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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    All of this talk of a second Dunster in the most illogical location is I suspect, a diversion exercise. The plans for Washford were outlined in post 25079. Consider the subsequent secretive approaches to SCC to buy the freehold which were rebuffed. Where does that leave the individual concerned ? I would say in dire need of an alternative excuse and an ORR requirement is the best they could think of.
     
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  2. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    Not even an ORR requirement - just a supposed need to spend time and money to move the yard from which the OOR requirement could be fulfilled.
     
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  3. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    More to the point why cant the ORR requirements be fulfilled using the yard at Dunster?
     
  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    On a signalling question: would I be right in thinking that, because Washford is not a block post, any access to the yard there would be by unlocking a ground frame using the Blue Anchor - Williton token?

    Assuming that is the case, any ability to get vehicles in and out (specifically things stored there such as Wickham trolleys, road-rail vehicles etc.) must mean someone driving to either Williton or Blue Anchor signal boxes; picking up a token, then driving the token to Washford to let a vehicle out, then surrendering that token once they pass out of the section. Same in reverse to let something back in. Given that, it feels that is always going to be a slow process, which rather negates any operational advantage of being reasonably central.

    I'm prompted to consider that having seen on our own railway the number of movements made by a Wickham trolley between trains on Sunday to attend various issues, but which movements caused no delay to service trains. Obviously it is of less concern if you are doing major works lasting days or weeks with an engineer's possession; however, it feels distinctly sub-optimal as a base for daytime gang to travel to a work site between trains.

    Others have commented on the degree to which Washford is suitable for the other points that would seem to be beneficial to a p/way base; notably the access for lorry-load deliveries, the issues of shunting at the summit of a hill with significant gradients either side, and the space to lay out work (for example new paintwork) under construction.

    Tom
     
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  5. John Palmer

    John Palmer Member

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    In 1991 the WSR plc granted a lease of the Washford site to the S&DRT. In 2018 those two organisations formed an agreement to extend the duration of that lease until 2070. Hence, “the Extension Agreement” is shorthand for the agreement formed in 2018.

    There seems to be scope for confusion about the consequences of a decision by the plc that it needed a site for a new PW depot and that Washford was the best site on which to locate such a depot.

    Nothing in either the 1991 Lease or the 2018 Extension Agreement gives the plc the right to terminate the S&DRT's occupation of Washford on the basis that the site was required for a PW depot. The plc could not give the Trust a lawful Notice to Quit on that ground.

    A desire on the plc's part to use the site for its own PW depot is only relevant to the question of whether the plc can successfully oppose an application by the S&DRT for a new tenancy on the ground that the plc requires the site for its own purposes (Section 30(1)(g) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954). But that is a question that can only arise after the S&DRT's tenancy of the site has been lawfully brought to an end.

    The 2018 Extension Agreement lays down two ways in which it can be brought to an end before it has run its full term in 2070. One way was for the plc and the Trust to agree that it was to end earlier. The other way was by the plc establishing a right to terminate unilaterally because the Trust had failed to rectify breaches of the Agreement within 3 months of the plc giving it notice to do so. Since the Trust didn't agree to early termination, unilateral termination for breach of the agreement by the Trust was the only lawful way for the plc to bring this about. My challenge to the lawfulness of the plc's action is in part based on my understanding that the requisite notice of breach was not given. That's why I've asked @Lineisclear to give details of any such notice.

    Please be clear about this. A desire on the plc's part to use the Washford site for its own purposes, whether as a PW depot or otherwise, was not a lawful ground for giving the S&DRT Notice to Quit.
     
  6. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    So the sutability and cost of moving the PW depot is a red herring? No doubt the emphasis will now shift back to the validity of the 2018 agreement....
     
