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Vale of Glamorgan Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Anthony Coulls, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. Anthony Coulls

    Anthony Coulls Well-Known Member

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    Apologies if this has been posted elsewhere, but just found this on RMWeb (not my typing!):

    Just got back home from the firework display and stoped at the Vale of Glamorgan Railway on Barry Island.

    They today have had news that the Council has withdrawn funding. Which mean that tonight wat effectively there last running day. Christmas Specails and Thomas next year have been canciled. What the future holds is uncertain as yet. Please feel free to write to the local council to complain on there behalf.

    Pamala as 68070 and Class 14 D9521 were doing the honours, They went out in style lots of thrash, lots of smoke and steam, lots of horns and whistles (non stop all night) Attatude was 'its the last day we are going to enjoy our selfs, what they going to do close us down'

    Interesting...and sad if true...
     
  2. Autotank

    Autotank Member

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    If this is true it is very worrying. Unfortunately I think a few smaller heritage lines will struggle to survive over the next few years. All railways should concentrate where possible on becoming self sufficient in terms of finance - relying on a certian funding stream is dangerous as it can dry up in a flash in the current climate. Sadly new funding is going to become increasingly harder to obtain. Delay the big projects for a while and concentrate on things that will actually improve the visitor experience and get more bums on seats.
     
  3. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    I thought that the announcement of withdrawal of funding happened some time back? It was discussed at some length here. Has the situation changed since then?
     
  4. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    It's hard to know what to make about this from the outside. On the one hand (as has been pointed out) we've been here before but there are only so many times that rumours can persist.

    Think the official line has always been that the Council's funding package for paid staff has ended (as was intended). Yes ideally this would continue but that doesn't mean that the railway can't move on.

    Anyway, until we hear an official line we have to treat the comments as speculation.

    Best wishes to D1074 and all all the BIR
     
  5. D1074

    D1074 Member

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    The current situation is as follows;

    The VOG council withdrew funding (as planned) a while back which meant that the GM had to leave due to cessation of the funding stream. This took place early in 2008. From that point on, economies were made and the paid staff reduced to one (the office manager). This was essential to ensure that bookings were taken, enquiries answered etc.

    Since that point, the railway has been entirely self funding. We have succesfully run a series of events throughout the year (DOWT, Transport Festival, Diesel Weekend, DMU day etc). The council have permitted the VOGR (trading as the Barry Island Railway) to operate under a council licence. This is additional to the railway's Safety Case as approved by HMRI/ORR. The council advertised their intention to seek a new backer for the line earlier this year (it was advertised in the railway press). The railway submitted a comprehensive consortium bid (incorporating the D9521 group, the Barry Railway Company, Barry Railcar Project etc) but were unsuccessful in their bid attempt. In effect this means the licence to operate expires at the end of the year and the successful bidder takes over with the new licence.

    We know who the succesful bidder is but I don't believe the council have yet made an official announcement so I'm reluctant to reveal their identity at this stage. A cabinet meeting took place this week when the bidder recommendation to cabinet was made. This was accepted by the cabinet members.

    As for the future, we don't know. We would hope to meet with the succesful bidder to discuss such matters in the not too distant future. What is fairly safe to assume is that future operations at Barry will be under a new banner and not that of the VGRC. Conditions are bestowed upon the bidder to comply with various council requirements, such as operation of heritage events, museum etc so it is unlikely that the railway will be turned into a B&Q, Starbucks or Burger King #-o

    I hope this helps to explain matters a little?

    Once the dust settles, I'll let you know more. As I hope you will appreciate, this is an anxious time in particular for the loco owning groups at Barry and I hope you will bear with us while we conduct whatever negotiations are necesary.

    Thanks,

    Nick.
     
  6. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info Nick.

    Hope it all works out for you, fingers crossed for the outcome you want.
     
  7. 46118

    46118 Part of the furniture

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    Are any of these changes likely to affect the future of the remaining locomotives from the "Barry Ten", that were originally--correct me if I am wrong--owned by the Council and under the care of the VOGR?

    Thanks

    46118
     
  8. D1074

    D1074 Member

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    The Barry Ten (or 8 as they are now) should still be OK as it was a condition of the bid that provision had to made for the the Ten in the application process. Incidentally, the railway never owned or were responsible for the locos, they were always in the council's possession.

    Hope this helps?

    Nick.
     
  9. What is happening with the taff vale loco am i right in saying it was to come to the Vogr?
     
  10. D1074

    D1074 Member

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    Well yes and no. It wasn't coming to the Vale of Glamorgan Railway Company as such, but is/was destined for Cambrian Transport who with their engineering wing, BRECO, were to restore it. BRECO have already leased the Skills Centre at Woodham Halt and some other buildings and track to establish an engineering base. It is from this facility that restoration would take place.

    Hope this explains?

    Regards,

    Nick.
     
