Arson attack at Chinnor & Princes Risborough railway

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oversteer

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Just noticed this in my local paper..
http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/new...carriage_destroyed_in_suspected_arson/?ref=ms
Rebecca Cain said:
Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway carriage destroyed in suspected arson

A HISTORIC carriage at Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway has been destroyed in a fire police are investigating as suspected arson.

At about 2am this morning a police helicopter spotted a fire near the private railway station, which is run by a registered charity.

Police and the fire service attended and an historic carriage, which was on railway sidings some distance away from the station, was destroyed by fire.

Chairman of the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway Association, Roger Fagg said: "It is really very disappointing. We put a lot of effort into running the railway.

"It is very sad but we are not downhearted. We will carry on and run the railway and be our normal happy selves."

The charity has 1,000 members and 150 active volunteers. The railway station is in Station Road, Chinnor and runs steam and diesel services in the style of the former Great Western Railway at weekends.

The coach which was destroyed was built in the 1930s and is called a London Midland and Scottish Railway Observation Coach.

It came to Chinnor about 15 years ago but was previously used by senior executives to travel on the railway and see the line outside two large windows on the carriage.

Mr Fagg said it was quite rare and was due for restoration.

It was not one of the coaches used in the regular running of the railway, so the weekend timetable will go ahead as usual. He said: "It is sad because it is a heritage coach.

"What we are trying to do is preserve heritage for future generations.

"This is something which has clearly come to the end of the road."

Mr Fagg said the fire brigade was excellent and saved another carriage being damaged.

An investigation has been launched by police and officers are working closely with the charity to keep them fully informed.

Investigating officer PC Martin Davis said: "This railway is run entirely by volunteers so this incident has caused a great deal of upset.

"We are currently treating the incident as arson and would like to appeal to anyone who saw people acting suspiciously in the area of the railway station in the early hours of this morning, to come forward. I would also like to speak to anyone who has any further information which could assist our inquiry."

If you can help call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.


Mk1 observation coach - I assume 45036. Sad :cry:
 
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PFX

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I can honestly sympathise with this, the railway I volunteer at having been subject to vandalism and metal theft in recent months.
 

BestWestern

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This is very sad to hear. I hope they catch the idiots who did this and give them a stiff penalty.

Both very unlikely, sadly :(

I wonder if there is any scope for some kind of national movement to be set up amongst heritage lines, to ensure appropriate security measures are in place at these locations. I'm not sure exactly how it could work, but it's apparent that many heritage lines can ill afford the security that sadly nowadays is so essential for such operations, but perhaps if they all clubbed together then economies of scale and suchlike could be found?

Perhaps, for example, lines with available space could be nominated as 'secure storage locations' where other lines may deposit stock awaiting future attention, rather than have it lying around vulnerable. Those lines could have secure compounds installed as part of the scheme perhaps. Lines could also club together and invest in security systems as a larger group, thus reducing cost, and suchlike.

With metal theft, arson and general vandalism only ever likely to get worse, it's surely worth a look?! Something needs doing, and leaving our railway heritage sat in remote open sidings where all and sundry can get to it really shouldn't be an option.
 

aylesbury

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A national site would cost a lot of money which many lines do not have ,a gang recently made off with 200 chairs from the far end of the Chinnor line we were storing them for the Risborough extension.The coach needed a great deal of work but could have been restored sometime in the future.Hopefully the villagers will shop these evil people and justice will seem to be done.
 

BestWestern

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A national site would cost a lot of money which many lines do not have ,a gang recently made off with 200 chairs from the far end of the Chinnor line we were storing them for the Risborough extension.The coach needed a great deal of work but could have been restored sometime in the future.Hopefully the villagers will shop these evil people and justice will seem to be done.

I would think there's a very good chance they might well not be locals.

I appreciate that a national storage site would be pricey, what I'm thinking here is just a bit of joined up thinking, some unity. If there was a national federation of heritage lines, there ought to be enough of a mass presence to get various things organised. One possibility would be for lines with sufficient storage space to have those areas made secure. Another option may be to look at the use of MOD locations for storage, in the same way that mainline stock is often stored. Or even the use of main line depot locations which may be mothballed or just have slack space available.

There would be many other possibilities here. Stock movement by road for example, a common requirement, could be undertaken by an 'in house' haulage operation rather than by contractors. A modest pool fleet of low loaders and a few strategic qualified volunteer drivers wouldn't be beyond reach. Major strides could be made in restoration, by the creation of specialist centres at different locations. So certain lines with sufficient workshop capabilities could dedicate part of their operation to specific areas of work or traction types, rather than similar equipment and capability being replicated numerous times across the country. Work requiring the use of outside firms could be achieved more cost effectively by using one cetralised tendering mechanism for all stock. And so on, the potential is endless.

