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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Keith Sims

    Keith Sims Member

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    Sad to hear that adverse pressure has been applied to some of the "14", notably one who has been so active in the Living History weekends ( the best thing to emerge from the total shutdown). This seems to be heavy handed and totally out of order for the Plc to interfere with the legitimate activities of some of its most active and devoted volunteers.
    This behaviour will be counterproductive and is likely to deter volunteers in the future.
    Keith & Joyce
     
  2. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    If we had a merged charity, it would hardly be the size of British Leyland. The number of trustees and staff is very unlikely to exceed the Dunbar number of 350. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number ).
     
  3. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    No. The wssrt took over the whole thing from the wsra 2 or 3 years ago. The wsra no longer has any involvement.
    Ian
     
  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    British Leyland is a ridiculous comparison. Of more sensible comparison is perhaps the number of wagon groups there are on heritage railways. Wagons are similar to heritage carriages, nice to have but commercially not the priority. These groups all manage fine, nay flourish, without separate trustees and charitable objectives. Of course they still need committed people to run them, but that isn't precluded in any way by a merger.

    As I'v said before, I'd have more sympathy with the WSSRT's desire to remain independent if it gave a commitment to give up its 10% shareholding as that in my view is the biggest anomaly, and engage with the reform process a little more enthusiastically.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
  5. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    Was this before or after BR slewed the track under the King's School Bridge onto the old up relief line, which was the thing that really killed "running into Taunton"?
     
  6. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    Haven't you got something to say about harassment?
     
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  7. Mike S

    Mike S Member

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    Don't hold your breath waiting, you may very well die of asphyxiation.......
     
  8. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    Good grief - from the fuss being made by the existing WSSRT trustees you'd think the 7 - or 14 - or whatever - will become trustees simply by standing for election. Isn't there some sort of vote for these people or something like that? where the membership can decide for themselves whether the different direction suggested by the new trustees is something they want to pursue?

    Or are the existing trustees afraid the rank and file actually will want to change the direction of the trust....
     
  9. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    That's largely correct. The trust was established in 1972 to run the summer steam trains alongside the PLC's commuter service. When that didn't happen, the plc started the steam service and the trust fell into dormancy. It was revived in 1985, so not really "relatively recently". It was revived by cvda, Peter Thompson, Chris Dowrick, Peter Barnfield and myself to have responsibility for Blue Anchor museum and the sleeping car. The shares have been acquired over many years. Back in the days when it was possible, we bought shares in the plc to support its activities. As the shares had no value, that was donations of cash to the plc. Chris Dowrick used to tell us we were "buying wallpaper". That is no longer allowed. More recently, the shares have been from legacies. When shareholders die, if the executors are on the ball and don't just chuck them in the bin, they get passed to the trust.
    Ian
     
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  10. Fish Plate

    Fish Plate Member

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    With all due respect to the Trust, and to you in particular Ian (I remember well the torrid time you went through under the Ex6+1), in the present circumstances that just doesn’t cut the mustard. The WSR is in an exceptionally precarious state. The Plc are on record as not seeing the restructuring as anything urgent, when in my opinion, that could not be further from the truth. Given the position taken this year about the inability to run trains, a huge gamble is being taken that things will be back to normal to operate in 2021; that is far from certain. In the case that doesn’t happen, where is the railway’s income going to come from? Having the restructure completed before next Spring, to my mind, is the only course of action to maximise any income that can be generated (just look how many railways with Charitable bodies have gained funds from the NLHF). And there’s the rub; given the Trust’s 10% shareholding in the Plc, just doing what you’ve always done isn’t good enough. If the Plc folds, there is a real risk that everything the Trust has worked so hard to achieve will be lost at a stroke. You could therefore argue (as others have said) that actually, seeking to get the recommendations of the Bailey Report implemented as swiftly as possible is essential to the Trust’s long term future, even if it is as part of a combined charity.

    I can understand that this does seem like an extreme course of action but given what is at stake, I don’t find it at all surprising that those who want to see the survival of the railway have taken the action they have. Yes, perhaps the Association could have approached the Trust to see if common ground coding be found but given the Trust’s statements about not wanting to get involved, it is understandable that the 10 (as the now are) felt only a drastic course of action would work. I can’t see why the Trust’s charitable aims could not be continued under a merged charity and you might just find that funding for the work you do will be easier to obtain in the long run when, to the outside world, it would no longer appear that there are two charities based on the railway doing largely the same thing but competing for the same funding.

