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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Which might suggest that those, such as the WSR, with low 'hits' or subscribers are preaching, mostly, to the choir. It is all very fine proclaiming how wonderful things are, when in truth they are not!
     
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  2. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    No coincidence that Bodmin, South Devon & the WSR have all come to similar conclusions and clearly there is no universal "right" answer.
     
  3. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    This is why I said:

    It does not necessarily mean running trains but looking at any and every way in which revenue can be extracted. Is your shop able to be opened? Can your cafe open? Look at say the TR in the General Managers Walkabout 15 for examples.

    We can do x first, that will bring in money and is the quickest to set up, we can move to doing y a bit later, z is the hardest and perhaps the most marginal so not worth doing. Maybe you open your shop and you manage to make £500 in the time the business is open, not much but you wouldn't turn down a £500 donation from someone. Maybe that is all you can do, but you've made £500 that you wouldn't have made otherwise.

    And that requires good management of the line involved in making those decisions. No one is saying 'open, open and ignore the risks and the costs'.

    If you really can't open anything and you have to stay completely shutdown then I really don't fancy your chances of survival.

    Ultimately, as is seen in the wider world, a genuine externally generated crisis is the test of local leadership. Their ability to adapt and deal with the crisis in the short, medium and long term is critical in how those organisations, states, societies etc, come out of the crisis. The lines that have good leadership will be better placed than those that don't have it.

    There is a more general point here, but I think there is a tension within the railway heritage sector between the 'core' audience and the 'general' audience. The core audience provides the majority (?) of revenue for railways and the general audience is the surplus, whereas perhaps for other museums it is the other way round, so they tend to make more of an effort to capture the 'general' audience. I think the complaints about the NRM and its betrayal of what is about are quite revealing about the tensions between the two audiences and the decisions managers have to make when it comes to marketing.

    BTW - I will say that Bovington did set up their youtube in 2010 (early adopters?) whereas WSRTV is only a few months old.
     
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  4. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Bodmin is not on a well trodden tourist path and as far as South Devon is concerned they relied on other local attractions to help their patronage (note a platform sign proclaims Buckfastleigh for Buckfast Abbey) - Buckfast being a major attraction in the South West but heavily dependant on coach trips.
    If Minehead is bursting at the seams with caravans and campers then that suggests a missed golden opportunity. Given the grounding of many holiday flights abroad it seems that those not going abroad are certainly finding Britain's tourist spots an alternative choice for their holidays.
     
  5. granmaree

    granmaree Member

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  6. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Llangollen is an interesting comparison considering its difficulties in recent months and also thinking about its local tourist market - the point @Greenway was making when looking at Bodmin and the SDR.
     
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  7. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    In answer to my earlier post, some one has provided me with a screenshot of the notice in question, which is appended below.

    Reading it, I am struck by the clarity of the message and generosity of tone, to the extent that it could be a template for a good press release. I find it all the more unbelievable that it is treated as an internal notice, and not intended for sharing.
    Bob Meanley Resignation Press Release.jpeg
     
  8. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    These are both depressingly negative. It is almost as if you had decided the answer was "No" before considering the factors. With reports of the West Country being full of people both you and the other places who have decided it is all too difficult will realise before long that the potential income, if not making you rich, would have made it easier to stay in business.

    By the way, I know of a line where the General Manager approached all volunteers to see if sufficient were prepared to come back and operate services this year. With a favourable response, trains are now running. Did anybody bother to ask you?
     
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  9. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Just to build on this the pride on my social media feeds from the volunteers of the SVR this morning is a joy to see
     
  10. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm not sure unless things get really really bad that we will get a full lockdown again , local lockdowns certainly , restrictions on certain sectors probably

    most heritage lines running have demonstrated that they are covid prepared . I presume the likes of WSR, SDR , Bodmin will still need to do this whether they reopen this year or next
     
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  11. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I find myself in full agreement with you Paul, not just on this specific post, but this topic in general. Now there's a first! :)
     
  12. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Its also getting public confidence in your ability to keep them safe, as people seem to be trusting that the leisure activity they choose isn't going to increase the risk they face, other wise there would be no demand, and of course, if you have already been open to the public , in a safe manor, you at least will have an very good idea what does work, where as a railway, or attraction opening up after being closed has to do, and learn every thing from scratch.
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That seems to be a bet on the assumption that from next year, everything will be back to normal - i.e. running full capacity trains. If the ORR have insisted on running operational "ghost" trains on a line like the Bluebell, where the shutdown was only about four months (we were running a service in February and March), then they will sure as heck still insist on the same if you have been shut down for 15 months or so re-opening in March 2021. So that cost is still there whether you reopen in August 2020 or March 2021. And if you can't make the trains pay at limited capacity, but there are still social distancing restrictions in 2021 - what then? As for keeping staff on furlough: that can't possibly last for ever from the Government's point of view. It was an excellent scheme to keep basically viable businesses going through a huge shock, but it isn't designed to keep unviable businesses running indefinitely, and that much is clear by the way it is being gradually reduced in scope. From today you are going to start using cash from having to pay staff costs even for those furloughed.

    Ultimately, it looks like the WSR is betting the farm that conditions in 2021 will be back to normal, with no additional mandatory requirements or capacity restrictions from the continued presence of the virus. That feels like a hell of a gamble to me. If instead conditions remain the same as now and you can't make money in August 2020, how will you possibly make money in March 2021?

    Tom
     
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Quite. I have my first post-Covid turn of the year tomorrow (a ghost train); and my first full operational turn on our re-opening day, 7 August. You sure bet I am proud to be going back!

    Tom
     
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  15. Barrie the Beer

    Barrie the Beer Part of the furniture

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    Since furlough scheme inception, employees are supposed to accrue paid holiday entitlement based on their furlough income. A number of businesses seem to have overlooked this financial commitment. Employee and employer could have agreed to waive entitlement by mutual arrangement, but any such agreement should not be retrospective.
     
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  16. Ruston906

    Ruston906 New Member

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    I dont know if the lack of compartment coaches makes it more difficult to operate.
     
  17. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    However, employers can tell their employees that they must take certain dates as holiday, including when they are on furlough. My employers have used that to make furloughed employees use their holiday time accrued during furlough whilst they are on furlough, so that effectively the entitlement is cancelled out.

    (this was specified at the start of furlough, so it was put to each furloughed employee before they agreed to be furloughed)
     
  18. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure what your definitions are here, but if by "core" you mean "enthusiast" this is probably not correct for revenue. Going by the figures I've seen from railways who have researched where their traffic comes from, you can assume for most railways that only about 10% of revenue at most comes from the enthusiast sector; the rest is from the general sector.
     
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  19. Roger Thompson

    Roger Thompson Well-Known Member

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    Yes, all volunteers on the GWSR were asked how they felt about a resumption of duties.

    Sent from my SM-T590 using Tapatalk
     
  20. Roger Thompson

    Roger Thompson Well-Known Member

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    This notice has obviously been put together by Steve Williams, not the Chairman. As you say, a huge improvement on previous efforts, and I agree that it is strange that it currently hasn't been released publicly (officially, that is).

    Sent from my SM-T590 using Tapatalk
     
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