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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. Beckford

    Beckford Guest

    I feel that NP can sometimes seem like a fairground hall of mirrors! I shouldn't make any judgments based solely on what appears on here.
     
  2. MikeParkin65

    MikeParkin65 Member Friend

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    I presume the fact that I still remember ‘The Flockton Flyer’ is no consolation? :)
     
  3. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I can only say that volunteering on the WSR this year, like previous years, has been a pleasure. The volunteers I meet are uncomplicated and friendly and its wonderful to see the positive experiences the railway brings to its visitors.

    Clearly your choice whether or not to volunteer but you would be missing out by not doing so.

    Or you can just believe all the negative stuff posted on this thread.
     
  4. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    I wouldn’t say ‘hall of mirrors’ as I think I’ve been fairly straightforward in my comments. But I would agree that the WSR is usually a great place to volunteer and this is a particular issue generated from a particular place. I really enjoyed my previous 5 years on the WSR, it’s a great line with many great people on it, many of whom I can now call friends. I’ve also been able to do some things not available anywhere else, as an S&D Fan and a footplate man I’ve been able to fire 7F’s, 8F, 4F’s, Std’s, Bullieds, Ivatt tank etc. sometimes double headed and always on heavy trains over tough hills to tight timings. These were things I only saw in Ivo Peters photos as a kid (too young to have been there at the time). I would even admit to gaining a liking for GWR engines with their free steaming abilities, so overall my time on the WSR has been great.

    This makes the more recent shift to what #Maunsell1907 called a dictatorship a few posts back all the more sad, it’s not what the WSR actually stands for and the issues aren’t overall WSR issues per se. Ultimately this has all come from one place in my opinion and therefore it could be fixed as easily as it was put in place if the desire is there.
     
  5. bob.meanley

    bob.meanley Member

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    Andy
    At the risk of my seeming negative, your posts are becoming somewhat repetitive. We have heard much of the current thread of your argument before. When I first joined the WSR some 12 months ago, I had a couple of most interesting chats with you and you were kind enough to send me a private message which went to some lengths to explain your background and what work you had done to date for the WSR.

    In that message you made very little claim of doing fundraising work other than the community grant which you said you had helped the WSRA to obtain. This grant was, I believe, to enable a two year placement for a community relations officer to work for the WSR Association not the PLC. I suspect that many Nat Pres members would be interested to learn what other funds you had raised up to that point - I certainly would.

    Around that time at the end of last year, you were also doing some good voluntary work to support the BESTT scheme trainees who had been sadly neglected by the recently departed previous management. After quite a few other helpful messages over the ensuing couple of months, I received a pm from you in February this year, which indicated that you were ceasing to do any more work for the railway as you had applied for, and failed to secure, the WSR Association's job of what I presume was the community officer funded by the grant which you previously mentioned.

    Very soon after your abrupt departure you started posting some rather ill informed commentary regarding the 4F loco which was at the WSR. I have seen the posts and do not think that the WSR chairman's request for you to desist was in any way overbearing, unlike the very clear threats which you expressed by return; he simply told you that your comments were not particularly helpful at a time when far more urgent matters were in play. It might be questioned if your failure to secure the WSRA job, together with some bitterness regarding your misjudged opinions regarding the 4F has led to this spate of repetitive posts. There is also, of course your involvement with the stillborn project to purchase 4110 from the company which has possibly aggravated your attitude towards the company, as there is little doubt that the outcome of that resulted in some acrimony from a small section of its supporters.

    We can only leave it to the audience to consider whether waging a social media campaign such as yours, might be seen by right thinking people to be not entirely compatible with your aspirations to return to safety critical footplate work on the WSR. I am not at all sure how the regulating authorities might view the situation, but I am pretty certain that such behaviour would not be tolerated by serious commercial companies such as Jaguar for instance; it is certainly not the ideal way to go about securing re-employment. I do hope that you might sit and consider what you are doing, but hopefully the foregoing will serve to provide the audience with a small amount of balance to this topic.