    The crisis at the WSR will only be resolved by bold action and now is the time; next year could very well be too late.
     
  11. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    Sorry, as I get older, I tend to forget how long ago things actually happened.
     
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  12. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Why not just have one coordinated appeals process, one place for donations, one lot of administration, one combined group of people with the knowledge and skills to complete bid and funding requests...

    And in the case of the WSR of course, one significant shareholding which, if properly used, could stop a lot of the current angst and arguments...
     
  13. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    The current unedifying spectacle of various interest groups vying for dominance convinces me that there two essential requirements for a viable future for the WSR:

    1) None of the current warring factions should aim to come out on top. The distrust and bitterness is so deep that only a completely new broom is going to have a chance of uniting everyone in a “one railway” approach. The existing players may be instrumental in creating a new structure but they must all be prepared to hand over the baton to those untainted by the past.

    2) Understand and accept that the ORR’ s confidence is critical. Without that you don’t have a viable railway. The WSR railway community as a whole needs to identify a team who can convince the ORR that they can be trusted to operate a safe railway. How that team is made up may excite passions but these must not be allowed to detract from the core objective.

    A good start for everyone would be to focus in what the ORR would be hoping to see. It certainly isn’t interest groups competing by increasingly bizarre manouevering to become the self appointed saviours of the WSR.
     
  14. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    This serious post by Tom has been overshadowed by the desire to sort out WSSRT issues. The PLC is accused of interference. NP is doing quite a good job there as well it seems. ;)
    If the latest infection increase continues and the trend, it seems, by many people to treat the pandemic in a casual manner then, as Tom correctly points out, next year will be a harder time than this year. It has to be an assumption that December 2020 seasonal trains will be allowed to operate, but if everything returns to the position that we were in earlier this year that might not happen. I doubt furlough payments will be so forthcoming next year (if needed) - the country cannot afford more debt and the current fundings from the HLF may become less prolific. So many charities are appealing for financial help and this will continue, but may be less rewarding if times get harder financially. Some people may cope with a financial set back, but many younger people, particularly with families, may well struggle. Those with families are the people, according to recent accounts, are the bread and butter of re-opened heritage lines.
    If the WSR is struggling now, it could become far worse.
    Noticeably in the last great number of posts on this thread not one mention has been made of the PDG, which is due to meet this month.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
  15. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    The sudden arrival of 14 (now 10) nominations to a group of current size 7 is clearly not benign. The motive seems clear to me in their statement and that is ultimately to bring about a unification into one Trust that fulfils the same aims as both existing ones - an alignment of the WSR family with something that is much the same as other heritage lines.

    And as an outsider, I really don't see the problem or have the last (insert your own number) years been such a wonderful case study in how to support and operate a heritage line that nothing needs to change?
     
  16. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    In my case I'm lucky to remember they happened at all...:(
     
  17. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Where would skilled, untainted, uncorrupted leaders come from?

    How would those who refuse to relinquish power be persuaded to do so?

    How would this process be achieved? Short of a rupture which sweeps away the old guard, no regime is going to be faced with a situation with is tabula rasa
     
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  18. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Two's company , three's a crowd

    As I keep saying it is about control and where this is exercised

    As it stands the PLC and WSRA both subscribe to the principles of the Bailey report , it is how control is retained . From what has been shared you can surmise the PLC sees the trust as its charitable vehicle . the trust may see itself as independent , able to do its own things but whether they like it or not a different future is being plotted . where this leaves the WSRA I will leave you to ponder but this scenario leaves the plc with control , the WSRA marginalised

    The WSRA sees themselves as the charitable vehicle owning the PLC , to achieve this a single charity in line with Bailey creates the machinery to facilitate this

    You could surmise that the choice is like a rock and a hard place but battle lines are drawn . redaction's in minutes says strategies are set . Today good people have been given intolerable pressure to change , whether they will come back no one knows . Others play the person, find a target and fire at them trying to exploit a weakness . tell the lie enough times
     
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  19. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    But the issue is over accountability.

    The PLC Board - and not just the current members lacked any real accountability. Hence many of the issues we now face.

    It seems to me that there is clearly a need for a structure that makes the PLC & Supporters accountable, both to members & the volunteers, something that a 'PLC lead' structure doesnt do
     
  20. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    So the ORR are hoping to see a governing body that throws organisations off the site without obvious cause, cancels the ID cards of experienced and qualified people for dissent, removes the HR rules for volunteers, etc, etc, etc....
    Sure they are.....
     
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