If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Herald

    Herald Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    477
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Perhaps others will correct me but I'm beginning to think that many if not most of the arguments here are driven by divergent business philosophies.

    On the one hand we have the cost controllers who believe in austerity and balanced budgets with a safe risk averse approach and who would often be summed up as "knowing the cost of everything and value of nothing" on the other we have those who wish to "speculate to accumulate" by trying new and imaginative things where almost by definition the income is impossible to predict so the kind of business case wanted by the cost controllers is impossible to produce.

    Railways and other forms of public transport are often loss making undertakings which struggle with this sort of dilemma and many of us will be well aware of how British Rail's philosophy was to manage costs by reducing services until they were so sparse that nobody used them. Post Privatisation entirely different approaches have seen operators such as Chiltern putting tracks back, raising line speeds and vastly increasing usage and returns to invest in future improvements and expansion.

    If instead of a succession of own goals, internal spats and disagreements the WSR adopted some of the Chiltern* philosophy maybe things might turn out very differently.

    *I fully recognise that unlike Chiltern (M40 Trains) the WSR is not blessed by operating between major cities but how much passing leisure traffic might WSR (M5 trains) attract?
     
    Roland Bushell and MellishR like this.
  2. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,410
    Likes Received:
    4,407
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    West Country
    Not far from me there is a heritage railway organisation...

    Its current Board has embarked on a course of action which is felt by many members and supporters to be contrary to, and potentially destructive of, the original 'ethos' of that railway. It did this apparently without any prior detailed consultation with, or agreement of, its members. Those who now speak out against the Board are labelled as 'nuisance makers' and people who "have never done anything to help the railway", yet their numbers include several former Chairmen and Trustees, existing members in key posts within the organisations, and many other well-known and much-respected 'senior members' of the heritage railway community with years of relevant management experience. One of their 'special interest' groups has been told to leave the site and many of the dissenting members have been threatened with termination of their membership, despite the effect that this will have on the ongoing activities of the railway.

    Sound familiar? So, the WSR is not unique in this respect, it just seems to get embroiled in such things more often than others.
     
    johnofwessex and jnc like this.
  3. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    13,480
    Likes Received:
    10,715
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I tend to prefer a “Roundhead” and “Cavalier” distinction - it leaves more to the imagination and is less prescriptive! More seriously, I think you hit on something important, but struggle with the Chiltern comparison, on several levels. Firstly, I don’t believe there is serious disagreement about whether the focus should be on the Minehead branch, even if the section to Taunton is more contentious. Second, the Chiltern comparison also needs to be considered as a cautionary tale. The original, Adrian Shooter led, Chiltern franchise ran into financial trouble making those enhancements, and has been taken over by Arriva leading to a much more conservative financial approach for a not particularly financially healthy franchise.

    What I like about the HPC funding was the prospect it opened up of new income streams to the railway, which could ease the reliance on the farebox, especially with the significant capital investment requirements now known to exist. And that’s where the Roundheads’ approach bemuses me, as it seems simultaneously to recognise the need for extra resources yet reject options that might provide them.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  4. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,726
    Likes Received:
    4,013
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    FWIW Michael has hit the nail firmly on the head.
    I really don't care how people help but if there cannot be common goals and a common purpose at this most difficult time then God help us all.
    My thought extends to the WSR, the wider preservation sector and the country at large.
     
  5. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,284
    Likes Received:
    3,356
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I was in the court during that episode and while it is strictly true that the virtue of the case was not properly tested, the judge made it clear that he was taking the unusual step of not awarding costs. Read into that what you will, his message was crystal clear.

    Where the real damage was done was that the 6+1 had clear instructions from their insurer over what they should and should not do to keep their financial cover. The 6+1 of course thought they knew best and carried on regardless, voiding their cover.