  11. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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  12. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Anyone who wishes to read the above article and would like to retain their eyesight for further use, should try this link instead:

    http://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/our_c ... me=default


    Keith
     
  13. D1074

    D1074 Member

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    An update for you all. Following the AGM last Saturday, a new board was elected and have taken on the task of retaining a heritage presence at Barry. There are too many aspects to explain on the forum but if I could ask you to visit the website, a downloadable newsletter is available. (Click the link on the homepage.) This explains the latest developments, strategies etc.

    Happy to answer any questions!

    Nick.
    (Who somehow ended up as a director on Saturday... :-k )
     
  14. RA & FC

    RA & FC Well-Known Member

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    Is there any recent news on the situation of the Barry Island Railway???

    Called in there yesterday, and it was all locked up. It all looked a bit run down and sad really...
     
  15. basher

    basher Member

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    Whilst I have no desire to steal Nick's thunder; it is my great regret to say that the last public passenger trains ran on the BIR today.

    Todays mince-pie specials were the last booked passenger workings of the preservation society, before the new company takes over. Altough I am unsure of the exact details, the staff told me that they have to be off site by mid-January at the latest. A scary prospect.

    A large notice in the booking hall proclaimed the following chilling words (quoted exactly):
    "LAST TRAINS FOREVER
    28th Mince Pies

    The VGR would like to thank your continued support over the last 14 years, we hope you enjoy your final visit."


    Following the failure of D9521 early this morning, the 117 DMU appeared instead, with a smattering of local enthusiasts on hand to record the occasion. The 1500 ex BI was the final train, with driver Austin Jeffries at the helm - running to Woodham Halt, then back non-stop to Plymouth Road, before returning to BI, and finally ecs to the EWS shed. Altough neither a wreath nor detonators were provided, the "Island Express" headboard was briefly placed on the lamp bracket at Plymouth Road, for photographs on the final train.

    A terrible, terrible shame - all the volunteer man-hours, gone to waste. It was a heart-breaking sight, watching members arrive today to pick up items they had loaned to the museum years ago; and returning them to their car boots.

    It would appear then, that this is "the end" - no more. The sense of loss among the volunteers could clearly be felt, especially as the final train ran. A scrawled note in the visitors book (which read more as a funeral memorial book) read; "perchance it is not dead, but sleepeth".

    RIP.
     
  16. nanstallon

    nanstallon Part of the furniture

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    What is going to happen to the railway now? I had the impression that some other body would be tendering - though I don't know what their plans are.

    Please excuse my ignorance if I've missed something. It seems an awful shame if all the VOGR members' hard work is being thrown away. Especially with the Swansea Vale Rly having recently been lost.

    John
     
  17. boldford

    boldford Member

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    Is there some reason why this particular corner of the UK has seen the demise of two such organisations in close succession?

    Perhaps thought to be difficult to get to and thus suppressed visitor numbers. Or; are local authorities less cooperative in the areas affected? Yet the Gwili seems to be going places.
     
  18. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    Well let me say first how sorry I am that the BIR has closed if this is does turn out to be the case.

    One thing the Swansea Vale Railway and the BIR did have in common was the fact that the freehold of the land was owned by the local council in each case and not by the railway themselves. This is always a precarious position to be in and it does hinder development on infrastructure or long term planning.

    At least if you are your own master there is always the knowledge that you are not going to be kicked off site.

    As for South Wales generally, well hard to say if there are other factors involved. We are down to just 2 established railways, the Gwili and Pontypool and Blaenavon, both of us seem to be making some headway with expansion and a raised enthusiast profile with a couple of GW locos over the past few months.

    There is no room for complacency however and I would expect 2009 to be a year of consolidation certainly for the Gwili and probably for P and B as well as they look to press on with their extension plans for 2010.
     
  19. What has happend to the taff vale tank from the dean forest that was recentley transferd to bir under a loan agreement from the nrn
     
  20. D1074

    D1074 Member

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    Sorry for not answering sooner, I only just noticed the new posts! The situation is very much as described. We, as the railway, failed to win the bid to continue operating. The succesful bidder was Cambrian Transport (CT) who effectively have now taken over the entire BIR infrastructure.

    The 28th was indeed the last operating day under the control of the VGR itself. From now on, CT are the controlling body for the Barry Island Railway. We are in negotiations with CT as to us retaining a presence at Barry. However, as CT now effectively control all the buildings etc, it is entirely possible that we will not have access to the station building itself, severely restricting our ability to operate. As you will appreciate, with events such as DOWT, Easter, Santas etc, access to the shop and buffet is paramount.

    We are not quite in the same situation as the Swansea Vale as the railway itself still survives, albeit under a new backer. Whether the VGR itself has a future part to play in the new regime is under discussion. This also applies to the Private Owner groups such as the D9521 Group, Barry Railcar Project, 20228 and 47768.

    We feel we have achieved a lot whilst at Barry with succesful events such as DOWT, Transport Festival and the Diesel Weekend. We have also supported council led events such as Bonfire Night and the Waterfront Festival.

    As for TVR 28, the loan was between the NRM and CT. The BIR did not play any part. Unless it has been sneaked in under cover of darkness, it is not at Barry!

    Discussions continue and I'll try to update you as to any progress.

    Regards,

    Nick.
     

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