Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Last Post - 1038

Dear Blog supporters and friend's of the Broadway Station Project.

Those who think I am removing the blog in a fit of pique do not know me at all! I will leave a copy of the Archived Blog on line, but it will not accept further comments or changes.

I have also created a new Blog call "Steaming to Broadway - the Next Chapter" which can be used by the BAG team if they wish.


135 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh no. This is a disaster.

What's gone wrong at this railway.

Geoff said...

Bill,

Very saddened to read this post. The work achieved by you and the team at Broadway and recorded in this excellent Blog by Jo and yourself has been outstanding. I'm not party to the politics but it is a damn shame that you find yourself in a position to be unable to see things through to completion.

Thank you!

Geoff

Alex said...

No! So sad to hear that Bill, will you still work on Broadway, or is that it completely?

Best wishes, and thanks for all the blog posts so far and the work done,

Alex

Anonymous said...

??? What happened?

Thomas Gray said...

Ah that's a real shame. Hope you're okay. We will all miss your regular updates. Are there any plans for someone else to takeover the blog?

Anonymous said...

WTF?

Buccaneer said...

Devastating News. A very sad day indeed.

Anonymous said...

Devasting news. It is difficult to convey just how much your efforts have been appreciated. The shockingly thin content of the Boardroom Blog, by contrast with Steaming to Broadway, is emblematic of much that is wrong with GWR today. Dark days indeed.

Paul said...

Sad to hear, you've kept me entertained with progress.

GWR 813 said...

I will miss this blog......a great shame on the GWSR Management.

Tim Sharman aka Norfolkman said...

Sorry to hear you've stepped down. I never met you but I followed (and occasionally commented) on your blog every Wednesday and Saturday to see the great progress being made at Broadway. I will miss the regular updates but I look forward to the day when Broadway is fully opened to daily steam trains, hopefully as a through station, on an even longer GWR between Honeybourne and Cheltenham High Street.

Anonymous said...

And the Campaign to reinstate Bill Britton starts when?

John F said...

What was the final straw ? A real disaster, very sorry to hear. What other sensible person will take this role on who will then be faced with the same attitude / policy of the GWR Board.

Anonymous said...

I have made a donation as a direct result of reading your blogs on the tremendous efforts of the Broadway team. What is happening? Someone owes us an explanation. I am angry.
Mike Rose South Wales.

Anonymous said...

Very reminiscent of when Temple was in charge, except now we have his puppet at the front!

Anonymous said...

People unaware of the reasons for this should read the relevant thread on the National Preservation site about the designs for the station building....

Dave said...

If the GWSR members care for their heritage then they need to call an EGM so the Board can explain to the members and shareholders why its intention since 2013 has always been to build a cheap non GWR heritage station at Broadway along the lines of CRC only bigger and uglier.
This fact was witheld from BAG until their AGM two weeks ago.
There was dissent and Bill has paid the price.

Anonymous said...

1. EGM held where the Board acknowledges its deliberate misdirection of BAG, shareholders and thousands of blog readers the sponsors who have contributed money to the BAG project.
2. Shareholders initiate a Vote of No Confidence in Mr Bielby. Mr Bielby is relieved of his position or quits.
3. Bill Britton reinstated to lead BAG.
4. Fundraising scheme for the Heritage GWR roof at Broadway is launched as suggested on National Preservation site (https://www.national-preservation.com/threads/broadway-station-gwr-roof-fund.486269/page-1).

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dave for your explanation. As an outsider I had no idea. I just admired the work on platforms, signal box, footbridge etc. even Robin cleaning the bricks. Yep, you need an EGM, reinstate Bill, get that board in front of it's shareholders. Don't underestimate the financial power of the blogs.
Mike Rose.

tin1 nit2 said...

This is indicative of what happens when little people think they can wield enormous power and trample on the guys who actually make the railway what it is, everyone wants to see a true GWR station not a cheap misrepresentation of one.
Bill Britton and his associates has given their heart and soul inthe recreation of Broadway and the board should recognise this.
Again a case of faceless idiots with too much power.
COME BACK BILL.
Graham Handley

Anonymous said...

I believe the board are trying to get Broadway open as soon as possible, and in turn looking for ways to cut costs which will speed things up. The canopy is one, and I am sure there are other cost saving at the expence of authenticity on the table as well. The current board are very poor on communications and need to spell out exactly what's going on. There are always two sides to the story and they need to tell their side as a matter of urgency.

Anonymous said...

Like the previous chairman, Bileby is as arrogant, has no people skills and probably would be best if he stood down!

Anonymous said...

While I admire what Bill and all the Broadway team have done perhaps before we all jump to conclusion about who or what is to blame for Bill's departure we should wait for comments from all parties. Making judgements without the facts is very unwise and could be very damaging to the Railway that we all wish to support.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I knew this would happen. The GWR chairman has forgotten the railway runs on volunteers [especially at Broadway], without their support he is nothing. He should reflect on his position and contritely ask their indulgence for his foolishness and allow them to continue their excellent work in recreating the station building as it was originally. It takes a big man to admit he is wrong and the Chairman should show he is worthy of the trust placed in him.

Regards

Martin

Anonymous said...

fully agree with Martin.... the Chairman should do some explaining first.... then start looking at plan B rather fast....use the momentum thats going to build positivly rather than await the same negative reaction that seems to follow the WSRA farce....
Ian H -- Contribuitions on hold until information forthcoming

Anonymous said...

Such a shame to see all these recriminations and knee jerk comments from people with few or limited facts. Why Bill has decided to resign is his choice and I do not believe that he was asked to do so by the GWSR board. Bill has done some really good work and it is a shame that he feels he needs to do this.
That said people need to remember that Broadway is only one of five stations on the GWR and cannot set the agenda for the entire railway. As I understand it the amount of money required to do everything that the Broadway group would like to do, and to get the track and infrastructure from Laverton to Broadway, is substantial and possibly beyond that achievable in a single share push. Therefore some compromises may have to be made, however with proper thought and discussion they can be done in a way that allows things to be continued and completed in a satisfactory way in the future. I would have thought that the standard of construction of the Broadway signal box shows that the GWSR board have no intention of building any more buildings like those at Gotherington and Cheltenham. The directors of the GWSR plc board have a difficult job to manage the viability of the railway and balance this with the aspirations of many diverse groups, often with very different ideas of how things should be done and all very vociferous. Remember that the GWSR directors do are all volunteers too and give up a lot of their valuable time. There are many legal and financial obligations upon the directors and slagging them off publically does not help the GWR in any way whatsoever. The GWSR plc board is firstly and foremost responsible to the shareholders of the railway, to run the railway as a successful enterprise. The people who raised over £500,000 by buying shares for Bridges to Broadway would like to see their investment being put to use. Being able to operate to Broadway will bring additional passengers and income to the railway which can hopefully be reinvested in the whole railway including more work at Broadway. Therefore setting a sensible timescale and budget to get trains into Broadway is something that needs to be done.
It would be far better to have sensible debates on what can and cannot be achieved and sensible compromises reached so that we can get trains running to Broadway. Talking things through and understanding is far better than mudslinging and insulting people and is far more likely to achieve a sensible result. Demanding that people resign and agitating for EGMs just sets the whole railway back and upsets a lot of hard working volunteers who are trying to do their best.

Signed, A concerned volunteer and shareholder.

tin1 nit2 said...

Mr Anonymous,
I agree with a lot of the comments you make but why cant the GWSR board do this, as can be seen from their blog,comments are few and far between. Surely it is in the best interests of the Broadway project to keep Bill Britton on board

Graham Handley

Dave said...

Have you tried talking things through with Alan Bielby?

I emailed him asking politely why the Broadway Build resembled the CRC build, ie curtain wall with steelwork poking through.

His response was to abuse me and accuse me of peddling untruths.

A study of the plans proves that I was correct however and the untruth was the assurance to the council when the plans were submitted that the new Braodway would be " as close as possible in appearance to the original".

