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West Somerset Railway Operations

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. QB steward

    QB steward Member

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    Today's Union of South Africa hauled charter train from Paddington is set to enjoy Duff haulage from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and back. Turns out there is an air brake only coach in the charter train consist.
     
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  2. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Class 47's breaking hearts, dissapointing folks and causing utterance of the phrase 'bloody spoon!' Since 1963 :):)
     
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  3. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Active Member

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    Called in to BL just now, 4F awaiting departure on service train, A4 and Scot on shed. Brilliant place to be.
     
  4. 30854

    30854 Active Member

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    This is the closest I've seen... marvellous model and a super "what if"
    http://www.009.cd2.com/
     
  5. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Active Member

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    When does Royal Scot go back? From bishop lydeard thxs
     
  6. West Somerset Wizard

    West Somerset Wizard Part of the furniture

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    Thanks for the nudge about the proposed Lynton - Minehead railway - it reminded me that I now have map data for that line, and the Simonsbath line, following some map data capture work as part of a recent map commission for the revised "Railways around Exmoor" book (*well worth the very modest price of around £10 ;) ). So I've bunged both of those proposed lines on to the map on that webpage http://www.wsr.org.uk/r-proposed.htm The Lynton-Minehead line was never built of course but earthworks still remain of the aborted Simonsbath line, fun to find if you like walking through the heather.

    Steve
     
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  7. QB steward

    QB steward Member

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    OK, so who noticed a very heavily disguised Taunton Cider buffet car briefly revisiting the Wizzer yesterday?

    3058, now known as Florence, was in the charter train consist:

    http://www.cs.vintagecarriagestrust.org/se/CarriageInfo.asp?Ref=1206

    Dining train rally at BL last evening. QB in platform 1 welcoming our diners aboard and charter in platform 2 with their meal service underway.

    Barrie
     
  8. Robin White

    Robin White Resident of Nat Pres

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    West Somerset Railway - Then and Now

    A view across the buffer stops at Minehead, in 1951 and 2017 this time. Both taken in August.

    The engine shed is off to the right in the 1951 view and ice cream was not yet sold from railway premises. By 2017 the bus stop has moved a few feet, and August 2017 looks a bit busier.

    Robin

    1951
    IMG_7148.JPG

    2017
    IMG_7271.JPG
     
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  9. Paul Kibbey

    Paul Kibbey Active Member

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    You have a keen eye Barrie .
     
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  10. Robin White

    Robin White Resident of Nat Pres

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    The consultation meeting was a useful exercise, but carried out when little information was available.

    Since then, as I understand it, much more information has became me available about the present state of 4561 and some of the work carried out on it to date. It is not for me to reveal that on a public forum - that is for the WSRA Trustees to manage - but it is to be noted that (1) little has been done to 4561 for many months, and (2) my understanding is that even if the cash were readily available, there are difficulties which would take considerable time to solve.

    On my respectful view, it is far from certain that 4561 is the right one of the three to start with.

    We have time to present the wider WSR community with the FULL facts so that an informed collective decision can be made. The concept of a joint effort on a single one of the 'WSR three' is a good one but requires eyes-open consideration of the pros and cons on the basis of proper evidence. I say 'wider WSR community' because:

    (1) the other organisations need to pool their resources and priorities to make this work,
    (2) there needs to be 'buy in' from those who might do the work, and
    (3) there needs to be a clear message to potential donors about why the locos are being tackled in a particular order.

    I know that Mike / Aldfort has done considerable work on understanding 4561's present position and restoration steps, but that is only about one-sixth of the necessary information, when the need to understand the position with the other locos and the timescale / usefulness of all three is considered.

    My skills are not in loco restoration but they are on evidence, presentation and effective, searching, objective evidence assessment. Mike is, understandably, impliedly critical of those who wish to express a view but not help. Well, I am prepared to help draw together an objective assessment of the evidence in respect of the 'WSR 3' so that a properly informed decision that all can get behind can be made.

    Can't say fairer than that, can I?

    Robin
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
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  11. West Somerset Wizard

    West Somerset Wizard Part of the furniture

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    Absolutely fine. I look forward to the opportunity to read the objective assessment and proposed next steps. And then to vote on it. As things stand and on the evidence I have seen so far (although happy to be proved wrong) this WSRA member is for completing 4561 as I believe there will be lots of work, through the year, for this loco on the WSR in the next ten or more years.

