Aysgarth Station - Wensleydale Railway

Discussion in 'Railtours & Preservation' started by Worf, 12 Aug 2017.

  1. Worf

    Worf Member

    Messages:
    54
    Joined:
    12 Aug 2017
    My impression is that this purchase is just getting his "foot in the door" so he is in a position to pick up the other bits he wants, at a rock bottom price, when the current PLC goes under. Only time will tell.
     
  2. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,084
    Joined:
    28 Jan 2006
    Location:
    Wittersham Kent
    I reckon that reinstatement of Redmire-Aysgarth would cost in the region of £10m plus land costs for a "heritage type" resurrection. If its going to be connected to the mainline someone must have very deep pockets indeed.
     
  3. alexl92

    alexl92 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,342
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2014
    It could be an excellent way to get regular work for 48151 for starters. It's a lovely loco but I'd imagine that the 50mph limit on an 8F would mean it can't be used on as many tours as, say a Jubilee or 5MT, so it might give them a chance to get more work out of it. Plus, it'd mean they could run in locos after restoration or repairs on lighter loads.
     
  4. TheBeard

    TheBeard Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    18 Oct 2014
    If you already have the track could be as little as £1million soon pay that off with a regular service. 37s to Northallerton and out of mainline ticket steam. simples
     
  5. Pinza-C55

    Pinza-C55 Member

    Messages:
    378
    Joined:
    23 May 2015
    Of course in a rational world the Lottery could fund that in one shot. And yes I understand there are rules against that.
     
  6. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,084
    Joined:
    28 Jan 2006
    Location:
    Wittersham Kent
    We got about a half of the cost of the Northiam to Bodiam rebuilding of the K&ESR from the national lottery. One of the criteria was that the railway had to be viable after the extension was open. As an outsider with some experience of the economics and extensions of heritage or community railways I'd imagine that may well be an issue with the Wensleydale.
     
  7. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,084
    Joined:
    28 Jan 2006
    Location:
    Wittersham Kent
    No it couldn't, the Environmental Impact Surveys and Transport and Works Order alone would cost the best part of £1 million.
    I've walked a long stretch of the line from Redmire onwards most of the embankments are made of Ash and would require rebuilding a lot of the minor drainage would need replacement. There is a lot of work required on the bridges. £10 million plus land costs is a good back of the fag packet estimate.
     
  8. Marmaduke

    Marmaduke Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    4 Dec 2017
    Hi I'm new to the forum, but as a former member of the WRA and someone who likes to keep abreast of whats happening with the railway via the media and former colleagues, I must admit I feel the recent furore over Aysgarth is perhaps only the tip of the iceberg?

    From my point of view and in my honest opinion Aysgarth shouldn't have been sold, as I know when I was involved, that was what I and a lot of members aspired to, a train to the falls.
    Anyway, rightly or wrongly it is what it is, what my question is, where are all the monies going from these many fund raising schemes.
    We've had of late; schemes associated with getting to Aysgarth, shed appeal, track appeals etc etc, all of which have generated a considerable amount of monies.

    I WOULD LIKE TO ASK;
    Has the WRA(T) still got the money or has it handed it over to the WR PLC?
    Has it been spent on those appeals it was raised for or has it been "frittered away" on operations keeping the WR running?

    Upon another note, I, along with quite a few of my former colleagues are getting most concerned with the way forward of the railway.
    Is the present WR PLC board "fit for purpose" given the apparent dire circumstances of the finances of the railway?
    In times like this, shouldn't it be a case of "back to basics" and build from the ground up, rather than spending even more money, the railway hasn't got on various "get business quick schemes"?
    Lets face it, the WR is never going to be a NYMR, however it has a market of sorts and it should play to its strengths and concentrate on the western end of the line, the much more scenic and vast potential.
    That is why selling Aysgarth didn't make economic sense, because as far as I can make out the excess revenue will go on operations, or in other words "propping up" the railway!

    I also for what its worth, echo the thoughts of many on here that the price of the sale seems quite low given its location and now it has vacant tenancy?
    Why is this as when the railway is screaming out for funds, does it sell its members short?
    There would appear, listening to the grass routes "noise", a growing undercurrent of members who think that there's something underneath going on over this sale.
    I hope not and the only way faith in both the WR PLC & WRA(T) boards will be some transparency all round, of which there would seem to be pretty little.
     
  9. TheBeard

    TheBeard Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    18 Oct 2014
    Yup, I'd definitely give 'em £450000
     
  10. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    16,038
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    the tenuous connection with reality held by several posters seems to be fraying.
     
  11. Marmaduke

    Marmaduke Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    4 Dec 2017
    Hi DarloRich, what do you mean or refer to?
     
  12. IanD

    IanD Established Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    18 Sep 2011
    Location:
    Newport Pagnell
    Have you told them?
     