You can't talk to Bielby. His approach has always been my way or the highway, as Bill has found out.

Anonymous said...

As the humble muck mixer at CRC2 and thus totally out of the Broadway scene, I feel we should be very circumspect with our judgmental comments currently.
In my experience, most people are trying to do their best most of the time. Let us wait for the full story to develop.
For the record, on the occasions I have volunteered for other humble jobs like car park attendant or crossing assistant, I have often found our Chairman working along side me. I assume this is because we were desperatlely short of people. This is not a sign of aloof management.

John Oates - Hon Muckmaker (2nd Class) CRC2

yamfaz said...

There is a lot of good will towards the GWSR, just look at how the Heritage community supported the embankment slip at Chicken Curve. If this is down to the design of the station building, then the board need to get it right. Broadway is going to be a major show piece station and investing in the right design now will pay dividend in the future. Also a good design will get financial support from the wider Heritage community. Broadway is a destination station with lots of tourist it demands to be right with good facilities.

Anonymous said...

Blog readers may wish to ask the chairman what has led to this situation at chairman@gswr.com and see if an explanation is forthcoming.

John F said...

The first thing the punters will see at Broadway, many of who will start their journey there, will be the station, how it looks and the feel of it. I would have thought it would pay off in many ways to get it as close to the original as possible. It would seem that most people on here would agree. Does anybody know the cost differences of the two schemes? that would help in the understanding of both parties positions, agreeing or not.

Garry said...

Sorry to hear of your stepping down Bill. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the progress on the station and will miss the updates.
Hopefully, this is a temporary situation and we will see you back at the helm soon.

Best wishes,
Garry

GWR Board Room Blog said...

I was as surprised as everyone else to visit Broadway yesterday and be told that Bill had resigned. This came out of the blue and I am as sorry as everyone else to receive this news. Bill has done a fantastic job in developing and leading the teams at Broadway and I am sure that I speak for the Board in expressing our fullest appreciation. I can understand and share his frustration that funds cannot be made available to fully complete the station prior to our target opening date. However it must be remembered that the station is no use without track and supporting equipment reaching it and so funding the extension to Broadway must be considered as a whole. It is a very expensive project and we must be prepared to work within our means.
The teams at Broadway have become very well establisehd under Bill's leadership and work will continue exactly as before. He has indicated that he is not prepared to reconsider so we have no choice but to seek a replacement project manager for the station. A working group of directors oversees the extension and they will be acting on this.

I have been actively pursuing the Broadway extension since I joined the railway and am as eager as anyone to see it come to fruition - if some parts have to be completed after the opening date this is far better than delaying the whole project just for the sake of completing non-essential parts - such as the waiting room on platform 2. Perhaps I should add that the debate over the design of the station building canopy has largely been a crusade by a small group and the cost to meet their aspirations is estimated into six figures - an impact not considered justified by the great majority of those interested in the rebuild of Broadway station.

Bill's resignation is much regretted but cannot be allowed to impact on our reaching Broadway by 2018 as promised to so many of our supporters.

Alan Bielby, Chairman and Projects Director of the Plc (and Ex-Chairman of the Broadway Area Group)

HowardGWR said...

Not good enough Alan. A shareholder. Just put in what can be done until the special fund suggested raises the money for an authentic building. Please.

Geoff said...

Alan

Thank you for your post outlining the situation from the Board's point of view. I agree with your view that reaching Broadway and getting it up and running must be the main objective for the railway and care should be taken over how the finances are managed to achieve this. I note you accept some parts of the station may not be completed prior to opening and I think the majority of the members and the railway enthusiast community would approve of such an approach.

However, where we disagree is on the design of the canopy. The new Broadway station building should be the jewel in the crown of the GWSR and to compromise the design in order to ensure it is in place for the re-opening (which I understand is what you would like to achieve) would be an error. Much better to take the time and get it right long term than rush things and cut corners in the short term and regret in the future.

I would also suggest that the disagreement on Nat Pres and elsewhere is not simply a small crusade. I would guess the majority of the GWSR membership are unaware that the planned design is not what we all see at Toddington and are expecting to see at Broadway.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear you are leaving Bill. Your blog has given a great deal of pleasure to many and will be very sadly missed. I wish you well. Rob.

Alex said...

You cannot say pushing for a heritage canopy for Broadway was only a small group, it has developed significant interest among readers both here and on NatPres. Perhaps a somewhat radical idea would be to register yourself there Alan and front the problem head on, I can assure you that whilst there will be robust discussion, it will be playing the ball and not the player. Where does the six figure come from, surely you don't mean that's the difference between what's planned and what's desired? It seemed the other day that things were looking a bit brighter, that you'd look at alternatives, but now it's back to ignoring the wishes.

Whilst it is true many average visitors won't notice, the enthusiasts will, and een though enthusiasts count for a relatively small % passengers, the account a lot more the financial support on the railway, to alienate them might not affect the railway short term, but in the long term support might dry up for larger projects.

Geoff said...

Alex,

I disagree, I think the average visitors will notice albeit indirectly. They may not pick up exactly why but having the correct roof will feel right and give the correct ambiance which will be lacking with the proposed alternative.

Consider visiting a real old castle with one built as part of a theme park or similar - it may look sort of the same and have most of the bits in the right place but you will notice the difference.

Geoff

Alex said...

I'm sure some average visitors will notice, my point stands though, that it seems the board are focussing more on passenger numbers and not caring about upsetting the enthusiast community who the railway relies on for support in appeals and the like.

Dave said...

Mr Bielby states that the cost of an authentic Broadway station is an "impact not considered justified by the great majority of those interested in the rebuild of Broadway station."

How would he know? They, the members, the shareholders, have never been asked their opinion of the non GWR design he intends and which only emerged at BAGs AGM two weeks ago.

Not even an artists impression has been produced of the radically different design.

Almost to a man the contributors to the Nat Pres thread, and this blog have offered to contribute to a fund to build an authentic canopy.

If he truly believes this is not the position of the majority then he will be vindicated if he puts it to a democratic vote.

Mick said...

It would appear that Mr Bielby and his fellow board members are as interested in getting it right as those lazy/ignorant/penny-pinching film and TV producers who, when their script calls for a steam train in a scene, are happy to see a BR Standard loco on a rake of Mark 1 coaches regardless of the period that is actually being represented.

Anonymous said...

I have recently returned from Ravenna in Italy having seen the stunning mosaics from the past. We were privileged to visit a school where students used and cut coloured marble to copy the ancient originals. If parts were missing they copied the original damage exactly. You could go down the road to commercial workshops where painted mosaics in trendy frames were sold at a profit.
What has this got to do with Broadway. The skill of corbelling, original bricks, cast iron posts, wood windows in a signal box, slate roof with cast iron vents, clever brickwork, charming chimney - volunteer heritage building at it's best, meticulously recorded.
Now you could go down the road, meet an artificial deadline, profit from your investment, and commercially cheapen the past as your chairman has suggested.
I know as an outsider, which I would prefer.
Mike Rose

Anonymous said...

I think Mr Rose just nailed it precisely !!!

Anonymous said...

I shall miss this blog immensely. it kept me interested in life through some very dark days of family illness. the blog was the only reason I subscribed to the share offer. I am not a railway enthusiast, I just marvel at how much effort all at Broadway have put in to things over the past years. even as it stands it's an incredible achievement.

please, nobody burn any bridges.

Harvey

Anonymous said...

The last costing figure for providing a canopy roof that I heard about was £80k.

Anonymous said...

Steaming to Broadway is one of the best blogs around and I will be very sad to see it stop. I have no personal connection with the railway but as a casual visitor I certainly find the non authentic buildings, especially the CRC and Gotherington signal boxes jar somewhat. The heritage railway scene has been built on the determination of decent people fighting against the odds and incidents like this and the West Somerset Railway shenanigans will drive away both punters and enthusiasts. No institution is perfect but heritage railways have been very good at setting an example to the population at large of what the silent decent majority can do. Please sort this out people and let Bill's blog speak again.