    We appear to be in a similar situation where "management knows best" and everyone who does not agree is a troublemaker. My prediction for what it's worth is that history will repeat itself. The S&D have been forced into an unfortunate position which has nothing whatsoever to do with external comment. This will not end well. History will also record where the chain of events started.
     
    johnofwessex, dhpaul, Piggy and 2 others like this.
  6. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Messages:
    680
    Likes Received:
    1,630
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer

    I am well aware of the outcome of Whitehouse vs WSRA, specifically wrt the CC's required
    consent. ( Personal experience in 2016 wrt WSRA Trustees, past and then current
    suggested obtaining a CC ruling on any matter was at best a very protracted affair )

    AFAIK the WSRA dispute with 4160 ltd is not about to go to court ( I hope it never does
    and whether CC approval to proceed or not has been sought/given I know not. )

    As I have stated often IMHO I think 4160 is the best ( ie appropriate to traffic
    requirements and economical ) loco to have worked on the WSR and to see it
    return for another ten years would be something to look forward to.

    Based on the £30K already given, post the virus outbreak, survival to operate
    the WSR in 2021 appears to be not just a dream.

    Great, news. Michael Rowe.
     
    malcolm imps likes this.
  7. Fish Plate

    Fish Plate Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    692
    Location:
    The Northern Hemisphere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Except how much of that £30k is going to be squandered on a totally pointless legal action (even if it doesn't end up in court) to turf the SDRT out of Washford instead of keeping the railway going? As @35B put it, he is currently deciding which railway appeals to support and has decided not to support the WSR because of what is happening. For the exact same reason, my money is going nowhere near Somerset. I take no pleasure in writing that as I did financially support the process of getting rid of the EX6+1 (which was a result entirely of the very effective online campaign run through this forum and the website) but cannot support the present management of the railway. Sad times for so many reasons but being totally unnecessarily compounded by the actions of the few at the top. Yes, they may have saved the railway from going into receivership last year (even though that was done with the 4110 debacle) but that does not give them carte blanche to do whatever they want without regards to the effect their actions have.
     
    Major Midget, dhpaul, Herald and 10 others like this.
  8. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    8,487
    Likes Received:
    12,573
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Absolutely, this a thousand times. And in anticipation of those who point out that the money donated will be spent on track renewal or whatever through protected funds, that really misses the point.
     
    35B likes this.
  9. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Messages:
    680
    Likes Received:
    1,630
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    The insurers subsequently offered a sum in part payment of the WSRA costs. A sum very much
    appreciated post the February EGM by a cash strapped oerganisation.

    I believe in terms of "knowing best" the then WSRA legal team advised the 'other side' that
    the judge would be unable to make a judgement due to lack of CC approval a week ahead of
    the hearing date. The advise for whatever reason was apparently not considered.

    Overall a legal action that assisted nobody. Moral is what we all know. Avoid the courts.

    Michael Rowe

    After posting I note Snifter asked "why did the ex6 + 1 not take this advise". Far from
    wishing to excuse the ex6 + 1 of anything: it was the Whitehouse team who brought
    the case ?
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
  10. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    5,148
    Likes Received:
    5,146
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Sage advice. Try Googling "Jennens v Jennens" for what can happen when it's ignored.
     
  11. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,284
    Likes Received:
    3,356
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    In which case you have to ask why the 6+1 spent £20k, clearly not following their own advice. Management always knows best, eh ? I totally agree with avoiding the courts and a perfect way to ensure it does not happen is to not break contracts or waste funds issuing ill considered legal letters. Sadly, the Dear Leader thinks otherwise.

    You do make an excellent point about 4160, where do you stand on 4110 and management knowing best ? The fundraising team were set a very challenging task and it must have come as quite a surprise when they rose to it.
     
    Herald and 35B like this.
  12. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    18,844
    Likes Received:
    32,433
    Location:
    21C102
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Absolutely so, but in which case why - at this of all times - has the PLC chosen to take the action it has with the S&DRT, given that there is at least a reasonable likelihood that the eviction would be contested? Regardless of whether the previous (2017 era) board exceeded their authority in seemingly granting a 50 year lease, the trustees of the S&DRT - as recorded in their annual report to members, believe such a lease to be in place; therefore they are almost duty bound to contest the eviction notice, up to and including testing whether the lease is legally valid or not.

    If the mantra is "avoid the courts", surely that matter should have been one of negotiation.

