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Teifi Valley Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Anthony Coulls, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    Please don't delete that long quote. It's clearly a thorough account of what happened and whilst it obviously takes one side, this 'bias' (for want of a better word) certainly does not detract from what is, ultimately, a cautionary tale for all of us.

    From what I've read on here I have only the utmost sympathy for the company's former secretary who seems to have tried to do her duties in the face of adversity, often lying somewhere between tragedy and utter farce. However she must also bear at least some responsibility as a member of a dysfunctional board of a failing company and as such, I can quite see why the new regime would want a 'clean break' with the past, harsh though this might seem.

    Good luck to all parties with the revival. Although I'm not convinced we've heard the last of this yet, sadly.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  2. Elizabeth Perry

    Elizabeth Perry New Member

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    The complete collapse was the only circumstance by which Macfadzean could return to the Railway. He was General Manager before, but his contract was not renewed in October 2006 after years of mismanagement and several incidents which attracted the attention of the Inspectorate, and on April 9th 2007 the Board unanimously passed the following Resolution:
    "In view of the serious failures of I Macfadzean as General Manager of the Teifi Valley Railway, and the stated position of the Board in the eyes of the Railway Inspectorate, the Board is left with no option but to prohibit any involvement of I Macfadzean in the future organisation, administration and operation of the Railway."
    People from the past might remember this ....
     
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  3. 92120

    92120 New Member

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    I have found it quite sad to read this thread,a lesson to be learned by all heritage railways?Every one needs to be carefull of how/who runs heritage lines because of the numbers of volunteers involved,someone with an overly strong will for ultimate power can destroy all.
    This has happened in two of the hobby groups over the years that i am active in and caused an awful lot of heartbreak and broken friendships as sides were taken,happily both were resolved for the better with a reduced membership but a more closely knit and commited group of members.
    I imagine that things are still being settled at the TVR but the Facebook page seems to show that some one or group of persons has taken charge and is determined that they will succeed with a great deal of effort going on,i wish them a great future.
    Perhaps a new thread for a fully recovered TVR?
     
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  4. Felix Holt

    Felix Holt Guest

    With so few volunteers, and having cut off the experienced 'good guys' from the previous set up, I suspect this new thread may be pretty short...
     
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  5. Felix Holt

    Felix Holt Guest

    There is a further point about the TVR, which might partly explain the lack of volunteers (other than its remoteness and recent history). The TVR like the Brecon, and Bala Lake, Launceston and some others are not heritage or preserved railways. They are NG railways placed on SG track beds. Therefore they don't appeal to railway enthusiasts wishing to recreate the past in the way that the Talyllyn, Lynton and Barnstaple etc do. Many of these NG replacement lines are run purely commercially as amusement rides and have no volunteer base (or a very small one).
    The TVR seems to fall between two stools, it isn't a mainly commercial amusement ride and yet it doesn't have the enthusiast base because it isn't a genuine heritage line. Recipe for failure, maybe?
     
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  6. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure that I can agree with the previous post. There's plenty of evidence to suggest that even where there is a flourishing and successful railway nearby, people will set up smaller alternatives because they want to play trains on their own terms. As examples I give you the Yorkshire Wolds and Derwent Valley sites, both of which are within 2o miles or so of the NYMR. The Lavender line would be another similar example in a different area. I'm not decrying them, they don't harm the prospects of their bigger nearby competitors particularly although they might dilute the volunteer pool, and that's probably the biggest problem at the Teifi Valley, where the local volunteer pool isn't that large anyway.
     
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  7. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    But the previous post said nothing about bigger railways nearby!? The point was that TVR is not a heritage/preserved railway and thus will not attract those enthusiasts who want to recreate a past line. Also, unlike others of that ilk, the TVR isn't run by a commercial operation running a railway attraction.
     
  8. Bramblewick

    Bramblewick New Member

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    I'm not convinced that NG lines on SG trackbeds are necessarily off putting to potential volunteers. The Wells & Walsingham and Bure Valley seem to manage perfectly well, despite being very close to a number of SG operations.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  9. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    My point was that the Teifi started out as a railway run by people who wanted their own plaything on their doorstep, rather than support the Gwilli, the Corris or the Talyllyn, and were probably not over-concerned with commercial viability. As long as they were prepared to put their hands in their pockets to subsidise it that was fine, however, choosing to locate it in such a sparsely populated area probably condemned it to struggle from the outset.
     
  10. Elizabeth Perry

    Elizabeth Perry New Member

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    Basic misunderstanding here by 61624. British Rail originally wanted to sell the line from Carmarthen to Newcastle Emlyn for a large sum. It was soon realised that there was little chance of raising it. Some members of the group managed to negotiate a deal for the stretch from Carmarthen to Llampumpsaint and formed the Gwili Railway Co. (standard gauge). Remaining members had to face competition from the local councils, farmers and others and eventually won the right to buy the branch (Pencader Junction to Emlyn). Looking at the costs and availibility of standard gauge rolling stock and maintenance of the remaining structures, it was a realistic decision to go for narrow gauge. The motive was NOT to "play trains" but to return a railway to local people. NB You don't get a Light Railway Order just by applying. We went to Talyllyn for help in setting up the railway, writing the Rule Book, training drivers and firemen, etc etc and have given their workshops years of work regauging stock, repairing compressors etc. One of our members went up to Corris and was instrumental in developing that railway.
    In the 80s, thanks to many thousands of people spending their holidays in caravans on the Welsh coast, the Railway carried more and more passengers every year and was able to finance 2 extensions of the track, 3 extensions of the carriage shed, purchase of a second steam locomotive and 2 diesels, construction of a new platform, and many improvements to visitor facilities. Far from "struggling"!
    Hit by the package holidays trend, then again by the recession. Was still viable - but short of safety critical personnel.
     