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  7. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, Frank.
    I'm not sure I agree with you that the reasons for not running have been "fully set out". Going back over the news releases, initially, in the early stages of the pandemic (March/April), the Board, understandably , made the decision to cease operations until the situation clarified. Then, as conditions eased a little, it was decided that because of the lack of compartment stock and the Covid distancing requirements, and the need for ORR clearance, the line would not re-open until March 2021. By August, by when it had become clear that a number of other lines had found the means to operate successfully, that had become "we are unable to operate out of Minehead until the level-crossing is fixed, which won't be until March next year because the SCC have scheduled the work for winter".
    Now these changes of reason may all be valid, but you can surely understand that the way they have been presented at the very least is confusing and give an impression of a lack of focus. As a number of us have noted before, the Plc Board would do itself a great favour if it were to engage a competent PR consultant. To quote John Bailey "If there is one single improvement that could start to heal the rifts in the railway it would, in my view, be better communication. Even tough and unpopular decisions will often be supported if the reasons for them are explained."

    As an aside, and following on a later response from you : the members and supporters on this thread would not expect the Board to reveal its financial planning, but this does not prevent some reasonably detailed discussions of operational planning for the next six months or a year which would do much to reassure those who are currently concerned about the future of the line.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  8. Bionic_Woman

    Bionic_Woman New Member

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    I'm sure I will corrected if I am wrong, but my understanding of the WSSRT Articles is that that their AGM should be held annually and not more than 15 months apart.
    Since their last AGM was in March 2019, were they were already not running behind schedule to fail to have it before June 2020?

    Even with Covid-19, what was the original date proposed to meet theWSSRT Articles?
     
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  9. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    I rather suspect that Mr Bailey might be regretting getting involved in the WSR imbroglio: although helping resolve its troubles is a worthy goal, on close examination, the practicalities thereof are rather Gordian. As I said, deep water indeed. I am truly sorry that his ankles are being bitten so severely, because he seems to be a nice person, and much more importantly, he's brave enough to come on here and engage with us - although he seems to be avoiding responding to a few issues that are being raised. Which doesn't entirely surprise me - in his shoes, I'd find them rather hard to respond to, too.

    Lastly, let me echo @Big Al and remark on the improved 'tone' of recent remarks; it is still inevitably a painful conversation, but at least it has a hope of being productive.

    Noel
     
  10. WSSRTcandidates

    WSSRTcandidates Member

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    We are not Trustees of the WSSRT so what follows is not the 'official response' of the WSSRT. However, as candidates for election, we have done a little bit of research into this (as potential Trustees we would, clearly, have to demonstrate good governance of a charity).

    The previous WSSRT AGM was held on 23rd March 2019.

    The WSSRT’s Articles of Association say that AGMs must not be held more than 15 months apart.

    This means the 2020 AGM would have fallen due on 23rd June 2020.

    The government have published guidance for charities about postponing or cancelling AGMs and other meetings, which can be found here:

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronav...er-meetings-postponing-or-cancelling-meetings

    The guidance states that:

    “AGMs for companies or CIOs: any that had to be held between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 can be delayed until 30 September 2020 at the latest. This is allowed by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 and also applies to community benefit and friendly societies. It temporarily overrides the timing requirements in a charity’s governing documents. This deadline of 30 September may be extended if the government thinks this is needed. We will update with any changes if they happen.”

    In addition there is guidance about holding meetings online or by telephone, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronav...ector#holding-meetings-online-or-by-telephone

    The guidance states that:

    In the current situation, it may be difficult to hold face-to-face meetings. Some charities have clauses in their governing documents that allow them to meet virtually or to use telephone facilities, so we advise trustees to check their governing document and see if they can make amendments themselves to facilitate changes as to how or when meetings are held.

    Generally, if there is no such clause in the governing document and you decide to hold meetings over the phone or using digital solutions, we will understand but you should record this decision and that you have done this to demonstrate good governance of your charity.

    In the specific cases of members’ meetings (not trustee / director meetings) of Charitable Incorporated Organisations or charitable companies, held between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020:
    • they may be held by phone / video or other electronic means, even if the governing document requires them to be held physically face-to-face
    • members still have the right to vote, but the charity can require this to be done electronically, or by other means (such as by post)
    • members will not have the right to attend a meeting in person or participate in meetings other than to vote.
    You can use these provisions if you feel it is in your charity’s best interests to hold the members’ meeting virtually rather than to defer it at this current time. If you rely on these provisions, you must ensure that this decision is recorded in the minutes and that all other meeting requirements are met. You should ensure that you have a robust system to ensure only those eligible to vote can do so and that you record who has voted and the percentages of votes cast.