    Best Regards
    Bob
     
  6. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Well-Known Member

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    For the record my actual posting "there appears to be a growing dictatorship allied to mushroom
    management. Benevolent dictatorship I quite like when times are tough, dictatorship no...."

    Volunteering on the WSR is still as others have posted enjoyable and rewarding, there
    remains a strong 'esprit de corps' amongst the volunteer diaspora.

    I do not know, or indeed should I, the circumstances of your apparent falling out with the
    PLC ( although your postings suggest a personal vendetta against the PLC Chair; hopefully
    a misreading on my part ?)

    I do remember when for a short period you were a 'co-opted WSRA Trustee
    you seemingly found the concept of 'cabinet responsibilty' difficult; indeed you
    apparently resigned because your approach was not accepted in toto.

    As my very good friend Rodders@154 recently posted "we need to get
    behind JJP as he is the only game in town"

    Michael Rowe
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  7. thequantocks

    thequantocks New Member

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    I suspected there was more to this, thank you Bob.
     
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  8. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Bob

    Your timeline is a bit adrift on a number of things. I’ve been clear of my fundraising efforts in previous posts. The HPC Community Engagement Project was and is a joint WSRA/PLC cross WSR Project developed by me with the full involvement and approval from both Boards at all times and I had allocated Board representatives from both Boards as my point of contact, I’m surprised that as a member of the PLC Management you view it as a WSRA only Project, that’s concerning and I would leave the WSRA to correct you here.

    The employment of a WSR Community Engagement Manager is not a can of worms you want to open in public given the chain of events which included the process being stopped and the project cancelled at one point due to some actions taken by others. I made one post regarding 44422 in reply to a person on another railways social media page where they asked if the 4F was a good engine. I replied it’s a pity it was leaving the WSR and it should in my view be staying. This generated a private message from the Chairman saying I didn’t know what I was talking about and needed to stop or else. My comments in no way breached the WSR Social Media Policy or even came close, others also received the same.

    Regarding BESTT, please don’t blame the previous CME, I secured the scheme with his full support and then stepped back as arranged, it worked well until after his departure and then it failed so I’m not sure how he could be at fault when he was not there? As you say the scheme was failing, this was due to the Management of the WSR in place at that time and its inability to manage three staff, BESTT had served a termination notice (I can send it to you) and I was asked by the then General Manager to step in and act as a PLC Line Manager (volunteer) for the Trainees and with the HR Managers support we turned it around. As you will know the outcome is that it has completed successfully and three originally unskilled local lads with no career prospects have gained skills with one securing a full time engineering job at another railway repair centre and one gaining fulltime employment elsewhere on the WSR. You will recall we had this conversation about what had happened and why at the time, late one afternoon as it grew dark just before last Christmas stood in the yard opposite the main platform. At the time you agreed with me and your comment was “It’s a great railway but it’s currently Lions lead by Donkeys”.

    The timeline of my departure was in two stages. 1. The newly recruited HPC Funded CEM had as a part of her job description (happy to send it to you) a number of the roles which I rightly handed over to her, they were specifically listed items and included BESTT and the 1940’s Weekend, it was not correct that I interfered with her job and all agreed with that at the time. This JD was prepared ahead of time and signed off and agreed by the PLC. WRSA & HPC so we all followed what was agreed in order for her to do the job for which she was recruited. I also wrote the recruitment process as a part of the bid so there were no surprises for anybody. 2. Why I immediately ceased being involved with the other roles later is easy, I was suspended.

    4110 involved many (not a few) WSR Footplate crews who fund raised the asked for amount within a few days. I was asked by those involved to be a part of the group but the Chairman decided to sell the loco elsewhere and it left the WSR (it’s been commented on here previously).

    Regarding Commercial business’s versus Volunteer lead organisations behaviour I think others have covered it, as for a campaign I’m just saying what happened having given all plenty of opportunity to consider if I should be allowed to volunteer or not, that process was never replied by a current Board member, I think 11 months is enough time don’t you?