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  11. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    Another key factor in my opinion is the splitting of the local unitary authorities in 1994. When both the Gwili and Teifi were first set up they fell under "Dyfed" with what is now Carmarthenshire being seen as a mainly agricultural area with tourism reserved for the costal areas in what is now Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. It has taken some time but Carmarthenshire now has its own tourism brochures and marketing and is actively encouraging trade with new attractions such as the Botanical gardens etc. This should be to the benefit of its two heritage lines. Support from Carmarthen Council has now seen the Gwili's extension to Carmarthen itself become reality. If Carmarthenshire continues to develop the Tourist offering them the Teifi should be well placed to bring in the passengers provided it can get operating again.

    I agree that finding key safety critical operators and managers is vital and of course not the easiest thing to do in West Wales. When the Gwili first started some ex BR steam drivers from Carmarthen came along to offer advice and guidance- clearly that isn't an option these days.

    In many ways relaying the track is the easy bit- the Teifi historically had a timetable of daily running from April to Septemeber. Again going on experience at the Gwili from the visitor point of view you have to be open as much as possible to attact not just the casual visitor but the coach market. Clearly this level of operation needs a committed pool of volunteers/paid staff with relevant experience.

    Regards

    Matt
     
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  12. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Some members of the group managed to negotiate a deal for the stretch from Carmarthen to Llampumpsaint and formed the Gwili Railway Co. (standard gauge). Remaining members had to face competition from the local councils, farmers and others and eventually won the right to buy the branch (Pencader Junction to Emlyn). Looking at the costs and availibility of standard gauge rolling stock and maintenance of the remaining structures, it was a realistic decision to go for narrow gauge.

    Sorry, but this suggests precisely the scenario that I've suggested, two groups of fish each wanting their own pool. It would have been far more sensible to focus on what is now the Gwilli, but that isn't human nature, is it?
     
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  13. thb17

    thb17 New Member

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    I am not sure you can compare the two railways as easy as 61624 suggests. The gwili has more of a focus on preservation and the attempt to bring the railway back as it was in the days of steam. The teifi Valley railway I have always seen as more of a community based attraction with more of an emphasis on breathing life in to the area. Although not far apart I believe the railways are so different they both attract different volunteers and bring a wide variety of people in to the preservation movement.

    Tom
     
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  14. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    But, seemingly, the TVR is not attracting volunteers - or at least not those with expertise to run the railway safely?
     
  15. thb17

    thb17 New Member

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    Safety critical roles carry a lot of responsibility however are necessary. That is why these roles are often paid at heritage railways. It is understandable why it is difficult to attract personnel in this area given the Sue culture. Just my opinion of course, but railways which are too small to have a large p way gang and rely on one or two people are always going to be vulnerable.

    Tom
     
  16. Elizabeth Perry

    Elizabeth Perry New Member

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    The TVR Facebook page, in answer to a question, stated that Sgt Murphy is still on site "but needs putting back together again."
    Evidently Dave James' departure left them without the necessary engineer.
     
  17. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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  18. Elizabeth Perry

    Elizabeth Perry New Member

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    Glad to see that the platform is being well maintained, but must point out that the information boards, pagoda shelter and indeed the "new" platform itself were built and installed by the much vilified "previous management" with a substantial grant from the Welsh Assembly in 2009. Also shown in your pictures: the dreaded (red) landtrain is still lurking at the end of the Yard, so evidently the Society's large diesel "Sammy" has still not been returned in exchange; Sgt Murphy's chassis being used as a convenient shelf; what is that lorry doing there?
     
  19. MrC

    MrC New Member

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    There is an old Yorkshire saying: if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything.

    I appreciate it has had its problems:
    We went to the Teifi about five years ago to find a cross between a scrap yard, jumble sale and a Sam and Ella cafe. Needless to say we saved our money.

    From the looks of the pictures and what I read in the railway press today then it looks like, after a bad spot, it is going the right way, if the new buildings were a product of the old regime it can't have been all bad at least at the start, and they are still there for the new people to benefit from, should they demolish them to appease others? The new lot must be doing something right if the bank is prepared to convert an overdraft into an easier to repay loan. There is obviously a long way to go and I know from experience that laying track properly takes time. Glad to see Sgt Murphy is in the dry, and footplates are far too useful for storing things on!

    If I lived closer I would get involved. Good luck to you all and next time I am in Pembrokeshire I hope I can, and will want to, travel.

    Just noticed your coupling design on Alan George Looking for something similar for our set up. any chance of dimensions?

    Ian
     
  20. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    It seems that the previous New Management weren't to your taste and nor is the current one!

    Sometimes seeing things with your own eyes and talking to people can show a different picture to the impression gained from facebook. What I saw was a small but pleasant Railway with friendly people which is struggling but starting to turn things around. It seems to me, from what I was told, that they are under attack for no clear reason from, presumably, the same people who fought against the guy who took over the line.

    I'd urge anyone who can to go along before the Season finally ends, combined with a visit to the Gwli, it makes a good day out and they need our support
     
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