Alex

GWR Board Room Blog said...

It is interesting that a blog talking about Bill's regrettable resignation is now focussing on the design of the canopy roof - perhaps my fault for mentioning it at all. It is more concerning that the start of all the canopy debate was based on false information suggesting that the proposed design would look like that at CRC station - wrong! The canopy design is full width, full height and over 50% glass - none of which can be said of CRC (which had to take account of a very small available width of platform). The only change from Toddington is the underpinning steelwork which is a direct extension of the building frame. There are significant benefits in this as the building length can be determined by operational needs and not the equal spacing of uprights to support a regular lattice framework. The estimated additional cost of the framwork alone is around £80k but the necessary increase in building length, if it could be accommodated, will push this up significantly hence a six figure estimate. By the way the full height curtain wall is a fire regulation requirement - we are currently looking for relaxation on this which of course would save on materials and construction cost as well as taking out one item that we all would like to avoid.
Those closest to the design debate are in the BAG itelf and they have been asked to indicate their majority preference for the way forward. Initial responses are in favour of proceeding with the current design - when we receive the formal majority response it will be put to the steering group and if necessary the Board for consideration. The Board are the elected representatives of the shareholders and will make the final decision if one is required. If anyone wishes to see the response I sent to 'Dave' on this subject, send me an email (chairman@gwsr.com) and I will be happy to send you a copy.

Alan Bielby

Anonymous said...

I glance across my screen and see "Broadway Station-please help us to make the dream a reality"
There is going to be a debit on the balance sheet for getting the rails to Broadway,let along the buildings if the dream turns into a nightmare.Bill going will probably set the GWSR back in terms of support, so no things will not carry on as normal for certainly a period of time.
yesterdays missed blog on progress being 1st example.
Would it not be possible to erect the waiting room and bridge 1st along with the rails, then take your time on the main station building.
Lots of people have managed with temp facilities and "see the station grow" could be an added attraction in the meantime. Sort of come and visit and live the blog.
Life is full of compromises, surely theres room for some here.
My visit yesterday & subsequent HMRC's kindly donation to BAG funds was based on the perception that after the BAG AGM there might be a bit of wriggleroom/give & take. If that isn't the case then the GWSR board will soon see the donations falling away.
If thats the compromise the board are interested in, then thats their choice.
Unlike my other shareholdings, I'm not expecting a return on capital or even a capital return on my GWSR shares. The people who bought shares to fund the bridges have indeed seen their investment put to good use, as I did with seeing Chicken Curve repaired.
So if that argument is to be used, surely then ask the shareholders if they are willing to fund an authentic GWR station building.

Barry M

Anonymous said...

Smell the coffee and live in the real world. When do you want Broadway Station to open. Many years to come in which case all the effort generated was wasted as the box will fall into disrepair and nature will reclaim the site. Or go with the design no matter how much it upsets the purist. The average visitor doesn't care how it looks as long as it keeps them in the dry and provides basic human facilities. Remember the jewel in the crown is not Broadway Station as there is nothing there to keep the customer's interests. Rather it's the entire railway experience that is the GWSR. Oh and I forgot the village of Broadway some distance away from the railway. Short term I'd be happy for the railway to put the track down, provide basic facilities in the form of a modular building (portacabin) and start running whilst fund raising goes on in the back ground. At the end of the day the GWSR is a business and has to be run like one. Not such giant train set that you can pick up and put down when you want. By the way I'm not connected with the Board or the GWSR but have seen how corrosive these incidents are to hold back positive developments at a number of heritage railways around the country.

Perry said...

The elevations drawing BW010 show how the canopy is to be constructed. Why weren't questions asked then?

http://wam.wychavon.gov.uk/WAM/doc/Plans%20-%20incl.%20OS%20extracts-932435.pdf?extension=.pdf&id=932435&location=volume2&appid=1001&contentType=application/pdf&pageCount=1

Alex said...

Mr Anonymous @ 15:21; no one is suggesting delaying the opening of Broadway, but just rather than build something inauthentic that will remain forever instead, if necessary wait a little longer and get it right.

As you say, the GWSR is a business, but it relies on volunteers and donations mostly from enthusiasts, upset the enthusiasts and there will be problems.

Dave said...

Mr Bielby

Steelwork poking out of a blank brick wall is just that. It can never be spun as Toddington style with just a few minor adjustments as you would like it to be perceived.

Its CRC only bigger with glass thats all.

You cannot polish a turd.

Richard said...

Very sorry to hear you've stepped down Bill. And I'm sorry to Alan and the board but I too feel that the response is simply not good enough. When other lines are going out of their way to produce such wonderful fine Authentic station buildings, why shouldn't Broadway be the crown of the Railway and a pride of the town? You wouldn't plan to build a restaurant in the middle of Broadway then decide to replace it with a Portercabin, so why should the station be the same? What's next for the board, Network Rail Style bus shelters? Cheltenham Racecourse has always been a subject of disappointment architecturally, so why should we have to do the same at the opposite end of the line? If there's little sign of bothering to produce an authentic station, then I feel that my donations will be better off with other lines like the Swanage. And the last remaining 1900s Bricks I had in store for the station too. I've always been a fan of the GWR & GWSR, and would be very sorry to see Broadway being built not as a GWR style station. Set the railway back maybe? But I would rather have things done properly, and not on the cheap. If the East Lancs or Swanage can do such a thing, or GWSR in the early days with Winchcombe, then why can't Broadway be the same?

Signed one very disappointed fundraiser and supporter.

Rob Young said...

Whilst I agree with the principal that the Board are the ultimate decision makers, Bill's resignation is a loss for the GWR. I add my support for every effort to be made to find a way to get Bill to change his mind, the GWR can ill afford to lose people of his capability.

This and the affiliated blogs have been a fantastic way to share with a much wider audience the achievements of the BAG over the last few years. If Bill cannot be persuaded to change his mind then I hope a successor can be found to continue the blogs. That said it will be a huge challenge for someone to maintain the standards that have been set.

On a personal level I have never met Bill although after several years of reading his wonderful blogs I feel that I know him well. Bill, if this is the end of your involvement in the BAG then thank you so much for what you have done. The blogs have allowed me to share in some small way what has been a fabulous journey. Everyone with an interest in the GWR owes you a debt of gratitude.

Best regards Rob

Dave said...

For BAG members. Before you vote for Mr Bielbys station you may care to have look at this mock up of how it may look.

http://railways.national-preservation.com/threads/broadway-station-gwr-roof-fund.486269/page-4#post-1155402

I rest my case

Anonymous said...

Alan Bielby said "Those closest to the design debate are in the BAG itelf and they have been asked to indicate their majority preference for the way forward. Initial responses are in favour of proceeding with the current design - when we receive the formal majority response it will be put to the steering group and if necessary the Board for consideration".Thankyou it shows the concrete hasn't set.
If they are the guys who will build it & the money is in the bank to fund it-then I guess shareholders/donors are out of the equation.
But wouldn't it be nice to canvass the views of the shareholders as well. Perhaps an online referendum if that were possible?

BarryM

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear the way things have turned out. I doubt anyone deliberately or maliciously misled anyone, just the usual variant interpretations of the same statements, each assuming they shared a clear understanding when they did not.
In all fairness the building design does look quite GWR ( and quite possibly how they would build it today if they were still in business! :) ). But I do understand that some/ many/ most think it is not close enough now the differences have been made clear ( all a bit hitch hikers guide to the galaxy with Arthur Dent).
I also understand the imperatives to get the station up and running.
Looking to the future we are in a bind. If there is enough good will, it may be possible to raise extra funds so Broadway can be all it can be, assuming changes can be made and drawings modified. But this may cost an awful lot of money, and even fund raising may simply take money from other valuable projects on the railway. I certainly only have so much disposable income for good causes.

I wish you all the best.