    Lastly to suggest that me giving my opinions robustly is in some way a reason to say I’m unsafe on a footplate or the ORR would support that view means most likely you would need to ban many more footplate crews than just me and I will leave others to take a view
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  9. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Michael

    You seem to suggest that I can’t work in a team and don’t compromise. The HPC Project was complex and involved all the players on the WSR who were at the time at war with each other and around 25 external organisations all with their own agendas. I pulled all of these together and then met a complex set of HPC Criteria in order to win the award. I think I could be accused of many things but not being able to work in a team is not amongst them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  10. bob.meanley

    bob.meanley Member

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    Lots of twisting and turning in this Andrew, one of them is that youncunningly changed the tense in "lions led by donkeys". It's all down in your notes including dates and as I said you never said anything about fund raising other than HPC and you still haven't told us all what you did do. Still it will provide lots to talk about.
    Bob
     
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  11. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Bob

    Rather than repeat it here. On this forum: Page 936 post #18704. Page 1088 post #21750 & Page 1098 post #21947 just about covers it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
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  12. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Do "you lot" really want your railway to survive? If you do then this ceaseless round of quarrels needs to finish. One of the really depressing things is how one bitter dispute staggers to a finish only to be replaced in short order by another with a differing dramatis personae. How do you expect people to invest, donate or bequeath resources to an organisation where dispute appears endless?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2019
  13. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    It has been suggested more than once that there must be something in the water in West Somerset. It is impossible for an outsider to know who's wrong and who (if anybody!) is right in most of these disputes, but what is quite clearly wrong is the absence of an effective mechanism for resolving disagreements, other than whoever currently has the most clout sacking whoever they disagree with. Andy has gone on rather a lot about his sacking, but there were several other sackings before his. And no-one has disputed his account of how the written HR procedures were first alleged not to apply to volunteers and then withdrawn.
     
  14. malcolm imps

    malcolm imps Member

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    Very true & dedicated to the WSR.....
     
  15. malcolm imps

    malcolm imps Member

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    Only twice this year ???......seems like its your loss to not get involved with us somehow ?
     
  16. malcolm imps

    malcolm imps Member

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    There seems to a lot more armchair keyboard warriors on here, that have hardly been to the WSR in a long time ! but seem to have all the answers ??.....come out with us & see whats going on....
     
  17. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    You would be well advised then to try and stop these protagonists fighting their duels in public. The impression they give is of an organisation to keep well away from and this has been going on for years now.
     
  18. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    During the operating season I'm on the railway about 2 days a week. None of the politics intrudes on the day to day volunteer operations. The team of committed volunteers just get on with the daily job. NP is not reflective of life on the railway. If the NP contributors were face to face in the pub this would be little more than lively debate. It'd certainly be a lot more restrained and somewhat more polite.
     
  19. Herald

    Herald Member

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    Maybe but how many people would simply avoid the pub because of the reputation of its customers?
     
  20. big.stu

    big.stu Well-Known Member

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    Watching from afar (although I don't consider myself either an armchair or keyboard warrior), and regardless of the who did what, where and why, there is one big issue for me in what has come to light.

    A very senior member of the management team appears to have ridden rough-shod 0ver the organisations own regulations/procedures leaving a very experienced volunteer in a situation where the only remaining way forward was to go public as a whistle blower (and so far no-one is denying that, and there appears to be no evidence to refute it). No matter what the matters were leading to these actions, this in itself is a complete show-stopper for me (and I suspect others) to ever consider volunteering at such an organisation were I in a position to do so. It doesn't matter how great a railway it is, nor how friendly the volunteers are, when one person can take such an action without any comeback. If he's prepared to do it once, and allowed to get away with it, he can quite easily do it again. Wouldn't go near anything he's running with a bargepole. Everyone has to be accountable for their actions, all the way to the top.

    This really isn't the approach to attract much needed support to save the WSR.

    Karma can be a right bugger...
     

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