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. pgbffest

    pgbffest Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2018
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    294
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Somewhere with a lot of letters!
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    But surely it will depend on the individual line concerned as the overheads of opening each day will vary so much between Company's?
     
    smithersmark600 likes this.
  2. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2014
    Messages:
    13,233
    Likes Received:
    7,757
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    St Leonards
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    In most cases, in that case, the survival of those lines that can operate some kind of service and make money between now and Christmas, should be OK, as long as expenditure is carefully controlled, but those who don't may very well be facing a very bleak future, especially if next years operating season is curtailed till may/ June.
    As this is the WSR, we are talking of here, I remain very suspicious of the longer term plans the chairman may have as regards acquiring the line as part of his business portfolio. he won't be the first chairman of a company to run a company down as a plan to personally acquire the assets specially if he can then buy the freehold and profit from being able to sell parcels of land for development, or to borrow against.
     
    baldbof likes this.
  3. weltrol

    weltrol Member Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,300
    Likes Received:
    352
    Shades of Nabarro at the Severn Valley all those years ago....
     
    Devonbelle and paullad1984 like this.
  4. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    6,119
    Likes Received:
    4,378
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Thorn in my managers side
    Location:
    72
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The explanation I have seen of Nabarro's behaviour was that he didnt understand the motivation of the SVR's shareholders, which isnt necessarily what is always happening
     
  5. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    15
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    71B ex 71A
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Nice to see something positive on here for a change!
    What happens to the spent ballast, After it has been unloaded at Norton Fitzwarren?
     
  6. Roger Thompson

    Roger Thompson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
    Messages:
    615
    Likes Received:
    1,762
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Warwickshire, formerly Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It's cleaned up and resold for building purposes by a contractor, Luffmans.

    Sent from my SM-T590 using Tapatalk
     
    Devonbelle and Hampshire Unit like this.
  7. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    1,866
    Likes Received:
    3,770
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    That assumes that the costs of not running are less than the costs of running. Didn't Paul Lewin quote a figure of costs of £50,000 a month with no trains running on the FR? So to not run, your running costs would have to be so big that you would be running at an even greater financial loss than you are making by not running.

    I can not see how, given the number of tourists and visitors in Minehead, that even a limited service similar to those run on the FR or MHR, would not produce profit, or at least reduce the size of the monthly loss so that it would be lower than if you had run no trains at all.

    Furthermore, it is clear that reopening on many lines has been a positive, moral boosting exercise among volunteers and supporters, as well as generating good external publicity for the lines concerned.

    Those are three things the WSR can ill afford to miss.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
  8. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,426
    Likes Received:
    3,269
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    South Hams
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    But before they can operate trains they have to close the gap! No rails = no trains. I wonder if the PLC will try and shift the blame to SCC?
     
  9. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    15
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    71B ex 71A
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Thanks for that Roger.
    Also nice to see that the Minehead Dunster section has been relaid with CWR, From those pictures of the P Way gang with the STOP sign in the distance, It looks as if the Minehead Blue Anchor section is under a T3 Absolute engineers possesion.
     
  10. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,031
    Likes Received:
    897
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Swindon
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    He wouldn't Dare!!
     
  11. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    2,992
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Instrumentation, Control & Automation Engineer
    Location:
    East Sussex
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    :Morewaitingisrequired: Only he knows for sure.

    I suppose you just have to look at at the record of his and the other senior managers actions since he has been in office and decide for yourself if those actions that have been taken and that are still currently ongoing are all for the good of the railway. - Especially as clear and reasonable explanations for those actions are in such short supply.

    On another subject... I may be completely wrong here (It's my age...) but I thought I read somewhere recently that one of the Chairman's locomotives is currently undergoing overhaul at the WSR... If that is so does anyone know how that overhaul is being funded in the current financial situation?
     
    jnc likes this.
  12. garth manor

    garth manor Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    957
    Likes Received:
    227
    One can only speculate if JJP had not taken over.
     
  13. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2006
    Messages:
    2,733
    Likes Received:
    2,376
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    N.Ireland
    I think 4936 is under overhaul at Tyseley and 9466 is on hire to Ecclesbourne (not sure if it's actually arrived there yet)

    Keith
     
  14. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    13,191
    Likes Received:
    10,266
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I think we can do more than just speculate. On the credit side, he and his supporters identified significant issues and, more importantly, started to do something about them. That progress was not a given, and credit should be given for that decisiveness and intent.

