Internal Communication - not for publication
Members will have seen the editorial and article in the latest Bluebell News, and the leaflet distributed at the society AGM. The company has made no public statement so far because it concerns a commercial relationship between it and Mr Groome. However, the information now in the public domain is incomplete and inaccurate, so some clarification is provided here.
Mr Groome was informed in 2006 that, with the expected decline in the number of locomotives available for service, the railway would at some point be unable to supply a locomotive for his use. In August 2007 it was confirmed to Mr Groome that no locomotive would be available after the end of March 2008. In discussions it was agreed between the company and Mr Groome that if he were to hire a locomotive for his purpose, that Bluebell would provide the necessary servicing arrangements for it so that his business could continue to operate. However, Mr Groome failed to take up this option.
It is therefore misleading to say that Bluebell Railway has closed down the Footplate Days and Ways business. The fact facing the directors is that, as we have known for some years would happen, we now have insufficient locomotives in working order. For some years it was convenient for FDW to use Stepney, because owing to its poor condition it was subject to a load limit of 30 tons, making it of limited use for Bluebell trains. If we were to continue to hire locomotives to Mr Groome, then there would be a risk that one day we would face a choice of either running a train service for our visitors, or providing a locomotive for Mr Groome's business. It is unlikely that the society membership would view cancellation of Bluebell's train service as preferable.
Paul Churchman, Operations Director
Lewis Nodes, LRS Director
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