Colin (Perth WA)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to read of Bill's resignation. Perhaps instead of paying about £60k for 3? full time staff, they should either go or do the job as 'volunteers'. Money saved could go towards Broadway GWR style station. Does not seem that the Board are find ways to fund projects ie look at the WHR. They got there line build quickly. They must have got funding from EU/GOV or other sources.
At least, whem Malcom Temple was about, he provided almost daily news/updates. Somewhat lacking at present.
All the best Bill
Trevor J
Derby

Concerned Volunteer said...

At no point during this rapidly growing thread has any mention been made of the Heritage Group that was announced in a recent edition of The Cornishman. Surely this is their opportunity to step up to the plate and act as mediators, if they have not already done so? This whole affair is blowing out of all proportion and somebody needs to provide a calming influence. Resignations and demands for further resignations are not conducive to progress and order needs to be restored soonest. It is probable that a suitable compromise can be reached; if getting the correct design is a matter of cost, why not delay that part of the project until sufficient funds are available as a result of the forecast increase in revenue? It does seem that popular expectation is that Broadway station will be completed in its entirety prior to the arrival of the railway. Given that Cheltenham existed for a number of years without signalling and a second platform, it seems odd to expect the finished article to be at Broadway in the early years of operation. So in summary, GWRT and associated Heritage Group, step up to the mark and sort this mess out PDQ.

Buccaneer said...

If you regard the GWSR as a people carrier rather than a heritage experience, you might just find out why the line closed in the first place. The same argument is going on a lot of the heritage railways at the moment, in particular the NYMR. Why not buy some redundant Pacers and some Bus Shelters. No blog, no funds.

Anonymous said...

Dear Trevor in Derby,
I do not feel that taking a pop at the few paid staff that we have is appropriate. When the railway is extended to Broadway, it is difficult to imagine how more than one train a day will operate without some increase in paid staff. Perhaps this whole thread may never have been started if the railway had employed and paid a project manager to avoid what is essentially a cost versus quality debate.

Alex said...

I agree, no point complaining about the few paid staff we have, many lines smaller than us have many more, we do very well. The whole reason they are paid is because we can't get volunteers to do those jobs as it is full time.

TonyH Stockholm said...

Why not use a portacabin to begin with. IF IT works at other railways.....build the waitingroom and once sufficient funds are available a proper station building and canopy would replace the Portacabin. Look at the WHR , they were up and running before facilities at Porthmadoc were enlarged and they are only now looking at replacing their temporary accomodation at Caernavon.

Alex said...

People have talked about Portacabins, I think we'll be well ahead of that, so we'll be doing well compared to other railways even if we take our time and only do what we can afford.

By the way, has heritage lottery funding been looked at, specifically just for the canopy? Little knowledge with these things, but I'd have thought applying for a grant specifically for the canopy rather than just general rebuilding of the station might go down better?

Martin Lockwood said...

Hi Bill

The regularity and quality of your and Jo Rosen's blog speaks volumes about the standard of organisation provided for the volunteers at Broadway. Checking on the progress at Broadway provides a highlight for me on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. Politics can be a wretchedly corrosive business, but I hope I speak for all those who would wish to work at Broadway, but can't at present, in that we wish for the best possible station to be built at Broadway. If one has to work from a Portacabin whilst it is being built, so be it. Surely the end is worth the means.

With my best wishes to you, Jo and all the volunteers.

Martin

Sylvanian-Queen said...

Look at Kidderminster... I was 6months old when they got to kiddy and the station is yet to be completed (platform canopy)
For me personally I would prefer to see things done properly , even if it takes time. It's not about the here and now, it's about something for future generations!

Tim Sharman said...

You don't need to complete the station building before running trains to Broadway. I worked on the North norfolk railway's Holt extension and when we opened it in 1989 we made do with just a portakabin as a station building! Eventually we rebuilt the former Stalham station on site over a decade after the first trains ran. I used to follow the Bluebell Railway's extension blog, when they opened to East Grinstead, they also made do with temporary station facilities. I would urge the GWR not to sacrifice the superb future station design for a cheap and nasty substitute, just use a portakabin until the station is completed.

Anonymous said...

...and here I was thinking it was only the WSR that were having 'politics problems'. It appears there is a new corporate ethos in the heritage railway world. Great shame, especially as so many have put a lot of personal effort into this project.

John Walker said...

Bill, Your blog has been my "soap opera" for the past many months... only much better! It's featured different characters, dilemmas & crisis, domestic drama and some sadness. It's also been uplifting, amusing and hugely entertaining. Now the latest episode has taken on a new twist. I hope that there is a happy ending for all the heroic cast and especial to you Bill. Please note I've tried my best to avoid references to any villainous characters in the tale!

Anonymous said...

I wonder reading, some of the comments on here what happened to ONE railway ?. It occurs to me that there is a lot of vitriol because a group, all be it a very hard working and dedicated group, can not seemingly get what they want when they perceive they want it. Let us not forget that there are many many members working extremely hard and long hours to keep OUR Railway operational and to see it develop, all be it without huge debts and large overdrafts. Money has to be spent each year on maintenance and the operational needs of GWSR and no one knows what this years income or indeed expenditure will be. As this debate goes on let us not forget those I have mentioned who work extremely hard to bring in those passengers each year and make their visit enjoyable so that we can even contemplate extending to Broadway or elsewhere Sorry Bill has stood down and hope he will reconsider. A volunteer and shareholder

Anonymous said...

Its very sad that the Broadway project has been tainted by public displays of infighting. Many points of view have been raised and pretty much all have their validities but I do hope the relevant parties stand back and look at the bigger picture. I too have always enjoyed the regular blog updates and I hope that Bill can continue with them at least as a keen and interested individual if not back as a key element in the rebuilding project.
I was once a committee member of a local rugby club, initials are SRFC, but many at the club felt that the "S" stood for "secret". I can't help but ponder the parallel of "S" in "GWSR". Communication is a wonderful thing and should be encouraged to avoid misconceptions, gossip and malaise. Glasnost & Perestroika come to mind!
My interest is admittedly from the sidelines but being the son of a former "Lancy & York" cleaner at Wigan, after national service a Fireman at Barnwood (LMS) and the last man to be passed as a driver on steam in Gloucester when relocated to Horton Rd (GWR) I just find it sad that the line on which my father shed plenty of sweat is reduced to such negativity.
There appears to be two intelligent men who have share one common objective, the successful extension of the line to Broadway. You are both better than to part company when there is so much good to come in the years ahead.......but please put an end to the secrecy.
Andy Toohig.

Simon Coleman said...

oh my word.
Sad day indeed. Politics Politics Politics!!! Why is good honest hard work and enthusiasm often overlooked these days? Some explanation is required by the board I feel. The effort you have put in Bill, will be hard to match by anyone trying to fill your shoes. I hope you are well, and are able to work in some way going forward. I have been lucky to have professional dealings with you regarding the Broadway works and never had cause for complaint or issue with anything that has been requested or required by you. VERY BEST WISHES for the future. Shocked is an understatement.

Dave said...

Let's step back please. The GWSR Board has, commendably, invited alternative proposals. It will get them, and I hope it will think long and hard about its response before falling back on any pre-conceived solutions. When it makes its decisions it must communicate them, together with its rationale, to all volunteers and interested parties on the Railway. That is essential to restore morale and trust. Meanwhile, public mud-slinging, insults and lectures need to stop. Now, please.

