Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by 14xx Lover, Jan 4, 2010.
Good luck. You have our support.
Credit where it's due, whilst there are a few bad apples, the preserved railway world mostly pays invoices quickly - in my experience, it's actually quite rare to be paid near the end of the 30 days in our standard invoice terms.
I think that's partly because in many cases, invoices aren't being paid from regular cashflow, but from cash in hand accrued over a longer period to cover the job.
That said, some larger railways where their cash flow probably is a consideration can still be very good - I think it's often a case of organisational attitude more than anything else; particular credit to the Ffestiniog, who in my experience treat suppliers very well. I could name and shame one or two who are perhaps less impressive, but I won't . You soon learn who doesn't like paying up and only offer pro-forma terms instead.
I agree, as a self employed contractor within the movement I have found all but one so far to be prompt, some even within a day or two but the majority certainly within a couple weeks. Not at times months like the 'but one' mentioned.
But we are venturing off at a tangent here. Have always enjoyed my visits to the Llangollen Railway, either as a paying customer or a representative with I think now 3 different engines. Always welcoming, friendly people and of course a railway in an absolutely stunning location, what more could you want?
Whilst there may have been recent issues those on the ground will no doubt be the same friendly keen and committed folk as they always have been and they will be the real driving force that help to take the railway forwards again. I certainly look forward to returning when they get going again, which I'm sure they will!
from the plc accounts for 2019;
For the year ended 31st December 2019, the average payment period for trade creditors was 154 days (2018: 102 days)
Something that maybe should have been a warning sign, the accounts got later & later. Year end has always(?) been December.
Submission to Companies House;
2019 accounts - 30 Sep 2020
2018 - 18 Jul 2019
2017 - 15 Jun 2018
2016 - 12 May 2017
2015 - 6 Jun 2016
2014 - 20 May 2015
2013 - 25 April 2014
What does that mean - is that the average time the LR was waiting to be paid by its own trade creditors?
I guess such statistics need to be understood in terms of amounts as well as numbers of accounts. For example, if you have two creditors, one of whom owes you £1 and one owes you £10,000; and one pays after 1 day and one pays after 180 days, the average payment period is 90 days - but it is very significant whether it is the small or the large creditor who is tardy!
This should sound warning bells in the Heritage sector, I suspect banks who have made loans and creditors are looking closely. Not everyone shares the sympathy that most on NP give.
It will also be skewed by whether an invoice is in dispute, so a single long term disputed invoice of whatever value will make that measure longer.
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Terminology depends on the applicable accounting standards but Trade Payables/Creditors are amounts you owe to your creditors; trade receivables/debtors are amounts your customers owe you. So the original post suggests that the time taken for Llangollen to pay their suppliers has increased, not that Llangollen’s debtors are paying more slowly.
It's how long on average it took the plc to pay for credit purchases.
The calculation uses the average accounts payable for the year, so it's just an indicator of how quickly/slowly your paying your suppliers on credit. (Cash purchases don't figure in it)
30 days is the standard credit terms, 60 days max, unless you negotiate different ones.
If your a supplier with standard credit terms, & your customer has not paid after 60 days, you can start charging interest
Which is what Notes are for, & you could also calculate the figure after removing the disputed invoice.
Yes lending money to an organisation with few assets is always risky
The announcement by the wensleydale yesterday showed a different approach looking to cut costs going to a dmu basic service during the weeks this is something which can more easily be done by volunteers.
