk worth running on the grounds that if failure was the more likely option, you wouldn't be taking that decision in the first place.
     
  16. 60044

    60044 Member

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    Would planning permission be needed for a change of use - it's railway land and the change of use woulf be for railway operating purposes and therefore exempt from planning permission
     
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  17. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Is it currently operational land, though? The planning loophole is quite tightly drawn as I understand.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Member

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    I don't much about legal aspects but if the WSR PLC went bust could another organisation just set up shop instead? Maybe the WSRA itself? All the debt would die with the PLC?

    Like when football teams go bust, another team is formed and uses the ground, just starting at a lower level. It's basically the same team, just a different company name.
     
  19. Roger Thompson

    Roger Thompson Well-Known Member

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    The short answer is no. WSR PLC holds the Light Railway Order which legally allows them, and only them, to operate the railway. If they are no longer, the LRO is no longer valid, and any successor organisation would need to apply for the modern equivalent, a Transport and Works Order, before trains could run again.

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  20. JBTEvans

    JBTEvans Member

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    Yeah, so could the new organisation just do that and run again?

    The infrastructure will all still be in place?
     

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