Anonymous said...

i hope no one under estimates how much this blog has meant to the profile of the project so if it dies with bill then so willmy interest and donations

Belgrade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

As an enthusiastic and regular blog reader, I am very sad to hear of the situation that has arisen here. My feelings are very much like the majority of those expressed by other people more informed that myself, so I need not repeat the same things. I ought to say that, as yet, I have not given any contributions to the Broadway rebuild except as a visitor to the on site shop. However, I had planned to make a sizeable donation when my finances permitted. Like many others, I'm sure, this has been inspired by the progress so far on the station rebuild, coupled with Frederick Lea's impression of the rebuilt station. The signalbox is a masterpiece, so much better than that at CRC. To compromise that authentic style by cutting corners on the projected station building and canopy seems very short-sighted but, more importantly, I see it as a betrayal of those people who have given donations to see the station rebuilt as planned. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them feel they wanted their money back; then what would the board do? I shall certainly think twice before making any donation of my money. Like many others, I don't see why the station building can't wait. Whilst I agree that getting the railway to Broadway should be priority, hopefully increasing income as a result, surely that income should be tapped to complete the job to the best standards. After all, a poor station building will be a let down if the signalbox looks as good as it does. As another reply states, the rebuilding of an authentic building could indeed be an attraction in itself. I for one should be interested to witness it's progress. I hope this sad situation can find a beneficial resolution for all interested parties and I shall keep tabs on the web to see what happens. However, I'm sad to say that my enthusiasm for the railway has taken a big hit which will inform my planning for any future possible visits. I wish everybody at Broadway well in their endeavours. Barry D. Friend

Anonymous said...

Further to a previous comment about the GWSR being a railway to nowhere, has it ever been considered that when trains eventually get to Broadway a heritage bus ride into Broadway village itself might be an additional fund raiser/attraction?

BarryM

Anonymous said...

Very sorry for Bill and all volunteers on the Broadway gang. A lot of hard work and effort has been put in for many years and I wish him and them all the best for the future.
I do however feel that simply the amount of messages here on this one thread shows the level of feeling here, if you take away the mud slinging and various comments you can still see why everyone feels as they do, from where I'm standing they've been sold an item or a goal, with a lovely artistic picture and lots of talk of heritage and detail, they have invested their money in exactly this, only now very much "too far down the road" to find that in fact they may well get a watered down version !
It is not fair to dismiss or try to dismiss these contributors (whether financial or volunteers) as there has simply been a lack of transparency and a distinct lack of communication. I only hope that this can be resolved quickly before the talk of people trying to get money back grows and becomes a nasty and possibly hurtful process, which could take a long time to recover from !!
Basically you cannot sell someone a racehorse only to turn up with a donkey, they are similar but very very different.

Mark Smith said...

Terribly shocked to hear of your resignation Bill. As a regular blog follower I checked at least twice a week for updates, we only met twice but I can still remember the look of great pleasure on your face when I brought a bootful of ready-cleaned blue bricks!
Please reconsider; the blog is the window to the world on a wonderful project: a story of teamwork, dedication and doing things right even if that takes a little longer...

Anonymous said...

Everybody get a grip before we have the Mickey Mouse Express pulling into 'Broadway- sponsored by Disneyland'

Anonymous said...

I have woken up this morning still mourning my bi-weekly dose of delight from Broadway. Reading the many comments posted since I last blogged it would seem that there is a strong desire among many followers for sensible rational compromise. Inevitably many of those who support heritage railways are 'anti-establishment' because it was this inclination that caused so many to fight Dr Beeching in the first place. Equally inevitably over the years the requirements of economic reality have forced even the most romantic to make some compromises, although often the worst compromise has been to wait. However it still seems to me that the underlying determination to 'get it right' has been able to keep control of the those whose pragmatism allow the odour of the theme park to enter our movement. I have no direct connection with either Mr Bielby or Mr Britton but I would be devastated to find that two men who, from what they have said, care so much about our movement cannot find common ground. It would be helpful if the full details of this disagreement were published, thereby undermining the rumour mill, but it would seem to me that Mr Britton is right in wanting the best quality building and Mr Bielby in wanting the financial advantages of the Broadway extension as soon as possible and that all that comes between them is time. Surely, as many have said, a portacabin and a little humble pie on all sides will sort this out!

Hoping that all concerned woke up with clearer head this morning, and please let us have our blog back

Alex Barnes

Geoff said...

Picking up on a point in the previous post. A lot of the comments have related to the canopy/building design and it is assumed that this the reason for Bill resigning. It may well be but as Mr Bielby intimated in one of his posts it may not be, we don't know.

The comments above that have stood out the most to me are the ones complimenting Bill (and Jo) on the blog. I can but agree with these. Many are the Saturday and Wednesday evenings that I have impatiently clicked refresh waiting to see what changes and developments had taken place and the interest and goodwill that these updates have generated for the site should not be underestimated so thank you again Bill, they will be missed.

Conversely, the popularity means that current issues relating to station design are reaching a wider audience than they may have done otherwise so perhaps all posters should think carefully before posting too inflamatory. They say there is no such thing as bad publicity but let's not undermine the fantastic work done at Broadway and across the railway as a wholeby presenting the GWSR in a bad light.

Anonymous said...

The SVR have shown the way out of this dilemma with their Kidderminster station project and the matter of authentic fittings.
Google`Kidderminster Town Station` and look at the wikipedia page.

John Fancote said...

I am shocked to see Bill has gone.
I have followed his blog and check at least once a week for updates.
The progress on the project has been amazing and Bill's Blog has captured it all.
I shall miss this as I am disabled and, for the moment unable to leave the house.
I have driven past Broadway Station many times before the work started and am keen to see the result if, and when, I am able.
Sorry to see you go Bill, good luck.

John Fancote

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Bill won't mind us reminding everyone of our open evening on Friday 22nd May, please come along to see the progress we have made and admire every-ones hard work. There will be food served and of course a raffle to raise much needed funds.

We look forward to seeing as many people as possible.

Terry

Dave Tomlin said...

Sorry the stress seems to have proved too much to handle, Bill. After all this is only supposed to be a hobby for those of us who are working members. At CRC we have a functional working station generating a lot of money for GWSR. hopefully covering the railway's overheads and any surplus going to schemes like the Broadway project. Functional is fine with me because there were only ever small wooden waiting room/toilet blocks there before and there is not really enough space to have done anything more ambitious. CRC was built on a shoe string and we are paying for it now with major repairs necessary to embankments, drainage, etc.

Some of you, please don't start digging at the paid staff because you can't get things done as quickly and as nicely as you would wish. Without them the railway would not be able to take 300+ party bookings per annum, deal with advance internet bookings for special events or all the other myriad things that need doing on a growing railway. I was paid staff on the SVR in the mid-70s - there were 7 of us and the turnover I had to prepare accounts for was £150k in old money. Look where SVR is now - £6m turnover and a huge wage bill and they STILL can't generate enough profit to cover all their very necessary capital spending.

What happened to the old GWSR motto of "we'll get there when we get there"? It's taken 35006 33 years to get there, but we've finally almost got there!

richard said...

Bill, what has and is currently being built will stand as testimony to your dedication to Broadway Station for many decades. What ever the shape or form the station buildings take will not detract for the enjoyment the many many visitors to Broadway Station will have this will have been enabled by your work and the BAG members
Richard

pks said...

Six good years Bill.
Thank you.
Bought shares on your inspiration and many must share your values; In the fullness of time, quality and thoroughness win out.

Belgrade said...

Bill,
I've been out for two days, so only now able to respond to Wednesday's BAG news. I must echo the comments of many others on this blog that your departure as Chairman of the BAG group, which I saw on Wednesday's blog, came as a major shock and disbelief. Although I have looked on the Broadway blog almost every day (you never know when an extra bit of news will be added) for the past several years, Wednesdays and Saturdays have been my two favourite days of the week on the internet because there has always been the certainty of news of progress by your sterling group of volunteers. The only other blog that I have seen to match the Broadway blog is the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway News Feed.

We are all currently going through a phase of headless chicken activity, throwing in comments and ideas without being fully in command of all the background facts. Nevertheless, it must surely be true that you have a lot of worried, puzzled, angry, confused, frustrated, and other negative emotions being felt at the moment by the BAG volunteers, upon whose efforts the Broadway project is absolutely dependent. At this uncertain time any olive branch is worth clutching. Therefore, establishing what the BAG volunteers would prefer to do sounds a sensible next step. Without their (large majority) agreement, the project has a rather uncertain future. However, they need to be asked the right question. You can get any answer you like from a questionnaire by wording the question in such a way that you get the answer you want. So, if the Board does plan to ask the BAG volunteers what they prefer to do, as a Bridges to Broadway shareholder it would be good to see what will be asked of the volunteers, on whom this project relies.