  13. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    16,038
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    We are told the railway is on its uppers and is selling assets yet members here seem to think that a £xm can be pulled from thin air ( or the lottery!) to develop this or that extension or feature. Does the fact that assets are being sold not register? Having a railway at all might be the bigger target
     
  14. Marmaduke

    Marmaduke Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    4 Dec 2017
    Yes totally agree with you on this point. You don't sell assets if you are on the UP, far from from it.

    As I say, enough cash seems to have been exchanged from the WRAT to WR PLC after various appeals, but has the money been spent, if so on what and when? They had a big appeal not so long ago to acquire some track from one of the local NR yards. Appeal was well supported, rails haven't arrived yet, led to believe sometime in 2018, but has the money been paid to NR?? If not is it still in the coffers somewhere?

    Personally I think the WR needs to pare back the operations to the bone and set out a meaningful plan to go forward. Build from the back on tried and trusted business methods.

    It seems from where I am sat is still "lots of knee jerk" reactions and "fantasy projects" that are ill thought through, not costed and placed in the "dream factory"!

    I do hope the WR manages to get on its feet but I along with a lot of volunteers, who I drink with don't have a lot of faith in the board. Don't get me wrong I think they have their work cut out in managing this operation, but I just think if they engaged with the membership a bit more and told them of their plans etc, perhaps volunteers would still support their actions rather than criticise them.

    By the way, whats happened to the team that was looking after Aysgarth? Are they working somewhere else on the line. Very nice focused guys, met them at a few of their open days. Are they still around or are they helping the new owner, whoever we believe him or them to be.

    I see reading a few posts previously there is speculation on a few names in the rail world - do we know who it is yet? Has sale gone through?
     
  15. IanD

    IanD Established Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    18 Sep 2011
    Location:
    Newport Pagnell
    No idea what's ahppened to them but if I was them I would have upped sticks and buggered off to somewhere that appreciates the efforts that volunteers put in.

    I won't be renewing my membership and will be seeking the return of any funds I have given towards causes that will not now see fruition.
     
  16. Pinza-C55

    Pinza-C55 Member

    Messages:
    378
    Joined:
    23 May 2015
    I tend to think in optimistic terms but lets be realistic. The river/stream bridge just west of Redmire station has gone entirely including the abutments and as far as I remember from watching the drone video I linked to earlier there are about 2 other missing bridges. It really isn't cheap or easy to reopen a railway any more.
     
  17. Pinza-C55

    Pinza-C55 Member

    Messages:
    378
    Joined:
    23 May 2015
    I volunteered there from opening day in 2003 till the end of 2004. It wasn't so much the attitude of management to volunteers since many of them mucked in with the rest of us - got their hands dirty if you like. It was simply the fact that they were wasting large amounts of money and effort on plans which some of us knew would never come to fruition and they wouldn't listen. I couldn't stand by and watch it happen.
     
  18. otto52

    otto52 Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    17 Aug 2017
    Sadly that attitude continued for far too long and the obsession with extending to Northallerton has wasted an awful lot of time and money in my opinion. The new "station" at Northallerton West is in the middle of nowhere and (as basically a wooden platform on some scaffolding with no shelter) hardly an attractive prospect on a wet day. There is too much track to maintain. The restoration of Scruton Station is a great achievement but why wasn't Leeming Bar restored instead since that is the stated HQ of the operation? A grant has now been awarded to restore the listed station building and add facilities similar to those at Scruton for "educational purposes". Two such facilities within a mile or so of each other seems a bit odd; since there is a limited amount of income to be gained from such operations why split it between two sites with the accompanying extra expense? Like IanD I will not be renewing my membership and I get the impression that a lot more members will be doing the same. I understand the reasons for selling the Aysgarth site but the manner in which the sale has been conducted raises a lot of questions.
     
  19. duffield

    duffield Member

    Messages:
    265
    Joined:
    31 Jul 2013
    It did encourage me to visit though because I didn't fancy taking chances with buses from Northallerton!
    However, on the (quite pleasant weatherwise) day that I did visit, only one other person got on at Northallerton, and I think I was the only one who got off on the way back (not counting those who got off/on the same train to take photos!).
    I wonder how much it did actually cost to get to Northallerton?

    Glad I 'bagged' it when I could though - it may never get used again the way things are going. :'(
     
  20. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    16,038
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    It isnt about Northallerton West being an impressive terminus or any other such silliness. it is about having a presence in Northallerton, being able to say it is accessible to the National Rail Network, generating good publicity, improving links with the wider tourist attractions in the area, community engagement etc. It is a foot in the door and keeping the WR on the local radar and on the agenda of the local councils and funding bodies - nothing more. BTW: that section of line needs to be maintained in any event as it offers the link between the WR and the network. It may as well be used.

