Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Thursday, August 01, 2013
it takes all sorts ...
They say it takes all sorts but sometimes I wonder!
The phone rang this evening, just before dinner. Railway call. New member.
'I'm a little surprised that I haven't received my membership card yet'.
'Okay, I'll check'.
I drew a blank.
We eventually worked out who he was. He'd sent Paypal payment using a generic name (Company Secretary). I'd immediately emailed him to ask his name so I could produce his membership card. TWO days ago!! As he hadn't emailed me back I couldn't produce the membership card anyway! It reminded me of the character in Fawlty Towers 'Well it's not good enough!!'
He then started criticising the website, informing me that it takes hours to load a single picture! Doesn't sound like our website at all. He then informed me that as well as being a businessman he was an engineer AND a webmaster.
This wasn't going well.
'And WHY are there FIVE different groups restoring the S&D. There should only be one'.
I tried to explain the issues of history, gauge differences and the long length of the line, and that I also would love to see just one group eventually.
'Well it isn't good enough! It should happen right away!'
'Oh, and have you asked the Bluebell to help with sourcing track?'
'No, we don't need any track, and we have a number of Network Rail employees who source track WHEN we need it'.
'Well, you should be in touch with the Bluebell Railway'.
'I can assure you that all the various Chairs etc have informal networks that involve other railways'.
'Hmmmm. Your real problem is that you don't have anyone organising you. You lack organisers'.
(Personally I reckon we do OK. Just look at the lovely organised station at MN pictured above, all done without the help of the Bluebell Railway!)
'And another thing. In France they have a thing, I don't know what it's called, where you can ride a bike thing along closed railways'.
'Yes, the SNCF is obliged to leave track and infrastructure in place for 20 years after closure. They are called velorails'.
'Oh, well we need those on the S&D'.
'We don't have any closed but in-situ line s in the UK, we have a different system.'
'Well, it's NOT good enough. Surely you could just lay a few miles of track, you'd make loads of money? You need organising'.
'But the S&D is just a trackbed, we are buying it a piece at a time. When we have a decent stretch we'll run trains, like they do at Midsomer Norton'.
'Well I'm buying a property very near to the Gartell Railway. It's a terrible line, no signposts and they only run once a month'.
'Yes, it's a private line. That's what they do, they are very good'.
'Hmmmm. Well, what are you doing to do about all this? I've written to all you groups and none of you have emailed me back and I can't find any contact details anywhere'.
'Well, you're talking to me. And I did email you right away when you sent Paypal payment, asking your name so I could make up your membership card'.
'Well, that's from my overseas address'.
'Yes'. (I should have asked Basingstoke, Westphalia? at this point).
'Well. You shouldn't be using Paypal. There are thousands of county court judgements against them. And NEVER give them your bank account details'. (But you PAID me using Paypal!)
'So what are you going to do about all this?'
'THIS!' I put the phone down and immediately refunded his payment, plus alerted the SDRHT and Gartell about him!