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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    As a point of comparison, I'm a member of 2 departments on the GWSR, during lockdown each department's VLO (Volunteer Liaison Officer) rang round everyone in the department to check up how we were all doing at least once, I think more often in the case of those known to be living alone or not connected to other folk via social media etc. There was a survey at the beginning of June to find out what volunteers thought about coming back, and since we've started our phased re-opening there has of course been lots of contact informing us of what's happening now, next, what we're allowed to do and when we can come in. I've no idea how that compares with the WSR as if it happened, it's not the sort of thing I'd expect to show up here anyway, but thought it might be interesting.
     
  2. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    oh dear!
     
  3. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    The survey was done on Surveymonkey, which is a "freemium" type thing; you get the basic stuff for free but you can pay for more advanced stuff. The WSR survey didn't feel very advanced to me...

    Like I say, I'd be happy to be corrected if I've misinterpreted PO as Purchase Order and it's something else, as I'm a little puzzled otherwise.
     
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  4. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    But Alex the difference is you are part of a railway that is going places, knows what it wants, and how to achieve it with a happy volunteer workforce with very few paid staff unlike the WSR!

    The fact you can take on new staff and finish the Gotherington slip is proof of the financial propriety of your business

    Being the established railway we can only hope the WSR learns how to do it from you
     
  5. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    So if that is the case why would a purchase order be required other than to cover a payment?

    Assuming that PO does in fact constitute a Purchase Order - undoubtedly we will find out!
     
  6. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Ah, I have answered my own question. The free survey only lets you view 40 responses. If you have more than that, you have to pay to see them. The cheapest way I can find of doing that is to pay a 1 month fee of £99. Beyond that, you have to pay yearly, the cheapest price being ~£380 from what I can see.
     
  7. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Yesterday I said
    Not unreasonably I have been asked where the abrupt transition was, and I now have to admit to being mistaken. I have re-watched the video. I have watched the first minute or so (which was where I thought I'd seen it) more than once.
    Either it was a glitch in the video stream reaching my computer or it was a glitch in my brain.
    Sorry people!
     
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  8. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I would say that this is a direct consequence of the poor management by the PLC board. When Covid hit other lines set about developing strategies to secure their lines, attract donations and to prepare for reopening. We can see that the elite lines like the Ffestiniog, SVR, TR, Bluebell, GCR, IOW and GWSR are all either running in some form, or preparing to run very soon. These are different lines in different parts of the country with different tourist markets, different problems to sort out before running and they have all managed it. All these lines have been creative in how they have adapted to the challenges them.

    No doubt many thought that people might not be willing to travel due to concerns about covid and also economic insecurity. However, it is clear that people are willing to travel and to travel on preserved trains. Lines like the SVR, FR, etc have all been there ready to welcome them with a high quality, covid safe experience to reap the financial rewards.

    While this was going on around the country, the PLC board was more concerned with picking unnecessary fights, alienating potential supporters, issuing solicitors letters against critics, and engaging in macho posturing in the railway press.

    The upshot is that time has been lost, opportunities have been missed. And now when there are tourists in Minehead, the WSR is in no position to capitalise. a position the WSR cannot afford to be in.

    All around the country, organisations are preparing for different scenarios. I can see that where I work we have four versions: it gets a lot better, it gets slightly better, it stays the same, it gets worse. I have no doubt that those lines that have been flexible are going to carry on being flexible and will adapt. I see none of that from those in charge of the WSR.

    The PLC board are happy to claim the credit for everything but unwilling to take any responsibility for the mistakes that have left the WSR behind the curve. There are all the excuses that their defenders trot out but it doesn't wash.

    That the WSR is not in a position to benefit from the surprising upsurge in UK tourism is a failure of WSR management.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  9. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I agree, and said similar at the time. Unfortunately, my point was we are now past the point where anything can realistically be done to correct this in time for the summer tourist season, so there's little point in spending time speculating on what could be done. We can leave it at something could have been done, but wasn't.
     
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  10. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    >>>...However, it is clear that people are willing to travel .....on persevered trains.....

    Are those the ones which get there in the end despite all the odds ? :):) Could do with some of those for MD - BA shuttles......
     
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  11. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Tell me if I've got this right.

    The staff currently on furlough (that haven't gone to work elsewhere) are the ones with the appropriate training, safety certificates and competencies to do whatever they do on the railway. The volunteers are just that and I guess, while the railway is not operating, can safely weed the track. Unskilled but valuable work.

    Since a week ago, the government has allowed staff on furlough to return to work part time with the WSR paying a proportion but not all of their salary.

    So that gives a cash strapped plc the opportunity to draw in people they need to do what is needed without breaking the bank, so to speak. It could, for example, allow staff at Minehead and Blue Anchor to work on getting that bit of the railway open.

    So is anything like that happening? Are people previously unseen now in evidence? That will, at least demonstrate to the doomsayers that the plc is moving things on.
     
  12. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    From reading the thread it seems that several of the paid staff who would be needed to do the work needed for the line to reopen have left for pastures new
     
  13. Barrie the Beer

    Barrie the Beer Part of the furniture

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    Flexible furlough, where a full-time employee could come back part-time and be furloughed for rest of the week, actually kicked in on 1st July.
     
  14. Barrie the Beer

    Barrie the Beer Part of the furniture

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    With AGM season approaching rapidly I can find no mention of when WSR plc AGM is due to take place. Year end was 31st March, so shouldn't AGM take place by end of September?

    Last year's EGM approved a change of articles to allow the proposed 21st September 2019 AGM date to be delayed until December. There is no reason to delay again this year, is there?

    WSSRT AGM is 19th September and WSRA AGM on 26th September.
     
  15. Barrie the Beer

    Barrie the Beer Part of the furniture

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    I've answered my own question! WSR plc AGM is to be held on the same day as the Association AGM, 26th September 2020:

    www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/shareholders

    That's how other railways do it, support charity and operating company AGMs on the same day. A welcome sign of preparation for organisational change perhaps?
     
  16. Another Yorkshireman

    Another Yorkshireman Member Friend

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    I have had eMail updates through the HOPS system on a fairly regular basis.
    I guess some volunteers will be waiting until it is obvious they are needed, and then make decisions based on the nation's health , their own health, their family responsibilities, and their enthusiasm levels. A loco driver with minimal contact with the public may not have the worries that a booking office clerk may have. Some will have been thinking about 'retiring' for some time, and may feel this is the break which makes it sensible to go now. Many will be itching to come back, regardless of issues aired on this site. I think its a bit early to be approaching all the volunteers for a 'still in' or 'out' decision, as there are so many unknowns.
     
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  17. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I recall a while back there was a sneery post by a board supporter that none of the other lines in the vicinity were Premier League, unlike the WSR. Let's see how those inferior lines are doing:

    ESR open
    L&B open
    DFR open and G2G
    AVR cafe open, running weekends August
    GWSR opening soon
    PDSR open
    Swanage open
    M Shed closed
    SDR no trains. Buckfastleigh open and engineering open.
    Plym Valley closed.
     
  18. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    From WSR website ...... "AGM 2020 – Saturday 26th September 2020 the format of the meeting will depend on advice current at the time about Covid19."
     
  19. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    It did, but the question asked if it is applicable to WSR staff?
     
  20. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I think that the paid PWay team were put on furlough . I think they have left to alternative employment with one now employed by the GWSR. these seem to be key to completing the relay between minehead and blue anchor that would enable the section to reopen . Except there seems to be an issue with level crossing at minehead which may or may not preclude reopening anyway . steps seem being taking to rectify both although timescale is not clear
     

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