    ( I relasie these ideas seem a little nebulous for spotters interested only in trains but they are important in the wider context of the railway - something missed by many)

    Was Scruton not grant funded? Perhaps those funds were only available for that station building at that particular time. Again it was about presence, publicity, community engagement

    Perhaps alternative grant funding has become available ( it is a movable feast - i know from my gf's work on seeking grant funding for her church restoration how one grant can open up other grants or views of grant holders change) perhaps the WR have got better at writing grant application (I wonder if you have ever done one?) Perhaps Scruton has been so successful more space is needed, perhaps the community engagement work has been so good that the WR cant keep up with demand.

    Often these sort of things are governed not by what is best for the railway but by when various types of grant funding will be available. Sometimes of you pas sup one offer form a grant body you wont get another one or get pass ported into the next level of grant funding.

    That is, of course, your choice, but it wont help the railway you profess to support in the long term.
     
  21. Marmaduke

    Marmaduke Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    4 Dec 2017
    Has anyone heard whats happening about the sale of Aysgarth station and the new shed at Leeming Bar?
    I have heard from a good source that for some reason the sale of the site has not yet gone through, anyone heard about this?
    I know the railway really needed this to happen as they, with presumably it being winter and out of the operating season (apart from Santa specials) would have no cash coming in for their overheads and to pay anyone they owe etc.
    I've also heard that the shed is also on hold? I hope not as this I assume is key to steam on the Wensleydale?

    PS does any one know who the mystery buyer is??? Seems to be dragging on too long and the mystery only serves to suggest to everyone that its all a bit strange?
     
  22. Baxenden Bank

    Baxenden Bank Established Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    Joined:
    23 Oct 2013
    Nothing listed on the Land Registry database as a recent residential purchase nor an overseas company purchase on the full and November updates. Nor a domestic company purchase as far as I can download that data (it cuts off at the excel maximum lines limit).

    But these things can take a good while (months) to appear after a transaction has occurred.
     
  23. Marmaduke

    Marmaduke Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    4 Dec 2017
    A friend of mine has told me that he was talking to someone in the WR and that at the board meeting this Monday just gone, they apparently are close to closing the deal on the Aysgarth sale with the mystery buyer, whoever \ whatever they are.
    I guess these things take time?

    Someone else has just told me that this buyer is also possibly going to be investing in the WR taking a significant shareholding. If true sounds as though this buyer means business? Could be very good for WR?? Takes away the pressure of funding and running a railway, especially if they have deep pockets??

    I can't wait to see if this is indeed true. No smoke without fire as they say?

    Thoughts anyone???
     
  24. ThetrackMaster

    ThetrackMaster Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    13 Aug 2017
    Very interesting indeed if true?

    The sale of Aysgarth has indeed seemingly gone on for a while. I've always speculated about the true intentions of the mystery buyer. How would that go down with those shareholders and volunteers who have contributed to funds etc?

    I think that the WR should conclude this business asap and get on with the job of running a railway as this episode has been probably a distraction for the board.

    Whilst I was never in favour of the Aysgarth sale, I above all wish to see the WR not only survive but flourish. How that is to occur only knows??

    Selling assets is one thing, but apparently cheaply still raises a few questions.

    Interesting times ahead I think?
     
  25. IanD

    IanD Established Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    18 Sep 2011
    Location:
    Newport Pagnell
    I note the use of the word 'possibly', people will say and promise anything to get what they want. If he's that committed, he could have taken a shareholding and not grabbed the company's best asset at a knockdown price.

    Maybe I am too cynical so I would loved to be proved wrong.
     
  26. Worf

    Worf Member

    Messages:
    54
    Joined:
    12 Aug 2017
    I don't think you are being too cynical!
    That is how the guy (I think we all know who he is ;)) works.
     
  27. AndyY1951

    AndyY1951 Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    19 Oct 2017
    Location:
    Preston, Lancashire
    Having one person with a very big shareholding could indeed be very dangerous. Remember the attempted take-over of the Severn Valley by Nabarro? The thought of the SVR terminating short of Bridgnorth doesn't bear thinking about.
    Andy
     
  28. duffield

    duffield Member

    Messages:
    265
    Joined:
    31 Jul 2013
    Errr...No. Absolutely no idea. Am I the only one who doesn't know this?
     
  29. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Member

    Messages:
    394
    Joined:
    18 Apr 2016
    I'm with you Duffield......:s
    ...and I didn't know about the SVR - Nabarro situation......
    Mind you, given the PLC status of many preserved lines, what is to stop a mega rich person buying control of a complete running steam railway line? - to go with their mega boat, PL football club and private jet.
     
    Last edited: 14 Dec 2017 at 12:24
  30. ThetrackMaster

    ThetrackMaster Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    13 Aug 2017
    If you read a few pages back I think you will see who it is. Fairly common knowledge now. Carnforth...Red Jubilee....many locos
     

Share This Page