    Steve
     
  12. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    Why do we have an elected WSRA board who have full legal responsibility for running the association, and then expect to have a vote to tell them how to do the job? As an ordinary member I certainly don't have the expertise to make a choice of which locomotive should, or should not, be repaired first and would suggest that many others don't either. For example how does Robin White, with a wealth of knowledge about the WSR in general know, that "Only a sixth" of the information needed to make a decision arrive at such a figure? This, along with the published views of other very experienced WSR people suggests considerable doubt exists. In any case surely the choice needs to be made after detailed consultaion with the WSR PLC rather than just the WSRA. I had hoped that the concept of "one railway" would ensure this but now I have my doubts. What we need is some leadership from the WSRA board as to the way forward not to be kept in the dark as happened under the old regime.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
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  13. Robin White

    Robin White Resident of Nat Pres

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    Good points.

    I and no doubt Jeff Price will be speaking out if we see (1) twilight descending or (2) poor decision making.

    You will recall we both had things to say about the (now shelved?) plans for Station Farm about which nothing has been heard for a while.

    Robin
     
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  14. Jeff Price

    Jeff Price Active Member

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    Regarding Robin's comment about "Only one sixth" being made available.

    This is simple,
    3 locomotives each has a cost to restore to working order (on the same cost basic for each locomotive)
    plus
    3 locomotives, how beneficial to the WSR (ability to pull any service train at any time in the season) and to the WSRA number of hiring fees per year (say 50 pa for 4561 vis say 110 pa for 7821) or if 4110 is returned to service a potential reduction all external hirings by the use of a WSRplc locomotive and cash flow being retained in the PLC bank account.

    Thus we have 6 components to the WSR 3

    It is of concern that Mike Sherwood has indicated that only the restoration requirements of 4561 have been scoped and that the WSRA membership had "voted" via the consultation process in July 2016 (on condition and time scale assumptions that were proved to be misplaced in January 2017)

    It is unclear if 4561 can be completed in time to slot into the WSRplc forward locomotive plan and of course explaining to passengers that the 11.20 hrs service is delayed for 2 years due to the locomotive still being restored is not an option.

    Thus the locomotive requirements of the WSRplc must take the lead and the WSRA board plus WSRA membership have to accept that failure to help the WSR locomotive requirement by sinking further time, cash and facility into 4561 at this time may result in Nice locomotive, not much help and not much hiring fees.

    The WSRA board have to take the lead here, it will not be for lack of this issue being raised should the current apparent course of 4561 being first not be at least revisited so that an informed decision can be made with all 6 elements of the WSR 3 being considered.

    Extras to throw into the mix are of course the agreement of 6695 to work on the WSR for 25 years once completed together with talk of Halls, Manors and Black 5's taking up long term agreements.

    On a personal note, as Mike Sherwood indicates, he did repeatedly ask me to consider becoming a WSRA trustee.
    He will recall at the time I indicated that I would rather support the WSRplc engineering effort.
    My view was and is that the WSRA should remove itself from being involved in engineering, directly by attempting to undertake locomotive restoration or indirectly via operation of WSRA (Promotions) Ltd engineering facility at Williton.

    The WSRplc have a professional engineering structure and the WSRA should not be duplicating this.

    The WSRA could agree long term hire of 4561 and 7821 in much the same way the S and D trust have with 88

    Additionally the WSRA could sponsor apprentices, engineering and otherwise on the WSR as well as heritage skills training for staff and volunteers.

    This would all be compliant with the Charitable objectives and would spread the heritage skills training amongst more people thus providing robustness rather than concentration of skills in a few employees.

    Time to take stock of the 6 elements of the WSR 3 I feel

    Jeff Price
     
  15. FrankC

    FrankC Member

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    During the autumn the PLC Board will be reviewing all its short, medium and long term business plans. Clearly it doesn't make sense to start entirely from scratch and we will be looking carefully at the consultation responses to the various Bishops Lydeard and other proposals. But at this stage nothing is on or off the table. Within the limits of a commercial operation we recognise the importance of taking our supporters, volunteers and staff with us, which is what we intend to do.

    In the meantime we have a visitor from Doncaster with Scottish connections, and we need to give her our full attention.

