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The Remembrance Line- The campaign to save the Folkestone Harbour Branch

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Austerity, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Perhaps so, but as you say that doesn't really make it anything to do with remembrance. Not in the same way as a war memorial or a significant battlefield.


    Keith
     
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  2. My objection to it has always been that the use of 'remenbrance' was not a genuine sentiment, but cynically used as a marketing ploy as a way of trying to raise money to build a 12in:1ft scale train set. As has been said elsewhere, there were many, many other places where troops both embarked and returned to during both world wars. The Folkestone Harbour branch's uniqueness was in its infrastructure, not in its wartime role. But the protagonists chose to cynically try tugging at the heartstrings, which I have always felt was rather distasteful.
     
  3. May I just add that - fantasy newbuild R1s aside - the point where this project went from unfeasible to downright laughable in my eyes was when they started talking about Parry People Movers and some sort of extension along the Leas. What a wonderfully fitting expression of 'remembrance' (sic) that would have been. Not.

    It's a shame that Harbour station has been allowed to degenerate to the state it's apparently in, but converting the branch to a footpath/cycleway and having some sort of museum at the breakwater end would, IMHO, have been a far better bet... which may even have had a glimmer of succeeding.

    I have no personal knowledge of the protagonist(s), but the way that the posts upthread indicate that they apparently got well and truly up the noses of some fairly influential people and organisations - whose (censored) they should have actively been blowing smoke up to have had any chance of success - does rather fit with the apparent overall picture of how this whole scheme has (not) developed.
     
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  4. jonathonag

    jonathonag Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, and while not in pre-1960's condition, have we forgotten about Mallaig which also sees daily steam for much of the year? A pseudo heritage operation as it is, and a reinstatement of an over roof would not be too difficult.
     
  5. Fireline

    Fireline Well-Known Member

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    Ah, but at least at Mallaig, there is somewhere to go to from there. You can't put a second station on the branch, which means you have to join the Dover - Ashford line before you can reach a station. As it stands, it would be like a deeply unpicturesque version of the Snowdon Railway, with no station at the top!
     
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  6. Let's not kid ourselves - it's not, and never was, going to be anything. Sometimes the unwelcome nose of reality has to force its way into the vision of even the most rose-tinted, ardent railway enthusiast.
     
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  7. Henry the Green Engine

    Henry the Green Engine New Member

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    Another example of (some) of the people involved ruining a project, as opposed to the usual money issues, which are not in themselves insurmountable. Many existing lines have had huge and bitter bust-ups. We can all think of examples no doubt. There's nowt so queer as folk.
     
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  8. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    I have no information about how much that applies to this project, but elsewhere - all I can say is - 'tell me about it!' :Arghh:

    Many years ago, I commented to a senior official on a preserved railway 'if only the energy expended on politics was expended on the railways themselves, what wonderful railways we would have!' and was shocked to be told 'without the politics, would we have the railways?'

    Sadly, things change little and perhaps all volunteer organisations continue to attract some for whom the politics, maneuvering, forcing out of others and protection of their own position is more important than the actual long term well-being of the railway itself!

    Steven
     
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  9. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    One of the major problems with many volunteer orientated organisations is that the old guard get long in the tooth and stuck in their ways. (I probably fall into that category, having been around and involved in heritage railway management for over forty years. A presentation at a recent HRA seminar was entitled: Respected Elders or Dinosaurs? - Whether the Board and Committee members needs to move on after a few years to allow the organisation (and themselves) to move forward. There were a lot of home truths in this and there is a lot to be said for maximum terms of appointment to almost any position.
     
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  10. Avonside1563

    Avonside1563 Well-Known Member

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    A down side to a maximum term is in organisations with a small membership you can end up with a completely unsuitable set of people in control. It's often bad enough to try and find a full set of suitable people in the first place never mind a completely new set after, say, seven years.
     
  11. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'm torn on this. I've been subject to a term limit, and was rapidly co-opted at the end of my term because others wanted to hang onto me; elsewhere I've seen term limits lead to a merry go round as the same cadre of people change role, but without change to the underlying composition of the body. I also vividly remember a priest friend commenting on how she envied the Methodist clergy the fixed duration of their appointments, as opposed to the "until you leave or retire" that the CofE has - because she saw it as a way of keeping her on her toes.

    To me the real question is not "how do you stop the old guard fossilising", but "how do you keep your leadership fresh and open minded"?
     
  12. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Having viewed a number of volunteer organisations from the outside, from a regulatory/funding point of view there are two distinct issues that always seem to come to pass...

    a) Many volunteers who reach positions of authority do so by way of previous professional experience, however there is a big difference between managing a company where you pay staff/colleagues and thus to a degree they do what they are told and a volunteer group where one has to keep a team together. Volunteers don't like being bossed around and previously senior professionals are often not used to people saying no to them and when the two mix a caustic outcome often follows;

    b) You also get those who have lived/worked in a local community, have a long standing interest and decide they must 'give something back', whilst they need the support of others they are entirely unprepared to listen to conflicting points of view (we used to refer to them as the 'MBE Chasers') they moan about people not getting involved, but then deride and don't make any newcomers particularly welcome.

