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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

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

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    Quite frankly at the moment I dont care who is on the board, what I want is some evidence of competence.

    It is clear that for many years prior to JJP's appointment the Railway wasnt getting the investment it needed to keep it running and successive boards either were or should have been aware of this so these issues are long running.

    Events and personalities may well have brought things to a head but it is a long running saga
     
  2. Steamage

    Steamage Member

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    I think, @MellishR, you are misrepresenting @Triumph 2500S 's point. In 2018, JJP lead the board that took various actions that averted liquidation - or receivership, or whatever was the actual threat at the time. They may or may not have been the best set of actions (and it may or may have been something that any set of PLC directors might have done equally well) but they had the required effect in the short term. You should have included his final paragraph in your quote. I think you actually agree: the real issue is what has happened after "saving the line" in 2018. Most on here agree that the subsequent actions of current PLC board fall far short of what's needed to revitalise the WSR and give it a secure future.
     
  3. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    The installation was supposed to have been in 2019 . There could be a scenario where an aspect of the scheme was unacceptable to the wsr who then asked for changes .

    What intrigues me is how the wsr proposed to reopen this spring . Was the crossing still fit for use ? Or were we going to get some late announcement with services terminating at blue anchor
     
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  4. Great Western

    Great Western New Member

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    I've been watching, and reading this thread now for the last year or so, I still cant believe we're talking about a heritage railway! It sounds like a massive global cooperation in the height of very hostile takeover bid !
    I'll be honest, I've no real interest whether the railway closes and the land is sold off or not. The way things are going there wont be a railway in the next year few years, I for one will not donate towards the railway - I have however to the S&D trust, again ive no alignment to them but I don't like the bullies, the behaviour I've read about seems very much to me like outright bullying, the S&D trust it seems have stood up to the bullies their now paying the price. The GWR Auto trailer which was pushed out of the works into the elements until they paid up it seems, that is bullying in my mind.

    The way I read it is, there is a group who believe this Jones Pratt chap wants to ruin the railway so he can basically buy the line when its closed and dead? In order to clear the way he needs to clear out any group who may cause problems.

    The other group, seem to have an eye on the future if the above happens so they can continue to play trains on his private railway?

    That is what an outsider has taken from 1580 pages ! I think you all need your heads banging together before its too late!
     
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  5. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    And those close to the line, besides the PLC, must have known how the backlog of maintenance was accruing plus the loss of revenue.
     
  6. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Precisely, though with reservations about how much of what happened in 2018 "saved" the railway, as opposed to looking like saving the railway. The whole story is not yet visible, and the way that numbers have been presented (£300k profit?) suggests a searchlight and fan are required to deal with the smoke and mirrors before we can really form a view.
     
  7. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps; I did say "they all" a back-handed way of covering that I think some are convinced that the line is staring failure in the face. (Which is I think a motivator for the WSSRT move; it's in some ways a 'last ditch' attempt to avert disaster. If it fails, I wouldn't be surprised to see some exit; although some may stay on and struggle to avert disaster to the end.)

    I guess the subtle difference between your version and mine is how likely each group feels failure is if they 'win'. I get the distinct impression that at least some members of one faction feel that if they win, all will be well (as evinced by seemingly comfortable statements about the future of the line); I have little insight into how the others feel on this point.

    Noel
     
  8. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    Whilst I take your point Alex Contacts are not the B all and end all of the situation - it is how you use and what you do with them that counts!

    At the first meeting of shareholders to discuss the situation I recall that JJP claimed he had even tried to put up his own business interests as some form of guarantee

    I was as pissed off as everyone else over the sale of 4110 but at that meeting it was explained whilst it was apparent there were other alternatives hard cash was what was needed there and then. Unfortunately the Mechanical Engineering Department were not give the time or the opportunity to raise the amount themselves and all fund raising effort was to be directed via the WSRA. Something at which they failed miserably - maybe that was a way to find out of what they are capable I don't know but we lost the engine as a result.

    Again I restate the Railway was saved, but where we go from there remains to be seen!
     
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  9. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Did WSRA fail, dismally or otherwise? My memory is of confusion at the time about how the fund raising was to be organised, and then a sense by some of the WSRA muscling in, but very significant amounts being raised for a purchase.

    As for the WSRA fundraising, how large was the cheque presented to the plc at the photo op that saw one chair swear at the other?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  10. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I only raised "contacts" because it was those quoted as why we should be so thankful it was JJP at the top! And it would have been nice to know how exactly this helped things.

