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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    There is so much hot air on here it would be sufficient to haul a 14 coach train all the way from Minehead to Lydeard!

    Who needs Steam?
     
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Was that bit written in invisible ink? I didn't see it anyway. There was some discussion of the S&DRT mentioned, and a resolution that the WSRA would try and bring about some sort of mediation. This was all back in April, old news, I presume the outcome of that resolution was getting John Bailey involved.
    Frankly, you're looking a tad desperate, unless I've missed something obvious.
     
  3. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Ian,
    a couple of points:
    Why does it matter when the nominations were received? You make it sound like they should have been submitted many weeks before the deadline or at some arbitrary date. As long as they are received before the deadline then what is the problem?

    Can you please quote somewhere that this has been stated? The candidates have said they wish to merge the charity into a single entity. That is very different from abolishing the WSSRT and would be constrained by charity law anyway.

    Can you explain why someone would need to forewarn the Trust that they plan to stand? What would be the purpose of that forewarning and how would the information be used by the Trust?

    And the 14 new Trustees would also have a legal duty to protect the charity, or at least its charitable aims (within the new entity), which the nominees have stated that they intend to do.

    Can I also ask why the WSSRT feel that their aims could not be achieved within a new charity? For example, the heritage carriages group of the new WSR society/charity, or the museum group of the WSR society/charity? It is perfectly possible for the WSSRT charitable aims to be fulfilled by a new charity body - don't confuse the aims of the charity with the means of delivery.

    Keith
     
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  4. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    Depends on which refugees and what goodies they bring with them doesn't it?
     
  5. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    There is no mention of WSSRT trustee elections in those minutes. The number of redactions may well be to do with the nature of business being discussed at that meeting, ie there were an unusual number of finance or legal issues to deal with. Bear in mind the WSRA was in the process of selling their shop etc around this time.
    I'm not sure what you're seeing, but to my eyes the minutes do not 'clearly show that the Association knew what the 2 trustees were planning and by not telling the steam trust they endorsed the action and therefore cannot claim to be neutral.' - far from it. Oh, and why would the WSRA be under any obligation to tell the WSSRT that some people were planning to stand for election? That would be interfering in another charities election.

    Keith
     
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  6. echap

    echap Member

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    I am trying to keep up with this thread (speed reading anyone?) and would like to make my observations as an outsider who only looks forward to another trip on the railway.

    The attempted takeover of the WSSRT by WSRA people seems to be heavy handed and sits uncomfortably as there has been much reaction to the S&DRT being "got rid of" from the railway but it is being portrayed by many on here as totally acceptable for the WSSRT to be taken over and then "got rid of" by means of a merger or abandonment for a new charity. I have some personal difficulty seeing any difference to how small groups on the railway are being treated.

    I appreciate that grabbing the 10% of shares is the real prize that many wish for but is the collateral damage really worthwhile?

    Surely a better and nicer approach might be for the 2 groups, WSRA and WSSRT to sit down, probably with an independent mediator, and have a friendly talk to map out a better future for the groups. The WSSRT has stated that it wishes to remain independent and it would nice if that view was respected rather than trying a takeover bid. Perhaps negotiations could raise the possibility of WSSRT selling their shares in the Plc to the new supporters charity and then being able to use the funds raised to continue their charitable aims and carry out their own work on their museums and carriages.

    Surely something like this would be much better for all concerned rather than a planned takeover of a well established small charity and then suddenly cancelling it out. That just seems to be downright rude to all the work of the WSSRT over the years.

    I think it important to point out that I am not a member of any organisation on the WSR.

    So many comments seem to be you are with us or you are against us, that I just sat and thought how might I approach the problem. Anyway, please feel free to ignore my comments as somebody's ramblings but I just wanted to offer an opinion and thoughts.

    Ed Chap
     
  7. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Yes I challenge you to justify the need any delay under the excuse of needing to 'seek advice'.

    You may be unhappy with the timing but was there anything wrong with the way the nominations were received? You may not like what they say but is there anything wrong with them having clearly stated their objectives ? Just because you and members of the WSSRT Board don't like or agree with what they are proposing that does not give them the right to deliberately delay proceedings for no good reason.

    Those standing have made their intentions clear, they do not appear to be hiding any ulterior motives from the WSSRT (is this a first for the WSR as a whole?) They have made their case and it is up to the members to decide how they vote at the AGM. Other than re-issuing corrected paperwork there is no excuse for a delay at all. Like it or not there has been no breech of procedures, the Articles have been followed and now the AGM must take place. If there is now any unreasonable delay, and I suggest that no more than 14 days would be needed to revise and re-issue the AGM paperwork (as would have been the case anyway as the Proxy slip had so many errors on it), then I would be calling the WSSRT Board to account, not those who are standing.

    There seems to be more than a whiff of people fighting to retain their positions here rather than them working for the good of the WSSRT and its members.
     
  8. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    No need to close down the Steam Trust but make it responsible for Education through its museums.