    Sadly its why I have always tried to avoid getting involved in the upper levels of any voluntary group as it is sadly often more political than parliament!
     
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  13. 61624

    61624 Part of the furniture

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    Conversely, though there are also those who find it hard to let go and adapt to change. I've heard of one senior official on a preserved railway who was heard to say that so and so (a new member of senior management with a different way of working) had "taken my railway away from me". I'd suggest that the person in question may by that time have developed an overinflated view of his importance to the organisation and that actually it probably was the right time for some change. A resumption of the rank and file aspect of the hobby as a returning lapsed member of the operating staff would be a more dignified course of action than more or less severing all ties. But I don't suppose the person in question is likely to agree with me!
     
  14. Henry the Green Engine

    Henry the Green Engine New Member

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    It's a shame that this line was mismanaged, it completely missed the point. A double track 3rd rail electrified line, with a seaside destination, main line connection and, stabling sidings. A bunch of EMU's scattered all over the place, often split up and in isolated locations. Some scrapped for lack of any useful purpose. Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity in a neglected part of preservation. The EMU sector seems very fragmented and un-coordinated, if they didn't recognise this as probably the only chance for a location to run on the 'juice'.
    Google shows 3 stabling sidings with staff platforms between each road and, overhead lighting gantries. 3 more sidings, including the turnback road for the mainline. Build a shed over the 3 stabling sidings, sacrifice the middle road of the other 3 to allow a narrow island platform, for interchange between a mainline special and a heritage unit. (if it isn't too narrow under modern rules). Job done. Green, blue and NSE units whirring their way up and down the bank.

    Too late now, developers have drawn up attractive plans for the Harbour station and the viaduct. Better than demolition but still...........
     
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  15. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    And why am I going to spend money to go there? And if I'm willing to, how will I persuade my family to join me.

    I've done the Harbour three times (all on tours) and, sadly, the trips still don't stick in my mind that much.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. Henry the Green Engine

    Henry the Green Engine New Member

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    You talk as if it is happening, which it isn't, too late for the many lost and underused EMU's.
     
  17. martin1656

    martin1656 Nat Pres stalwart Friend

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    I do know the personalities, and i think its sad, the original idea was to try to preserve the station, but the scheme got hijacked by people who were more interested in a fight with a major land owner, and the person who owned the very land the station sat on, even if it did have a 99 year lease on it , and the damage was done, those were then in charge ensured that there could be no agreement , sometimes you have to be devious to achieve your aims, especiallly when the other side have all the cards, and the council 's backing, or was it that they were scared not to oppose Dehaan, incase he took his money elsewhere?

    My view always was that the people of folkestone were let down by scared councilors, who in effect let the harbour company do what it liked, not because it was best for folkestone , but because it needed de haan's money, and the preservation group allowed its self to be used by a serial protester, who saw it as another chance in his personal campain to wage a war on how he thought big business had ruined Folkestone, he then went on to start a pensioners forum to fight for pensioners rights, in an area where most pensioners are already well protected.

    Attempts were made laterly to find some common ground, with the harbour company, but by then, i think the damage was done, they had decided on their " Masterplan" but as yet not one single permanent building has gone up on the strip of sea front land, yet, i hear only silence and its said it could take 25 years to develop the site,
    where as i feel had a museum and art gallery, ( de haan loves his artists) been build on part of the station site, with a glass and steel overall roof to protect the infrastructure , it would have gone some way to starting to bring life back to the area, local groups , Step short, RLA, ETC, could have worked together to have done something, then the line could have been mothballed, and over time if the scope had been there to occationlly run heritage week ends with road , railway and sea atractions, how different could it have been?
     
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  18. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    The question was hypothetical.
     
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  19. Maximus

    Maximus New Member

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    Personally I think this whole idea of a Tramway or "Remembrance Line" is a dead duck and is a waste of breath so I won't vent my entire thoughts here on how much damage they have done to themselves!

    What I have seen and heard is that rail heritage is likely to be represented on the old branch. I have heard about the Pullman cars going there and I have seen myself that the Signal Box has been restored. They obviously have their own plan but I think the Harbour Co will incorporate the history of the site into the development.
     
  20. Strictly speaking, in order for something to be a dead duck it has had to have been an alive duck in the first place. In this case, Mr and Mrs Duck never got remotely close to being on the same continent, let alone enjoying a romantic liaison leading to consummating their relationship in order to have any prospect of producing an alive duck.

    It's been nothing but fantasy WIBN, with absolutely no prospect of either genuine demand or being realised, from day 0.
     
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