A ‘TROJAN Horse’ manoeuvre to try and take control of a charity which supports West Somerset Railway has been quashed.

It emerged in recent weeks that members of the West Somerset Steam Railway Trust (WSSRT) were upset after 14 nomination forms were delivered on behalf of a group aiming to become trustees of the charity.

With a row ensuing, the respective chairmen of West Somerset Railway PLC, WSSRT, and the West Somerset Railway Association agreed to call in independent assessor John Bailey, who had previously produced the in-depth ‘Peaceful Somerset’ report calling for ‘the creation of a new incorporated charity with an operating company as a controlled subsidiary’.

Following a meeting with the respective chairman, Mr Bailey produced a new report, entitled ‘Shared Vision’, in which he dismisses the logic of the ‘hostile takeover bid’.

Mr Bailey writes: “The urgency for the three Chairmen’s agreement is the recently announced plan by a group planning a confrontational “Trojan Horse” manoeuvre.

“It envisages encouraging like-minded cohorts to join the WSSRT so increasing the likelihood that the current Trustees can be overwhelmed and a merger with the WSRA can be forced through.

“However, the high ideals and ambitions to which its proponents lay claim contrast starkly with the plan’s reality.

“It smacks of the manoeuvres more appropriate to the rough and tumble of the City.

“It eliminates the existing charities’ independence seeing it as acceptable collateral damage.”

Mr Bailey says that even if the takeover were successful, it would only create more disaffected members and generate more bitterness and distrust. His conclusion, that the answer is ‘evolution’ not ‘revolution’, has been backed by all three chairmen.