    The Carriages could be transferred to the Main Charity to hasten their rebuild and reuse. This aspect needs an overhaul in itself as I do hope to see more than the the BCK in operation in my lifetime!
     
  9. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    There appear to be various elements of power politics in play around the WSR, and the last 48 hours suggest that the WSSRT are an active participant in them, more so than would be suggested by just the focus on protecting the Trust’s objectives mentioned by @ikcdab in his recent post.

    Ultimately, in an environment in which the plc has the ability to impose its will, and where it’s current leadership have chosen to use that extremely aggressively, those supporting major structural change have a difficult choice. They may opt for an approach such as yours, which relies on trusting the good faith of the plc (and which is advocated by @Lineisclear, who appears to have had some success in mediation processes around Washford), or they may opt for a more aggressive approach that seeks to remove the blocking power of the plc.

    Given the slowly slowly approach of the plc to structural change, and raising of frankly trivial issues as though major blockers, I’m not sure I wouldn’t go for broke myself.


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  10. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    But you would then have 2 charities competing for funds for 'the wsr' (albeit for differing purposes)

    As has been pointed out many times here and by the Bailey report, a simple one charity structure would be easier all round.

    Keith
     
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  11. echap

    echap Member

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    But surely you also have DEPG and S&DRT competing for funds for the WSR? What is the difference?
     
  12. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    No need to change. The WSSRT (or whatever it is planning to call itself) could continue fundraising for itself and those funds could be held in a ring fenced account in the overall charities accounts for the WSSRT groups use.
     
  13. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Neither are “the WSR”, both have other, wider, purposes.

    As importantly here, neither are significant shareholders in the WSR plc.


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  14. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    Of course it doesn't matter when the nominations were received, they were received as required by the articles. I never suggested any different.
    My point is that if there was as a small charity of 7 trustees who in its almost 50 year history has struggled to get trustees, it seems to me that if one were proposing 14 new trustees you would at the very least want to chat to the chairman first. I know there is no requirement to do so, but at the very least if your intentions were benign, it would be a sensible thing to do. Given that it is unprecedented in the history of the charity, in fact probably unprecedented in the history of any charity. For the trust, it would go from 7 trustees to 21 at a stroke. Of course that needs time to consider the implications.
    And i cannot see any possible advantage for the trust being merged into the wsra. We do what we do perfectly well and wish to continue doing it. There is no advantage to the trust's objectives in it being subsumed into a greater charity.
    Ian
     
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  15. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    >>>The attempted takeover of the WSSRT by WSRA people seems to be heavy handed and sits uncomfortably as there has been much reaction to the S&DRT being "got rid of" from the railway but it is being portrayed by many on here as totally acceptable for the WSSRT to be taken over and then "got rid of" by means of a merger or abandonment for a new charity. I have some personal difficulty seeing any difference to how small groups on the railway are being treated.

    Firstly, a number of WSSRT members are standing for election as Trustees, as is their right - I do not see how that can be construed as a WSRA takeover. The fact that some, if not all, of them may also be WSRA members is simply not relevant in this context. I suspect that at least some of them nay also be Plc Shareholders, but I've yet to see anyone describe this action as an attempted takeover by the Plc.

    Secondly, whatever may happen to the WSSRT in future, the intention seems to be clear in the current situation that the basics of what it does - and the people who do it - will remain part of the 'WSR family' along with its assets. That is a completely different kettle of fish from the case of the S&DRT, who are being evicted from the WSR altogether, with the loss to the WSR of a valuable museum site attraction, something to bring visitors to Washford (what else will in future?), the help and support of its membership and volunteers, and a great deal of good will within the preservation movement. Not to say the possible/probable future 'unavailability' of a certain popular locomotive.
     
  16. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    But then, why bother to change. Just leave it as it is. It's far better for two charities to access funds than one.
    Ian
     
  17. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    It to some extent comes back to the issue of the proper accountability of the PLC board

    So in the alternative, either

    1. The WSSRT transfers or sells its shares to the WSRA, or
    2 Works with the WSRA as the largest shareholders in the PLC to move in the direction suggested by Bailey and make the PLC board properly accountable
     
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  18. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    No, not right. An independent charity with its own dedicated trustees working to a set of objects is far more successful than a group subsumed within a larger organisation. Viz British Leyland et Al.
    Ian
     
  19. Dennis John Brooks

    Dennis John Brooks Member

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    If my memory serves me correctly, the museum at BL is actually owned by the WSRA, the WSSRT are only the curators.

    DJB.
     
  20. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    As far as I know, the WSSRT has rather a curious history. Originally set up to run steam trains on a West Somerset Railway operated as a commercial service by WSR Ltd, it fell into dormancy for many years and was only revived relatively recently, I believe, and I may be wrong, when it acquired its major shareholding in the Plc. Since then it has concentrated on heritage matters. Perhaps @ikcdab would like to explain how this shareholding fits with the charity's aims and objectives and into its current activities.
     

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