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A RETIRED Melbourne civil engineer has vowed to continue his David and Goliath battle with the State Government for a fair price for his 90-year-old share in the Emu Bay Railway Company.
Terry Croft's single debenture share in the old West Coast Melba Flat line railway, issued in London in 1925, threatened to derail the Government's purchase of the state's rail network from Asciano in 2009.
Mr Croft inherited the share from his mother, Irene Mussen.
He has been fighting the State Government since legislation cleared the way for the rail buyback, despite $2 million being set aside at the time as compensation for debenture holders.
Now he was won an unlikely victory in the Supreme Court with Chief Justice Alan Blow ruling he be paid $4895 for the sole remaining share.
Mr Croft was forced to argue his case on his own last month when his lawyer failed to turn up for a hearing.
Justice Blow ruled the stock, which originally sold for £425, was worth $795.
He ordered Mr Croft be paid this amount, plus $1099 in interest and $3000 in compensation.
Despite the finding, Justice Blow was not impressed by some of Mr Croft's arguments.
"It may be that the respondent has spent a vast number of hours pursuing his claim," the judge said when determining the payout.
"With all due respect, I consider that many of his ideas were misconceived, that much of his time has been wasted."
But Mr Croft said he was far from pleased and would take his case to the Court of Appeal.
"I'm going to appeal," he said. "It's unsatisfactory."
The Emu Bay Railway Company ran the Melba Flats line from 1897 to 2004, hauling minerals, including lead, zinc, silver, tin and nickel, and general freight from Burnie to Zeehan.
A passenger service, known as the West Coaster, ran during the 1960s. Passenger services on the line ended in the 1980s.
Ownership of the line passed into public hands in 2009 when the State Government bought the Asciano assets.
This article first appeared on www.themercury.com.au
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