    This temporary amendment is in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 and also applies to exempt charities that are community benefit or friendly societies. It lasts until 30 September 2020 but may be extended if the government thinks this is needed. We will update with any changes if they happen.”

    The WSSRT’s Articles of Association also point out that 21 clear days’ notice should be given of AGMs.

    Having said all that, as we reported 'up thread', the WSSRT have permission from the Charity Commission to delay the AGM 'until December 2020'. This was recorded in Minute 449 of 16th July, at the same time as deciding that the AGM would take place on 19th September (subsequently postponed).

    Hopefully a WSSRT Trustee will be along shortly to affirm or correct us on this point.

    However we still assert that there was, and there is, no good reason to postpone the AGM beyond 19th September.
     
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  11. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    Available here, if anyone wants to see it.


    BTW, is there some easy way, given a post's thread index number(e.g. '25079'), to go to that post? If so, I haven't discovered it.

    If you have a post displayed, it's easy to link to it in a reply (as I just did, above), though. At the bottom of the post, next to the 'Report' button, there's a posting timestamp ("Apr 23, 2020" for #25079). That's also a hyperlink directly to that post; there are a variety of ways to 'capture' that URL, and paste it into one's reply, in {url}{/url} tags (replace the '{' with '[', etc, of course); again, as done above. If people who refer to older posts can do that, I (and no doubt others) would greatly appreciate it; it makes it much easier to re-read the post they refer to.

    Noel
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
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  12. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    There is an intermediate instrument at Washford but it can only be operated when both Blue Anchor and Williton Signal boxes are manned.

    Robin
     
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  13. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    Reading between the lines a bit here, I gather from your comment that Section 30(1)(g) does not allow a landlord to unilaterally terminate a lease mid-term; it an only be applied to stop the renewal of a lease which has run its course (or otherwise been terminated, as provided for in the lease)? [Is that correct?]

    Noel
     
  14. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    Thanks for that, @jnc . I must say, that having re-read that post and assuming the entire thing is not a figment of @Andy Norman 's imagination, which I very much doubt (this is the WSR, after all), that the "WSR Two" display a high degree of wishful thinking:
    1. This assumes that WSR shareholders are like ordinary investors and prefer to get 10p in the £ rather than nothing. This is as unlikely to be the case as it was the last time this dodge was tried, at the Torbay Steam Railway.
    2. This assumes that SCC are keen to dispose of the freehold and ignores both why the SCC bought it in the first place and why it sold the second lease under more advantageous terms than the first. Again, it assumes they would act like any other investor.
    3. The surplus land is only worth something if it has planning for use as something other than a railway line. This point assumes that such permission is a forgone conclusion, which is unlikely unless there is a good deal of corruption involved.

    PS. @jnc , I tried your method of linking to Andy's post and I couldn't do anything other than display the full URL in my post.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  15. Bionic_Woman

    Bionic_Woman New Member

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    I apologise to all for my error and misunderstanding. Thank you for setting the record straight.
     
  16. Bionic_Woman

    Bionic_Woman New Member

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    I do agree that the WSSRT AGM must be held as soon as possible. This would help to bring clarity to all the parties involved and we could all concentrate on saving our beloved railway.
    That's what we all want, isn't it? Or am I just being naive?
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
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  17. John Palmer

    John Palmer Member

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    For reasons I won't go into I need to duck out of here for a couple of days, but to answer your question before I do so, yes, I think yours is a broadly accurate statement of the position.
     
  18. daveb

    daveb Member

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    Presumably something similar applies to Dunster now, but with Minehead and Blue Anchor boxes needing to be manned?
     
  19. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    As was noted upthread - yes, it requires a number of decisions to go the "right" way, most of which can be considered unlikely. However the only important question is whether the person or persons who are in a position to work towards the plan believe in the validity of their plan. Should they be working towards the plan in the belief all the factors will come together, significant damage may be done even though the plan doesn't actually come to fruition.
     
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  20. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    Thank you Noel, every day is a day in the classroom.

    I hope that puts the Dunster mark II story to bed unless something substantive can be produced as to why extra capacity is needed and it's a better idea than say...... Williton.
     

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