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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 71 - September 1992

From the Boardroom - Chairman's Jottings - Andrew Bratton

Management Structure

The new Management Structure is in place, and is working reasonably well at the higher level. But there are still not enough names in the organization chart to spread the workload, particularly in the train operation and engineering areas. The end result is that the Director of Engineering (alias the Chief Mechanical Engineer) and his assistant have to fill the gaps, leaving no time for restoration work e.g. L99. Wednesday steamings in particular have been short of loco crew and guards. Suggestions on how to involve new members and how to get them to take on responsibilities, would be welcome.

Mission Statement

The Executive Committee, now acting as Trustees, have reviewed the Mission Statement, since few members were able to relate to the original one. Their revised document is printed elsewhere in this issue (inside back page Eds.). The importance of this should not be underestimated since it establishes our sense of direction and limits our activities. It is of particular importance when we are seeking help from outside bodies. One element which is worth highlighting is that the Centre comes first; running trains out of the confines is principally a means of getting visitors to the Centre and enhancing its appeal.

Captain Peter Manisty

It was sad to hear that Capt. Peter Manisty passed away in June. As a former Chairman of the ARPS he has helped the preservation movement greatly. He has also been a close supporter of our Centre, the first to respond to any appeals and always putting in a good word for us when called upon.

Privatisation of BR

Having just read the newspaper commentaries on the Government's White Paper, I must say that it all looks most interesting.

They have chosen mass privatisation rather than handing over the railways to a few companies, thus minimizing the risk of large monopolies. If the newspapers are correct it will mean that any operator will have the right of access to the network but with 'strings attached'.

The significant points are:-

  • The tracks shall remain under BR's ownership (to be called Rail Track) until the turn of the century.
  • Signalling will be the responsibility of Rail Track.
  • Existing passenger lines will be offered to independent operators by a franchise Authority (the highest bid wins).
  • Freedom of access should be available to other operators of passenger trains even over franchised routes, providing necessary operational and safety standards can be met.
  • Any lines not franchised will continue to be operated by BR.
  • Arrangements for access to, and charges for, the line will be handled by an independent operator.
  • A Health & Safety Executive will set safety standards.
  • The Regulator will be responsible for the certification of certain staff, including drivers.
  • As an 'operator' we might be required to provide through ticketing.
  • Freight traffic will be privatised separately (if possible). The Regulator will have no power over freight; this could present problems.
  • In theory we could rent rolling stock from BR (if they have anything suitable left).

Legislation is expected in November, Royal assent in the summer of 1993, with the first passenger privatisation to start in April 1994 (freight and parcels in late 1993).

It all looks very promising, but there are some items of concern:

  • The Regulator will be responsible for reducing the environmental impact of the railways (smoke could be a problem).
  • There are no grants available to Rail Track for existing lines i.e. they must charge operators a rate to cover costs - this could be uneconomic.

Assuming that these points are not prohibitive, I can foresee a significant use of privately owned steam trains operating on the network. Who knows, in addition to running a regular service to Aylesbury, we might run trains further afield. Furthermore, a daily Pullman service might one day run again from Quainton to London, and Aylesbury station might be under new control: neither are likely but the opportunities are there. The main thing is that our talks with BR over running to Aylesbury do continue. Nothing in the White Paper hinders this; in fact it provides an ideal framework.

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1992 and so does not reflect events in the 20+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

From the Boardroom - Chairman's Jottings - Andrew Bratton - Quainton News No. 71 - September 1992

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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