The wording of the question, of course, also needs to take account of what is possible. There is no sense in asking the BAG volunteers if they want to see a replica GWR station building, if nowadays the regulations will not allow this. However, there are usually ways in which an external appearance is maintained, while changing something internally (the experts on this will know). So, let's start by identifying what sort of structure can be built that will look as close as possible to and is aesthetically in character with the building people on this blog are saying they want to see. Let someone with graphic talents draw what it would look like. Get an approximate costing with a suggested funding mechanism to achieve this in the fulness of time. THEN you can go to the BAG volunteers and ask them which of these two alternatives they prefer - a) the existing plans to get something finished quickly and relatively cheaply, or b) the alternative building that will look like this, will cost this much and will take around x years to build with an appropriate funding scheme in place.

Get the trains running as quickly as possible to bring in an income stream, but without the BAG volunteers on board, the project will be an uphill struggle and no doubt some project supporters will decide to spend their money elsewhere if the current plans are retained. I for one would be prepared to pay extra for a more authentic building, and I'm sure I would not be alone in doing that. At the moment no-one can say what the majority view is on the station building design for Broadway because no-one has yet canvassed the views of all the BAG volunteers, the shareholders and the members. However, even if they are canvassed now, they cannot make informed judgements without being fully informed of what is currently on offer as well as what sort of an alternative is realistically possible.

If your decision, Bill, is irrevocable even after the result of the BAG volunteers' preference is known, then I hope that a successor will come forward to take over the regular blog, because I for one need my twice-weekly 'fix' of the Steaming to Broadway! blog. Fingers crossed.
Steve (from Belgrade)

White Hawk Dreamer said...

so sad Bill a choice you obviously thought was the right thing to do.

i hope you feel able to pass the blog on to someable to keep the world infomred of the amzing work of the volunteers and it doesnt die with your departure.

good luck Bill and thanks for the story so far.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

I've been a reader of your blog for several years. I’m 29 and I've worked as a volunteer on the P’ way gang on the Swanage Railway in years gone by and your blog gives me the same sense of good will and hard work that I enjoyed whilst working at Swanage. I’m also a regular visitor to the GWR, as my parents live in Warwickshire and until recently I lived in the Cotswolds. Your blog has led me to donate money to the station project in the past and I’m considering volunteering at Broadway when my planned move back to the South West goes ahead.

As with everyone who has commented, I’m really sad to see the situation that has arisen. I’m sure everyone has the railway’s best intentions at heart but have different ideas about how the end goal should be reached.

For what it’s worth, I believe that Broadway should be the showpiece of the GWR. Broadway is a jewel of the Cotswolds and it should have a station to match. The volunteer workforce clearly has great pride in what they do and have already demonstrated what can be achieved. As much as everyone would like to see the project completed when trains start operating, surely the legacy of everyone’s hard work should be something that the volunteers, local people and the railway movement can be proud of, even if this takes a little extra time and expense. I also think that people like to get behind a winner, and I worry that fewer supporters will back a lesser quality station design (if this is what has been proposed), both in terms of their volunteering input or financial contributions.

As a regular visitor to the GWR, I also think the railway currently needs a better sense of going from ‘somewhere to somewhere’ and I thought the Broadway station project would help to address this issue. However, if a lesser quality station design is proposed, I worry that it would not deliver the required presence that is required in this location, which would reduce the long-term attraction of Broadway station and the railway to visitors.

If what is rumoured is true, I can well understand how this matter of fundamental principal would lead you to resign. However, you have done a remarkable job in leading the project to where it is today and you are a great asset to the railway. Surely now more than ever is the time to continue lobbying for the station project to be finished properly. I truly believe that everyone would want the highest quality station if they could have one. Obviously compromises have to be made, but I’m sure most people would agree from what has been achieved so far that you are the best person to continue leading the project and pushing for a station that everyone can be proud of. To this extent, I really hope that you reconsider your decision.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank you and all of the volunteers at Broadway for all the hard work that you have done on the station and the many hours that your have given up. In so doing, you have kept me very well entertained over the years. It’s the best railway blog that I’ve come across and, from my own selfish perspective, I would be very sad if it was not continued.

Best wishes,

Matthew Britton (no relation)

Anonymous said...

"There are two ways of doing things, the Great Western way and the wrong way. I`m Great Western and..." I was reminded reading this to my children, and surely many of you will also remember it. It has to done, of course, within reason and regulations. One has to think of maintainability as well in a few years time.
Continue your great work.
Distant spectator.

stevebaker70 said...

Great post, Matthew Britton.

Buccaneer said...

None of your avid readers know the real reason for your decision to step down. All of us try to understand which has resulted in some fairly unpleasant personal comments being directed at 'The Management'. Managing volunteers is a very difficult task and is not helped by lack of communication or partial truths.
I believe that 'ring fencing' of donations is hated by organisations (e.g Road Fund Licence). However the people donating have every right to direct their donations to particular cause within the overall organisation. Your excellent blogs, Bill, have encourage me amongst many others to donate directly to BAG. I remember with some annoyance many years ago that members of the MPD donated to a fund to bring the Norwich wheel drop to GCR Loughborough. The monies subsequently disappeared into the general fund.
To close, Thank you Thank you Bill (and Jo) for the huge pleasure and incentive to support BAG that your informative and humerous blogs have provided. A very, very hard act to follow.

Anonymous said...

There's a saying "The King is Dead, Long Live the King". Bill, thank you for your hard work but now you've decided to call it a day for varying reasons its time to close this chapter on the BAG and move on. Unfortunately the GWSR is bigger than one individual and at the end of the day the railway is a multi million pound business and needs to be run on sound business practices.

Anonymous said...

If you really wanted to save money and open the station quickly, why go to the trouble of building beautifully corbelled platforms? Surely concrete block ones would have done the job too, after all, people only use them to step onto a train.

Broadway needs the station that Bill and his team were steaming towards.

Come back Bill.

James

Henry Howard said...

Some of the remarks are interesting and some downright rude and ill informed.

As noted by Matthew Britton the station at Broadway should be a showpiece in the Cotswolds, and I can ensure that it most certainly WILL BE. NO changes to the plan have been made. The railway does not have and is not expected to have all the funds required to complete the entire project by Easter 2018 (the hoped for opening date). There, things like the footbridge and waiting room on platform TWO will be delayed until sufficient funds ARE available. The station can operate without them. As to design, there is an issue of whether or not some changes should be made to the canopy of the main station building. The BAG are aware that design change and extra construction costs would cost an extra £100K. This for what very few if any of our visitors will notice cannot be justified.

I hope now that all will understand the real position and think and act accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Interesting perspective, however Bill was more like a Pharaoh and I think GWSR will be burying a good many supporters along with him. I wonder just how long the bridges rebuilding would have taken this multi-million pound business to achieve without the £560K leg up from the shareholders.
Sound business practice involves looking after shareholders interests,you can't just take money ignore them then expect them to cough up more.
If GWSR can fund everything through passenger numbers then that isn't a problem, the board can run roughshod over shareholder/stakeholder interests.

BarryM

P Evans said...

Thank you for your useful comment Henry. There are obviously various opinions over the potential design. I do not have the knowledge to be able to comment or come to an opinion. What are the type of differences proposed? Is it something only an "expert" would be able to determine with a tape-measure and careful inspection; or is something most people could "spot the difference" if they compared it with old photographs or is it obviously different that anyone who visits Toddington first would then be able to see the difference?

Finally, I'd just like to thank all the Board members for all the time and effort they put in to running a multi-million pound business on our behalf and for our enjoyment.

Philip Evans (Shareholder)

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea, why not simply go for a "Post BR era" setting. A simple Three sided roofed Polycarbonate Structure on Platform One with a Permit to Travel/Help Point Machine. Sell the Footbridge for scrap to fund the building. It will then be more in keeping with some of the facilities we're use to on the Big Railway. An overall simple solution to the problem!!!.