    You can't have it both ways - you can't say that at this time the railway needs all the support that is possible, when the PLC is acting in such a seemingly aggressive way, and in a way that can't even be justified on financial grounds. In what way does forcing the issue with the S&DRT right now provide any much needed cash right now? Instead, it seems counter-productive: a management distraction at best; a massive disincentive for donation when urgently needed at worst.

    Tom
     
  13. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    1,979
    Likes Received:
    4,130
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    So why then do you support the eviction of the S&DRT?
     
  14. Maunsell907

    Maunsell907 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Messages:
    680
    Likes Received:
    1,630
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Tom, I have posted more than once that I think the Plc and the S&D should negotiate.
    Inter alia post 23746. Indeed I said I would prefer the S&D to remain at Washford but
    I trust that the S&D would enthusiastically embrace a Plc presence on the station.

    I sometimes wonder why I post, since many appear to assume that I am a Plc stooge.
    It is the WSR I care for.

    Michael Rowe
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
    malcolm imps likes this.
  15. 60044

    60044 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    658
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Salisbury
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    If the newspaper report is to be believed, the crisis appeal has in reality only raised around £19K as £11K has come from station group funds - its money that was already in the "one railway" coffers. one has to wonder how much the ill-advised action against the S&DRMT has affected the level of donations. I also wonder why said station groups have also not been told to f**k off for being cuckoos in the nest by not donating said funds earlier to the rail replacement fund!
     
  16. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    1,695
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Western Atlantic
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I dunno, some might be encouraging the SDRT to 'stand their ground'. But I do think there is near-universal regret that it has come to this.

    Noel
     
    The Dainton Banker likes this.
  17. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    10,352
    Likes Received:
    15,219
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Barrister
    Location:
    Stogumber
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Kind of you to say. I had some small involvement in that process and now am a Trustee of the WSRA, having stood to one side for a time as recommended by the Coombes Report.

    Anyone who has followed the saga will know what I think of and how I am likely to act towards those who do not show others respect, or act for the good of our movement. It is, of course, not always easy to judge that remotely, or on limited facts, as occurred with the X-6.

    The WSRA has a significant track record over the past couple of years of raising significant sums and ensuring they are spent for the long term good of the WSR. You can be assured that the WSRA Trustees will continue ensure that is so, as required by our charitable duties.

    And, of course, if you are a U.K. taxpayer any donated sum has 25% added by HMG.

    Anyone who is hesitant about donating is welcome to PM me (I am the Trustee with the lead fundraising role) or WSRA Chairman Mike Sherwood (‘aldfort’) who would be pleased to discuss with how your donation can be certain not to disappear into any black hole, and be certain to be used for the purpose you wish (consistent with our charitable objects).

    The WSRA Trustees are very clear that no railway equals no charity, so we have that clearly in mind.

    Finally, please support the heritage railway movement generally, and the WSR in particular, in any way you are comfortable with at this difficult time.

    And keep watching WSR-TV. We should have a new video up in the late afternoon / early evening most days showcasing the WSR.

    Robin
     
  18. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2020
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    532
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Glad to learn this. It is all too easy for outsiders to believe Plc supporters are required to be stooges.
     
  19. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,542
    Likes Received:
    3,368
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    South Hams
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I read two news items today concerning Heritage lines.
    One was that the Severn Valley Railway has recently raised £120,000 t offset the closure period with lack of much income. Compare that with the WSR recent announcement, quoted in post 24295 by 60044, raised for the same reason and over the same period of time.
    The other is that 4110, now that 5329 has returned after its major overhaul to South Devon, being at the ESR will, 4110 when completed, operate on the EAST Somerset Railway for three years. So it will be able to see and ride behind 4110, in Somerset, in the future - just in a different part.
    Someone mentioned that none of their money would go to Somerset. The East Somerset is worth helping as far as I see.
     
  20. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Messages:
    1,848
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Swanage
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    From someone who spent his working life negotiating contracts (both purchase and supply) you need to have an element of trust with those you are negotiating with, even if you hate them as individuals. From what I have seen on here and in the press trust is sorely lacking.
    Due to all this free time I am finally reading A Long Walk to Freedom. Even Mandela had an element of trust even if he despised those he was negotiating with.
     
    Monkey Magic likes this.

Share This Page