From a patronage point of view, a major advantage would be to develop an 'annual pass', product giving access to all or a chosen combination of lines. This would increase footfall, bringing regular visits from passholders and encouraging them to venture to lines they may not otherwise consider. It would also open up a regular, steady revenue stream, split between participating lines. A nationally co-ordinated programme of events could be developed and advertised, charters and railtours could be operated between different lines, even overnight 'tours' visiting several locations would be a possibility. 'Bolt-on' sales could be made for passholders visiting lines not covered by their pass, or for additional non-inclusive things like charters and specials, helping to fill seats, as well as revenue income from providing attractive catering options of a good national standard, well stocked gift shops, and suchlike.

A national organisation could also look to nurture the next generation of preservationists by working with schools, colleges and universities to offer placements or apprenticeships for those studying mechanics or engineering, perhaps even developing dedicated courses where appropriate. This could extend to adult tuition also; you can go to a college now and study classic car restoration, why not offer taster courses in basic steam engineering or permanent way maintenance, aimed at encouraging those who might be curious to come to their local heritage line and perhaps end up volunteering.

We have an ever growing preservation scene in the UK, indeed some might say it's getting crowded. Sadly, the movement will not sustain such growth unless there is some radical thinking about how to build and maintain the general level of interest. Having so many lines all competing with one another makes little sense, however the foundations are there for a truly united national movement. It could, perhaps, be founded or supported by the NRM, maybe with a 'celeb' patron like Pete Waterman to help further connect with the public. It really is well worth thinking about, for a great many reasons!
 

Spagnoletti

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I would think there's a very good chance they might well not be locals.

I appreciate that a national storage site would be pricey, what I'm thinking here is just a bit of joined up thinking, some unity. If there was a national federation of heritage lines, there ought to be enough of a mass presence to get various things organised.

You mean like the HRA?
www.heritagerailways.com
 

D2022

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.

A national organisation could also look to nurture the next generation of preservationists by working with schools, colleges and universities to offer placements or apprenticeships for those studying mechanics or engineering, perhaps even developing dedicated courses where appropriate. This could extend to adult tuition also; you can go to a college now and study classic car restoration, why not offer taster courses in basic steam engineering or permanent way maintenance, aimed at encouraging those who might be curious to come to their local heritage line and perhaps end up volunteering.

We have an ever growing preservation scene in the UK, indeed some might say it's getting crowded. Sadly, the movement will not sustain such growth unless there is some radical thinking about how to build and maintain the general level of interest. Having so many lines all competing with one another makes little sense, however the foundations are there for a truly united national movement. It could, perhaps, be founded or supported by the NRM, maybe with a 'celeb' patron like Pete Waterman to help further connect with the public. It really is well worth thinking about, for a great many reasons!



in theory the idea of encouraging youngsters is good, but from experience on a heritage line I was involved in. The younger people were not well enough trained, and some people I tried to encourage to come along ended up damaging a Folwer shunter, graffiti painting several coaches and locomotives, smashing windows, stealing money, food and tools. Trashing the depot and generally making the place a right mess.
 

Phil6219

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My solution is very very simple, first off placing landmines along the embankments and grassy areas adjacent to the yards. Secondly having a "decoy" locomotive which is booby-trapped with a variety of surprises lurking behind panels - ideally nailbombs and other nasties...

Well if I had my way at least...

They are gits, the ELR lost two Class 31s to metal fairies with them finally going for scrap at the end of last year (I think, I've only been there a few months myself). All I can say is if they touch our Co-Bo I'll hunt them to the end of the earth (along the lines of Liam Neeson in Taken).

Phil
 

MattRobinson

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in theory the idea of encouraging youngsters is good, but from experience on a heritage line I was involved in. The younger people were not well enough trained, and some people I tried to encourage to come along ended up damaging a Folwer shunter, graffiti painting several coaches and locomotives, smashing windows, stealing money, food and tools. Trashing the depot and generally making the place a right mess.

I think that you've had a bad experience there. Certainly, the young volunteers I've met at KWVR aren't like that.

All new volunteers, old or young, need guidance and nurturing. Some, admittedly, more than others: but everyone needs to be supported in their voluntary role. If they are, they can become much more useful than if they're just left to their own devices.

Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk 2
 

BestWestern

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They are gits, the ELR lost two Class 31s to metal fairies with them finally going for scrap at the end of last year (I think, I've only been there a few months myself). All I can say is if they touch our Co-Bo I'll hunt them to the end of the earth (along the lines of Liam Neeson in Taken).