As much of a stir as that announcement has caused, from an outsider's perspective it's not far off business as usual. They've long been a predominantly diesel railway and occasionally hiring in steam - looking at the announcement in question, that remains their plan for the immediate future. What's actually changed is the clearing of stock they realised they can't restore/maintain with their current infrastructure.
how were engines being paid ? I presume they would possibly be amongst largest creditors and if agreeing to defer steaming fees to help the railway may skew the above
Unfortunately, leaving the sentiment to one side, the accounts for the past three years reveal an organisation that was failing as a business. Starting up again with the same business model will only result in another failure at some later date. Ultimately a business either has to stand on its own feet or , as with the Talyllyn and the Welshpool ( there are probably others), accept that it has to be bailed out every year by injections of funds from a supporters organisation in whatever form that may be. Too many "shareholders" in heritage railways are fixated by the gloss and spin of the operating company and fail to take an interest in the finances as no dividends are paid and in practical terms the share is a donation for which there will be only a token return eg complimentary travel. If some of their income depended on the sound management of the railway then they would be far more robust in holding directors to account when they do a very poor job. Remember the Micawber principle. It's a business and has to be run by business people. "Luck" is not a part of a business plan.
At last, a well put statement. It's not a "railway" it's a business , a business. You go into to business to make money. As you go to work, you go work to get a wage to pay your way in life, buy a house, feed yourself...et al....
I'm a bit puzzled as to how the two are mutually exclusive? Looks an awful lot like a railway to me, track, trains, stations etc....
As with several others on here, you seem to have failed to grasp the massive changes to the business over the last few years. Clearly the operation of any heritage railway is not going to be able make up for massive (6 figure) losses from the engineering side of the railway. These losses haven’t just appeared overnight and anyone with regular contact with the railway have seen these mounting up since 2018 (with the seeds sown in the previous couple of years). The engineering business at Llangollen has been wound down over the last 18 months and we should all spare a thought for the employees who are out of a job, both through redundancies and through the collapse this week.
Any future business is not going to include contract engineering (if any engineering at all), so will look significantly different and this will naturally mean the focus of those in control will be fully on the operation of the railway and ensuring this is profitable.
To an extent I agree but I expect fairly few heritage railways really stand on their own feet as a business basis and most operate on the Talyllyn & Welshpool models all be it slightly less obviously. The SVR made a profit in the year ended 5th January 2020 of £287k. You have to read down to the final note on page 34 of the accounts to see that included a 667k a donation from the SVR Charitable Trust. You then have numerous fundraising and supporting groups, owing locos and rolling stock or being supports of a station etc. All these funds raise including by subscription and donation and then spend the money raised on the rolling stock, marinating the station etc and in many cases this does not go through the "main" company's account. The likes of the TR and I presume the W&LLR just have this all more plainly on view than some other.
Over the years railways I am a member of have, as far as I can tell, slowly switched on more to the fact that they are businesses and tourist attractions as well as heritage/preserved railways. In the past there was a view that of many that operated them that concentrating on preserving a railway was all that was required and that was enough to make the punters turn up. Railways were run by boards or councils that were elected by the members and in many cases they were little more than popularity contests so Driver Smith would be elected cos he was well known and liked as the expense of Signalman Jones who was a bit of a loner despite the latter being red hot at the commercial aspects of a business which Smith did not have a clue about. It is great for the ego being elected to the council/board but how many when there want to be discussing and spending time on the profitability of the shop, catering margins etc. Thankfully that is changing but it is still about and it can get people who have the best intentions in the world into trouble. I am trying to help sort out a sporting body where I live which due to Covid has lost a large amount of its funding. One of the individuals is fairly domineering and the other directors have done nothing about this leaving it to the domineering individual with the result the could be insolvent. The other directors are nice people who love the sport and have done the best for the sport but in doing so as they know nothing company law basic requirements have not been complied with potentially leaving them very exposed.
I wish the LR sorts itself out but I expect it is not going to be easy. Hopefully they have the bodies on board with the right knowledge and experience but, as I am sure many of us know, having volunteers with the right knowledge and experience is often easier send then done. I am sure we all have had appeals for volunteers to fill certain holes left unheeded.
That is part of the point realised what they can afford to restore and what is just going to sit and rust in a siding or you are going to restore and not get enough use out off to justify the cost of restoring it.
An odd comment. No bank is likely to lend anything unless they are satisfied that there are enough assets, after allowing for a "fire sale", to cover the borrowing.
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