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Latest Blog Posts

Trust has gained 100 new members since July last year
Posted on 27th March 2020

27 March 2020.

The Trust is pleased to announce that since 1 July last year, the number of new members has now reached 100.

The membership levels of the Trust had been in decline for many years so this recent uplift is particularly heartening.

Why not join them? Click here to find out more.

Trust videos now available on YouTube
Posted on 23rd March 2020

YouTube logo

23 March 2020.

The Trust has a number of short videos available to view and to make them more accessible, they are now being added to YouTube - as well as being on Vimeo and some also on Facebook.

In particular, this will mean they can be viewed via many internet-connected TVs and recorder boxes.

Trust issues new Press Release - still no progress on the Washford situation
Posted on 20th March 2020

53808 in the yard at Washford during summer 2019

20 March 2020.

Nearly six weeks after receiving the Notice to Quit the Washford site, the Trust still has not received any response to its many questions for the WSR regarding this situation.

Our Chairman, Ian Young, has today issued a new Press Release. Click here for the full release in PDF format.

[Photo by Dave Temple]

Local MP seeking answers from WSR over £96,000 community grant
Posted on 13th March 2020

13 March 2020.

Further to the previous news item (Headteacher adds to chorus of disquiet about the WSR's treatment of heritage and community groups), Ian Liddell-Grainger MP is asking for answers to a series of questions about the use of a £96,000 community grant, as reported by the West Somerset Free Press.

The Free Press reports that the MP is seeking an urgent meeting with WSR Chairman Jonathan Jones-Pratt. The WSR said that claims about the grant being used for other purposes were untrue; audit trails would substantiate that, but that lessons had been learned.

Headteacher adds to chorus of disquiet about the WSR's treatment of heritage and community groups
Posted on 12th March 2020

12 March 2020.

The Executive Headteacher of two Primary Schools situated close to the West Somerset Railway - Crowcombe and Stogumber - has written an open letter to Jonathan Jones-Pratt, Chairman of the WSR plc, accusing him of having "isolated, intimated, driven out and ignored the community" in his time as Chairman.

The letter, which has been reported on by the Somerset County Gazette was copied to ourselves as well as the Trustees of the West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA), Trustees of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust (WSSRT), Opportunity Area Boards of Somerset County Council and Ian Liddell-Grainger MP.

An attitude of "if you don’t like it then leave" was prevailing without hearing the volunteer or community point of view, she claimed.

The Headteacher - whose school motto is "Stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong" - also took issue with the allocation of a £96,000 community fund intended to aid the engagement between the railway and the children of 18 local schools, amongst other community objectives. She alleged that the money "has been spent in other areas of the organisation and the key targets set out with that money are not now supporting the community engagement it was awarded for."

Responding to the Gazette, the WSR plc described the letter as wildly inaccurate and offensive and said that this was really a matter for the WSRA. WSRA Chairman Mike Sherwood acknowledged to the Gazette that the money may not have been spent in exactly the way that was set out in the original grant application but it had been spent on the agreed community engagement objectives, he claimed.



Press release - notice to leave Washford
Posted on 24th February 2020

24 February 2020.

We have released a press statement regarding the notice we have received to exit from the Washford site. Click here for the statement.

Trust receives 12 months notice to quit Washford site
Posted on 20th February 2020

53808 coming out of the yard at Washford

20 February 2020.

Ian Young, S&DRT Chairman, is sending the following letter to members:

"Dear member,

I am sorry to tell you that we have received a Notice to Terminate the agreement at Washford by February 10th 2021. It has been sent by solicitors acting for the West Somerset Railway plc.

This is very disappointing news for the Trust. The reason cited by the letter from their solicitors is that the WSR wishes to use the site for their own purposes though they have not furnished any further detail.

We cannot be certain of the outcome of this move but, whatever that might be, it will bring challenges to the Trust. At the same time I would ask you all to be assured that this does NOT indicate the end of the Trust, we will continue with our present activities as usual. I have no doubt that it will cause us to evaluate, as never before, what our strengths, weaknesses and ambitions are. However the Trust has faced difficulties in the past which have been overcome and we must seek the opportunities which will lie ahead.

We are seeking legal advice, and a response has already been sent to the WSR via their solicitors.

In the meantime, we will endeavour to keep you informed via the website. Please note that certain information may be reserved for the Members’ area."

Ian Young,
Chairman, Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust Ltd.

AGM documents now available for members
Posted on 10th February 2020

10 February 2020.

The initial documents for our 2020 AGM on Saturday 25 April are now available.

The agenda, draft minutes for the 2019 AGM and a Trustee/Director nomination form are all accessible via the members' area of our website.

Please note that there is plenty of time to consider whether to stand as a Director; earliest and last submission dates are noted on the form.