Phil

Agreed, and gits is being exceptionally polite! But, again, it has to be argued that these locos and all the other stock targeted, whether by arsonists, vandals of thieves, would have been far less likely to become victims had they been securely under lock and key. Open yards and sidings teeming with opportunity are not a good feature of any heritage line in this day and age. It's very sad, but a clear lesson should have been learned many times over in recent years, that is that you just can't get away with leaving stuff vulnerable and hoping for the best any more. The same applies to bus operators who park ranks of vehicles unsecured in bus stations or ungated depots, and then have to clear up when some lowlife torches or steals something. Security is the name of the game if you want to escape the scum! :|
 

PFX

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BestWestern, what you say is all well and good and in an ideal world, would be the obvious solution but the over-riding factor is cost.

Anecdotally, the DCDR (which likely wouldn't be able to benefit from a national group anyway) has been subject to vandalism, arson and most recently, metal theft over the years and like many other heritage lines, struggles to ensure an adequate level of security is maintained. It's important to remember that this security doesn't come cheaply.

A single secure site is the obvious answer but there are many financial aspects to factor in to this. Land and legal costs, fencing, CCTV, off-site monitoring, etc. The DCDR keeps as much as it can within a secure yard but rolling stock is a large asset as you know. While every effort is made to keep as much as possible within the yard, inevitably there will be some items that just can't be accommodated. You may see a yard with apparent space in it but remember a degree of this is required for shunting and operating.

In my opinion, limitations of space and finances are the most influential factor in security but even with vast sums of cash to throw at the problem, we still see vandalism and theft taking place on NR and at the depots. It hurts heritage lines more as stock is rare and there is less capacity to soak up the financial hit.

It's a sad indictment on modern society that some think this type of action is acceptable.
 

BestWestern

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I agree entirely, that keeping things secure is both a sad indication of our crumbling society, and is very expensive. However, I still feel that if resources were pooled, surely something ought to be workable? There are obvious avenues like Lottery funding applications and suchlike, but even without that there must be ways. I mentioned before the possibility of using any spare capacity at MOD 'secure storage' locations, as the mainline railway has used for years, or even unused depot facilities. Yes, they'll be pricey, but it's surprising how much cash is in the preservation movement when it needs to be; look at the huge sums of money pledged towards Tornado. Ok, it might be harder to raise interest in something mundane like a storage facility, but it's one avenue of many. I also mentioned the NRM; perhaps a major organisation such as that could be used as the catalyst for any such project. The site could even become another outpost of the museum, a location for vulnerable stock where the public could have viewing access on limited open days, as with the London Transport Museum's Acton facility. The options are there to be explored, my feeling is that the biggest hurdle is getting a coherent unified organisation up and running, without that it's very difficult to even get started.
 

PFX

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the biggest hurdle is getting a coherent unified organisation up and running

Therein lies the problem.

Obtaining co-operation amongst groups is a hard task in itself. Here on the island of Ireland the preservation movement is miniscule compared to that in the UK but even with that, there is nowhere near the level of co-operation required to create the type of organisation you speak of. Multiply this by many times and you're faced with a near insurmountable task in the UK.

I realise I may sound negative but this is far from the case, I'm trying to be practical in considering the many factors involved.

What about lines that aren't connected to a mainline? Moving a single carriage/loco by low loader is a hugely expensive undertaking. Even lines that are connected would require stock fit to travel on the mainline. A vintage stock movement, if authorised, is likely to have severe speed restrictions imposed meaning finding a path through regular traffic.

Obtaining a Lottery grant is by no means an easy thing either (I'm not sure if you've tried it yourself?). There are many hurdles to jump through and kidneys to be sold before you get anywhere with that, before you even consider the various groups chasing the same funding for similar projects. The grant application is a formidable document.

I agree it's a great idea and one which would be a preservation utopia no doubt. The devil is in the details however and whoever solves that one, will become the darling of preservation groups everywhere.
 

455driver

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Preservationists working together!
that is the funniest thing I have heard in ages, there are far too many little people with big egos involved (with a few noticable exceptions) for that to ever happen.

Have you ever been involved with a pres line/ group, there are far more "politics" involved than ever happen in parliament!
 

ralphchadkirk

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Preservationists working together!
that is the funniest thing I have heard in ages, there are far too many little people with big egos involved (with a few noticable exceptions) for that to ever happen.

Have you ever been involved with a pres line/ group, there are far more "politics" involved than ever happen in parliament!

This. They really are a battleground.
 

CarltonA

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A bit more on this incident: The LMS Inspection Saloon contained asbestos (the only vehicle at C&PRR to have any). The railway has had to engage specialist contractors to deal with this. The arson excess on their insurance is £2,500. Naturally they are appealing for donations to cover some or all of this. On a good note they will be running 4MT 80072 on hire from Llangollen from September this year.
 
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