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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 31 - Spring 1977


Dear Sir,

As one of the founder members of the S & T department, and its "senior signalman" until my resignation from it last year, I am probably the best qualified to deplore the divisive and sadly misinformed comments made in your editorial and in the article "Operations Meeting", which appeared in issue No. 30 of Quainton News.

That the Society had a signalling system at all is due to a small band of people who were restricted for reasons of economy to using life expired equipment from BR, were regarded as mavericks by many in the Society and were not represented on the Executive Committee by one of their members. Yet they succeeded in forming a cohesive department and providing signals which enabled two trains to be run safely from Easter 1970 onwards.

Reports on progress with signalling systems were made in issues of "Quainton News" from 1969 to 1975 and the first mention of a mechanical system was made as far back as the autumn issue of 1974.

In June 1975 the site was visited by a representative of the D o E. It took the Society quite some time to appreciate the implications of the Inspector's report. This regrettably brought about more recriminations and interdepartmental strife than objective action, thus time was lost. And still the S & T department was not represented on the Executive Committee by one of its members.

To the S & T department and those who cared to give the matter any thought, it was blindingly obvious that mechanical signalling could not be installed over one winter and that we would be back to one train running in 1977 and possibly longer. The author of the article was therefore quite in error in reporting that one train running in 1977 came as a "bombshell".

I attended the meeting and can testify that searching questions were asked by very many thoughtful people who understood the dilemma and were anxious to know the facts, but "the state of near riot" mentioned in the article amounted to little more than vociferous, ill-informed abuse of the S & T department from the odd individual. It is regrettable that the author of the article should have given so much prominence to the comments of this minority, and ironic that those who dismissed the S & T department as a bunch of young fools (and one old fool!) in the past, now expected it to be the saviour of Quainton, in just one winter's work.

You suggest we all make New Year resolutions for the good of the Society. In the light of this mindless and unwarranted attack on one department I would like to think that the Society might adopt the following resolution, not just for 1977, but for all time :-

Let us not criticise other people or departments, nor accept criticism about others, without first taking the trouble to establish the facts-

Yours truly,
Peter Hanscomb

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1977 and so does not reflect events in the 38+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Correspondence - Quainton News No. 31 - Spring 1977

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