Alex said...

Philip Evans; as I understand it, the differences will be distinctly noticeable especially when compared to the beautiful canopy at Toddington, I don't think any of the ornate lattice work will be recreated, but box girders used instead. I really do think that we should do it properly, even if it means delaying, as many have suggested, so clearly would be much happier with that prospect that something incorrect.

My general thoughts are that if it's outside, do it right, and if it's inside, do what you like; thus I would always support things like inauthentic insulation being installed, as no one is going to see that, but people will see the canopy, despite what board members tell us, I think it will be noticeable.

Thinking outside the box for a moment, couldn't the waiting room on P2 be built first with temporary ticket facilities etc to provide undercover with complete canopy if they want a compete station building upon opening? Might be easier to complete than the larger station building with larger canopy on P1, although I realise there are practical issues with this, more focus would have to be given to footbridge restoration etc.

Dave said...

Getting back to basics what is a Heritage Railway. What is it about them that people like.

In a nutshell it is 20th Century steam engines pulling 20th Century carriages past Victorian structures, signal boxes stations etc.

Eliminate one element and you dont have a Heritage Railway, you have steam train rides for tourists. Something really second rate.

Broadway as envisaged and designed by Mr Bielby in 2013, and now revealed to us at BAGS AGM in 2015, will be super sized CRC, box girders every 6 feet poking through a blank brick wall.

Vistors will never realise that true experience of airy Victorian era design, that is the true experience of Broadway Station. Pictures of which were used to entice shareholders to refurbish the five bridges.

To deny them this experience, to refuse to recreate history for the enjoyment of future generations, is to insult them.

Since the station was designed with a box girder roof back in 2013, no proper costing exercise has ever been carried out as to how much a GWR lattice roof would cost. Since it was never an option.

So a figure of 100,000 + is just hogwash designed to cow the troops into submission.

So, GWSR is at a crossroads. Does it join the front rank of preserved railways, or become a steam ride past cheapo buildings.

The choice it yours, but please be clear what it is you are promoting the next time you have a share issue.



Anonymous said...

Well said sir

Malcolm in Canada

Robert Smith said...

My thoughts are complete platform 2 with its signal box and a waiting room. If it helps save money have single track with push pull on trains using two locos in the short term. Assemble footbridge and when funds are available build the final station on platform 1.

Giles said...

Firstly, a shame the blog is ending and the Broadway project is potentially losing focus. I understand there has to be a balance between revenue earning and an authentic experience. Personally I think Platform 2 can be completed authentically, supporting the hard work already achieved. Platform 1 completed with footbridge and surface and as much of the station as is possible within finance and time constraints to the 2018 deadline so that revenue can be earned. The station should then be completed authentically as finance allows without impeding revenue earning potential.

John R said...

As someone who subscribed to the Share Issue and was contributing monthly to the Development Foundation I feel cheated by the news that has come out about the rebuild. I did write to the Chairman when the news first broke, but didn't receive a response. Why should I continue to support a cause that I feel has been misrepresented to me, and to which I don't even have the courtesy of a reply when I ask for an understanding of the situation? And sadly I'm sure there are others who will now be discouraged from supporting the railway financially, money which could have gone towards the station we all seem to want.

Bill has been inspirational, and I echo all the comments that have been made in the hundred plus previous posts. I was planning to attend the Open Evening next week, but certainly won't make the effort now given my disillusionment about the project.

I'd agree that the best answer is to build the shelter on Platform 2 first, and replan the main station building construction to the high standard we want even if it takes a couple more years.

I too will miss the blog. But maybe less than I think, as I have lost the enthusiasm for the day the station finally reopens.

Anonymous said...

Actually Dave,
Betton Grange is asking 1000 subscribers for £225 each for the boiler overhaul-GWSR would be asking for £100 from that same number of people, going on the £100k. I'm certainly not cowering, nor I suspect are many other potential donors.
If it were just money, I don't believe it should be an issue.
As the last post from John has indicated this subject could have profound consequences for future fundraising efforts by the GWSR

BarryM

Anonymous said...

I lost interest when the gwrs sold the broadway goods shed,and they also do not try to stop the cheltenham part being built upon or cut throu,Their main objective is money,

Phil Boyer said...

This is an unofficial progress update for Saturday 16th May. I am a volunteer at Broadway and I have posted this as I know from reading the comments that a lot of people are interested in Broadway.
There were about 12 of us on site today. The new bric-a-brac shed has been erected on Weds and it looks very smart. There was no work on the signal box today but it looks as though the the roof slating is done. I think the next task is the to put on the ridge tiles. We have an open evening next Friday 22nd and some people were tidying up the site and also lit a bonfire. Work was done on the footbridge span to remove more rust - very noisy job that one! There were over 1,000 bricks dug up and reclaimed from the old station building foundations over the last month and more of these were cleaned today. The bric a brac stall was manned and we had a number of visitors. Some of the nasty thorny bushes were also cleared from the cuttings. Phil Boyer

Anonymous said...

Any rude remarks aimed at Alan Bileby and certain other members of the board are wholly justifiable, if your face doesn't fit or you don't agree, they make it very difficult, as with the last chairman who thought he could run rough shod over others who have put a life time of effort into building our railway, but believe me Temple didn't go on his own accord as the railway would have you believe, the truth is waiting to be told!

Bill and his gang have done a tremendous job at Broadway, from a bare site they have given us a marvellous station environment to be proud of, it doesn't matter how long it takes to complete, let them complete what they started!

Buccaneer said...

Thanks Phil for the "unofficial blog", Very much appreciated.
Send my regards to all the Broadway stalwarts. Your efforts are magnificent and sense will prevail. The Philistines won't get their way.

Anonymous said...

Let the BAG construct the station as they see fit, let them fundraise and the donations will come rolling in.
The half a*sed proposals will be more expensive in the end as people like me will keep our money in our pockets. It takes a big man Mr. Beilby...... but I have faith that if you could offer BAG the freedom to do the job, you and the GSWR would be rewarded with a showpiece, and YOU would look a hero for having the courage to trust the BAG team to deliver.

Anonymous said...

Given that the BAG continues, would it not be possible for the Blog not to be passed to another capable Blogger to continue the great work of documenting progress by the team? Jo has proven himself thoroughly competent in this regard.

I was shocked to see that the Blog has been deconstructed - all the links gone, Sponsors, the imagined station as an artwork etc. All gone. What next? The entire site vanishing?

Steve Harris said...

Thank you Bill and Jo for the fantastic news blogs over the past 5 years that have kept the likes of me in the USA riveted to following all the exciting progress!
I Really hope that this is just a temporary arrangement as I feel that you are a real asset to the project in terms of generating interest, passion, goodwill, revenue and progress.
I finally managed to visit your fantastic railway last summer after following these blogs for many years. The stations at Toddington and Winchcombe truly truly ooze railway atmosphere, but this is sadly missing when one alights at CRC.
I really hope that the money can be found to build the canopy "properly", or at least the BAG volunteers should be given the opportunity to try and raise the difference if that is their preference. I think a more historically accurate station would be more likely to attract funding and donations from external sources.
The work that BAG have completed on the platforms and signal box is to an incredible standard ... I hope that the railway board can work with them to proceed in the same way on the station building with the same passion and drive.

Keep up the good work everyone !

Steve Harris, Emmaus, PA, USA

Anonymous said...

I find the situation very sad given the work the BAG have put into the project and their desire for an authentic GWR designed solution for Broadway. I for one have enjoyed Bill's Blog and have been regular reader over the past three years. If the GWSR Board choose to go down the route of putting in a sub standard solution the BAG should be given the option of seeking to raise the additional funding for a desired solution to the canopy over a realistic timeline. If the GWSR does not wish to defend in to the farce that has befallen the WSR then the people need to get round the table and thrash out a solution that meets the requirements of all parties not just purely the GWSR Board. I am not wishing to enter the politics of this situation but from an outsider looking in I would say that mediation is the way forward and both sides bury the hatchet and seek to find an acceptable compromise in terms of timelines and funding options. The use of a temporary solution to get the station up an running as suggested in earlier posts is one way forward whilst the funding for a permanent design solution is raised.