    Frank
     
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  16. aldfort

    aldfort Well-Known Member

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    All I can say is that the very discussions you both think need to happen are starting. It's unfortunate that it's taken a while but the recent hiatus with the plc board and the sheer amount of work that FS has required have been major distractions for a lot of this year. What I can safely report on a public forum is that the relationship between the plc and the Association is now in good health with regular meetings taking place at the highest level and there is general agreement on the one railway approach. There is even discussion about how to focus our engineering resources for the benefit of the whole railway and joint discussions on fundraising. However these things take time to come to a conclusion.
    Sadly, as Robin has sort of mentioned it's also getting harder to find people prepared to take on trustee roles or directorships. My stance will remain as it always has since Reformer days that if you don't think I'm doing the right thing or not working hard enough for the railway then you can vote me off of the trustee board, hence my offering myself for re-election at the upcoming AGM.

    Can't say fairer than that can I?
     
  17. aldfort

    aldfort Well-Known Member

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    Then get involved and help as I've asked you to do on many occasions.
     
  18. Jeff Price

    Jeff Price Active Member

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    Which is what I do at Minehead, in the workshops when not out firing in addition to making observations and suggestions to both the WSRA and WSRplc

    With Andy Foster taking the engineering lead on 4561 I have total confidence that the resultant locomotive will be to Rolls Royce standards, 9351 is another example thus no need for my involvement.

    As for the benefit to the WSR and indeed the WSRA in providing income for 7821, well I think my views are clear.


    Glad to hear that a full review of the WSR 3 is now being undertaken, look forward to seeing the result, I have not encountered this on the grape vine until now and WSRA trustees were innocent of this matter at the WSRA rally so must be a new initiative.

    Likewise the unification WSR engineering activities (which has been encountered in informal conversations) makes a lot of sense and offers some exciting prospects. Its been a long time coming.

    Meanwhile plenty of work available at Minehead on locomotives (servicing and restoration), general support/maintenance of workshops and equipment and don't forget the now wide choice of wagon restoration.

    All help welcome

    Jeff Price
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  19. Greenway

    Greenway Well-Known Member

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    I don't get here often now, so may have misread the situation. However, it seems that a joint appeal for all three locomotives - 4110, 4561 and 7821 is suggested. Given the appeals and financial support of many enthusiasts to this and many other heritage lines, I believe it makes better sense to concentrate efforts and fund-raising for each individual loco restoration, but one appeal at a time. Whilst many folks will have their favourite loco of the three, some might hesitate giving, or donating less, if they believed their choice was to be last in the queue of a threefold appeal. I believe that many might accept that everything has to take place in a given time - Rome was not built in a day they say - hopefully realizing that it is better to get one loco up and running than spreading restorations of three over a longer period of time, which, I believe, is how it could turn out. One has to bear in mind that steam buffs have a wide variety of opinions when it comes to what should or should not be done. A successful appeal would, if worded correctly, give a surplus which could be put towards the second restoration project. Given the history of the WSR and WSRA I believe an overall appeal could well give rise to more acrimony on the railway particularly with reference to which loco was dealt with initially. (assuming enough money was forthcoming to attempt more than one restoration).
    As far as the PLC is concerned I guess their choice would be 4110 as it is their locomotive and not the support organizations. I am certain this would be something which would be their priority for many financial reasons, some of which have been highlighted in earlier posts.
     
  20. Beckford

    Beckford Active Member

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    People may be interested to read the Heads Of Terms that were agreed with the plc when the Locomotive Restoration Fund was set up:

    "WSR Locomotive Restoration Fund



    Heads of Terms of agreement between PLC and Association for the Management of the Fund and Future use of Association Locomotives on the West Somerset Railway



    The WSR Locomotive Restoration Fund will be a Restricted Fund, and shown as such in the Association’s accounts.

    Drawdown of funds will be on the basis of formal bids, approved by the Trustees, in line with a costed restoration programme. Technical advice will be sought from the PLC Head of Mechanical Engineering or independent experts as required, to ensure that value for money is achieved.

    Although the initial priority will be completion of work on 4561, the Trustees will also consider submissions from the PLC in respect of 4110 in parallel to allow its restoration programme to be started.

    To underpin the restoration of 4561, the PLC agrees to enter into a long-term hire agreement for 4561 for use during the ‘shoulder’ periods of the timetable, in the region of 60 days a year, and allowing hire to other railways during the peak season. This agreement will be on standard PLC terms and be conditional on the locomotive being ready for service in 2021.

    The PLC agrees in principle to entering into a long term hire agreement for 7821, on the assumption that the locomotive would be ready to enter service in 2026.

    The Association will determine its own approach to the restoration of 4561 and 7821. 4110 will be a volunteer led project overseen by the PLC Head of Mechanical Engineering.

    The Association agrees to participate actively, with other members of the railway family, in developing and implementing a broader fundraising strategy for projects on the WSR."

    BK
     

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