Crowcombe Somerset - The long-running battle for control of the West Somerset Railway Association (WSRA) reached its nadir this Saturday as members voted to kick out six trustees accused of "causing great trouble" for the heritage line charity.
An extraordinary general meeting was held at Crowcombe Village Hall and members voted to remove trustees Ian Aldridge, Nigel Bruce-Robertson, Peter Chidzey, Paul Johnson, Nick Nichols, and David Williams by 1,674 votes to 67.
The six trustees had tried to cling to power despite an independent report released before Christmas recommending they step down due to a "lack of strategy to meet its own ill-defined objectives".
The WSRA has come under increasing scrutiny since early 2013 launching a surprise bid to purchase a freehold of the line.
There were 136 members who attended the meeting in person.
WSRA reform group spokesman Barrie Childs said the result was greeted with prolonged applause and cheering.
Robin White, volunteer signalman and spokesman for the Reform Group said, "This is a great result for our wonderful railway. The group of old WSRA trustees had proven themselves wholly unsuitable to the positions they had come to hold. The vote is a tremendous expression of the railway community and we thank all those who came together to express their views."
Following the vote a group of temporary trustees were then co-opted into office to support chairman Frank Courtney and trustee Michael Rowe while the process to find new permanent trustees begins.
John Irven, chairman of West Somerset Railway PLC, who own the railway, said, "I have warmly recognize to Frank Courtenay and the new board their courage and fortitude in achieving this result, and have confirmed every effort will continue to be made by myself and the PLC directors to move things forward."
Members from the Heritage Railway Association were brought in to make sure to ensure the vote was taken fairly.
HRA Chairman Brian Simpson said, "In situations like this, we're uniquely placed to provide impartial and objective support, grounded in a full understanding of the very special nature of heritage railways."