    My personal view on 4110, viewed purely through the lens of NatPres it has to be said, is that it was a general WSR balls-up, not specific to the Plc board or WSRA. The way I recall it was that the Plc offered it up for sale, saying they wanted X amount by Y date. WSRA at first decided they couldn't raise the money, so 4110 Ltd was formed and raised an impressive amount of money through pledges. Then suddenly the WSRA decided they would be interested, possibly after seeing the amount of money that was being raised and wanted to be shown as useful by facilitating that cash on the railway, as well as gift aid benefit. You then ended up with the 4110 people's front and the people's front of 4110, when the sum raised was looking close to X, the Plc declared that actually they'd like X+£30k for the loco and it was sold to the P&D, to the general annoyance of everyone.
     
  11. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    Well take Bob Meanley as an example - would he have even joined the Board had JJP not been Chairman?

    As we all know he has since resigned, sadly leaving a large void!
     
  12. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    But how have they been used? Ok maybe getting a pannier from 84E and some help from Mr Meanley, but I’d say that’s about it. But he’s not there any more!
     
  13. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    The WSRA raised a mere £15,000 but were they set up to fail - that is the question?

    and if my memory serves me correctly the people who had pledges to cover the purchase price were told to support the WSRA effort.

    Failure was the result and so typical of the history of the WSR!

    But the plc got its money and the railway was saved at least for the time being
     
  14. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    A good summary - if a little simplistic....
     
  15. Triumph 2500S

    Triumph 2500S Member

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    Had JJP not taken over the chair I believe the plc would have had to get in the receivers as I believe it was trading whilst being insolvent!

    At that first meeting he told us he had instructed his Directors to get legal advice on their liability because of the dire state of the company.

    I am surprised that the previous board seemed to be unaware of this situation!
     
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  16. Snifter

    Snifter Part of the furniture

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    The volunteers were also set up to fail however they pulled together and shocked the plc by coming up with the cash. The goalposts were then moved and an ideal loco that ran on the line was lost.
     
  17. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    There is a lot of myth making around the WSR; I personally tend to the view that it's too early to tell whether or not the status was this dire, or whether the "salvation" was as presented.
     
  18. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Operating licenses are not 'renewed' over time. The licence is issued for ever unless the company ceases trading and the licence is given up, or something drastic happens and the ORR step in and suspend the licence (by issuing a 'Stop Notice' which remains in force until they are satisfied that whatever problem has been resolved) or (heaven forbid) something really, really bad happens, and the company ignores the ORR instructions about correcting the problem which would leave the ORR with no choice but to look to cancelling the license
     
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  19. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    Yes seems to be some confusion here. The “license” is the Light Railway Order. That is a Statutory Instrument and can only be revoked by an Order of the Court.

    the ORR have extensive powers to issue either a prohibition order or an improvement notice, the former will stop you from running the latter will require you to perform something within a specified period.

    there is also a “license exemption” which most preserved railways have but this is more concerned with the fact that heritage lines are generally exempt networks as compared to the big railway.

    regards

    Matt
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'm sure Martin can speak for himself, but from my point of view, the "long term health of the railway" means precisely that: the railway, as an operational entity. A situation in which the operating company survives but no trains are running would not seem to me to signify a railway in good health.

    Of course, being close to the board, you may be privy to plans about how trains will resume. But at a minimum, that would seem to involve passing at least one rake of carriages as fit to run; at least one (probably two) locomotives; certifying the entire track and signalling system (or such part of it as you wished to operate on) as remaining fit for purpose; re-instating the level crossing at Minehead; signing off the track work near Dunster that was interrupted in the spring; re-assessing safety-critical operational staff (loco crew, guards, signalmen, platform staff); putting in place a Covid operating protocol for staff and passengers to maintain social distancing and biosecurity (an assumption from me that such measures will still be needed at least into next year); making any modifications required to rolling stock (perspex screens between seating bays); then marketing the whole thing and selling tickets. That is a big requirement for technically competent staff in both safety-critical and admin roles, and a degree of investment in equipment and materials, as well as the costs of whatever remedial work is required to sign off the track, signals and rolling stock as fit for purpose. All of which against a backdrop of almost zero company income for the last six months.

    Perhaps you are able to explain how those tasks will be achieved, but at face value, it doesn't feel like a railway with good prospects for its long-term health.

    Tom
     

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