Robert Smith said...

Well done Phil good report. You may have got yourself another job at Broadway

Tim Weekes said...

Is it possible that the Board have missed the point that by doing things PROPERLY and in phases, they might encourage people to come back to see how things are progressing? Rushing to a cheap and cheerless solution now, after all the meticulous authentic work the BAG have done, is nothing short of a tragedy.
I wonder if they have any idea how much goodwill they have just squandered?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Phil Boyer for the unofficial blog. I'm an outsider but I'll be at the open evening to visit Broadway for the first time. Keep going, so many of us admire your efforts.
Mike Rose.

Anonymous said...

I see that the access to the Broadway On-Line page has now disappeared but you can find it with a bit of searching. I really enjoy reading the Broadway blog from afar as my visits to the railway are few and far between, and am really saddened by what seems to be the latest in board v volunteer disputes. I am no expert on canopy design or anything but I do follow the principle that if a job is worth doing its worth doing well. A proper job. The landslip repairs weren't half measured - why should Broadway station be. We've waited all this time, would a bit longer really make all the difference - and thats if a 'Canopy Appeal' is not forthcoming.
I am a member of nearly 20 years, shareholder of several hundred pounds and member of a couple of the loco owning groups but I am sorry to say that the membership renewal form that arrived last week will not be completed and returned. It just seems to me that the 'old' GWR is being slowly left behind.

Jill watter said...

I read all the blogs that are posted from all the GWRS members I find it fascinating that so many people volunteer to give up their own time to recreate the past I appreciate that those who work on a particular project develop a narrow sighted view on how things should be done Unfortunately this is what seems to have happened at Broadway At the end of the day the elected management of GWRS are responsible for projected vision of the running of the railway you either agree or disagree Bill Britton has chosen to step down from his leadership of the Broadway Station project that is his choice I wish him well in his future adventures

Dave said...

All very well Jill. But what if the
elected leadership DONT share that vision.

What if they keep it totally under wraps while letting said dedicated volunteers work their socks off believing they are building something worthwhile.

What if after two years Managements vision is then forced into the open almost at the point of no return in the build.

That isn't leadership, its cynical deception.

mack said...

Thank you Bill for all your hard work and dedication over the last 5 or so years. I've really enjoyed reading your blog posts every week. For such an enthusiastic man, id hoped you were going to continue to the end and beyond, perhaps taking the role of station master when the station opened. personally, I'm all in for total authenticity, but I can see the point from some that budgets are limited. I think I share the view on here, that now the signal box is almost completed, track could be laid into the station and trains run from it without a proper station building. Increasing revenue for the railway, providing more visitors to the station site, where they would be able to view the plans and 'drop a quid into the box' for the station build.
But how far do you go?.. angle iron canopy, with hot rivets holding the pieces together like toddington? .. I don't think that's a constructive use of funds, but something built to the original design should be achievable, even if it does take longer? Acceptable corners could be cut to cut costs?.. I have to say, there are company's out their that manufacture heritage guttering in plastic that looks exactly the same but cheaper.. things like this could be looked into which would reduce the costs? I echo the sentiments of many on here in that it would be a shame not to build something worthy of all the incredible efforts of the volunteer team so far, in maintaining a historic period feel. My hats off, and thank you, to all the volunteers both on the board and track who work so hard to make GWSR one of the most enjoyable days out I have every gala year.

Anonymous said...

Like the vast majority of commentators on this blog, I am very sorry to see Bill go - I have enjoyed reading his (and Jo's) accounts of the great progress being made at Broadway. I have been impressed by the care being taken to recreate a GWR signal box, and had presumed the same approach would be used for the station building. Indeed, in the blog update of 4 February 2015, Bill wrote:

"I happened to be at Toddington watching staff from David Symonds Associates measure up the steel work in the Toddington Station Canopy. We are commissioning DSA to produce some manufacturing drawings for Broadway so that we can get to grips with the cost of maintaining the historical accuracy of the building. Pictures to follow."

The blog then showed pictures of the lattice girders supporting the Toddington canopy. It seems Bill thought that a reproduction of the Toddington canopy was a real option, even if the plans submitted for planning permission showed a different arrangement. However the exact costs of each of these options have not been disclosed. Presumably fire regulations could be met with either option - there must be other modern buildings which have overall roofs with separate accommodation units below.

Edward

Anonymous said...

All, interesting web site for a good canopy fix is: www.steelway.co.uk then Rail/Heritage/Bespokestructure and scroll through the slides.

Anonymous said...

I can see a lot of people feeling let down and leaving or just drifting away from the project, because of what has happened.

This kind of work and level of commitment by people, who work their socks off for a dream, can all be undone by not being straight with people it relies on one small word which means a great deal to people............TRUST.

Anonymous said...

Bill, thank you for letting us know about the closure of the blog. I have enjoyed reading over the years and sponsored a signal box window as a result. May I wish you and the Broadway group all the best for the future.
In the fullness of time I hope you get the pleasure of looking out of the hardwood and painted windows onto an arriving train full of excited visitors. One day I will make a journey up to Broardway myself and take a look at the signal box windows from the outside, they will look great. I hope to see you looking back.


Anonymous said...

to the present and wonderful blog RIP

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. This has become a real mess and the parties involved appear not to realise the deleterious effect it is and will have on the railway.
There is an understandable huge disappointment which has caused Bill to jack it in and an intransigence by members of the board.
Having managed substantial private sector businesses in the past I know that doing so with unpaid volunteers must seem like trying to herd cats at times. The only way to successfully manage a business is through meaningful communication, i.e. face to face and being prepared to compromise to reach a mutually acceptable conclusion.
I have no idea if the design of the station building including canopy is the cause of the rift or whether it was something else such as expenditure on the signal box or bridge. It does seem fairly apparent that a call for additional funds from shareholders and supporters would be favourably met, so if the board members believe that the extension has to be funded from revenue then they are much mistaken. I would have been happy to "invest" a not inconsiderable sum in order to achieve the best possible outcome.
The one, well two, final comments I will make are that weak management often sees questioning of their decisions as a direct threat and will go out of their way to appear tough - to sometimes disastrous effect. Also that, given a change in circumstances, Bill would you reconsider your decision? I think you are needed.

Neil S. said...

I am saddened that this blog,so informative, written by Bill, is being treated in the same way that BR treated the original Broadway station, by Bill.

Alex said...

Given that the blog will be archived tonight, people may wish to disuss further at http://national-preservation.com/threads/broadway-station-gwr-roof-fund.486269/ or email the chairman of the railway with your views.

R said...

Extremely disappointed and saddened to hear of the departure of Bill Britton. I've been a regular reader of his blog for several years now and as a direct consequence have visited (although sadly never Broadway), recommended others visit and donated money to the GWSR.

I think everybody appreciates the need to be financially realistic and that sometimes difficult decisions need to be made to keep a heritage railway open.

That said, the way in which this appears to have been handled is very troubling. For such a dedicated and clearly well respected volunteer to step down...I can only imagine the levels of frustration and sadness at this chain of events. I hope this can be resolved somehow and that Bill is not just a casualty along the way.

And I can only assume there are many other volunteers at Broadway who are reconsidering the efforts they contribute.

To Bill - thanks for many years of the blog, it has been very much appreciated. I hope you are proud of what you've achieved.

em8im said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Thank you for all of your hard work in covering the project on this blog Bill, you will be sadly missed. Its a shame it ended like this.

Jill watter said...

I am disappointed that Bill Briton feels the need to archive the Broadway blog as he puts it which really means no longer available The Blog was a wonderful record of achievement by the very many volunteers who have recreated a lasting memory of what once was It would seem that Bill does not want anyone to walk in his footsteps or remember his achievements