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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 29 - Autumn 1976

A Letter to the Editor

From: Flt Sgt R G Hunter
No 18 Squadron

Having recently been forced by circumstances beyond my control to sever temporarily my working association with the Society, I feel it is an opportune moment to say a few pertinent things to the Society, about the Society.

Now that we have purchased a large part of the Up-yard, I hope that my observations take on a new meaning.

Basically the Society is quite good, within its terms of reference and the size of its membership, although there are a few areas that could do with improving and I'll come to those later. Having been co-opted on to the Executive Committee for nearly one year I have seen the Society problems from the 'other side of the fence' and there is only one way in my mind to describe it. The Executive Committee are not getting the support of the majority of the membership on some decisions it makes although as our elected representatives they should be getting it 100% of the time. I found that the Committee, no detriment to them, are trying to please everybody all of the time, which is impossible! Therefore some sections of the Society are disappointed and tend to withdraw their support at a most crucial time, which as I see it is not the way to help a Society such as ours! Our Society needs a lot more support in the field of practical assistance from our members; this new project for the Up-yard is an ideal opportunity for us to show the rest of the Railway Preservation movement that we are not the "BARRY of BUCKS" which is a reputation that I feel we are getting. It is an opportunity that will not come our way for a long time again, so let's make the best of it. If the economic situation continues to deteriorate, I can see in the not-too distant future that some Societies are going to feel the pinch and be forced into an amalgamation to survive, so let us make sure that we are not one of those. Let us therefore take this opportunity and make ourselves a leader in the field of Railway Preservation, NOW! for tomorrow might be too late!

I mentioned earlier that in my estimation there are a few areas that need improving; well the main one is co-operation between the various sections of the Society. We are all members of the same Society, but looking around on some Sundays you wouldn't think so. It surprises me that gang warfare hasn't broken out; on the surface all very friendly but that's as far as it seems to go, giving assistance to another section seems to be frowned upon, unless the section head just about gets down on one knee and pleads. It shouldn't be this way-you've all got to pull together otherwise you'll pull it apart!

One last point-Permanent Way. I might be biased on that point but that is immaterial. I found that the Department is the Cinderella of the Society. Very few members wanted to know when asked to help unless of course it was in their own interest. I hope that attitude has changed. Please never forget, if you don't have the track in the proper condition and correctly maintained, as it is at the moment, everybody might as well go home; because if it isn't then we fail in the prime objective of the Society "to be a working museum" and without the track nothing can work properly. The few regulars of Permanent Way do the impossible immediately and the miracles nearly as fast. With the new project in the Up-yard bout to start the impossible is about to be performed. I wish I was there to give my time and effort to this mammoth task, but it is left to others in the Society to do so.

Those of you who watched the relaying of the Down-yard and Restoration Shed, and thought it was difficult should know that it is going to be child's play when compared with the planned changes in the Up-yard. I'm glad we had the opportunity to do the Down-yard, it has given an insight into the problems that will face both the Department and the Society in the next few years.

So in conclusion I wish everybody in the Society the very best of luck for the forthcoming years. I only wish I was there to help once again!

R G Hunter, F P W Inst
(Fellow of the Permanent Way Institute)

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1976 and so does not reflect events in the 39+ 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.

A Letter to the Editor - Quainton News No. 29 - Autumn 1976

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