    On the other hand, we can see a fundamental change of approach by WSR plc to others. Some of that was just the flip side of the decisiveness mentioned above (I’d be tempted to put the ejection of 4422 in that category), but something else also seems to have crept in over the last 18 months, which I can only describe from afar as a combination of nastiness and insularity. It comes through in what’s been described about the HPC funding, or the treatment of those who don’t toe the line. The fuss over Facebook is to me very illustrative of this - focusing on the medium and controlling the message, rather than engaging with the substantive criticism. I also do not believe for one moment that the eviction from Washford would have been contemplated.

    But, above all else, I don’t believe the WSR would have closed for summer 2020 under the old regime. I believe the works required to enable operation would have been concluded, and the WSR would have joined the many other major preserved railways in operation this summer.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    Squiffy, free2grice, ross and 16 others like this.
  15. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    15,613
    Likes Received:
    13,450
    Location:
    1016
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    In my opinion, that simple post covers quite a few points and is not a million miles away from an objective assessment of the situation. But in so doing it will immediately upset some people close to the railway who will see it differently. And that's the problem.

    Taking the long view it's hard not to wonder whether the WSR community has bumbled along in its own way but with underlying difficulties in its finance, organisation and infrastructure that have not been addressed...and should have been addressed a long time back. For example, it is now five years on from Coombes. Others can judge whether that has resulted in exactly the new relationship and interconnection between the WSRA and PLC that was intended.

    Just because seismic events have happened doesn't mean that they are wrong - omelettes and eggs etc - but it's definitely not been a master class in taking people with you. Perhaps the seriousness of the situation was such as to need these steps. Don't forget that all heritage railways had Covid bowled at them but only one had it happen when the railway was already in intensive care but few would accept it.
     
  16. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    6,119
    Likes Received:
    4,378
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Thorn in my managers side
    Location:
    72
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I understand that the issues had been identified before JJP's appointment.

    In many respects though he is only the messenger rather than the message, it is clear that there was a backlog of essential renewal work that had not been adressed, which in turn followed on from the inability to make/raise sufficient funds to keep the railway in good working order
     
  17. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    13,191
    Likes Received:
    10,266
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The question, on which opinion is irrevocably divided, is over the nature of the intensive care regime being received by the WSR. Some would consider the regime necessary as part of a cure, others that the cure is worse than the disease.

    I’m in the latter camp, because I firmly believe that businesses can only thrive where they are focused on drawing the customers in, and the entire impression of the current modus operandi is that it is primarily focused on risk mitigation, meaning a lack of focus on opportunity. Some comments on this thread, especially one from @Maunsell907, lead me to a conclusion that the value of marginal income is being underestimated, and there is too much focus on an overall rate of return.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  18. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    6,652
    Likes Received:
    3,503
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Freelance photo - journalist
    Location:
    Southport

    Surely time to think carefully and appreciate the value of goodwill which is also being lost through indecision. The simple act of running trains shows a commitment to the area and any marginal income will be welcome boost - both to the volunteers and the local community. I recall in the early days of the WSR that a winter white-out saw the railway being the only link between Minehead and the hinterland and the continuation of train running generated much goodwill - including the support of the local councils in establishing the railway as a major community activity. Who knows what goodwill can be generated by starting operations in the current climate - or is being lost by NOT operating ?
     
  19. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
    Messages:
    1,866
    Likes Received:
    3,770
    Location:
    Here, there, everywhere
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    There have been quite a lot of studies of the economic performance of ex-Communist countries after 1989. In 89, the economic situation was dire across the board, but what was found was that those states where the politicians got on with economic reconstruction did better than those countries where political, social energy was expended on issues such as ethnic politics and internicine fights.

    I am sure that those with a knowledge of business history can point to countless companies that went to the wall because instead of fixing what was critical they were more concerned with picking irrelevant fights.

    My point here is that the recovery of the WSR would have been faster and more secure if energy had not been wasted on pointless fights.

    At no point can I see that getting rid of 4422, evicting the S&DRT, the debacle of 4110, the threats to 169, the ejection of critical volunteers, the confrontational press releases etc etc, have done anything to improve the financial situation of the WSR or to remedy the critical areas of safety concern such as the trackwork.
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    18,636
    Likes Received:
    31,752
    Location:
    21C102
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Something that struck me when I was on the first day of "ghost trains" at the Bluebell was just how many people - far more than normal - came out to watch from all the public vantage points (bridges, foot crossings, camp sites) along the line. Those were, dare I say it, ordinary people, not specifically photographers. Clearly the sounds of steam had been missed.

    The effect of running a service on volunteer morale is also something that, while hard to quantify, is also I would suggest very considerable.

    Tom
     

Share This Page